Zhao Ge Chapter 21-30

Chapter 21

Chapter Twenty-One, Birds of the Clouds, With Wings that Soar into the Skies. (云中之⻦, 凌霄⽻翼)
Jun Wan Bai propped against the starwood railing and looked down. Other than those cities that they passed, she did not see any other thing. After watching for a while, she could not find what it was exactly Bai Li Shu was looking at, so Jun Wan Bai let go and planned to return to her room to cultivate.

Right at the time she let go and turned around, a trumpet bird rushed out from the clouds, and hurriedly flapped its wings to stop on top of the railing. The form of this unusual bird famous for being good at flying was not big, its plume was greyish white, and both its feet a crimson red. They possessed a well-rounded figure, and when they fluttered within the wind, was just like it was dancing along with the wind.

There would be people who say, they were the spirits formed from the clouds and fog, and hence could live within the high skies quite freely.

Trumpet birds were innately gentle, good at flying, so good that there was once quite a few people who attempted to catch them to domesticate into service birds. Unfortunately, this kind of bird only existed in the highest parts of the sky, was hard to capture, and it was not known what they fed on either, so they had to give up.

In the past when Jun Wan Bai boarded flying vessels, she would see quite a few of these odd birds, but at those times, the trumpet birds she saw were mostly of a graceful disposition, elegant like dancing with the flowing clouds, and would very rarely have this kind of hurried and panicked look.

Jun Wan Bai was a bit surprised, and wanted to extend her hand to send over a sliver of primordial energy to pacify it.

But just as her hand extended out, that trumpet bird’s feathers suddenly flared up. As though perceiving some kind of terrifying threat, it shrieked and flapped its wings, and left in an instant like an arrow leaving the bowstring, then crossed through the layer of clouds and flew towards the city walls under the flying vessel.

What’s going on? Jun Wan Bai knitted her eyebrows, and felt something was not right.

Trumpet birds liked to reside inside the clouds and fog the most, and were the company that guests of flying vessels would see often during their journey. Even if they were met with danger, they should not rush to leave the cloud layer. One should know, as the rare birds that were able to use the floating cloud’s air to hover around, it was only here, where they would be able to unleash their greatest merits.

Astonished, Jun Wan Bai attentively looked in all four directions of the clouds and fog.

Once she looked, the shock became more and more apparent inside Jun Wan Bai. She could only see trumpet birds in all four directions of the clouds actually go all out in strength to rush out the clouds just like that one just now, and pull downwards. They lived in the clouds and fog, and when they flew, it would be silent. To think that there would be no one who noticed before this.

No——

Jun Wan Bai suddenly realized.

It wasn’t that no one noticed. Bai Li Shu stood here just now. What he was looking at were not the mortal cities down below, but these unusual trumpet birds! What did he notice?

To let the trumpet birds that lived on the clouds and fog leave the cloud layer, was only one possibility—— There was something hidden within the clouds and fog that could threaten their lives.

Jun Wan Bai raised her eyes to look towards the direction the Black- Plumed Light Vessel headed in. At an altitude of twenty kilometres above the skies, the floating clouds were akin to a river, while the stretch of dense and heavy clouds that were on the Black-Plumed Light Vessel’s path were a cast of gloominess, and looked to be no different than usual. Only, when she let out her spiritual insight in an attempt to perceive it out, a kind of extremely viscous, extremely unclear aura came rushing to the front then and there.

Jun Wan Bai withdrew her own spiritual insight, then once again looked towards that span of clouds, and only felt it was terrifying and abnormal.

When she recalled how they just saw each other, and Bai Li Shu’s face of indiscernible feelings, Jun Wan Bai was also unsure whether or not exactly he felt the irregularity in the clouds. However, this matter definitely could not be taken lightly.

The Black-Plumed Light Vessel was off the ground at least six thousand-zhang up. If there was something in the layer of clouds, then they must evade it as fast as possible. Otherwise, if the flying vessel fell to the ground, other than Bai Li Shu and Li Xin who had already broken into the Half-God phase, even if the others did not die, they would definitely be seriously injured. Flying by riding the air for those under Half-God could not be considered as truly riding the air[1] at all!

Even more so when there was also an unknown existence hidden within the clouds and fog.

Just as Jun Wan Bai took two steps, Bai Li Shu’s calm voice suddenly resounded beside her ear. And at the same time, on the entire flying vessel, for all the disciples, no matter if they were meditating or resting, a cold voice like a frosty spring flowing down under the ice resounded by their ears, “Those below Primary Dan, prepare to return to your rooms and stay on guard. Those of Primary Dan or above, gather to where I am.”

—— It was Bai Li Shu.

His tone was calm, yet it carried a kind of pressure that did not accept doubt nor retort.

The disciples under Primary Dan cultivation looked to each other. They did not know the reason for it, yet did not dare to oppose it, and hurriedly returned to their own rooms to each be on alert.

On the second floor of the Black-Plumed Light Vessel. Qin Jiu suspended cultivation, opened the door, and only saw the door directly facing him also open up. Li Xin whose aura turned even more dark came out from inside the room, and was presumably also forcefully interrupted from his underworld cultivation by Bai Li Shu’s voice that was mingled with spiritual insight. When he took a glance into the corridor, He Zhou, Chu Zhi Yuan, Shen Chang Ge had also come out.

He Zhou carried his sabre on his back, and knitted his eyebrows. His face was nowhere near as good when compared to Li Xin, while Chu Zhi Yuan and Shen Chang Ge’s faces also had a sliver of uncertainty, apparent that they too did not know why Bai Li Shu suddenly passed down this order.

After a look, Qin Jiu lightly let out a sigh.        On the trip this time to the Medicine Valley, those in the Primary Dan boundary and up were only them, but at this time, they did not see Jun Wan Bai’s figure. It can’t have been that that woman Jun Wan Bai who handled matters in its extremest form was discontent with Bai Li Shu’s leadership, thus publicly rejected submission right now and stayed in her own room to purposely not come out, did she? Just as suspicions rose, Jun Wan Bai entered the corridor from another direction. Her body still harboured cold air, and looked like she had just come in from outside.

“I wanted to say just now, even if you did not find Senior Bai Li pleasing to the eyes even more, you would not be so direct to act on it.” Seeing Jun Wan Bai come in, Qin Jiu said with a smile.

“Go quick, something’s not right.”    Jun Wan Bai’s face did not have any anger, and on the contrary, was abnormally grave. She did not take notice of the light ridicule in Qin Jiu’s words, swept a look through everyone, and pressingly urged them on.

“What is it?”     Although their relationship was not seen to be all that good normally, during this kind of time, it was obvious that it was not the time to be attached to personal grievances. When he heard that Jun Wan Bai’s tone was not right, Shen Chang Ge knitted his eyebrows, and asked in a lowered voice.

Just as Jun Wan Bai was about to explain a few words, without having yet opened her mouth, the few people standing in the corridor only felt the flying vessel violently shake, with the magnitude so big it made people feel uneasy.

The Black-Plumed Light Vessel with the reputation of “black birds not seen turning into lone boats, with its layer of feathers gracefully crossing through the Nine Provinces” was a honest and genuine high-class spiritual tool, able to move through ten thousand-zhang altitude skies like a man treading on flat lands. The boat’s frame constructed from the unique wave eurya[1] that takes a thousand years to sprout and another thousand to mature had an extremely strong level of stability. There was also starwood used to assist with the alleviation of the vessel’s weight, and the boat’s body was also inscribed with many complicated magic scripts no less than a hundred types. Even with thunderstorms, torrential rains, or fierce winds violently sweeping by, it still could cross through it all leisurely.

And yet at this moment, this vessel that was modelled from a divine bird very distinctly shook violently. “Damnit, sure enough, something bad happened. Go quickly.” Jun Wan Bai’s expression changed, and continuously urged on.

The flying vessel’s tremor was only for a moment, and very quickly disappeared. However, to be capable of making this famous high-class flying vessel violently sway like this, it was definitely not some simple creature. Combined with Bai Li Shu’s sudden instructions, not one present dared to underestimate it.

Right now, they could not care to once again ask Jun Wan Bai about anything at the moment, so everyone quickly headed towards the top floor’s lone pavilion where Bai Li Shu was at.

[1] I am assuming that those with cultivation under Half God cannot fly by themselves without a vessel (e.g. riding on blades/swords)
[2] 柃澜⽊- 柃 (ling), also called eurya japonica (Japanese eurya) or common eurya. The 澜 character means billow, or waves.

Chapter 22

Chapter Twenty-Two, Fog Raptor of the Past, Returns to Pay Old Grudges. (雾鸷往事, 归来旧怨)
In the topmost floor’s lone pavilion on the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, the scent from the sandalwood incense on the clean glazed stand was still burning neither slow nor fast. The furnishings in the room were all just like its owner, permeating with an aura of being so high up it was unattainable.

The room’s owner sat on a seat by the window laid with a winter fox’s coat. The green tea on low table in front that was just steeped had white steam coming out of it from a cup with a pattern of split ice, obscuring his features.

When they saw Bai Li Shu who summoned them here still capable of having an unchanged expression and brewing tea at this kind of hour, He Zhou who was usually on the worst terms with him should have turned angry and started interrogating. Only, at the moment they stepped in, that person raised their eyes.

A set of cold and indifferent features, with eyes sealed in snow, able to have everything reflected crystal clear, bore a indescribable pressing feeling.

Thus, the words that quickly reached the throat were forcefully blocked in. “You’ve arrived.” The words that originally should be said as a question, instead turned into a tone of declaration when said by Bai Li Shu, as though he did not mind whether or not people would go against orders or submit at all.

“What’s going in? What is in the clouds?” When Jun Wan Bai entered the room, perhaps it was because that person’s expression was far too calm, even the faint unease in her heart also weakened a few parts as well.

The other people looked towards Bai Li Shu who was sitting up by the window. From Jun Wan Bai’s two questions, they also faintly guessed that there might be something present on the Black-Plumed Light Vessel’s route at this time.

“Ever seen a fog raptor before?”    Bai Li Shu did not directly answer Jun Wan Bai’s question, but instead asked back a question that sounded to be completely irrelevant[1].

Shen Chang Ge and company slightly turned stunned. Within the moment, they did not understand what kind of meaning there was to Bai Li Shu asking this question.
The supposed fog raptor, was an extraordinary beast of the legends. But within the 《 Three Emperors’ Handbook 》 , the Ancient
Emperor instead had it recorded in the 《Demonic Beast Records》, and said this of it, “Although a beast, it belongs to the demon class, as its intellect is crafty and evil.”

This was a particularly deceitful and cunning rare beast, possessing the fierceness of an unusual beast yet also a demon’s quick wits. The legends surrounding the fog raptor were many. There were ones that said they were normally incubated within the earth veins, and cultivated by absorbing the vitality of common folk in the cities on the surface of the earth. There were ones that also said that fog raptors were the evil demons formed from the resentment accumulated within the clouds and fog, that cry out sorrowfully for the non-dispersed poisonous grudges all day and night.

But now in the present, the fog raptor had already become the existence that lived within legends.

During a time of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals when it had not yet come to a close, the Ancient Emperor who was still a youth of already admirable and shocking talent, for a sword that could accompany his proof into cultivation and to become a immortal, made a very shocking plan: Hunt down a million fog raptors, take out its bones, use the heavens and earth’s ancient fires to smelt it down, and form it into a sword.

