Zhao Ge Chapter 31-40

Chapter 31

Chapter Thirty-One, May the Spirit Star Protect Me, the Secular World’s Deity. (灵星佑我, 世俗神明)
“Guang Han Prefecture, the Mausoleum of Ten Million?”         Bai Li Shu noticed a set of notes on the yellow pages. The owner of the notes seemed to only have written it randomly using some sloppy characters, and whimsically wrote down a few lines: The area in which the earth’s veins intersect, the place where floating clouds and flowing waters converge, rests a dragon that could fly riding on the winds as well.

Underneath the lines of words, was the distribution map of Guang Han Prefecture’s rivers. The Huang River traverses from the northwest towards the southeast, splits into two lefts and three rights into five different branches. Midway through, it comes out from the big, tall and high mountains, passes through the valley area of Xiang Tan, then converges to form a lake. From its position, the tall building that replaced the Qing Ming Tower in Guang Han prefecture’s central area should be located here.

He Zhou nodded his head.

“There should have been a Qing Ming tower constructed here originally, but at that time the ley lines were unstable, and had no way to support the Qing Ming tower’s operations. Hence, Guan Ling proposed to construct a new tower that cross-referenced with all the constellations, terrain and flow of water to supply the sense of orientation for flying vessels. It was also the prototype of the future Qing Ming towers.” Qing Ming tower was, after the end of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals when people pursued the ancient immortals’ strength, the magic formation motion centre they constructed modelled after the ancient methods of passageway. Many years after the Qing Ming tower had been constructed, the connection between the Qing Ming towers in various areas still relied on the support from the almighty beings that protected the tower, hence its existence was extremely unstable.

This kind of instability on one hand resided in the formation itself, and on the other hand also originated from the almighty beings guarding the tower.

At a time before the Qing Ming towers connected as one, due to personal resentments, there would be occurrences of the almighty beings obstructing with the Qing Ming tower’s operation. The most severe time was when there was conflict between Tai Shang Sect and Yu Shou Sect. The almighty being from Tai Shang Sect who guarded the Qing Ming tower messed with the magic formation’s operation, making it move in opposition to the flow of the universe’s constellations, thereby making Yu Shou Sect’s flying vessel lose its direction, and mistakenly entering a forbidden territory.

After discovering this, Yu Shou Sect returned tooth for tooth[1], and both sides each used all their abilities to disturb the operation of the Qing Ming tower.

At that time, the flying vessels within the land of the twelve dynasties were more or less affected.

By the looks of it, the situation was headed in a unstoppable direction, thus the remaining sects that were originally acting as observers had to take part in this matter. After a long discussion, they signed a series of agreements in the end, and stopped the situation from taking one step further in worsening it. After this, people from each of the big sects and numerous formation masters actively sought a method to solve this problem. They didn’t think that in the end, the person who proposed a viable method was not an almighty person from the sects, nor the magic formation masters with profound cultivation, but a craftsman from the mortal realm with not a single hint of primordial energy nor knowledge in cultivating.

A Jin Tang person, Guan Ling.

“The Mausoleum of Ten Million was originally supposed to be the first new Qing Ming tower constructed according to Guan Ling’s plans. Only, they did not what the reason was, but this attempt failed.” He Zhou recalled as he narrated. Bai Li Shu saw right- he was certainly not a person who would be very caring towards these various trivial matters. The things he spoke of right now were the things that Bai Li Shu went to understand after accepting the assignment.

But what He Zhou did not know was that Bai Li Shu actually understood these trifling past events more clearer than him.

When Guan Ling proposed the new construction of the Qing Ming tower, the people who supported him were very few. A large part of the people of the cultivation world did not even spare a glance towards his proposition about combining the universe’s constellations with the flow of water and veins of the earth. The reason why his envisions were only able to progress into a trial testing were actually due to the help of two people’s support.

One was the Emperor of Jin Tang at the time, and one was the sect leader of Jiu Xuan Sect.

The former person supporting Guan Ling’s attempt can be considered as understandable, however, for Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader to actually believe a mortal was somewhat beyond people’s expectations. Since Bai Li Shu read over the several notes in the library that were left by the predecessors, he knew of a few reasons why.

Guan Ling’s ancestral home was in Feng[2] Province. After taking charge of the construction of the Jin Tang imperial family’s courtyards, he enjoyed the appreciation of Jin Tang’s ancestors at the time, and was especially granted a return home[3]. When Guan Ling returned home, it just so happened to be when the Jiu Xuan Sect leader saw through his trial of “dispute”, and was still lingering in the secular realm. It was also at this time that the two met each other by coincidence, and in the end became close friends.

Later, after Guan Ling put forward his ideas, it was Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader who was the first to support his idea, and in addition sent out Xuan Yuan[4], Xuan Shuang, these two peaks’ several hundred inner-sect disciples to go forward to come to the aid.

After the attempt at Guang Han Prefecture failed, it was precisely because Jiu Xuan Sect’s sect leader was backing Guan Ling’s attempt that it could continue on.

Afterwards, when the Jiu Xuan Sect’s leader ascended and left, Guan Ling lamented with a “there would no longer be a close friend in this life” and then went missing, without a single trace left behind.

Numerous trivial things went though his mind, yet Bai Li Shu’s maintained his composure. He quietly looked at He Zhou, and awaited what he had to say next.

Out of habit, He Zhou originally wanted to taunt him, that Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother undoubtedly would be disdained to know about these things not worth a mention, but the constantly lofty youth quietly looked at himself attentively, with his face still without much expression, and a pair of deep-black eyes that could very clearly mirror his figure.

The taunt suddenly got caught in his throat, unable to be said aloud.

He Zhou moved his gaze, and with his tone not all that good, he very stiffly said, “Thus, the Mausoleum of Ten Million wasn’t some damned mortal realm’s Peng Lai since the very beginning. To say it’s a soul-burying mausoleum is more like it. The first attempt to have the universe’s constellations and the water flow and earthly veins combined together influenced that place’s flow of spiritual energy, and from that time on, no one in Guang Han Prefecture was able to break into Fan Xu boundary.”

In the meaning outside the words, what Shen Chang Ge said how because of someone who got possessed by a demon it then lead to the Mausoleum of Ten Million becoming a living person’s restricted territory was simply a cover on the surface.

Evidently, for He Zhou to suddenly come and say so much was to tell him the important information regarding retrieving the 《Three Ancient
Emperors’ Imperial Drawing》. Without question, these things that came out from He Zhou’s mouth were all secret inside stories that were painstakingly hidden by people. If he did not use his identity as Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother to enter Jiu Xuan’s main pavilion in the library, Bai Li Shu might not necessarily know about it either.
What He Zhou said was something Bai Li Shu already knew about early on, but this blueprint book he brought was instead exactly what Bai Li Shu needed.

“Much thanks.” Bai Li Shu closed the blueprint book, slightly nodded his head, and lightly said.

He Zhou coldly snorted, and stood up, “Since you saved me once, it’s even.”

As he watched He Zhou’s figure leave with big steps, Bai Li Shu slightly raised his eyebrows to look towards the tea placed on the other side that had not been touched, seemingly absorbed in his thoughts while lightly tapping on the surface of the table with his fingers.

It was said to be making it “even”. But……
This kind of ancient book of related secrets can’t have been found immediately right after encountering the fog raptor, right? Bai Li Shu packed away the yellowish blueprint book, and stood up straight. When he stood up, he lowly coughed a few times, and a few slivers of an irregular dark-red appeared on the side of his lips. He Zhou did not find out, but the Bai Li Shu who sat straightly with an unchanging expression was actually constantly forcibly suppressing his own injured conditions.

He wiped away the bloodstains that were suppressed from being coughed out, and the colourless lips passed through a sliver of an extremely weak smile, weak to the point of almost none.

◈◈◈
When fighting against the fog raptor, the flying vessel’s body also received some damage, and thus their plans had to be changed. First, they will rest at the closest prefecture in Bing Province, Yan Men Prefecture, request for a weapon-smith to repair the Black-Plumed Light Vessel, then continue forward.

Yan Men Prefecture at its level was a prefecture, but scale-wise, was actually just slightly bigger than a district. As for what made it possible for it to be designated as a prefecture, it was because it guarded a narrow area. Within the prefecture’s city, there was no place to park flying vessels, so the flying vessels coming and going would mostly descend in the open wilderness a small distance away from Yan Men Prefecture.

Outer city wall, southeast gate.

At a place with still a fair distance away from the outer city, Bai Li Shu had the Black-Plumed Light Vessel descend.

Once the Light Vessel touched the ground, the Jiu Xuan disciples all came out of it. Even all the core disciples who stayed in each of their rooms during this time also got off the flying vessel.

The wounds that Shen Chang Ge received from the blades of wind already healed. He wore a sky-blue long robe with cloud patterns on the cuff, and still bore the appearance of an elegant and amorous young lord. Li Xin’s aura who lost his pair of blades turned even more cold, and had a very gloomy expression when exiting the flying vessel. Qin Jiu was still of that loitering and slovenly look, while Chu Zhi Yuan followed behind him holding his own sword with knitted brows.      Jun Wan Bai had changed into an intact deep-blue coloured robe, and pulled down her fully handsome face while walking towards the front of the Xuan Shuang Peak disciples with big steps. Soon after, the next to come down was He Zhou with a cold face as though he would take his sabre out to chop up a person at any time.

Other than the atmosphere being slightly worse, the few core disciples looked to be no different than usual.

Bai Li Shu remained to be the last to come down, draped with a silver-lined white cloak, while his emaciated figure was covered under the big cloak. Once his gaze swept over, he put away the Black-Plumed Light Vessel.

“Let’s go.”      Bai Li Shu headed straight the outer-wall gate that was slightly lower than the castle gate. The hem of the white-coloured big cloak turned over, just like snow that was fluttering about while falling down on a winter day.

Everyone did not say much, and followed in Bai Li Shu’s footsteps. Qin Jiu neither fast nor slowly fell behind the group. His one hand was drawn in behind his head, and the other swayed the flask of wine that did not leave his side. Through the group of people, Qin Jiu watched Bai Li Shu who was walking at the very front, and suddenly recalled that one time at the mountaintop before.

That time, Bai Li Shu stood within the flying snow that filled the entire sky, and was also just like this time, draped in a similar big cloak like mortals who feared the cold.

When they passed by the fertile fields[5], Bai Li Shu and the others also coincidentally saw a Spirit Star temple, and old farmers dressed in brown fabrics devoutly kneeling down in respects. “May the Spirit Star bless me, for good harvest every year.
May the Spirit Star bless me, for good health every year.”

The so-called Spirit Star was an administrator[6] who once farmed in this northern region of Chen, who loved the civilians as though family. Later when this administrator died of disease, Bing Province’s commoners constructed a temple for him, and over the course of time, was spoken of as the Spirit Star deity who blessed those in agriculture. As the crude and hoarse chant again and again resounded, the old men with sun-burnt skin colour knelt down and heavily kowtowed, with one kowtow for every recitation.

The Jiu Xuan disciples who saw this scene mostly did not mind to laugh at it once.

Shen Chang Ge slightly stopped in his steps, and carefully took a look at that small shrine.

When a Qian Range junior by his side asked him if there was something abnormal, Shen Chang Ge slightly smiled, waved his fan, and said without much care, “Nothing, I was just only thinking, even an ordinary official of the secular realm can be considered as a deity? ”

“As expected, Jiu Xuan Qian Range’s representative disciple is still as haughty as ever.”      The Jiu Xuan disciple had not yet say anything, when a lively voice resounded, as though distant, yet near.         “However, in regards to this Spirit Star temple, Representative Shen still has things he does not know.”

When he heard this voice, Shen Chang Ge’s face slightly went cold. He raised his eyes to look towards the direction where the voice came from.

And only saw a person who unknowingly appeared at a place not far from them.

[1] People may be more familiar with the saying, ‘an eye for an eye’. To use the same methods against the person. [2] 奉州- feng, to either mean, present/dedicate, receive, believe in, respect, wait upon, or entrust.

[3] ⾐锦还乡- to return home in good clothes after you get wealthy, or receive high honours, and hence the hometown gets to bask in that glory.
[4] ⽞渊- Yuan, for abyss. As an adjective, deep (as an abyss).
[5] 负郭之⽥- not only does it mean good/fertile farmland, but the phrase also means to be close to the city.

[6] 知州- a government official in the ancient ages, derived from ‘权知某军州事’, to mean having the rights to know/make decisions with certain military and provincial affairs. In charge of the province, essentially.

Chapter 32

Chapter Thirty-Two, the Romantic Scholar, Tai Shang’s Leaves Growing. (⻛流书⽣, 太上叶⽣)
That person was dressed like a book scholar, and wore a dark garment that intellectuals quoted as being loose before Qian Chen[1] got perished. On the clothes like those of a Confucian scholar, a black colour bordered the edge all around. They looked to be no different from a mortal realm’s Xiu Cai[2], while the handsome face would always have a warm smile. However, the things that come out of their mouth never had any relation with the word “gentle”.

