To Rise Again in the Apocalypse [BL] - Chapter 36
Li Xinwen wiped off the sweat from his forehead with the sleeve of his shirt while staring at the ten black and red colored pills within the cauldron. Halfway through the process, the demonic qi acted up once again and he had to split his attention into two. He cursed An Wuya and his family, all the way to his ninth ancestor.
Taking one of the pills, he quickly stuffed it into his mouth. The pill melted as soon as it entered his mouth and he swallowed it. Li Xinwen closed his eyes as he waited for the pill to take effect. A few seconds later, he could feel that the rampant demonic qi from earlier was subdued and was caged by the pill’s effect. As long as Li Xinwen didn’t use too much spiritual energy, he should be fine for a while. Though it was not a solution to his problem, this was all he could do for now.
“Lan Yu, help me store the rest of the pills,” Li Xinwen ordered the little fairy who had been accompanying him. Lan Yu was about to move when he suddenly thought of something and paused in his tracks.
“Master, how about you keep these on your person?” Lan Yu suggested. “What if something like last time happens again? Where I couldn’t even reach you…”
“It’s too conspicuous to bring along such a large bottle with these round pills,” Li Xinwen replied with a sigh.
Lan Yu heard this and flew over to the shelves to pull out one of the drawers. Taking the item inside, Lan Yu went back to Li Xinwen’s side and held it up. In his hands was a simple ring with no visible decoration. “The old master left this! It’s new and not bound to anyone. Master can can just bind this ring to himself and use it as storage! It’s easier than leaving things here in the dimension,” Lan Yu explained. “Ah, but unlike the dimension, you can’t store living things inside. Only inanimate objects.”
“How come you didn’t give this to me earlier?” Li Xinwen asked as he took the ring.
“Because the door to this room is sealed, ah!”
Li Xinwen realized his mistake, but didn’t say anything else to save his face. He bit onto his thumb, which drew blood, and then smeared it onto the ring. The ring absorbed the blood, and Li Xinwen could finally send his spiritual awareness inside the ring. To his surprise, the ring was not empty. There were two letters inside. One addressed to the new owner, the other, addressed to Lan Yu.
While Li Xinwen was inspecting the ring, Lan Yu put the pills into a bottle and sealed the openings. He was just waiting for Li Xinwen to store it in the storage ring when he heard Li Xinwen call for him.
“Hmm?” Lan Yu looked up at Li Xinwen. “Is there something wrong, master?”
Li Xinwen took out the two letters and handed one to Lan Yu. “This is for you. Your old master seems to have left you a message,” Li Xinwen told the small fairy.
Lan Yu stared at the letter and held it with two hands. He could see his old master’s handwriting, the cursive way of writing that uniquely belonged to him. Lan Yu hugged the letter close but didn’t open it to read the content.
Seeing this Li Xinwen asked, “Not reading it?”
Lan Yu quietly shook his head so Li Xinwen wouldn’t ask further. Li Xinwen reached out and lightly patted the spirit’s head. “You can go and roast one of the chickens if you like. It’s your reward for helping me today.”
“Really?!” Lan Yu’s eyes immediately brightened up the moment Li Xinwen allowed him to have one chicken.
“En. So don’t look so sad anymore,” Li Xinwen said in a gentle tone. “I’m going outside. Remember, only one chicken,” Li Xinwen reminded the fairy before he took the bottle of pills and placed it into the storage ring. He also went back to the main house and grabbed Shuang Ren, and placed it into the same ring. Only after that did he leave the dimension.
Once Li Xinwen had left, Lan Yu eyed the letter that Li Xinwen had given him. He was still hesitating whether or not he wanted to read it. In the end, he opened the letter and began to read. The characters written on the parchment brought back memories for him and as he read, a melancholic smile appeared on his face. Halfway through reading it, his eyes became blurry and by the end of the letter, droplets of water fell onto the parchment.
“Master… why did you leave us, ah… If you had told us, we would’ve gladly followed you…” Lan Yu hugged the letter close as he cried his heart out.
Lan Yu’s sorrow, Li Xinwen who had formed a contract with him could naturally sense it. He had already noticed it after he confronted An Wuya. When Lan Yu couldn’t reach him, the little fairy had begun acting unusual.
Li Xinwen stared at the letter that the old master left for him.
In the letter, it mentioned that the old master had come from the higher realm called Xiangya Yueliang. Based on the old master’s description, it is a higher realm than Long Xing. Li Xinwen also knew that there were more than 3000 lower realms, 3000 middle realms and 3000 higher realms. And for one to achieve true Dao, they needed to ascend through the realms.
Reading on, the master mentioned that while he was cultivating his dimension in an attempt to create a new realm, he had traveled through the realms, finding rare treasures to nourish the little dimension. He was close to succeeding and only needed three more items, but during one of the excursions, he was ambushed by several demonic cultivators. Although he survived, he ended up being poisoned.
The poisons were deadly and the old master could sense that they were corroding not only his spiritual energy but also his soul. Towards the end, the old master finally left a message to ask a small favor of the new owner.
[I did not tell the spirit fairies that I’ve raised about my condition. I didn’t want them to worry. Even now, I can feel my life slipping. To the one who inherited this dimension. I leave everything to you. You can use them however you see fit, if you wish to help me complete the dimension, I have left the book in the study room; but one of my fairies should have already told you that. In any case, even if you are someone from the lower realm, with all the cultivation manuals I’ve collected throughout my life, you should still be able to ascend all the way to the higher realm. All that I ask of you is to take care of the little fairies in this dimension.]
