Zhao Ge Chapter 121-130

Chapter 121

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-one, Wolf of Old Age, Crafty by Nature. (年迈之狼, 奸猾成性)
This ghost was more genial than humans.

Chen Ge Guang knitted his eyebrows, and was a bit surprised he would say this.

Mr. Yan seemed like he was aware of his discomposure, and very quickly returned to that unfathomable cold and ghastliness from before. He reached his hand out, and Chen Ge Guang heard a bird’s cry. The trumpet bird that was resting on a horse’s head before flew around, and circled once before descending onto Mr. Yan’s hand.

Mr. Yan petted the trumpet bird’s feathers two times, then lifted his hand to send it off, and let it fly towards the inside of Ghost City.

The trumpet bird flew towards the Ghost City of rocks as tall as fortresses, and just when it barely flew half a mile, it suddenly turned and flew back, as though receiving some giant scare. When it descended down to Mr. Yan’s hands, the entire bird was trembling.

“As expected……” Mr. Yan muttered to himself, and slightly narrowed his eyes as he looked towards Gua Province’s Ghost City that appeared peculiar even within the sunlight.

Chen Ge Guang’s gaze slightly turned fixed. Within the large desert of Khlajöwwma, there were comparatively few trumpet birds around, thus, he did not pay too much attention to it in the past. But this scene in front of him made him recall the things he saw before, and discovered that the closer it was to Ghost City, the lesser trumpet birds would be around.

Could this place be hiding something?

Chen Ge Guang’s thoughts turned around, but his face still bore that annoyed expression, “Mr. Yan’s methods truly are unpredictable, however, since we already came here, shouldn’t Mr. Yan tell us the goal of this trip? Otherwise, how could this lowly one aid you a helping hand?”

He said this, and pointed to the soldiers waiting underneath, “Of course, Mr. Yan’s methods are outstanding, so naturally, you would feel disdained regarding this meagre strength of mine. But I am the area commander of Quan Jie Left Wing’s First Army, and as the commander, one must always bear responsibility for their own soldiers. Has Mr. Yan ever heard of the rumours of Ghost City? If you do not give out some sort of reason, then this lowly one would have it hard to stabilize the soldiers’ morale.”

Mr. Yan stared at the odd and abnormal Ghost City blocked off by the rock mountains, just like he did not hear the mockery outside Chen Ge Guang’s words.

“Since General Chen has guarded this place for many years, I think that you would have also heard of the orders for the Boyikh tribe.” Mr. Yan summoned the trumpet bird back, and slowly opened his mouth, “General Chen, as Quan Jie Left Wing’s First Army’s area commander, you must have heard of the insurgents[1] the dynasty has ordered an arrest for that are moving nearby the blockhouse. You should go lead the soldiers to annihilate them, as required by your responsibility. I believe all the soldiers would be able to understand.”

And so mobilizing such a big force was only to annihilate those barbaric people within Khlajöwwma that was at most a hundred people?

This kind of lie can only deceive some young brats. Chen Ge Guang coldly snorted, and turned to get down the rock mountain, and dispatch orders.

No matter how a person with discerning eyes could easily understand how impossible it would be to dispatch troops the entire night just for a bunch of exiles, in the end, there was finally an explanation. Furthermore, Chen Ge Guang had an extremely high prestige within the garrison of the blockhouse- he was exiled to this place when he was young, and with these many years, he had genuinely put in the effort to govern this place.

Suppressing desert bandits, protecting merchant groups, choosing elite soldiers, supervising agricultural affairs.

Not just those descendants of the north-migrating refugees, but even those subdued soldiers-by-right trusted him—— though Chen Ge Guang was of aristocratic origin, he did not see the Khlajöwwma local residents as barbarians, and even if one was a soldier-by-right, they also consistently got credit where they deserved it.

When they heard the area commander say it was to exterminate the long-thickheaded Boyikh insurgents who constantly slaughtered merchant groups and patrolling soldiers, they were no longer bewildered.

Chen Ge Guang looked at the resting subordinates, and knitted his eyebrows while pondering over Mr. Yan’s words.

When Chen Ge Guang composed himself and thought carefully, he discovered something unusual.

The Boyikh tribe had been wanted for many years, however, Chen Ge Guang did not really feel like they committed some big crime or evil. Something like the accusation of killing merchant groups and assaulting patrolling soldiers, were mostly tacked on by the imperial courts. Before this, he didn’t put much thought in it- just like how the dynasty bowed its head to the immortal sects, the dynasties typically required those weak and small tribes to submit to themselves. The Boyikh tribe merely rejected submission, and thus violated the taboo of “within Jin Tang’s borders, all is the country’s subjects” and “one country allows for two governments[2]”, thus due to the imperial court’s intolerance, they had been suppressed for many years.

This was not some rare matter, but a normal thing that could not be any more ordinary.

Nevertheless, at present, the actions of Mr. Yan’s this time made Chen Ge Guang link some unusual points from before together.

In truth, in the borderlands and the wilderness, there were quite a few small tribes like the Boyikh who did not submit to imperial law, however, only the Boyikh tribe was always put on the military warrant of arrest for these many years. And the blockhouse was clearly just a small military fort, yet was abnormally stationed with a commander of an army in violation of the military system. Could it be because the blockhouse was closest to Ghost City?

After recalling the flames of Ghost City last night, the Mr. Yan who carried the Emperor’s secret orders, Chen Ge Guang started to suspect the real reason why the Boyikh tribe was wanted.

And also……

Chen Ge Guang looked towards Ghost City of faint winds.

—— What is in here?

The marching troops rested outside Ghost City, and after eating some dry rations, Mr. Yan also came down from the rock mountain. It wasn’t like there wasn’t any reasoning behind Chen Ge Guang mocking him- with a blink of the eye, this person came down from the rock, and appeared on the ground. Underneath the broad daylight, he looked quite ghastly.

Without the trumpet bird’s guidance, the marching troop’s pace slowed down, with the light cavalry in the front. This time, it was Mr. Yan’s turn to lead the group, and they headed inside Ghost City.

After the big group of people and horses entered Ghost City, the sounds of the horses’ hooves also turned light for some reason, and everyone’s ears was filled with sad and shrill sounds of wind like ghosts crying, making people tremble without even being cold.

Casting aside the various legends surrounding Ghost City, just from these countless and extremely similar rock mountains and countless turns, it was enough to make people’s heads feel dizzy. And not long after, they got lost. After entering here, that seemingly unfathomable method of Mr. Yan’s was also of little use- every time they arrived at separating point of a rock mountain, he also needed to analyze it for a bit.

He seemed to be analyzing by using the constellations in the sky.

Except, they didn’t know just how he was able to determine the constellation’s positions in this broad daylight.

As the troops gradually got deeper, Chen Ge Guang was on guard throughout the entire journey, and his hand was pressed on top of his hilt the entire time- perhaps it was because of the influence of too many legends regarding Ghost City, but Chen Ge Guang always felt that after they entered Ghost City, there was always a kind of invisible feeling that made people extremely uncomfortable.

Just like they barged into a place they should not have intruded
upon.

Each and every one of those rock mountains that the army passed
through were several hundred zhang or several ten zhang high, with some like human heads, some seemingly like beast heads, all shaped particularly strange. And in the yellow sands that the horse hooves trod over, were all scattered with white bone- some were like bones of humans, some like animal bones. The places they saw did not have any living beings or wild animals, but those ghastly white bones let everybody know, this place was definitely not some tranquil area. As the sun gradually moved to the top of their heads, everyone’s backs were soaked through with sweat, and most people also felt tired.

The sweltering heat and weariness was just one part of it, there was also another reason, and that was because no matter where they walked, the scenery they saw seemed to not have much difference to it, and the surrounding two sides seemed to forever be big and tall rock mountains.

This gave everyone a kind of mental pressure.

Chen Ge Guang was about to let everyone rest again, while he and that extremely ghost-like and rarely human-like bastard Mr. Yan discuss for a bit, but at this time, Mr. Yan suddenly reined in his horse and stopped.

Chen Ge Guang subconsciously drew out his blade.

Mr. Yan waved his hand, and he himself raised his hand and slightly tightened it.

Not far away, a few stacked rocks suddenly rose with a black- coloured flame and turned into ashes, revealing an old wolf behind the rocks.

It was a desert wolf that was widely infamous in the Khlajöwwma, however, this wolf seemed to be a bit different from the ones they usually saw. It was very thin, its fur was very dim, and emerged with a grey-white colour. The posture it stood with was also very strange, like one of its legs was crippled. But what made people curious was the old wolf’s eyes.

From looking at that pair of eyes, it would not make people think that it was only a beast’s eyes- it seeped with a wave of evil and shrewdness, much like an crafty old scoundrel’s eyes.

“A wolf pack?” Chen Ge Guang took down the bow on his back, and was a bit uncertain.

The reason why desert wolves would be of widespread infamy within the deserts, was because these beasts that were rumoured to come from the bloodline of an odd beast were famous for being crafty and cunning. Old hunters all knew, this kind of wolf would never move independently. A wolf pack was practically like a well-practised army, and within a wolf pack, there was a type of very aged, old wolf that was extremely keen- their movements were inconvenienced, however, they had a lot of experience, and were particularly sly, and would find targets they could lay their hands on.

After this type of old wolf discovered a prey, they would not act rashly and alert the enemy, but observe from far away, and follow them, then pass the news to the wolf pack.

Practically like the army advisor of a wolf pack.

Thus, when they saw this old wolf hide nearby, the first reaction Chen Ge Guang made was that there was a wolf pack lurking about.

However, wolf packs were known for their craftiness- how could they possibly be this inconsiderate, and choose to make their move on a big army of several thousand people?

Mr. Yan restrained the hand he was about to shoot the arrow with.

That old wolf was also very strange. It did not run away after being discovered, but slightly stuck out its tongue, while its damaged tail hung down, and was swaying just like a dog, as though it was…… expressing friendship?

Mr. Yan slightly lowered his head, and the pair of eyes behind the mask met with the old wolf’s. In an instant, Mr. Yan’s pair of eyes turned particularly deep, like there was a vortex slowly rotating beneath his eyes. The old wolf’s swaying tail suddenly paused, and the originally extremely bright pair of eyes suddenly turned empty.

“This old animal is more shrewd than humans.” Mr. Yan coldly laughed. “Let’s go, we have a guide now.” Just when he said this, that old wolf turned around, and hobbled in front of them, then turned the corner around a prostrating animal-like rock mountain.

Although it was unknown what kind of method Mr. Yan used, but with an old wolf that lived here guiding them, the pace of the marching troops turned a bit quicker than before.

Chen Ge Guang put the arrow back in the arrow bag. He narrowed his eyes, thinking about something.
The iron mask on the face, using trumpet birds…… He had seen this kind of person before.

—— In the time not long before Song Over Clouds’ Liu family was destroyed.

He came out from a restaurant all tipsy from drinking, and walked in the streets holding a jar of wine half-drunk. When he passed by a small alley, he heard sounds of a trumpet bird, then he raised his head in the dark night, and saw a figure quickly pass by through the roofs.

In that instant, Chen Ge Guang saw that the other person’s face also wore an iron mask.

Chen Ge Guang’s expression slowly turned grave, and he slightly narrowed his eyes while looking at Mr. Yan in the front as his fingers slightly stroked the hilt of his blade.

[1] 暴⺠- term also for rebellious subjects/people, mob/mobsters, or rioters. Those who participate in violence.

[2] ⼀国…两治 (or ⼀国两府)- one country subject to the ruling of two governments. The term originated from a rather (still) sensitive topic of the
sovereignty of Taiwan, where there was a proposition for mutual recognition, accepting that a) the place is a part of the country, and b) they have their own government aside from the governance of the main country. What this means in our context really is that the tribe refuses to acknowledge themselves as a part of Jin Tang dynasty.

Chapter 122

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-two, Desert’s Vultures of Rot, Omen of the Inauspicious. (沙漠腐鹫, 兆之不详)
The Boyikh tribe had wandered for several hundred years within Khlajöwwma’s large deserts, and was long already accustomed to this lifestyle of always moving around.

Not a while later after the day was light, they finished packing up their things, and the caravan was ready to move. For these two Central Plains people, Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng, who butted half-way in, Kw’lang just managed to allocate one single camel for them.

Ye Qiu Sheng held a blade of grass in his mouth, with his ancient blade hung on his waist as he pulled the camel for Bai Li Shu.

He raised his head to look at Bai Li Shu, and let out a teasing smile while biting on the blade of grass, “My Lord, I’m acting as a bodyguard and a horse-keeper at the same time, do you think you are able to double my salary for the month?”

Kw’lang was not at ease with these two Central Plains people, and thus had them walk behind the young and strong of the tribe. If these two had something odd to them, it would be easy for them to take care of it- Ye Qiu Sheng keenly saw that there were quite a few young Boyikh tribe brats constantly secretly looking over to them as well.

Ye Qiu Sheng was very aware, he did not have this big of a charm. Since morning, Bai Li Shu was pondering over something, and did not say anything the entire journey, while he and Ye Qiu Sheng were considered to have followed the customs of this place[1], and also wore a bamboo hat with a thin veil on it.

Bai Li Shu was typically of that cold, outer-realm immortal on top of a high mountain and cold snow appearance, so it was also the first time Ye Qiu Sheng saw this person ride a camel like a normal person, wearing a light-veiled bamboo hat with water chestnut patterns.

There was a kind of unimaginable feeling to it.

But after some thinking, this person Bai Li Shu was actually originally quite hard to figure out- the secrets of the eras tens of thousands of years ago, he knew, the common realm legends on Khlajöwwma, he also knew; the primitive battlefield of Di Fen, he went to, the vast desert of Gua Province’s Ghost City, he also arrived at.

As though this person constantly walked up on that hard-to-define, secret, and delicate line.

His mouth briskly joked around, his waist also casually hung with his ancient blade, but in reality, Ye Qiu Sheng was on guard the entire journey. No matter how hard of a person Bai Li Shu was to fathom, there was one point that was true to the end, and that was, this person would definitely not act aimlessly[2]. In the morning, Bai Li Shu suddenly said “someone’s coming”.
And not long after he said that, Kw’lang came over to find them. However, Ye Qiu Sheng did not feel that Bai Li Shu was referring to
Kw’lang.

When Bai Li Shu was speaking, his gaze looked to the distance, clearly looking towards the direction of the blockhouse. And during this journey, Ye Qiu Sheng also faintly felt like there was something tagging along in the dark, keeping their eyes on them.
While Ye Qiu Sheng was speaking to Bai Li Shu one-sidedly, he secretly searched for where the source of the observing gaze in the dark was.