The swords formed using a million fog raptors’ bones was named “Jue[2]”

When the legendary “Jue” was born, tens of thousands of layers of clouds stacked onto each other, rolled over like the sea, and the atmosphere was completely filled with the sound of fog raptors’ wings cutting through the air—— that was the wrath from the fog raptors’ soul.

No one knew exactly how the Ancient Emperor hunted down and killed a million fog raptors with the power of one person—— fog raptors typically lived in solitude, its whereabouts were indeterminate, nor was there anyone who knew why the Ancient Emperor had to create that kind of sword—— ferocious and bloody to the extent that it did not seem like his style.          They only knew that after “Jue” was born, the shadows of the fog raptors never again appeared in the vast lands of the twelve dynasties.

There was someone that said the fog raptors that were killed by the Ancient Emperor sent out a warning to its descendants, and ordered them to all leave this continent, the farther they flew, the better.

However, a legend in the end was only a legend. As for what really happened, no one knew.

Nevertheless, fog raptors had not appeared within the boundaries of the twelve dynasties for far too long, so far that people almost forgot that this kind of beast had once genuinely soared through within the clouds and fog before. At present, for Bai Li Shu to suddenly make mention of it, Jun Wan Bai and others could not recall this bird that was like a demon and beast within the legends in time.

The very first to recall was Shen Chang Ge.

“Birds of prey that don’t flock together, its nature a violent and evil one, the embodiment of clouds and fog, the bird of prey that rides the heavens and earth.” Shen Chang Ge’s expression slightly changed, “Senior, you mean that the reason for the vessel’s tremors just now was due to a fog raptor?”

Putting aside what the exact reason was for the fog raptors’ disappearance, what each record mentioned before was that the fog raptor was a kind of extremely hard-to-handle extraordinary beast. A normal mature fog raptor’s strength was around the cultivation of Fan Xu[3] boundary, but with the power of being able to move around the heaven and earth’s clouds and fog, in truth, their combative strength fluctuated along with the number of clouds around.

—— And for them this time, up in the high skies six thousand- zhang up, was exactly the place where the flowing clouds and fog were the most thickest.

“Fog raptors, haven’t those things already all died off?”       Jun Wan Bai forcefully refuted, yet her mind involuntarily thought back to the time when she used her spiritual insight to test out on the deck and that gloomy and cold and terrifying feeling.

Inside, a voice told her, if it was a fog raptor, then everything would connect together: The reason as to why trumpet birds would run away and fly out from the layer of clouds was because in the clouds and fog, they were only dancers, while fog raptors were tyrants. Why Bai Li Shu would order those under Primary Dan cultivation could not step out their rooms even a half step, was because in front of a Fan Xu boundary fog raptor, even if one were a Half-God, they might not be able to protect even themselves. Faced with everyone’s bewilderment and doubt, Bai Li Shu did not answer, and instead, he extended his hand to push open the unlatched wooden window engraved with flowers.

A cold, frosty wind like a blade poured inside in the next instant.

When the wind rushed in and blew into everyone’s faces, their faces all changed. They heard it—— within the wind that came blowing in from the layer of clouds in front, was a sharp howl mixed in.

The howling sound was like a extremely fine, extremely thin edge carving up the air. The voice was filled with a complete hatred dense to the point of overflowing, without a hint of concealing its own maliciousness
—— the fog raptors that were killed that year finally once again returned to this stretch of earth, and they could not wait to unfold their revenge.

The Black-Plumed Light Vessel had a magic formation inscribed on it. Inside a room, a shut window would be able to completely isolate the whistling sound of wind outside the vessel. This design that originally allowed for people to be comfortable, at this time, instead became a cocoon that trapped oneself in, that plugged their ears and covered their eyes.

The cultivation of the few people that were inside the lone pavilion were not any lower than Primary Dan, but after that sharp screech within the sound of wind poured into their ears, they could only feel a wave of piercing pain in their souls, and had to quickly stabilize their hearts and guard their mentalities.

“Change directions to avoid it.” Chu Zhi Yuan who held his longsword suggested this. His cultivation was a bit lower than other people, so at this time, his face was the most pale.

“There is no time any more.”      Bai Li Shu continued to quietly look at the clouds. He could feel within the sunken greyness, was a gaze that fixedly wrapped around the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, shadowy like a venomous snake. They did not know when it started, but the Black-Plumed Light Vessel’s speed became more and more slower, and only hovered in the sky in the end. Ahead of the vessel, a gloomy, dense, essence-like[4] sea of clouds suddenly started to surge violently, and the sky abruptly turned dim, like it would cave in at any time. Within the clouds and fog, an enormous shadow faintly emerged.

Like a giant snake from the ancient times flipping over the sea, agitating this span of six thousand-zhang high sea of clouds.

With a huge momentum.

Chu Zhi Yuan did not say anything any more. Among the other people, not one let out a noise. Everyone silently looked on, stricken by the horror of that unusual beast that existed in the era of the Ten Thousand Immortals appearing in the present.

“For a meal that has already entered the mouth, has there ever been a reason to let it go?”

Bai Li Shu softly said this. His voice was light and slow, without a single billow or wave.

[1] ⻛⻢⽜不相及- literally, horses and cows don’t intersect. The animals’ territory is so far apart, they have no relation to each other, and
thus, even if they were to wander astray, none of them would ever be in each other’s territory. Expression for the matter having zero relevance with the other.

[2] “ 决” – meaning, resolute, determined, definite orrrrrrr execute by x (e.g. 枪决, death by lance/gun)

[3] 返 虚 境 - Literally translates as returning from the ‘void’. From references, appear to be one level above a Half-God cultivation. Insert here something about the state of the Dan inside the body and outside the body(spiritual/immaterial) combining into one. I will never translate another cultivation novel ever again. [4] 实质- or substance. Something that one would inherently have, or the inner part of something (e.g. flesh and blood, which I think is what it actually means).

Chapter 23

Chapter Twenty-Three, Skeleton Within the Fog, a Bird of Prey From a Primitive Era. (雾中⾻骼, 洪荒鸷⻦)
Between speaking, in the place where the Black-Plumed Light Vessel hovered over, the clouds and fog became more and more dense. The flying vessel was like a boat that was trapped within a swamp, stagnated in this cloud and fog. No one would think that this was normal.

The only one area that was not blocked off by the clouds and fog, was the area of space in the direction where Bai Li Shu opened the window. The clouds and fog there seemed to have a sense of fear and also seemed to be probing, and left a small gap to let everyone observe it.

“The embodiment of clouds and fog, the bird of prey that rides the heavens and earth, and hunts down divine birds as its diet.” Shen Chang Ge looked towards that sea of clouds billowing over. Hazily, a gigantic shadow gradually appeared within the obscurity, “It’s taking us as food.”

At this time, each person in the lone pavilion very vividly felt a raw, bloodthirsty gaze sticking to their bodies from a very distant place.

—— It was the fog raptor.

It greedily watched the meal that would soon go down its belly within the sea of clouds, and ecstatically roused up streams of strong currents because of it. It then let out a series of ear-piercing cries, though those cries were much more like a kind of hideous laugh. After the words left Chang Ge’s mouth, Qin Jiu and others recalled the legend regarding the fog raptor—— this kind of naturally cunning and sinister bird of prey orbited the skies ten thousand-zhang up, and ate the birds that similarly flew through the winds, the most favourite food being divine birds.

The black bird, was one of the divine birds.

The Black-Plumed Light Vessel they rode on constructed in the image of the divine bird was originally the glory it held, but at this moment, it instead became the origin of the calamity to being killed. The outer form of the Black-Plumed Light Vessel that was far too similar to the black bird drew in the fog raptor’s attention, and due to that, it had laid a trap in front of the path of the flying vessel headed towards it.

But even if it was because the fog raptor mistook the flying vessel as a black bird, their circumstances would definitely not have any changes to it.

In the sound of wind mixed with the fog raptor’s cries, that ear- piercing sound inside implied a hostility that lasted from the previous era up until now, and had already announced to the other party that it would pledge its life to have them swallowed into their belly as a resolution.

Suddenly, the sea of clouds shook even more stronger compared to before. This kind of tremor seemed to be connected with the air in this stretch of high altitude, and swayed the Black-Plumed Light Vessel violently along with it.

With the cultivation of Shen Chang Ge and others, this kind of rumbling would naturally not move their figures even for a bit, however, the meaning behind this tremor made people’s hearts fall straight down instead.

The cold feeling of being stared at could not be shaken off, and made people’s mentality tighten up.

At the time others were drawn by the cloud’s abnormal movements, Jun Wan Bai looked towards Bai Li Shu. The thin youth dressed in white was still like he was just a moment ago, straightly sitting up, with his eyes still like usual. Even if the legendary fog raptor showed up in front of him, it would not be able to draw out a sliver of emotion from those eyes. At the time the flying vessel violently shook, the cup in front of this person did not even have a single ripple float up.

Strangely enough, Jun Wan Bai was not that anxious any more. She looked over that span of sunken grey sky.
“It’s going to come out.”        Once her mind stabilized, Jun Wan Bai softy said this. These words seem to be reminding everyone, however, only Jun Wan Bai herself knew that in truth, it was directed towards Bai Li Shu.

On the deck of the flying vessel, what he was looking at was this unusual bird hidden within the clouds, right?

Bai Li Shu did not answer, and on the contrary, the others let out a sound in response.

Everyone was looking at the fog raptor outside the window other than Jun Wan Bai. She watched Bai Li Shu who turned his head to look out the window, and slowly turned calm. She put down her hand, and as though giving her strength, gripped the bone sword inside her sleeve tightly.

—— Perhaps even if there came a time the heavens fell and the earth split open, this person would not have a single change to his expression. She thought.

“So that’s a fog raptor……”        Qin Jiu let out a sigh. His voice was very light, as though afraid to disturb something, and draw in its attention.

The other people did not answer to it. The sky’s colours were gloomy, and sounds of thunder started to rumble. When the sound of thunder was heard in this place so close to the sky, it felt just like when the era of Ten Thousand Immortal’s Kua Fu[1] the giant drove a carriage pulled by golden crows, treading through step by step with heavy footing, while the wheels rolled over the thin dome of the sky, as though Heaven would split at any given moment.

At the front of the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, when the rumble of the thunder was still echoing, a line of glaring, ghastly-pale lightning like a black dragon completely split the sky’s curtain. The lightning turned the skies and earth white for an instant, and in that moment, the giant beast hidden within the clouds and mist also genuinely revealed its figure.

Savage, eerie, and enormous.

What manifested within that pallid-white lightning, was an archaic being completely formed from grey-white coloured bones.

It was not like a bird at all.

The cervical vertebrae(neck bone) that looked to be beyond logic and reason was like a snake and a dragon, writhing within the clouds joint by joint, while the terminal to the cervical vertebrae connected to its skull through a narrow growth. The front half of its head looked just like it was being covered in a grey mask, connected to its long and sharp beak, forming into an extremely nefarious expression of a faint smile.

The long, long bird beak hung down, pretty much touching its puffed up sternum that was as big as a giant castle’s gates. Within the clouds, each of its rib bones were like crescent moons, dense and pale- white. Each of those grey-white bones did not have any blood, no flesh, nor any feathers. The billowing clouds and fog wrapped around that skeleton whose arcs carried a rash and crude beauty, and tumbled and flowed along with the fog raptor’s breath.

This was the legendary fog raptor. In the moment they saw its true face, Shen Chang Ge and others suddenly understood why the Ancient Emperor had it written down in the Demon Beast Records, and not the Odd Beast Records.

