Zhao Ge Chapter 41-50

Chapter 41

Chapter Fourty-One, Within the Shadows, Layers Upon Layers of Murderous Intent. (阴影之中, 杀机重重)
The largest crevice was just enough to allow one person to go through by the side. Li Xin held the torch and walked close to the crevice, and just as he stood in front of the crevice, the wind from inside came out and blew on the flame into violently swaying.

Underneath the flame, Li Xin noticed an unusual area within the crevice—— there was something inside the left side of the stone wall.

He inverted the point of the blade, and used the back of the blade to lightly knock the stone layer several times.

Li Xin originally planned to break apart a bit of the stone to take a good look at what was it that the rocks were concealing, but didn’t think that after knocking at it no more than a few times, the stone layer would collapse.

“A trap?” Jun Wan Bai reacted quickly, held her longsword upright, and a white-coloured ray of light enveloped her and Li Xin within it.

Before Li Xin replied, the two only heard the sound of chains clashing continuously without a stop, as well as the left side of the stone wall within the crevice continuously breaking apart, and a black shadow within the obscure flame springing out from the stone.

—— That was a big chain that was nailed into the stone.

They did not know how long the chain was, nor did they know what nailed it into the stone layer, but at this time and moment, it was being torn out by a giant foreign power, and slid out of the stone wall within the ear- piercing clashing sound.

When the chains buried within the stone were torn out, the crevice that originally could only allow for one person to go through by turning to their side continually expanded, and the loose rocks continuously fell down.

The colour of Jun Wan Bai’s face slightly changed.

In the cold wind blowing out from inside the crevice, mingled with a low and sunken, unknown beast’s roar—— the movements this time were evident it could not have possibly been the remaining aftermath of the “Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation” from a while ago!

Bai Li Shu!

While the falling rocks were still tumbling down, Li Xin and Jun Wan Bai directly plunged into the crevice within unceasing sounds of iron chains clashing.

◈◈◈
The sound of halters turning, the sound of iron chains clashing, the sound of broken rocks tumbling down…… As the numerous noisy sounds mixed into the sound of wind, Ye Qiu Sheng carefully listened, and analyzed something.

He held the ancient blade with a backhand, stood to the left in front of Bai Li Shu, and faintly took on a kind of half-guarding half-alert stance. Bai Li Shu stood to his back, and quickly analyzed the cliff wall’s “Zhe Jiu Ji[1]”. Bai Li Shu’s judgment was not wrong. The one that was truly able to connect towards the lone island on top of the black waters was definitely another chain that was being hidden. On the surface of the cliff wall, within
the seventh section of the 《Tai Yi Record 》in the Xuan numbers, they found a mechanism made of bronze in a concealed area.

Outside that mechanism of bronze, was also a layer of thin stone. After Bai Li Shu pointed to a location, Ye Qiu Sheng went up with a blade, and knocked off a whole zhang of stone.

After the outer black-coloured stone shed off, it revealed the inside bronze “Zhe Jiu Ji”.

“Zhe Jiu Ji” was originally a kind of extremely elaborate mechanism from the palaces of the secular realm, but its origins could be traced all the way up to the era of Ten Thousand Immortals. Zhe had the meaning of “break, loss, warp” attached to it, and was also secretly analogous to “premature death”. Jiu, the largest of the numbers, evolves into the inexhaustible/infinite. The origins of the so-called “Zhe Jiu Ji” came from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals’ art of “Jiu Ji”, a kind of complex mechanism art gathered from the entire country’s techniques. However, along with the annihilation of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, the remaining ones had turned into a remnant, and was reduced into the common realm’s imperial family’s mechanism in the end. Thus, before the “Jiu Ji” was a “Zhe” added to it, secretly containing the meaning of “with Heaven’s work set back(zhe), human matters are difficult to be whole”.

But at present, this kind of mechanism art only used within the secular realm’s dynasties, was instead used by that young Tai Shang Sect elder to conceal the “Heaven’s ladder”.

Zhe Jiu Ji itself was a complete prismatic shape, formed from nine parts. Each portion also had eighty one mortise and tenon joints[2] locking in, with Tai Yi Xuan talisman engraved on the surface.

If one wanted to undo the “Zhe Jiu Ji”, they must integrate numerous Xuan teachings and old scriptures’ theories, integrate it with arithmetic, then have the disorderly pieces of the lock returned to its position. However, putting Ji lock back into place had a requirement of sequence. Once the sequence had an error, even if the locations were correct, it would still trigger the mechanism, and at that time, the “Heaven’s ladder” hidden behind the “Zhe Jiu Ji” would forever buried, and thus the analyzer must successively and continuously have all of it unlocked without resting.

Ye Qiu Sheng declared that he had no absolute certainty of breaking through this “Zhe Jiu Ji”, thus it was left up to him to do the guarding, while Bai Li Shu carried out the unlocking.

He did not turn to see Bai Li Shu’s actions, but from the order of sounds, Ye Qiu Sheng inside quickly estimated Bai Li Shu’s unlocking progress—— the more he closely heard, the more surprised he was. From the fact that Bai Li Shu was able to still guide the Black-Plumed Light Vessel to descend in Yan Men Prefecture like normal after Bing Province’s Qing Ming tower was met with mishap, he knew that Bai Li Shu’s accomplishments were definitely not shallow in this aspect.

However, from the looks of the unlocking speed by Bai Li Shu right now, his original measurements were rather a bit too under.

ka cha.

When the final piece of the bronze Ji lock was closed into position, Bai Li Shu retreated a couple steps to the left, and stood beside Ye Qiu Sheng.

In the next moment, the underground hole that originally had sounds of wind hovering about turned incomparably loud, and the black-iron chains running across the space that were quiet and unmoving started to twist around. There were some that rose up, and some that sunk down, and the giant net of iron chains that originally only looked to overlap together from the top looking down at this moment thoroughly intertwined with each other, and formed a net by its surface-level meaning.

The myriad of chains clashed, and let out a ear-piercing sound that metals uniquely had when tangling together. The sealed space of reverberating sounds repeatedly overlapping together were just like countless people together using a penetrating voice to recite an ancient scripture that mortals did not understand.

The lone island sunk in the black waters was being pulled by the chains, and slowly, bit by bit, left the surface of the water.

It turned out that what was being concealed, was certainly a genuine chain by its meaning.

The so-called “Heaven’s ladder” turned out to be this kind of thing
—— numerous chains overlapping, joining in the air, forming a giant net that people could step through.

The vibrations lasted for quite a long time. Finally, after the lone island was raised to a point where it could no longer go any higher, those black-iron chains no longer moved, and straightened out one after another.

Ye Qiu Sheng let out a long sigh of relief, and took one step forward. The stone railing of the cliff road to their front crumbled from the falling black-iron chains, and instead what was closest to them, were two chains that first crossed over each other and then separated.

Bai Li Shu took up the longsword he originally put away. He stood at a place two steps behind Ye Qiu Sheng, and within the weak and dim light, he turned his head to look at the unlocked “Zhe Jiu Ji”.

A secular realm’s mechanism was used here. Within the light of the flame, the bronze object was soundless and heavy.

Ye Qiu Sheng was thinking of something, and looked deeply towards the lone island. After a moment, he once again smiled, frivolous and scattered as always, “Why do I feel like rather than a Heaven’s ladder, these things look to be an inescapable net[3]? ”

“Let’s go.”         Bai Li Shu did not voice his opinion on what he said of the inescapable net. He took up the longsword that was put in its sheath, lightly flew out, and dropped onto that chain on the left side to the front.

Ye Qiu Sheng joked around with his mouth, but his movements were not slow at all. When Bai Li Shu stepped onto the iron chain with the front foot, his foot behind followed close.

No matter if it was the joking Ye Qiu Sheng or the expressionless Bai Li Shu, they could feel it- after “Zhe Jiu Ji” had been unlocked, the air current flowing abruptly turned fast, and the air faintly gave birth to this kind of indescribable dangerous aura.

—— It can’t have been that those things up top are about to wake up, right? Then that really would not be a good thing.

With this kind of thought in mind, Ye Qiu Sheng rapidly stepped onto the chains and progressed forward. With the experience from the end of the cliff path, the two did not dare to use primordial energy to quicken their pace on top of the black-iron chains.

Nevertheless, when the two people went halfway up, Ye Qiu Sheng suddenly felt cold inside.

“Careful!”

He suddenly stopped in his steps, and the shark teeth on the ancient blade in his hands lit up with a gloomily cold, faint red light. After running around the vast lands of the twelve dynasties for so many years, investigating ancient hidden secrets, Ye Qiu Sheng’s senses had typically been sensitive, especially with his attention towards murderous intent. In that one moment just now, he genuinely felt a sliver of a secret killing intent.

Where is it…… Ye Qiu Sheng stood on the iron chains, unmoving like a pine tree, and held up his blade then slowly looked all around. When his words came out, Bai Li Shu already stopped. His white robes were blow by the wind, disorderly like white cranes flying by. He did not inquire Ye Qiu Sheng on the reason, and quietly stood on the deep-black iron chain, while the longsword in his hand slightly tilted downward.

However, there wasn’t a single thing all around. The black-iron chains under their feet was stable like bedrock, and by their ears were sounds of wind that seemed to come from beneath the ground, as well as the fragmented and circling sounds of water mixed into the wind.

Ye Qiu Sheng directed his gaze over his head. Could it be those seemingly dead and alive fog raptors at the top? Were the movements from the iron net joining too big that it woke up the deeply slumbering skeletons?

When Ye Qiu Sheng looked to the ceiling towards the darkness, a black figure like a house lizard crouched down beneath the chain just a bit to their front. It hid under the rough and big iron chains in their eyesight’s blind spot, while the rustling sounds of water engulfed the sounds it made when it was climbing.

When the winds blew by, the black figure paused for a while, and once again silently climbed up. Its goal instead turned into the Bai Li Shu who was on the other side.

The darkness at the top was sunken and heavy like a solid, but there were no indications of the fog raptors waking up. Ye Qiu Sheng knitted his eyebrows and looked towards Bai Li Shu, and used his gaze to ask for his opinion—— do they continue on, or thoroughly check again?

He did not feel it before, but ever since he perceived that sliver of killing intent, Ye Qiu Sheng began to feel that the vicinity turned extremely strange all around, just like…… There were countless pair of eyes hidden in the darkness, staring at their every move without making a sound, waiting for them to fall into the trap themselves.

Bai Li shu did not say anything. From his ring, he once again took out the “Golden Crow” longbow, and the long arrow smeared with light oil was put over the bowstring. He did not shoot the arrow towards the darkness above their heads again, but instead pressed the arrow down, and aimed towards the lone island to the front.

The long arrow shot out, and shot down on an angle.

The fire lit up, and illuminated the mottled shadows underneath where the iron chains intertwined.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes abruptly enlarged——

A two zhang-long black figure leap out from the darkness, soared up and rushed towards Bai Li Shu!

[1] 折九积. Explanation is in the paragraphs following. The Ji ( 积) portion means one of the following: To accumulate, store, or be of long- standing, old-age. Simply, ancient. Add that to the previous nine and you get very old.

[2] Two separate pieces that connect together at a right angle, without the need for additional materials to join it together.

[3] 天罗地⽹- a trap in the heavens, net in the earth. A net spread throughout the entire span of the sky and earth, all inclusive, inescapable.

Chapter 42

Chapter Fourty-Two, a Net of Strikes, and the Chi Charmeleon’s Teeth.
⼑光如⽹, 螭蜥之⻮
The two zhang-long black figure leapt into the air. The arrow of light oil that was shot passed by it, and illuminated the face of the black figure in that instant—— that was a ground chameleon-like organism.

However, compared to a regular ground chameleon, its head grew swelling horns, its form was like a dragon head, and its body was even more narrow and long. Its body was covered with a layer of black-coloured bone armour, and it was precisely due to this layer of bone armour that it allowed for it to hide in the darkness so perfectly[1].

The black chameleon jumped midair, opened up its mouth of ghastly fangs, and bit towards the standing Bai Li Shu. Its mouth split open to the point of an essentially hideous extent. The top and bottom teeth intertwining were just like the tips of blades scouting out. When it passed by the light, it turned cold and chilling. When the arrow smeared in light oil flew towards an area further out, the place Bai Li Shu stood in dimmed down in an instant, and the black chameleon turned just like a dark cloud hanging over coming down.

“If you look that ugly, then just behave and earnestly stay in the darkness!”

When the black chameleon was on the verge of pouncing on Bai Li Shu, Ye Qiu Sheng who was standing on the other black-iron chain disappeared from his original position. In the next moment, he appeared in midair, and went towards the direction where the black chameleon was pouncing to, while the red light of the ancient blade with sharp saw-teeth grew extremely bright.

Metals clashed, and the sound of blades crossing resonated.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s ancient blade cut out a crescent moon-like pretty trace, and the aura of the blade flew straight out as though taking advantage of the time the black chameleon’s giant mouth was wide open and have the single strike cut its head into two halves. However, the black chameleon concealed within the darkness that came out at its opportunity was just as crafty- when the blade aura flew over, its figure forcefully turned in midair.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s blade aura fell onto that pure black bone armour, and flares shot out all four directions, with drops of blood splattering. For the black chameleon, this was merely a superficial[2] light wound.

However, Ye Qiu Sheng was not some kind and benevolent person[3]. He was a bastard that would make greetings while pulling off lethal moves, who viewed the principles of martial arts like a piece of scrap paper!

When the blade’s aura came down, Ye Qiu Sheng himself already arrived as well. The black chameleon turned its body in midair, and its body came down. This time, it was Ye Qiu Sheng’s turn to go on the offensive from a high place. The sharp saw-teeth on that ancient blade of unknown origins of his was red as though magma burning away. When it came down wrapped in the sound of wind, the air carried a bloodthirsty searing kind of heat.

The sound of wind brought on by the body of the blade was like death’s cry for arrest, yet the person himself was playing back a loud recitation.

“The western seas have a beast named the Chi chameleon, with a dragon’s head and snake’s body, the sound of a ghost’s cry, born with four limbs. Likes to hide in turbulent waters, of a tyrannical nature, eats people, and classified as an evil.” Ye Qiu Sheng himself said that Jiu Xuan Sect had nothing but geniuses and lunatics all the time, yet he himself was a downright lunatic too! While he attacked, he would copiously and fluently read aloud the
records from the 《 Three Emperors’ Handbook· Odd Beasts Chapter 》regarding the ins and outs of the black chameleon.

—— To think this fake scholar actually did not forget to drop his book bag at this kind of time!

“The dragon gives birth to nine sons[4], Chi Wen at the very last, with the head of a dragon and body of a fish, that arouses waves and brings the rain. Hey! In any case, you should carry a few parts of a dragon’s blood essence- if you have this kind of appearance, how can you face your ancestors!”

As the saw-teeth sunk into the Chi chameleon’s neck, Ye Qiu Sheng stepped onto the black bone armour grown on the Chi chameleon’s back and dropped towards the black-iron chain below. The ancient blade in his hands cut open the bone armour that looked to be extremely rigid like cutting through tofu, then went down, and a continuous string of blood splatters flew into the air.

Ye Qiu Sheng steadily fell onto the iron chain, while the Chi chameleon in midair fell on top of the iron chain after him, and let out a heavy, muffled sound. After the splatters of blood sprayed out, it tumbled and crashed into the sunken darkness below.