The Smiling Scholar, Ye Qiu Sheng.

This person who silently and unknowingly appeared by the wall’s gate, was actually Tai Shang Sect’s Smiling Scholar.

Shen Chang Ge slightly narrowed his eyes. The first time he met this person was within the secret territory five years ago when Jiu Xuan Sect and Yu Shou Sect fought against each other, part of those onlookers who they did not know were planning to just be a spectator or planning to be an old fisherman, of Tai Shang Sect. After this, when Shen Chang Ge was taking on sect assignments, he also had a few encounters with Ye Qiu Sheng.

Both parties had fought several times. Although they did not go all out, he understood the other person was not a simple character.

Only, why would Ye Qiu Sheng appear here? Tai Shang Sect was located in the Tu Qi dynasty’s northern region within the snowy ranges, located on the border between Tu Qi and Hu Ji’s[3] southern region. The Medicine Valley was situated at Tu Qi’s southwest border with Chen. If Ye Qiu Sheng was attending the Medicine Valley Master’s birthday celebration from Tai Shang Sect, he would go down southwest, and by that reason, he should not appear within Chen’s Yan Men Prefecture that was not far from Jiu Xuan Sect.

Who(ghosts) knew how that kind of freezing place with constant snow throughout the year did not freeze that last-named Ye’s face off yet.

“Shouldn’t have Tai Shang’s people already arrived at the Medicine Valley at this time by now? Or is it that Scholar Ye toured through the country so much that he even forgot how to get back to the sect?” Shen Chang Ge did not have the slightest interest in what a mess of the Spirit Star deity was, but when he saw Ye Qiu Sheng using the manner of selling a story just like the stale Xiu Cai with long-winded speeches, he directly opened his mouth to cut it off.

Regarding Ye Qiu Sheng’s nickname of a “Smiling Scholar”, the last word was certainly not randomly added in.

This first-rate disciple of Tai Shang Sect was one of an eccentric nature. His path to cultivating immortality was nowhere close to Tai Shang’s serious and earnest understanding of how the sky and earth were black and yellow, and throughout the year, he would dress as a book scholar with unstable whereabouts. What he knew about the most were the various and plentiful legends and common customs. His behaviour was also very strange- when his blood surged, he always liked to spout an unceasing flow of words to talk about various allusions and literature.

More often than not, halfway through when this person was fighting with another, they would then suddenly take interest in the other person’s weapon in their hand or clothes on their body and go on and on about it. This kind of stale Xiu Cai-like rambling would make his opponents choke on the breaths just stuffed in their chests, unable to go either up or down. Shen Chang Ge once fought with him, and as a result, halfway through fighting, this person suddenly went off and preached about the weave on Shen Chang Ge’s clothes and where it was produced, its quality, how it should be matched and so on and so forth…… when Shen Chang Ge listened to it, he was anxious to have him poisoned mute with the fan, but unfortunately, the two’s strength was almost the same. Ye Qiu Sheng could not heavily injure Shen Chang Ge, nor could Shen Chang Ge poison him mute.

At present, this Tai Shang scholar was obviously in high spirits, and very much was in a manner of talking a lot about the whole life of this administrator who had been erected a temple as a deity.

Shen Chang Ge did not want to give him this chance to drop his book bag[4], and straightly cut off the topic.

“Reprentative Shen’s manners is as anxious as ever.” Ye Qiu Sheng who was cut off raised his eyebrows, “I heard that the north’s upper skies had a fog raptor appear. This lowly one is merely a book scholar, and does not dare meet head on with that ominous thing, so naturally, the speed in which this one have been travelling with is a bit off. However……”

He paused in his words, and the entire person’s figure unexpectedly disappeared from its original position.

Jiu Xuan’s disciples turned alarmed inside. Though Ye Qiu Sheng was dressed like the common realm’s scholar, and acted with the conduct of a stale Xiu Cai, the reason why the Smiling Scholar could be renowned throughout the country was not merely due to that varied knowledge of his. Before, Ye Qiu Sheng had appeared in front of everyone’s vision without a sound, and now yet again, he disappeared from everyone’s sight without a single sign.

clang——

Just when the remainder of the Jiu Xuan inner-sect disciples turned frightened inside, He Zhou who stood by Bai Li Shu’s side suddenly took one step forward. No one could make out his movements, and the long sabre on his back was already unsheathed and cut down heavily to the front.

They only heard the sound of metal clashing, and a figure suddenly appearing in front of Bai Li Shu- it was no other than the Ye Qiu Sheng who suddenly disappeared from everyone’s sight without a shadow or trace. They did not know what he used to block He Zhou’s strike either, but when everyone looked, they only saw his sleeves sway and take a step back.

He Zhou who made this strike dully snorted. His figure swayed, but stood in his original position without moving at all.

Even after having someone see through his trail, Ye Qiu Sheng did not have a single sliver of bewilderment on his face, and instead continued to hang a warm smile. He raised both his hands to let everyone see that his hands were completely empty, without anything, “Friends of Jiu Xuan, please do not misunderstand. This lowly one most certainly was not thinking to make a surprise attack, however……”

Under Jiu Xuan disciple’s ill gaze, Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly shifted the topic.

“To say it was not a surprise attack seems to not be it either. Stealing a fragrance[5] should be considered a kind of refined surprise attack, no?”

Stealing a fragrance? What stealing fragrance?

Don’t mention the remaining Jiu Xuan inner-sect disciples, even He Zhou, a core disciple, did not understand what Ye Qiu Sheng meant by this stealing fragrance immediately.

“This certain Ye, five years ago, once pleaded Jiu Xuan’s elders for Young Lord Bai Li to form a couple, but unfortunately, Lord Bai Li only had the heart to cultivate, and Qiu Sheng could only return with regret. At present, I heard that Lord Bai Li was hurrying here, and with a look, it was hard to restrain one’s own feelings.” It was as if Ye Qiu Sheng did not see Jiu Xuan’s disciples all blacken their faces, and continued while smiling, “It’s the supposed saying of when dying under the peony flowers, even becoming a ghost would be admirable[6], but unfortunately, this fragrance had not been successfully stolen.”
Once Ye Qiu Sheng mentioned it, everyone remembered this matter. At first when Senior Bai Li was recorded on the rankings of the
Twelve Beauty Records, among the numerous people who went up to Jiu Xuan Sect to pay a visit with intentions to become a couple with Senior Bai Li, there was someone from Tai Shang Sect.

To say it this way means…… the person from Tai Shang Sect who had intended to form a couple with Senior Bai Li at the beginning was actually this shameless bastard?

clang——

A series of sounds of blades and swords coming out of their sheaths resonated, and Jiu Xuan’s disciples furiously drew out their own weapons. This last-named Ye truly was shameless to the extremest! To think with this hideous and revolting face of his, even he had the face to go up to Jiu Xuan and ask for Senior Bai Li to become mates? Pei[7]! Has the toad dreamed of eating swan meat[8] to the point it turned crazy?!

—— You even want to delusionally attempt to steal a fragrance? They who had been serious and earnest Jiu Xuan disciples for several years managed to only see Eldest Brother just once, yet this fellow thought quite beautifully, he wants to take Senior Bai Li’s advantage with this
weight of his too? Go and keep dreaming of spring and autumn[9].

“Senior, this person is very discourteous towards you. Please allow us to teach him a lesson!” The Jiu Xuan inner-sect disciples filled with righteous indignation pleaded for a battle, with each and every one of them steaming with murderous intent.

They didn’t know what Jun Wan Bai and the other actual leaders of the various peaks and ranges had in mind, but they too did not say anything and tacitly allowed their juniors’ actions. Seeing Bai Li Shu unwell was one matter, but having someone attempt to take advantage of Bai Li Shu was another. He Zhou who had unsheathed his sword just now snorted, and shook his blade.

“I say, last-named Ye, you have the nerves to still call yourself a scholar, yet you don’t even understand what it means for a person to be rich in having self-awareness?”

[1] the previous Chen, essentially.

[2] 秀才- to refer to a scholar, or someone who passed the first(county) of the imperial exams.

[3] 忽吉- Suddenly(hu) auspicious/lucky(ji).

[4] 掉书袋- to display all of the person’s learning and knowledge, essentially. With excessive fondness over literary quotations and historical allusions.
[5] 偷⾹- in literal sense, to steal away a ‘fragrance’, though the 偷character should mean secretly ( 偷偷), but for purposes of the sentences following, this is going to be how it’s translated for this chapter. On one hand, it could mean how a woman was (secretly) in love with a man, but it
also means to have an illicit relationship, engage in adultery with another person (in secret). A surprise attack (偷袭) is making a raid/assault in secret on someone. Either way, is ‘stealing’.
[6] 牡丹花下死, 做⿁也⻛流- a line in which expresses how the person(often a woman) was so beautiful, that even warriors of great ability would fall for it. Give up everything only to pursue this woman’s love. ⻛流(admirable) can also mean, talented/romantic when in reference to scholars (as I have used in the chapter title), or loose/amorous (back when I described Shen Chang Ge).

[7] 呸- an onomatopoeia for spitting. [8] 癞蛤蟆想吃天鹅⾁- a longer expression for what is simply having zero self-consciousness/awareness.

[9] 春 秋 ⼤ 梦 - in simpler words, to have unrealistic thinking. The expression was derived from how rulers of each of their countries only paid
attention to keeping their positions. While Qin was trying to decimate the other six countries to unite it as one, those rulers still continued to have goals of becoming their rulers, dreaming about pointless things.

Chapter 33

Chapter Thirty-Three, the Mishap of the Qing Ming, Jiu Xuan’s Branch Sect. (⻘冥失事, 九⽞分门)
“Gentlemen move their mouths, not their hands.” Ye Qiu Sheng once again retreated two steps back, and raised his hands, “I am only a reader who has nothing to do but read books in their free time, who is only attempting to speak of romantic affairs with a beauty. To go around killing really does not coincide with a gentleman’s etiquette.”

“A thing like engaging in adultery is not something that a book reader should be doing.” Jun Wan Bai coldly drew out the longswords she was temporarily using after having lost her bone swords in the mean time, “Since you’ve already mentally prepared yourself to die under peonies as a ghost is admirable, then Scholar Ye would probably not mind serving as fertilizer once, right?”

“There should also be plenty of beauties under the netherworld too.”
The Li Xin with a gloomy aura opened his mouth with a cold tone of speech.

“Scholar Ye, it’s you who is in the wrong.” Qin Jiu flung around his flask of wine with a smile, “I remember three years ago, the eldest disciple sister of He Huan Sect[1] was willing to use a thousand jin of high quality spirit stones to plead to see Senior Bai Li once, but Scholar Ye right now you’ve looked at our Eldest Brother this many glances, how much money do you plan on paying up?” “Frivolous and discourteous, a shameless person.” Chu Zhi Yuan holding onto his longsword said with a grave expression.

Shen Chang Ge couldn’t even be bothered to open his mouth and say something to Ye Qiu Sheng, and opened his folding fan with a woosh. The Tai Ji diagram of the Yin and Yang interacting slowly rotated, and the newly stored White-Blue venom within the frame of the fan was ready to shoot out at any time.

“……” The smile on Ye Qiu Sheng’s face almost could not hang on. From the looks of it, Jiu Xuan’s disciples were really going to hack at him with sabres and swords, so he hurriedly called out in a loud voice for injustice, “Wait, wait, Lord Bai Li, I have rushed over here from a long distance worn away by such a long journey to inform you the Qing Ming tower has had a change. Is this how everyone is going to treat a good-willed person?”

—— The Qing Ming tower has had a change.

When he heard these few words, Bai Li Shu who had just coldly stood by from the beginning, who had no reaction to Ye Qiu Sheng’s out-of- tune words finally raised his eyes, with a pair of pupils akin to being sealed in ice looking towards the lone Ye Qiu Sheng dressed as a Confucian scholar.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s face still held a smile. Although he held up his hands, with a careful look at his eyes, there was not a single bit of panic or nervous expression in them.

“Stop.” Bai Li Shu called out all of Jiu Xuan’s people who were about to move.

Ye Qiu Sheng let down his hands, and fixed his clothes with a look of gentleness and courteousness, where one could not make out the scholar who was just speaking out frivolous and dissolute words. His tone turned solemn, and was no longer that frivolous, “I’m afraid the fog raptor everyone met with was not an accident.” Once he said this, Jun Wan Bai and others slightly froze, and their expressions also turned serious. These few days, during the time they recovered from their injuries, they also once had this suspicion pass through their minds. A being that existed in the legends such as the fog raptor already disappeared from the vast lands of the twelve dynasties for far too long, so for one to unexpectedly show up at this time truly gave people a ominous feeling.