“There is only Lan Yu left though,” Li Xinwen said in a soft voice, as if he wanted to inform the person who had written the letter. “And since I have benefited from the things you have left me, naturally I would help you take care of Lan Yu.”
Li Xinwen put the letter back into the ring storage. After that, he got up and went over to the bathroom. Since he had been sweating earlier, he felt that he needed to clean himself up. He had only stood under the shower for five minutes when he suddenly heard knocking on his door followed by Sun Xiao’s voice.
“Xin-gege, Xin-gege! Help! There’s something in my room!!”
Li Xinwen could hear the panic in Sun Xiao’s voice so he quickly grabbed his bathrobe and rushed out to his door without even drying himself. His body was still wet, with water dripping down from his hair to his skin. The bathrobe on his body was loosely worn, revealing most of his chest.
When he opened the door, he could see Sun Xiao’s panic-stricken face. It lasted for a few seconds before Sun Xiao’s face turned red, and suddenly his expression turned flustered. Upon seeing this change, Li Xinwen became confused and he reached out to touch Sun Xiao’s forehead.
“Ah‘Xiao, your face is red. Are you alright?” Li Xinwen asked in a worried tone. He ran his mind through everything he knew about the Zhuo Yang body type, wondering if there was something wrong with Sun Xiao’s cultivation. The temperature of people with pure Yang body type tended to be higher than normal, and if they couldn’t reign in their spiritual energy it could sometimes cause them harm.
Sun Xiao on the other hand turned even more nervous as he found his eyes unable to move from his brother’s figure. He had almost forgotten why he had called Li Xinwen. Fortunately, he still remembered and he quickly shook his head to make his thought clearer.
“I’m okay, Xin-gege. But… there’s something in my room. Earlier, I tried to cultivate and suddenly, some of the spiritual energy I gathered was sucked away by something from my drawer!” Sun Xiao informed Li Xinwen. “Xin-gege, is there a ghost in my room? You mentioned before that ghosts can also cultivate and that there are malevolent ghosts, and benevolent ghosts…” Sun Xiao clearly looked afraid as he mentioned the word ghost.
“Ghost?” Li Xinwen turned to look at the door to Sun Xiao’s room. He activated Mo Yan but he couldn’t see anything that resembled a ghost. If there was indeed a ghost, then he would need to ask it to move away, or if it was hostile, eradicate it. Ghosts are full of Yin energy, and someone with a body like Sun Xiao’s did attract them. But these beings are not good for Sun Xiao because they absorb Yang energy.
“Xin-gege, was there really a ghost?” Sun Xiao asked when he saw that Li Xinwen’s expression was full of seriousness.
Li Xinwen turned his attention back to Sun Xiao and just offered him a smile. Raising his hand up, he gently rubbed the other’s head. “There’s no ghost. Don’t worry,” Li Xinwen assured the young boy. “But this still needs to be investigated. Let’s go to your room first,” Li Xinwen said and they walked over to Sun Xiao’s room.
The door was still open, showing that Sun Xiao didn’t even have time to close it in panic. When they entered the room, Li Xinwen did not sense any presence made out of Yin energy. In fact, the room was rich with Yang energy, which showed that Sun Xiao did cultivate before. Using Mo Yan, Li Xinwen was still unable to see anything amiss. But seeing Sun Xiao’s state, there was no doubt that the boy had found something here when he was cultivating earlier. He remembered that Sun Xiao mentioned that the energy was absorbed and the cause seemed to be coming from the drawer.
“Ah‘Xiao, which drawer has the thing you sensed was absorbing the energy?” Li Xinwen asked. Sun Xiao quietly pointed at the drawer beside his table. Li Xinwen walked over, or at least attempted to but he had to turn back, because Sun Xiao was holding on onto his arm with a worried look.
“What if there really is a ghost?” Sun Xiao said when he saw Li Xinwen’s questioning look. “I don’t want anything to happen to Xin-gege…”
A low chuckle escaped Li Xinwen’s lips as he playfully pinched Sun Xiao’s nose. “Don’t worry. A ghost can’t harm me,” he said in a reassuring tone. “You know how strong Ge is, right?”
Sun Xiao continued to look at Li Xinwen before finally nodding his head. He let go of Li Xinwen’s arm reluctantly and watched as he walked over to the drawer. He kept his eyes trained on Li Xinwen’s figure as he pulled the drawer open and looked inside.
Li Xinwen’s eyes narrowed as he looked inside the drawer. There were a few books, notes, and several new, unopened pens. Other than that, there was the gift that Xue Rui had given Sun Xiao. ‘There is nothing here, ah. Did Ah’Xiao imagined it?’ Li Xinwen thought. Activating Mo Yan once more, Li Xinwen looked at each item until his eyes rested on the gift from Xue Rui. His eyes widened as he carefully picked up the egg shaped stone. The ember coloured egg seemed to shine slightly upon being picked up before dimming once more.
“Ah‘Xiao, try and cultivate again,” Li Xinwen said, his eyes never leaving the stone egg in his hand.
Sun Xiao didn’t ask any questions; he quietly closed his door before sitting down on his bed to begin cultivating. The spiritual energy within the room swirled and started to gather around Sun Xiao. When Sun Xiao started to absorb the energy, something finally happened. The stone egg in Li Xinwen’s hand started to glow. Some of the spiritual energy that Sun Xiao was about to absorb travelled towards the egg. When Sun Xiao noticed this, his brow furrowed and he was about to stop when he heard Li Xinwen’s voice.
“Don’t stop. Continue,” Li Xinwen told the boy. “Ge is here. Nothing will happen to you.”