“Stay where you belong.” Ye Qiu Sheng shook the ancient blade and turned towards Bai Li Shu.

When he drew out his sword and cut down, his face would always have a smile, like a madman loudly laughing merrily and cursing out, as if he was a martial artist from a time before Qian Chen perished. They drank good wine to their fills, and loudly laughed as they chased old enemies a thousand miles away in the night.

However, unfortunately, at a time long before Qian Chen was extinguished, Chen’s great ancestor personally lit a raging flame and let those martial artists who sang and dance and cut perish into ashes.

At the time Ye Qiu Sheng sprung up, Bai Li Shu lightly retreated a slight distance to the back. He still held that richly legendary gold-coloured longbow, and on the bow was the long arrow used by the common realm’s army to illuminate the night battles, while his clothes were clean, without a single blood stain splattered on it.

When Ye Qiu Sheng turned around, he saw that he put the long arrow over, with the tip of the arrow straightly pointed at himself.

“Does Lord Bai Li still feel like this lowly one can be considered to be reliable?” He raised his eyebrows, and smiled frivolously and without restraint.

Bai Li Shu silently looked at him once, then the tip of the arrow turned downward. The slender fingers let go, and the long arrow pretty much rushed straight down and headed towards the surface of the water.

Before this, Ye Qiu Sheng previously felt that the underground appeared black because the distance was far and the lighting was dim, however, at this time and moment, he would no longer think of it like that. The one arrow that Bai Li Shu shot out to the turbulent dim river beneath burst out when it came close to the surface of the river.

The white light illuminated the area below, and the things within the river faintly emerged.

In that river, overlapping one over another, were numerous, countless black-coloured Chi chameleons. These vile chameleons with the giant dragon’s blood essence bumped into and squeezed through each other in the water, and there were even a few along the cliff wall attempting to climb up, but after crawling a certain distance, they would all back down for some unknown reason. Within the brief illumination, Ye Qiu Sheng saw that some of the Chi chameleons underneath had bodies so huge they were practically like scaly dragons. “Shit(ghost)!” Ye Qiu Sheng slightly took in a breath of cold air, “Above our heads are a ghastly myriad of white bones, and under our feet in the river are pitch-black monsters—— Was this what they meant by no road up the skies and no door to the earth[6]? Right now, I’m starting to think that this isn’t some good place to enjoy the scenery.”

Bai Li Shu did not respond to his words, but instead hung his eyes down and watched the light oil burn out and the underground return to the darkness.

—— Turns out it was not river water that looked like evil dragons guarding this ancient prison, but that there were countless descendants of the dragon at this place to begin with playing the part as the most merciless guards.

If there was someone who dared to cross the river to get to that lone island, then he would soon be shred apart to pieces by numerous Chi chameleons! These guards that already hovered for who-knows-how-long would turn more and more ruthless due to the lack of food.

Just now, this Chi chameleon that attacked them should have originally laid on the chains. The chains traversing throughout the space had some that hung down above the surface of the water, and some directly submerged into the water. The Chi chameleons in the water laid on the chains to rest, and so after “Zhe Jiu Ji” had been unlocked, they were carried up by the raising chains as well.

Of course…… The Chi chameleons that were laid on top of the chains, were not merely just one.

While Ye Qiu Sheng was still looking down, he heard Bai Li Shu’s voice lightly resound, “Get back.”

“En?”

Before Ye Qiu Sheng had the time to ask why, the sound of a long arrow flying out came from the back, and once again, a long arrow smeared with light oil flew out from the “Golden Crow’s” bowstrings, and directly flew towards the lone island shaped like a heart. At the instant the flames burst open, Ye Qiu Sheng could see the bottom half of the lone island clearly.

—— The colour of the lone island’s rock was not originally a black colour. As for why it would look black, it was because its surface was occupied with coils of big or small black-coloured Chi chameleons.

Not only was it like that, but at a place a bit near the lone island, on the many of the iron chains, several big or small black Chi chameleons laid on top. When the light erupted, they nimbly crawled to the the bottom of the iron chains, and tried to have themselves hidden in the darkness.

Already, many Chi chameleons crawled to a place not far from them. At this time when their figures were exposed, they no longer concealed themselves, and climbed from the bottom of the iron chain to the top, and grabbed onto the black-coloured black-iron and quickly drew close to Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu.

—— At a time unknown to them, they had already fallen within the layered killing intent.

“Shit(ghost).”        Ye Qiu Sheng slowly retreated back, while the red light on the ancient blade circulated. “So ugly bastards like to stick together this much? Those close to cinnabar turn red and those close to ink turn black[7]?”

Perhaps the vigour back when Ye Qiu Sheng killed the first Chi chameleon that snuck an attack on them was far too fierce, these Chi chameleon that followed suit were frozen with fear, and did not dare to act recklessly. When Ye Qiu Sheng took one step back, they drew one step closer, and their neck was like a snake before an attack, slightly shirked back—— no wonder there would be people who would joke that dragons and snakes were close relatives.

After the long arrow Bai Li Shu shot burned out, the vicinity completely sunk into darkness, and the torch originally held by Ye Qiu Sheng for light was already thrown away by him from the last battle. However, in this kind of situation right now, no one dared to carelessly light up a torch.

The atmosphere was still congested with the bloody scent from killing the Chi chameleon. The bloody air and the killing aura on Ye Qiu Sheng temporarily drove back the Chi chameleon in the front.

At this time, human and chameleon were in a deadlock, with not one willing to first break this equilibrium.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s breathing suddenly turned light to the extent of almost none. He steadily stood on top of the iron chain, walked forward step by step, and held the ancient sabre horizontally. How did that old saying go? —— “Even if one was fully aware the mountain had a tiger, they still went towards the tiger and entered the mountain”. Even if he clearly knew there was a group of chameleons, he still sent himself towards the lizard’s mouth.

He also wondered, what kind of reaction did Bai Li Shu have?

Since the so-called “fixed number” was standing to his back right now, then even if the operation this time had an arduous course to it, the result should not be out of anticipation.          When he thought about this, Ye Qiu Sheng twirled his ancient blade.

Within the darkness, the ancient blade’s red light flickered, and Ye Qiu Sheng lightly, disdainfully laughed once—— it was only just a bunch of ugly-to-the-point-of-death lizards, what did they think they were?

When the ancient blade turned, the Chi chameleons in the dark also moved. They would either go left or right, up or down, and emerge with a half arc-shaped encirclement in the front enclosing towards Ye Qiu Sheng to come in for a slaughter. At this point in time, Ye Qiu Sheng could not be bothered to care whether or not he could use primordial energy- he shook his ancient blade, emitting a clear and long sound like wind blowing on bamboo leaves. The tip of his leg lifted, sprung up like a big crane, an the sleeves of the Confucian garment spread out in midair in a fluttering manner. —— At the time in Yan Men Prefecture’s gates, he most certainly was only probing.

When his skills truly unfolded, all throughout the sky was his figure, with each afterimage a different posture of wielding the blade. The bright red light was fierce yet magnificent.

Each strike took away a ruthless life. With the strikes of the blade like a net.
Bai Li Shu stood on top of the iron chain. The Chi chameleons were temporarily being blocked off by Ye Qiu Sheng, but this was not a long- term plan.

He pondered, then suddenly once again put an arrow against the bow, then turned around to the direction they came from and shot out an arrow—— as expected, within the light from the flame, the bronze Ji lock that no one touched was still slowly moving around, either staggered or riveting.

And it was the time when Bai Li Shu turned around, that a “fish that slipped out the net” quietly flew out—— this Chi chameleon’s body was thin and small, and just when the light arrow shot out, it continued to hide within the darkness. At this time and moment, while Ye Qiu Sheng was facing against the group of chameleons, it was just like that one from the very beginning, climbing along the black iron, then suddenly flying out when it drew close to Bai Li Shu.

—— Had Ye Qiu Sheng paid attention, he would notice, the direction those Chi chameleons attacked in mostly went towards Bai Li Shu.

[1] 天⾐⽆缝- the expression is, as a divine garment is seamless. Without a trace, naturally.
[2] 不痛不痒- neither painful nor itchy. [3] 善男信⼥- the exact term originally means devout men and women (to buddhism), but is often used to describe benevolent, and in particular, simple-minded people.

[4] ⻰⽣九⼦- the expression itself means that siblings each have their own strength. In the story that this was based on, of the nine sons the
dragon birthed, the ninth was called 螭吻 (chi wen). Also called a fish dragon. The chi character is the same as the one for Chi chameleon.

[6] 上天⽆路, ⼊地⽆门- no way back, no way forward. In a hard- pressed circumstance.

[7] 近朱者⾚, 近墨者⿊. Expression for, those who stick close to the good turn good themselves, and those that hang with the bad crowd turn
bad themselves. Though in this context, the English expression for birds of the same feather flocking together might be a bit more easier to understand. The ugly stick together and remain ugly themselves.

Chapter 43

Chapter Forty-Three, Records of Tai Yi, Suppressing All Demons. (太⼄之录, 镇压万魔)
Evil aura in the shape of crescents crisscrossing shot out from the direction of the cliff wall, and arrived at the front with the blink of an eye. Bai Li Shu raised his eyes and saw that the grey-coloured evil aura was heading directly towards himself.

Only, he remained standing in his original spot and did not move, did not open his mouth, nor did he look back to see behind him.

The grey-coloured evil aura congealed like substance flew by Bai Li Shu’s side, bringing his spacious white sleeves up. He only heard a sound of a hiss with a hint of pain and killing intent, and something behind him heavily fall down onto the iron chain. As the bloody smell instantly spread out, Bai Li Shu slightly moved, and the entire being lightly flew forward a slight distance.
When he flew forward, he brushed past shoulders with someone. “Bai Li Shu.” When the shoulders were brushed past, that
person lowly called out to him.

When Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li Shu passed by each other, perhaps it was because it was dark, but she would always feel like she hallucinating again—— when she called out to that person, on that face underneath the hood, their eyes passed through a sliver of surprise. —— Surprised?

Not everyone would obediently and earnestly follow by that script of yours! You are just Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, not a teacher, nor a parent- who needs to obediently listen to all your orders! Even if you are very smart, don’t take everyone as idiots, jerk!

The deep blue-coloured long robe spread out in the air, and Jun Wan Bai’s figure turned indiscernible, seemingly real, yet like an illusion. She followed closed with the evil aura Li Xin put out from far away, while the pair of blades underneath her sleeves lit with a cold, frosty light.

In the next moment, it seemed as though a line of lightning flew through the darkness.

The Chi chameleon that fell with Li Xin’s evil aura didn’t even manage to stand steady on top of the iron chains before it got cut into two with a pair of swords coming down from the sky.

“So this is the right side of the secret pathway?” When Jun Wan Bai fell onto the black-iron chain, the Chi chameleon’s blood splattered onto her face, slowly flowing down along the cheekbone. She randomly waved the pair of blades to get shake off the bloodstains on top, “As expected, this isn’t some good place.”

Bai Li Shu looked towards the direction the evil aura flew out from- a person stood to the left side of the cliff road in front, their hand was holding a long sabre, while to their back was a large crevice in the cliff wall. By that person’s side was a still-burning torch that fell down, and the remaining light barely illuminated that person’s appearance—— a body of black robe, and the face’s colour a pale-white as always, while their aura was gloomy and cold, like a ghost.

Li Xin slowly lowered down his sabre, while the primordial energy inside his body faintly boiled over.

He grinned towards that white-robed youth standing on top of the black-iron chains, and looked like their skin was smiling, but the flesh was not, “How unfortunate for it to have slanted a bit, didn’t take care of you too.”

Within the dim flame, the tone of the youth who did not care for anything and rushed out from the cliff wall’s gap and tumbling rocks was ghastly cold. Although the words of how it was unfortunate “to not have dealt you along with it” absolutely could not be considered good-willed words, their aura instead was hurried, their forehead had cold sweat on it, and due to using their entire strength in a brief moment, their hands were also slightly trembling.

Bai Li Shu quietly looked at him, and then opened his mouth after a moment, “Has the cerberus been taken care of?”

“So Senior felt that we were only enough to tidy up a watchdog?” Jun Wan Bai held up her pair of blades and stepped on the iron chains filled with the Chi chameleon’s thick blood, then walked over. When she heard Bai Li Shu ask this, she coldly laughed.

—— And who was it that got a plain and simple Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation to turn into the power of mountains collapsing and earth splitting?          The corner of Li Xin’s eyes slightly twitched, but in the end, he did not say this out loud.

“If not going back……” Bai Li Shu paused inconspicuously, “Then stay.” say so? Jun Wan Bai sneered once. Whether we stay or not requires you to She thought of this, gripped her pair of swords then stopped at a place not far from Bai Li Shu. The ray of light on the long sword circulated, and faintly emerged with a guarding stance.

“Hey hey hey! The two fellows over there!” When Ye Qiu Sheng felt that there was a strange movement from his back yet was unable to turn back due to holding back the flock of Chi chameleons, he could no longer endure it, stepped on the back of a Chi chameleon springing up in midair, and borrowed the momentum to jump up high to break away from another wave of attacks, “This is too much! Can’t you guys get a person here to support me? Is this how Jiu Xuan Sect treats its cooperating partners?”

“If Tai Shang Sect’s method of cooperation is to have their comrades lured into the ghost realm, then Jiu Xuan Sect’s method of cooperation is to sit back and watch. Saying it like this shouldn’t be a mistake, right?” Jun Wan Bai held her pair of swords and did not move, “Consider it a charity that we haven’t dropped stones down a well of a fallen man[1].”

Fine, fine.

If it was said like this, when Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin did not draw their swords and cut him down at the first moment, it was already considered a perfect fulfillment of one’s kindness[2]. When Ye Qiu Sheng thought back to that conduct of his of having them led into the ghost realm that could definitely not be called virtuous, he helplessly let out a sigh.

Between the labour of speaking, a group of Chi chameleons pounced over from the darkness to the front once again.

Ye Qiu Sheng cursed with a “don’t appreciate what’s good for you”, and with a tremor of the ancient blade, a fire ignited on top of the edge of his blade. Where the strikes landed, the Chi chameleons’ bodies that rushed forward would rise up with a raging fire. Though they clearly lived in the gloomy cold waters, these Chi chameleons bearing black-coloured bone armour instead were very easily burned by the fire lit on Ye Qiu Sheng’s blade.

—— But it was not because of the Chi chameleons themselves.

Jun Wan Bai who stood behind Ye Qiu Sheng saw that blaze very clearly- that was no ordinary blaze, but was phoenix fire. Strange, she had never heard of Tai Shang Sect having a secret method of controlling phoenix fire. As expected, this Tai Shang elite with the name of a “Smiling Scholar” had many secrets. The undying fire attached itself to the Chi chameleons’ body like maggots to bone- no matter how they tumbled, they had no way of putting out the fire, and when one Chi chameleon came in contact with another Chi chameleon, the phoenix fire would calmly and silently go along and start burning another Chi chameleon’s body.

Phoenix fire. This kind of flame with the name of the undying was this kind of thing. Once it descended onto a living spirit’s body, it would continuously burn on until its life had been cut off, that even the soul would burn away with the fire.