Jiu Xuan’s disciples were waiting for Ye Qiu Sheng to say something, but who knew with a turn of his gaze, the topic also followed along and switched, “This place is unsuitable for a long discussion. Everyone, why don’t we first head inside the city?”

His words were fair and reasonable- the place outside the outer walls was certainly not a place to discuss about this matter in detail, only, Ye Qiu Sheng’s tone combined with the things he said just a while ago, no matter what, gave people a kind of feeling that he was extremely lacking in a beating.

Everyone looked towards the expressionless, indiscernible if happy or angry Bai Li Shu. Under the embrace of the big cloak of silver, the thin youth turned more and more solitary and distant, and carried a disposition of not being dyed in the mortal dust.

Bai Li Shu looked at Ye Qiu Sheng once, then immediately turned and walked towards the inside of the city.

He Zhou coldly snorted, put away his sabre and followed in Bai Li Shu’s footsteps. Jun Wan Bai’s pair of blades turned out a set of beautiful, menacing sparks in the air and also followed with Bai Li Shu’s pace.

While watching Jiu Xuan Sect’s unconcealed ill-will and intimidation, Ye Qiu Sheng shook his head.

Aye, it had been so difficult to see his beloved once again, how is it that there are still so many waves to go through, to not even let a person properly offer some hospitality. ◈◈◈
Within Yan Men Prefecture, Jiu Xuan’s branch sect.

The branch sect of Jiu Xuan Sect in Yan Men Prefecture was located at the city’s southern region where the terrain was highest, and at the same time, was where the spiritual energy was most plentiful. The government official temple that Yan Men Prefecture was guarding was to the east side of Jiu Xuan Sect’s branch, but if one were to speak of how much space it took, the space that Jiu Xuan’s branch sect occupied was twice as big as the official temple. On that path to Jiu Xuan’s branch sect, Bai Li Shu’s group passed by several big and gorgeous restaurants, where all those building’s plaques had the ancient character of “Nine”.

That was Nine Provinces Private Bank’s symbol.

It could be said that the Nine Provinces Private Bank world-known for its commerce had their figures present within each corner of the twelve dynasties. As for exactly how much wealth the Nine Provinces Private Bank possessed, it was likely no one knew, but even the Huang Ling dynasty that was the most hostile towards the Central Plain’s sects even had Nine Province Private Bank’s trade route present.

There was once a business owner of Nine Provinces Private Bank that said after being very drunk, “Gods and ghosts are hard to use money on to ask for directions, but even if the Nine Provinces’ roads are dangerous, I alone will go.”

If one can use money to get ghosts to mill, as long as it was something that can be solved with money, then don’t go picking fights- this was the Nine Provinces Private Bank’s rules that they regarded as the golden law.

On principle, once Tai Shang Sect’s Ye Qiu Sheng reached this Yan Men Prefecture, he should stay in the inns that Nine Provinces Private Bank opened, but this fake scholar dressed in Confucian robes brazenly said, “With that Nine Provinces Private Bank group of squeezing black-hearted businessmen, to stay one night, this poor scholar’s wallet would no doubt be emptied. Do look and take in consideration for me having overcoming much difficulty this trip to divulge information, Jiu Xuan’s brothers and sisters, and lend a place for me to stay?” Thus, followed them to Jiu Xuan’s branch sect the entire way.

Jiu Xuan branch sect’s disciple residences.

Since the main sect’s people came, the elders of the branch sect did not dare to neglect them, and gave them the best residence to rest in the branch sect.

It was a tranquil single courtyard, and in the yard grew a fragrant and grey spirit pagoda tree. Under the spirit pagoda tree were several stone stools and a circular stone table in the middle, able to offer a place for people to take a rest.

All the core disciples sat in the room facing south, while Ye Qiu Sheng sat to the opposite of the Jiu Xuan disciples, and was faintly surrounded in the middle, as though as long as he had some odd movement, the others would form a herd and attack him.

Bai Li Shu remained sitting nearby the window, slightly hanging down his eyes, with a face of no expression.

“Actually, even if you guys did not meet with the fog raptor halfway, you would not reach Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower any way.” On the contrary, Ye Qiu Sheng had no consciousness of everyone being on guard, with his expression unhurried, “I was travelling from the northern part of Rong[2] Province by a flying vessel, but when I drew close to Bing Province, I suddenly lost my orientation. If I did not have a bit of knowledge on constellations, at that time, I should have already flown to that Huang Ling where not even birds go to take a dump[3].”

“Losing orientation? How is that possible?” Chu Zhi Yuan knitted his eyebrows. Not only him, other than Bai Li Shu, the other remaining people’s expression slightly had a change to it. Ever since Guan Ling improved the Qing Ming tower and after each place’s Qing Ming towers successfully connected together, in the long time following it, there would no longer be this kind of thing happening. The significance of the Qing Ming towers were quite major, so once Ye Qiu Sheng said he lost his orientation, it immediately drew in everyone’s attention.

“Not just me.” The tone in which Ye Qiu Sheng used to talk about this matter really did not sound like he was talking about proper business, and on the contrary was much more like a tea house storyteller gossiping about the country’s rumours, full of enthusiasm like watching a good drama, “With Bing Province as the epicentre, all the flying vessels within a certain range would lose its orientation. The people of the Eight Sects attempted to use the connection between Qing Ming towers to get in contact with Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower…… However, we of the Tai Shang Sect already failed, so other sects should be not much different. Thus……”

“Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower has been met with a mishap.”
Ye Qiu Sheng used a tone like narrating legends of wild beasts, and put down his verdict.

The Qing Ming tower has been met with mishap.

Chu Zhi Yuan and others’ faces completely turned grave. They were all the sect’s elite, and naturally understood the possibility these few simple words could cause. Just that……

If the Qing Ming tower had an accident, and lost its orientation, the Black-Plumed Light Vessel should have lost direction to be correct. However, these few days, the Black-Plumed Light Vessel continued to fly like usual, and continued to precisely land outside Yan Men Prefecture. Since none of they actually perceived that the Qing Ming tower had an accident, then that would mean after Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower had a mishap, there was someone who continued to work out the route according to the constellations, and correctly, without error, operated the flying vessel.

That person…… Chu Zhi Yuan and others put their gazes towards the youth that sat by the window.

At this time in the room, Bai Li Shu took off the silver-coloured big cloak, and wore a suit of white as usual, spotless, and unsoiled by a speck of dust. His features were also as usual, like being covered in snow, cold and indifferent, unable to make out anything from his face.

[1] 合欢宗- To find joy in being with another. We’ll put it that way. I leave it to the imagination as for what this actually means.

[2] 戎- refers to weapons, the army or related affairs, war, or can refer to the term used to refer to people of the west.
[3] ⻦不拉屎的地⽅- or, in the middle of nowhere.

Chapter 34

Chapter Thirty-Four, Colours of the Night Turn Deep, in the Dark is Murderous Intent. (夜⾊深深, 暗有杀机)
When Chu Zhi Yuan and co. cast their gazes over, Bai Li Shu raised his eyes, and calmly looked towards Ye Qiu Sheng, “Tai Shang Sect sent you over to look into it. You should not be here in Yan Men Prefecture.”

This entire time, Ye Qiu Sheng did not mention what he had to do when he knew Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower had a mishap, but Bai Li Shu instead used a declarative tone and directly spoke of the mission he had.

Ye Qiu Sheng slightly paused, and subsequently laughed, “Lord Bai Li is clever, as expected.”

These words of his without a doubt tacitly admitted to what Bai Li Shu said of Tai Shang Sect sending him forward to look into the matter of the Qing Ming tower in Bing Province.

“No helping it, who let me be the closest to Bing Province, and made me be sent over to carry out this straining and unfruitful task.” Ye Qiu Sheng let out a long sigh, with a considerable bit of heart and headache, “Had I known this earlier, I would have ran far away. Touring scenic places and finding historical sites cannot possibly compare to this kind of miserable errand to make one happy. However, this was most certainly me and Lord Bai Li’s one destined…… Wait, wait, don’t just randomly swing your blades and swords!” Ye Qiu Sheng’s tone of voice was a bit exaggerated, yet his feet slightly jumped, and slipped back along with the chair, avoiding Jun Wan Bai’s sword that struck down.

“They all say women change moods faster than anything, the forefathers truly don’t deceive me.”    When Ye Qiu Sheng saw the the fierce traces of the sword strike, he said this with a lingering shock.

“Men are not necessarily slow at changing moods either.” Shen Chang Ge suddenly opened up his fan.

“Jiu Xuan’s fame has been long heard of, so this lowly one at this time has come to cooperate with everyone.” Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression instantly turned proper, with a look of a formidable scholar. As though in agreement with Shen Chang Ge’s words, the speed in which the man’s face changed was not slow either.

Bai Li Shu slightly raised his hand, signalling everyone to stop and listen to what Ye Qiu Sheng had to say next.

“Since Lord Bai Li you long already knew of the matter of Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower meeting with a mishap, I think you’ve already also contacted the sect’s elders.” When Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression turned solemn, it carried a bit of the disposition of a Confucian student who had the country in mind, with a span of greatness between his features, “Yu Shou Sect is also not far from Bing Province, so their speed should be more quicker than us. I think the friends of Jiu Xuan should not be unfamiliar with their conduct. From the looks of it, everyone has some wounds. As I am alone, if at the time I were to go against them, I am afraid it would not be a good matter. Since it is like this, why don’t we go together?”

The words Ye Qiu Sheng said before were mostly unreliable, but as for Yu Shou Sect, what was said about them were not empty words.

The hatred between Yu Shou Sect and Tai Shang Sect could date back to several hundred, even over a thousand years ago, and on that year, it almost caused a disaster effecting the entire cultivating realm with just the Qing Ming tower. The grudge between Jiu Xuan Sect and Yu Shou Sect didn’t have as much of a “long historical standing”, however, the two parties each had unceasing conflict, only with just that little bit left before completely ripping off any pretenses.

At present, due to Jiu Xuan’s previous encounter with the fog raptor, the important core disciples each carried wounds. Under this kind of circumstance, if they were to get in a fight with Yu Shou Sect, they would probably not gain the upper hand. And they did not know what reason was, but Ye Qiu Sheng was only by himself at this time, so if he went up against Yu Shou Sect that group of half-crazy bastards, he would also probably not gain much advantage either.

It was just as Ye Qiu Sheng said- with this situation, both parties would benefit for them to join together.

Only……

Jun Wan Bai’s fingers slowly brushed the top of the sword, and her gaze was just like a blade, fiercely looking at Ye Qiu Sheng whose face bore a smile. She did not understand all that much regarding Ye Qiu Sheng, however, from the several times of half-real half-probing strikes, Jun Wan Bai could already perceive that this person’s true strength was probably not as harmless as his person looked.

The other people thought just about the same as Jun Wan Bai. At this time, no one said anything, and instead subconsciously waited for Bai Li Shu’s decision.

Bai Li Shu did not say anything, and instead took out a voice transmission jade tablet. He poured in a sliver of primordial energy into it, and Yi He Ping’s voice came out of it- it was an order to ask them to first go to Bing Province to look into the Qing Ming tower’s changes.

“We will first fully rest here, then move the next day.”      Bai Li Shu lightly said this, and did not refuse Ye Qiu Sheng’s suggestion.

Ye Qiu Sheng did not have any objections to Bai Li Shu’s suggestion of a full rest either. Yan Men Prefecture was originally one of the prefectures under Bing Province, and was also one of the cities closest to Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower. He presumed that Bai Li Shu originally planned to take a rest close to Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower, and once there was movement, it would be a good place to quickly head there from.

The conversation ended here, and Ye Qiu Sheng seemed to finally learn how to look at some glances. Within He Zhou and others’ ill-will gazes, he gave a bow and dejectedly returned to the room Jiu Xuan’s branch provided.

◈◈◈
When Bai Li Shu and others as well as Ye Qiu Sheng who showed up half-way headed to Yan Men Prefecture, it already turned late. After the conversation finished, the skies and plains were enveloped in the night’s colours, and the pitch-blackness integrated into one. In Yan Men Prefecture, aside from the marketplace and the official temple’s residences that had bright lights, all was a span of ghastly silence. This place also had, for strategic purposes, passing gates[1] enclosing it, and not far from the outer gates, were mountains like walls of knives.

Within the night, the mountains were like prostrating ancient beasts, eyeing this little city.

When Jun Wan Bai woke up from her meditation and recovery, the flow of her primordial energy was much more smoother than the past few days. She sighed a long breath a relief, stood up and draped on her robes, then walked to the side of the window.

Her room was located in the east side of the courtyard. Looking outside from her window, she could see the room towards the south separated by the courtyard’s spirit pagoda tree faintly seeping out light from the window. Other than Bai Li Shu’s room, other people’s rooms’ lights were all put out. Jun Wan Bai knitted her eyebrows, and after a long time, sneered, then closed the window with intent to go take a rest. At the instant Jun Wan Bai was about to close her window, a falling leaf fleetingly fell in front of her.