Sun Xiao heard the gentle tone from Li Xinwen and started to relax once more. He trusted Li Xinwen and continued to absorb the energy.
Li Xinwen on the other hand, continued to eye the stone egg in his hand. He didn’t know the origin of this item, but he could sense a dormant life within. To confirm his suspicions, Li Xinwen tried to put the egg into his storage ring. When the process failed, Li Xinwen knew that the stone egg was not just a mere decoration.
[Lan Yu: Master!! Is there someone with you? I could sense that bastard outside!]
‘There’s Ah’Xiao, why?’ Li Xinwen asked, narrowing his eyes. He had already told Lan Yu about Sun Xiao, so the spirit knew about his brother and wouldn’t have disrespected him. But Lan Yu’s tone seemed a bit suspicious.
[Lan Yu: Only your brother? But… I feel like there’s someone else there…]
‘Hmm… there is this stone egg in my hand, and I believe it to be an egg for some creature,’ Li Xinwen replied to Lan Yu.
[Lan Yu: That must be it! On the day I met master, someone was absorbing the spiritual energy that I’ve gathered. This lower realm is already lacking in spiritual energy, and he actually took what I worked hard on! Master must help Lan Yu teach him a lesson!]
Lan Yu sounded like a child that had been bullied and wronged as he complained to Li Xinwen. Li Xinwen just shook his head with a smile on his face. ‘This thing hasn’t even been born yet, ah. How do you want me to teach him a lesson? And it’s only absorbing spiritual energy to nourish this life inside. Who knows, perhaps this creature can be of help to Ah’Xiao in the future.’
[Lan Yu: If master wants to, Lan Yu can help figure out what kind of creature it is. Just send it inside.]
‘Are you sure you’re not going to crack it open and cook it as revenge for what happened before?’ Li Xinwen decided to tease Lan Yu.
[Lan Yu: Master!! Lan Yu won’t do that. Master should know that Lan Yu can’t hide anything from master since we formed a contract…]
Lan Yu sounded distressed that he was being bullied by his master. Li Xinwen just chuckled and sent the egg into the dimension for Lan Yu to look at. After a while, he heard Lan Yu’s voice again in his mind.
[Lan Yu: Master, it looks like this brat is actually a beast from the ancient dragon bloodlines, ah!]
‘Ancient dragon bloodlines? How pure is his bloodline?’ Li Xinwen asked Lan Yu.
[Lan Yu: Unfortunately, I won’t be able to figure that out until this brat is born. But as long as master lets him cultivate with master’s younger brother, he should be able to be born in a few years.]
After saying that, Lan Yu sent the egg back to Li Xinwen who then stared at it. After a while, he placed the egg back in its place, then turned to Sun Xiao. The boy had entered a deep state of cultivation so Li Xinwen didn’t want to disturb him. He was just about to leave when he sensed Sun Xiao was getting restless. “Ah‘Xiao?” Li Xinwen called out, wondering if there was something wrong.
But the moment his voice left his lips, Sun Xiao regained his calmness. Seeing this, Li Xinwen figured out that the boy was probably still afraid about that ghost, so he didn’t want Li Xinwen to leave. In the end, Li Xinwen could only settle on the floor near the bed and wait patiently.
Ten minutes passed, and Li Xinwen felt his eyes were getting heavier. He then remembered that after he undid the seal, he also went through with refining the pills. ‘It’s no wonder that I’m mentally tired…’ Li Xinwen thought to himself as he closed his eyes. He wished that he could drink the lake water again without repercussions. ‘This is all because of the demonic qi. When I see that An Wuya again, I will make him pay… with interest.’
Two hours passed, and Sun Xiao finally opened his eyes. When he couldn’t see Li Xinwen in his line of vision, he showed a panicked expression. His eyes immediately landed on the drawer, where he felt some of the spiritual energy he gathered earlier had escaped to. In his mind, he was still thinking that there was a ghost inside. He was just about to run again when he finally saw Li Xinwen near his bed on the floor, asleep in a sitting position.
Li Xinwen was still wearing the bathrobe so Sun Xiao could see his well sculpted chest. All of a sudden, Sun Xiao was reminded of the dual cultivation technique that he had read a few days ago contained such obscene descriptions. When he realized where his mind was heading, he quickly shook his head and cleared his thoughts. He reached out and shook Li Xinwen’s shoulder lightly.
“Xin-gege, Xin-gege, wake up,” Sun Xiao tried to wake Li Xinwen up but the tone of his voice was soft, betraying his attempts of waking the other up.
But Li Xinwen is a cultivator. Unless he entered a deep cultivation, if someone tried to wake him up, he could naturally hear them. Opening his eyes, Li Xinwen stared at Sun Xiao. “Done?” Li Xinwen asked.
“En,” Sun Xiao replied. “Umm… Xin-gege, what about the ghost?”
“Ghost? There’s no ghost, Ah‘Xiao,” Li Xinwen replied with a chuckle. “The one responsible for stealing the energy you gathered is that egg you got from Xue Rui.”
“Egg?” Sun Xiao appeared confused. He appeared as if he was trying to remember what item Li Xinwen was referring to. “Is it that amber coloured stone egg?” Sun Xiao asked.
“Correct. That egg is actually a beast egg. It belongs to the dragon bloodline,” Li Xinwen told Sun Xiao. “I don’t know how it got to its current state, but it’s still alive.” Li Xinwen repeated what Lan Yu had told him earlier. “As long as you continue to help him absorb spiritual energy, he will be born in a few years.”