This was a fire named “undying”, yet brought about death.

Jun Wan Bai’s blade slightly slanted to the side. As long as Ye Qiu Sheng had a small sign of suddenly turning back and attacking, she would take the first opportunity to move, and her strikes would pour down in torrents like it would a waterfall.

The flock of Chi chameleons that were lit up once again illuminated the originally dark surroundings.

And then, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin managed to see the things they were facing off in the front distinctly. Behind the flock of Chi chameleons that had been lit with undying fire, were plenty of black figures. There were even countless damned things climbing the iron chains with coveting eyes
—— dammit(ghost), what was Bai Li Shu thinking, to barge into this kind of place?

The deterrence of the undying fire obviously had some remaining, hence the flock of Chi chameleons slowly retreated a bit, but were still filled with murderous intent.

“Fall back.” It was at this time, that Bai Li Shu’s voice resounded in Ye Qiu Sheng and Jun Wan Bai’s ears.

Jun Wan Bai slowly retreated without hesitation, but Ye Qiu Sheng hesitated for a bit, and held up the ancient blade with the phoenix fire that had not been put out yet, then also slowly retreated. “The monarch had a place to go, walking atop the lands without borders, hazy and obscure, anxious in a myriad of semblances……”

When they withdrew, they heard Bai Li Shu’s neither high nor low voice resound in the darkness. It was neither hurried nor slow, and followed an ancient rhythm to recite the lengthy scripture.

When Jun Wan Bai heard it, she felt that it was a bit familiar, but could not make out what it was.
But Ye Qiu Sheng turned stunned. This was clearly 《Tai Yi Record》.
When he turned his head back, he saw Bai Li Shu step on top of the black-iron chain with 《Tai Yi Record》written in blood essence, and walk forward step by step. Bai Li Shu’s long robe fluttered in the wind, while
their features were the same as usual within the flames.

[1] 落井下⽯- expression for, hit a man when he’s down. To take advantage of a bad situation of another person.

[2] 仁 ⾄ 义 尽 - with the most magnanimity and patience humanly possible.

Chapter 44

Chapter Fourty-four, When Will the Times Die, What Can the Thick Earth Store? (时⽇曷丧, 厚⼟何藏)
“When will the times die, and what can the thick earth store? Vast and hazy white waters, come console my numerous borders.”

—— When can those ruthless and cruel golden crows up in the skies go extinct, and how much longer can the thick earth hovered over for nine days hold on for? How many more living organisms can it raise? The hazy and indistinct white waters come out from hundreds and thousands of big mountains, winding and circling around, rescuing the numerous borders.

Following Bai Li Shu’s recitation, the 《Tai Yi Record 》on the black-iron chain underneath his feet lit up word by word. The words written with each stroke and brush at this time did not look like how it was before, emitting a ominous red light, and instead was lit with a vast, dignified golden light. In the areas Bai Li Shu walked over, the deep-black black-iron chains lit up link by link, and slowly spread out.

The places he walked through, were all bright.

As the golden light spread forward, the flock of Chi chameleons in the darkness slowly retreated back.

“So it’s like that.” A light flashed by in Ye Qiu Sheng’s eyes, and was enlightened. Kong An had “it” sealed here, but due to the limits of his strength, he could not have “it” obliterated, and hence had the lock reinforcing the seal sent to a person to bring back to Tai Shang Sect. Except, because the mishaps that year were growing wild, Kong An was not able to explain the method to safely head to the lone island. However, from the looks of it, Kong An actually long already had arrangements made.

Inscribed on the black-iron chains was Tai Shang Sect’s 《Tai Yi Record 》. If the one who came here was a Tai Shang Sect disciple who knew the internal details and came here on orders, they could go by the
reciting, and wake up the 《Tai Yi Record》 on the black-iron chains to suppress the Chi chameleons, then borrow the power of the scriptures written with blood essence to reach the island safe and soundly.

Is what Ye Qiu Sheng quickly thought inside as he and Bai Li Shu recited the 《Tai Yi Record》 together.
The so-called Tai Yi, was the One(tai yi), the initial name of the primordial world. The 《Tai Yi Record 》had recorded down the ancient legends starting from the beginning of the Savage era, praised the almighty
beings who exterminated the demons, and declared their achievements. Of
which, the portion which Bai Li Shu was reciting was from one of the first three sections of Tai Yi Record, 《Change》. What it narrated was the old story of Kong Jia stabilizing the borderlands, overthrowing the Savage era’s
domination, as well as the doctrine of “superseding heavenly matters” on a
predestined fate.

But what Ye Qiu Sheng took notice of was the longbow Bai Li Shu held in his hand.

In 《Change》 mentions this: When will the times die.    When will the times die—— at what time would the sun wither away.

What Bai Li Shu was holding, called the “Golden Crow”, was it not the so-called “Bow of Setting [the] Sun”? Bai Li Shu…… He knows there is something here. Just exactly what kind of background did this person who was only merely Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother on the surface have?

Ye Qiu Sheng was struck in awe.

Jiu Xuan’s Bai Li Shu. To those of the Eight Immortal Sects, they were also like an existence that came out of nowhere. Where did he come from? Don’t know. Where was he born? Don’t know. For this kind of person with a past that was like a span of blank-white, exactly what kind of intention did Jiu Xuan Sect have to let him become Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother?

Or perhaps…… Was Bai Li Shu the person that Jiu Xuan Sect had settled on?

The inner thoughts were numerous and disorderly, but Ye Qiu Sheng’s face did not let it show one bit.

Behind Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who couldn’t even remember the entirety of《Tai Yi Record》looked to each
other—— if they were able to remember 《Tai Yi Record》, would they still need Jun Wan Bai to go put down that whatever damned “Thunderstorm Azure Dragon Formation”?

“Follow along.” Bai Li Shu’s footsteps slightly paused, and used spiritual insight to transmit his voice, then slowed down his steps.

The power from the scripture could not be maintained very long. After walking over it, along with how far the person reading the scripture went, the golden light would dull down, and in the end, the black-iron would return to the darkness.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin followed Bai Li Shu.

The thin youth walked in front, while the places he walked over were bright and lustrous. Jun Wan Bai stepped onto the light he left behind, moving stealthily step by step in the darkness, when she suddenly thought back to the various mortal legends surrounding immortal cultivators she once heard in the secular realm—— immortals come by stepping over the moon, go through the common realm’s darkness of hardship, and cross as those common people fed up with torment.

When she heard these before, Jun Wan Bai laughed it over.

As an immortal cultivator, she couldn’t be any more clearer over it- how immortal cultivators treated people of the secular realm, was always of a lofty attitude, always beneath their notice. What crossed and transformed into the common folk, were always the gods and Buddha in the legends, and cannot be the immortal cultivators who were only devoted to living long.

However, at this time and moment, she heard Bai Li Shu’s neither high nor low voice reciting by her ears, and the ancient scriptures that circulated from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals to now resounding in the darkness, bearing a greatness and solemness to it, as though it could disperse all the evil demons. She saw with her eyes, the pitch-black iron chains light up with a golden light bit by bit, and that person’s clothing white like snow within the golden light.

Thus, she recalled the words that those of Fan Yin Sect spoke of all day long——

“Buddha goes through hardship with their body”.

The preparations that Kong An left were not ordinary. When the recitation of the one part of the 《Tai Yi Record》was complete, Bai Li Shu and others had already stepped onto the lone island. Bai Li Shu’s perception
was not wrong- this lone island was certainly a giant prison, and at the very
center of the lone island stood a prison[1] made of bronze.

A prison, the ancient era’s jail, built in the shape of a ring.

The Chi chameleons on the island all stopped around three to four miles away from the bronze prison, as though there was some shapeless force restricting them from going forward. When Bai Li Shu and co. stepped past that invisible boundary, the flock of Chi chameleons to the back no longer chased after them.

Bai Li Shu took over the torch from Li Xin’s hands, and walked into this ancient prison cast from bronze.

The walls were approximately ten zhang high. The top was inscribed with beast patterns, and when the flame roughly illuminated it, they could see it was not some rare beast within the current times, but all
were ancient beasts recorded in the 《Three Emperors’ Handbook》 that disappeared long time ago. Jun Wan Bai again lit up a few torches, with one torch per person’s hand, and tried to light up the bronze walls as much as possible.

Bai Li Shu walked a fair distance along the thick and heavy bronze walls, and saw that the beast patterns drawn on the walls were most likely the outbreaks of a battle.

On the top part of the wall, the familiar figure of the fog raptor was drawn in the layer of clouds, however, the fog raptor that was capable of forcing them into the boundaries of death was not very remarkable here, and apparent that it was only a insignificant role—— the living beings in the skies, the earth, and waters all were swept up in this chaotic battle.

A phoenix one hundred times bigger than the fog raptor grabbed onto a enormous three-headed ancient python, while one of the ancient python’s heads twisted to bite onto the phoenix’s neck, another one was raised in deterrence looking towards a Cang cow that wanted to make a sneak attack, and the remaining head had a Tai tiger’s corpse held in its mouth. The scaly dragon in the waters turned over monstrous sea waves, while a long spear nailed into the scaly dragon’s seven inches, and a strange fish[2] that could live long by eating meat sprung up from the waters and pounced towards the person wrapped in animal hide who threw out the long spear…… the picture was bloody and violent.

The inscribing technique was not meticulous, but that battle’s horrors came through from the simple and concise lines. “This is the Battle of Di Fen[3] mentioned in the 《Bamboo Book Record》, and also the battle where the ancient emperors started to appear.” Ye Qiu Sheng said in a low voice.
He was correct. After no more than a few steps, when Jun Wan Bai and others arrived in front of the prison’s gates, the relieved engraving embossed on the prison gates that were heavily shackled down no longer drew out the pictures of the battle, but instead had a few old letters, “The day dies when the waters arrive, and the vanquished then become deceased”.

This phrase actually spoke of what Bai Li Shu just recited, “when will the times die, and what can the thick earth store? Vast and hazy white waters, come console my numerous borders”, and was the exact same thing.

The so-called “time” and “day” referred to the rulers of the Savage era, the one clan of wild beasts in the legends. The humans in society were fed up with hardship in the lower class, thus they angrily questioned “just exactly what time will that tyrannical ruler like the golden crow die away”. On the surface, it accused that the soils were on the verge of being dried out by the sun, but in reality, it was saying that the humans had no way of living under the oppression of the savage beasts.

What the final “waters arrive” and “vast and hazy white waters, come console my numerous borders” was saying referred to the humans’ leader, Kong Jia, when he led the humans out of the mountain ridges to the flat lands, and had overthrown the crude beast clan’s domination. And it was also from this time forward, that the Savage era ended, and the humans entered the era of Chaos where gods and demons both existed.

That battle that ended the Savage era was called: Battle of Di Fen.

From then on, each tribe’s leaders began fighting to be the first to be called emperor, and the ancient emperors appeared on top of the thick earth.

Except, no matter if it was the Savage era or the era of Chaos, all were too distant from the present. The true and false in these legends had no way of being verified—— and in reality, even the era of Ten Thousand Immortals after the end of the era of Chaos to this day was left with many, many unsolvable mysteries.

“Just what exactly is sealed in this underground.” Ye Qiu Sheng softy asked.

Just what exactly was being sealed in this place, that the surface of the cage was drawn with the battle of the era’s succession?

As the profound and lasting words on the heavy door gave people an unnamed feeling of pressure, Ye Qiu Sheng walked forward. The locking method on the prison door was apparent it was added later on, as what it used was Tai Shang Sect’s technique. At this time, it was naturally up to him to unlock it. These seals outside were actually not considered to be much, since the true seal was at the center-most part of the prison. And the place that the problem appeared in, was at the deep part behind the prison door. If they wanted to fasten the “lock”, then they must go inside.

It was at this moment that Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin finally had time to question Bai Li Shu.

“What is this place?” Jun Wan Bai held up a torch, and looked at the chains half-hidden in the darkness, and could faintly see those Chi chameleons unrelentingly laying on the top keeping their eyes here, “Why are you here? How has this fake scholar not directly hung up on the road and be done with?”

When they just entered this underground hole, they saw there was something sneaking an attack on Bai Li Shu, and following that was the Chi chameleons’ enclosure, so they had no time to observe the surroundings at all, don’t mention even having all of their questions asked.

At present, during the free time they could take a breath, Jun Wan Bai directly had all the questions thrown out like a string of cannonballs.

Li Xin didn’t say a word, and instead observed all around, but it was obvious that he too also wanted to know the answer—— in this shady kind of place, if there wasn’t some purpose, who would barge in here with their free time.

“You guys should not have come.”      Bai Li Shu did not answer, but instead attentively watched the Tai Shang Sect’s technique get unlocked by Ye Qiu Sheng one by one, then softly said this after a long time.

With a ka cha, Ye Qiu Sheng took two steps back, and the bronze prison doors slowly slid open.

It was also at this time that a dreary, loud sound transmitted from the darkness behind everyone. Li Xin abruptly turned around to look towards the direction of the sound- this sound echoed throughout the sealed-off mountain valleys, rumbled without a stop that the lone island that was originally stably suspended in midair also trembled along with it.

“The door closed.” Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression changed
slightly.

This kind of movement was clearly the sound from when they went through the giant door engraved with the relieved fog raptor opening—— right now, the two doors once again closed up! Was it because he opened the prison doors that then triggered the mechanism, or was it because someone had closed the giant door from outside?

“Quick, there’s not much time.”         Without much time to think too much, Ye Qiu Sheng urged them on, and between speaking, he was the first to rush inside the prison door.

Bai Li Shu also entered inside shortly, while Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who at present were still confused pretty much cursed at the same time, then, with one gripping a sabre and one pressing on the sword hilt, they also rushed inside.

As they rushed inside the prison door, a dim ghost fire jumped right out into their face. Jun Wan Bai used her primordial energy, and tightly followed Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng’s footsteps. After coming in, these two people’s pace slowed down, as though having some apprehension towards something here. Li Xin adapted well to this kind of eerie environment, and by using the mastery and familiarity towards Yin aura, he roughly more or less could feel out the situation here.

The bronze prison was most certainly a jail, only, within the circular-shaped giant room, what it locked up were not convicts, but frames of white skeletons.

In the middle of the circular-structured prison was a shaft-like[4] space. Here, a dungeon was constructed, and at this time, the top of the dungeon was sealed shut by the bronze poured over it. The top of the round shaft separated into three relatively smaller platforms, and at very center of it was a soul-sealing altar towering like an ancient monument off the ground.

Levels and levels of white bone laid into a flight of steps connecting upwards, all the way up to the peak of the soul-sealing altar. When one stood at the ground and raised their head to look up, they could faintly see that there seemed to be an ancient sword pierced on top of the soul-sealing altar.

Bai Li Shu and Ye Qiu Sheng went ahead, and when they reached just before the shaft, they stopped.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who came in a bit later did not understand why they stopped at first, up until they arrived at the front of the shaft.

—— The floor of that shaft cast from bronze was violently shaking right now.

The surface of that bronze metal already had quite a few cracks on it, and a dense, viscous black aura seeped out from the cracks. The ground tiles were in the same fashion laid on top of the bronze, but due to the spell altars on the three corners’ platforms and the center-most soul-sealing altar, that black aura could not sweep up the entire time, and could only coil on the ground.