Only, the other party seemed to have concealed themselves quite well, and with the cultivation sealed, and spiritual insight restricted, Ye Qiu Sheng could not find the other party for the time being.

He paid attention to Bai Li Shu’s expression, and felt like this person should also know there was something following the caravan in secret.

Bai Li Shu was originally always expressionless, but at this time, his face was also separated with a layer of thin veil, making it even harder to distinguish.

“Rot vultures.”

The caravan walked within the high and low strangely-shaped rock mountains, with the camel bells sounding off distantly. Their pace was neither fast nor slow, when Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly heard Bai Li Shu lowly say this to him.
Bai Li Shu was looking towards the sky in the northwest. Khlajöwwma’s skies were high and clear, with very little clouds,
bright like a mirror, so one could see quite far. One could even clearly see when there would occasionally be a few birds flying by in the skies, with figures suddenly leaving.

And in the high skies in the northwest direction, one could see several hovering black figures not leaving.

Those were the birds of prey of the desert, called rot vultures.

The 《Strange Records of Nine · One Hundred Birds》 talked about this bird’s habits: fond of flesh and blood, chasing rotten corpses and dead beasts, arriving in masses, not leaving even if chased off, an omen of the inauspicious.

Chasing rotten corpses and dead beasts to eat, an omen of the inauspicious……

Bai Li Shu retracted his gaze.

At this time, the sun was already high up, and sands were ablaze like it was scorching. Kw’lang scouted the path and found a place with relatively more shade, so everyone headed there to rest. It was only a brief rest, so apart than a’Sa’s tent, other people did not put their own up. Everybody sat in the shade cast by the rocks, and drank water and ate food.

Ye Qiu Sheng passed some dry rations to Bai Li Shu.

Bai Li Shu shook his head. After seeing the rot vultures, he seemed to constantly be thinking about something.

Boyikh tribe’s dry rations, to tell the truth, was really coarse. When Ye Qiu Sheng swallowed it down himself, he didn’t think much about it, but if he really let Bai Li Shu eat this kind of thing…… Ye Qiu Sheng looked at that face of Bai Li Shu’s, and felt like he would probably be chopped down by those lunatics of Jiu Xuan Sect.

To be the target of a grudge held by Jiu Xuan’s lunatics was not some good thing.

He was also an eldest disciple brother, how could the difference in treatment be this big?

Ye Qiu Sheng pondered, and handed over a water flask as well as one of very few remaining diet-warding pills of his own to Bai Li Shu. Ye Qiu Sheng travelled within the lands of the twelve dynasties for many years and very rarely returned to the sect, and was also so extremely poor he had nothing left. The medicinal pills on him were used mainly for recovery for the most part, with very few of these kinds of things. It was something that he prepared for emergencies at the times he was at the end of his resources. “My Lord, please put up with this.” Ye Qiu Sheng chewed the grass blade, while the corners of his mouth pulled up, and his tone turned frivolous.

Bai Li Shu took the water, but did not take the medicinal pill.

Ye Qiu Sheng lifted his head up, and leaned against the rocks. He did not turn his head, then bit into the crude, stiff, and even throat-scraping dry rations, “Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples’ fame shakes the twelve dynasties. This lowly one is merely a stale scholar, and does not want to let those little brothers and sisters of yours to hang a knife over my neck.”

“Just take it as being merciful, and save this little one’s life, alright?” Ye Qiu Sheng turned to look at him.

In a’Sa’s tent.

Within this span of brief rest, the people within the Boyikh tribe with authority to speak all gathered inside a’Sa’s tent, and discussed the big and small affairs of the tribe, and let a’Sa instruct them on the following route.

A’Sa who would normally always shut his eyes for rest halfway during the discussion, and would not care about the various arguments between the people beneath made regarding sources of water, suddenly opened his eyes.

A young hunter lifted the curtain open and walked inside.

“That Central Plains official has a matter and wants to ask for an audience with a’Sa, do we let them inside?”

Without waiting for others to say anything, a’Sa slightly nodded his head, and said in a low voice, “Let them in.”

Kw’lang knitted his eyebrows, and suppressed the opposing words that had not come out of his mouth yet. The fabric curtain once again lifted up, and that indifferent-faced, gently smiling Jin Tang official with a thin body like a girl’s as well as his bodyguard entered one after another.

“What is it?” Kw’lang’s face turned grave, and spoke up in an ill
manner.

That young Jin Tang noble lord did not get angry due to his
rudeness, and his face still carried a faint weak smile, with an appearance of being gentle and refined. He sat at the very end by himself, and lightly brushed his sleeves.

Kw’lang coldly snorted, and found this Central Plain person’s unnecessary and over-elaborate formalities particularly unbearable.

Brushing his sleeves lightly, Bai Li Shu observed the Boyikh tribespeople with ill-will gazes towards himself and Ye Qiu Sheng within the tent, then slightly nodded, and spoke, “This lowly one heard that everyone would be met with difficulty, and was afraid to bring disaster to the innocent[3], with destruction endangering oneself, and has especially come to tell everyone, and hope for everyone to prepare early.”

His tone was light and gentle, and though his face carried a smile, it did not actually reveal any emotion.

These scaring words without head or tails were said out of his mouth with a gentle tone, yet carried a pressure that made people not dare to underestimate it.

“What do you mean?”    There was a young and vigorous hunter who immediately questioned it out loud.

“Since the respected tribe has travelled through the desert for many years, with hunting as a means of life, I think you’ve also heard of the name of rot vultures.” Bai Li Shu neither hurriedly nor slowly spoke up, “This lowly one observed the skies in the northwest today, and saw several rot vultures hovering about. Dare I ask everyone, at what time would rot vultures only hover and not disperse?” Everyone in their seats were old hunters, and once Bai Li Shu spoke up, their faces suddenly changed.

Rot vultures ate corpses, however, they were typically quick, and would not stay in one place for very long- unless that place was about to occur with a large-scale casualty. However, within the deserts, it was very rare to appear with these kinds of large-scale casualties.

Except……

“The blockhouse located to the northwest border of Ghost City.” Bai Li Shu faintly smiled.

The rot vulture was a type of nefarious bird. They would follow around the army, and wait for corpses of war spreading over the lands to eat to their fill for several days. If vultures came from the northwest direction, then that would mean the blockhouse’s garrison moved out- but it would not be just a few soldiers, otherwise, rot vultures would not follow them and hover around without leaving.

“I’ve heard the large blockhouse’s garrison is one regiment large, with a commander of several thousand, but is everyone able to deal with it?” Bai Li Shu courteously asked, and phrased it tactfully.

“Even if they have the courage to enter this Ghost City, they would also need to be able to find their way back.” Kw’lang coldly laughed.

Bai Li Shu seemed to have heard some laughable matter, and the smile by his lips slightly deepened, yet did not reach into his eyes at all. He observed everybody around him, and lightly said, “The wise do not need to speak in crypts, does everyone really not know…… the reason why the blockhouse garrison would be this large?”

His words implied a deeper meaning.

Having just performed a ritual last night, the Boyikh’s slightly younger hunters within the tent was a bit jittery[4], and just when Bai Li Shu spoke up, they suddenly changed facial colours, and were about to bring out their blades then and there.

Just as they moved, Ye Qiu Sheng who stood behind Bai Li Shu already took one step forward, and the ancient blade that was still on his waist a moment ago was already placed in front of him.

There was a wide gap between the number of people on both sides, however, Ye Qiu Sheng’s mouth slightly grinned, held his blade sideways, and stood with an unchanged expression in front of the still self-important and elegant young man. The hunters who faced against him felt that ghastly murderous intent Duotana felt that day, with that kind of cold hint that made people’s heads go numb.

The more the experienced the hunters were, the more intense this feeling was.

In their perception, the bodyguard standing in front of that Jin Tang official was practically like a beast, and not human.

The hunters did not dare to act recklessly for the time being.

“Sit down.”         Kw’lang had fought with Ye Qiu Sheng before, and knew how horrifying this person’s abilities were, thus made a grave face at this time, and scolded in a loud voice.

Other than a’Sa, Kw’lang was the person with the highest status within this tribe. Since he spoke up, though the hunters were unresigned inside, they still put away their blades and sat down, but there were still a few whose hands were still placed over the hilts.

“Do not be rude.”

Once the Boyikh tribe hunters sat down again, Bai Li Shu then unhurriedly spoke up. Kw’lang perceived, even just now when the hunters in the tent suddenly drew out their blades, this seemingly extremely delicate Central Plains official did not even bat an eye, and looked calm and collected. —— Just when did a Central Plains person have this kind of courage?

Kw’lang pressed down the uncertainty inside himself, and looked at a’Sa who seemed to plan on not saying anything, then asked in a deep voice, “What does Sir mean by this?”

[1] Or in the English expression, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
[2] ⽆的放⽮- the expression is, to shoot at random, or without a target.
[3] 池⻥- literally pond fish, can mean one of two things: people who have lost their freedoms due to the restraints of being an official (whereby
the pond is the restriction), or people who have gotten involved in disasters for no reason at all (where being a part of the pond involves one into the disaster).

[4] 杯⼸蛇影- to mistake the bow’s shadow in a cup for a snake. False alarms/fear created through self-suspicion.

Chapter 123

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-three, Hidden Geese Plume, Who Holds the Blade. (暗中雁翎, 谁握⼑锋)
Duotana felt like ever since those two Central Plains people came here, matters took a very strange turn.          First, a’Sa said that outsiders had relations with Namu, then, a’Mu fainted, and now, even Father turned abnormal. During noontime, Duotana saw that Jin Tang official bring that bodyguard of his and walked into a’Sa’s tent.

After a long while, Father lead other people with a stern expression and walked out of a’Sa’s tent.

From their expressions, it seemed like something big happened. On the contrary, those two Central Plains people remained with a leisurely look, especially that civil official, with a white robe of spacious sleeves, and an indifferent expression, looking completely uninvolved.

Before Duotana could go ask her father what happened, a’Sa came out and ordered the tribespeople to change routes, throw away any heavy items, and prepare to get ready. At the same time, a few young hunters of the tribe spoke a few words with that Jin Tang bodyguard by the side, and not a while later, those hunters as well as the bodyguard carried blades and arrows and disappeared from everyone’s sights.

These series of orders were not understood only by Duotana, but other tribe members were confused as well. A’Sa was of the look of preparing to let everyone quicken their paces and set off with all their strength, yet also ordered everyone to stay in their places, and did not let them go for a very long time.

“Sister a’Duo, what’s happening?” A’Mu pulled at Duotana’s sleeves, and asked in a small voice.

Duotana knitted her eyebrows. She did not know why, but she always felt this was connected with that Jin Tang official called “Bai Ting”. Kw’lang and a’Sa and the others were speaking with each other quietly to the side, but that Central Plains civil official was standing outside of everyone, and did not intervene.

Time passed by bit by bit.

From the looks of it, the larger half of the afternoon was about to pass. When the sun gradually leaned west, the Central Plains bodyguard who left with a few young hunters came back with the others. The tribespeople were in a slight uproar, and only saw these people who left for a large half of the afternoon drag back a few dead desert wolves.

And in that Central Plains bodyguard’s hands, dragged a tightly bound old wolf.

That old wolf was still living, and blinded in one eye.

It was as though a’Sa, Kw’lang and the others waited here for an entire afternoon, just for the capture of these few wolves. At this time when they saw the Central Plains bodyguard catch that living blinded old wolf, they seemed to have breathed a sigh of relief.

The Jin Tang civil official that was always standing quietly to the side walked up, and exchanged a few words with the bodyguard, then that bodyguard nodded his head, and handed the old wolf for Kw’lang to hold.

After receiving the old wolf, Kw’lang did a very strange thing- he left a camel, plucked out the old wolf’s claws and teeth, then tied it to the top of that camel left in its original place. It was at this time, that the constantly uninvolved Bai Li Shu finally had some movements.

He pointed to several positions on top of a few rock mountains in the surroundings, then let people start from those positions, and draw up lines of rope that looked disorderly and unsystematic. Not only that, he even let everyone take down the camel bells from the camels’ bodies, and let him personally hang them on top of the ropes.

The camel bells hung on top of the ropes, and once they were blown by the wind, they continued to emit a distant sound.

Without the heavy camel bells all of a sudden, the camels seemed to be a bit unaccustomed, and stamped their hooves with a look of discomfort.

“Go!”         After finishing these few things, a’Sa gave the order to go forth.

A’Sa’s expression was similarly stern, and his eyebrows slightly locked in tight.

After setting off once again, everyone very quickly sensed a difference from before. Kw’lang did not bring people to first scout the path, and that Jin Tang official was located not far off behind a’Sa. The caravan seemed to suddenly have a precise objective as well, and directly rushed to the deep part of Namu’s homeland without making any stops to confirm the entire way.

Within Gua Province’s Ghost City, rock mountains densely spread about just like a board’s black and white pieces, while the entire Ghost City was like a labyrinth of countless intersecting paths. Before, they went around like going along a safe and level path, intricately and gradually meandering in deeply, but today, it was like they suddenly took the direct path, and did not make any detours at all.

Before leaving, Ye Qiu Sheng turned around to look at the seemingly-chaotically pulled ropes hung with camel bells. He slightly grinned, and revealed a malicious smile.

If they wanted to treat them as a stone to cast a path[1], then they should pay the price!

Jin Tang’s secret dogs were called the Hidden Yan Ling.

The Yan Ling blade was an ordinary ornamental blade of the Jin Tang military, and was also a way of referring to the Jin Tang army as Yan Ling. However, Jin Tang actually had another secret army unknown to people, that were secret guards directly belonging under Jin Tang’s emperor.

The boundaries between immortal cultivators and ordinary people were clear, but the immortal cultivators’ factions were actually not that distinct.

Just like how the Eight Immortal Sects located on the land of the twelve dynasties was just like an Eight Immortal Sects rooted upon the thick earth, immortal cultivators were immortal cultivators who lived upon the land of the twelve dynasties. Because of their own inheritance as well as towering status, the Eight Immortal Sects possessed a definite large majority of immortal cultivators, however, this did not mean that there were no immortal cultivators within the dynasties.

Immortal sects’ branches were established upon the provinces and prefectures, accepting disciples in those places, receiving the local influential clans’ aid, of which, members of the influential clans as well as ordinary aristocratic families’ members naturally also had people who entered immortal sects and cultivated, albeit they could not become the core people within immortal sects. But in the end, they still became immortal cultivators.