“So… it’s not a ghost?”
“No,” Li Xinwen said with a chuckle as he raised his hand and gave Sun Xiao a gentle pat on the head. “Being afraid of ghosts…. How are you so cute, ah! How about this… since you’re really scared of ghosts, Ge will teach you something so you can see them,” Li Xinwen said with a smile.
“Won’t seeing them make them more scary?” Sun Xiao asked meekly.
“Ah‘Xiao is scared of ghost… then what about zombies? Compared to ghosts, Ge thinks that zombies are more ugly,” Li Xinwen replied.
When Li Xinwen said it like that, Sun Xiao suddenly felt ghosts were not as scary. The reason why ghosts are scary is that you can’t see them at will, while they can make themselves appear whenever they want when they want to scare people. ‘If I can see them at will… then they’re no different than zombies,’ Sun Xiao thought. Since he wanted to protect his family from zombies, he must first get used to these scary things.
“Then, Xin-gege, can you teach me how to see them? And, can you also teach me how to fight them?” Sun Xiao asked.
“Fighting them is not that much of a problem. As long as you can see them, you can use your spiritual energy to attack them. But before you do, always ask them first. Not all ghosts are dangerous,” Li Xinwen explained. “Some are only lost, not knowing that they have already passed.”
“Then, if I meet these kinds of ghosts, what should I do?”
“Talk to them, help them solve what shackled them to this world so that they can enter the cycle of reincarnation,” Li Xinwen replied. “But if they are a malevolent ghost, there are two ways to deal with them. One, if they are not hostile to you, help them solve their resentment. But if they are hostile, destroy them.”
“Is destroying them the same as killing them? If we destroy them, will they still enter the cycle of reincarnation?” Sun Xiao asked.
“En. But only after they received their due punishment in Diyu.”
“What if we help solve their resentment?” Sun Xiao asked again.
“That depends on the outcome. If the ghost lets go of their resentment peacefully, they won’t be punished,” Li Xinwen replied.
“Then what about the zombies? Does Xin-gege think that they are the same as ghosts?”
“That… I don’t know,” Li Xinwen said as he shook his head. “Until I’ve seen them, I won’t know what they are. They might be a ghost but they also might be a monster,” Li Xinwen added.
After the question and answer session, Li Xinwen finally taught Sun Xiao how to use Moyan. The boy was truly gifted, and paired with Li Xinwen’s personal guidance, Sun Xiao was able to activate Moyan on his thirty-sixth attempt. When Li Xinwen saw the boy’s pupil had changed colour, he gathered the spiritual energies on top of his palm and started to shape them. Li Xinwen did not condense them, so without Moyan or a technique similar to it, one would not be able to see them. It would’ve made a perfect concealed attack if it were not for the fact that uncondensed spiritual energy is harmless. “Can you see them?” Li Xinwen asked. “What shape are they making?”
“A bird…?” Sun Xiao replied. “It looks like that bird from the painting. The one that guards the south…” Sun Xiao sounded unsure but Li Xinwen just smiled at him.
“Not wrong, but not correct either. This is indeed a bird, but it’s not Zhuque,” Li Xinwen told Sun Xiao.
“Then, umm… Fenghuang?”
“Right. And go follow its trail,” Li Xinwen said as he let the phoenix shaped spiritual energy fly over to Sun Xiao’s drawer where the egg was resting. At first, Sun Xiao was afraid but remembering what Li Xinwen had told him earlier about the egg, he gathered his courage and went forward. He slid the drawer out and grabbed the egg in his hand, then looked at Li Xinwen, silently asking what he should do next.
“Whenever you cultivate, just take it out and place it near you. Beasts understand even before they are born. If you let them know you do not mean them any harm, once they are born, they will in turn help you. And with you helping it cultivate, they might even think of you as their parent,” Li Xinwen explained.
“Oh, okay. Then… should Ah‘Xiao just treat it like an unborn pet?” Sun Xiao asked.
“En. You can say that,” Li Xinwen said. Then after a while, Li Xinwen called Lan Yu up. ‘Lan Yu, do you think that Ah’Xiao can form a contract with the beast within the egg?’
[Lan Yu: Since the beast in the egg has already gained sentience, he should be able to. Try having him drop a drop of blood on the egg and see if it will be absorbed.]
Li Xinwen hummed in acknowledgement before he turned to Sun Xiao again. “Ah‘Xiao, try giving the egg a bit of your blood.”
“Giving blood?” Sun Xiao cocked his head sideways in confusion. “Like… to form a spiritual contract?”
Li Xinwen nodded his head and walked over to Sun Xiao. “Ge won’t harm you. So trust me, alright?” Li Xinwen said as he took one of Sun Xiao’s hands into his. He used his spiritual energy to form a very thin needle and quickly punctured Sun Xiao’s forefinger. Then, he told Sun Xiao to smear the blood over the egg.
The blood seemed to boil upon the surface of the egg, before it disappeared. They waited for a second, then a minute. Unfortunately, there was nothing. Li Xinwen in the end, had to ask Sun Xiao: “Ah‘Xiao, can you sense anything?”
Sun Xiao only shook his head and Li Xinwen could only let out a sigh of disappointment.
“Ah! Xin-gege, Xin-gege!!” Sun Xiao’s call brought Li Xinwen’s attention with him. “I think… the umm… beast inside is trying to communicate with me,” Sun Xiao said as he looked straight to Li Xinwen.
“Oh, what did it say?” Li Xinwen asked, feeling slightly excited.