This black aura, was not unfamiliar to Jun Wan Bai and co. It was demonic aura.

Except, the demonic aura that Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin encountered on the left secret passageway just a while back compared to this, was practically the difference between small stream water and the vast big seas.

“Listen.”      When Bai Li Shu saw Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin catch up, he lightly said this, signalling that they don’t inquire into it too much.

The four people silently stood still, and finally, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin heard the thing that Bai Li Shu wanted them to distinguish. Along with the rising and falling of the bronze floor tiles, faintly, there was a sound emitting from the lone island beneath their feet, through layers and layers of rock and dense bronze metal.

thump, thump, thump.

Sound after sound, monotonous yet rich in rhythm.

It was as though there was something sealed in this prison dungeon, but at this time, it was ruthlessly hitting the cage that restricted it again and again, in a manner of not knowing what fatigue was.

“It’s going to succeed soon.”

As Ye Qiu Sheng said this, he kept his eyes on the three little spell altars positioned on the bronze floor. The spell altars originally each had three formation banners, but under the sustained hitting for an unknown time, the position of the formation banners on the spell alter had already deviated a large distance, continuously swayed, and looked to fall down at any moment.

It was also at the time when Ye Qiu Sheng said this, that the bastard being imprisoned in the dungeon suddenly stopped its movements, and the formation banners on the altars violently swayed two times, and dangerously stood in its original place. “It’s storing up strength! Quick!” Ye Qiu Sheng’s expression changed, and shouted loudly. His figure flashed, and directly rushed out towards the soul-sealing altar in the middle.

[1] The specific term used here is 圜⼟ (huan tu) instead of 监狱 (jian yu), the common term for prison/jail. 圜 itself is an encirclement, a place to put prisoners. ⼟ here is not dirt/earth, but instead refers to ⼟⼈, or people
of the Xia(夏) dynasty. Originally used specifically as the place where the Xia people imprisoned the detained. For our purposes, the first term will be called a prison, while the second term will be referred as jail for distinction.

[2] 鲮⻥- if you go search this up, you will get dace as a result, but it actually refers to 陵⻥, which in the ancient times, refers to a creature with the face of a human and the body of a fish while bearing arms and legs.
Think of it like a mermaid, but more fish-like, and additional legs.

[3] 帝芬之战- Di, meaning, Emperor, or imperial. Can also be referring to god, or any supreme beings. Fen, commonly used for ‘fragrance’, but
also used for morals, orrrrr either harmony, or disorder depending on the character that follows it. Conflicting? Yes. Let’s call it the battle of the supreme being’s disorder.

[4] 天井- open air space (hence sky) surrounded by walls all around. 井is used to refer to wells, or shaft or well-like constructions. Also used to refer to courtyards, but is not the common term for such things.

Chapter 45

Chapter Fourty-Five, Inside the Dungeon, the Claws of Death. (地牢之中,死亡之⽖)
On the ground of the shaft formed from poured bronze, a black aura accumulated like lake water. When Ye Qiu Sheng flew into the shaft, that black aura on the ground seemed to been revived, and abruptly writhed, transforming into countless pairs of ghost hands grabbing towards Ye Qiu Sheng.

—— That thing imprisoned in the jail seemed to have felt someone had come to ruin its plans.

Ye Qiu Sheng coldly snorted, his primordial energy flowed, and a layer of dim, thin light shrouded over his entire body. When the pairs of ghost hands probing out from the black aura made contact with that layer of thin light, it acted just like snow that met with a big fire, and quickly melted away.

When Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin saw that black aura, they suddenly recalled the cerberus that they themselves killed on the left side of the secret passageway. In the legends, the cerberus was an existence that guarded the entrance to the demon realm- could it be that this place actually sealed the entrance to the big demon realm? Impossible! It has been ten thousand years since the era of Ten Thousand Immortals when all the demons died, the demon realm had also died out within the entire period of those persisting battles, how could it be possible that there was still a entrance to the demon realm still existing in the world? Furthermore, from the looks of this movement, it was clear that the dungeon was imprisoning something!

Ye Qiu Sheng’s objective was the soul-sealing altar. When he moved, Bai Li Shu also moved, but he did not enter inside the shaft filled with demonic air. Instead, he took out his longsword, and pierced it into the ground, resonating it with the longsword at the soul-sealing altar from afar. The instant Bai Li Shu’s longsword was pierced into the ground, the body of the ancient sword on the soul-sealing altar vibrated, and let out a bird cry filled with pressure.

This bird cry could be not be any more familiar to Jun Wan Bai, Li Xin, and Bai Li Shu.

It was a fog raptor’s cry.

In the next moment, a giant, enormous illusion flagrantly emerged from the soul-sealing altar, and the apparition of the bloodless, fleshless fog raptor hovered over top of the ancient sword. The apparition of the fog raptor that stepped out from the ancient times was left with a viciousness from when it was still alive, and when the bone wings spread out, a series of swift and fierce cold winds blew around the middle of the prison.

When the cold wind circled around, the black aura wilfully writhing about on the bronze floor seemed to have received some deterrence, the myriad of ghost hands suddenly retreated back, and the black aura subsided back to the floor, then turned calm and quiet.

Sword. Fog raptor.

Even Ye Qiu Sheng who came flying out in a fierce manner could not help but let out a breath of cold air. When these two phrases were put together, it was too easy for people to think of that ancient legend—— during the period when the era of Ten Thousand Immortals had not yet end, the young Ancient Emperor walked through the vast lands of the twelve dynasties, killed a million fog raptors, then compacted it into a longsword named “Jue”. After “Jue” was created, the fog raptors disappeared from the lands of the twelve dynasties.

And today, in this deep-black Yan Men underground, above their heads hung countless fog raptor skeletons, while the soul-sealing altar in front of their eyes was pierced with an ancient sword with a hovering apparition of a fog raptor. Other than the Ancient Emperor who used their own strength to kill one million fog raptors, who was able to seal this many fog raptors underground?

Could it be that the ancient sword pierced into the soul-sealing altar was the legendary “Jue”?

This presumption was far too shocking, that it made even Ye Qiu Sheng’s figure pause, and almost directly stepped into the black aura.

Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin did not know how many things were hidden in the darkness above their heads, but the legend of the Ancient Emperor using a million fog raptors to condense into a sword spread quite far, and just a while ago, they killed a fog raptor, and so when they saw this scene at this time, they too directly thought to “Jue”.

Bai Li Shu who pierced the longsword into the floor to draw the ancient sword on the soul-sealing altar into resonating with each other lowly coughed once, and gripped the hand holding the handle. The skin on the back of his hand was a pale-white, so the blue-coloured blood vessels underneath the skin was particularly distinct.

While the other people were startled by the speculation that the ancient sword was possibly the Ancient Emperor’s personal sword, he closed his eyes for a bit, and a hint of hard-to-detect tiredness passed through his features.

The hand holding the hilt of the sword slightly swayed, but it quickly turned steady, and when Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin looked over, Bai Li Shu handed over “Golden Crow” to them, as well as seven long arrows that seemed to be made from white bone. After he simply explained a few words, he sat down on the floor with his legs crossed, and closed his eyes.

When Jun Wan Bai received the longbow, she made contact with Bai Li Shu’s hands- just like the person, it was icy and cold. As the longbow called “Golden Crow” entered her hands, Jun Wan Bai could feel the heat transmitting from the bow. At the same time, Li Xin who received Bai Li Shu’s instructions slightly nodded his head, and enveloped himself with the grey, hazy Yin aura, then flew out like a ghost.

When Ye Qiu Sheng heard the noises behind his head, he turned, and saw Jun Wan Bai holding the gold-coloured longbow, with a pale-white bone arrow put over the bow, and Li Xin flying towards the spell altars in the three corners, as well as the youth in white robes sitting cross-legged within the long corridor, with a longsword pierced down in front of him.

The longsword that was previously silently drawn out slightly and hung over his neck, at this time, finally completely came out of its sheath.

The sword was the same as its owner- the body of the blade was like snow, as though shrouded in a dim, chilly moonlight. Just by looking at it, one would feel a hint of coldness.

As expected, he came with preparations.

Ye Qiu Sheng lightly sighed. This kind of feeling truly made people unable to be excited. Clearly, it was Tai Shang Sect who used up all their efforts to protect this secret, but turns out that he discovered that these Jiu Xuan bastards actually knew so much about it.

However…… no matter how it was said, they could not be trampled over by Jiu Xuan’s group of people!

As Ye Qiu Sheng thought this, the thing in the dungeon beneath his feet that had been storing strength for a long time already completed its preparations—— or perhaps the ancient sword being moved made it feel a sense of danger. Ye Qiu Sheng and Li Xin, the two who flew into the shaft could only hear sound after sound of bronze being slowly ripped open that made people’s heads go numb. When one lowered their head to look, the thick black aura violently boiled over.

Along with the sound of bronze ripping open, was also the sound of claws scratching at metal.

Not one person at the scene did not feel fear in their hearts.

This kind of sound, when one listened to it, seemed like the thing inside the dungeon beneath their feet felt that the attacks they maintained for so long was enough already, and at this time, started to claw at the crevice it rammed out, and used their own giant claws to slowly rip open this thick bronze metal.

—— Just what terrifying amount of power could have bronze several zhang thick be ripped open?
Just what exactly was the thing being locked inside the dungeon? “No matter what you are, since you are a prisoner, then just honestly
and obediently stay in your big jail.”    Ye Qiu Sheng bit down, and the smile on his face had a few bits of ruthlessness to it. His speed once again went up, and then, without any care for whether the fog raptor’s apparition would attack himself or not, he flew to the front of the white-boned soul- sealing altar like a stream of light.

When the fog raptor’s apparition spread out its sickle-like wing bones, blades of wind swept towards Ye Qiu Sheng like rain, and the sharp, formless blades of wind cut through the viscous water-like black aura into lines of fissures like Moses parting the sea. That day when Shen Chang Ge was not careful and had the edge of the wind blade cut into his shoulder, the flesh immediately turned out, and the white bone was exposed. But right now, Ye Qiu Sheng was facing against the blades of wind that filled the sky like a storm at a close distance.

He did not get out of the way nor dodge it, but instead, the left hand slid over top of the ancient blade held in the right hand, and fresh blood spewed out, with all of it poured over the ghastly saw-teeth of the ancient sword.

—— With my blood, offered to the spirits!

When the blood oozed into the ancient blade, a “sss sss” of a venomous snake’s hissing resonated in the shaft, and a ray of light emerged from within the ancient blade in Ye Qiu Sheng’s hand, transforming into a gigantic apparition hovering around him—— that was a nine-headed Hui(venomous) snake. As the nine-headed Hui snake hovered over Ye Qiu Sheng’s surroundings, those ferocious and wild snake heads would either stand upright, or would bend its neck, or let out hisses…… not one the same.

The blades of wind filling the skies were all blocked off by the Hui snake hovering by Ye Qiu Sheng’s side.

Once the Hui snake spirit sealed inside the ancient blade was summoned out, Ye Qiu Sheng’s face instantly whitened, and a mouthful of blood almost immediately spurt out. This was the life-saving trick he had saved as a last resort, that pretty much used up half of his blood essence to be able to barely have it summoned out.

The Hui snake spirit could not be maintained too long, so Ye Qiu Sheng used this short period of time and rushed up to the soul-sealing altar.

At the instant Ye Qiu Sheng rushed towards the soul-sealing altar, Bai Li Shu who was sitting crossed-legged suddenly opened his eyes.

“Go!” He said sternly, not allowing for opposition.

The bone arrow that had already long been put over the bowstring struck out, and without waiting for that bone arrow to hit, Jun Wan Bai already took up the second bone arrow and once again put it over the string made from the heavenly-horned rhinoceros’ back tendons. The sound of the keen arrow breaking through the air consecutively resounded, with not more, not less, a total of seven sounds.
breaths. Seven bone arrows all were shot out in the short time of several

At the time the bone arrows were shot out, Ye Qiu Sheng stepped onto the first step of the white-bone staircase.

The thick and dense bronze flooring that continuously emitted sounds was suddenly ripped open a big opening with a loud crash, and half of a bone claw that seemed to be able to cover the skies and blot out the sun probed out from the darkness, then laid on top of the bronze that had been stripped open. Ye Qiu Sheng and the others were not even as tall as a single joint of this bone claw’s pinky finger. It looked to be a bit like an avian claw, while the white bones were wound with layers of black aura.

When the bone claw stuck out, the thin and long finger bone relative to its entire body spread open, turned, and grabbed towards the ancient sword pierced on top of the soul-sealing altar.

It was at this time, that the seven bone arrows shot from the “Golden Crow” arrived.

The bone arrows were covered in a layer of dazzling golden light, and pretty much all nailed into the joints of the bone claws at the same time. However, these formidable-looking seven arrows did not create much harm for the bone claw—— that bubbling black aura was viscous and like a living thing, and when the long arrows arrived, they rolled and wrapped around the body of the arrows.

Like they were sunk into a swamp, the speed of the long arrows slowed down in the next moment, and in the end only shallowly wedged into the bone joints.

When the arrows’ bodies were caught in the black aura, the bone arrow suddenly broke apart, and the golden light covering over the bone arrows’ body scattered in all four directions like rain, and fell on top of the bone claw, eroding the white bone with small little recessed holes. The bone claw grabbing towards the soul-sealing altar stopped at once, bent over in the air, then turned to another direction in the next moment, and used the speed of thunder to grab towards Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li Shu’s direction.

The giant bone claw could pretty much envelop the entire shaft. The black aura on top of it swept and wound on its surface, bubbling around along with the black aura covering over the bronze floor, and then those ghost hands that disappeared due to the ancient blade’s deterrence once again faintly emerged.

Faced against the ferocious and terrifying bone claw, no matter if it was Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li Shu, none of them moved.

The wind came blowing in front of them, bringing with it an inexhaustible gloomy coldness to it.

Chapter 46

Chapter Fourty-Six, Person of Desperation, Without a Care For Life or Death. (亡命之徒, ⽣死何顾)
The black aura was writhing about like the a person on a rampage, baring its teeth and brandishing its claws, yet the bone claws carrying a terrifying pressure could not move forward one bit.

It stopped when it was just about to grab Bai Li Shu and Jun Wan
Bai.

The instant the bone claw was on the verge of capturing Bai Li Shu
and Jun Wan Bai, several chains from several corners of the shaft flew out like lightning, and wound up around the bone claw like a flock of snakes. It was precisely these chains that immobilized the bone claw at the most critical moment.

Li Xin stood at a corner of the shaft in front of a spell altar, with his forehead slightly covered with cold sweat.

Just now, in accordance with Bai Li Shu’s words, Li Xin used evil aura to cover himself, crossed through the demonic aura, and rushed towards the spell altars in the three corners in the bronze shaft.

These three spell altars looked to be cast at the same period as the bronze flooring, as the bottom of the spell altar and the bronze flooring were connected with each other, without a single gap. Li Xin lacked even the slightest knowledge regarding formations(spells), but at this time, no matter how one went about it, even he was able to see that the bronze altars were not that similar to the spell altars Wan Zhen Sect people normally used.

Because rather than calling it a spell altar, it would be better to call it a three-mouthed cauldron.

From the beginning of the era of Chaos up to the present, the three- mouthed cauldron was a bronze cauldron often used as a sacrificial tool.