Though Jin Tang and other ordinary dynasties were the domain that ruled the ordinary people, one could not say that there were no people who cultivated in immortality within the dynasties.

In truth, many of the dynasties’ influential clans typically possessed lineage and resources of immortal cultivation, just like the Song Over Clouds’ Liu family of Jin Tang, they too had a portion of immortal cultivation lineage.

These were within the scope of the immortal sects’ knowledge and allowance.

At least, on the surface, it was like this.

And the Hidden Yan Ling, was a concealed strength that Jin Tang raised in secret.

The Yan Ling blade referred to Jin Tang’s surface-level army, while the Hidden Yan Ling instead referred to the hidden military of an unknown number that specifically carried out secret tasks, controlled by the hands of a few people in Jin Tang.

In his first ambush, Ye Qiu Sheng started discovering the existence of Jin Tang’s Hidden Yan Ling. On the surface, the Hidden Yan Ling was an army that wore iron masks and got rid of dissidents for the imperial family, however, in his continuous search, Ye Qiu Sheng gradually found something unusual. After many incidents, there seemed to be other people also searching for the concealed story covered behind the era’s back.

Hidden Yan Ling, the Yan Ling blade within the dark(secret), a blade that exists only to kill people.

And those who held this blade, were far more complicated than he estimated to be in the beginning.

Someone held the blade, and wanted to emulate Kong Jia from the previous era, and be that Heaven-beheading legend. If that was so, then they must first be prepared to be beheaded themselves.

This was reality.

The sides of Ye Qiu Sheng’s mouth emitting a murderous smile very quickly hid away, and he bit down on the blade of grass, continuing to have that cynical, carefree and flippant look. ◈◈◈
“Ready!”

With the old wolf leading, the army Chen Ge Guang lead with the light cavalry raced for an entire afternoon, and finally, when the evening was about to come, gradually approached the target area.

The distant sounds of camel bells already gradually turned distinct. Chen Ge Guang waved his hands, and ordered the army to prepare.
Cavalries were originally suited for when two armies fought against each other on flat and spacious lands, so in this kind of narrow and rough terrain, with chess piece-like rock mountains spread like a labyrinth over the desert’s Ghost City, their movements were quite restricted. Because the terrain was complicated, Chen Ge Guang did not dare to order the army to spread out and circle around in order to avoid being lost due to unfamiliarity with the terrain after spreading out.

Yet, as the camel bells’ sounds got more and more louder, Mr. Yan who was in the front did not look to be at ease, and on the contrary, his aura turned more colder and sombre.

When the marching troops arrived at the corner of a rock mountain, the camel bell sounds were already very distinct, and the distance between the two parties seemed to be very close.

However, the old wolf leading the way at the front started letting out a restless and uneasy look, and its tail continuously swept the ground. Chen Ge Guang wanted to let a few soldiers go scout the road first, but was stopped by Mr. Yan.

“No need, just go.” Mr. Yan’s voice seemed to carry a sliver of anger compared to the gentleness from before.

“Useless piece of shit.” He coldly scolded, then black fire suddenly sprung up, and burned the guiding crippled old wolf cleanly. Chen Ge Guang did not understand what he meant, but even though the other person held the title of a land officer, in reality, he had secret orders at hand- even he had to listen to his orders himself, so regardless if he was a bit offended inside, he could only lead the troops and go straight forward.

But as they advanced, the camel bell sounds turned more and more
clearer.

In pursuit of the sound, they turned several rounds, and what
emerged in their eyes was a slightly spacious clearing between a forked road.

When Chen Ge Guang saw the scene in front of him, he froze a bit, and understood what those words of Mr. Yan’s meant.

They only saw on top of the clearing in front of them were several ropes traversing across the space, with camel bells spread out, hung on top of the ropes, emitting a distant sound from being blown by the wind- the camel bell sounds they heard before were from here.

And in the middle of the ropes was a camel, with an old wolf tied onto that camel’s body.

From the looks of this kind of circumstance, how could Chen Ge Guang not know he and the others were tricked.

Except, Chen Ge Guang was extremely astonished: How did the other party know of their movements? This was clearly Mr. Yan making orders with his middle-of-the-night insanity. Even he, an area commander, could not predict it, so how did these vagabonds of the Boyikh tribe know of it?

At the same time he was astonished, Chen Ge Guang secretly also took pleasure in the misfortune.

He glanced at Mr.Yan who was extremely mysterious throughout the entire way, and spoke up with a skin-deep smile, “Mr. Yan, these troops have already arrived, but the people are gone, whatever shall we should do next? Since Mister’s methods are deep and profound, please do advise.”

As though he didn’t hear his words at all, Mr. Yan ordered everyone crowding around here to not act recklessly, while he himself walked forward, and walked into the ropes traversing in the air, and went to examine that old wolf being tied to the camel’s back.

Chen Ge Guang coldly laughed, got off the horse, and followed in.

He lifted his head up and carefully looked- the ropes traversing midair were only ordinary ropes, and the camel bells on top of it were neither big nor small, hung on the ropes, while the bronze bells’ bodies had some symbols that the Boyikh tribe often used as decorations.

Chen Ge Guang looked at the rope and camel bells, and did not find anything, then turned to see Mr. Yan’s actions.

He only saw him standing in front of the camel, examining something.

Chen Ge Guang walked up, and then discovered the top of the camel and beneath the wolf’s head, pressed a folded rice paper.

When Chen Ge Guang saw that rice paper, his expression slightly changed.

[1] 投⽯问路- can be interpreted two ways, one of which is, throwing down an actual rock to probe the path (think, scenes where infiltrators cast
rocks to test for traps, or use it as bait) or the second, relying on the thrown stone (person) to show the way, making the person scout for another.

Chapter 124

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-four, Stone Statue Opens its Eyes, Army of Zangmu. (⽯像睁眼, 臧穆之军)
Pressed underneath the wolf head, the half-folded rice paper’s was white like snow, pliable like brocade, and underneath the sunlight, one could see that the surface of the paper had a natural grain to it that formed into buds of plum blossoms.

Chen Ge Guang was born in a Jin Tang aristocratic family, and recognized it was that embroidered rice paper that was hard to get even with a thousand golds, specifically supplied to the imperial family.

While several thoughts passed through his mind, Mr. Yan already extended his hand out to take that rice paper.

Mr. Yan opened up the rice paper, and saw that the pure snow-like paper only had several short lines of words written on it. It used Jin Tang’s official words, while the handwriting was elegant yet vigorous, with the links between the ends like scaly dragons swimming in the clouds.

Just when Chen Ge Guang was about to look what this paper specifically used by the imperial clan wrote, Mr. Yan’s hands suddenly emerged with a ball of black fire, and instantly burned that rice paper cleanly.

“You!” Chen Ge Guang got angry, however, before he could get words of reprimanding out, something strange happened abruptly. The instant the rice paper was burned, the camel whose back was tied with the blinded old wolf suddenly raised its front hooves, just like it received some violent scare all of a sudden. As the camel was startled and went mad, Chen Ge Guang drew out his blade out of instinct, and with a flash of the blade, he was about to kill the camel kicking its front hooves over here.

“Don’t move.”

Just as Chen Ge Guang brandished the blade in his hands, he heard Mr. Yan shout out angrily from the side.

In the next moment, Chen Ge Guang’s wrists were grabbed by Mr. Yan, his eyesight turned hazy, and Chen Ge Guang was brought back several steps by Mr. Yan, avoiding the manic camel. That camel broke free of the ropes at some time ago, and rushed out from the front of Chen Ge Guang.

“We’ve been had.”        Chen Ge Guang was completely confused by such a big reaction from Mr. Yan, and just when he about to ask him what the matter was, he heard Mr. Yan seem like he squeezed the sound out from between his teeth, and say this in a sombre tone.

——Been had?

Weren’t they deceived long ago, when the Boyikh tribe long knew of their whereabouts? Saying that they were had now, isn’t that a little late?

The corners of Chen Ge Guang’s mouth twitched, but in consideration that Mr. Yan pulled him away, he did not say it out loud.

But very quickly, he came to know that he understood it wrong. The “been had” that Mr. Yan spoke of was far from this little bit.
The instant the camel rushed out, the camel bells originally hung on the rope started swaying violently, and the sound of the camel bells went from the originally distant sound into a hurried one. Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan were standing in the middle of the space traversing with ropes, and at this time, the camel bell sounds resounded from all around. The sounds of bells overlapped each other, just like it directly resonated within their mind.

Camel bell sounds. Sad and shrill, distant, camel bell sounds.

Within the large deserts, camel bells would guide the strayed, so the sound could spread very, very far. However, when at least one hundred camel bells resonated together, it could not possibly give people some damned feeling of comfort from guiding the strayed.

Guiding the strayed my ass. Making people lost is more like it.
Chen Ge Guang almost could not control wanting to brandish his blade to cut off those ropes hung with camel bells, but the way the camel bells were suspended and resounding seemed to be strange- the bell sounds overlaying each other resounded within the mind, making people’s chests feel stifled and heads dizzy, with the mentality incomparably irritated, yet, one could not help but to listen to those camel bell sounds, just like they were possessed.

No, not right.

Not just camel bell sounds.

Chen Ge Guang gripped his blade and bit down on his teeth, with his forehead filled with cold sweat, and managed to not have the blade cut towards Mr. Yan who was by his side.

The camel bell sounds were only a catalyst, the real reason was…… the cold and shrill, crying ghost-like wind sounds.

They entered Ghost City for far too long, so long that they were already accustomed to the sound of winds that were just like a resenting ghost’s cries, and their nerves already subconsciously ignored this sound. But now, once one paid attention to the winds, their brains would instinctively eliminate those sounds of wind, and the camel bell sounds would turn hazy and indistinct, turn ghastly and intangible, and intertwine behind the wind.

Sad and shrill, like all the ghosts wailing, and wronged souls hitting on bells[1].

What…… what is going on?

Chen Ge Guang’s vision gradually turned hazy. His consciousness was clearly still awake, but the blade in his hands fell onto the ground with a clanging sound, and the vision in his eyes turned obscure, while the world seemed to be spinning.

“Chen Ge Guang!”

Within the disorder, Chen Ge Guang heard someone calling out his name in a loud voice. The sound seemed to come from some distant place, while that voice itself seemed swift and fierce like a blade, and instantly dispersed the thick fog in front of him.

Like he was pulled out from deep waters by someone, Chen Ge Guang took in ragged and heavy breaths, and the abrupt cold sweat from his back drenched his clothes. It was then that he discovered he already knelt down to the ground. Chen Ge Guang climbed up with a stagger, then turned to look in the surroundings.

What entered the ears was still that sad and shrill ghost cry-like sound of wind.

As though the entire Ghost City’s winds all gathered here, a myriad of ghosts wailed. The ropes that first looked to be randomly hung in midair already tensed up at this time, threads intermingled, and pulled out a strange formation within the air, while the Boyikh tribe’s symbols on the body of the camel bells hung over the ropes already completely burned up. The camel bells in midair rose with flames, yet did not burn away that rope. The flames wrapped over the bronze bell, and looked to be unusual and mysterious.

What was even more worse was, the space outside the ropes seemed to be separated. The place Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan stood at was located underneath the formation created from the ropes- this clearing between the rock mountains was still a span of calmness, but ten or so steps out, outside the boundary made by the ropes, yellow sands swirled around some time ago.

Just like the sandstorms that were separated by Ghost City for many years instantly took over, yellow sands raced around outside the ropes, and violent winds whirled about, unable to see anything beyond it.

Chen Ge Guang’s facial expression suddenly changed.

The light cavalry, those soldiers he brought from the blockhouse were still nearby waiting.

“Fuck this……”      For the first time, Chen Ge Guang who was born in a prominent family cursed out loud. He pulled out the blade pierced in the ground, and was about to go outside the ropes, and walk into that span of haziness full of yellow sands.

Where did the inauspicious fame of Ghost City come from? Those simple, obscure, seemingly real and fake legends.

Of one, was a legend that said this Ghost City was a Buddhist city of Xi Yu. Later on, people did not know what wrongs they committed, but the heavens handed down punishment, and those monks with profound cultivation all turned into rocks in the span of a single night. In the deep part of Ghost City, there were eighteen big and tall rock mountains that if looked at from afar, would look like monks hanging their heads down. After the monks turned to stone, the grudges did not disperse, and hovered within the city. If someone stirred the resentment of the monks whose cultivation was so profound they could almost turn into Buddha, then those stone statues would open its eyes, and the skeletons and wronged souls buried beneath the yellow sands would gather, while wandering ghosts would all cry- if they could not ferry the living into that hell, they would not rest.

In the beginning, Fu Yi dynasty’s army planned on passing from here, and make a raid on the military fort, yet was no longer able to appear again. Some people said it was because they incurred the resentment enveloped within Ghost City, and were “ferried” into Yan Luo’s hell.

But those were clearly just legends of the ignorant people of Khlajöwwma.

“Don’t move! It’s dangerous!” Mr. Yan shouted angrily.

“Fuck you!” Chen Ge Guang cursed out loud, “You’ve pissed me long enough, who do you think you are?! ”

“Even if you are pissed, you must hold it!” Within the violent whirlwinds, Mr. Yan pressed down on Chen Ge Guang’s shoulders, but his gaze did not fall on those overspreading yellow sands.

His gaze looked through the places the ropes were nailed into. The empty right hand then hung down, and a black fire gathered within his palm, and by the end, slowly congealed into a longsword, with the edge of the longsword emerging with a fang-like hideous outline.

Chen Ge Guang wanted to struggle free from this person’s hand, but discovered that while the other person seemed to be lightly pressing on his own shoulder, their strength was like it had ten thousand jun on it.

After observing all around, Mr. Yan, with one hand holding up the sword, one hand pressed on Chen Ge Guang’s shoulders, pulled him into retreating back step by step.

His gaze was fixed in one direction. The camel bells shook more and more hurriedly, and at some time, Sanskrit characters slowly emerged from the flames of the camel bells. Each camel bell had a Sanskrit character, and looked extremely dazzling within the flames, like it was written on the bell by someone long ago, slowly emerging after being burned by the fire.

—— The ropes randomly traversing through the midair seemed it was just a little cheap trick left for them to find the wrong place, but in reality, it was a trap long already prepared, waiting for them to lower their guard and enter inside.

The ropes that seemed to be randomly nailed in and messily pulled around formed the lines of a formation, and the sound of bells and wind mingled with each other formed a soul-seizing effect. The small bells hung on the rope secretly written with Sanskrit, and the Boyikh symbols burning up…… Everything seemed like a spider’s net, where one move could spur up the entire situation.