“Umm… ‘Chirp chirp’?” Sun Xiao repeated the sound he heard in his mind to Li Xinwen which resembled the sound that a small chick would make.
Li Xinwen to Lan Yu: Are you sure it’s a descendant of the ancient dragon bloodline, or is it really just a chicken?
Lan Yu, who was accused wrongly: Master, believe Lan Yu, ah! Lan Yu has travelled to a lot of realms. How can Lan Yu mistake a chicken for a dragon? Wuwuwuwu… Master is bullying Lan Yu again….
After the small event with Sun Xiao and the dragon egg, Li Xinwen returned to his room. Since he didn’t get to finish showering earlier, Li Xinwen walked to the bathroom and took his shower. Once he was done, he finally let himself relax on his recamier sofa. Reading books had become his source of entertainment along with watching drama series. In addition, he felt that the knowledge he got from the books could be used in the future.
‘This idiot thought that he could replicate what he read in a fictional story, in his life.’
Li Xinwen was suddenly reminded of what Xue Jun had said and he was now staring blankly at the book in his hand. “Am I also an idiot, thinking I can replicate what happened here?” Li Xinwen wondered. The book he was currently reading was about a shooting game called ‘Battleground.’
There was a scene where the player was surrounded and only had a shotgun in hand. In order to survive, he jumped from the second floor. Following that action, the player continued to jump while shooting at his enemy. ‘Is jumping while shooting with a shotgun not possible in real life?’ Li Xinwen tried to imagine the scene. But no matter how much he imagined it, he felt that it was possible. ‘Maybe I should ask Xue Jun. He said that we’ll start our shooting lessons… when again?’
Li Xinwen picked up his phone and went to check the group chat. Other than Li Jinghua’s message and Xue Rui’s, there was nothing else. Li Xinwen continued to stare at the screen, as if willing a message to come. Then, as luck would have it, he heard a notification and the phone vibrated. But rather than the group, it was a private message. He checked on his friend list and saw that it came from Min Xiaoyu.
[Min Xiaoyu: Mr Li, has my grandfather contacted you?]
Seeing this message, Li Xinwen raised an eyebrow. Tapping on his phone screen, he began to compose a message.
[Li Xinwen: No. What’s wrong?]
[Min Xiaoyu: He hasn’t returned since yesterday. And he didn’t even contact me.]
[Min Xiaoyu: Then earlier, my caretaker gave me something, saying that it was left by my grandfather. I’m worried…]
[Min Xiaoyu: Mr Li, are you free? Can you accompany me to search for grandfather?]
[Min Xiaoyu: If you can’t, that is alright too… I’ll go and search for him alone.]
Li Xinwen watched as the messages came in succession. He thought about it for a moment, then remembered what Min Shaotian had said to him last weekend. ‘Don’t tell me that old man went ahead with his suicidal plan! I already have a lot of people under my wings and you want me to take care of your grandson too?’
Li Xinwen quickly typed his reply to Min Xiaoyu and got off his sofa. Earlier, he thought that he wouldn’t be going out until dinner so he had put on his pajamas. He changed out of his pajamas and into his casual clothes. After he got dressed up, he was about to leave his room when he remembered that Mother Li might be downstairs in the living room, watching her daily drama series.
With that in mind, he turned to his balcony instead. “I just need to remember to return home before dark…” Li Xinwen mumbled to himself. He took a step towards the balcony, before pausing. Turning around once again, he walked to his door and locked it. Then, he took out his phone, and scrolled over to Sun Xiao’s contact.
[Li Xinwen: Ah‘Xiao, Ge is going out for a while to help Min Xiaoyu. If Hua-jie or mom is looking for me, help me and tell them I am sleeping… or something.]
When Sun Xiao received the message from Li Xinwen, he actually wanted to follow. He typed his reply, then deleted it, then began typing again only to delete it once more.
On Li Xinwen’s side, he saw at the bottom of the chat screen saying ‘Ah’Xiao is currently typing…’ appearing on and off. After a while, Sun Xiao’s reply finally came. It was only a short, ‘Okay’.
‘Is he alright? Why did that take so long?’ Li Xinwen wondered as he sent another message to Sun Xiao, asking him whether everything was alright on his side.
[Ah‘Xiao: Everything is alright. Xin-gege be careful outside. Leave everything in the house to Ah‘Xiao.]
Seeing the reply, Li Xinwen’s lips curved up into a smile. The message was also followed by a sticker of a husky holding up a thumb up sign. Shaking his head, Li Xinwen browsed through his variety of stickers that were available in the phone, until he found a sticker of a hand petting a husky. After he sent it to Sun Xiao, he finally left the room with a light heart.
He met with Min Xiaoyu at the Min residence and he could see that Min Xiaoyu’s face was ladened with worry. In Min Xiaoyu’s hand, was a small box.
“Mr Li,” Min Xiaoyu called out to him. “Thank you for coming to help me.”
“That’s alright. But, do you have any idea where your grandfather might be?” Li Xinwen asked but Min Xiaoyu only shook his head. ‘I guess, if he had known he wouldn’t have called for my help…’ Li Xinwen thought to himself, realizing he was silly for even asking such an obvious question.
“What is inside the box?” Li Xinwen asked after a while.
“It’s a talisman that my grandfather gave me.”
“Do you know what it is for?” Li Xinwen asked again and Min Xiaoyu nodded his head.
“Grandfather once said that our ancestor left a treasure in a hidden place and the place is sealed. Only this talisman can unseal the entrance,” Min Xiaoyu replied. “But I will not go there. I’m going to find grandfather and hand this back to him… Mr Li, I don’t know why but I keep feeling that something bad is happening to my grandfather.”