—— Because the so-called fog raptor, was this kind of strange living being that seemed dead and alive, weaved with the clouds and fog.

The grey clouds were the bird of prey’s blood, the dismal fog was the bird’s flesh, while the sound of wind was the bird’s breath.

The sky-breaking lightning only lit the sky and earth for a brief moment. After the lightning passed through, the six thousand-zhang altitude skies they were at once again turned into a gloomy grey.

However, they could still see the fog raptor. After revealing its form, this crafty unusual bird that already trapped the prey within its net no longer concealed its figure.

As though perceiving everyone’s gaze, it turned its head, and the skull that had a mask on turned towards the flying vessel. The long bird beak slightly opened, and that kind of nefarious expression turned into a mocking and ridiculing one in an instant. What made people’s hair stand was, in the deep part of its skull where the eye socket should be was empty, pitch-black, without anything in them.

It did not have eyes.

But that kind of feeling of being watched was certainly and clearly present.

Under everyone’s watch, the fog raptor opened up its wings. Its wings did not have even a single feather that any living bird would have. In place of feathers, what was connected to the ulna, were sticks of long and pale-white wing bones, lined up like the leaf of the fan. The sides of those wing bones was extremely thin, keen and sharp like a sickle.

The fog bird of prey slightly spread out its fan-like row of long wing bones. The clouds hovered over top of those pale-white and scimitar-like keen wing bones, and became the fog raptor’s feathers. Within the clouds and fog, those scimitar-like wing bones vaguely appeared and disappeared. When its pair of wings fanned out, it was enough to reach a thousand miles, and when it flapped its wings, the entire sea of clouds would stir from it.

The cervical vertebrae that was long like an ancient python raised up joint by joint, then once again twisted joint by joint, and danced like a scaly dragon[2] within the grey and gloomy clouds and fog. It seemed like it was carrying out some ancient ritual, making movements like humans dancing.

Bearing a grand, old, magnificence to it.

Even though they clearly knew they were surrounded by a lethal danger, Shen Chang Ge and others still could not control themselves and get drawn in by that magnificence.

That was the fog raptor’s sacrificial dance. It would use all the blood of the lowly humans on this flying vessel, and hold a ritual for its ancestors buried underneath swords from a distant era. The description of being “very
intelligent” recorded down in the 《 Three Emperors’ Handbook 》 was definitely no exaggeration.

At the time the dance ended, would be when the time the killing intent came down.

[1] From the story of a man named Kua Fu who wanted to take down the sun, and thus started chasing after it. In the end, he died halfway due to thirst. His cane became a forest, while his body turned into what is known today as the Kua Fu mountain.

[2] 蛟⻰- or is also known as a flood dragon, or jiao dragon if one prefers the pinyin. An aquatic-type divine beast with dragon bloodline in ancient legends. Able to call in clouds and rain.

Chapter 24

Happy Mid-autumn Festival! ⋆⸜(* ॑꒳ ॑* )⸝❁.*・゚
Chapter Twenty-Four, Danger Like Overgrowth, a Myriad of Changes in a Breath’s Time. (险象横⽣, 瞬息万变)
Within the sunken and dark sky, the fog raptor in front of the flying vessel and its appearing and disappearing bones within the clouds and fog became more and more a sombre white. The fog raptor’s sacrificial dance first consisted of its cerebral vertebrae skewing and wiggling joint by joint, then later, the long sickle-like wing bones raising up stick by stick, with the long vertebrae bending and twisting along with it.

The grey and sunken clouds and fog flowed along with this demon- like and beast-like animal, like a subject and its king joyously dancing together.

Within the flying vessel’s first-floor rooms, the Jiu Xuan sect disciples’ spiritual insight were far incomparable to the core disciples. At this time, their minds were drawn in by that archaic and exquisite dance of the fog raptor.

“Wait, that is…… Senior!”

A Li Peak disciple whose mind was lured in by the fog raptor’s sacrificial dance suddenly saw the dark and gloomy clouds seemed to have a figure within it rapidly approaching the bird of prey currently dancing within the dense and thick clouds and fog. Before that kind of enormous being, that figure was far too negligible, just like an ant. His alarm drew in other people’s attentions.

At the end of the day, these were the inner-sect disciples that Jiu Xuan sect sent out. Although they did not break through to the Primary Dan boundary, they were still the cultivation realm’s geniuses. After someone raised their voices, the remaining Jiu Xuan disciples broke away from the influence of the fog raptor’s dance one after another.

They went and looked in the direction that person who called out pointed to, and sure enough, saw that within the hazy skies, there was a figure passing through the layer of clouds heading towards the extremely dangerous and enormous bony bird.

Just that, it was not just a single figure. It was several figures at different speeds.
“Senior Shen!” “Senior Qin!” “Senior Jun!” ……

The disciples of each peak and range lowly cried out as nervous colours rose from their faces. In front of that existence that would stir the entire span of sky, they who were not cultivators who had broken into Fan Xu cultivation, did not have the ability to directly face the fog raptor at all! The senior brothers and sister’s conduct was practically in search for a path to death.

The dark clouds of severity and concern hovered over each person’s
faces.

No one had the heart to admire the dancing posture of the fog raptor
again. Their gazes tightly followed the few figures that flew out from the flying vessel, with their hearts raised up to their throats.

When Shen Chang Ge’s group had not yet arrived, the coiled up and wound cerebral vertebrae of the fog raptor that was dancing suddenly snapped midair, and the arc that was originally elegant forcefully appeared with a place of sharpness. The Jiu Xuan disciples that were laser- focused on the whole situation abruptly paused their breath- it can’t have been that the fog raptor discovered the seniors already?

Only, that single snap of the fog raptor’s cerebral vertebrae did not seem to be a mistake at all, and much more looked to be met with some attack!

—— It was certainly met with an attack.

In the next moment, the fog raptor suddenly fixed its head. The mask-like skull madly rose up, and the long and keen beak suddenly opened up to let out an extremely angry long cry. A figure within the clouds to the fog raptor’s side revealed their figure, and forcefully flew[1] past to retreat.

It was Li Xin!

The one who moved in the very front was not Shen Chang Ge who appeared in Jiu Xuan disciple’s eyes, but Li Xin.

◈◈◈
Li Xin who was dressed in a black robe let the violent current blow into his face. The face that was originally already pale-white and gloomy at this time turned more and more frosty, deathly pale to the point of not looking like a living human. Only his pair of eyes seemed to have a ghastly fire of hell pulsating in them.

For Li Xin to be able to become today’s “Half-crazy Li”, was due to that Gui demon.

With the Gui demon’s demonic eyes embedded in his two blades, he held the pair of blades with an under-grip, and a kind of dense and viscous grey colour emitted from the hilt’s demon eyes at this time. The obscure and shady evil aura they saw that day when he and Bai Li Shu fought flowed out without end from the demon eyes, and had Li Xin completely wrapped within it. As the entire person was covered within the grey evil aura of cold attribute, Li Xin silently flew forward rapidly within the clouds and fog, like a drop of melted water entering the big sea.

The evil aura that the Gui demon’s demonic eyes carried within and the clouds and fog around influenced by the fog raptor were extremely similar, and it was precisely because of this point, that Li Xin’s actions could be undetected by the fog raptor.

But in truth, the strength of the Fan Xu boundary fog raptor was too strong, so Li Xin’s actions must be extremely careful. He could not go against the air currents the fog raptor brought up with its dance, otherwise, his traces would immediately be discovered by the strange bird that had extremely strong control over the clouds.

The fog raptor did not have eyes, instead, the clouds and fog were its eyes, and it felt out everything through the current’s changes.

Li Xin whose entire state of mind was used to maintain Demon Eyes to cover his aura had no way of identifying each and every line of air current’s trajectory at all. Furthermore, the current was hovering over like it was dancing, changing at any given moment. Even if he did not did not maintain Demon Eyes and whole-heartedly concentrated, he would have no way of correctly making out every current’s trajectory.

The one who did this was Bai Li Shu.

Abiding by the apathetic voice that was transmitted by Bai Li Shu through spiritual insight in his mind, Li Xin would either lower his head, or rush ahead, or lean forward…… As though moving in concert with the fog raptor’s dancing posture, fluttering like a ghost, rapidly progressing ahead by going along with the hovering currents, not meeting with any obstruction within this span of chaotic cloud and fog madly flowing, and quickly approaching the still dancing fog raptor.

Once again following Bai Li Shu’s instructions, Li Xin floated up, received a strong air current heading up, and he approached close to the hovering snake-like, dense cerebral vertebrae. When he came faced with the ancient being, that pressure that seemed to be making people asphyxiated was dense and thick to the extent of making people want to turn and run. The dense white bone was right in front of his eyes. The more close one was, the more it made people’s spirits fill with frost. Li Xin tightly gripped the combined “Gui”, and used it to increase the drive of his following strike.

As he approached more and more closer to the giant cerebral vertebrae, the cold sweat on Li Xin’s forehead grew more and more. Only, he actually drew the corners of his mouth back and started laughing.

He was a person who realized the conception of death!

Those who peered at the strength of death, first needed to have the preparations to die. Once one was ready for certain death, when one drew out their blade, they would neither hesitate nor tremble.

“Cut!” That person concisely instructed in his mind.

At this time, Li Xin only had a short distance of about a person’s length between himself and that enormous dancing cerebral vertebrae. The more he drew close to the fog raptor, the more powerful the surrounding currents that it brought up would be. The kind of shapeless and non- substantive thing that was originally air, at this moment, turned sharp just like the edge of a blade. Li Xin ignored that sharpness, and only firmly stared at a joint of the cerebral vertebrae—— the one joint where the cerebral vertebrae and spinal column connected.

That was the fog raptor’s weak point.

During battle, it would firmly protect that point, but it was just that at this time, the fog raptor holding a ceremony for its ancestors did not think that the “meal within its throat” in its eyes would actually be able to quietly get close to its own weakness without drawing in its attention at all.

Li Xin’s target was here. He tightly held the sabre, and his mind resounded with those two lines Bai Li Shu commanded from above on that day at the martial stage:

——The gates to the Ninth Hell open, not a slow and clumsy spirit
left!

That bastard did not say a single thing wrong! Li Xin soundlessly
smiled, while his smile brought a hint of ruthlessness that made people felt terror from, and he let out the most perfect strike ever since he started practising the sabre.

The gates of the the lowest parts of hell had long already opened up for the clan of fog raptors. This kind of thing that should have been long extinct in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals completely had no need to exist in this time period, so, this kind of damned thing that was the fog raptor, should just go down into hell and dance along with their ancestors!

With this thought in mind, the combined “Gui” cut into the white
bone.

Within Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciple’s field of view, the fog raptor that
had its dance interrupted let out an raging hiss, and the distant winds brought forth shook so much that the eardrums of these disciples below Primary Dan boundary buzzed loudly. At the same time, all the disciples frightfully discovered that the soft clouds and fog that seemed shapeless under the fog raptor’s hissing actually seemed to have the texture and sharpness of a edge of a blade.

The air current cut by the flying vessel and let out a sound of metal cutting through wood, leaving in a series of marks.

And at the same time, the rocking of the flying vessel grew bigger, as though it could fall down from this six thousand-zhang altitude sky at any given moment.

Just when the group of people’s faces turned pale-white, the magic formation on the vessel’s body suddenly lit up one after another, reaching a brightness never achieved before now. At this moment, there was someone who fortified the Black-Plumed Light Vessel’s magic formations.