Chen Ge Guang recalled the guiding old wolf, and the blinded desert wolf tied onto the camel’s back in front of them, and did not know why his bones started seeping out with a hint of coldness.

Like the movements of theirs the entire way, were done in accordance to a script someone long already wrote down.

Just like…… he was only a pawn, and there was someone outside the chessboard, observing emotionlessly.

This feeling passed through quickly, but Chen Ge Guang already had no way of thinking any more.

Because he, too, saw just what made the unfathomable Mr. Yan let out this stance like facing a formidable enemy.

——Within the haze of yellow sands, a pair of eyes, a pair of dignified eyes, like they were sympathizing with the entire world’s people, were slowly opening up. Yellow sands filled the area outside the ropes. They could not see the soldiers waiting outside, however, they were able to faintly see a few giant black figures- those were rock mountains several hundred zhang tall. And at this time, in the direction Mr. Yan was looking at, a giant black figure’s top portion was lit with two balls of light.

Two balls of eye-like lights.

Hazily looking off into the hovering yellow sands, that rock mountain’s shape was clearly of a monk hanging down its head.

The monk hung its head down, opening its eyes within the yellow
sands.

When Chen Ge Guang was watched by those emerging eyes
illuminated by the light[2], he only felt his entire body go stiff. If Mr. Yan did not pull him, don’t mention retreating, even lifting a hand was hard.

The longsword in Mr. Yan’s hands angled in front of his chest, and he pulled Chen Ge Guang back, slowly retreating.

—— The stone statue opened its eyes.

The reason for Fu Yi dynasty’s cavalry dying was probably as real as the legends say.    When this though flashed by, Chen Ge Guang heard the sounds of steeds.

The winds slowed down at some time ago, but the outside of the ropes was still a haze of yellow sands. Other than that stone statue with open eyes inside the sands, Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan also saw many indistinct black figures.

That was definitely not the army they brought.

On the contrary, it was like Khlajöwwma’s mysterious army called “Zangmu” belonging to Namu in the legends…… coming to harvest lives.

[1] When bells toll without human doing, people say it’s the souls of the wronged, unable to pass away into the netherworld, ringing them in hopes that justice be brought to their deaths.

[2] 佛光- specifically, Buddha’s light. Refers to a specific phenomenon of light called glory.

Chapter 125

Chapter One Hundred and Twenty-five, Good and Bad People, Hard to Distinguish. (好⼈坏⼈, 难以分别)
How troublesome.

Mr. Yan gripped his sword, and gravely looked at the indistinct and obscure black figures in the sands. That apparent pair of eyes on the stone statue within the boundless yellow sands observed them from up above, while the sounds of war horses mingled together with the winds.

Chen Ge Guang whose shoulder was being pressed by him was pulled back step by step, with the hand gripping the blade slightly shaking.

Certainly, within aristocratic families, there were many members who were also immortal cultivators, but Chen Ge Guang was not.

He was originally someone raised to be the next clan head, and the Chen family had a strange rule, and that was, no matter how many cultivation-talented people there were in the family, the person to assume the position of the clan head must be an ordinary person. “Only with a body of a mortal, can one see the mortal’s world.” When he was young and pestering about how he wanted to cultivate, this was what his father said.

Hence, though he could also learn martial arts, he was only an ordinary person the entire time.

He could never understand those words of Father’s, what “only with a body of a mortal, can one see the mortal’s world.” exactly meant. Chen family’s training had been passed down for that long, but why did it not ever mention if a mortal was faced with a power they were unable to oppose, what they should do?

Outside the world separated from ropes and camel bells, were boundless sands, as though the sands that Ghost City blocked for many years gathered here, like the legendary Namu’s breath seeping with an archaic wrath of outrage. The surrounding sands, those soldiers he lead for many years were swallowed within those sands- he did not even hear a single shout from them.

Several thousand people were engulfed within the yellow sands, without making a sound. They were all valiant warriors, and yet at this time, did not even have the qualification to brandish their swords for a battle, like they were crushed dead just as one crushes ants.

Those eyes observing them could not be seen clearly in the sands, only the outline of the head-hanging “Buddha statue”. Were those the Buddha statue’s eyes?

Those pair of eyes were that dazzling in the yellow sands, with Buddha’s head hung down, observing all the people like the sky’s eyes. The light was that divine, carrying the sympathies of the world’s salvation and rescue. When Buddha appeared in legends, it was to save the world’s people, and when the people in purgatory saw Buddha’s light, they would be ferried into the Land of Bliss[1].

Buddha goes through hardship with the body, so for what reason were they able to observe this many, so many people who could not even bring up a single ripple go die?

“Don’t be scared.” Mr. Yan who pressed onto Chen Ge Guang’s shoulders could feel that he was slightly shivering right now- he gripped his sword, with muscles all tight, and met gazes with that stone statue’s eyes in the sands, unable to turn his head back. The fang on the edge of the sword in Mr. Yan’s hands emitted a cold light, then he paused, and lowly spoke with a hoarse throat. “No one’s scared.” Chen Ge Guang stood straight, and tightened his hold on the blade. He could not help but shiver underneath the stone statue’s gaze- that was an instinctive fear normal people held when faced with a strength that was on par with Heaven’s wrath, but his voice was very stable, and very calm.

Like a knife, carrying sharpness.

The war horses’ cries got closer and closer, while the figures in the sands turned more and more clearer. That was certainly an army, shrouded in black veil, wearing bamboo hats, and sitting on white-boned horses in the yellow sands coming about freely. The black figures stopped at a distance not far away from them, and stopped in the surroundings of the head- hanging stone statue.

Separated by sand, that legendary Namu’s army was vague and indistinct, carrying a mysterious aura to them.

They surrounded the formation hung with camel bells, and formed an encirclement like they were in fear of the formation circle in midair, yet were also waiting for something.

The formation created from the ropes around the space and the altered Boyikh tribe camel bells contrarily seemed like a barrier protecting them at this time. But whether it was Mr. Yan or Chen Ge Guang, they were no fools- no one would believe this trap that lead to all the changes to happen was a setup left to protect them.

After the black figures appeared, the sound of camel bells slowly died down, and the fire on the bells gradually dissipated.

Bells were originally a sort of mysterious thing- no matter where one was, there would be legends of bells calling to spirits. And the goal of those bells hung on the ropes, seemed to be to summon this army that belonged to Namu’s kingdom of death in the legends.

After the army of Zangmu appeared, they(spirits?) seemed to have already successfully retreated. As the flame’s gradually perished, only the bells with Sanskrit characters written by someone were left. The bells’ sounds died down, but the surrounding sandstorm did not go down because of it. However, the army of Zangmu that circled around them let out a path at their very front.

The opening of the black figures faced towards that enormous hanging head stone statue.

On that path they let out, the boundless yellow sands also split apart an opening with it, and fleetingly sunk down in that short gap of sand. The line of sight also gradually turned distinct, and when they looked over, they only saw it reached the end of the stone statue, with a door seeming to be emitting a faint gold light over there.

The intent of the black figures seemed to want them to walk down that path, and enter inside the door.

“Are we going?” Chen Ge Guang was not an immortal cultivator, and did not know just how much cultivation Mr. Yan had. But from how Mr. Yan was pulling him back earlier, he could see that Mr. Yan had no way of going against that rock statue with a hanging head and the surrounding legendary army of Zangmu.

Only……

Chen Ge Guang looked at the door at the end of the path. That sort of feeling of how every single action was predicted by someone got more and more stronger, unable to be shaken off.

The person who set this up seemed to be hoping they entered through those doors.

This feeling of acting according to someone else’s will particularly made people furious…… and helpless.

“Go.”   Mr. Yan slightly narrowed his eyes, looked towards the door. He then suddenly laughed coldly, and the sword held up to his chest hung down, and pointed to the ground. “Follow me.”
out. As he said this, he first walked towards the path the black figures let

They left that sandstorm-less formation, and walked on that path. Outside the path, was still countless sands and those indistinct-looking figures. However, that feeling of being stared at by countless people still made people’s hairs stand on end. Chen Ge Guang tried to look at those black figures’ faces, but could only see an indistinct human figure in a bamboo hat and cloak.

“It’s alright.” Mr. Yan slowed down his pace and waited for him, “It’s just some dead people’s shadows.”

He observed the end of the path and the black figures around the stone statue, thinking of something.

◈◈◈
After quickly travelling for an afternoon, the Boyikh reached the front of another peculiarly-shaped rock mountain, however, a’Sa did not let everyone put up tents in preparation to rest, but ordered the tribespeople to immediately prepare the needed bonfire for the ritual.

And at this time, the remainder of the sun was hanging by the west, and the sunlight started to go dim, while a part of the east side already seeped out with colours of the night.

“What are you looking at?”

Duotana was filled with concerns the entire afternoon, thinking about the things from these few days. When she turned her head, she saw that Jin Tang civil official standing not far away, looking towards the direction where they previously rested while in thought. Thus, she walked over, and looked at where the young man’s gaze looked towards.

Her vision was blocked off by the tall and short rock mountains, and could not see anything. If she raised her head to look towards the sky, she could only also see a stretch of grey over that side’s skies. “There’s a sandstorm.” The young man slightly lifted his head up, and calmly looked at her.

“The nights of Gua Province would always have sandstorms.” Duotana thought that this Central Plains person was making a big fuss over something small, and thus casually explained it.

The young man dressed in spacious Confucian robes, with a conduct that bore a self-important gracefulness slightly smiled, and did not say anything again.

He turned and walked towards a’Sa.

Duotana knitted her eyebrows, and felt like she seemed to have missed something. She looked towards the direction the young man was looking in before, and pondered. Up until when a’Mu ran over, and pulled at her clothes.

“Sister a’Duo, I saw over there…… lots of horse-riding…… people.” A’Mu pulled at her sleeves, let her kneel down, then leaned towards her ear, and said this in a small voice.

Horse-riding people?

Duotana froze, and afterwards, her facial colour slightly changed. Could it be the encirclement army again?
Recalling that strange order a’Sa suddenly made in the afternoon, as well as the odd action that Central Plains person did of tying camel bells in their resting area, Duotana understood a few things now.
She stood up, stroked a’Mu’s head, then went to find her own father. Before she left, a’Mu pulled her to a halt again, “Sister a’Duo, ca-
can you never talk with that person ever again?”

When a’Mu spoke, she did not dare to look in Bai Li Shu’s direction, seeming to be subconsciously scared of Bai Li Shu. However, even if she was subconsciously scared, she still stubbornly pulled at Duotana’s sleeves, just like when she was pulling her own uncle back then, “That person…… he……”

“What is it? Is that bastard not a good guy?”

“N…… no…… Not that……” A’Mu looked like she was about to cry. Her ability to communicate was not good, and tried her best in a hurry to find the words, yet could not find anything, “He, he, he…… Just don’t talk with him anymore, please?”

In the end, a’Mu could not find the words to describe it, and could only repeatedly beg her in a small voice.

A twelve year-old little girl, even if she could see many things, in the end, was still so extraordinarily innocent, as though as long as her Sister a’Duo no longer talked with that person with lots and lots of images, then it would be all fine. But she did not understand that the place they all stood at was already in Namu’s homeland.

And was long already a part of the situation.

“They are discussing whether you are a good person or not.”
Ye Qiu Sheng leaned against the rocks, holding his blade, and lazily watched as the Boyikh tribespeople busied about. When Bai Li Shu came over, he turned his head and raised his eyebrows, then teased.

“Good person?” Bai Li Shu repeated this phrase, and he slightly, inconspicuously smiled. “I was never a good person in the first place.”

He lightly said, just like stating something.

“A good person, huh……” Ye Qiu Sheng seemed to have also recalled something. He lifted his head up, and looked towards the skies that were already covered by the night. Like he was talking to himself, yet was also talking with Bai Li Shu, he said, “When was there ever a good person?” He smiled as well.

Carrying about an unspeakable…… helplessness to it. When was there any good person?
Elder Xie Yi of the Eight Immortal Sect’s number one Jiu Xuan Sect would not be some good guy, Ye Qiu Sheng who walked around the twelve dynasties while hiding his name would not be some good person, and as for the family head, Dong Ling’s Bai Li who could calculate all there was to Heaven’s will, they would not be a good person either.

Bai Li Shu looked towards the gradually set-up bonfire, then hung down his eyes, and recalled that snowy night’s boundless white snow.

The corners of his mouth twitched, just like he wanted to laugh a bit, but in the end, did not laugh.

[1] AKA Sukhāvatī, or the Western Paradise mentioned way back in the beginning chapters.

Chapter 126

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-six, Door of Namu, a’Mu’s eyes. (纳姆之门, 阿穆之眼)
The bonfire was lit up very quickly, while Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng who were not part of Boyikh’s people stood far away from the bonfire.

“You want to go into Namu’s kingdom?”        Ye Qiu Sheng stood by Bai Li Shu’s side, and watched the blazing fire. Kw’lang and the others already recited the ancient narrative long poem, and Boyikh’s young lads fitted with bone blades surrounded the bonfire while kowtowing within the deep chanting sound.

When personally watching this scene, one would be able to strongly feel that antiquity of an old tribe.

“In the deep part of Dragon Head’s Gorge in Cang Pu, there is a stone wall.” Bai Li Shu did not directly answer his question. He instead observed the bonfire, while the light of the flames fell down into the bottom of his eyes, flickering about.

Cang Pu’s Dragon Head’s Gorge.

Ye Qiu Sheng was originally lazily leaning against the rocks, but when he heard this place’s name, he straightened up.

The day before, when he took the book away from Bai Li Shu’s hands, and spoke about Cang Pu’s conditions and customs, he talked about how he climbed up cliffs of a thousand ren high. Cang Pu was composed of many big mountains and deep valleys, and Dragon Head’s Gorge was one of them. Ye Qiu Sheng was considered to have Dragon Head’s Gorge deeply engraved in his memories, because within the deep part of Dragon Head’s Gorge, was that karst cave deeply buried in the underground that he went before.

Engraved with an ancient, mysterious, stone drawing, with archaic- blooded odd beasts lurking in the darkness.

But he did not speak to Bai Li Shu about that karst cave.

“The stone wall is engraved with a few lines of the general principles of Cang Pu’s secret warriors.” Bai Li Shu watched the rising fire wall, and lowly recited, “Spirit, oh spirit, who hast restrained you, where have the dead gone, the living turn grieved. Return, return, for I will be like the shadows. Come, come, for time does not rest. The gates to the Ninth Hell open wide, with not a single slow-witted spirit left.”