The bronze cauldron had ears, stood on three legs, while the top had a relieved sculpture of an ancient beast. The cauldron ears were in the form of the head of an ancient beast, the scaly dragon, with the dragon mouth open wide as though it was letting out a roar towards something at that moment. Even though it had been placed in the underground cave for this long, the bronze cauldron did not even have a speck of dust at all. As for the three formation flags that stood in the middle of the cauldron, the formation flags consisted of a flag pole carved from the strange fish’s spine, while the surface of the banner itself was made with some snow-white beast leather of unknown name, with intricate lines on top, unknown if it was a talisman or words.

However, due to the long period of ramming by the thing sealed within the dungeon, and the ground continuously vibrating, the formation flags in the cauldron already emerged with a tilted form after a very long time[1].

As for exactly what era this underground prison was made in, Li Xin already had an approximate guess when he walked inside.

That was an era that “used bronze for arms, with tendencies to use cauldrons.”

—— The era of Chaos.

What was engraved on the bronze walls was the Battle of Di Fen that marked the beginning of the era of Chaos, yet what pierced in the white-boned spell altar was the Ancient Emperor’s personal sword from the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, and what opened the path here was more similar to the black-iron chains cast by this current period’s people…… This jumbled up mess, just what the hell was going on?

Li Xin was just about to be drowned by these countless suspicions. But this was not the time to be asking questions.
He cut open his arm, and had the blood poured on top of the scaly dragon’s head. The blood dripped on the scaly dragon’s head like dropping on top of soil, and slowly seeped within the bronze. He only heard a ka cha sound afterwards, and the scaly dragon opened its mouth and spit out a hilt of a dark colour. Li Xin gripped the hilt and pulled it, then had the dagger radiating with cold light pulled out.

clang——

When Li Xin thrust the dagger hidden inside the scaly dragon’s mouth into the center between the three formation flags, the relieved ancient beast’s eyes on the body of the bronze cauldron suddenly lit up. Those ancient beasts of unknown names seemed to have revived, their manes and eyebrows opened up, and an archaic pressure wrapped around the body of the bronze cauldron. The originally slanted and shaking formation flags abruptly stabilized, and when the bronze floor was being torn apart, it still was unmoved.

All the three spell altars created from bronze cauldrons each had a dagger hidden inside. When the final dagger was pierced into the bronze cauldron, Li Xin could feel the atmosphere within the prison faintly shake a bit, and at the same time, he could even hear the sound of a mechanism moving from within the darkness, low and deep like a wild beast’s breath.

In the next moment, several chains flew out from the corners of the darkness in the prison, and wrapped around the bone claws in the most critical moment, forcefully immobilizing that bone claw that looked like it was about to grab Bai Li Shu and Jun Wan Bai in midair.

Li Xin let out a long breath, and realized his own forehead was already full of cold sweat. However, before waiting for his one heart to settle down, the bone claw that was restrained by the chains in midair started to intensely struggle, in attempts to wriggle out of those chains wrapped over the bones.

—— It could even rip open the thick bronze flooring. These chains could not stop it for long at all.

◈◈◈
“Just obediently be locked up!” Within the short time of changes, Ye Qiu Sheng already ascended the soul-sealing altar.

The Hui snake spirit’s form hovering over his body already dimmed to the point that it could not get any more dim. At the instant Ye Qiu Sheng stepped onto the soul-sealing altar, the fog raptor apparition’s pair of wings suddenly gathered up, and its posture was gentle just like protecting baby birds under its wing. However, those long, sickle-like bone wings bore a merciless killing intent!

Under the fog raptor’s bone wings, the Hui snake spirit could not be maintained any longer, and shattered into countless bits of stars.

When the spirit of the ancient blade tied to his own heart blood[2] broke apart, Ye Qiu Sheng spurt out a mouthful of blood with a “wah”. But it was also at this time, that his hands already held onto the hilt of the ancient blade, “Jue”. When the wing bones intersected and gathered up bone by bone, he gripped the hilt and heavily thrust it downward.

“Jue” silently pierced into the white boned soul-sealing altar, and the body of the blade sunk all the way down, only leaving the hilt exposed on the surface of the altar.

As Ye Qiu Sheng fell onto the soul-sealing altar, the posture of the fog raptor’s wings gathering up was only completed halfway, with the fan- like wing bones half-closed half-opened. Ye Qiu Sheng’s back was full of blood—— there were already a few wing bone tips pierced into his back. —— The nature of this fake scholar wearing a Confucian scholar’s wide robes was that of a complete and thorough person of desperation. His mouth would be full of pointless words, yet his hands would make life- risking gambles.

Ye Qiu Sheng spit out the mouthfuls of blood onto the soul-sealing altar, and sent his greetings to the fog raptor’s entire eighteen generations of ancestors[3]. The hand that was tightly gripping the hilt finally loosened up, and due to using too much strength, the web of his hand also faintly went numb, then the fog raptor apparition above his head slowly thinned out.

When “Jue” completely pierced into the soul-sealing altar, the bone claw’s struggle suddenly turned particularly fierce and brutal, and the black aura on the bone claw all disappeared with a “woosh”, as though all absorbed by the bone claw.

The bronze chains broke off one by one by it. Sparks scattered all around, and the broken off chains flung back, and heavily smashed onto the prison walls, letting out a very loud noise. The sound repeated and echoed in this sealed space of a prison, and rumbled without any stop.

A chain lashed back, and heavily smashed against the prison cell window just behind Jun Wan Bai. As the bronze railing broke at the sound, the chain hit the wall inside the room, and the white bones locked inside it smashed into oblivion. Jun Wan Bai wiped the place on her face that was swiped by the broken end of the chain, and the warm blood flowed down along the cheek.

She turned her head to look, and only saw that in this span of chaos, Bai Li Shu still sat cross-legged on the floor, and once again closed his eyes at some time, while the white light from the longsword in front of him turned more and more brighter.

This person had no intention of getting up to dodge at all!

Jun Wan Bai spit out the blood that flowed into her mouth. She put away the longbow, pulled out her own pair of swords, then stepped out and guarded in front of Bai Li Shu. The swords intersected, and a faint light cover spread out with the tip of the sword as the epicentre, and enclosed Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li Shu behind her within it. When the flinging chains lashed onto the light cover, it let out a loud sound, and the light cover shook along with it, but Bai Li Shu behind Jun Wan Bai was safe and sound.

In another area, Li Xin who was by the bronze cauldron avoided a chain that came smashing toward his face. By the looks of it, the chains binding the bone claw were being broken off one by one. He ignored the thick demonic aura on the bronze floor, and directly rushed towards the soul-sealing altar.

“Waiting for someone to collect your corpse for you?”       Within the rumbling sound, while dodging a chain, Li Xin threw himself to the soul-sealing altar, and yelled at Ye Qiu Sheng.

Ye Qiu Sheng laid on top of the altar, with a dark-green, one-inch long talisman plate made from some unknown material in his hand. On “Jue’s” hilt was a notch, just about the same size as the talisman’s edges. Ye Qiu Sheng’s hands were raised, wanting to have the plate placed into the notch. His movements were incomparably sluggish, however, the veins on the back of his hands all stuck out, and the area between his fingers was even dripping wet with more blood.

Ye Qiu Sheng heard Li Xin’s yelling, but the colour of his face was a iron-grey, his teeth were clenched, and did not reply a single word. Sweat as big as beans continuously fell down along his forehead, and dropped onto the soul-sealing altar with a “drip, drop”.

Li Xin extended his hand over to help.

The instant the hand was put over the talisman plate, Li Xin only felt a wave of terrifying force suddenly pressed onto his shoulder. He did not even have the time to struggle, and directly groveled with a heavy thud, and soon after, was pressed on top of the soul-sealing altar just like Ye Qiu Sheng by that strength. It was at this time that Li Xin understood why Ye Qiu Sheng’s movements were that arduous.

With this wave of terrifying power pressing onto his body, Li Xin pretty much could hear his own bones let out squeaking noises under this weight. Under this circumstance, don’t talk about raising his hands to have the talisman plate placed onto the hilt, even moving a single finger was incomparably difficult.

To their backs, was the sound of another two chains being broken off. One chain flew by the heads of him and Ye Qiu Sheng, bringing about a cold wind that seeped into the bones.

At once, Li Xin’s heart sank.

The number of chains wrapped around the bone claw was a total of twenty-one. In this short period of time, it had already snapped off two- thirds!

“Fuck!”     Li Xin squeezed out the sound from between his teeth, and had all his primordial energy circulated into his right hand. He slowly raised his hand bit by bit, and sent over the talisman plate forward bit by bit towards the hilt along with Ye Qiu Sheng.

Sweat rolled down from Li Xin’s forehead, and dropped into his eyes, causing a numbing pain, while each bone from head to toe felt like it carried a thousand jin on them. At this time, if one wanted to live, they should let go, then turn and run away. However, Li Xin bit down, and slowly raised his hand—— Ye Qiu Sheng did not think wrong. Jiu Xuan Sect was certainly only ever abundant with geniuses and lunatics.

And the disciples of Jiu Xuan Sect always called Li Xin, Half- crazed Li!

Within the darkness underneath Yan Men, inside the bronze prison that was either constructed in the era of Chaos or era of Ten Thousand Immortals, the chains that were being broken off by the bone claw flung around like mad snakes, and sparks whirled around string after string. Jun Wan Bai’s forehead was also already filled with cold sweat—— the number of chains wrapped around the bone claw only had three remaining.

The bone claw was on the verge of being free. No!
Again, two sounds loudly resonated, and two chains sprung out, and lashed on top of the bronze wall. The final chain already could not restrain the bone claw!

It broke free!

The ghastly white-bone claw gave up on Jun Wan Bai and Bai Li Shu, and turned around and grabbed towards Ye Qiu Sheng and Li Xin at the soul-sealing altar.

“Half-crazed Li!” Behind, Jun Wan Bai’s shrill voice came over, but Li Xin could only hear the howling winds behind his head. There was still a fair distance between the talisman plate and the notch.

The corners of Li Xin’s mouth made a grin, and without a single care, the strength on his hand once again increased.
[1] 天⻓地久 – as long as the sky and earth is lasting and unchanging.
[2] Also a term for hard work, painstaking efforts.

[3] If there is a need to know why it’s 18, it’s because there are actual proper naming conventions up to it that aren’t just great-great-great-great… etc, grandson or grandfather. Basically, the person’s entire family.

Chapter 47

Chapter Fourty-Seven, Ice Seals All, Frosting All With One Sword. (冰封万物, ⼀剑霜寒)
clang——

In the darkness, the crisp and clear sound of a sword suddenly transmitted into everyone’s ears.

Chains that madly danced like snakes, demonic aura that rolled and swept up without restraint, and the bone claw ghastly to the point of feeling cold…… Within this havoc where death alternated one by one and dangers rose up all of a sudden, the sound of that sword was clear yet cold, like a sliver of cold light refracted from the peak of a snowy mountain, falling towards the mountain valley like bits of crushed ice.

At the time the bone claw covered over the soul-sealing altar, the longsword in front of Bai Li Shu that was as bright as a small sun shattered into a myriad of white lights along with the crisp and clear tinkling. The white lights circled and danced, like an endless array of stars, and flew around the entire shaft of the prison.

Snow suddenly fell within the dark underground prison.

The fluttering white light fell down as it circulated, drifting in profusely like heavy snow in the middle of winter. That white light seemed like snow falling from the spacial void, abundantly fluttering in the air, what a poet would praise as a beautiful scenery in writing. However, when the “snow” fell on top of the bone claw, an inexhaustible icy frost spread out in an instant.

Jun Wan Bai’s steps rushing forward suddenly stopped.

The bone claw was suspended over top of Li Xin and Ye Qiu Sheng’s heads, suffused with a faint ice-blue-coloured light—— a layer of seemingly thin ice sealed over the bone claw.

The bone claw had been ice-bound.

In an instant, without a sound or breath, it had been sealed in ice.

Jun Wan Bai unconsciously held her breath in, and her pupils were cast with this magnificent scenery that was just like a fantasy in front of her eyes. The snowflake-like white light came down in a flutter, fell on top of the black aura writhing over the bronze floor, fell on top of the chains that were like snakes madly dancing, and fell on top of the bronze opening that had been ripped open……

The ice suffused with a dim-blue light silently spread out, and froze everything.

In a breath’s time, the entire prison’s shaft suddenly turned incomparably peaceful.

In an instant, the world that was incomparably noisy just now, filled with risks of life and death, turned into a world of ice that people of literature and writing would praise countless times. Everything that the eyes saw was sealed in ice, however, this was not the winter scene that those mortal poets would have ever seen, nor was it that kind of peaceful, calm and elegant snowy scenery.

The world was quiet, but it was one of a deathly still, solitary kind of silence.

In the space between the sky and earth, only boundless and indistinct white snow danced in the air. The layer of ice blanketed the interior of the bronze prison, and was suffused with a light, dream-like blue light. The bone claw covered over the top space of the shaft, maintaining that one instant its killing intent erupted, while the broken chains froze in midair, wound like ancient pythons. On the floor, the countless ghost hands probing out from the black aura were of different postures, and the shadows it cast layered over one another…… All the murderous intentions, all the viciousness were frozen by that silent, solitary ice.

Bizarre and incongruous[1], yet grand and beautiful like a painting. A single sword that froze over the Fourteen Provinces.
Was this the “Immortal Beyond Heaven’s” sword?

In between Jun Wan Bai spacing out, she heard a light sound of footsteps.

At some unknown time, Bai Li Shu had already stood up. He walked into the shaft, stepped over the ice layer suffused with blue light and walked forward. While the white light was still falling down, the youth seemed just like he was walking within snow, with his back figure lean and thin.

Just like an immortal from beyond Heaven.

◈◈◈
As Bai Li Shu stepped forward over the ice, the fingertips of his left hand hidden under the sleeve slightly shook, and blood fell drop by drop along his fingertips, dripping onto the layer of ice. The blood contained with dormant poison fell onto the ice layer, and was quickly frozen.

He recalled something from the past.

At a very long time, though it could not be said it was very long ago, when he was still Dong Ling’s Bai Li, he once stood in front of the window and saw his own assassin swinging his sword within the snow desperately. He was not unfamiliar with this scene- the people who wanted him dead were many, so many to the point he could not be bothered to count. When he drank bowl after bowl of bitter and harsh medicine, he would feel it was a bit funny- what use was it? Each and every person would spend all their efforts like this to come kill him, even though it was so clear that he would die soon.

Needing to put up that many lives.

As for why he would remember that assassin, it was because they were a very young killer.

After countless assassins died in the Bai Li residence, there were actually already very few assassins willing to take on the mission of assassinating him. Those who still came to kill him were all sacrifices secretly raised by the various families. Like newborn calves that were not afraid of tigers[2], the young assassin still did not know what fear was, and recklessly took on this certain-death task because of the rich and oddly generous bounty.

Snow fluttered about and danced in the air, as big as goose feathers.

The young assassin held a sword against opponents with strength far superior to his own, with a flame named madness burning inside his eyes. It wasn’t until warm blood dyed the snowy floor red that the flame then died out. Before this, the eyes of those who came forward to kill him were a span of deathly stillness- and from how Bai Li Shu saw it, they were already dead people.