Li Xinwen thought for a while before finally letting out a sigh. He remembered that Min Shaotian wanted to gather his friends, so that should be their first clue. In fact, it was their only clue at the moment. “Mr Min, your grandfather once told me that there are four cultivator families. One should be your family; do you know the other three? They may have information about your grandfather’s whereabouts.”
“I do know. The closest one is in Tianjing Temple. Should we go there?”
“En. Let’s go,” Li Xinwen said as he gestured for Min Xiaoyu to take the lead, but to his surprise, the other called for a taxi instead. “Shouldn’t we go there quickly?”
“But… it’s still day time. If we were seen by the average citizen, we might get in trouble,” Min Xiaoyu replied. “So even if I am in a hurry, I still have to remain calm. I can’t let my emotions get to me.”
Li Xinwen, who had used his cultivation to come over quickly, remained silent. He did make sure that there were no other mortals in the vicinity where he landed. And even if there were, they wouldn’t be able to see him at the speed he was using to travel. Li Xinwen waited for five minutes before he finally couldn’t remain patient anymore. He had a deadline of sundown, and if he did not get back home by then, he might get in trouble again.
“Cancel the taxi! I’ll carry you,” Li Xinwen said as he picked Min Xiaoyu up and hoisted him over his shoulder. Min Xiaoyu was taken by surprise. He let out a surprised yelp and before he could recover, his view had shifted and by the time he realized it, he saw that he was already high up in the air.
“Mr Li! We’ll be seen!!” Min Xiaoyu exclaimed.
“Don’t worry, ba! No one will see us here. Hurry and tell me where it is,” Li Xinwen replied to Min Xiaoyu. He then shifted and changed the way he carried Min Xiaoyu into a princess carry.
“Where what?” because of the change in position, Min Xiaoyu felt a little embarrassed. He is already an adult and to be carried this way by another man… What man wouldn’t feel embarrassed?
“That temple of yours. Hurry before we fall down! My cultivation is not high enough to fly!” Li Xinwen warned.
“Oh, then do you see that mountain over there?” Min Xiaoyu pointed north.
“Okay, good. Hold tight! We’re going down first.”
With that warning, Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu descended down. As soon as his feet reached the ground, Li Xinwen, with his high mobility, began to move towards their destination. They arrived at the entrance of the temple in less than five minutes, and Li Xinwen gave Min Xiaoyu a haughty look. “If we were to wait for your taxi, who knows when we’d arrive. Mr Min, remember this well. Desperate situations require desperate measures. Since we are short on time, we need to get information about your grandfather quickly. Need I remind you that I only have until sundown?”
“I… I’m sorry. It’s just, grandfather always said not to let average people know about cultivation or it will cause problems,” Min Xiaoyu said with a face that was slightly red.
“Anyway, we’re here. What next?” Li Xinwen stared at the temple gate in front of him. The gate was closed tight and when Li Xinwen looked around, there was no one outside.
“This is actually the inner gate. Usually, normal people are only allowed into the temple at the foot of the mountain. Because of the way we came in, we can be considered… to have sneaked in,” Min Xiaoyu said and as if on cue, Li Xinwen heard several footsteps coming towards them.
“Outsiders! What are you doing here?” Li Xinwen heard a voice coming from behind him. “Are you assassins sent by that Modern Earth Association?!”
Li Xinwen turned around and saw several monks, holding their wooden bo staffs. Even without sending out his spiritual energy, Li Xinwen already knew that none of them were cultivators. “I come in peace. I am only here to look for…” Li Xinwen trailed off, finally realizing that he didn’t know who he came here to look for. He turned his head to gaze at Min Xiaoyu, silently asking him to clarify.
“I am Min Xiaoyu, from the Min family. We’re here to see Abbot Bingzhan. I wonder if we can go and see him?” Min Xiaoyu’s voice was gentle and full of friendliness. But the monks still looked at them suspiciously.
“How can we believe you? There has been several attempts of assassination made on the Abbot. You came here sneakily… how can we be sure you won’t harm the Abbot?!” the monk replied.
“That’s right! If you really don’t mean any harm, then wait here until our senior comes back from his divination work!” another monk chimed in.
Min Xiaoyu looked at Li Xinwen helplessly and Li Xinwen only let out a heavy sigh. “Fine. We’ll wait here. Tell that senior of yours to hurry! I have to be back by sundown!”
While Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu went to look for Min Shaotian, the person in question was hiding up in a tree. He concealed his spiritual energy as he eyed the cave in front of him. ‘Just what is that demon up to…’ Min Shoatian wondered. He had been keeping an eye on one member belonging to the demonic cult for the past few days when suddenly, the demonic cultivator began to move.
Min Shaotian tailed him and he saw the member meeting other cultivators. After that, they all moved in one direction and Min Shaotian informed his friends about his findings. Now, he was waiting for the others to arrive.
Soon, a person appeared beside him. Min Shaotian didn’t realize this person approaching but when the other made himself known, Min Shaotian didn’t panic either. Instead, he showed a relieved expression.
The person who arrived turned out to be a woman. Her dark long hair was tied in a ponytail. Her eyes were sharp, and her nose and cheekbones were a perfect contour. Her skin was almost perfect, were it not for a scar that marred her face. The scar went from the top of her left eyebrow, straight down to her chin. Because of the scar, it made her look fierce. This woman was the head Matriarch of the Yan family, Yan Zhuyi.
“Zhuyi, you’re here,” Min Shaotian greeted her with a smile.