Bai Li Shu’s voice was very soft.

When he recited those few lines, Boyikh tribe’s a’Sa was at the tall platform reciting loudly.

“Namu’s might shines on Khlajöwwma like the sun, ever scorching, without rest. Namu’s subjects will at last return to the homeland.”

The winds in Ghost City came by in bursts, as the inside of Khlajöwwma that was ruled by Namu was spread with flames like magma like snakes winding around.

Nevertheless, Ye Qiu Sheng was already in no mood to watch the strange movements over on the Boyikh’s side.

“You should have walked further in.”        Bai Li Shu turned his head and calmly looked at him. His voice could not be discerned from any emotion, while the raging flames had this person’s face overlaid with a bit of warmth. Ye Qiu Sheng’s hand pressed on top of his blade hilt, and the smile on his face disappeared.

Bai Li Shu slightly smiled.

It was a smile that was very hard to describe. They say that one smiled because of excitement, but that smile did not carry a single sliver of warmth, and instead seemed like snow drifting down on a winter day, light, like a sigh of carrying destiny.

Incomparably dreary.

Ye Qiu Sheng loosened up his hand, and he leaned back to the rocks once again, then let out a long sigh. He stared at the fire spreading towards the opposing rock mountain, and opened his mouth with a dry voice, “I’m starting to doubt whether Lord Bai Li is Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother or Tian Ji Valley’s eldest disciple brother.”

“Is there nothing you don’t know? Lord Bai Li.” Ye Qiu Sheng’s voice was low and deep.

“I would rather there be nothing I know.” Bai Li Shu said
softly.

His voice was still like normal- calm and tranquil, whereas his face
did not have much expression either. But when Ye Qiu Sheng turned to look at him, he did know why, but he felt like this person seemed…… clearly upset over something.

Ever since they arrived at Gua Province, Bai Li Shu seemed to be a bit abnormal.

From the surface, he was just like usual, leaving nothing out, knowing just about everything. However, at many times, when Ye Qiu Sheng saw this person, he would only have a stifled feeling like how someone could not breathe. When facing the Boyikh tribespeople, this person would be talk light-heartedly and reveal nothing, but he always felt like the concerns this person pressed down inside themselves were already so much to the point it made people unable to carry the burden.

Bai Li Shu……

Seemed like he knew something, and understood something.

This person, Bai Li Shu, was just like a big sea sealed in ice. The layer of ice on the surface of the sea reflected with the cold frosty moon, without any ripples or waves, but underneath the ice, were countless soul- shocking undercurrents and raging billows.

Strangely, Ye Qiu Sheng felt a bit irritated.

He’d rather Bai Li Shu be always mysterious, frosting over things with one strike, making people go according to his plans the entire time, so lofty that it made people want to draw their swords, and did not want to see him hide many concerns, watching the raging fires thinking about something he didn’t know about.

Fuck this.   Ye Qiu Sheng silently cursed at himself. What Bai Li Shu wants to do, let him be, what was it to him.
However, that kind of irritating feeling could not be shaken off. Perhaps it was because of that sudden smile from the Twelve Beauty
Records’ number one that was that shallow and that sad, smiling that even a mountain rock without any intellect would probably be willing to break apart too.

“I also know quite a lot.” Ye Qiu Sheng turned his head, and did not look at Bai Li Shu anymore, “If there is anything the Sir does not want to know, then this small one will know it in your stead.”

His tone was still the same, like it was loose, frivolous and slovenly. After a long time, Ye Qiu Sheng heard him lightly sigh. He did not reply with anything, and Ye Qiu Sheng did not open his mouth any longer.

The fire that was like magma spread out, and unlike the last time, the fire rose up from the bottom, and completely wrapped a rock mountain within it this time. After the ritual’s reciting was finished, the fire was still burning, still rising up, raging about, and illuminating this stretch of space like daytime.

That rock mountain was like a primitive giant python coiling its body and hanging its head on the ground, while the bottom portion that was as big as a city gate had several fang-like thin pillars.

After the fire coiled up, it looked just like an ancient python from the previous era reviving in the flames.

That ancient and strange pressure from that day descended down once again, even more intense this time, while the fire on the Boyikh tribespeople holding the bone blades still did not disperse. Ye Qiu Sheng gripped his blade, and the muscles on the back of his hand faintly bulged out.

Bai Li Shu extended a hand from the side, and held his hand.

All the surroundings were flames, but Bai Li Shu’s hand was still ice-cold, and his fingers were slender, just like jade bone. When Ye Qiu Sheng’s wrist was held by him, he subconsciously wanted to draw his blade out, but thanks to his fast reaction, this instinctive reaction was suppressed down.

His face passed through a surprised expression, but it was restrained very quickly.

The wrist held by Bai Li Shu made contact with a cold and hard rectangular object- Ye Qiu Sheng realized it was the old imperial talisman Bai Li Shu got from the Tower of Qiu Huang. The old imperial talisman was held in Bai Li Shu’s hand, and hidden within the broad Confucian sleeves. Holding his hand was merely a cover, what Bai Li Shu really wanted to do, was let him touch that old imperial talisman.

When the old imperial talisman stuck to Ye Qiu Sheng’s wrist, he felt those slivers of strange spacial power suppressing the primordial energy in his body being drawn out bit by bit.

There was no change to Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression, and was still of that appearance of lazily leaning against the rocks.

As his cultivation returned bit by bit, that oppressing feeling was gradually alleviated.

The corner of Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes observed Bai Li Shu. He kind of wanted to ask him how his own circumstances were, but Bai Li Shu only expressionlessly watched that ancient python-like rock mountain a hundred zhang high being wrapped by fire, and did not have any intentions of paying attention to him at all.

The corners of Ye Qiu Sheng’s mouth twitched, then he also looked towards that flame.

Not just them, all of Boyikh’s tribespeople looked up to that rock mountain enveloped by the fire.

Each and every one of them all tightly gripped their bone blades, and waited in nervousness.

The ground shook slightly all of a sudden, like the tremors in a layer beneath transmitted up layer by layer. In everyone’s vision, within the raging fire, the rock mountains’ outer layer started flaking away in big pieces, like the outer mud shell of a statue buried long underground, peeling off layer by layer.

Savage ghastly-white teeth, scales carrying bone thorns……

Within the flames, an enormous python carrying the aesthetics of a primitive strength emerged in front of Boyikh’s people like a miracle. “Namu bless me! Namu bless me!”    When they saw that giant snake reveal its figure in the flames, the Boyikh tribespeople knelt down to the floor, and placed the bone blade in front of them and heavily kowtowed.

A’Sa walked down from the tall platform. With his hands holding a snake-shaped cane, he walked to the front of everyone, then also knelt down.

“Namu’s subjects will return to the homeland at last.” His voice trembled, and he hoarsely shouted.

On the hand he pressed the ground with, held a bone bracelet, and he rotated the bone bracelet slightly.

A’Mu who was kneeling at the back of the group was similarly burning with fire, with Duotana by her side. But at this time, Duotana was the same as the others, extremely excitedly kowtowing towards the ancient python’s figure in the flames, and did not discover a’Mu slowly straightening her body. She opened her eyes, and directly met with the icy pair of eyes of the ancient python in the flames.

A’Mu’s face was a span of iciness- her azure-green pair of eyes contracted abruptly, and her pupils suddenly turned into a very small thin line like a snake’s.

At this time, her eyes were no longer like a human’s eyes.

When a’Mu’s eyes met with the ancient python’s eyes, the area between the fangs inside the giant half-opened mouth of its hanging head started slowly forming into a big door as tall as three people clustered by fire. The surface of the door was covered with flames, and the flames rose up and warped into shapes of countless small snakes.

The instant the big door formed, the magma-like fire perished all of a sudden, the ancient python’s figure disappeared, and in front of everyone, only that rock mountain that was shaped like a big snake coiling up remained. The only thing that was left, was the rock door appearing at the bottom part of the rock mountain.

On top of the rock door, were refined and magnificent engravings of
snakes.

“Praise to the mighty Namu. ” A’Sa extolled sternly in a deep
and low voice.

“Praise to the mighty Namu!” Boyikh’s tribespeople repeated loudly. Those who were a bit more older, already had tears flowing from their old eyes.

Ye Qiu Sheng slightly narrowed his eyes. He looked at the little girl called a’Mu whose eyes already recovered and was similarly excitedly shouting out loud. It was just like she didn’t know what happened to her body at all.

—— That girl is called a’Mu. Her eyes can see the past, and can see the future.

Could she really only see the past and future? Ye Qiu Sheng turned to look at Bai Li Shu.
The young man released the hand holding his wrist, and looked to a’Sa who was standing in front of the people while in thought. A’Sa stood up with the support of Kw’lang, and Ye Qiu Sheng also saw a’Sa turn his head to look towards Bai Li Shu.

Ye Qiu Sheng recalled that night Bai Li Shu went to suddenly see a’Sa.
Tsk, these two really were a shady bunch.

Ye Qiu Sheng nonchalantly circulated his primordial energy, while Bai Li Shu already walked to a’Sa’s side. He straightened up, and followed, just like devoted bodyguard. He stroked his own wrist, as though it was still left with a bit of coldness.

Chapter 127

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-seven, Behind the Stone Door, Namu’s Kingdom. (⽯门之后, 纳姆国度)
The Boyikh tribe’s people were fully dressed in attire, with their hands holding bone blades, standing behind a’Sa and Kw’lang, waiting for a’Sa’s orders. The young Boyikh hunters, due to excitement, had a completely red face, while the elderly Boyikh people looked at that stone door with eyes flowing with tears.

Called the “exiled vagabonds”, the Boyikh tribe walked along with Khlajöwwma Desert’s sandstorms for several hundreds of years. No matter the season, they could not rest, and as for the various hardships that came with this, only they themselves knew.

Throughout the very long years, the belief that supported them was being able to return to Namu’s homeland.

They were Namu’s gravekeepers.

And today, Namu opened the big doors to his kingdom for his subjects.

A’Sa stood in front of that stone door that appeared after the ritual. The stone door was tightly shut, and on top were two snakes coiled up, forming into a circle. The snake heads tightly intertwined with each other, like two big snakes wrestling intensely. As Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng walked over here, the Boyikh tribespeople sent a cautious gaze towards them.

Other than those people who were also in the tent in the afternoon.

The people with status in the tribe did not say anything, so the remaining Boyikh tribespeople did not rashly open their mouths, and could only let these two Central Plains people Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng walk to the outside of the group.

Though the stone door appeared, with two relieved sculptures of the giant snakes coiled on top of the door, there was nothing that looked to be like a lock. Kw’lang and a ten few young men went up to push it, however, the stone door did not so much as move an inch. Everyone’s gazes turned to a’Sa.

And then, a’Sa just stood by with his hands holding his bone bracelet, with no intention of going up to open the stone door. He spoke in a deep and low voice, “Namu’s will guides his subjects.”

His gaze looked in another direction.

Looking to where a’Sa’s gaze went, everyone saw that young noble lord who proclaimed to be a Jin Tang civil official standing outside the group. The young man dressed in Central Plains’ wide robes had no expression on his face, while the winds of the night moved his sleeves, and looked to bear a kind of unspeakable fleetingness to it.

When they saw a’Sa seeming to be waiting for this Central Plains person to come up and open the stone door, everyone looked to each other, and remembered when these two people asked for the Boyikh tribe’s assistance, a’Sa previously said “This is Namu’s will”.

Could it be that these two Central Plains people were actually able to open the stone door?

Within everyone’s gaze, Bai Li Shu headed straight towards the stone door. He looked to not be the same as two days ago- his face no longer had that refined smile, and his features turned cold. They did not know why either, but when he walked past, everyone subconsciously retreated back, and gave out a path for the young man.

Kw’lang looked at a’Sa, and then looked at the young man passing through the crowd, then finally waved his hand, and brought his people to retreat to a’Sa’s side.

Ye Qiu Sheng carried his blade, and neither hurriedly nor slowly followed behind Bai Li Shu.

When Bai Li Shu walked to the front of the stone door, he reached out and touched the indentation on the surface of the stone door. The pale- white colourless fingertips brushed over those snake heads biting at each other, and finally, slightly used some strength to press where the two snake’s eyes were.

Kw’lang who was the closest heard two crisp ka cha sounds.

Soon after, in everyone’s sights, the relieved sculptures of the snakes on the stone door started swimming about, and the originally tightly coiled snakes came apart. The snake heads biting each other opened up, and the relieved sculpture separated from the original circle into two halves, and right in the middle of the big door, emerged with an indentation.

The shape of the indentation was extremely strange, like a straightly-laid longbow.

The area near the longbow indentation coiled with patterns of fire, just like it was a burning longbow.

Ye Qiu Sheng stood to Bai Li Shu’s back, and faintly presented a kind of stance where if someone was acting strangely, he could protect Bai Li Shu at the first opportunity and also go on the offensive.

But when Ye Qiu Sheng saw the longbow indentation on the stone door, the hand that gripped the blade slightly moved a bit. That longbow shape the indentation presented looked a bit familiar.

The ones who felt it looked familiar was not only Ye Qiu Sheng, but also Kw’lang and a’Mu. Kw’lang knitted his eyebrows, and thought, just when did he see a longbow that was similar with the door’s indentation, and when his gaze swept to a’Mu, he suddenly recalled it:

—— When a’Sa went to ask a’Mu, a’Mu said she saw a person’s hand hold a longbow, gold and sparkly, burning with fire.

At that time, a’Sa took out a roll of fabric for a’Mu to see.

The shape of the longbow on that fabric roll seemed to be the exact same shape as the one on the stone door.

Recalling a’Mu’s description, Kw’lang subconsciously looked towards the young man who already hung down his hands and was looking at the stone door.

Could it be that in the image a’Mu saw, that person who was passing by countless overlapping figures in the darkness, going up against the flow, with their hands holding a longbow, was this Central Plains person who called himself “Bai Ting”?

Early on, after the afternoon discussion, Kw’lang no longer believed that these two people were just simply officials exiled from Jin Tang. But at this time, he still felt confused about their identities: Just what kind of identity did these two people hold? Just what is a’Sa thinking?

Regardless of how many doubts Kw’lang held inside, the young man standing in front of the stone door did not turn his head back, nor would he explain it.

He lifted his hand up, and in the black night, the young man’s hands of helpless-looking wrist bones suddenly lit up with a fire.