Only that young assassin’s eyes were pulsing with fire. That was the flame of life.
A life burning like a candle.

The guards thought their family head was thinking about where the assassin this time was sent from, or which family had movements, and thus respectfully and fearfully, very carefully dragged the body away without daring to make a single bit of sound, afraid that it would disturb his thoughts. However, they did not know that the Young Lord Bai Li who calculated to the point of not leaving behind anything, who made the capital’s prominent families’ faces change once mentioned was actually only in a daze.

He did not ponder over anything.

He only thought about the assassin who could spare no efforts to wield their sword, thought about the guards who could drink all the hard liquor to their heart’s content, and thought about all the people who lived ignorantly yet could freely laugh merrily and curse angrily.

He raised his eyes, and looked towards the soul-sealing altar stacked by white bones.

—— Ye Qiu Sheng who danced about wielding a sword in Confucian-style clothing like a crane on top of the chains, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin who rushed out from the crevice in the darkness, and the two desperate people who did not dare to let go of their hands underneath the bone claw……

What kind of world was this?

If angry, then pull out a sword to cut it down, and if happy, then be drunk on a thousand cups. Since life and death all existed in one single moment, one would then live more vigorously due to it.

Primordial energy unruly rushing and bursting out inside the body, the tendons and muscles being lashed at, the dormant poison flaring out without restraint, and the feeling of blood rushing up inside the throat did not stop at any moment. Nevertheless, Bai Li Shu seemed to yet be ignorant and unfeeling of it, the sleeves of his robe shook, and he flew to the soul- sealing altar formed from the pile of white bones.

Li Xin and Ye Qiu Sheng laid on the floor in an extremely discomposed manner. With hideous expressions, the talisman plate in their hands drew close to the hilt of “Jue” bit by bit. The blood from the wounds on Ye Qiu Sheng’s back was flowing faster and faster. On the other hand, Li Xin had all his primordial energy circulated to both limbs, his robes were tattered at this time, while the muscles on his arms tightened and knotted, and the fine, small blood vessels split open, making both of his limbs completely bloodied.

The white light fell on top of the soul-sealing altar, but did not freeze them along with it.

Li Xin heard someone stepping onto the soul-sealing altar, but did not have the strength to even raise his head.

drip, drop, drip, drop.

Li Xin’s eyes slightly contracted a bit. In his line of sight, drops of blood fell down from midair, and dropped on top of the hilt of “Jue”.

The burden on his back lessened, so Li Xin arduously raised his head to look.

A youth in a white robe stood by with an indifferent expression. He extended his hand out, and blood slid down from his finger tips, then dropped on top of the sword’s hilt.

“Bai Li Shu……” Li Xin’s voice seemed to have been arduously squeezed out from his chest cavity.

As the heavy force was alleviated, Ye Qiu Sheng who already reached his limit acquired strength out of nowhere, bit down, then sent his hand forward, and the talisman plate finally embedded into the notch.

The instant the talisman was placed into the hilt, the thin ice sealing the bone claw shattered along with it. The pale-white ice flakes fluttered down in the air, and fell onto the three people’s bodies.

[1] 光怪陆离 Or, grotesque in shape and gaudy in colour. Strange sights and impressions. [2] 初⽣⽜犊不怕虎- expression for, the less wit, the more courageous. Comparatively young people who don’t think as much will have more
courage to do things. Because the calf did not know how incredible tigers were, they would then not be afraid of them.

Chapter 48

Chapter Fourty-Eight, the Old Emperor’s Will, the Place Sealed Forever. (古帝意志, 永封之地)
The bone claw came out from the broken ice, yet could not continue attacking Bai Li Shu and the others.

It vacantly stalled midair, and slightly trembled, as though it felt some extremely scary power being awakened.

Ye Qiu Sheng finally understood what Bai Li Shu meant at the time they were in front of the black-iron door engraved with relieved fog raptors with his words of “do you think that you have in your hand, is the entire lock”.

Just by merely possessing the talisman plate, he did not have any way of having it placed in the hilt at all, because there would be a force stopping him invisibly- that was the Ancient Emperor’s personal sword, “Jue’s” own refusal. This ancient sword that accompanied the Ancient Emperor’s campaign to the south and north rejected the return of the talisman plate—— because the “lock” he brought was not complete.

And the remaining portion of the lock…… Was Bai Li Shu’s blood.
When Bai Li Shu’s blood dropped down onto the hilt, Ye Qiu Sheng distinctly saw the ancient sword tremble for a moment, and following it, the terrifying force on his body started to slowly decrease. —— This sword congealed from a million fog raptors accepted Bai Li Shu’s offering, and afterwards, allowed them to have the talisman plate returned to awaken itself.

Ye Qiu Sheng recalled, in the beginning, it was also Bai Li Shu who pierced his sword into the ground, and drew in “Jue’s” resonance.

Why was it Bai Li Shu’s blood? Just who exactly was Bai Li Shu? Could it be that this was what the shitty old man meant when he called him “fixed number”—— saying that this fellow was that person destined to finalize all sorts of things, and that’s why he was able to come to Yan Men Prefecture, and that’s why his blood was able to receive the ancient sword “Jue’s” approval?

What kind of joke was this! If there really was this kind of person, then what would it mean for someone like him who ran across the vast lands of the twelve dynasties for this long?

All the various plans Ye Qiu Sheng made in advance before coming to Yan Men Prefecture lost its effectiveness after entering the underground. Even the things that he originally felt that he already investigated thoroughly started to once again cover itself in a thick layer of fog, and once again turned complicated and indistinguishable.

While many things passed by in his mind in confusion, the ice flakes on his head fell down, yet he did not climb up from the floor.

Li Xin coughed, and coughed out large mouthfuls of blood. Just like the bone claw, when the talisman plate returned to its place, his body uncontrollably shook from head to toe—— a kind of formless, indescribable pressure spread out from the sword pierced into the soul- sealing altar. That was an invisible kind of pressure.

Just like some ancient, honourable, terrifying existence slowly being awakened, that soon descended down.

The air seemed to be faintly vibrating- with the soul-sealing altar as the epicentre, the cold ice suffused with faint blue light that sealed everything rapidly shattered away. The restraint from the sea ice had been lost, but those ghost hands and black aura did not show a joy for freedom, and the chains only softly hung down, like a giant snake that had its spine crushed at every section. The black aura that wilfully rolled around before this retreated like the tidewaters, and shrunk back to the crevice below, and at once, only the shivering bone claw was left inside the shaft.

Li Xin wanted to climb up, but after his palm tried propping up a few times, he could not succeed, so Bai Li Shu extended his still bleeding hand over, and pulled him up.

“It’s the Ancient Emperor’s will. Hurry and leave!”    Bai Li Shu said in a low voice.

The colour of Li Xin’s face turned white. He extended his hand to haul Ye Qiu Sheng’s collar, and dragged him like dragging a dead dog, then rushed towards Jun Wan Bai’s direction along with Bai Li Shu.

As Ye Qiu Sheng was being pulled by Li Xin, he firmly stared at the soul-sealing altar, with his face filled with colours of a blankness.

He knew that the item he brought himself was able to awaken a portion of “Jue’s” strength, and have the thing inside the dungeon completely suppressed with it, but he would have never thought that what Kong An left, what he let his descendants awaken, was actually the Ancient Emperor’s will.

The Ancient Emperor left his own will inside his personal sword. After Kong An discovered this, he used up all his efforts to have the talisman plate that could awaken the Ancient Emperor’s will found. To think that several hundred years ago, that young Tai Shang elder was actually so audacious[1] to this kind of extent! He actually wanted to use the Ancient Emperor’s will to thoroughly seal the thing in the dungeon.

Certainly, if one had the ancient Emperor’s will to suppress it, then the thing within the dungeon would definitely not be able to break the seal. However, this thing like using an old Emperor, was it something that normal people dared to do?!

The archaic emperors’ figures appeared in the era of Chaos. After the era of Chaos, of those who were able to be called an “archaic emperor”, only three emperors including the Ancient Emperor were left. To immortal cultivators, the ancient emperors of the era of Chaos and the three emperors of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals were the true “Emperors”.

A so-called “Emperor”, was that kind of superior existence, able to restrain everything. The ancient emperors of the era of Chaos would ride carriages pulled by divine beasts, the places that they moved past were then their territory, and as the ruler of an emperor’s domain, the king’s will was the law. “If the Emperor orders a west course, the rivers would not go east”- that was an existence that even the mountains and rivers had to submit to.

Only this kind of existence was a true emperor!

What kind of emperor could the emperors of the twelve dynasties in the present be called? What qualifications did people who have to bow their heads and pay tributes to the Eight Immortal Sects have to be called an emperor?

Thus, after the era of Ten Thousand Immortals, the immortal cultivators no longer revered any so-called emperor.

However, at this time, what was awakened was the one who, after the era of Chaos, was the last one able to be crowned as emperor, called the Ancient Emperor’s will. For the archaic emperor who could reverse mountains and rivers with one order, even if a long time had passed, the sliver of imposition left behind was still a extremely terrifying existence.

◈◈◈
The hands Jun Wan Bai was holding the sword with slightly trembled. She bit down and resisted the urge to submit. At this time, that formless imposition in the air already turned more and more heavy. The bone claw was frightened by the pressure and hung down, however, the thing inside the dungeon seemed to be unresigned- it grabbed the bronze crevice, defying that increasingly heavy pressure, not willing to give up the hope of escaping just like that.

—— Even if it was the last old emperor, the three emperors of the era of Ten Thousand Immortals had long already entered their eternal slumber in the deep parts of history. The immortal cultivators of this era did not need some king. Immortal cultivators lived long in defiance of the Heavens- suppose the heart was in fear, then how would one go against the world?

And then, she heard the sound of countless pipes and zithers playing in unison, majestic like using an entire nation’s power to play music in a ceremony.

Pipe and zither sounds?

In a place with nothing other than dry bones and that thing under the dungeon, how could there be pipe and zither sounds? Furthermore, with such a tremendous pipe and zither sound!

Jun Wan Bai looked towards where the sound came from, and saw that in each of the cell rooms in the prison, those skeletons that were locked with chains started to dance, albeit a bit stiff due to being restrained by the chains. Those comparatively small white bones on the skeletons trembled and struck against each other. The sound of pipes and zithers playing was transmitted from those skeletons. Jun Wan Bai slightly turned stunned, and suddenly understood what the white bones that were locked here were when they were alive.

In the 《Three Emperors’ Handbook· Odd Beasts Chapter》writes: The Eastern Blue has a beast, named the Wei[2] ghost, mostly in a strange forms, who uses its bones to clash against each other, like the calls of a pipe zither.

Those were the corpses of odd beasts named “Wei ghost”. In the dance of the Wei ghosts within the darkness, skulls collided with each other, and when the sound of pipes and zithers flooded inside the ears, a grieving singing voice transmitted from all around the prison. That voice could definitely not be let out by a human, and on the contrary sounded like lamenting song from a dead Wei ghost’s soul.

Jun Wan Bai suddenly shivered.

She finally recalled it- in the era of Chaos, if the people wanted to ask for the ancient emperor’s will to descend, they would then need to perform a grand ceremony. In accordance with the ancient demands, people needed a “slow rhythm to bring up the song, with an old pipe zither as its grand start”, and finally, “a spirit that stands tall and erect with pretty clothing”.

The Wei ghosts’ dance, the Wei ghosts’ sound, the Wei ghosts’ song.

Was this not exactly like the rite of the old citizens asking for the ancient emperor’s will to descend down?

Jun Wan Bai only felt a hint of coldness fly through inside. These Wei ghosts’ corpse bones being locked at this place, the souls being confined here, all were here to wait for this grand ceremony to call awake the archaic emperor’s will to descend down.

Could it be…… unknowingly, there was already someone who already anticipated that they would tread in here?

Without waiting for Jun Wan Bai to overthink it, Bai Li Shu and the other two already rushed out from the bronze shaft, with their faces all a span of pale-white.

“Bow!” Bai Li Shu extended his hand towards Jun Wan Bai.

Jun Wan Bai handed over the “Golden Crow” she previously put away, and Bai Li Shu’s completely bloodied hand gripped the body of the bow, and smeared it from top to down. Tainted with Bai Li Shu’s blood, the Golden Crow suddenly lit up. The sound of an ancient golden crow’s cry came out from the longbow, and in the next moment, a flame burned right in front of them.

A golden crow’s apparition opened both its wings and flew up, then hovered by Bai Li Shu’s side.

Once the golden crow apparition appeared, Jun Wan Bai only felt that the pressure from the ancient emperor’s will slowly awakening decrease quite a bit for now. She let out a breath, and the sweat from her forehead rolled down.

“Get out! Go!”     Bai Li Shu held up the gold-coloured longbow, and urged on.

Behind them, the soul-sealing altar was already slowly crumbling. With the Ancient Emperor’s personal sword directly pierced into the bronze flooring, the thing inside the dungeon let out a long cry, and the bone claw that grabbed at the bronze crevice was crushed by that grand imperial pressure inch by inch.

Bai Li Shu said another two “go’s”, while the ancient emperor’s pressure inside the prison turned more and more heavy.

At this moment, Ye Qiu Sheng did not need to worry about whether the thing inside the dungeon would come climbing out. With the longsword awakened with the ancient emperor’s will at the top pressing it, what thing could climb out.

At present, what he should be worrying about is whether they could get out of this place or not.

The golden crow’s apparition hovered around, bearing the terrifying pressure for them. Since Li Xin was quite seriously injured and Bai Li Shu was holding the longbow, Jun Wan Bai took over for Li Xin and grabbed Ye Qiu Sheng, hauled this Tai Shang disciple full of bullshit, then the group of four hurriedly rushed out of the bronze prison. Outside the prison, the flock of chameleons disappeared without a trace or shadow at this time, as though each and every one of them felt a danger, and all of them returned to the black waters underneath.

Jun Wan Bai dragged Ye Qiu Sheng without any intention of taking care of a seriously injured patient, and was just about the same as Li Xin, dragging him like dragging a dead dog while running on top of the iron chains.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s seriously injured back struck onto the iron chains, hurting him into grimacing with pain, “My grand-auntie[3], are you trying to save me or kill me here?! ”

“Say another word and I’m going to toss you down from here!” Jun Wan Bai teared at her throat and roared loudly.

One had to yell out- at this time, the myriad of black-iron chains in this underground place were rapidly moving, with some rising up, and some sinking down. From the looks of it, it was going to return to its appearance before the “Zhe Jiu Ji” was unlocked. The lone island suspended in midair was currently slowly falling down, and very soon would sink back to the water once again.

The sound of iron chains clattering reverberated like tens of thousands of rolling thunder.

Jun Wan Bai dragged Ye Qiu Sheng and jumped from one falling black-iron chain onto another rising chain, and then continued to jump onto another chain. Ye Qiu Sheng’s body staggered midair, often ramming onto the iron chains.

Grand-auntie Jun’s temper was too violent, so Ye Qiu Sheng did not dare to ask her again to prevent himself from really getting tossed down from the chains by her, and could only use his strength to mutter, “The heavens soon befall an important responsibility to what was hence called a human. First, one must suffer with the mind, then toil with the bones and muscles…… Ssss……” As the back heavily hit the iron chains once again, Ye Qiu Sheng sucked back in cold air.