Jun Wan Bai’s expression slightly changed, and the hand closing the window paused and abruptly withdrew. The sword hilt slipped out quietly from her sleeves, and was gripped in her hand.

During nightfall, the air was suffused with cold air, and in the courtyard, there was only a faint slight wind passing by. Jun Wan Bai concentrated and listened, and in the next moment, she moved, and slipped out of the room without a sound.

The deep blue-coloured robe was made of some unknown fabric- in the air, the surface of the robe swirled about like flowing water, soundlessly circulated within the slight wind, and did not let out a single sound.

Although there was wind within the yard, it could not make a leaf fall in front of her with that kind of gesture.

There was someone who left their room in the middle of the night. Who?
In an instant, Jun Wan Bai thought to Ye Qiu Sheng who resided in the north-facing room. Following the traces her spiritual insight caught on, she went off in pursuit, with the pair of swords in her hands tightly gripped, ready to swing at any given time.

When she quietly passed by Bai Li Shu’s rooftop, she could faintly hear Bai Li Shu underneath the roof lowly cough a few times. Without any time for Jun Wan Bai to carefully listen, within her perception, a figure swiftly swept out from the left side. That figure’s speed was extremely fast, so fast that if Jun Wan Bai had not understood the concept of “impermanence” just a few days ago, she would be unable to catch onto it at this time.

Without any time to carefully think over it, Jun Wan Bai left in
pursuit. The black figure in the night seemed ghastly. It went out from Jiu Xuan’s branch, passed by the official temple, and quickly rushed towards the outside of the outer gates. Jun Wan Bai concealed her figure and quickly followed closely. Outside the inner city were all short houses, with pretty much no lights. That figure flew past under the rooftop of a farmer’s house.

Jun Wan Bai followed towards the farmer’s house’s eases.

After a turn, that black figure in front disappeared. Jun Wan Bai slightly went blank, and her figure took a pause.

It was also at this moment when she paused, that a figure from the corner of the eaves to Jun Wan Bai’s back soundlessly hung upside down, and within the darkness, a strike flashed out with a warp, directly towards Jun Wan Bai’s head.

[1] 隘门- A type of construction put around cities that close during the night time, built to stop invasions of thieves.

Chapter 35

Chapter Thirty-Five, the Blade of Darkness, Demons in the Alley. (⿊暗之刃, 胡同有妖)

Turns out the other person already discovered there was someone behind their tail. At the time he turned around the house, he did not move forward, but instead flipped up onto the low eaves.

Jun Wan Bai followed him and turned to the low eaves, and when she looked to the front, the other person’s figure had already disappeared from her eyesight. And he instead became like a bat that hung down from the rooftop, then wound around to Jun Wan Bai’s back, and let out a lethal strike.

The blade was dark, gloomy, and gentle, as though bats in the dark night quietly brushing by. This person’s swordsmanship did not conform to the principles of the sword that the masters held in esteem, upright and arrogant, but instead carried a demonic, gloomy and cold concealment. The speed in which the sabre was swung was extremely fast, yet also did not carry a sound of wind with it.

This swordsmanship was meant for sneaking within the darkness, specially born to be used for killing people.

The person swinging the sabre had extreme confidence in their strike. The extremely deep colours of the night supplied a natural cover for his blade, and after Jun Wan Bai abruptly lost his tracks, her concentration was focused in the front, and so could not possibly think that the attack would come from the back. clang——

Within the darkness, sparks suddenly burst forth.

The surprise-attacker’s strike made under the perfect opportunity was blocked. Just as the edge of the blade was on the verge of making contact, Jun Wan Bai’s knees suddenly bent, and the entire person lowered down. Then just like a falling leaf, she weightlessly flew forward a fair distance. At the same time she flew forward, the pair of swords she constantly gripped in her hands raised up, and crossed together to fend off the top, very dangerously receiving this one strike that came from the back without a sound.

When she blocked the other person’s falling strike, Jun Wan Bai’s calf abruptly flared up with strength, and the pair of hands supporting the blades followed along and raised up. The crossed pair of swords erupted up with strength and forcefully swept apart the other person’s sabre, then the two crescent moon-like strikes flew towards the front of the other person. This was a deadly strike in the same fashion- Jun Wan Bai’s sword and the person herself typically did not leave any leeway.

However, the other person blocked her pair of swords the same!

To one’s surprise, the other person was very familiar with Jun Wan Bai’s swordsmanship. The instant the blade had been fended off, the hand carrying the sabre turned, the forearm crooked, and changed from a strike down to a smash. The sabre’s hilt carrying a heavy sound of the wind was a change from the previous tenderness, and came smashing down. The heavy back of the sabre came down, borrowing the sabre’s own weight to confront against Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords strength with strength.

Not only that, the other person also used the strength from the weight of the crush to have Jun Wan Bai’s pair of blades pressed in reverse, where the keen blade of the sword pressed onto herself.

This was the “force” from the cultivation of the sabre- by borrowing the absolute power and the normally invincible dominance, like an emperor descending down, frighten the other person, and force them to trade blows head-on.

However, Jun Wan Bai did not give him this chance to trade blows head-on at all. At the time the heavy sabre pressed back the pair of swords, her swords changed in the next moment, and abruptly went from a fierce and overbearing thunderstorm to a misty and lingering light breeze.

The tip of the sword was like flowing vapour, lightly floating away from the other person’s strike, and the person once again was just like a leaf being taken away by the wind, suddenly floating up, and flying towards the back.

The one strike with a heavy momentum struck down, only to cut into the air. The one blade that missed with a look was going to cut down into the ground, but the sabre with the strength like a mountain on the contrary abruptly dispersed. Once the body of the blade turned, it once again recovered its gracefulness akin to a ghost from the beginning, lightly brushing past, sticking close to the ground, without a single speck of dust coming up.

The moment the other person forcefully stopped, it originally would have been the best moment to take advantage and go on the offence, however, Jun Wan Bai instead slightly withdrew the pair of blades, and the tip of the sword hung down.

“Half-Crazed Li?” “Last-named Jun?”

At pretty much the same time, the two people who traded blows in the darkness opened their mouths.

That person who hung down from the rooftop took one step in front. He held a sabre, with a body of black clothes that melted into the deep and sunken night. His expression was a pale-white, and with a sudden look, would seem like a ghost walking in the dark night.

This person was not Ye Qiu Sheng, but Li Xin. “Why is it you?”         “Why is it you?”          And pretty much said in unison, the two people’s eyes were full of astonishment.

“I discovered someone secretly went out, so that person was you?” Jun Wan Bai knitted her eyebrows as she asked.

So it turned out, during the middle of the night, Li Xin who was in the middle of mediation perceived the neighbouring Ye Qiu Sheng soundlessly leave his room. Towards this fake scholar who came in halfway through, he did not trust him from the very beginning, and thus followed behind him the entire way. He didn’t think that the sounds of movement at the time he left were coincidentally felt by Jun Wan Bai, who thus also followed out.

After trailing halfway through, Li Xin had lost the other person’s tracks, and just at this time, he sensed there was someone behind him trailing, and thought Ye Qiu Sheng discovered him tailing and so turned to sneak to his back. Because of this, there would then be that one fight between Jun Wan Bai and him.

Li Xin and Jun Wan Bai looked at each other.

At this time, the farmer who was woken up by the sounds of their swords and sabres clashing just now already got out of bed, and called out while groping around to get some light. Jun Wan Bai flew up the houses’ ridges a few times and flickered into a secluded alleyway.

“Where did you lose that last-named Ye?” Jun Wan Bai’s forehead still continued to be wrought.   She faintly had a feeling. Ye Qiu Sheng came here not merely just for the “cooperation” he spoke of, but had another objective. But they also did not know what the other person had planned, so this made Jun Wan Bai have a slight bit of irritation.

Li Xin slightly raised his chin, “Just here. Once he entered this alleyway, I couldn’t see his figure.”

“Here?” Jun Wan Bai turned and looked all around. This was a fairly ordinary little alleyway, pitch-black in colour. The walls on the two sides also grew some lichen, while the air was moist and cold. It looked to have nothing out of the ordinary.

Jun Wan Bai looked around carefully, but inside, she did not have much hope. Even if Ye Qiu Sheng originally did not perceive them tailing him, with the sounds from their fight just now that big, by now, he should already know.

But Li Xin who had once lived on after encountering the Gui demon had a even more higher sensitivity to the darkness than Jun Wan Bai.

He held his sabre, and after slowly looking around once, his gaze stopped at a corner.

Jun Wan Bai turned around, and found him firmly staring at one corner in the alley’s deepest part.

“What?”

While using spiritual insight to transmit her voice, she followed Li Xin’s gaze and attentively looked towards that corner. After looking and looking, she faintly felt there was something not right as well. The blackness of that alley’s deepest part seeped out with a kind of uncommon scent. Even if she used her spiritual insight to perceive it, it was actually still a span of haziness.

When things were unusual, there would definitely be a demon involved.

The pair of swords in Jun Wan Bai’s hand slightly skewed, and made preparations to strike out at any time.

However, in the next moment, without needing Li Xin to answer, Jun Wan Bai too already knew the answer.

tink, tink.

The brief sounds of metal quickly striking the wall came out, and from that deep darkness, a figure fiercely flew out all of a sudden. Between that figure’s slightly moving wrists, several rays of light like meteors sunk into the viscous darkness in the deep part of the alley. From a look at that spacious Confucian robe, that figure was actually Ye Qiu Sheng who Li Xin lost track of.

The other person seemed to have encountered something, and was going up against the darkness right now.

Without another word, Li Xin held his sabre with both hands. The long sabre he was temporarily using came out with a fierce strike with the hazy-grey evil aura veiling the blade, then cut towards Ye Qiu Sheng’s back without any mercy.

Chapter 36

Chapter Thirty-Six, the Mantis Captures the Cicada, With the Canary At Its Back. (螳螂捕蝉, ⻩雀在后)
“Are Jiu Xuan’s people all nothing but a bunch of motherfucking madmen who only raises a hand without even greeting someone?! Not even a bit of spirit for the principles of martial arts[1]!” Ye Qiu Sheng yelled loudly. As his figure suddenly turned over, the edge of the blade scraped by his cheeks. The fierce aura of the sabre could not be seen with any indication of wanting to leave any mercy.

“The person who sneakily slipped out in the middle of the night has no right to say this.” Tightly following was Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords. The two swords wrapped with the force of a heavy thunderstorm cut down from midair. From looking at the stance, it was practically a death vow to have Ye Qiu Sheng cut into two halves by the waist.

“How ruthless! Don’t go settling personal grudges with official business at this kind of time!”   Ye Qiu Sheng raised his hands, and two darts of plum blossom flew out and shot towards the darkness within the alleyway. At this moment, he had thoroughly become a fake scholar—— what kind of scholar would be like him cursing out loud without a single qualm? The frosty cold light that came with the flying plum blossom dart sunk into the darkness and seemed to have hit something. At the same time, Jun Wan Bai’s pair of swords had already arrived with a whiz.

That scene during the morning at the city gates was reproduced once again, and Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure again suddenly completely disappeared from the front. “Let’s leave it at that with internal conflicts! Let’s unanimously fight against the external, alright?!”     Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure appeared behind Jun Wan Bai like a ghost. He looked to be a bit vexed, that his tone even carried a bit of a bad temper.

Li Xin abruptly turned around, with the long sabre once again about to make its strike. Jun Wan Bai to his side instead suddenly blew out a sharp and brief whistle, signalling for him to temporarily stop. The long sabre slightly retreated, and rested at his chest in a half-guard half-alert stance, while Li Xin coldly watched Ye Qiu Sheng. Standing behind him, Jun Wan Bai who faced the deep part of the alley had one of the swords half put up to her chest, one slightly tilted down, and keenly watched in the direction where Ye Qiu Sheng rushed out from.

“Although it’s said that in order to resist the foreign, one must first pacify the domestic, however, you still have the chance to say a few things right now.”         Jun Wan Bai had her back facing Li Xin, while her face was towards the darkness. The sword in her hand faintly had white smoke rising up from it.

From that deep part of the alley, in the thick darkness, heavy sounds of footsteps with a thump, thump, thump, transmitted over. Those sound of footsteps were sluggish and viscous, just like how a person was pulling through a mire while being covered head to toe in water weeds, slowly coming out step by step. Hell[2], this alleyway was actually not that long, and yet the darkness in that deep part was like it was connected to another shady space, deep and without end.

She had also certainly seen a ghost.