A gold-coloured longbow appeared in the young man’s hands. The body of the longbow was burning with fire, and in the instant it appeared, the surrounding atmosphere’s temperature instantly rose up, while the night’s cold winds carried the scorching heat within it. As the young man held the longbow, the fires illuminated his features, and Ye Qiu Sheng once again recalled the underground of Yan Men.

When they were underneath Yan Men, he was being pulled by that crazy bitch Jun Wan Bai, while Bai Li Shu followed in the rear. At that time, he saw this person holding the Golden Crow longbow running in the darkness, while the longbow’s flames also illuminated Bai Li Shu’s features just like it did now.

When the intersecting images passed by Ye Qiu Sheng’s mind, Bai Li Shu already put the longbow on top of the indentation.

A perfect fit.

The instant Golden Crow was embedded, everyone’s eyes lit up with the sun.

They saw an apparition of the divine bird, the golden crow, rise up from the longbow. This bird of the sun that lived within flames, that in the legends would burn the earth for thousands of miles when it flew through, spread open its pair of wings in front of them, with flowing fire rolling over top of its plume. The gold-coloured radiance instantly illuminated the world in their surroundings.

It was like they fell into molten gold.

The refined snake sculptures on the stone door lit up one by one, swam off, and the stone door then slowly opened within the golden crow’s distinct cries.

When the stone door completely opened up, the golden crow’s apparition disappeared, and the longbow fell down from midair, and was firmly caught by Bai Li Shu. The surface of the longbow was still burning with flames, but Bai Li Shu held the burning longbow, with nothing happening to him. The scenery behind the stone door was beyond everyone’s imaginations.

There was no passage, no road.

Behind the stone door, was a slowly rotating, black vortex. In the middle of the vortex, was a profound darkness that made people rise with fear, like this vortex directly connected to the underworld’s hell.

But in reality, didn’t it connect to hell?

In the legends, Namu was a deity that ruled the region of Khlajöwwma. Namu’s kingdom was the kingdom of deceased spirits, while black waters surrounded that place, and Namu’s throne suspended high above eight pillars. All the people who died within the Boyikh tribe would resurrect there.

Bai Li Shu did not put away the Golden Crow.

He held up his longbow, and when everyone was drawn in by the vortex, he turned his head to look at a’Sa.

This aged Boyikh shaman turned the bone bracelet in his hands, and coughed, then called back everyone’s attention, “Namu’s big gates have already been opened for us, we will soon tread upon the homeland once again.”

He said in a deep voice.

Everyone quieted down, and silently waited for a’Sa’s instructions. Other than themselves, no one understood just why the Boyikh tribe would be so attached with wandering in the large deserts for so many years, and why they would disdain the Eight Immortal Sects’ recruitment.

The Boyikh tribe are Namu’s subjects.

As long as they returned to Namu’s homeland, their bloodline would be awakened, and they would recover the Boyikh’s former glory. And today, after having been stubborn for that many years, the destiny from being obstinate lifetime after lifetime finally emerged in front of them.

No one backed away.

Under a’Sa’s arrangements, ten or so people chosen from the young Boyikh hunters as well as Kw’lang, would become the first to step into the vortex, with the elderly and children being the second group, and finally, the remaining young hunters would bring the rear.

Ye Qiu Sheng was a genuine and proper immortal cultivator, and naturally would not be like the Boyikh tribespeople, really thinking that the vortex behind this door was some door to the homeland that Namu opened for them. The surface of the door was actually placed with an ancient formation spell, and Bai Li Shu’s longbow was the key to activating the formation.

After the formation was activated, just like Qiu Qian He’s bronze bell, a passage opened up behind the door, connecting to another space.

Is it to the legendary Namu’s kingdom?

Ye Qiu Sheng carried his blade, and incomprehensibly smiled.

He and Bai Li Shu were not the very first to enter, nor were they the very last either. After those ten or so Boyikh tribe young hunters leading disappeared, Bai Li Shu also walked to the front of the vortex.

He carried his longbow, and directly walked into the vortex, then the slender figure was swallowed by the vortex.

Before Bai Li Shu’s figure was completely engulfed by the vortex, he quietly said something to Ye Qiu Sheng who was following behind him.

Before Ye Qiu Sheng could ask him anything, the youth’s figure was no longer in front of him. He stood before the vortex, and only managed to call out Bai Li Shu’s name once.

Ye Qiu Sheng had a kind of bad feeling.

When the dizzying feeling from being transported to a space dispersed and the pair of feet stepped onto solid ground, before Ye Qiu Sheng barely made out the surrounding environment, he first hurriedly turned his head to find Bai Li Shu’s figure. The surroundings were a span of darkness, while Kw’lang and others who first entered already lit up torches, and the ten or so Boyikh hunters’ hands gripped bone blades, standing in order, apparently waiting for everyone to enter.

After standing firm, Ye Qiu Sheng’s gaze rapidly swept past everyone’s faces.

That kind of bad premonition established itself- in front of him, the people who came in were all here except for one person.

—— Bai Li Shu.

The darkness did not contain the youth’s figure holding the gold- coloured longbow.

Ye Qiu Sheng held up his blade, and expressionlessly stood there, obvious that he did not feel it was unexpected. That feeling of Bai Li Shu’s concerns getting heavier once they went to Gua Province was ascertained
—— Once they entered this whatever Namu’s homeland, the person immediately disappeared.

Where was the agreed upon partnership? Going at it alone is partnership?

After a long while, the corners of Ye Qiu Sheng’s mouth roughly twitched, and broke into a laughter from the anger, “Fuck you.”

Within the sunken darkness, with unknown circumstances all around, this fake scholar Ye Qiu Sheng cursed out in a low voice. 

Chapter 128

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-eight, the Castle of Black, the one known as Bai Li. (⿊⾊之城, 百⾥其⼈)
Namu ruled the large deserts of Khlajöwwma, and inside the kingdom belonging to Namu, there were eight world-connecting stone pillars, with black waters circling underneath the stone pillars, and blazing and burning Scarlet Flames between the pillars.

“See the Flames of the Scarlet rise from the abyss, be it above the skies or down the earth. Namu who rules the kingdom of death was born within the Scarlet Flame. Namu’s subjects receives the protections of the Scarlet Flame, eternally preserving its glory.”

The narrative long poem that the Boyikh tribe passed down each generation praised as such.

Ye Qiu Sheng received a torch from Kw’lang’s hands, and silently observed this legendary homeland of Namu.

After calming down, Ye Qiu Sheng heard the sounds of wind and
water.

Unlike the sort of winds he heard underneath Yan Men Prefecture,
this wind seemed like it blew out from the underworld, so cold it reached into people’s bones. The wind was not strong, but the sound of it was very distant, like it blew from a very very far place, and even brought a kind of unspeakable uneasy feeling with it. Ye Qiu Sheng quickly understood just what was with this wind and that kind of uneasiness of distant emptiness.

They stood in a place that did not reach up the skies nor down the
earth.

After stepping into the vortex, the place they were sent to was on
top of an upended centrum-like island suspended in midair.

All in the surroundings was a sunken darkness to which one could not see the ends of, like they were located within an endless dark void. The heart-like lone island was suspended high in the space, and when one walked to the borders of the lone island and looked down, one could see it was a hazy darkness beneath as well.

The sounds of water came from below.

Below the suspended lone island, a thousand zhang-wide black- watered giant river coiled and surged downward, but there weren’t any soils to either side of the black-watered big river at all. The big river was just like the silver river[1] above the skies, trickling through the space. The sound of water was very loud, and transmitted from the boundless void, mingling within the wind.

The island they were standing upon was not the only island here.

There were many suspended islands just like the one they were standing on. Ye Qiu Sheng lifted his head up to look, and only saw lone islands floating in midair, forming a spiral-shaped long chain. In addition, these lone islands circled around several similarly suspended high and low giant stone pillars that were spread apart.

This was an extensive scene that normal people would be unable to imagine, that was like a miracle.

Eight giant pillars that seemed to be able to support the world were suspended within the boundless black space, while islands and islands circled around these stone pillars that were like sky pillars, with black waters below surging around, flowing through the void. The scale of largeness of the stone pillars exceeded the boundaries of what mortals could imagine, and just from looking at it, they would only feel it was a miraculous spine that held up the ancient times.

Faintly, one could see that on top of the stone pillars was an ancient city that was definitely not a place where mortals were able to live in.

Ye Qiu Sheng lifted the torch up while standing in the wind, and could not help but hold his breath in.

With the howling sounds of wind passing through them, the Boyikh tribespeople knelt on the ground of the lone island suspended in midair, and kowtowed towards the distant giant stone pillars in the void. Their sounds were withdrawn, their entire bodies shook, and could not say anything.

A vast, miraculous, ancient, and divine scene spread open before
them.

Within the dark world of unknown boundaries and unknown
heights, eight pillars supported the kingdom of Khlajöwwma’s far-ancient legends, where lone islands revolved like groups of stars, and black waters passed through the space…… The age-old belief that Khlajöwwma’s residents passed down every generation certainly should be worshipped.

This was originally a miracle that definitely could not be created with today’s era.

In front of this primeval-like divine kingdom, mortals were certainly only able to tremble and bow their heads in submission and respect.

Ye Qiu Sheng held his torch up, and the flame flickered from the wind blowing in the surroundings. He tightly gripped his blade, and looked up at those eight stone pillars suspended within the space holding up the kingdom, and felt this image was very familiar.

Where did he see a similar image? Strong gales blew in the spacious world, when Ye Qiu Sheng finally recalled it—— in the battlefield of Di Fen, when he and Bai Li Shu took the old imperial talisman from the Qiu Huang tower, he once saw a scenery from several tens of thousands of years ago by the imperial throne’s side.

—— A sky pillar that connected the skies and earth stood, and on top of the sky pillar, was a black grand castle constructed in the skies very high up. That was Cloud Emperor of the far-north’s “Unfalling Country”, with a black-armoured army passing through like a powerful current, while a slender white-robed person wearing a bamboo hat went up against the flow of the people, and their hands held a burning longbow.

In an instant, a mess of countless questions surged up once again.

That castle above the clouds he saw before, was it Cloud Emperor’s “Unfalling Country”, and if it was, then what kind of relationship did the “Unfalling Country” of tens of thousands of years ago have with Namu’s ruling kingdom supported by eight pillars?

After the era of Chaos ended, in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals called the “Severed Era”, immortals constantly devoted themselves to erasing the several kinds of traces left behind by ancient emperors, causing much of history’s already obscure secrets to turn into those shrouded by curtains. Ye Qiu Sheng ran around the twelve dynasties for these many years, all just to find the truth behind the curtains.

Looking up at the castle above the eight pillars, Ye Qiu Sheng faintly had a hunch, regarding the ancient emperors’ fall, the Eighteen Clans of Old’s secret, the finality of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals…… the answers to those many questions, would be found over there.

And perhaps, this time, he would be able to know about some things regarding Bai Li Shu as well.

The shitty old man said, Bai Li Shu was “fate”. In the image he saw of the Cloud Emperor, the hands of that young man going up against the flow carried a longbow burning with gold- coloured flames. And the key to opening Namu’s homeland, was the Golden Crow in Bai Li Shu’s hands.

Would this be a coincidence? Or was it the so-called…… fate.
Ye Qiu Sheng gripped his blade tightly, and recalled the several rumours around Bai Li Shu…… Jiu Xuan’s sect leader suddenly brought back a young boy, and in the next moment, they became Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, of unknown origins, unknown histories.

That strange guess he suppressed down several times once again emerged uncontrollably.

“I would rather there be nothing I know.”

Standing within the gusts of wind blowing around, Ye Qiu Sheng recalled in the flames of the bonfire, that light, faint smile that bore the helplessness of destiny on Bai Li Shu’s face, dreary and dismal like snow fluttering down.

—— The white-robed person that he saw, who went up against the crowd and shot out the one arrow that ended the legends to the Unfalling Country, the young man drawn in the stone drawing in Cang Pu dynasty’s underground karst cave, and that young man who seldom let out a faint smile that made people could not help but feel sad…… were they……

Were they the same person?

—— I would rather there be nothing I know. That person’s voice once again softly resounded by his ears, unable to be shaken off.

The corners of Ye Qiu Sheng’s mouth twitched, and let out a habitual frivolous smile. “Namu’s subjects will return to the homeland at last.” A’Sa walked over from the Boyikh tribespeople kneeling on the ground, and walked over to the edge of the lone island. The shawl abundant with the colours of Khlajöwwma was blown by the wind, and he rotated the bone bracelet, then with a hoarse voice, recited this line repeated by Boyikh’s tribespeople for who-knows-how-many times already.

Ye Qiu Sheng who stood not far from a’Sa inconspicuously sneered
once.

It was not completely isolated between the lone islands. Each lone
island was suspended in midair, like they were linked into a chain by someone, with several giant chains passing through the lone islands, connecting to the other ones. Hence, in this dark and gloomy space, it formed a long “Heaven’s ladder”.

With the chains linking between them as the framework, between each island, there would be a simple and crude iron chain bridge- the bridge was not wide, hung on an arc in this completely-confusing place, making people go cold when they saw it. On the islands where the iron chain bridge’s head was, the sides would each be erected with two white-boned pillars half-a-person tall. The tops of the pillars were placed with something’s skull, with the eye sockets’ black holes peering over to them who once again returned to the homeland.

This shady place, was the Boyikh’s homeland? This homeland was quite peculiar enough as it is.
◈◈◈
“What kind of shady place is this?” Chen Ge Guang held his blade up and followed behind Mr. Yan, and asked while knitting his eyebrows.

After they passed by the army of Zangmu, and walked into that light door beneath the Buddha’s head, Chen Ge Guang only felt like the whole world spun. When he stood steady once again, he already arrived inside an odd stone city somewhere.

The place they arrived at was a stone alley.

The alley used black rocks as pavement, while the style of the stone houses to the sides were extremely strange, and did not seem like the architectural styles of any of the twelve dynasties. The stone houses were big and tall, simple and crude, and the lines brought about a type of peculiar feeling of vulgar madness. The stone houses to the two sides of the alley were practically formed from giant black rocks, and looked to not be a place for regular people to live in.

Chen Ge Guang lifted his head up, and could not see stars nor see the moon- the skies were a stretch of black, bearing a kind of odd feeling to it.

Thinking back to the obscure black figures in the sands before, that so-called army of Zangmu, no matter how Chen Ge Guang looked at it, he would feel like this was not a place living people resided in.

“The legendary Namu’s kingdom.”     Mr. Yan took a lantern out and lit it up, turned his head to look to the left and right, then answered.
“Don’t move recklessly, follow me.”