Following the final rumbling sound, the lone island to their backs completely sunk into the underground river, and in the finally, Jun Wan Bai and other once again stepped onto the cliff wall’s path.

Jun Wan Bai let go of her hand, and leaned against the cliff wall to catch her breath.

Bai Li Shu with a hand full of blood holding the Golden Crow longbow was the last to arrive at the cliff path. His white robe was stained with a bit of blood, and was particularly conspicuous. Bai Li Shu used the longbow to point to the crevice Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin came out from before, “The door is closed, so we’ll go out from the place you guys came from.”

Jun Wan Bai did not ask for the reason, nodded her head, then dragged Ye Qiu Sheng and wormed her way into the crevice she came from earlier.

When all the people came out from the crevice and entered the left secret passageway, Jun Wan Bai then understood why Bai Li Shu’s tone was that anxious in the end.

When they walked out a fair distance, the secret passageway started to tremble.

Large pieces of rock came falling down at present, and not long after it, the entire passageway would completely cave in.

—— This was the secret passageway left for the people who came to reinforce the dungeon’s seal. After the thing inside the dungeon was completely sealed, the secret passageway would be destroyed along with it.

The tens of thousands of chains in the darkness, the lone island suspended on the chains, the bronze prison on top of the lone island, including those Chi chameleons and those white-boned Wei ghosts…… Everything. All of the things filled with suspicion and doubt would be forever covered with dust under Yan Men Prefecture’s earth, including that personal sword of the Ancient Emperor’s, as well as the thing in the dungeon.

The party of four ran towards the exit within the shaking.

Li Xin was at the very front opening the way, while Jun Wan Bai was dragging Ye Qiu Sheng in the middle, with Bai Li Shu bringing up the rear.

Dust rose all around.

When they rushed to the end of the secret passageway, Li Xin in the very front suddenly stopped in his steps.

Jun Wan Bai almost ran into him, “Hurry and go!”

Li Xin simply and shortly replied, “It’s blocked. Go back.”

Jun Wan Bai raised her eyes, and as expected, the exit to the secret path had already been closed.

—— Something like the exit being blocked, who would have the patience to go find what mechanism! Isn’t it just a done deal if you directly take a sword to it?

Bai Li Shu who was at the very back stopped in his footsteps along with them. He turned his head and saw the continuously caving secret passageway. Faintly, he felt a sliver of sorrow that came from someplace unknown.
[1] 胆⼤包天- so daring, it even includes the heavens.
[2] 嵬⿁- the wei character can mean lofty, or towering, like a mountain. Extra note: the character is composed of ⼭(mountain) and ⿁(ghost), just like how an immortal 仙 is composed of ⼈(human) and ⼭(mountain), equally lofty and towering.

[3] literally, is the term for the sister of one’s paternal grandfather, but also used to call a woman putting on airs, or how one would informally address a girl when blaming them.

Chapter 49

Chapter Fourty-Nine, Heaven’s Tears In Yan Men, the Cloudless Rain. (雁门天泣, ⽆云之⾬)
Within the darkness, the flame illuminated in all four directions, and loose rocks fluttered everywhere. Jun Wan Bai gripped a longsword with one hand, held the sword upright, and a faint light cover appeared from the sword’s body and had herself, Ye Qiu Sheng and Bai Li Shu behind her enveloped in it.

The ground shook, and rocks fell down.

Li Xin’s one strike that used up all his strength hacked open the sealed secret passageway, and a bit of light seeped in. The four people then charged outside.

rumble——

After Bai Li Shu rushed out, the secret passageway completely collapsed. That whole mess underground along with countless mysteries was buried in the darkness along with the secret passageway. Faintly, the pipe and zither sounds those Wei ghosts made within the underground bronze prison seemed to still be reverberating by the four people’s ears.

Now that they think about it, it felt incomparably desolate.

Li Xin thrust the sabre into the ground, and went down on his knee in the next moment. He took in big breaths, and blood from both his limbs flowed down along the hilt and dropped onto the ground in front of the Spirit Star Deity statue.

After that suffering they experienced in the underground, this small Spirit Star temple was actually still unscathed—— the sole place that was destroyed was the altar that Li Xin broke with his sabre. The wooden statue in the Spirit Star temple stood behind the altar completely intact, while Li Xin half-knelt on the ground, and raised his head to look at the statue.

This mortal realm’s deity statue that was simply cut and unadorned with faded lacquer at this time, for no reason at all, gave people a kind of solemn and dignified feeling.

Jun Wan Bai tossed Ye Qiu Sheng onto the ground, sent over her longsword, and the edge of the sword suffused with a cold light directly propped against Ye Qiu Sheng’s throat, “Alright, alright. Since matters have already been settled, this bastard should be taken care of next, right?”

Ye Qiu Sheng pulled in cold air with a “ssss” sound, and grinned, “Grand-auntie, no need to be quick to switch over, right? Tai Shang and Jiu Xuan have always been on friendly terms too. If not the monk’s sake, do consider Buddha’s[1], and spare my life?”

Jun Wan Bai coldly laughed, lifted her foot and heavily stepped on Ye Qiu Sheng’s right hand wrist.

The mouth speaks words of mercy, but the ancient blade in this bastard’s hands was slightly letting out light—— does he think other people didn’t see his little movements?

Jun Wan Bai looked towards Bai Li Shu.

Bai Li Shu expressionlessly looked at Ye Qiu Sheng whose gaze was already a bit scattered, “Bring him along, first head back.”

The foot stepping on the wrist moved over, and the cold sword on the throat also moved away. Ye Qiu Sheng felt that he was being hauled up by Jun Wan Bai from the ground, “Grand-auntie, if you’re going to do final judgments[2], before you sentence me to a beheading, remember to call me and give me an opportunity to defend myself.”

After saying this, before Jun Wan Bai could respond, his head slanted, and completely fainted over.

Jun Wan Bai probed his muscles and tendons, and discovered that this bastard’s conditions were extremely serious- according to these injuries of his, he should have fainted long when they were still in the bronze prison. But this bastard was able to speak rubbish as always on the black- iron chains, and even keep up until they escaped from the secret passageway.

“Not to worry. Extracting confessions with torture, getting admittance under torture[3], not one will be missed.” Jun Wan Bai sneered, and dragged the fainted Ye Qiu Sheng, then walked outside the Spirit Star temple.

Ye Qiu Sheng’s blade hung over the ground, and the tip of the ancient blade drew out a long line on the surface.

—— Even when fainted over, this bastard would still grip his blade so tight. That being said, it was a bit funny too- even though they were a self-proclaimed scholar, in the end, the hand that held the sword used more strength than anybody else.

When they had not yet come out from the Spirit Star temple, they heard the crackling sound of rain. At a time unknown to them, a big, heavy rainstorm had come down from the skies.

The rainstorm came down with a heavy downpour, and washed away the ground. Li Xin extended his hand out, and let the ice-cold rainwater wash away the bloodstains on his arms. Jun Wan Bai propped up a spiritual energy cover, and separated herself and Ye Qiu Sheng from the rain. After going through a narrow escape from death, the four people’s circumstances were not all that great, and so, they silently stepped through the rainwater and walked towards the outer gates. Within the torrential rainfall, things turned hazy and obscure. The city gates only remained as a single pitch-black figure erected on the ground, like an ancient beast opening its big mouth.

Bai Li Shu walked at the very end, with his pace more slower than
others.

When Jun Wan Bai turned back her head, the rainwater falling down
from the sky hit that white robe of his, whereas the white robe was covered in a layer of weak and dim light. The rainwater fruitlessly washed away, yet could not drench him. He held up that gold-coloured longbow, while the longbow was still left with the golden crow apparition’s warmth. When the rainwater fell onto the bow’s body, it steamed up and became a white and hazy vapour.

His entire being seemed like a sword, cutting open the heavy curtain
of rain.

Underneath the hood, that person slightly raised his head, and was
also looking at the rain.

Jun Wan Bai suddenly felt like asking him, what was he thinking
about.

Perhaps the rain right now was too big, like the vault of heaven
using all its strength to wash out this foul and turbid world, that their group of people suddenly turned particularly insignificant within the rain. Or perhaps it was because the rainwater was far too ice-cold, that the Golden Crow in Bai Li Shu’s hand was still letting out slivers of hot air, to the extent that Jun Wan Bai felt that the Bai Li Shu at this time had a bit more warmth to him than usual.

Thus, she asked.

Jun Wan Bai actually did not hope to obtain an answer, but she did not think that Bai Li Shu would stop in his steps, and look towards her.

“Look.” He signalled Jun Wan Bai to raise her head. The rain fell down from the sky with the momentum of washing away the world, but there were no clouds in the sky- those dark clouds they saw before disappeared cleanly. This rain seemed to be falling down directly from the vault of heaven.

“To rain without clouds, is called Heaven’s tears.” Jun Wan Bai heard Bai Li Shu lightly say this.
The 《Night Cruise》 written by an elder named Tao An reads as such: The sky cries out, with a sound like being at a loss, raining without clouds. To sound without a shape, is called the demonic beat; to rain without clouds, is called Heaven’s tears.

This was Heaven’s tears.

Bai Li Shu repeated this again, with his tone very light.

Jun Wan Bai looked at him, and suddenly felt that within those eyes that seemed to be sealed in cold ice, were infinite and inexhaustible concerns that others did not understand underneath that ice.

◈◈◈
The movements beneath the Spirit Star temple were too big, that Yan Men Prefecture itself also was affected. The several tremors from the underground transmitted to the surface, that the (inner-)city walls close to Yan Men Prefecture’s southwest outer-city walls collapsed for a very long stretch, and many of the houses were also toppled over. Added with the sudden falling torrential rain, the situation looked to be even more terrible.

Yan Men Prefecture’s guards that were originally asleep had to direct the city soldiers throughout the night, and by the time daylight came, there were still quite many houses yet to be dug out.

Bodies lined up along the city walls, and due to fear of triggering a plague, these dead bodies would soon be gathered together to be burned down. The military soldiers wielded their swords to guard them, and blocked those people who wanted to claim the bodies.

The executive[4] of the Yan Men Prefecture was the Tan Hua[5] that the Chen dynasty’s emperor personally picked, who was recently assigned to Yan Men Prefecture.

The young executive around twenty-years old was still wearing thin informal wear, and was cold to the point their face turned blue. He stood on top of an intact city wall to overlook the place- the line of houses along the city walls were flattened underneath the toppled walls, it was likely that not one of the people within those houses were probably still alive.

What was more troublesome, were the fields outside the city.

The most fertile stretch of soil behind the outer-city wall had been submerged a very large portion by the current of mud and rocks that came down from the mountains, and a lot of the ling zhi[6] grown in those fields were destroyed.

When the young executive heard the report from the servant who finished their investigations, their face was not a very good colour.

When the Chen dynasty was first established, it had previously obtained aid from Jiu Xuan Sect, so the ancestors of Chen personally gifted some of Chen dynasty’s land to Jiu Xuan Sect, and considered it as Jiu Xuan Sect’s regulated land. The good land within Yan Men Prefecture was actually not that much, and one-third of it was Jiu Xuan branch’s regulated land.

Other than that, according to conventions, Yan Men Prefecture had to pay a fixed tribute every year to Jiu Xuan’s branch established here, and one portion of the tribute was a set amount of ling zhi.

With the earthquake and torrential rains today, the ling zhi that was on the verge of being harvested was ruined, so the tribute for this year would probably be impossible to complete. “My lord, you should rest for a bit.” The shoes of the old servant following the executive was full of yellow mud. He advised, “This earthworm turning over, is fate, we mortals have no means over it!”

“Earthworm turning over?”

The young executive watching the farming fields that were in ruins suddenly coldly laughed once. He stood from the middle of the night until now, and a layer of light frost had already been coagulated on his hair. When he heard the old servant’s words, the hands he propped along the city walls suddenly gripped tight, and the knuckles all turned white.

After a moment, he let go his hand, “The ling zhi has been destroyed. Make preparations, I need to go see Jiu Xuan’s elder.”

[1] 不看僧⾯看佛⾯- tolerate or bear with something, not for sake of that person (the monk), but another person (Buddha).

[2] 盖棺定论- a verdict can only be made of a person’s rights or wrongs and merits once the person is dead. Literally translated as, put the lid over the coffin, then make a judgment.

[3] 严刑逼供 (the phrase before this) and 屈打成招 are honestly just the same thing- Getting the person to confess with torture. But the second one is more in line with having an innocent person admit to guilt under torture.

[4] 郡守- basically the highest ranking official in charge.

[5] 探花- person who took third place in national civil exams.

[6] 灵植 (lingzhi), not to be confused with 灵芝(lingzhi) aka ganoderma/ reishi. Literally translated as spirit plant. Coincidence? Maybe?

Chapter 50

Chapter Fifty, Above the Sky and Sun, Clouds that Cover the Sun. (天⽇之上, 蔽⽇之云)
The sect residence of Jiu Xuan’s branch was situated in the tallest area within the southern region of the city, a building in the common realm that overlooked all of Yan Men Prefecture. Even if Yan Men Prefecture’s official residences were at its front, it needed to earnestly prostrate to it. The Yan Men official temple that was the centre of Yan Men Prefecture’s power on the surface did not even take half the space that Jiu Xuan’s branch did.

When Lou Shi Dao[1] first came here, it was when he was recently appointed as the administrator of Yan Men Prefecture.

Every time the carriage passed by the front of Jiu Xuan’s sect residence gates’ big limestone path that could allow for eight carriages to pass through, he would let the driver stop.

From the carriage window, he would look up at the towering and standing structure of the immortals, and the black-coloured Black Warrior stone archway raised from the earth, with the words “Jiu Xuan” on top raised swift and fierce, bringing an ultimately superior prestige to it. Black- coloured Black Warrior stone- this kind of ore that was specifically used by the archaic emperors of the era of Chaos, engraved with the emperor’s decree, was already seen anywhere in this era where immortal cultivators were the superior existences.

Even the immortal cultivating sects that were not part of the Eight Immortal Sects dared to use it. When he was still in the imperial college, he heard those white- haired old teachers revering decayed scriptures, reciting every day how “if the monarch wanted the subject to die, then the subject must die”, “within the four seas, not one is not the king’s land[2]” and other similar words, dreaming a pipe dream of how “the Emperor is like the sky and sun, an irrefutable existence.”, and felt it was hilarious.

And in truth, he laughed too.

The old teacher over ninety-years old exploded into a rage, and questioned why he was not paying attention.

Lou Shi Dao then answered, “Above the sky and sun, are even more clouds that covered the sun[3].”

The white-haired old teacher scolded that he was insolent and ordered him to think it over outside the classroom. After a while, Yan Zi Yu[4] who was still not a prince at that time was also chased out. The Yan Zi Yu during that time would pull at a handkerchief all day, and during the scholarly lectures, he would publicly oppose the old teacher with contradictory opinions, and was the person who was scolded the most other than Lou Shi Dao.

“What have you done now?” Lou Shi Dao stood up straight, and asked without looking to the side.