The gloomy and cold aura slowly spread out from the alley’s deepest part. In Li Xin and Jun Wan Bai’s field of view, from the little alley’s two walls, black-coloured aura spread out like vines, and tangled upwards like tentacles. The light blue-coloured fog started to rise up at some time, and seeped out with three-parts coldness, and seven-parts a demonic air. 《Customary Stratagems》had this line: When the sky is dark, do not walk around, for the netherworld secretly connects its gates. Do not speak with a loud voice, for fear of frightening the people below the Spring.

—— After the sky turns dark, pedestrians should quickly return home, and not wander onto the streets. When the cold air turns heavy, from some place, there will be an entrance that connects to the netherworld’s big gates appearing. When the thin fog rises, do not make a loud uproar, otherwise, you would awaken the sleeping people of the underworld.

The so-called entrance connecting to the netherworld, was actually due to the accumulation of Yin filth- the cold air[3] would be detained, the earth’s veins would turn eccentric, and thus it would become something that occasionally drew in the netherworld’s cold air, a small-form “ghost realm” that allowed the ghosts to traverse. To break through this ghost realm, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin needed to use a bit of time, especially when the two carried injuries.

“While this young scholar was observing the night skies, this one went and did a bit of divination, and discovered that this place had evil demons haunting it, then had especially rushed here to dispel the evil for the citizens.” Ye Qiu Sheng fixed his clothes. His tone from before was exaggerated, but in truth, he was not even smeared in a bit of mud from head to toe. With a wave of the sleeve, he turned back into the look of a fake scholar with book-like speaking once again, and his face smiled, “The two benevolent brothers of Jiu Xuan Sect, this place’s night ghosts will be turned over you guys to deal with. This certain Ye has a matter at hand, and so will be going first!”

“Last-named Ye!” Jun Wan Bai bit her teeth and cursed, retreated one step, and was back-to-back with Li Xin. At this time, there was something that had already walked out from the darkness that was first forced to retreat by Ye Qiu Sheng—— a big and tall, half-human-like shape. From head to toe, it was wrapped in the hazy black fog, and half seemed like it had a form, yet half seemed like it was immaterial. In the darkness just behind this black figure, it layered and piled up, hazy and obscure, as though there were many more. Within Jun Wan Bai’s raging shout, Ye Qiu Sheng who escaped from the darkness laughed, waved his sleeve and left, passing through the rooftops, and instantly disappeared from these two’s views.

On Jun Wan Bai’s sword, a stream of light moved around. She held the sword’s hilt on a tilt, but after Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure disappeared, she put away her sword.

“Half-Crazed Li.” Faced with the night ghosts approaching more and more closer, Jun Wan Bai’s eyelids lazily raised up. “Don’t dawdle around, hurry up and do something.”

As she said this, a sliver of ruthlessness passed by her face, “Those who dare play tricks on this old lady[4], do not live on well.”

◈◈◈
After giving the slip on Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who was following tightly behind him, Ye Qiu Sheng quickly flew towards the outside of the city.

He actually was not considered to have purposefully played a trick on Jun Wan Bai and co. In the daytime, he had planned to properly cooperate with Jiu Xuan Sect, however, the things he had to do next were truthfully a secret. Even he himself had doubts inside, and it was honestly not convenient to let Jiu Xuan’s people know about it. However, with this, it looks like the cooperation would be a failure. When thinking he had to face against that bunch of barbaric uncultured lunatics that was Yu Shou Sect, it truly made people have some anxiety inside.

Inside, Ye Qiu Sheng lamented with “anxiety”, but his face instead hung a usual smile, with not even a single bit of hesitancy or waver over his features.

Above the outer wall in the gate tower, a young soldier in armour held a long spear and rubbed both his hands. He was cold to the point of shivering a bit, so he lowered his head and breathed into his own palms, and did not sense that there was someone passing through his side like an illusion at all.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s sleeves were wide, so when he passed through the skies, it would be like a big roc floating by. His figure turned and flew towards the direction where they saw that Spirit Star temple in the daytime.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure in the dark and sunken night was like an owl flapping its wings, disappearing with a blink of an eye.

The young soldier in the gate tower swayed, with a bit of sleepiness in his head, and yawned while forcefully maintaining alertness. Suddenly, he faintly heard a low sound of coughing—— that sick old sixth Li did not get better yet? He thought of this, and did not turn his head, nor did he discover that the old sixth Li who he believed to be coughing was actually already leaning against the post and sleeping like a log.

The low coughing sounds only lasted for a bit, then stopped.

The young soldier holding the long spear started stomping his foot at the gate tower, in attempts to make himself warm up a bit.

Just at the time the coughing sound stopped, beneath the outer wall gate, another figure appeared quietly. In the sunken night, that person was draped in a white long robe, with a hood clasped on, covering over the entire face. He walked seemingly slow but actually fast- with one step, the figure stepped out, yet lightly flew out several zhang, floating just like a ghost.

On reason, even if the skies were dark, that person’s white robe should be very easily be discovered.

However, the young soldier standing at the gate tower seemed to have not seen him. He held his long spear and used all his strength to stand straight, extremely alert, yet allowed this kind of suspicious person to float out the outer wall gates. The direction that person went towards was exactly the same as where Ye Qiu Sheng silently headed towards just now.

—— Spirit Star temple.

[1] 武道- principles of the martial arts. Think of it as a code of conduct for martial artists.

[2] ⻅⿁- in literal translation, is to see a ghost. Is also used as a profanity/curse word, in context of when one thought they misheard/saw
something that shouldn’t be, like a ghost. We’re going to be seeing a lot of this.

[3] It should probably be explained that cold air is often associated with evil (Yin), as opposed to Yang which is associated with life and joy.

[4] Not necessarily actually old. Those who use ⽼娘, ⽼爷, ⽼⼦ etc to address themselves indicates a more rough, inelegant speech, typically used among lower-class people or ruffians.

Chapter 37

Chapter Thirty-Seven, Fixed Numbers and Variability, a Thousand-Year Old Secret. (定数⽆常, 千年隐秘)
The place where the Spirit Star temple was located in was not far from the outer gates, just within the fertile farmlands. It was a small square temple in the open, with white walls and grey tiles. Before the temple stood a tablet with some obscure text. On its surface, the origins of the Spirit Star deity were inscribed as well as the memories the later generation had of him. The space inside the temple was not that big either- without the square altar, it merely allowed for a few people to stand.

Ye Qiu Sheng lightly landed in front of the temple, and raised his head to look at this statue of the common realm’s deity.

Underneath the Spirit Star temple, was a secret.

It was for this one point, that he would then rush here from a long ways journey. The Spirit Star temple to the east of Yan Men Prefecture’s outer-wall gates hiding a secret was something he looked into bit by bit by running around the southeast region’s several dynasties for several years. A definite majority of immortal cultivators were far too arrogant, and did not find understanding the common realm’s various things worth anything at all, and precisely because of this, the secret under the Spirit Star temple at Yan Men Prefecture had not been exposed all this time. Thus, he had full assurance and certainty that other than himself, there not one other person who knew. However, the appearance of Jiu Xuan Sect’s people started to make him faintly have a sliver of unease rise up.

Though Yan Men Prefecture was quite close to Bing Province, it was certainly not the closest. Yan Men Prefecture had four outer-wall gates, and yet they insistently also chose the east outer gate. These two coincidences made Ye Qiu Sheng turn alert, or perhaps, the one who truly made him vigilant was that person—— Jiu Xuan’s eldest disciple brother, Bai Li Shu. The one who, after knowing Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower had a mishap, continued to precisely navigate the flying vessel and descend here, Bai Li Shu.

When he heard the news that Bai Li Shu suddenly went out of isolation, Ye Qiu Sheng, after briefly being stunned, recalled the evaluation that Master once had for this person Bai Li Shu, a rather obviously strange evaluation.

—— A fixed number[1].

When that drunken shitty old man who was normally always tipsy said these two words, his tone turned into a seldom seriousness, while his expression had a kind of hard-to-describe feeling…… A feeling that seemed to be approaching a vast grievance, sort of bleakness toward destiny. Ye Qiu Sheng wasn’t that certain whether his own views were correct or not, because once that old man finished, he very quickly returned into his indecent appearance, and rushed him off to go cultivate in a disgusted manner.

The conversation around Bai Li Shu was very short, and was only an incidental mentioning, however, that description from the old man could not be shaken off from Ye Qiu Sheng’s mind the entire time.

At this time when he stood beneath the Spirit Star temple, Ye Qiu Sheng could not help but recall that supposed fixed number conversation again.

Five years ago, at the very last moment, that person suddenly appeared, and with one sword finalizing it, shook the Nine Provinces. At present, today when the winds and clouds faintly sprung up, that person was still like how they were in the beginning, and did not appear within any kind of prior calculation.

Only, what was he up to this time?

Ye Qiu Sheng did not dare be like Jiu Xuan’s disciples and take Bai Li Shu’s words of resting at Yan Men Prefecture as a provisional change in plans after encountering a fog raptor. When they were at the city gates, that person was behind Jun Wan Bai and others, draped in a silver-coloured cloak, and silently stood by. There wasn’t a single hint of surprise in regards to his appearance, nor was he moved by the probing within his words.

What made him uneasy was, Ye Qiu Sheng would always feel that those pair of solitary and calm eyes seemed to be hiding too many, too many concerns underneath.

—— Bai Li Shu, knows something.

Inside the room, when he proposed a request to cooperate, that person’s gaze swept by, as though understanding everything clearly, and his mind could not help but pass by this thought. And it was exactly because of this speculation, that Ye Qiu Sheng resolutely changed his own plans, and chose to come forward in advance in this night of hurried preparations to this little Spirit Star temple.

“Would you be a fixed number, and what kind of fixed number would you be?”

Ye Qiu Sheng muttered to himself, lightly let out a sigh, and took a step into this mortal’s temple.

The Spirit Star temple was not big. The wooden statue of the deity behind the altar maintained a few parts of the demeanour of the Chen administrator, with a body of an official’s clothing. His gaze was distant, as though always peering at the stretch of earth that he deeply loved, and the common people on this earth who he was worried about. Only, along with the passage of time, the lacquer on the statue had some discoloration, and faintly let out a bleak feeling.

Ye Qiu Sheng went around the alter in two circles- his footsteps looked to be a bit strange, like following some ancient method. From his mouth, an abstruse, choppy, and incomprehensible verse of praise was lowly recited. What he used was not from any kind of language any of the dynasties people knew- the syllables were short, and the pitch seemed like a chant, like singing, as though a primitive, ancient civilian going through the sounds one made for a sacrificial rite, with a heavy pressure faintly seeping out.

The pacing and reciting reciprocated in coordination. The more he walked, the faster it got, and the more he recited, the more rapid it was.

In the final moments, his steps were already like a whirling dance, and his voice was connected like a series of muffled thunder.

Within the chant where one could not tell apart the notes, the Spirit Star temple turned yellow. On the white-grey and shedding walls, characters that were not the same as any of the words used in this generation began to emerge one by one—— but rather than calling them words, it would perhaps be better to be called symbols. Those words seemed to be forcefully built into the walls, and within the time of hundreds, thousands of years, it slumbered here, up until today when they had been awakened by Ye Qiu Sheng.

When the last note had fallen, the Spirit Star temple interior was already a span of brilliance, while each of the words that seemed like gold lacquer shined brilliantly on the walls. Ye Qiu Sheng’s forehead was already filled with meticulous sweat. He hung down his hands, stood in front of the statue, then bent over, and very respectfully bowed to this common realm deity.

One, two, three…… eight, nine!

After deeply bowing nine times, the alter shook, and subsequently split into two halves within Ye Qiu Sheng’s gaze, revealing two pitch-black cave entrances(holes), with one to the left, another to the right, that lead off to somewhere. The cold icy wind blew out from the entrances, making people’s fine hairs stand straight.

Ye Qiu Sheng took a look at the statue that worried over the common people, gave a thanks, then took a step into one of the caves resolutely.

Not long after Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure had been swallowed by the cave’s darkness, two jets of strong wind pretty much flew into the Spirit Star temple at the same time.

“We’re late.” The strong winds stopped, revealing Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin’s figures. Jun Wan Bai took a look at the ground’s cave entrances, knitted her eyebrows and hatefully said this.

Ye Qiu Sheng committed a mistake.

Using the ghost realm to trap pursuers was actually not much of a problem, however, today, the ones following him out other than Jun Wan Bai was also Li Xin. And what Li Xin relied on to ascend into the ranks of Jiu Xuan’s core disciples was the Gui demon he previously killed! From
《The Three Emperors’ Handbook· Odd Beast Chapter 》, recorded “an attribute of Yin, who ate evil aura, that connected to the netherworld.”

This was a kind of demonic beast that roamed the borders of the lower world[2].