On the roof of the lone pavilion on the flying vessel where the Jiu Xuan Sect’s disciples could not see, Bai Li Shu sat straight up within the wind, with sky spirit stones laid out in front of him one by one. These sky spirit stones formed a “Qiu Dragon[2] Formation” that had all the formations on the flying vessel connected together and fortified. For him to use this magic formation that was originally used against enemies in this place was particularly extraordinary.

The violent gales blew Bai Li Shu’s clothes noisily. To his side, was a longbow of a coal-gold colour.

He closed his eyes. While maintaining the operation of the magic formation, he observed the fog raptor’s movements and rapidly made analyses, and once again gave instructions to Qin Jiu and others through spiritual insight.

This was already no longer just splitting the mind and using it for two.
But was one mind into several.

The one strike filled with Li Xin’s entire strength hit the fog raptor, but the fog raptor was far much more stronger than he imagined. His one strike pieced with his entire force could just only make a light wound in it.

But Bai Li Shu’s intention was not to seriously damage the fog raptor. With a single strike, the sacrificial dance that the fog raptor was about to complete was forcefully cut short—— this was the true goal that Bai Li Shu aimed for when he instructed Li Xin to secretly let out this strike.

The fog raptor whose sacrificial dance was interrupted let out a raging long cry, and the air shook violently—— Li Xin’s strike had made it felt pain. It was merely just one single cry, yet the pressure held within it had Li Xin who entered the Half-God phase shaken out. Li Xin only felt his chest heavily smashed by a shapeless huge weight, his blood boiled, and he suddenly spurt out a large amount of blood.

After the fog raptor that came bearing with an old hatred was enraged, it no longer continued the ancient ritual. When it opened up its pair of wings, the bony wings covered the skies and blocked the sun, and looked like it was about to launch an offensive to roll over everything.

But it did not attack at the first moment.

At the time Li Xin was blown out by the fog raptor’s pressure while under a violent rage, he let go his hand, and the pair of sabres he viewed as precious treasures split back into “Demon Eyes” and wedged into where the two bones connected.

His cultivation certainly was no match for the fog raptor’s, but his sabres might not be worse than the fog raptor’s bones!

Embedded with the Gui demon’s eyes, the pair of sabres that were said to be created from the fragment of an ancient True Immortal’s life-tied magic weapon deeply wedged into crevice between the bones. At the time the fog raptor raised its head and flap its wings to attack, the pair of blades that it ignored, due to the squeezing pressure the fog raptor created by lifting its head, once again pressed into the bones by itself.
The pain made the fog raptor’s movements stiffen up for a moment. It was also within this short moment, under Bai Li Shu’s command,
that the few people behind who avoided the currents brought by the fog raptor’s dance also arrived.

The first was Shen Chang Ge.

That Yin Yang Fan with its frame constructed from Tian Dong Re wood soared up the sky and completely opened up, and five, dark green, long needles the length of the fan’s frame flew out in breakneck speed. One long needle flew towards the collarbone shrouded in clouds and fog, two sunk into the connecting area between the fog raptor’s wing and spinal column, and the last two, without skewing, nailed into the area that Li Xin’s pair of sabres cut into without a single error.

The needle that flew towards the collarbone erupted, and turned into a shady fog of dark-green. The clouds and fog on the fog raptor’s body that was like its flesh and blood at this time became a helping hand for Shen Chang Ge. That needle was not made of any metal, but was completely purified and congealed from ten types of strong poisons. At practically the first opportunity, the flowing clouds brought along the erupted intense poison and diffused it into the fog raptor’s entire body.

The remaining four poisonous needles entered the fog raptor’s bones. With the poisoned needles as the epicentre, the grey-white bones started to slowly turn into a wretched green colour.

“Of the most poisonous, one must not overlook the Yin Yang Fan, with its distinguished demeanour concealing its killing looks.”

Concealed within Shen Chang Ge’s fan was a violent poison named “White-Blue[3]”. Even if it was a cultivator in the Fan Xu boundary, once they were hit with this severe poison, their blood and flesh would soon decay. This was Shen Chang Ge’s life-preserving last resort, and to have these five poisonous needles each released towards five completely different directions also exhausted his entire strength.

Essentially at the instant he set off the poisonous needles, Shen Chang Ge who was a bit drained had no way of using primordial energy to protect himself, and was then hit with a violent gale brought up by the fog raptor’s bony wings on his chest.

Thus, he too felt the pain of Li Xin’s severely wounded chest, and let out a smothered groan and was swept far away by the strong wind.

But that fog raptor was not a cultivator!

It did not have blood nor flesh, all it had were pieces of metal-like bones. All that this kind of strong poison lethal to even Fan Xu cultivators used on the fog raptor’s body could do was merely just have the ability of a brief paralysis.

And they used up all their strength, just for this single moment of paralysis.

Shen Chang Ge and the others did not dare let the fog raptor have time to actually go on offensive at all, because they were very aware that once those thousand mile-wide bony wings opened, there was basically no one capable of taking in even a light attack. Their entire act all must be continuously completed without stopping for a breath.

Once they gave the opportunity to the fog raptor to attack, the ones who would be buried would be their entire group!

The potential erupted through the shadows of death and Bai Li Shu’s extremely precise commands combined together then gave this moment and another moment of opportunity, giving each of them only one single chance to let out an attack.

At the instant the fog raptor’s movements froze, Qin Jiu and Zhou both similarly pulled a long and heavy black-iron-formed chain and sprung towards the sky. This chain with the thickness of a single person was something only Primary Dan peak cultivators can barely haul up. At present, Qin Jiu and He Zhou had to consume a medicinal pill in order to be able to drag the iron chain up the skies and fly.

Qin Jiu rushed towards the head of the bird. He pulled along the heavy chain and went up stepping on each and every joint of that staircase- like gigantic cerebral vertebrae spiral, and had the heavy black-iron chain bound to the top of the fog raptor’s python-like cervical vertebrae. He Zhou went in the opposite direction of him, pulled the chain and stepped towards the spinal column, and had the black iron chain looped around and wound to the base of the bony wing.

According to their plan, the instant Shen Chang Ge’s “White-Blue” stunned the fog raptor, after Qin Jiu and He Zhou had the black-iron chains wrapped around the fog raptor, the two would let go at the same time, and the black-iron chains that lost the primordial energy being injected into it would then turn incomparably heavy. From that, it would once again stop the fog raptor’s movements, and supply the conditions for the following attack.

However, they underestimated the fog raptor!

The severe poison towards this living being formed from white bones had much less of an effect than they imagined.

At the time Qin Jiu had the black-iron chains wrapped halfway, the fog raptor had already broken away from the paralysis. It turned even more furious, the pair of wings abruptly opened, and each of the sharp wing bones brought up lines of formless and terrifying blades of wind.

Shen Chang Ge who was swept away far away just now was cut by a blade of wind on his shoulder, and immediately, the skin and flesh turned up, revealing white bone.

It was just a single moment off, yet death was soon to fall.

[1] 暴掠- also, and more commonly known as a term for robbery, if one were to use the other definition for 掠 which is to plunder, grab, or ransack. Choice words. 10/10.
[2] 虬⻰- legendary small dragon with horns.
[3] ⽩仓- the ‘blue’ character, will mostly share the same meaning as 苍, as well as all of its colours. Aside from that, it is also used to refer to barns,
or places for storage, a warehouse. Of course, that seems unlikely considering the context.

Chapter 25

Chapter Twenty-Five, In a Place Where the Eyes Can Reach, the Matchless Bone Swords. (⽬光所及, ⾻剑⽆双)
The clouds and fog were cut up by strikes of formless yet sharp blades, and the fog raptor violently spread open its pair of wings. The wrath brought on from being hurt by “ants” was far much more greater than the anger stemming from the pain of getting hurt.

The opened wings agitated thick and dense blades of wind that covered over the skies and earth, and had the sea of clouds cut up into countless fragmented shades of darkness. Within the glum sky, when the ghastly and apparent bone wings flapped, it brought up a series of intense torrents, and the air would warp due to it. The grey-white bones writhed, and the huge spinal column swayed in attempts to get rid of the chain wrapped on its body and the ants that overestimated their own power.

Qin Jiu and He Zhou each used one hand to grab the black-iron chain, and with the other hand, caught the ghastly bone and firmly fixed themselves to the fog raptor’s body, however, the fog raptor’s power and the intense current it brought with it was far too terrifying. The two attached to the fog raptor’s bones were just like two leaves tottering within fierce winds that could be flung off at any time.

The remaining people were not that well off either.

Each blade of wind the fog raptor created was at least ten zhang wide. If they were hit with it, they would be met with an end of certain death, with no doubt about it. Within the murderous intent covering the skies and earth, what allowed them to live on was Bai Li Shu’s rapid commands. By completely relying on his judgment and calculations, they could then time and time again dangerously and even more dangerously avoid the series after series of blades of wind able to very easily take away their lives.

The concise and speedy instructions at this time became everyone’s lifesaving straw.

The brief mentality of good fortune brought on due to the plan that proceeded far too smoothly was crushed into oblivion by the overspreading pressure—— the achievements from before this was completely brought on thanks to Bai Li Shu’s accurate to the point of being scary judgment. Other than this, none of them had the ability to take on the fog raptor’s direct attack.

When this time came, not one was shocked by the might the fog raptor revealed.

In that distant era, the intense winds its pair of wings brought about tore up countless flying vessels in the sky. Its bent and savage sharp claws shred open the black birds’ chest, and the sickle-like wing bones broke up the skies ten thousand-zhang up high before.

This was an unusual bird that ate divine birds for a living that was recorded as a demonic beast!

Today, in this era after the age of Ten Thousand Immortals, this kind of legendary being came back, and revealed its ferocity.

At the same time, another thing that was also being affected by the fog raptor’s wrath was the Black-Plumed Light Vessel that had quite a fair distance from it. The flying vessel that was originally stabilized by the fortified magic formations once again violently shook. The wind blades were formless and colourless, and the substantive sea of clouds around the flying vessel had to be cut in order to reveal its traces. A series of blades of wind hit the Black-Plumed Light Vessel that was unable to move, shaking the flying vessel more violently from the last.

—— At the time the first blade of wind hit the flying vessel, the disciples within the vessel all clearly saw a layer of translucent barrier suffused with an ice-blue colour light appearing, like a bowl flipped over, covering the Black-Plumed Light Vessel within it.

It was this barrier that blocked off the series after series of wind
blades.

Just seeing how the mere impact remaining after being withstood
by the barrier was able to shake the flying vessel into rocking continuously, they were afraid those blades of wind were at a level they could no longer describe.

Under the attack of the wind blades, the barrier dimmed down with a speed the naked eye could see, and was obvious it could not hold up for too long.

Guarding was most definitely not a long term plan. Everyone was very aware inside.
Since Bai Li Shu had to maintain the Black-Plumed Light Vessel and also had to instruct on every person’s evasion, he already had no way of separately making the orders to kill the fog raptor. Qin Jiu and He Zhou who were hanging on the fog raptor’s bones looked to also not be able to hold on longer.

No matter who was first to be unable to persevere, what would greet them would be the burying sea of clouds altogether.

Luckily, within the misfortune, although Qin Jiu and others did not finish completely wrapping up the iron chain, they had already completely the larger half of it. Though the chains made from black-iron famed for being “as heavy as dense earth” could not completely be wrapped around, by using its terrifying weight, as well as the crafty angle Bai Li Shu chose, the fog raptor’s movements were already being limited—— the wing’s base were wrapped together by the iron chain, making it unable to open up its wings to fly up and attack.