As they were inside this black stone city to which was not known how big it was nor what it had, Mr. Yan was evidently very cautious. However, he looked to know something, and after he lit the lantern and illuminated the surroundings, he then went out of this not long stone alley.

This place was enveloped in darkness, and after Chen Ge Guang’s vision gradually got accustomed to it, the two already walked to the end of the stone alley.

Once they exited the stone alley, the two people then felt a sliver of coldness. Outside of the stone alley was a long and wide street- the two sides of the street were placed with orderly big and tall stone houses, with the style of them pretty much all the same. When looking far off while standing by the entrance to the stone alleyway, their line of sight would be blocked by the stone houses for the most part, and so could not see much. They could only faintly see that at a place far from them, seemed to be an area with extremely big and tall structures bulging out.

That place should be this ancient city’s centre.

Chen Ge Guang still wanted to see more clearly, and wanted to climb up the stone house, when Mr. Yan to his side suddenly put out the lantern, and grasped his wrist, then pulled him back into the alley.

“Don’t make a sound.”     Mr. Yan did not open his mouth, the sound was directly resounding in Chen Ge Guang’s mind.

And at the same time, Chen Ge Guang heard the street outside the stone alley emitting with a sunken, indescribably odd sound of horse hooves.

[1] term for the galaxies, specifically, the Milky Way.

Chapter 129

Chapter One Hundred Twenty-nine, Namu’s Country, Ancient History. (纳姆之国, 古⽼历史)
The sound of the horse hooves were muffled and orderly.

Chen Ge Guang had assumed the position of Quan Jie Left Wing First Army’s commander for this long, and could not be any more familiar with this sound. This was a cavalry moving out in rank, and the sound of the hooves were very heavy- it was not an ordinary light cavalry, but should be an army wearing heavy armour.

The sound of horse hooves in the stone alley approached from a distance- within this dark stone city, there was a cavalry walking through the wide street they saw before.

Inside a fortress in the frontier region’s stronghold, having cavalry patrolling within the city was considered routine. However, the place they were at…… Did it seem like a place for living people to reside in?

The legendary kingdom of Namu was the kingdom of death, then, the sound of hooves they heard just now, probably would not be some living cavalry. There was a possibility it was the blurry army of Zangmu they saw before in the desert. Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan waited without making a sound in the alley, until that orderly and heavy sound of horse hooves gradually got further, and the surroundings returned to silence once again. The sunken dark stone city was once again enveloped by the deathly stillness, however, the horse hooves from just before made it clear- this was definitely not some safe place to be in.

Mr. Yan stood still holding the lantern while thinking about something.

Chen Ge Guang very clearly understood how much weight he held- he was just a normal person, but even if his martial arts were not bad, in this kind of strange and mysterious place, he was just about the same as an ant. Since Mr. Yan did not make a move, he also stood in place too. However, he and Mr. Yan did not get along well- though this bastard was considered to have save his life, he did not want to interact with this person too much, and thus, only turned around and observed his surroundings.

There was no light, but after the eyes gradually got accustomed to it, he was able to see some things clearly.

However, there wasn’t too much to see in this stone alley anyway- pieces of black stone were placed neatly and orderly, while the piled wall was very in-line, without anything on top.

Just when he was looking, Mr. Yan to the side once again lit the lantern, then held the lantern up as he walked to the entrance of the alley, so Chen Ge Guang followed along.

However, when Mr. Yan stood at the alley, he did not go any further, and instead put out the lantern, and pulled Chen Ge Guang to retreat back to the alley. Before Chen Ge Guang asked him what he was doing, the hand he gripped Chen Ge Guang with slightly tightened, and signalled for him not to say anything.

And it was at this time, that Chen Ge Guang heard the sound of horse hooves from before surface once again.

He faintly understood what Mr. Yan was testing. After the sound of hooves disappeared once again, Mr. Yan loosened his hand, and put away the lantern, “We can’t light a fire, it would attract those fellows here.”

“The army of Zangmu?” Chen Ge Guang asked. He knitted his eyebrows, and thought about something, “There’s a saying here how after a person dies, the soul would be taken away by the army of Zangmu commanded by Namu, and arrive in the kingdom belonging to the deceased. Is this place the so-called kingdom of death?”

“Whether it is the deceased or not, I don’t know.” Mr. Yan looked at the alley, and coldly laughed all of a sudden.

He stood in the darkness, and his face also wore an iron mask, so there was no way of seeing the expression on his face, but his laugh clearly brought about a wave of extremely apparent ridicule.

“However, Namu’s homeland, could be also considered a kingdom now.”       He said it like this, but the tone bore a kind of mysteriousness to it.

Chen Ge Guang slightly narrowed his eyes, and stared at him for a while, then asked him about other things, “I heard a bit of Khlajöwwma’s local narrative long poem. It says that the Fires of the Scarlet Flame rises from the abyss, from the skies to the earth, while Namu who rules death was born in the Scarlet Flame, and Namu’s subjects receives the blessings of that Scarlet Flame. If the legends were not wrong, when in Namu’s kingdom, shouldn’t fire be able to protect us?”

“The commander is quite well-learned.” Mr. Yan’s tone returned to the usual indiscernible gloominess, “At a time very long ago, perhaps it may be the case, but at present, it might not be for certain. Because……”

Mr. Yan paused, then lifted his head up to look where Chen Ge Guang looked to before, at the hazy and obscure building taller than all the houses. “The Scarlet Flame, at present, burns no longer. When the Scarlet Flame was extinguished, lighting up a flame in Namu’s kingdom would be a provocation against it.”

Before Chen Ge Guang could ask about other things again, Mr. Yan directly walked towards the outside of the stone alley. This time, the two no longer lit up lanterns, and the sound of horse hooves no longer appeared.

The long street could allow for a cavalry to pass by unimpeded, rather extremely wide.

The buildings of this stone city were particularly big and tall. For all the things they saw, the proportions were several times bigger than normal. When they walked in the streets and observed the stone rooms to the two sides of strange architecture, it made people have the misconception of stepping into the rumoured city of Kua Fu’s tribespeople, while each and every orderly stone house was a sunken black, without any lanterns around.

No traces of habitation could be seen from it. Mr. Yan walked to the front of a stone house.
The door on the stone house was pretty much of one body with the wall. It was also made of stone, so if one did not carefully check, they would be unable to find the location of the door. Chen Ge Guang tried to push the stone door, but the stone door did not even move one bit. Mr. Yan pierced the sword in his hand into the gap of the door, then waved his hands, signalling for Chen Ge Guang to stand behind him and avoid any accidents from happening after the door was opened.

Chen Ge Guang then stood behind Mr. Yan. Mr. Yan’s wrists slightly rotated, and Chen Ge Guang only heard a light sound of rock pivoting and sliding against each other, and the stone door slowly opened towards the inside.

Just when the stone door opened up, a strong gust of wind blew right out from inside. As fast as an arrow.

Chen Ge Guang stood behind Mr. Yan, and before he was able to see clearly just what leap out from the inside, he heard the sound of swift and fierce wind brought by a longsword flying through the air.

The instant the black figure flew out from inside the stone house, Mr. Yan who was long already prepared nimbly cut down along with the momentum. In the darkness, only a line of cold light flashing by could be seen. The thing that pounced out seemed to have no substantive body, but when it made contact with the primordial energy from Mr. Yan’s sword, it let out a sound like snow melting in contact with fire, then disappeared in the air.

The primordial energy on the sword did not disappear due to this, and the body of the longsword continued to emit a faint light.

Mr. Yan waited for a bit, and after confirming there wasn’t a second black figure flying out, he stepped into the stone house.

The stone house cast from black rocks was very dark, so dark, this kind of darkness even carried an unspeakable oppressiveness to it. Chen Ge Guang knitted his eyebrows, and just when he wanted to ask Mr. Yan what the black figure just now was, light appeared in front of his eyes.

He saw Mr. Yan take out a luminous pearl, and use it as a tool for illumination.

Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan waited for a while, and did not hear the sound of horse hooves from before. It seemed like the light emitting from the luminous pearl would not draw in that patrolling cavalry inside this odd stone city.

This luminous pearl in Mr. Yan’s hand seemed to be uncommon, its lustre was bright, and the size of it was not small either.

Chen Ge Guang only took one glance at it, and secretly tutted inside: It’s a rich bastard. Having light was always better than the darkness, and so, Chen Ge Guang observed the interior of this stone house.

When he moved his gaze to the wall directly facing them, Chen Ge Guang felt like his head slightly went numb, and his back also turned a bit cold. It was still fine when there was no light, but after there was light, the things on the stone wall appeared right out. They saw that the black stone was densely engraved with countless images of eyes- the lines were not fine yet deep, with a white powder used to smear over the scoring, and with a bit of dim light, it appeared particularly apparent.

“Why are there so many eyes?” Chen Ge Guang moved his gaze away, but felt like his hairs were still slightly standing straight.

Those eyes engraved on the stone wall were extremely strange, they were big or small, and either open or closed. The engraving technique seemed to be not very good, however, the feeling within it was particularly vivid- it was a type of enmity that made people shiver without being cold.

Those eyes were engraved in a place right across from the door, observing the intruders full of hatred.

It was like Mr. Yan had no feelings to it at all- he walked over to check those eyes closely, and even reached out to touch the white powder on the surface. Chen Ge Guang could be considered to have yielded to this neither human nor ghost bastard.

“In Khlajöwwma’s legends, eyes had a very mystical power, and Namu’s subordinates, the army of Zangmu, their eyes can see the past and can see the future, and clearly see the trajectory of fate. Among Namu’s subjects, there would be people who received Namu’s graces, and their eyes would similarly possess a portion of that power. Those people were called Namu’s human Zangmu.” Mr. Yan examined an eye engraved on the wall.

He seemed to have discovered something, then turned the longsword, and used the hilt to lightly tap at the part with the eye’s pupils.

After tapping at it lightly twice, Mr. Yan suddenly put in strength. The area of the stone wall pounded by him shattered, and several bits of stone flaked off.

After clearly seeing the thing revealed behind the flaking of the stone, Chen Ge Guang sucked in a breath of cold air. The black stone, underneath the engraved eye, actually embedded with a real eyeball inside it. The black pupils contracted, and its sclera turned into a ghastly white. This eye seemed to have undergone some special processing method, and maintained its spherical state after being embedded in the stone wall for who-knows-how-long.

Chen Ge Guang first felt these eye engravings were irregular, and now that he knew that behind each stone engraving was an actual human eye, that uncomfortable feeling grew more and more stronger.

“Strange.” Mr. Yan brushed away the loose rocks and dust around the eye, and did not dare to move recklessly.

He only saw that in the surroundings of the eye embedded in the wall were faint lines in the stone, seemingly like formation lines, yet like it wasn’t.

With one hand holding the sword, one hand holding the luminous pearl, Mr. Yan observed the stone house. The four sides of walls only had the one facing the door engraved with these drawings of eyes, while the other walls didn’t have anything at all. The stone house was barren and empty, with nothing, and after entering inside, they discovered that there was no windows here at all too.

“Go.”    As though the eyes laid in the stone made Mr. Yan feel some pressure, he faced the wall engraved with pictures of eyes, with the longsword half-blocked in front of him, and slowly retreated back, withdrawing out of the stone house.

Just when Mr. Yan and Chen Ge Guang exited out of the stone house, the stone door automatically moved in front of the two, and closed up once again. When the stone door was shut, that kind of strange feeling of being observed by countless people then disappeared.

They entered inside a few stone houses again, and found it was just about the same as just before. When they opened the door, there would be a black figure, and the wall directly facing the door would be engraved full with images of eyes. It seemed like the entire street’s houses’ circumstances were the exact same.

Chen Ge Guang saw so many that later on, he turned a bit numb to those eyes.

Other than those black figures, there seemed to be no other threat, however, the more Mr. Yan checked, the more sterner he became.

He seemed to have ascertained something.

◈◈◈
Above the eight pillars, the black-coloured stone city stood majestically.

The city gates were made of a giant crude beast’s skull, unknown which beast from the Savage era it was, but after dying, its skull was put here, and made into a majestic and horrifying city gate. The skull of the dead crude beast presented with a half-open pose, while the ghastly-white teeth were left with the two longest ones, bulging outside the city gates like crescent moons. Going through the city gates were just like coming and going out of a crude beast’s mouth.

The deep part of the crude beast skull was a thick and dense black stone door.

There were a total of four of these kind of city gates in this black stone city supported by eight pillars, however, these city gates were already closed for who-knows-how-many tens of thousands of years.
person. And yet, at this time, the northwest gate of the stone city stood a

It was Bai Li Shu who disappeared after entering the vortex.

Bai Li Shu was draped in a white cloak, with the hood of the cloak blocking a good half of his face. The stone city was located within the high- altitude skies, so the winds were strong and fierce, blowing at his robes into constantly fluttering about.

He stood outside the city gates, and looked up at this black, silent and enormous city.

“Doors to the four directions, for whom crosses it? Northwest averts opening, does air go through it?” Bai Li Shu looked at the city gates located at the northwest corner of the stone city, and softy recited this.

His hands held the bow of the Golden Crow, and neither hurriedly nor slowly walked towards the city gates.

The towers of the gates did not have people guarding it, and the city gates were also closed shut. Bai Li Shu passed through the crude beast’s giant fangs, and stood before the thick stone door, then lifted his hand up to lightly place the Golden Crow longbow on the surface of the stone door.

The flames burning on the Golden Crow longbow spread over to the city gate.

There were actually countless symbols of flames engraved over the black stone city gate, but because the stone’s colour was too deep, one could not see it. When the Golden Crow longbow was put over the surface of the stone door, the golden flames spread out along those lines, and it rapidly burned up once again lines by line, that by the end, one only heard a “fwoosh” sound, and the entire city gate was enveloped in a scorching and raging fire.

Within the raging fire, only a sound like muffled thunder resounding continuously could be heard, and the sound of the heavy rock door that could definitely not be pushed open by human strength, being slowly opened.

The winds hovering outside the city quickly poured inside at the moment this stone door was opened.

Bai Li Shu held up his bow, and walked through the giant door several zhang high.

His figure was gradually engulfed by the darkness, only leaving the northwest gate burning with scorching fires once again, and the crude beast skull turning more and more hideous and terrifying in the fire.

When the northwest gates opened and the raging fire on the city gate burned up once again, on that street of the stone city Mr. Yan and Chen Ge Guang passed through, those countless eyes engraved on the walls inside the stone houses to both sides slowly lit up with scorching flames. Pair by pair, those eyes on the black stone, slowly woke up.