Li Xin who absorbed the Gui demon’s internal pill, and grasped a portion of the Gui demon’s abilities, could be said to be the number one person among Jiu Xuan’s disciples capable of using Yin aura. He could use the negative and evil air to blanket his own aura, and not be perceived by any demonic beings or ghosts—— and it was precisely due to this one point, that when faced against the fog raptor, Bai Li Shu would then choose to have him conceal his figure to make the first attack.

The Gui demon’s eyes on the “Demon Eyes” blades were able to greatly heighten his concealment to a perfect degree, however, it did not represent that after losing Demon Eyes, he would then lose this capability.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s vigilance was far too high, his actions were cautious, and thus, when they discovered that he purposely used the ghost realm to trap the two, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin did not choose to directly break through it, and instead schemed against his own scheme, then pretended to be held back by the ghost realm. After Ye Qiu Sheng left, Li Xin used the evil air to conceal the two’s aura, and let those things in the darkness have them mistaken as the same kind, and very easily broke away from the ghost realm.

Only, Ye Qiu Sheng’s actions were too fast, so when the two hurried over, they were still late by one step.

Jun Wan Bai took a look all around. The ancient letters on the walls had already started to gradually turn dim, presumed that only with a special method, could it only be summoned out. To think a small mortal temple was actually hiding such things, it practically made people not dare to believe it.

Li Xin was still examining the two cave entrances. Just by merely standing on the top, one could feel that there was a sliver of a dangerous aura down there. Since Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure had already long disappeared, the two people did not exactly know which cave to go in at this time.

Just when the two people were being indecisive, a voice resounded in the two’s minds at the same time.

“Left.”

Jun Wan Bai suddenly raised her head. Her gaze met with Li Xin’s, and each of them saw the other person’s surprise. The voice that resonated in their minds just now was cold, only said a “left” and no longer resounded, as though an illusion. However, the two people knew that was not a hallucination, because they were not unfamiliar with that voice.

—— That was Bai Li Shu’s voice! [1] 定数- or, a definite number. Also used to refer to fate, destiny. If you think in terms of a mathematical equation, even if all the other numbers
change, this number will ‘fix’ it so that the final number/end stays the same. Ensure that the destiny stays on its path.

[2] 阴界, literally translated as Yin realm. Used as an alternative to 阴间, which again is the netherworld, or hell.

Chapter 38

whymustauthorsjustcramsomuchwhentheyenterVIPstatus _(:3」∠)_
Chapter Thirty-Eight, the Place of Buried Bones, the World Underneath. (埋⾻之地, 地底世界)
“Bai Li Shu!”

That voice seemed to have been transmitted from a place far away. Jun Wan Bai rushed out of the small Spirit Star temple and looked all around, yet did not see that familiar thin figure. In the surroundings was a sunken darkness, without a single figure on the farmland outside the city. In the night sky, dark clouds laid over each other, with a sliver blown out by the wind. The moonlight fell, and lit the scenery all around into carrying a slight hint of coldness.

When Jun Wan Bai turned around back to the Spirit Star temple, Li Xin stood at the entrance of the temple, and knit his eyebrows.

He perceived the entire area, and in the same fashion did not discover Bai Li Shu’s traces.

“This bastard.” Jun Wan Bai gripped her sword, and hatefully bit down on her teeth. She was so angry she wanted to kick the altar, but the altar was already toppled over. A strangeness also seeped out from every part of this Spirit Star temple, and did not allow for her to rage on.

Li Xin’s expression was not that well off either, and turned even more sombre. He turned and walked straight towards the hole, and jumped into the left without any hesitation. Jun Wan Bai held her swords and followed him with big steps—— Bai Li Shu was just a lofty jerk. At present, this acknowledgement was even more distinct.

After Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin disappeared into the cave entrance one after another, the dust on the altar trickled down, and the mysterious writing on the walls completely concealed itself, then once again returned to its original appearance. Following the “rumble” sound, the altar closed back, and the little Spirit Star temple of the common realm was just like how it was originally once again, with not one able to tell what happened in this place just now.

Behind the altar, the dead-wooden Spirit Star deity observed all that happened in this dark night.

The wooden statue of the common realm’s deity seemed pitiful, yet merciless.

Down the hole, was a long, natural, stone path. The stone path was not wide, and merely allowed for two people to walk side by side. To the two sides were cut and rough limestone tiles, and beneath their feet was comparatively sturdy granite, separated piece by piece, particularly rough on the surface in the same manner. Jun Wan Bai took out a lamp from her ring for some light, illuminated the surroundings, and discovered that there were many characters inscribed onto the limestone.

“ 《 Tai Yi Record[1] 》.” Jun Wan Bai looked at those characters that were not deeply inscribed, and read the two lines she did recognize.

The so-called 《Tai Yi Record》was one of the scriptures of Tai Shang Sect’s, used to suppress evil. No wonder that fake scholar Ye Qiu Sheng would rush over to Yan Men Prefecture from a long ways. Looks like this place and his Tai Shang Sect had quite a few ties together. Jun Wan Bai held up the lantern and illuminated the front. The pathway was stretched for who-knows-how-long, while series of cold air blew out from the interior. Since there was a 《Tai Yi Record》 that could
suppress evil inscribed in this secret passage, there was probably something
at the end of this. Jun Wan Bai didn’t really understand- with a simple look at the scriptures engraved in this stone path, one would know that the amount of work was probably not small. Then, how has she never heard that someone from Tai Shang Sect once suppressed something here?

Since there was a 《 Tai Yi Record 》 inscribed here, then the direction that Bai Li Shu pointed to should not be wrong, so last-named Ye should also have entered this secret pathway.

“Half-crazed Li, do you want to stay here and go on guard?”

Jun Wan Bai just randomly asked. Don’t look at how they just joined together to play a trick on Ye Qiu Sheng, as a matter of fact, the two’s relationship was definitely not considered to be good. Within Jiu Xuan Sect, it was pretty much the type where they would get in a fight if they saw each other—— and in truth, the relationship between the core disciples were all pretty much like this.

Li Xin coldly snorted, passed by her, and walked towards the deep part of the secret pathway.

◈◈◈
Ye Qiu Sheng alone walked within the dark passage. This path was very rough- around him were all craggy, swelled up rocks lining the sunken darkness, making it more and more ferocious. When Ye Qiu Sheng walked by, the flickering torch in his hand would illuminate it, and the uneven corners of the rocks would drop a dragged out shadow, as though countless demons floated around here.

There’s going to be a day where he’s going to have that shitty old man’s wine all poured into the water.       Ye Qiu Sheng recalled that old man who caused him to run about all day, and once again made a vow. He did not walk fast. As he slowly entered deeper, the rocks on the two sides of the secret path gradually turned more and more ragged, more and more sharp protrusions appeared, and the wind flowing in the secret path turned more and more violent, faintly carrying a hint of moistness.

Ye Qiu Sheng stopped in his steps, and leaned in his ears for a listen. As expected, from the sound of wind, he was able to distinguish the sound of water flowing. If there was wind flowing in the pathway, this meant that this secret pathway definitely connected to a comparatively spacious area. The sound of flowing water was not loud, like it transmitted through layers and layers of rock. It was a bit obscure and unclear, presumed to have a fair distance from his current position.

It looks like the records were not wrong: Beneath the temple is a secret passage, left and right, each. The left goes to the living while the right heads to death. The right connects to a secret river, unable to be crossed, hence the strayed should quickly turn back.

Of the holes that went down, the left side connected to a living path, where the right connected to the territory of death. Yet at present, even with complete knowledge of this, Ye Qiu Sheng still entered the right one.

Even if one was fully aware the mountain had a tiger, they just had to go towards the tiger and enter the mountain.

But there was no helping it. Who let him have only a labouring and busy fate.

Ye Qiu Sheng held up the torch and continued to head inside. To inquire into this place, he went from the south region’s Cang Pu[2] dynasty and chased up to Qi Qin[3] dynasty, and then headed up north to arrive at Bing Province within the Chen dynasty. As for how many roundabout ways he walked in between, he couldn’t be bothered to count.

According to his investigations, the secret passage should connect to this Yan Men Prefecture’s underground river. Yan Men Prefecture was a city in a narrow pass, with Guan valley not far out from the city gates. The castle was constructed within the embrace of these high mountains and ranges, and due to this, not far too deep down from the city was solid rock, and not soil. And the secret river that was connected to the secret passageway of the Spirit Star temple was a portion of the Xuan river that traversed through the city.

A castle’s water vein was just like a city’s blood vessels.

Ye Qiu Sheng investigated how “the Xuan River flows in reverse for no reason” the entire way, and in the end, according to this line combined with other various legends, confirmed the place where that thing was at
—— and just as the shitty old man said, “it” was originally something that caused disorder to the five elements, reversed objects of Yin and Yang, and during the times it woke up, there would be abnormal things occurring.

Calculating in accordance with the pattern of a breath every hundred years, the time of Yan Men Prefecture’s Xuan River flowing backwards for no reason, was exactly in line with the time of its “gasp of breath”.
With precise calculation, it was soon one hundred years again, so Ye Qiu Sheng alone came forward this time with a “lock”.

However, as for what the so-called “it” was exactly, even Ye Qiu Sheng was not very clear, however, he hazily had a faint guess inside of himself.

Ye Qiu Sheng walked inward. The secret passageway gradually turned narrow, and after experiencing a path of pretty much perpendicular decline, the rock’s sharp protrusions on the two sides turned like knives and swords, and in the very end, Ye Qiu Sheng had to turn his body to the side to be able to go through. Thankfully, after the work of walking for half an incense’s time, the sound of wind turned more and more hurried, the sound of water turned more and more louder, and the secret path once again inclined upwards.

After squeezing out from the two rocks, Ye Qiu Sheng’s two feet stepped out, and landed on top of a flat, stone brick.

The secret path full of rocks finally came to an end. When Ye Qiu Sheng raised his head and looked forward, his movements slightly came to a halt.

At the end of the path was a stone room with the top in the shape of a semi-arc, while the ground was laid with orderly stone bricks. The stone room was empty, and directly facing the secret pathway’s exit was a gigantic, heavy, black-iron-cast door. To the side of the door burned a dim blue fire, while the sound of water came out from behind the stone door.

What made Ye Qiu Sheng’s movements pause was not that enormous black-iron door, but the figure standing in front of the door.

—— A person draped in white robes.

He did not know how much earlier the person draped in white had arrived here. The figure collected under the wide robes remained apparently thin. That person straightly stood quietly in front of the door, and seemed to especially be waiting for his arrival.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s left hand held the torch, while the right hand collected within the spacious dark sleeves. Even after having unexpectedly seen this ghost-like person waiting on himself, his face still carried a smile, “Thanks for your long wait, this little scholar is quite terrified.”

Just as he said “terrified”, Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure directly appeared out of thin air in front of that white-robed person.

A sawtooth-like old blade collected within the robe’s sleeves silently struck towards the white-robed person’s throat.

Tai Shang Sect’s Smiling Scholar’s spurious smile was the most merciless. His face would carry a smile, and his mouth that seemed like it was filled to the top with scriptures would be well-mannered like a Confucian scholar, yet under his hand was a killer move that directly took people’s lives.

And it was at the instant he moved, that the white-robed person quietly standing in front of the black-iron door raised their head. Ye Qiu Sheng distinctly saw that face under the hood, and also met with that pair of ripple-less ancient well-like eyes.

[1] 太⼄- Tai Yi could be a reference to several things. First, and most probable, is in relation to Laozi and cultivation- the basis, or origins of what makes up everything in the universe, similar if not actually just primordial energy. It can also refer to 太⼄数, one of the ways of divination (I looked over it and it’s just too much for my goldfish brain so we’ll simply leave it
at that). Another thing it can be referencing is the star, that the English refers to as the beta ursae minoris/the north star. There’s also a pressure point/acupuncture of the same name but it’s highly unlikely this could be referring to that.

[2] 苍濮- nothing much to say for this, as cang has already been fairly thoroughly explained in previous notes. For old, or colours like blue (and by extension, the sky). The pu character is simply a name for an old river in real life, and does not contain any other meaning in itself.

[3] ⻬秦- qi, for neat, orderly, complete. Also read as ji, for the name of a certain type of wine, or alloy. Qin holds no particular meaning, however, it is the same character as the same famous Qin dynasty.

Chapter 39

Chapter Thirty-Nine, the Concealed Chains, Just Like Always. (隐匿之链, ⼀如既往)
The light oil on the arrow gradually burned out, and turned into bits of ash. The light gradually disappeared, and the tens of thousands of fog raptor skeletons on top of their heads once again hid in the darkness. Only, this time when one looked towards that sunken darkness, they would only feel a wave of shapeless pressure enveloping them, making people’s breaths delayed.

“A nest, not so much.” Bai Li Shu put away the longbow and stepped onto the stone stairs, “A place of burial, or perhaps a place of deep slumber, choose one of the two.”