After once again dangerously dodging a blade of wind, Jun Wan Bai felt her face scalded from the intense currents brought by the wind blades.

She gasped for breath, and saw He Zhou swinging up in the sky by the fog raptor’s terrifying strength.

He looked ready to be flung out at any time, and be drawn into the wind blade’s turbulence then be obliterated into pieces, but at this point, he was still tightly holding onto the iron chain.

Dammit!

On Jun Wan Bai’s face was a fierce and ruthless expression. She was more resolute and tough that men to begin with- when matters were impending, she would turn ruthless and immediately not care about anything any more.

“I’ll give this son of a bitch[1] another strike!” She yelled loudly, but once she opened her mouth, a violent gale poured into it, and the voice was forced down and pressed into the throat. Even Chu Zhi Yuan who was closest to her could not hear it.

Jun Wan Bai did not need them to hear it either, because she was saying it to Bai Li Shu!

And sure enough, the following voice that resonated in her mind proved that the other person heard her words. Under his instructions, Jun Wan Bai dodged wave after wave of blades of wind and rapidly approached the fog raptor madly turning its body in attempts to have He Zhou and Qin Jiu the two flung off. The cold wind like a frosty blade scraped her face. Within a breath’s time, it was like countless bits of ice entered the bottom of her heart.

Jun Wan Bai tightly gripped the bone blades. The deep-blue long robe had already long been torn apart into bits and pieces[2] by the strong wind, while the remaining portion fluttered violently within the wind.

After once again avoiding a blade of wind, at the time fog raptor was swinging its long cervical vertebrae, when the skull swung up to the air like a meteor, Jun Wan Bai stepped onto its protruding sternum that was as big as a castle gate, and took advantage of the moment to rush up towards the sky.

In her mind, that person quickly followed up with her movements and reported the position of the common boundary between the injured cervical vertebrae and spinal column—— a hundred and twelve-zhang up to the diagonal.

How laughable.

The gigantic tyrant of the fog was just in the front, while the surrounding air currents circulated noisily, and the sky was so dark it was like it lost the sun, moon, and stars. The shadows of death was just in front of her, faintly within view, but at this kind of time, Jun Wan Bai suddenly felt it was funny.

—— So it was only at this kind of time, that that person’s eyes would then be reflected with other people’s figures?

Then——

Take a good look! Most lofty bastard! See whether or not if my swords really don’t have even the qualifications to make you turn your head!

Braced with the sudden boiling and boundless rage, both of Jun Wan Bai’s arms placed behind her were brought to the front. The two bone swords in midair crossed together, and swayed in a manner that made the air warp along with it—— “Zhu Liu[3]”, this was created from the comprehension on Bai Zhang Tan’s sword technique. The waterfall wrapped in swift and fierce momentum brazenly rushes down from an altitude one hundred-zhang high, bearing a conviction of absolutely not turning back nor hesitating, vowing to have everything that blocked in the front of it cut into oblivion.

Since the waterfall’s momentum could not be reversed, then go along with it, and borrow its strength! Is what “Zhu Liu” encompasses.

Jun Wan Bai was enveloped within the fierce winds and strong currents the fog raptor brought up, and actually seemed to blend into it, where the warping brought about by the bone swords and the current combined into one. Thus, the strength of the strong winds became the bone swords’ strength, and the strong current’s momentum became the bone swords’ momentum, and finally, the synchronicity between the person and the swords that brought about a tremendous momentum brazenly went down.

Clang——

The crossed bone swords sunk in, right in the position to have Li Xin’s blade wedged into the middle.

[1] 畜⽣- in proper terms, is used to refer to a domesticated animal, or livestock. But more than often, will be used as an insult.

[2] 七零⼋碎- torn to the point of being fragmented, seven, eight-tenths of the way there.

[3] 逐流- to go after the flow/current, or to drive out, or banish. Or can be interpreted as one by one.

Chapter 26

Chapter Twenty-Six, Bow of Setting (the) Sun, Arrow of the Golden Crow. (落⽇之⼸, ⾦乌之箭)
At the instant the sword sunk in, Jun Wan Bai only felt that what she was cutting into was not bone, but was some indestructible metal. Even with a half-step into Half-God boundary, the webspace of both her hands were still shaken into sacrificing blood and overflowing by that terrifying force of impact.

When the common border between the cerebral vertebrae and spinal column was heavily hit once again, the damage this time was far much bigger that the few previous times. Though Shen Chang Ge’s strong poison was unable to be used according to the original plan and make the fog raptor stunned for a long enough time, the needles of “White-Blue” that entered the area between the bones still largely crippled the fog raptor’s defence.

And it was precisely due to this, that Jun Wan Bai’s bone swords were able to smoothly and straightly go in up to the hilt.

This one attack that entered a crucial point gave the fog raptor enough harm for the first time. It no longer attempted to fling Qin Jiu and He Zhou off its body, and with a twist of its enormous skull, it opened its gigantic beak towards Jun Wan Bai, and bit down as rapid as lightning.

The violent wind roared down from the top of her head, and the sound of Bai Li Shu’s order to dodge resounded in her head. Jun Wan Bai was unmoved. The cracked web of her hands tightly gripped the pair of swords that entered the grey-white bones, and she bit down, while her face approached the expression of madness—— Dodge? Which motherfucker is going to dodge? Of those who step onto the path of cultivating immortality, which one of them wasn’t already prepared to die?

The so-called impermanence was this kind of shitty thing!

The flying vessel that you ride on would meet with a giant beast that disappeared in the far past halfway through its journey. You can defeat countless enemies, yet would also be seen as not being able withstand a single attack in other people’s eyes. Just yesterday you were still hoping for tomorrow’s laurels, yet today, you would need to be like an ant and die without any strength to counter. Even if you were worshipped by everyone just like someone favoured by Heaven, you would still need to be like a coward and escape like a frightened rat!

The gigantic and savage bill opened and covered over her head, the throat that could be looked into was as pitch-black as a tunnel, and the rank smell was dense and thick—— this was the extraordinary beast that ate divine birds with a vicious nature. The shadows underneath the skull enveloped Jun Wan Bai, and the conception of death was soon to befall. At this moment, she suddenly laughed out loud.

“What is impermanence?”

—— This is impermanence!!

Jun Wan Bai roared, the hands that tightly held the bone swords burst out with a strength she previously did not have, and the aura on her body flared and rose up—— at this juncture between life and death, she finally stepped onto the final step, and completely made clear of the conception she chased after, and it was also at this moment, that she stepped over the road block of the half-step into Half-God.

She stood and sprung up. At this moment, she treated herself as a sword as well. Gripping the hilt of the blades, Jun Wan Bai spun in the air, and her torn long robe turned into an illusion of deep-blue. The rope that tied her hair also snapped, and the voluminous black hair flowed along with it. She was like a sweep of the wind, dancing wildly and being overbearing, indistinguishable, yet was also like the falling leaves of an autumn day hovering about along with the wind, fluctuating between toughness and softness variably.

The pair of swords that she spun with, along with Li Xin’s sabre, only left a united silhouette. Under the light of the blade, what was originally a single wound rapidly expanded.

The fog raptor let out a cry. Within the cry, was also the sound of pain.
It truly, in its meaning, got injured.

The fog raptor turned to be more and more frenzied and terrifying after getting hurt. It furiously pecked down towards the floating Jun Wan Bai. Below its gigantic mouth, Jun Wan Bai’s figure was particularly insignificant and slim. She was still dancing while floating about, bringing a fierce killing intent and madness of not caring for anything. If she did not dodge, she would certainly die without a doubt.

And then, Jun Wan Bai did not die.

In the very last moment, the giant bird’s skull suddenly leaned slightly to the left side, and the single attack as fast as lightning missed.

The ferocious and huge beak and Jun Wan Bai brushed past by each other by the shoulder. The edges of the joint of the bones that were bulged up hit her, and as the pair of blades left her hands, Jun Wan Bai was sent flying—— just the remaining force could make Jun Wan Bai who just broke into the Half-God realm heavily injured.

A frontal strike from the strange beast that ate divine birds was as horrifying as this. The fog raptor’s attack missed not because it suddenly felt compassionate.

The outburst from Jun Wan Bai drew in the fog raptor’s attention, and gave up the movements of having Qin Jiu and He Zhou shaken off. Borrowing this extremely rare chance[1] of an opportunity, Qin Jiu used all his remaining strength, stepped onto each of the joints of the cervical vertebrae and ran up like mad, and in the end, soared to the sky, and had the black-iron chains pulled along and completely wrapped around the top of the fog raptor’s neck. He Zhou who was on top of the spinal column angrily roared out, risked out his back and heavily collided into a bone spur that was bulging out. With the use of all his strength to fling it, the black-iron chains were like an ancient python flying up high in the air, spiralling over the fog raptor’s wings.

In an instant, they let go all together, and retrieved back the primordial energy poured within the black iron.

The chains that were used in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals to bind a Qiu dragon let out a crisp sound of metal colliding with each other, exposing its alarming weight. Qin Jiu could hear the fog raptor’s bones that were bearing the weight of the iron chains let out a squealing sound.

Under that kind of terrifying weight, the fog raptor that raised its skull in the sky heavily dropped down.

And it was exactly due to this, that Jun Wan Bai was able to evade that one attack that meant certain death.

The fog raptor’s giant skull restricted by the black iron suddenly hung down, then, Chu Zhi Yuan who had already waited for a long time no longer hesitated. He sprung up with his hand tightly pressed on top of his sword’s hilt. Even when a blade of wind came in and blew at his face, Chu Zhi Yuan’s gaze was as keen and steady as a knife. He expression was typically solemn, but at this time, within the solemness was also a sliver of resolution.

Just like the other people, he only had a single chance. Delivered into this Fu Su[2] sword, was Li Xin’s sneaking at the risk of death from before, Shen Chang Ge’s full force attack, Qin Jiu and He Zhou’s biting perseverance, Jun Wan Bai’s disregard for life and death, as well as Bai Li Shu who at this moment was behind them and already standing up holding a longbow.

Upon the sword, carried the lives of their few people, and even more so the lives of Jiu Xuan’s disciples in the flying vessel behind them.

Chu Zhi Yuan erupted in a loud shout, the longsword came out of its sheath, and cut down from high in the sky.

The longsword brought with it a string of sparks flying in all four directions. This attack of Chu Zhi Yuan’s that he exerted with everything only left one small crack on the fog raptor’s skull that was similar to a mask. At the back of the mask-like skull was the place where the fog raptor’s spiritual fire was located. The skull that protected the spiritual fire was the bone that was most solid one in its entire body to begin with.

After that one full-power strike by disregarding life and death, Chu Zhi Yuan’s one strike could only simply leave a single crack on the surface.

However, this was already enough.

Whether it was him or Jun Wan Bai, all their hard work was only a support. All those calculations made were only for this one final strike.

To kill Jun Wan Bai, the fog raptor already stopped the wind blades created from flapping its wings before this, and after the Black-Plumed Light Vessel no longer received any assault, it recovered its stability, and the barrier that covered the flying vessel also disappeared.

On top of the flying vessel, Bai Li Shu who originally sat cross- legged already stood up. In his hand held that gold-coloured longbow that was originally placed by his side, and a long arrow whose entire body of a crow-black colour with only the tip of the arrow a snow-white was already put over the bow string. The string pulled by the ancient jade thumb[3] was already pulled open like a full moon. The longbow in his hands was modelled after the bow that in the legends had shot down the golden crow, “Setting Sun”.