“En. Minghui?” her reply was short as her eyes trained on the cave entrance.
“Minghui is not here yet,” Min Shaotian said. Then, he proceeded to explain to her the current situation: “I’ve been here for a while now. The member of the demonic cult kept on appearing and entering the cave. Based on this finding, I assume that this cave is their hideout. I’m also worried they may be planning something…”
“Something large scaled?” she asked. “You mentioned that they have already gotten the method to the sealing, how did that happen?”
Min Shaotian sighed as he recounted the event that happened during that day when Li Xinwen had come over. When the female cultivator heard this, a guilty expression spread across her face. “Fortunately, nothing happened to Yuyu. Shaotian, I’m sorry. I was the one who suggested keeping Chen Jingguo close so we could monitor their movements…”
“No. The fault lays with me… I shouldn’t have put my guard down. I didn’t expect the demon would dare to come out when he’s still weak,” Min Shaotian replied.
While they were talking, a new person joined them. Compared to the two, this man looked younger. When Min Shaotian and Yan Zhuyi looked at him, their gaze softened and they looked at him with tender eyes.
“Xiao Ming, you’re finally here. It must be a long journey for you,” Min Shaotian greeted the other man.
“Uncle Shao, Aunt Zhu,” Xiao Ming, or better known as Lan Minghui by the public, greeted the two respectfully. “Is the demon that is responsible for my father’s death inside?” as he said this, his eyes burned with the fire of vengeance.
“Xiao Ming, be patient. If you rush in, who knows what traps you might encounter,” Min Shaotian said as Yan Zhuyi nodded her head in agreement.
“Don’t worry, uncle Shao. Am I not being patient right now?” Lan Minghui replied. “It is a pity that uncle Bingzhan cannot join us.”
“It cannot be helped. Bingzhan has been in closed door cultivation for a while now,” Min Shaotian sighed. “Let us just wait and see what they are planning. If things get too suspicious, I’ll go in and scout ahead.”
The other two agreed and waited. More people entered the cave, but none left. They continued to wait until the sun was about to set.
“Shaotian, how long has it been since the last group entered?” Yan Zhuyi suddenly asked.
“Two hours and thirty minutes.”
“Strange. What meetings take two hours thirty minutes?” Yan Zhuyi wondered. “Are they cultivating inside?”
Because they were close to the demonic cultivators den, they didn’t dare to send their spiritual senses inside. So they never found out the fact that the cultivators who had entered had all died in the hand of An Wuya.
“I’m going in. You guys wait here. If anything happens inside, you will know,” Min Shaotian said before he went into the cave.
The cave was cold, and damp. The dense Yin energy spread around the cave path and it even affected Min Shaotian’s mood. He wrapped himself in layers of spiritual energy to protect himself from being affected by the Yin energy around him.
He tread slowly, until finally, he reached the heart of the cave. What he saw, made his blood go cold. Bodies were strewn all over the place. Each and every one of the corpses had the same expression; disbelief and fear. They had all died from the same form of attack, and their dantian had been gouged out. Min Shaotian could feel the hair on his neck rise just imagining the pain these people had gone through.
“Ah, look who has decided to join us,” Min Shaotian heard that familiar, demonic voice. His eyes narrowed as he left his hiding spot and faced An Wuya.
“Demon! I never thought you would be this cruel even to your own followers!” Min Shaotian said, admonishing An Wuya.
“Whatever do you mean? As my follower, don’t you think that they are more than happy to become one with me?” An Wuya replied with a chuckle. “No matter, it is good that you are here. I still lacked a few more souls to consume in order to heal my soul, but with you here, it should be enough,” An Wuya smiled at Min Shaotian.
With just a smile, Min Shaotian could feel himself being swayed. But luckily, he managed to recover himself by biting his tongue before things turned bad for him. The pain helped him resist the mental attack that was about to charm him.
“Tsk. It looks like you’ve learned your lesson from the first time we met,” An Wuya said, clicking his tongue in displeasure. “Oh well, since things have gone this way, then we can only do it the hard way.”
An Wuya’s eyes narrowed at Min Shaotian as he let out his spiritual energy. “My strength might’ve regressed, but taking care of someone at Xiantian stage is still doable, especially since you are currently in my domain. Chen Jingguo, you start the process first. Once I’m done with this ant, my soul will be healed completely,” An Wuya said.
“Process?” Min Shaotian’s suddenly felt uneasy. He eyed Chen Jingguo and when he saw what was placed on the table, his eyes widened. “You have all the ingredients already?!”
“These ingredients may be rare in a lower plane such as this but, I have a lot of them in my storage. Taking out a few is not that hard,” An Wuya replied in a calm, yet playful tone. It was as if he was toying with Min Shaotian, mocking him.
Min Shaotian finally understood how dangerous the situation was. From what An Wuya said, he gathered that if it had not been for the damage to his soul, he would have probably recovered his strength by now. ‘Then, we can only damage his soul again!’ Min Shaotian thought as he let his spiritual energy flare up.
Outside, Lan Minghui and Yan Zhuyi felt this, and they immediately entered the cave. They didn’t waste any time, fearing that if they were just a second late, they would lose Min Shaotian. And then, they might not be able to win unless Bingzhan arrived.
Meanwhile, back in Tianjing Temple, Li Xinwen watched helplessly as the sun slowly disappeared into the horizon. He turned to one of the temple disciples and asked for the nth time, “Where is this senior of yours?!”
“He is still working. Please wait patiently,” the monk replied.
“I have been patient for hours now! Just tell me where he is and I’ll go find him,” Li Xinwen said as he stood up from the spot where he had been sitting the past few hours.