“No matter if it’s a place of burial, or place of slumber, it’s uncanny whichever one you hear. I reckon the former wants us to become sacrifices[1], and the latter, perhaps it wants us to be an alarm clock once, and have them awaken?” Ye Qiu Sheng said, walked out a fair bit, and gave out a path for Bai Li Shu, then the two walked up along the narrow road by the cliff.

Even if one was fully aware the mountain had a tiger, they still went towards the tiger and entered the mountain. Either a highly-skilled person that was extremely brave, or one of desperation, would be said for this type of person. Just that, Ye Qiu Sheng looked towards the indifferent Bai Li Shu- no matter how, he had no way of having this person connected with “a person of desperation” these four words. The earth vein’s crevice gradually closed up from the bottom to top, and thus the more the cliff path went up, the more steeper the incline turned. It formed into a coil, spiralling around the cliff wall. As Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu progressed, a chain deeply nailed into the stone gradually appeared on the side of the cliff road. As Ye Qiu Sheng had said, the black-
iron chains had《Tai Yi Record》written on them with blood essence. Time had passed by so long already that the writing emerged with a rust-like dark-red colour.

From the investigation throughout this path, each black chain at least had one section of the 《Tai Yi Record》 written on it. The 《Tai Yi Record》in total was split into three parts, with ninety-nine volumes, each volume each with nine sections. That is to say, when Kong An wrote 《Tai
Yi Record 》 ten times, it was no wonder he would die from the blood essence falling short in the end, with his soul completely damaged.

Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu continued walking up. Their speed was not slow, and soon, they gradually approached the chains with fog raptor skeletons hanging on them.

“The Heavens and the Earth a black and yellow, in the very beginning[2] was Chaos[3]……”

Ye Qiu Sheng lowly recited the opening verse’s two lines of 《Tai Yi Record’s》final volume’s final section. At this time, he and Bai Li Shu had already stopped in their steps, and stood on top of the cliff path. The flame lit up the surrounding area, and the fog raptors above their heads
already could be faintly seen. Starting from behind the black-iron chain closest to them, the remainder of the tops of the black-iron chains were heavily hung with fog raptor’s skeletons.
To look at these beings that lived within the era of Ten Thousand Immortals at such a close distance made people feel that it was even more extremely terrifying. More further up would be the forest of fog raptor bones, and at this time, the cliff road had already reached its end.

Bai Li Shu took out several fire slips, and with a tremble of a wrist, the fire slips lightly floated up into the air. With a fwoosh sound, the fire slips ignited. Following the fire slip’s illumination, Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu distinctly saw the chains above with fog raptors hanging off it—— although they were black-iron chains the same, however, on those chains, there was no scripture written in with blood essence, and in place of it were ancient characters engraved with a knife.

There was a strong possibility that the fog raptor’s deep slumber was made due to those ancient letters.

The fire slips very quickly burned out.

“The temple’s walls.” Bai Li Shu softly said. Ye Qiu Sheng nodded his head.
The ancient letters inscribed on the surface of the iron chains were the exact same as the lettering on the Spirit Star temple walls.

Since the fog raptors disappeared in the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, those ancient characters on the black-iron chains were definitely not engraved by Kong An. Perhaps it is to say, after Kong An came to this underground area, he discovered that fog raptors above were sealed with the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ remnants. He inspected those words, understood a portion from it, then used those words in his own temple.

Bai Li Shu looked at Ye Qiu Sheng once.

The ancient characters on the temple’s walls were definitely not written by Kong An himself, then…… who was it that wrote those characters on Kong An’s temple’s walls? Tai Shang Sect? It didn’t seem likely. Bai Li Shu’s train of thought raced. He hung down his eyes, and did not mention this point to Ye Qiu Sheng.

The black-iron chains here were apparent that they were not of the same batch. The ones above with fog raptor skeletons hanging from it were left from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, while the remaining ones were nailed in by Kong An. Ye Qiu Sheng estimated, the reason why Kong An would use this kind of method to seal “it” was very likely because it was emulating this method of sealing the fog raptors overhead.

However, at this point, the cliff path here had come to a stop. The original plan of wanting to go along the cliff path to find the connection to the lone island had failed. Heaven’s stairs and stone planks- since the stone planks had come to an end, then what remained for them was only the “Heaven’s stairs”—— if they wanted to go on top of the lone island, they could only go through those giant black-iron chains that traversed throughout the space.

Ye Qiu Sheng raised his hand towards the black-iron chains and attempted to pour in a sliver of primordial energy inside it, but just as the primordial energy was poured in, the letters of the 《 Tai Yi Record 》
written with blood essence on the chains lit up in an instant, brilliant like
fire. Ye Qiu Sheng groaned, and was shaken back a step by the power contained within the black-iron chains, then stumbled onto Bai Li Shu.

As though without any defence, Bai Li Shu slightly swayed from being collided into.

Ye Qiu Sheng stood steady, looked at the black-iron chains, and lightly shook his head, “Looks like we can’t use primordial energy on these black-iron chains, however…… Since we have to go over through these things, whichever one we walk through isn’t walking, so let us switch with a slightly better one.”

As Ye Qiu Sheng said this, he pointed to the top, and meant that it wasn’t worthwhile to walk through those chains that were that close to those ghastly things up top. Bai Li Shu did not pay heed to Ye Qiu Sheng. He walked up front, lowered his head and looked towards the chains that looked to be traversing across and intertwining without order, “The main idea of 《 Tai Yi Record’s》 first three parts is calamity, the middle three parts’ main idea is crossing[4], and the final three parts’ main idea is the sky[5]. Since the right
path and underground river cannot be crossed, the passageway should be
within the Xuan numbers[6]. Tai Yi, also Daoism, the immaterial, so profound[7] that it cannot be expressed.”

Bai Li Shu raised his head.

“Let’s go. There is still one chain that is being hidden.”

◈◈◈
Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin were walking within the hidden passage.

The three-parted, ninety-nine volumes of 《Tai Yi Record 》had already been gradually written to its end. Other than the very beginning portion, it was all a constant downward decline in the hidden path, as though it directly connected with the underground netherworld. However, throughout this journey, they did not discover Ye Qiu Sheng nor Bai Li Shu’s traces.

Jun Wan Bai knitted her eyebrows, and faintly felt something was not right.

Having reached this point in time, they pretty much could confirm that Ye Qiu Sheng should have entered the right-side cave. Then, why would Bai Li Shu purposely point them in the wrong direction?

What exactly was that jerk who always does things without discussing it with others thinking.

“Half-crazed Li, do you feel anything not right.” The secret passage was soon to reach the end, and a tightly shut stone door could faintly be seen within the two’s line of sight. Jun Wan Bai suddenly stopped her steps, gripped her sword, and slowly, carefully studied all around. Just now, she seemed to have faintly heard the sound of water, but there wasn’t any water on the entire way. Jun Wan Bai did not believe that she was hallucinating. She turned around, and her gaze swept through the limestone walls.

After thinking, she walked close to the limestone on the side to the right wall of the secret passageway, and placed her hand there.

Just as the hand was placed on top, Jun Wan Bai’s expression slightly changed—— the limestone underneath her hand was actually shaking.

She was about to open her mouth and call out Li Xin, but at the next moment, she discovered she did not need to remind Li Xin at all. At the time that Jun Wan Bai put her hand on top, a low sound as though muffled thunder coming from underneath resounded in the two’s ears, and the entire secret passage could be seen to be vibrating with the naked eye.

The earthworm was flipping over? Jun Wan Bai’s expression changed, and immediately thought to this possibility.

The vibrations came very suddenly, and disappeared just as fast. However, the effects it created were not small- the limestone slabs on the two sides of the stone path shook out into several cracks. Jun Wan Bai took back her hand, and this time, she could hear it clearly. The sound was coming from the right side of the hidden path—— Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng should be at the right side of the hidden passage.

Jun Wan Bai’s intuition told her, the vibrations this time had to be related to Bai Li Shu.

Since Bai Li Shu himself also entered the secret passage to the right, then why did he let them go into the left passage? What did that person want them to do? “Rather than being over there staring blankly at a rock, I think you best should hold your sword tight and come over here.”        With his back to Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin slowly said this towards the stone door. He gripped the pair of sabres tight, and took a few steps back.       “Also…… Don’t think why he would let us go on the left side. That bastard has found us a hard job to do.”

In front of Li Xin, the stone door at the end of the secret passage that was originally shut tight was shaken open a hair by that intense vibration. A black-coloured aura spread out from the door’s crack like a water snake, carrying a hard-to-describe sinister feeling. When the black aura congealed like substance touched the scripture rocks on the wall, it
would abruptly shrink back a bit—— it looks like the 《Tai Yi Record》 on the secret passage’s two sides was there to suppress the thing behind the stone door.

Just that……

The violent vibrations just now had made the secret passageway’s two sides of limestone end up with cracks on them, so the originally complete and single body of scriptures and sealing inscriptions then appeared with a flaw.

“A demon[8].”       Jun Wan Bai held up her pair of swords and came over. When she saw that black aura, she knitted her eyebrows.

No wonder Li Xin said Bai Li Shu found them a hard job.

Immortal cultivation, immortal cultivation. With immortals(celestials), there would be demons, with immortals and demons on opposing sides. After the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, ninety-nine venerable high demons had disappeared from the vast land of the twelve dynasties, while the remaining ineffective and worthless soldiers[9] were constantly attacked to a state of lingering on their last breaths by the immortal cultivating realm. Just as the sect’s missions often had monster and oddity eliminations, expelling evil demons were also something that these sects’ disciples tacitly understood they had to do. No matter which sect’s disciples, when they were outside and encountered with something that was related to a demon, they would always move to have it expelled.

At present, since Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin discovered this sealed demon, as Jiu Xuan’s disciples, to either thoroughly finish the demon off, or have it sealed once again, was the thing that they should do. But normally, the sect’s disciples so-called demon expulsion only consisted of resolving the matters of an immortal cultivator turning into demon due to their resolution not being strong enough or because they were naturally tyrannical.

Yet at this time, what was being sealed in the stone room behind should be a genuine demonic being.

No wonder Yan Men Prefecture would have an entrance connecting to the netherworld appearing at night- turns out that it was because the underground had this thing present. If the demonic being were to break out of its seal, the Yan Men commoners up top would definitely meet with misfortune.

Bai Li Shu this bastard…… did he know early on that the movements he caused when he was on the other side would have this place’s seal cracked, and thus sent them over to tidy up this shitty mess? Really, a jerk as always, Bai Li Shu.

As Jun Wan Bai thought about this, the longsword shook, and the cold light on the tip of the sword turned even more chilly.

[1] 殉葬- specifically, to be buried with the dead. Think back to ancient Egypt when the pharaoh dies, their possessions, slaves included, are buried along with them. People buried alive with the dead.

[2] 甲⼦ (jia zi), corresponds to the first of the heavenly stems (甲) and earthly branches (⼦). It is used to refer to the first year of a cycle of sixty years (to once again reach jia zi year after cycling through the ten stems and
twelve branches), orrrrr when in reference to the five elements, the jia stem represents wood and the zi branch represents water, there is mention that synergy between wood and water are compatible (and thus can help each other grow). The more I look the more it delves into feng shui so we’re just going to stop there. Highly likely that it refers to time in its context, but elements are not completely eliminated from possibilities.

[3] 冯翼- or looking like all a blur if assumed to be derived from 冯冯翼翼, again going back to the primordial world’s state where everything was in a single hazy state. Or, if you really want to translate it separately, 冯- to gallop, or to wade (in water), or in ancient times, pronounced as ping
instead of feng in which case is the same as 凭 (ping), which means to rely on. 翼- to mean, the wing (of a bird), the side/flank, or, if referring to the verb, to assist, or to shelter. Also the name of a one of the twenty-eight lunar mansions/constellations under the south portion (belonging to the
Vermilion bird ( 朱雀)) that is in the shape of a wing. Assuming that it is ‘rely on’, you can then choose rely on several things- wings, assistance, shelter, or stars? Do I know the answer? If I did, I wouldn’t have written so much, but it should be more in line with the primordial state.

[4] To clarify- the first part “劫”, is for trial (like the ones cultivators go through to reach a new level), or disaster. the “渡”, as in crossing a body of water, can also be interpreted as going through a calamity ( 渡劫). Thus, first, the calamity arises, then one undergoes through this calamity.

[5] To be revised once I find out which ⽞ this is. Refer to chp 1 footnotes for all the possibilities.

[6] ⽞数- could be in reference to 九天⽞数, in which it takes the eight diagrams and splits it down further into 12 numbers (13 if you count zero). More divination, in short.
[7] To be revised once I recall which ⽞ this is.
[8] To be precise 魔(mo) (can be of human origin, or evil demon), and not 妖(yao) (specifically indicating non-human origin, not necessary evil as the first term implies but can evolve into a 魔 if it engages in evil activities). If used in the same paragraph, demons will be referring to the first type, while oddity will be reserved for the second type, simply for purposes of distinction. Just keep in mind that regularly, both terms still translate into demons in English.