In the ancient times when the golden crows occupied the highest(nine) skies, barren lands stretched for thousands of miles. This kind of divine bird that was born in the sun was able to easily scorch a corner of the world. They towed its tail to fly, and the skies that it flew over would turn red, just like a blaze that a person set to burn the world.

The only one able to shoot down the golden crow was the divine bow called “Setting Sun”.

The real “Setting Sun” had long already disappeared within the long river of time, but what was left were only a few sentences and words of the legend.

Afterwards, there was a very talented weapon-smith who gave birth to a crazy idea—— he wanted to revive that divine bow that shot down the golden crow within the legends.

The genius weapon-smith walked through each corners of the twelve dynasties, worked through painstaking efforts, spent all of his wealth and turned poor all his life just to create that longbow.

He used parasol tree wood that the phoenix perched on, dyed in its undying flame to be the base of the bow, used the marrow of the East Sea’s thousand year-old ancient python that underwent a hundred decoctions to stick the sole horn of the scarlet scaly dragon that lived in the yellow sand’s magma inside the bow, and used all his family assets towards the Nine Provinces Private Bank to trade for the back tendons of a horned rhinoceros from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals to spread layer by layer over the body of the bow, and placed the bow on the peak of the main mountain in Fan Yin[4] Sect to quietly sit for three years.

For final touches, he took the bark of the Emperor birch tree that eternally did not decay to paste onto the bow’s body, and invited the number one scholar hidden in Yi Cang[5] to inscribe scripts of the golden crow spiralling throughout the bow’s body. When he made the final adjustments to the bowstring, the longbow cried out without moving, and within a hundred miles, one could see the gold crow’s silhouette shoot up into the sky.

The longbow modelled after “Setting Sun” was named “Golden
Crow”.

Only, not long after the longbow had been completed, the place
where that genius weapon-smith who turned completely poor all his life in pursuit of this mad idea lived was suddenly befallen with thunder and lightning for a consecutive seven days and nights. After the thunder and lightning passed, it turned into a stretch of wasteland, and traces of the weapon-smith along with his longbow were unknown.

Some people say, that was the invisible penalty from the soul of the golden crow that descended.

There was also someone who said, there was an almighty person who wanted to purchase the longbow, but because the weapon-smith did not sell it, the almighty person lost their temper and killed them.

The opinions varied and differed, but no one knew the truth.

However, at this very moment and time, this kind of utmost legendary and decorated longbow was instead held in the hands of Bai Li Shu. The golden crow inscribed on the bow’s body seemed able to come out from space at any moment, spread its wings and burn the world. Bai Li Shu’s surroundings were already flooded with a wave of heat, and due to that continuously rising temperature, the atmosphere already gradually warped. Faintly, in the skies, it was like one could also hear bird cries containing an endless pressure.

At the time the fog raptor recovered from the paralysis ahead of time, Bai Li Shu stood up, and held the “Golden Crow”. At the time Jun Wan Bai displayed her dance and Qin Jiu and He Zhou cast the iron chains, he put the arrow on and pulled open the bow.
hand. When Chu Zhi Yuan waved his sword and cut down, he let go his

And the pitch-black long arrow with only a smear of snow-white on its tip broke through the skies.

[1] 千载难逢- once in a thousand years.

[2] 伏苏- fu, to either conceal, hide, subdue, admit, or to vanquish. Can also be a reference to the hot (mid)summer days. Su, to revive, come to (consciousness), or be long-winded.

[3] (古)⽟扳指- A tool put on the right hand thumb specifically to protect it from being hurt from drawing the bowstring.

[4] 梵⾳宗- literally, calling themselves a sect that sings the praises of Buddha.

[5] 夷苍- For Yi, choose between, smooth, safe, exterminate (if a verb), wound, or a character associated with ancient tribes to the east of China, foreign, or a foreigner. Again, the Cang character can be used for colours ranging from green to blues and greys, to be used to refer to mortals or Heaven. “foreign skies/mortals”.

Chapter 27

Chapter Twenty-Seven, the Light of the White Emperor, the Undying Flame. (⽩帝之光, 不死⽕焰)
The long arrow flew out. On the pitch-black body of the arrow was a complex and ancient inscription, like a blood reservoir, yet also like an ancient incantation. In the area it passed by, the clouds and fog would evaporate, the air would warp, and the shapeless wave of heat would open up an unstoppable channel. The body of the arrow was extremely stable, stable to the extent of giving people a kind of misconception that it was not moving. However, in reality, it was so fast it only left a long, long afterimage.

That bit of white on the tip of the arrow turned more and more glaring within the cold wind.

In the final moments, that bit of snow-white was already like a star on a cold night, holding in a force that could not be stopped, breaking through the space, breaking past time itself.

After Chu Zhi Yuan struck his sword down and was shaken back, the cold light had already arrived. In his mind, Bai Li Shu’s orders that did not accept any doubt resounded, and as Chu Zhi Yuan flew back, he watched the long arrow pass by him.

The single arrow that came with an unstoppable momentum itself was extremely quiet, with no sound of wind, nor whistle. It soundlessly skimmed past, and other than the clouds and fog that were instantly vaporized without a trace, there was no other sliver of a trail. All the power and speed was locked into the body of the pure-black arrow, waiting for that single moment to erupt out.

All the people used all their last strength to fly out, desperately trying to distance themselves from the fog raptor wrapped in the black-iron chain.

They only heard a rumbling loud sound. In the deep parts of the sea of clouds that should have been incomparably cold, the manic wave of heat suddenly exploded.

They only felt a sun slowly rise up, and a terrifying power lashing at their backs. No one dared to turn their heads, and only borrowed the impact of the heat wave to fly out even further outwards.

This stretch of sea of clouds suddenly lit up.

At the instant Chu Zhi Yuan flew out, that long arrow that came stepping over space entered the fissure that the Fu Su sword split open on the surface of the fog raptor’s skull without error. The pitch-black body of the arrow directly sunk into it, only leaving the fletching at the tail end shaking continuously.

The force restricted within the body of the pitch-black arrow erupted out at this time, and the arrow turned into a colour similar to that of smelting metal. A series of a golden crow’s cries reverberated inside the fog raptor’s skull, terrorizing it to the point of being stunned in its spot. Even if its spiritual fire was hit and the pain was hard to endure, it did not dare to move a single bit.

—— The golden crow. This kind of bird of the sun that lived within the flames, whose spread wings would scorch the world had a natural inhibiting effect towards the fog raptor.

In the split second the fog raptor was frightened by the aura of the golden crow, the tiny bit of snow-white on the tip of the arrow touched its pale-white spiritual fire, and turned into a red colour all of a sudden, just like the tip of the arrow had been set to fire in an instant. That smear of snow-white on the tip of the arrow was not a metal, but was a flower that was sealed within the cover of spirit stone that seemed jade-like yet was not—— The Emperor Magnolia that Wen Ren Jiu gifted to Bai Li Shu. That flower of the five elements that should have been finely kept, was instead personally sealed at the tip of the arrow by Bai Li Shu at this time.

The spirit stone casing protecting the Emperor Magnolia made it so that it did not break out the terrifying fire spirit contained within it at the first moment it left the jade box, so that it continued to have its snow-white and flawless look.

However, the spirit stone casing that Bai Li Shu set was made extremely precise- pretty much at the instant the long arrow hit the fog raptor, the spirit stone casing had already dissipated, and at the time the golden crow spirit frightened the fog raptor, the horrifying fire spirit held within the Emperor Magnolia was already drawn out.

Thus Chu Zhi Yuan and the others only felt like a sun was rising to their backs.

What was the Emperor Magnolia?

——The White Emperor returns, and leaves Wu Dong, whereas the common hibiscus departs, then collects at the phoenix tree.

One of the Three Emperors, the White Emperor, who obtained cultivation through its true body of a phoenix. The place he lived in was called Wu Dong, the country’s vein of fire. That place called Wu Dong was grown with phoenix trees that reached the skies, where the realm’s phoenixes who revered their king stayed. On the day the White Emperor woke up and left, the nine hundred and ninety phoenixes sang and danced loudly.

After the White Emperor left, the phoenixes dispersed on their own, the phoenix trees withered, and beneath the dead phoenix trees bloomed snow-white flowers. That was the Emperor Magnolia.

The flower that absorbed the phoenixes’ true fire, raised within the ancient and old vein of fire, the Emperor Magnolia.

After losing the obstruction, the Emperor Magnolia burned up just like a phoenix. The flame that obeyed the undying bird’s will burst and engulfed the grey-white bones, and in a short breath’s time, the giant fog raptor was set on fire. The gold, red-coloured flame swept across each grey- white and cold bone of the bird of prey, as though wilfully blooming undying flowers on the dead bones.

The grilling wave turned widespread, the thick and dense layer of clouds were evaporated into a boil, and the flame surged like tides, with Chu Zhi Yuan and the others tossed very far by that strong shock wave. They stabilized their bodies and turned back, only to see the grey and damp sea of clouds break out into a big opening. The rays of light from the flame radiated from within it, like a sun springing up, illuminating the entire dusty and dark sea of clouds.

The fog raptor with flames from head to toe painfully shrieked in grief. It did all it could to soar up high and fly, in attempts to extinguish the body’s fire. Its huge bone wings opened up, and each wing bone would be covered in the flame similar to smelting metal. From far away, it looked like the golden crow of ancient times had revived, with its plume full of rolling flows of fire.

In that instant, Jun Wan Bai and others only felt that the fog raptor was burned into something like a totem.

At this time and moment, the fog raptor’s life was vigorously being burned by Bai Li Shu’s one arrow.

In the air, it was as though there was a phoenix’s cry, yet also seemed like there was a phoenix tree spirit that had died for an entire era singing loudly. The spirits of Chu Zhi Yuan and others were struck in awe from the fog raptor within the fire that seemed to be madly dancing, and as the brilliant figure was cast into their eyes, they even forgot where they were. That was until Bai Li Shu’s voice resonated in their minds, “Go!”. The voice of that person who single-handedly schemed this victory was still as ice-cold as usual at this time, forcefully waking everyone up.

Without daring to make another stop, everyone turned and flew towards the Black-Plumed Light Vessel parked in the sky.

Just as they stepped onto the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, the fog raptor to their backs seemed to have already reached the end of the scorching. Along with the sea of clouds that had already mostly dispersed, it had burst apart under everyone’s gaze.

The bones of the fog raptor that was dancing just a moment ago had broken off piece by piece, collided and reformed with each other in the sky. The originally enormous giant beast turned into several thousands of bone birds the length of an arm, with its body still carrying pulsing and burning flames, rushing towards the Black-Plumed Light Vessel like a tide, directly charging towards Bai Li Shu.

In midair, the colliding and contact of the bone bird’s wings emitted a sound that made people’s hairs go numb.

This was the counter attack of the fog raptor before it died.

As the myriad of burning bone birds brought with it a determination of having jade and stone burned together[1], the faces of everyone who just managed to stand firmly turned ghastly pale. They wanted to set out, but already had not one bit of strength left to do so.

“Bai Li Shu!”

Within the roaring sound of wind, Jun Wan Bai suddenly angrily shouted that name she resented so much. The thin youth who stood on top of the lone pavilion turned his head, and looked towards Jun Wan Bai, with his eyes seeming to finally have a sliver of surprise—— this was the kind of feeling that normal people should have. Behind them was the current of bone and fire- the light of the fire soon cast onto his face, and fell into the bottom of his eyes. This made Jun Wan Bai felt like that sliver of astonishment that she just saw just now was only her own wrong impression.