As for this mater, Mr. Yan and Chen Ge Guang both had no idea.

Mr. Yan and Chen Ge Guang were currently standing in front of a stone tower nine stories tall.

Walking along the streets, after making a turn, there was a stone tower standing in a place where several big paths intersected, like this stone tower was this area’s main centre.

The door of this stone tower in front of Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan was not shut tightly, and was half-opened. Just from standing outside, one could see that the inside was completely black. This stone tower’s body was in a cone shape, and in front of the tower, were two strange rock sculptures of odd beasts, unrecognizable.

The inside of the stone tower was the same as the stone houses they saw before, barren and empty, without anything. The walls of the stone tower were similarly engraved with things, only, it was no longer those crowded and dense images of eyes, but drawings circling the tower wall, with a total of three pictures.

Chen Ge Guang was born out of a prestigious family- due to peculiarities of the identity, he was unable to cultivate, however, he was very familiar with the various eras’ histories. When Mr. Yan used the luminous pearl to illuminate the contents of the first wall drawing, with one look, Chen Ge Guang was able to recognize it was that battle between the human race and crude beasts in the final year of the Savage era, called the “Battle of Di Fen”.

The ancient, savage and wild massacre on the drawing carried a bare bloodiness and merciless feeling to it.

Chen Ge Guang tightened the grip on his blade, and his insides slightly sunk down.

The era of Ten Thousand Immortals was all a bunch of mysteries for the present era, let alone for the much earlier Savage era. In places that involved ancient pasts of the eras like the Savage era and era of Chaos, not one of them was not an extremely dangerous and risky place. And today, in this strange stone city, for the inside of the tower to actually be engraved with the past linked to the Savage era, one could only imagine how old and dangerous it was.

Mr. Yan did not say anything, and continued to look at the second drawing.

The contents of the drawing seemed to be connected, with a fixed chronological order.

In the second drawing, bunches of people and a domesticated odd beast transported objects. On the vast land, eight giant stone pillars were erected, and a long cloud staircase hung down from the giant stone pillars. The groups of people and tamed beasts climbed up the thing that was in the shape of a staircase, and built something on the stone pillars. Those stone pillars were particularly enormous, and compared to the stone pillars, humans were just like ants.

This seemed to be the period after the crude beasts’ rule had been overthrown, when the ancient emperors established their domination, only, Chen Ge Guang could not understand what those eight stone pillars were, and what it was those people on the stone pillars were constructing.

The two people closely followed to look at the third picture.

When they saw the third drawing, the meaning behind the second turned clear. In the third picture, there were eight giant sky pillars erected on the earth, and on top of the stone pillars, stood a majestic and shocking stone city. The countless people’s efforts in the second picture, were all to construct this stone city supported by eight pillars.

This floor’s drawings ended here.

“In the kingdom Namu ruled, eight pillars propped up his imperial city. This is the history of Namu’s homeland.” Mr. Yan said in a low voice, then he raised up his head to look towards the second floor, “Go.”

After saying this, Mr. Yan quickly walked towards the stairs going up to the second story. He seemed to care a lot about the contents these pictures recorded down.

Chen Ge Guang turned to look at the final picture, with the stone city supported by eight pillars erected on top of the vast lands.

—— If the pictures and the legends were all true, this stone city he was standing in right now was being supported by eight stone pillars.

Like hell.

Chen Ge Guang’s facial colour was not considered to be that good. There was too much of the era of Chaos’ history that was lost, that in the end, the ancient emperors of that era that were circulated about today remained with some trifling bits and pieces. However, from looking at this drawing in the stone tower, the deity Namu that Khlajöwwma worshipped, should be an ancient emperor from the era of Chaos.

If Namu was actually an ancient emperor that ruled a region in the era of Chaos, then, the various legends on Namu, had a much profounder meaning to them.

Then……

The Boyikh tribe that proclaimed themselves as Namu’s subjects, Jin Tang dynasty that put the Boyikh tribe on orders of arrest up to the present……

Chen Ge Guang genuinely shivered. He suddenly felt an indescribable confusion, as though the world he recognized transformed all of a sudden.

Chapter 130

Chapter One Hundred and Thirty, the Beginning of the Era, Eighteen Clans of Old. (纪元之初, 古⽒⼗⼋)
Full of questions, Chen Ge Guang followed Mr. Yan up to the stone tower’s second floor.

The second floor, third floor…… All the way up to the last floor.

Chen Ge Guang and Mr. Yan looked through floor by floor- the pictures on the tower walls in the first three floors each had three drawings, while the fourth to sixth floors were one less, and the final three floors’ drawings remained with one.

Their guesses were not wrong- engraved on the black stone tower’s walls, were certainly historical records related to Namu, related to this stone city, and related to Khlajöwwma.

The wall drawings served as the medium for recording, so there was a limit to what the contents could transmit, with only a general idea recorded down. Furthermore, the style of the wall drawings were not fine and detailed, and filled with signifying metaphors, making it extremely obscure and hard to understand.

Chen Ge Guang could only barely understand a general picture.

According to the records of the drawings, the ancient emperor worshipped as “Namu” by Khlajöwwma’s citizens went through that upheaval at the end of the Savage era of overthrowing the crude beasts’ domination, and possessed a strength able to command the world. Within the era of Chaos, Namu ruled the region of Khlajöwwma, with their might like the sun of the skies, enveloping this world of sands and storms.

People and the odd beasts subdued by Namu constructed eight stone pillars that connected the skies and earth on the vast lands, called “sky pillars” by them, and above those sky pillars, people use pure-black stone to construct Namu’s imperial city, with Namu’s throne suspended right in the middle of it. And after the city was finished, Namu ruled the region of Khlajöwwma for a very long time.

At that time, the imperial city was still on the ground.

In the age of the ancient emperors’ rule, there was constant opposition from people who could not take the tyrannical governance, who were then cruelly quashed down. People at that time were slaves ordered by ancient emperors. Within the long period of time, there was a portion of people who started secretly researching where the origins of the miracle- like strength of the ancient emperors came from, and there was a bunch of desperate people who started to steal the power that only the ancient emperors possessed.

Of them, some succeeded and obtained a powerful strength, but there were also some who failed, and those people who failed, emerged with a terrifying change in them.

When Chen Ge Guang saw this place, he faintly grasped some sort of understanding- that group of people who stole the ancient emperors’ strength, should probably be the immortals and demons from the later era of Ten Thousand Immortals, and also…… the original group of immortal cultivators.

The history of immortal cultivators dated back to distant origins[1]. What the immortal cultivation realm said to the outside was, immortal cultivators were the very first immortals who received the orders from Heaven, and were the ones that ended the ancient emperors’ tyrannical rule. When the era of Chaos and the ancient emperors’ tyranny ended, the mandate of Heaven gradually wore down, and hence, the immortals and demons would gradually disappear. Among them, some developed the way of immortal cultivation, and understood a portion of the world’s laws.

This was the source of immortal cultivation.

However, there were several obscure and unclear areas in this saying, apparent that many secrets were held in the hands of the Eight Immortal Sects, and concealed altogether.

Nevertheless, now that they saw this drawing within Namu’s city, Chen Ge Guang had more of a guess that approached the truth.

Those so-called immortals and demons in the legends were probably that group of people on the drawings, the very first people to directly seize the ancient emperors’ strength. Their power directly originated from ancient existences. They analyzed the ancient emperors’ strength, researching day after day, with their numbers growing day by day.

That is to also say, there wasn’t some so-called Heaven’s orders- the very first immortals and demons were only just a bunch of mortals who seized the ancient emperors’ powers. Chen Ge Guang guessed, perhaps…… along with the fall of each ancient emperor, and the end of the era of Chaos, this first group of people who directly got their powers from the ancient emperors themselves, also had their powers gradually decline, and hence, the immortals and demons would withdraw from the stage of history.

However, there was also a group that developed a method of cultivation, and from there, created the future immortal cultivators.

Of course, these were only some guesses that Chen Ge Guang made through integrating the stone tower’s pictures. As for what actually happened in the ancient times, there were no actual records even to this day.

And the tower’s drawings also evidently did not know that in the future, these people who stole the ancient emperors’ powers would be called immortals and demons, who even left an inheritance that was today’s immortal cultivation. At that time, Namu was so incessantly angry with these people that he dispatched his own army—— an army of the underworld that obtained his strength, the army of Zangmu, to go kill these outrageously bold people of desperation.

Many of these people who seized the ancient emperors’ strength were caught, their physical bodies and souls all underwent extreme punishment, and their bones cast into old magic tablets, frightening all the subjects Namu ruled over.

There were also some who evaded the army of Zangmu and lived on, and they united together with other rebels who were within the scope of ancient emperors’ rules. These people erased their original names, and used eighteen code-names as their own surnames. Of the rebels who managed to live on on the vast lands, were a total of eighteen branches.

Their whereabouts were secretive, and underneath the ancient emperors’ pressure, lived on like people of desperation.

Just like the sparks of a fire, small and insignificant, yet would not die out no matter what.

Originally, Namu should be just like others ancient emperors, overthrown in the final years of the era of Chaos, and perished. However, one day, Namu saw a mysterious person draped in a cloak and wearing a bamboo hat.

On the wall drawing, the person wearing the bamboo hat knelt underneath the imperial throne suspended in the air. There was a limit to the contents able to be unfolded through the drawing, so they did not know what exactly that mysterious person said to Namu.

However, after that drawing, flames enveloped the eight pillars and the imperial city, while the ground split open with a big opening, like Namu’s imperial city was falling into the hell and netherworld. After that, were the eight pillars suspended in the dark, the black waters surging underneath the eight pillars, and the imperial city above those eight pillars.

However, the interior of the imperial city seemed to be burning with fire all around. In the temple and the top of the imperial throne, there were more flames compared to other places, and even more peculiar. Chen Ge Guang guessed that it should be the Fire of the Scarlet Flame that Mr. Yan spoke of.

The imperial city seemed to be moved to another space by Namu, dependent on that fire to live on.

Once Chen Ge Guang saw up to this point, he pretty much guessed, the reason why the future period did not have the records regarding this ancient emperor was probably because in the era of Chaos, this ancient emperor listened to that mysterious person’s suggestions, and moved the imperial city to another space. And within Khlajöwwma’s legends, in the tens of thousands of years of time, much of the history had been lost, remaining only with the legends regarding the old deity, Namu.

And this space that Namu’s imperial city was located in, also became the kingdom of the deceased that the people spoke of. At the time Namu still existed, his army still governed the region of Khlajöwwma, and thus, became the legendary army of Zangmu that reaped in the souls.

Too many of the legends were concealed with ancient history.

Namu shifted the imperial city into another space, as though to avoid the future overthrowing of the era, and forever rule the region of Khlajöwwma. However, their aspirations seemed to not have succeeded.

In the final drawing, the imperial city’s temple collapsed, and the Fire of the Scarlet Flame was extinguished.

The final picture seemed to be drawn at a time not long before Namu’s city completely became the shady appearance that they saw now. The image was hasty and obscure, with many hidden allegories. The army galloped within the stone city’s streets, while the ancient emperor on the throne entered into a deep slumber.

In the final floor, there were even a few lines of words on the drawing. The characters were not any of the types that the current twelve dynasties used, so Chen Ge Guang could not recognize what was written on the surface, and thus looked to Mr. Yan, and saw if this mysterious fellow recognized it.

Mr. Yan used the luminous pearl as a light source, and slowly read out those few lines of words engraved on the final drawing, “The traitor finally receives punishment. On the day Namu’s subjects return, the scorching fire will burn once more, and Namu’s might will shine on the lands like the sun.”

“What does it mean?” Chen Ge Guang knitted his brows. He also looked at wall drawing, filled with questions, “Just what happened in the future with Namu’s city? Why would the Fire of the Scarlet Flame perish in the end?”

Mr. Yan looked at those few lines, and did not immediately answer him. After a long while, he then opened his mouth in a low voice, “Perhaps it might be related with that person in that third-last picture.”

The third-last picture?

Chen Ge Guang recalled on that picture he saw before, was a mysterious being draped in a cloak and wearing a bamboo hat, kneeling in front of the imperial throne, “The so-called traitor, referred to that person?”

“Perhaps, moving the imperial city to the void itself, was a hoax.” Mr. Yan looked at the wall drawing, and slowly opened his mouth. He seemed to still be pondering over something, and slightly lifted his head up, “Perhaps…… that person was originally one of the members of the Eighteen Clans of Old. He came to Khlajöwwma, obtained Namu’s trust, then convinced Namu to have the city moved to another space. After the city was moved, it relied on the Fire of the Scarlet Flame. Afterwards…… that person took away…… or put out the Scarlet Flame.”

Mr. Yan’s words were very slow.

He seemed to not really be sure of his own speculations. Deceiving an ancient emperor, moving the imperial city, putting out the scorching fire……

Just what kind of person of desperation was this, and with what kind of resourcefulness and courage could allow for one to do such a thing?

Along with Mr. Yan’s guesses, Chen Ge Guang seemed to have also seen, tens of thousands of years ago, in that age where ancient emperors ordered the heavens and earth, with their might like the scorching sun, a rebel draped in a cloak and a bamboo hat who hid their identity entered this black city. He alone came forward, and drew open a net of schemes to put an end to everything for an ancient king.

What kind of person was that?

And just what kind of person, was able to do this kind of thing.

Chen Ge Guang could not imagine. Just through speculation, even he felt it was hard to accomplish.

Suddenly, he recalled one matter, then turned his head to ask Mr. Yan who was still absent-mindedly facing the wall drawing, “Eighteen Clans of Old, which eighteen clans are they?”

Chen Ge Guang once heard his father and an elder of his clan mention “Eighteen Clans of Old”, however, at that time, he was still young. When he asked Father just which eighteen surnames(clans) they were, Father said to wait until he becomes the clan head, then he would know. But later on with the Liu family’s destruction, he went to the ruins and drank a bunch of wine, and since then, there were no longer any talks of the position of the clan head, and he was sent off to this shady place with yellow sands all around.

Mr. Yan turned around, planning to go down to go see that picture of that mysterious person, and heard Chen Ge Guang’s question, “You do not need to pay heed to this.” His tone was unyielding, and did not have even the slightest leeway of talking it over.

After a pause, Mr. Yan seemed to have suddenly recalled something, and stood still for a moment.

“Eighteen Clans of Old, Eighteen Clans of Old…… So it’s like
that!”

[1] 源远流⻓- distant sources(origins) as long as rivers. Can also mean of long standing and being well-established. Going back to ancient times.

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