[9] The exact expression is… shrimp soldiers and crab generals.

Chapter 40

Chapter Forty, Left Lives While the Right Dies, and All the Possible Estimates. (左⽣右死, 百般算计)
As the side strike of the sword forced back the thing that was going to climb out, Li Xin found some time to loudly yell out to Jun Wan Bai to his back, “Done yet? Even if you want to take personal vengeance you can’t possibly do it at this kind of time!”

“A fucking idiot like you who can’t even recite half a line of
《Formation Principles 》still has face to urge me!” Jun Wan Bai turned furious in agitation, raised her eyebrows in anger, and cursed while rapidly using her longsword to quickly inscribe on both left and right sides of the path, “Any more rubbish, and I’ll go on attack, you come inscribe!”

Li Xin immediately turned quiet, and violently hit the bastard that wanted to climb out from the stone door wholeheartedly without another word.

The demonic thing being sealed behind the door was weaker than they had imagined it to be. What was sealed inside was a cerberus with three heads and six tails, with a body burning with ghost fire[1], and a back of black armour-like scales, that within in legends was the bastard that guarded the entrance to the demon realm. In truth, this bastard’s strength should be strong to begin with—— at least, it wasn’t something that Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin could go against. However, since it had been sealed here for who knows how many years, its strength had debilitated to an
incredible extent. Although the stone door had been shaken open, the 《Tai Yi Record》on the two sides were still present, and was suppressing it this entire time.

Thus, with Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin working together, they managed to force the cerberus in with a bit of work.

However……

The cerberus was a genuine demonic beast, and was not the same as beings turn(fall) into demons- to completely finish off it, they would need a similar scripture such as the 《Tai Yi Record》or an attack of an extreme
Yang attribute.

As for the former method, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin were both people who advocated using strength to subdue others…… To say it in plain words, it was just that they felt that scriptures were too long and too boring, and were just too lazy to memorize it at all. As for the latter, when Li Xin came out after running a lap in the Gui demon’s nest, he turned gloomy and dark, more or less the same as a ghost. On the other hand, Jun Wan Bai’s swordsmanship was fleeting and variable(impermanent)…… To say it simply, these two weren’t any good people who could not use any great, upright techniques to suppress and execute demons.

At present, the cerberus’ strength slowly recovered as the time prolonged, and the two had to mull over for a very long time to barely come up with a way- when Li Xin last fought against with a bastard from Wan Zhen Sect[2], he had extorted quite a bit of materials from them, of which were materials for setting up a “Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation”.

Be it a thunderstorm, or the Azure Dragon, both were existences that restrained evil.

Li Xin and Jun Wan Bai- one was a lunatic who, when fighting, all relied on not wanting to live, one was a ruthless person who waited on Bai Zhang Tan and practised sword the entire day. No matter which one, not one had ever spent any effort on writing magic formations the same. In any case, Jun Wan Bai was slightly better than Li Xin- at least, the shape of the formation circle could be barely drawn out. Li Xin straight up could not do it one bit.

In the end, it had evolved into the present situation.

Li Xin shut his mouth and focused on diverting the cerberus without a word, while Jun Wan Bai, with her head as big as a pot[3], engraved the formation circle on the wall.

After a while, Li Xin couldn’t endure it and once again pressed on, “You painting pictures or forming a magic circle, are you some big family’s young lady embroidering flowers?”

“Shut up!”

Jun Wan Bai hesitated for a long while and could not confirm whether the last line should be put it in the position of the eastern three stars or the western seven constellations, and was fussing over it just now. And so when Li Xin pressed on, she simply couldn’t be bothered to care about it any more- her longsword shook, and straight up connected the eastern three stars—— either way, Half-crazed Li would be standing in the front, so if she was wrong, the first to suffer would be this bastard.

The snow-coloured strike of light lightly passed through gracefully, and the instant the final section was complete, the formation suddenly lit up, and balls of silver-coloured light rolled around and flowed on top of the formation circle’s fierce lines, just like lightning and fire flowing on top of the limestone. The formation circle slowly rotated, and the human-headed, dragon-bodied deity totem of thunder slowly opened its eyes within the formation circle, then the embers in the air erupted out with sputtering sounds.

At this time, the cerberus seemed to have felt a lethal threat, gave up attacking Li Xin again, and dully roared with a low sound, while its giant body laid down and its front claws slightly dug into the earth.

“Stop it!” Jun Wan Bai angrily shouted. Li Xin did not need her to remind him. His body slightly swayed, and in the next moment, he appeared in midair like a ghost, with both his hands put on the hilt waiting to strike out. It was also at this instant when Li Xin moved, that the cerberus sprung up, and rushed towards the secret passage, actually wanting to forcefully pass through and run away.

Li Xin who took the first opportunity held the sabre with both his hands, and the hilt was lifted over his head.

At the next moment, the body of the blade turned into a grey ray of light, wrapped with a fierce sound like ghosts crying, and hacked down at the cerberus.

The cerberus let out a wounded howl, and smashed into the ground with this heavy strike from midair.

Just as Li Xin was going to make use of the momentum and follow up another attack, he suddenly felt his back was slightly not right…… white light that was bright and radiant to the point of dazzling emitted from the back, and lit the area in front of him into a span of brightness.

—— Wait a minute!! He fought with Wan Zhen Sect’s group of cowardly brats[4] for that long already, how did he not know that once the Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation was drawn in, it could let out this kind of force this fast?!

Without having yet carefully pondered over it, Li Xin heard Jun Wan Bai’s damned voice, “Come back, come back!!”

He knew it!!

Li Xin vented out a bunch of profanities inside- what kind of reliable performance could that bastard Jun Wan Bai who typically acted with a “if one sword(hit) doesn’t solve it, then use two swords to solve it” possibly have.

The white light to his back was strong to the point of glaring, so Lin Xin closed his eyes, turned and rushed towards the direction of the secret passageway. When he rushed into the secret passage, sounds of rumbling thunder erupted by his ears, and the ground that shook just before once again trembled. Li Xin who had held off the cerberus for half a day was shaken to the point of having to stop in his steps to stabilize his center of gravity. Jun Wan Bai caught him with one fell swoop, then pulled him and rushed towards the direction of the path they came from at full force.

“What kind of formation did you put down!” In his ears was an unceasing sound of thunder, and beneath his feet was the floor continuously vibrating, so Li Xin had to tear at his throat and shout.

“Thunderstorm Azure Dragon!”

The limestone that was only cracked at the seams just a while ago now crumbled apart, and even the stone above their heads fell down in pieces. The roars of a dragon rumbled behind them, and the light of thunder flashed brightly.

“This fucking thing is a Thunderstorm Azure Dragon?!” Li Xin asked as he shook off the falling stones with a palm.

“Thunderstorm, Azure Dragon, White Tiger, Vermilion Bird, Black Warrior[5], call it whatever you like!”         Jun Wan Bai swept out a big path with a single strike.

Yan Men Prefecture. In the underground space beneath the mortal city, two Jiu Xuan core disciples scampered off in a panic like frightened rats, with no image to compare it to.

The silver-coloured thunder swallowed their backs, and rumbled without stopping. When they waited until the sounds subsided, the secret path behind them was just about destroyed thoroughly.

“I now believe that during the sect competitions, you still respected the rules of same-sect people being unable to use lethal moves.” Li Xin blankly looked towards the deep part of the secret passage, and after a long time, said this. “……”    Jun Wan Bai’s put away her longsword with a cold face and turned to go back, then stiffly threw down a line. “Never seen a formation strengthening? Nothing to be surprised over.”

The secret passageway behind them was buried for the most part by the fallen rocks, so Li Xin had to cut up the giant rocks, and once again open up a new path—— to be able to make a simple Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation used to suppress evil create such a big mess, how is it that no one had ever discovered that last-named Jun was even a “formation genius” before?!

Although the procedure had a slight problem, the result was still considered within anticipation.

After pretty much destroying half the secret passageway, not even a scrap of the cerberus was left behind.

After hacking down a giant rock that blocked the front of the door, Jun Wan Bai stood in front of the stone door. The cerberus had been cleaned up extremely tidily, even a bit of remaining demonic aura was not left, and the area behind the stone door was clean and crisp.

Jun Wan Bai’s lantern was originally put on the floor of the passageway, but at this time, it had long already been buried by the rocks. She took out a torch from her ring and lit it, and the flame illuminated the scenery behind the stone door.

Behind the stone door was a empty stone room. However, after thinking about it, since it was a place used to seal a demonic beast, it would not have much either. The stone ground and walls were similarly finely
engraved with 《Tai Yi Record》.

The old sayings of a tiger that falls to the flat ground can be bullied by the dog, and a chicken over a fallen phoenix[6] was certainly not wrong. If not due to these scriptures continuously weakening the cerberus’ strength, it probably wouldn’t have died so insultingly in the end. On the other side of the stone room was a similar stone door. On the stone door, seven long nails were nailed in, and other than that, there were also a few lines of words that seemed to be written with blood essence, long days ago.
Jun Wan Bai held up the torch, and read the words on the surface. The larger meaning of those few lines said that underneath Yan Men
Prefecture hid an extreme danger. At the entrance of the Spirit Star temple, the left leads to a living route whereas the right side was the boundary of death. The left path suppressed an ancient demon, with its strength on a decline, and can be eradicated. After the cerberus is perished, take out these seven Soul-Settling needles from this door to safely leave. The right side was the same as the dangerous territory of absolute death, so if a future visitor sees these few lines, after leaving, remember to seal the entrance.

“……The right connects to a place of absolute death, not advised to enter……”       Jun Wan Bai read the final two lines word by word, while the torch lit her face into flickering between the light and dark.

—— Inside the Spirit Star temple, she and Li Xin stood in front of the entrance, while that person stayed in hiding, and with a single “left”, drew them to go towards the living route.

—— The vibrations from a while ago came from the right side. That person calculated that their own actions would make the seal crumble, and thus let them go forward to take care of the cerberus that had been sealed for a long time whose strength largely declined.

What did this mean?

Was he thinking of letting them open the stone room and leave on their own after making them take care of the cerberus? Or did he feel that their strength was merely enough to take care of one or two weakened sick dogs?

What did this fucking mean! Depressingly, an abrupt and fiery wrath boiled inside her chest. Jun Wan Bai raised her hand and directly hacked at the stone door written with blood characters with a strike—— she most certainly was that type of “if one sword doesn’t solve it, then use two swords to solve it” fellow. When she was a on a rampage, she would never talk about reason.

Five years time had already gone by, and yet that jerk still was as always, looking down on other people.

She did not know what kind of material the stone door was made of, but even with Jun Wan Bai’s one strike filled with rage, she only had the words on the surface scratched off a large layer, but the stone door itself had no movements whatsoever. Jun Wan Bai turned around, and tossed the torch to Li Xin, “If you pull out the nails on top, you can get out.”

While saying this, she directly walked towards the secret path they came from.

Li Xin’s long sabre was held horizontally in front of her.

Jun Wan Bai raised her eyes, “You want to leave, you leave yourself. Who did they think they were scaring with these few shady-ass lines.”

Li Xin did not answer, nor did he make way, but instead slightly tilted the blade’s body, and pointed towards a place.

Following the direction of the blade’s tip, she only saw the wall of the stone room split open into several lines, and some wind blowing out from the cracks, along with faint sounds of water. It turns out that after the first tremor, a crack already appeared in this layer of rock, and after Jun Wan Bai’s accidental “Thunderstorm Azure Dragon”, the crevice was once again thoroughly enlarged.

Cold wind blew out from the crevice, seeping out a wave of ominous frosty air. At the time Jun Wan Bai was looking at the words on the door, Li Xin did not go over, and instead explored around this stone room, or it should be said, he had no intentions of leaving right now at all.

“This way.” Li Xin simply said.

[1] 磷⽕- or will-o-the-wisp, a white with green-blue fire that appears with corpses.

[2] 万阵宗- Literally, ten thousand formations. You can figure what they specialize in.

[3] 头⼤如⽃- to be very annoyed. A ‘dou’ is more or less a vessel, usually for carrying wine, something like this.

[4] ⻳ 孙 ⼦ - literally turtle (from 缩 头 乌 ⻳ /cowardly) grandson. Originally meant 灰孙⼦ which is to mean the relationship between the two are very small, (like going down a family line from son to grandson to great
grandson, so on and so forth) to the point of non-existence. It’s just a curse word.

[5] The four divine beasts representing different elements, also used to separately name the 4 divisions of the 28 constellations. I know it’s called black warrior, but it’s really just a big turtle.

[6] The first one, refers to how tigers in the mountain are aided by the terrain of dense forests, and without it, they can be bullied by lower-class animals. The other one refers to a phoenix whose feathers have been plucked off is no better than a chicken.

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