In the next moment, the blaze swallowed the field of view.
[1] ⽟⽯俱焚- to destroy everything, good or bad alike.

Chapter 28

Chapter Twenty-Eight, Not Withdrawing Even a Single Step Back, the Disciple to Immortality. (⼨步不退, 仙道之徒)
The light of the fire cast onto their retinas, and in an instant, made people have the misconception of a burning pain in their eyes. However, it just merely a misconception. The current of bone and fire did not truly fall onto them in the end, and nor could it swallow Bai Li Shu up either.

The white clothes on the youth standing on top of the lone pavilion furiously blew. The magma-like current rushed in front of him, yet seemed to be separated by something, and uncontrollably flowed apart to two sides. The barrier that protected the Black-Plumed Light Vessel within the blade of winds once again spread open, and protected the flying vessel in its cover. The bone birds containing a grudge inscribed in its bones were like moths to a flame knocking against the barrier. When one fell, another stepped in, as though a scene of liquid fire falling onto the arch of the vault of Heaven, incomparably majestic.

Under the flowing fire, was the person who directed everything with their own hands.

He calculated out everything.

Jun Wan Bai leaned against the railing, then slowly slid and sat down on the floor in an exhausted manner. She lowly laughed once, and felt like she who yelled out that one time was an idiot as expected. That bastard, no matter at what time, was of this kind of lofty appearance. Jun Wan Bai’s laugh was very light and short, so no one else heard it. Their heads looked up, and watched the current of bone birds that rushed to the front yet were also being separated by the barrier, and marvelled at this soul-stirring, spirit-moving beauty.

The sound of bones breaking, and the scene of sparks spraying out.

Following each bone bird’s impact, the barrier’s light gradually got dimmer. When the last bone bird hit the barrier, the barrier completely broke apart, and the ice-blue light and the sky-spanning sparks dispersed altogether, as though a dream, an illusion.

“Truly incredible……” Qin Jiu lightly said.

He extended his hand, and caught a bit of the falling fire. This bit of fire that would soon burn out was not enough of a threat to them already. The remnants of the fire that burned the fog raptor into ashes slowly dimmed down in the palm, only leaving a small bit of inconsequential heat. Qin Jiu gripped his hand, and the knuckles let out a crackling noise.

For him, pulling the heavy black-iron was quite a big burden, but at the very last moment, he also most certainly gave his all.

It was precisely because they also put up their own lives in the very end, that he would then feel that that person was more and more incredible.

The other people also heard Qin Jiu, however, no one answered to it. On one hand, it was because they already had no strength to talk, but on the other, it was because they remembered the interlude before moving out—— A little interlude that was not all that happy to recall. And now they thought about it, they only felt like it was a joke.

A span of silence.

The remains of the fog raptor’s bones along with the fires that did not burn out yet fell down like drizzling rain, and left a greyish black mark on the flying vessel. The few people sat on the deck, and thought of the same thing, yet not one of them opened their mouth first. After a while, Li Xin propped against the deck, and stood up with a sway.

He staggered while walking towards his room.

Shen Chang Ge coldly sneered, and also stood up. He swept a gaze over the remaining people from a high position, with his eyes bringing about an unspeakable contempt, “Everyone, since we managed to still keep our lives on such a rare occasion, we should properly care for our wounds. After all……”

Shen Chang Ge’s face revealed a mocking smile.

“After all, the person who vowed to not retreat a single step, was not any of you.”

He had the few words of “not retreat a single step” articulated quite heavily, and the tone also carried a bit of ambiguous ridicule. However, this time, no matter if it was He Zhou or Qin Jiu, none of them said a word. Perhaps because the large wound on his shoulder was still continuously flowing with blood, and also perhaps due to other reasons, Shen Chang Ge who had the upper hand no longer continued to ridicule them further on a rare occasion.

After Shen Chang Ge left, Jun Wan Bai whose two hands’ webs were cracked and lost her bone swords ripped down the shredded deep-blue robe and hastily wrapped it around her wound, knitted her eyebrows and also stood up.

“Are you going to find Senior Bai Li?”

When she passed by Qin Jiu, Jun Wan Bai heard him ask this.

After rightfully not obtaining an answer, Jun Wan Bai’s steps did not stop and she immediately left. Qin Jiu shrugged his shoulder, extended his hand and started feeling around. Chu Zhi Yuan who was sitting by his side while holding his sword took a look at him, and asked what he was doing, was it that he found he wasn’t seriously injured enough, is that it. And then, under Chu Zhi Yuan’s puzzled gaze, Qin Jiu had a face of rejoice as he took out that grey-brown flask of wine of his from his robe
—— even though the battle just now had been intense to that extent, who knew why this bastard’s flask was not rolled away with the wind. He rubbed away the bloodstain from the flask of wine, unscrewed it and took a gulp.

Chu Zhi Yuan looked at him in a stupefied manner.

At times, Chu Zhi Yuan would feel that after all these years, he still had no way of understanding how this last-named Qin’s brain had grown at all. The bastard who was already determined to be the successor to the position of the peak’s master inside, was usually most fond of mingling in the sect market, and served as the black-hearted senior brother who would cheat on his younger sisters and brother of the same sect, with an appearance of someone who once you threw your money into, you won’t be able to dig it back up.

A merchant was clearly the abundance of the Nine Provinces Private Bank, yet this generation of Jiu Xuan Sect came out with Qin Jiu this kind of irregularity.

“Want a sip?”     Qin Jiu’s mouth asked whether he wanted some, but his hands steadily let it pour into his own mouth, unable to see any manner of wanting to leave any for Chu Zhi Yuan.

“…… No.” Qin Jiu symbolically asked, so Chu Zhi Yuan could only symbolically answer. His heart thought of other things, and lowered his head to look at his own sword.

“Very incredible, right?” Qin Jiu took a glance at him, and placed the flask of wine on his leg. He raised his head to look towards the lone pavilion that already had no one there, “Not taking a single step back. He really didn’t change his position.”

Chu Zhi Yuan looked toward his line of sight. After the fog raptor died, the clouds dispersed, and the sky’s colour gradually lightened up, while a sliver of sunlight fell on the top of the pavilion. When looking at it in a trance, it was actually was quite similar to the undying flame that burned on the fog raptor’s body. Bai Li Shu already left, so other than the reflecting sunlight on the glazed tiles on top of the pavilion, nothing was left.

He went silent, and did not answer Qin Jiu.

The youth with the name of “Immortal Beyond Heaven” was certainly a person amazing to the extent of being terrifying.

At the first time they discovered the fog raptor, that person had gathered them, and used an irrefutable tone to set the following measures and steps. Faced with “We do all the life-risking things, and yet you, Senior, with a half step into Fan Xu, are going to steep tea and watch it play?” this kind of question, the youth raised his eyes and calmly looked at them.

——The Black-Plumed Light Vessel cannot tolerate a loss.
—— Before you guys return, I will not retreat a single step.

“I’ll use my path to cultivating immortality as a pledge.” That person lightly mentioned it, and used his own immortal cultivation to make a pledge, and said, the Black-Plumed Light Vessel will definitely not be lost, and the disciples on the flying vessel will definitely not be met with danger. Before they come back, he would not take a single step back.

And he most certainly did it.

Qin Jiu and them were all very aware- to be able to successfully kill the fog raptor this time, without a doubt, all relied on Bai Li Shu’s calculations and judgment that were precise to the point of being scary. That person calculated out everything, including the final attack bearing the fog raptor’s resolution of death.

However, what made people feel troubled was not this point.

“The favour owed has become quite big……” Qin Jiu muttered.

Chapter 29

Chapter Twenty-Nine, Finally Something to Reap, a Heartless Person. (终有所获, ⽆⼼之⼈)
Chu Zhi Yuan already returned to his room, only Qin Jiu remained on the deck drinking wine by himself.

As his back leaned against the cold, hard railing, the nauseating feeling on his chest from the fog raptor angrily attempting to fling him off into a mess[1] was still left. The primordial energy in his muscles was close to being dried up, and the Dan Tian[2] that flowed in full force with primordial energy burned with fire. Don’t look at how Jun Wan Bai, Shen Chang Ge and others each and every one pulled a long face like a fine person- in truth, their situations were definitely no better than where he was.

In truth, if one were seriously injured to this extent, they should not be drinking wine.

But Qin Jiu was drinking wine with one gulp followed by another, as though an unconcerned person pouring down hard liquor.

Not one person in the entire flying vessel’s top floor was a normal bastard. All were those high-as-the-peak-eyed and arrogant-hearted jerks, where getting enraged and purposefully making things difficult was just as proficient as drinking water and eating food. When it came to work that involved playing with their lives, even if they bit down their teeth, all were sacrificed particularly quick, but when it came to saying a single word related to an apology, it was even more harder than facing straight on with a fog raptor.

After all was said, all of them were just blockheads that insisted on hanging up a face, with not one willing to put it down.

Bitterly struggling with the single breath they held in for ten or so
years.

Qin Jiu could understand a bit of the hatred that Jun Wan Bai held
towards Bai Li Shu for the most part, and was pretty much able to understand a part of the reason as to why He Zhou and Li Xin would always devote themselves to finding inconveniences for Bai Li Shu. In truth, as the core disciples of their generation, pretty much everyone held a complicated feeling for Bai Li Shu.

Everyone had enough strength to compete with each other, and would always feel if the position of the eldest disciple was not theirs, then it would be the opponent they recognized. And thus, everyone vigorously and seriously raced with each other. Then all of a sudden, there was a person who came out of nowhere, without any sign, nor any reason whatsoever, and very easily took away the thing that everyone chased after for so long, yet that person still had an apathetic and uncaring face.

Thus, the various sorts of hard work from before and the fierce words exchanged between each other had become a joke.

It just had to be that the person who came out of nowhere would still have an indifferent cold look, with nothing in those eyes, and would not feel that this identity of Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple was anything particularly amazing, and would never participate in other people’s struggles in the dark. He would always give people a feeling of being observed from a high place, and made people nurse grievances for no apparent reason.

That feeling of being wronged was stuffed down the chest, and after a long time, it became a beam that could not be put down. But Qin Jiu considered himself to be a comparatively calm outsider- he had no high ambitions, and wholeheartedly just wanted to get rich.

After a long period of time, he even felt that Jun Wan Bai and others going against Bai Li Shu was a bit funny. The times that Bai Li Shu appeared in front of people were not many, but Qin Jiu previously saw Bai Li Shu once by coincidence. It was because of that meeting that time that it made him felt even more so that any provocation and hostility towards this person had absolutely no meaning whatsoever.

On a snowing winter day, during the time the sect did not take in disciples, he saw Bai Li Shu once by coincidence. That time, he was on the mountain where the snow fell the hardest, not using primordial energy to climb up while drinking an uncomfortably bitter wine. Snow as big as goose feathers fell to and fro, when Qin Jiu suddenly discovered there was already someone on the top of the mountain.

That person had a thick, silver-coloured winter fox cloak draped over, unexpectedly like a mortal fearing the cold, yet was also like a statue. When they heard a sound, that person turned their head to look at him once, and their gaze was just like the sunlight being refracted from the top of a snowy peak, cold and sharp. At that time, he could not help but stop in his steps, and only felt the blood cells in his blood turn into bits of ice.