Yan Zi Yu lazily leaned against the wall, then took out a green foxtail[5] and held it in his mouth. He extended his foot and kicked Lou Shi Dao, but Lou Shi Dao’s face did not move, and very easily dodged it. Yan Zi Yu laughed, “What could I have possibly done? I just felt like those words you said about clouds that cover the sun had more meaning that those
long-winded 《Principles of a Nation 》, and wanted to inquire about it with the old teacher…… As a result……”

Yan Zi Yu’s hands spread out, and he shrugged his shoulders, “Ten repetitions of the Old Four.” The Old Four that Yan Zi Yu spoke of were the writings that the old teachers would revere like the golden standard in their mouths, 《The Great
Learning》,《Doctrine of the Mean》,《Analects》, and 《Mencius》[6]. To have these four books copied ten times was not some small feat, thus Lou Shi Dao felt that this fellow must have said something else, that would then make the old teacher rage to this extent.
“Hey, Honest Lou.” Against the wall, Yan Zi Yu watched a trumpet bird fly onto the pagoda tree within the courtyard, and suddenly opened his mouth,“What if…… I’m just saying what if, okay- if there was one day where you became an important official, what would you do?”

“Did you drink too much at the brothel last night?”         Lou Shi Dao rolled his eyes, and asked.

In truth, right now, there was still a bit of a scent of self-degradation left from him running in opposition to the teachers. The new system of imperial examination was established starting from Emperor Chen Ming, however, under the prestigious family clans’ suppression, the people who passed the imperial examinations had no way taking on important posts at all, and the majority could only serve as some small officials who recorded down books.

Lou Shi Dao’s father was well-versed in poems and books for the larger half of his life, dreamt of being a “famed bell and cauldron[7]” for a lifetime, and yet could only be a small private advisor in the end. Before his death, he did not forget to ensnare his son once, and tell him he must wear the immortal crane-patterned court robe, and bring the Lou family honour that would illuminate their ancestors.

He didn’t even think how the prestigious families had a monopoly. His son for one had no money, and two, did not have friendly relations with someone within the immortal sects- how could he wear the immortal crane court robe meant for a first-rank big official.

At most, he would be about the same as him, and be a useless small official who copied books and made compilations. Lou Shi Dao clearly understood this family background of his could only amount to this under the morals of the time, however, there would be times when he would read those principles on the subject and monarch, and could not help but feel unresigned.

Even if right now, the Eight Immortal Sects were lofty and superior, and the Emperor was not an emperor, he too wanted to be a big official able to govern the country and stabilize it. No matter what, it wouldn’t be any worse than an entire of life of being submerged within endless and boundless books, and let those bastards with prestigious family backgrounds and a nature of a good-for-thing[8] boss him around.

So when Yan Zi Yu suddenly asked him if he was able to become an important official in the future, Lou Shi Dao’s breathing could not help but turn heavy, and his blood flowed quicker than normal.

However, he soon turned calm again, and mocked Yan Zi Yu without moving away his gaze, but when those words came out, the tip of his tongue turned a bit bitter.

“Hey, Honest Lou, what do you mean by that?” Yan Zi Yu was so angry he raised his foot to give him another kick, “You’re looking down on me aren’t you, think I will never stand out among others for an entire lifetime?”

Yan Zi Yu made an uproar, but suddenly shut his mouth.

Lou Shi Dao looked at him. His gaze gave people an indescribably upset feeling…… Making people feel that this proper bastard who would normally be filled with scriptures and looked down on the entire country’s people, suddenly, just suddenly turn into a lunatic filled with rage, and ultimately must go to the end with something before he could let it go.

After being quiet for a while, Yan Zi Yu used a low and sunken voice Lou Shi Dao had never heard before to ask him.

“Who knows what while happen in the future…… So, what if you became an important official?” Yan Zi Yu turned serious on a rare occasion. Lou Shi Dao felt that always sneering at the bastard who would accompany him in the standing penalty was not that good, and so couldn’t help but seriously think it over. If he was in the examination grounds, or in front of the teachers, he could just fluently and copiously go from levying systems and building water conservancy projects to climate for agriculture to answer this question.

However, Lou Shi Dao could not say those words out loud at this
time.

After thinking for a long while, Lou Shi Dao finally answered,
“Exhaust all my strength, and become a famed bell and cauldron.”

Who(ghosts) knew what he was thinking at the time, to say the words that the old man said before he died while grabbing his wrist to this bastard Yan Zi Yu who got scolded every two or three days.

And after that, because the previous emperor issued a command for the province and prefectures to measure its land[9], and check households of reclaimed (waste)land, he offended the sects and prestigious family’s interests. Thus on a cold, snowy night, the previous upstanding emperor filled with ambition in his prime was suddenly wrought with a serious illness and fell to his demise. Following that, the person to succeed the position was the fifth prince who was retrieved by the prime minister that was said to be “stranded in the civilian land”, Chen Yan Yu[10].

The new emperor had a superficial and shallow[11] background, was not well-versed in government affairs, had a loose and absurd nature, who was drunk on the banquets and receptions, and soon became the prestigious families’ puppet. The absurd things that the new emperor had done were many- for example, he ordered people to capture many trumpet birds just to watch them fly as a flock. One particular trivial thing was, during the final imperial examination, the new emperor entered the courts while tipsy, and didn’t even bother to look at the exam papers, then pointed to Lou Shi Dao standing in the room, “This person looks nice. Make it him then. Let him…… let him be…… be a prefectural executive.” The prestigious families felt the emperor was a useless person who was only fond of playing. His age was also young, easily excited and full of vigour, but it was not like they could actually really offend him so openly, and at times, they must uphold the respect on the surface. Thus, Lou Shi Dao became the only one fourth-rank government official with a commoner[12] background among the entire court of civil and military officials, and in the third year the new emperor ascended to his position, he took up the post of Yan Men Prefecture’s executive.

When he left the capital, the former slacking student of the imperial college, who at present was the one on the imperial throne[13], sent someone over to give him a secret letter. On the rice paper with the patterns of the Chen dynasty imperial clan, wrote a few words with vigorous and fine strokes:

—— Yan Men is an important place. Rein in the fame of the bell and cauldron.

The handwriting was swift and fierce, and definitely not something that a rich family’s son could write out.

“My lord, my lord.” The loyal old servant lightly knocked on the carriage door, “We’ve arrived at Jiu Xuan Sect.”

Lou Shi Dao opened his eyes. He lifted the carriage windows open to look outside, and as expected, in front of his eyes was the archway of raised eave corners to Jiu Xuan’s branch. Lou Shi Dao fixed his collar, and came down from the carriage. The official clothing embroidered with cloud geese on his body that Yan Zi Yu once mocked as very ugly, was not all that bad to look at.

“This lowly official has come to ask for an audience with Jiu Xuan’s immortal elder. Please inform this back.”   Lou Shi Dao greeted the Jiu Xuan disciples guarding the gates, and said this in a clear and loud voice.

◈◈◈ Though it was said that they were going to extract confessions through torture and admittance with torture, in the end, after returning to Jiu Xuan’s branch, this bastard Ye Qiu Sheng was still unconscious.

At any rate, he was still considered Tai Shang Sect’s important disciple, so it was not like they could really let him die on Jiu Xuan Sect’s territory. Jun Wan Bai could only curse while letting the Jiu Xuan branch sect elder take out medicine for him to ingest. However, it was apparent that Ye Qiu Sheng’s little life was more stronger than they thought, and on the second day, he could come down from the bed, with a mouth full of rubbish.

“Even though the things I’ve done was just that little not-up-to- standard, isn’t this differential treatment of yours far too obvious?”     Ye Qiu Sheng’s face was still a bit pale. He sat in the room, with Half-crazed Li to his left in a black robe, gloomy and dark unlike a living human, and to his front placed with an armchair, was Jun Wan Bai sitting down with big airs[14].

With the manner of King Yan[15] interrogating a small ghost, Jun Wan Bai to his front was King Yan, and Li Xin at his back was Hei Wu Chang.

“The things Lord Bai Li knows cannot be less compared to me—— wait a moment, I feel like the things that fellow knows is definitely more than me. Do you guys want to consider directly asking him instead?”

Jun Wan Bai raised her eyes and coldly laughed, “Bai Li Shu is our Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother, as for what he does on Jiu Xuan’s territory, we the younger brothers and sisters have no qualifications to ask. But you……”

Jun Wan Bai measured up Ye Qiu Sheng up and down, and let out a snort from her nose.

“What do you think you are?” Ye Qiu Sheng closed his mouth. He could see it clearly now- at present, this grand-auntie and this ghastly and gloomy big lord to his back must be holding in a stomach full of sulky airs without a place to let it go, hence why they put him under the knife so bright and early in the morning. And that person who let them suffocate was probably not anyone else, but should be the “Jiu Xuan Sect’s eldest disciple brother” from their mouths, Bai Li Shu.

Hah, this should be considered as him carrying the kettle that wasn’t boiled[16]. Serves him right with such bad luck.

Ye Qiu Sheng did not guess wrong- for Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin to be as angry as this, was really because of Bai Li Shu. After returning to Jiu Xuan’s branch, Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin did not even bother with the wounds on their own bodies, all just to ask Bai Li Shu that bastard just what exactly was going on underneath the Spirit Star temple, and how did he get in that place.

Who knew before they could even have that pile of questions mentioned, after Bai Li Shu threw out a “We’ll be heading to Bing Province after three days, go heal your injuries”, that he would fling his sleeves, and immediately close the door and forbid any disturbances.

At present, only Ye Qiu Sheng was left to ask about this heap of questions.

Faced with Jun Wan Bai and Li Xin steaming with murderous intent, Ye Qiu Sheng bitterly laughed twice, then opened his mouth after a moment, “The reason why the era of Ten Thousand Immortal was called the “Severed era”, how much do you guys know about it?”

Jun Wan Bai turned blank for a second.

Current historians typically separated the past’s long history into four periods. The first era was the Savage era- in this era, crude beasts ruled the vast lands. The second period was the era of Chaos, and in this era, various clans of almighty beings came out of the blue, and established the earliest dynasties, where the ancient emperor’s prestige shook the four seas. The third era was one where immortals and demons both went against each other, the era of Ten Thousand Immortals. The final time period was the one at present.

Of which, the era of Ten Thousand Immortals was also called the “Severed era”.

One period was thirty thousand years time, however, the era of Ten Thousand Immortals was only just a mere fifteen thousand years.

The sayings surrounding the era of Ten Thousand Immortals coming to a suspension were typically diverse and differing. At present, there was still not one single verdict, and could be said that it was a mystery of the entire immortal cultivation realm. And yet right now, Ye Qiu Sheng asked them “The reason why the era of Ten Thousand Immortal was called the “Severed Era”, how much do you guys know about it?”

Integrating it with those things underground, Jun Wan Bai suddenly felt that she had been swept into a giant, chaotic zone concealed by the long era of history.

That was a giant vortex.

So…… Was that why Bai Li Shu let them go into the left secret passageway?

Ye Qiu Sheng started laughing, with a bit of mockery in it, “What about it? You still have the time to regret it now. I can shut my mouth.”

The tip of Li Xin’s sword came forward. Without any hesitation, he said, “Speak.”

When Li Xin was propping his sword against Ye Qiu Sheng’s neck to interrogate him, Bai Li Shu was in his own room, sitting down crossed- legged against the wall, with his back straight up. An old tablet was placed in front of him—— that was an item he took from the underground soul- sealing altar. At the time their group of three was leaving the soul-sealing altar, Bai Li Shu was bringing up the rear. Ye Qiu Sheng and Li Xin were afraid of the awakened Ancient Emperor’s will, and thus only cared about leaving, and did not see at the very bottom of the collapsed soul-sealing altar hid an old token. Bai Li Shu who was at the very back waved his sleeve, and took this rectangular token away.

When he returned to his room, he put down a sealed barrier at the first opportunity, and thus, Jun Wan Bai and others did not hear the coughing sounds that Bai Li Shu could no longer suppress down after walking into the room.

As well as the sounds of blood dripping down.

Bai Li Shu leaned against the wall and slowly slid down into a sitting position bit by bit, then took out that old token and put it in front of him while coughing,.

The token was made from bronze, with a scaly dragon beast pattern usually used in the era of Chaos characterized by “bronze as arms”. It emitted an archaic kind of strength, and faintly called out to Bai Li Shu’s blood.

After sitting down for one night, Bai Li Shu opened his eyes, with his face so pale not even a slight of colour of blood was present.

He cut open his finger, and dropped the blood onto the token.

[1] 楼⽯道- lou, for a storied building, shi dao, for stone path. Combined, they read, a building’s stone path.

[2] The full expression this is derived from is, 普天之下,皆是王⼟, 四海之内,皆是王⾂. All that is under the sky is the king’s land, all within the four seas is the king’s citizens- thus, the king must take responsibility
for all.

[3] Derived from 蔽⽇⼲云- that refers to an existence higher and bigger than another, capable of blocking out the sun and soaring into the clouds. [4] 闫⼦⽟- nothing in particular to say about this name. Yan is only used as a last name, while Zi is either for son, or person, while Yu is simply jade.

[5] called dog’s tail grass in Chinese.

[6] See, the four books (and five classics), on Confucianism.

[7] 钟 ⿍ - to mean, rich and honourable. Bells and cauldrons were important treasures of the ancient times, along with bronze items (hence put
together, they will form ‘bronze object’). Being important, with weight, essentially.

[8] 酒⾁饭囊 (from 酒囊饭袋)- One who only knows how to eat and drink and nothing else. A flesh of wine and sack of rice.

[9] 度⽥- ‘measuring land’, apart from measuring the size of the fields, verifies the household numbers, with the goal of increasing levies/taxes thus increasing the income of the government.

[10] 陈闫煜- Chen, same character for the Chen dynasty, Yu is for brilliant, shining, or bright.

[11] 草野- or, to mean, plain, non-governmental, from the civilians. Uncultured/wild if translated literally.

[12] Also, plain clothes, as opposed to fine, embroidered clothing for the wealthy.

[13] 九五之尊- in more literal words, the revered one of the nine-five. Nine-five is often in reference to the emperor (plus the entire term), or
someone with the luck akin to the emperor. The origins of this term come from the Book of Changes, (or Zhou Yi), the book of divinations, under the Qian(heaven) divination. Nine-five indicates ⻜⻰在天,利⻅⼤⼈ (dragon in the sky, able to have things according to their way aka great luck and
great wealth). According to the principles written in the book, the nine would be an indication of having the highest Yang energy (being the best there is), whereas the five indicates the amount of Yin energy. There is a saying where to maintain the best state, one must not think to obstruct nor hope for too much, hence five, being in the very middle, is technically the most ‘balanced’. Balanced Yin energy. Apparently nine-nine is not the ideal way to refer to the emperor as it indicates an eventually bad outcome.

[14] ⼤⻢⾦⼑- with a big horse and gold sword. With big airs and straightforward attitude. No mercy.

[15] Or Yama, king of death.

[16] 哪壶不开提哪壶- in short, what should be said should be said, what should not be said should not be said. An expression originating from the
story of a greedy official who would visit a certain popular teahouse and drink without paying up. Fessed up, the son of the owner serves him tea with unboiled water every time. The official complains, but the son swears up and down there’s nothing wrong, which eventually leads to the official to no longer visit. When the father asked the son what happened, he admitted to what he did, and this spread all throughout. Commonly used when having someone mention something that should not be mentioned.
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