Qin Jiu always felt that someone who could be like a mortal looking at the snow on a snowy day, either had many concerns buried inside, or there was nothing at all, just a span of widespread emptiness.

Without a doubt, Bai Li Shu was the last type.

And to provoke someone who had nothing inside any more, or even if they were to vent out any more of their rage, there would be no meaning to it at all, just like how you would yell at a big mountain- other than your own echo, there would be nothing you would gain. The big mountain would not have any sentiments just because of your rage, nor would it cease its silence because of your yelling. But at this kind of time, Qin Jiu could be considered to have experienced the feeling of injustice that Jun Wan Bai and others have felt for so many years for once.

No matter how you provoke them, that person would have a look of being unmoved, and their eyes would not have other people’s figures inside them. Even if the last atom of dust fell and demonstrated their own validity, they did not need other people’s apologies at all.

Just as they had things they must do created by this responsibility “as the eldest apprentice brother, one must protect the Jiu Xuan disciples”, Bai Li Shu was just like the blade he chose. That person would only have everything calculated out clearly, but as for what the blade itself was, emotions were never within the range of his considerations.

It had to be said- this kind of attitude truly made people feel wronged and also made people really angry.

Qin Jiu was pondering over things, and dug out the remaining black ashes from the fog raptor’s burned bones that fell onto the deck.

While Qin Jiu was drinking to the point of being dead drunk on the deck, Jun Wan Bai was in her room wrapping her wounds, Shen Chang Ge was ignoring his injuries to wholeheartedly put in new poison in his fan, Li Xin was crossing his legs and meditating, and Chu Zhi Yuan was wiping down his own longsword as usual, while He Zhou was not in his own room.

Bai Li Shu still sat in his own lone pavilion, and remained leaning towards the window. Despite conducting a supposed perfect battle, and personally shooting out the one arrow that put an end to everything in the end, one could still not see a joyous expression from his face. The split-ice- patterned tea cup had already turned cold, no longer rising up with hot air.

He closed his eyes, as though to rest, yet also seemed to be pondering.

The “Golden Crow” was not put away, but was placed by his side. When set off against the snow-white fox blanket, it turned more and more bright and dazzling. The longbow’s bowstring that was not pulled back had a contained aura to it, and looked to be nothing special other than being a bit luxurious.

After a moment, Bai Li Shu opened his eyes, flipped his hand and took out an item—— the jade box that Wen Ren Jiu gifted that originally held the Emperor Magnolia. The Emperor Magnolia was already used by him, but this time, what was put in the jade box was another item.

It was a rectangular-shaped blood-red crystal with sharp edges.
When the light hit it, it turned brilliant and ablaze.

When the jade box was opened, the surrounding air instantly rose up in temperature. That blood-red crystal seemed to be condensed with endless heat, and even the deep colour seemed to have been formed from compressing a flame.

Once the scorching hot air spread out, Bai Li Shu’s face turned even more pale-white.

He held in the several low coughs as the colourless fingertips stroked the borders of the jade box. What was special about this crystal was not merely the heat it held, but was more so the thing it sealed.

It was the apparition of a fog raptor that had been shrunk many times over.

Even if it shrunk down countless times, with only a faint apparition remaining, the pressure the fog raptor emitted was still heavy and ferocious.

But at the instant the fog raptor’s aura spread out, the “Golden Crow” that had been put to the side suddenly exploded out with an even more stronger imposition, and extremely overbearingly suppressed it down.

When experiencing this confrontation between auras at such a close distance, Bai Li Shu coughed even more intensely, and in the end already coughed out blood that would make people alarmed, and his face even let out a bit of a weariness. “Something to obtain in the end.” He said lightly in a tired
manner.

knock knock knock.

The sound of the door being knocked rang.

Bai Li Shu pushed closed the lid of the jade box, restrained the weariness from his features, and weakly responded with a come in.

[1] 七荤⼋素- literally, seven meat dishes, and eight vegetable dishes. Later determined to be a expression for one’s brain to turn confused and befuddled.
[2] 丹⽥- where primordial energy is concentrated in the body.

Chapter 30

Chapter Thirty, Guan Ling’s Remaining Book, an Ancient Scroll of Blueprints. (关岭遗册, 古⽼图卷)
Before knocking on the door, He Zhou hesitated for quite a long period of time.

He leaned towards the wall, and stared at the white sandalwood door and was in a trance for quite some time, thinking about where the bow in Bai Li Shu’s hand came from, and what kind of thing was that final arrow that lit into that scary flame. Even if Bai Li Shu was any more amazing, he could not have actually taken a phoenix or golden crow’s soul and bound it on the arrow, right?

However, He Zhou himself also knew that thinking of these miscellaneous things was in truth only to divert a bit of his attention.

The white sandalwood door looked not to be that heavy, that any one mortal or strong man could go and kick it open.

But when standing before this wooden door, He Zhou who could even firmly bite down and not let go while in front of a terrifying existence that was the fog raptor instead had a feeling that could pretty much be called hesitation rising up.

Towards the person known as Bai Li Shu, no matter what, he still held an ill will that was hard to disperse. However, the fact that it was due to this prideful bastard that they were able to live on was also true. He Zhou hated this kind of feeling of receiving other people’s favours, particularly when the other party was that always emotionless and cold-as-an-ice-sculpture of a person.

For something like cultivating immortality, what was it most particular about was a cause and effect. What was owed to others, and being subjected to other people’s obligations, in the end, were all to be returned sooner or later. At the time he just took up the sabre, his father once told him- as a swordsman, one must never subject themselves to other’s obligations. Once there were too many obligations owed, can you still forever wave your sabre without any hesitation?

Thus, there would be the saying of cutting off the cause and effect.

He Zhou’s foot unconsciously stroked the floorboards, and in the end, cursed himself for being a good-for-nothing, then raised his hand and knocked on that frail wooden door.

As expected, what transmitted over was still that person’s answer that could be no more shorter than it can be.

When He Zhou pulled open the door and entered, Bai Li Shu was still sitting to the side of the table beside the window he previously saw. What gave He Zhou a strange unexpected flattery, was that Bai Li Shu actually put down another split-ice-patterned tea cup, and was raising his hand to slowly pour green tea inside it.

—— Wait a moment, so this bastard still understood a bit of etiquette and principles on receiving guests too?

Up until when he sat down in front of Bai Li Shu, and the other person put the tea cup brimming with steam in front of him, He Zhou still had a kind of doubt if this was reality. He stared at the other person’s moves, and discovered that Bai Li Shu’s conduct could actually be considered pleasing to the eyes, bringing with it a kind of unspeakable elegance. Just that……

Bai Li Shu actually understood the principles to receiving guests?

This matter was even more surprising than the sudden appearance of the fog raptor. Pretty much everyone who recognized this bastard would subconsciously feel that the kind of person Bai Li Shu was, was the kind who would completely ignore you, an existence that would forever bear an indifferent face and pass by you without a single hesitation, who would not even make a single greeting.

He Zhou held up the tea cup, and was actually a bit cautious at the moment- he only felt that this cup of tea was probably even more harder to obtain than that whatever legendary sky mountain mist tea leaves condensed from the rising clouds and mist off from the peak of white snow in a place of extreme cold.

“Please.”

It was only a single indifferent word that when said by other people was just an ordinary formality, but when said out of Bai Li Shu’s mouth, in He Zhou’s ears, was simply heard as an incomparably ice-cold order.

He subconsciously raised his neck and swallowed down the tea cleanly. When the empty tea cup was put back on the table, He Zhou then shockingly felt that he did something stupid—— it must have been that he had still not come to his senses from that fierce battle just now. When he heard Bai Li Shu’s voice, it was like he was listening to an order, and subconsciously carried it out.

He Zhou’s brain just unloaded a bit, and still wanted to keep up and look at what kind of reaction Bai Li Shu across from him had. He only saw that Bai Li Shu who usually had an indifferent face, whose gaze was sealed forever in ice, also let out a sliver of a dumbfounded expression, apparent that he did not think that there would actually be someone who would use the force of a warrior drinking wine to drink a cup of tea so clean like “preparing to face a formidable enemy”. Lost face to the point of losing everything……
This time, it was He Zhou’s turn to have an indifferent expression. When his brain turned empty, He Zhou stared at Bai Li Shu’s face.
He then suddenly discovered, that dumbfounded expression actually made this bastard look to have a bit more of a humanness to him, and was not that similar to a raw and cold statue any more.

Oh…… So this bastard not only knew a bit of courtesy in treating guests, but also could be considered to have some emotion. As he absently looked at Bai Li Shu silently pour tea for himself once again, this was what He Zhou thought.

On the small table close to the window, Bai Li Shu quietly sat straight up, and watched as He Zhou push the teacup a bit further from himself thinking that it would leave no trace, then pull out an old book of blueprints.

The blueprint booklet looked to have the same poor handwriting(chicken scratch) that the wandering poets of the dynasty would write with randomly, and looked to not be something that He Zhou would have interest to the point of carefully storing it. On the thin book was a haphazardly drawn map, as well as messy and swift notes.

“What is this?”

Bai Li Shu lowered his eyes to look at the ancient book that He Zhou handed over to him. He took the book, opened it, and seemed to have hastily flipped through it once. The map was no more than ten and few pages, and was randomly bound by someone into a small book. The paper used could not be considered to be good paper, and once time had turned long, it turned into a yellow colour.

A concise blueprint was drawn in it, and looked like it was for the construction of a city. From the looks of it, it should be a city in the style of Jin Tang dynasty. There was an outer city wall, and on the outer wall, a low fence was built, opened with four doors to the east, west, south and north. The inner city wall was big and tall, separated into six gates. Within the inner city, the civil servant(official) residences, market, and neighbourhoods were separated with walls and streets. The government official temple was located in southern region of the city, and approximately took up a third of the inner city’s space. High official residences were close to civil servant quarters, while the armoury was located close to outskirt area. From the blueprint, one could see that the dimensions of it were not small. Other than this, the blueprint carefully made marks on the locations of the hotel, grain stores, villages and other places.

But what drew in people’s attention were not these, but the center of city on the blueprints.

From looking at the scale of this city, it should be a level one(?) big city in the prefecture or province, so in accordance to reason, one should establish a Qing Ming Tower in the city’s center. However, on this blueprint, there was no presence of the Qing Ming Tower, and in its stead was a gallery-type building.

He Zhou saw the strange part that Bai Li Shu noticed on the blueprint’s center, and again quietly pushed away the tea cup without a trace, then slightly cleared his throat, “This is Guang Han Prefecture’s blueprints. The person who drew this blueprint was the one initially responsible for the measurements and layout, Guan Ling.”

When he said up to this point, He Zhou paused for a moment, and felt that perhaps Bai Li Shu did not know who Guan Ling was, and thus simply explained it with a few words.

Guan Ling, craftsman of Jin Tang, was the one who wrote the standard writings on construction revered by the past dynasties,《The Eight
Rules on a Thousand Prosperities 》, who was also the first person to propose improvements regarding the Qing Ming tower. Although they were only a mortal without any cultivation, even the cultivated almighty beings could not help but admit that his talents on architecture were unrivalled.

But when He Zhou mentioned these, his tone naturally carried a wave of disregard.

That was the belittling and arrogance that a cultivator had towards a
mortal.

Bai Li Shu flipped over another page of the blueprints, and did not
interrupt He Zhou’s words.

“Guang Han Prefecture’s construction was pretty much all made under his direction.” He Zhou pursed his lips, and slightly unnaturally said out the three words Guang Han Prefecture.

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