“Halt! You said that you didn’t mean any harm. Then just stay there and wait patiently!” when the monk saw that Li Xinwen had stood up, they took their stance and aimed their bo staff at him.
“Mr Li, please just wait a bit longer,” Min Xiaoyu said as he grabbed the other’s sleeve, pulling at it gently.
With a grumble, Li Xinwen sat down and glared at the monk, showing his displeasure. Another half an hour passed, and they finally heard someone approaching. Turning their heads to the source of the footsteps, they finally saw a monk walking towards them. In one of his hands, he held his Xizhang, which showed that his rank within the temple is quite high.
“Senior brother Bingwen!” the monks, who were keeping an eye on both Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu, greeted the newcomer with a big smile on their face.
“En. Are they the one who wanted to meet with Abbot Bingzhan?” the monk, Bingwen asked.
“Yes, ah! They suddenly appeared without warning, and no one saw how they arrived. It must be that they are assassins!”
Monk Bingwen just smiled at his junior brother’s explanation before speaking: “If they are assassins, they must be the most polite assassins this monk has met. Assassins don’t just wait around like this.”
After saying that, Monk Bingwen approached Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu. “Honored guests, I apologize for making you wait for too long. Please, follow me inside,” Monk Bingwen said as he gestured for the two of them to follow him. “As for the rest of you, please return to your training. Don’t think that I don’t know that you did not even train while you ‘kept watch’ over our guests.”
As soon as Monk Bingwen’s words left his lips, the monks felt shivers running down their spines. With a bow, they quickly left the area, returning to the training ground in order to catch up on their training.
Monk Bingwen, on the other hand, led Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu into the inner court of the temple. Inside, there was a huge building, and deeper inside, they could see there were majestic twin pagodas. Li Xinwen’s eyes immediately went to the pagoda on the left, narrowing slightly. Just now, he felt as if someone was watching him from the highest floor.
“That is the Moon Pagoda,” Li Xinwen suddenly heard Monk Bingwen say. “The highest floor is where Senior Brother Bingwan always does his closed door cultivation. The other pagoda is the Sun Pagoda. Monk Bingzhan resides on its highest floor,” he explained.
“Is that so?” Li Xinwen didn’t move his eyes and continued to gaze at the top floor of the Moon Pagoda. “Then shall we go there immediately? I’m sorry, but we are running out of time here,” Li Xinwen finally moved his eyes away once he realized that the other didn’t seem to pay him any more attention.
“The honored guest is too impatient. Outsiders are not allowed within the Sun and Moon Pagodas. Please, follow me to the main hall. You can wait for Abbot Bingzhan there instead,” Monk Bingwen said as he continued to walk.
When they arrived, Monk Bingwen asked them to wait while he called Abbot Bingzhan. Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu looked at each other before Li Xinwen let out a heavy sigh.
“I’m sorry, Mr Li… if it’s alright, how about I accompany you home? Last time, your mother seemed to enjoy my company,” Min Xiaoyu suggested.
“Hmm… no. I don’t think there is a need to go that far. It’s alright, as long as Abbot Bingzhan will meet with us, we can ask him about your grandfather and then leave. We’ll continue our search tomorrow,” Li Xinwen told Min Xiaoyu, who could only nod his head in agreement.
Not long after, Monk Bingwen returned with a guilty expression plastered on his face. “Honored guest…” he began, his tone nervous. Li Xinwen already didn’t like the sound of it, but he patiently waited for Monk Bingwen to continue. “My apologies, honored guest. It seems that you will not be able to meet with Abbot Bingzhan today.”
“Your mother!” Li Xinwen cursed out the abbot’s family, before realizing that to become monk, the abbot should have already severed his ties with his family so he cursed the temple instead.
“Honored guest, please quell your anger. The temple did not do anything wrong-”
Li Xinwen just glared at Monk Bingwen before he stood up. “This is a total waste of time. Min Xiaoyu, let’s go find the other family and ask them instead!”
Just as they were about to leave, the spiritual energies around them suddenly fluctuated before all of them swirled. The epicenter of this phenomenon was at the top of the Sun Pagoda. Not long after that the spiritual energy started to get absorbed into the Sun Pagoda’s top floor.
Li Xinwen, who had reached the way to Kongming stage, knew what was happening and his heart raced in excitement. ‘Someone is breaking through into Yuanying stage! And based on the location where the spiritual energy is gathering, it is none other than that Abbot Bingzhan.’
Li Xinwen looked toward the direction of the setting sun, then to the top floor of Sun Pagoda. After weighing it for a bit, he thought that he should be able to arrive home before it got really dark, as long as he rushed at full speed. “Mr Min, let us wait for a bit longer,” Li Xinwen said.
But unlike before, they didn’t go back into the main hall to wait. Instead, they just stood there while looking up at the Sun Pagoda. Min Xiaoyu’s eyes were filled with admiration and awe, as this was the first time he’d seen this much spiritual energy being gathered.
“Mr Li, do you think that’s Abbot Bingzhan on that floor?” Min Xiaoyu asked without moving his gaze.
“From its location, he should be,” Li Xinwen replied before he turned to Monk Bingwen. “Is there no one else on the top floor of Sun Pagoda?”
“No. Other than the Abbot, no one else is allowed there. The honoured guest is lucky. The Abbot should be finishing up soon,” Monk Bingwen smiled at them. Just then, another person came over to them. He was dressed exactly the same as Monk Bingwen, and Li Xinwen noticed that this was the same person that had been watching him when he entered earlier.
When Li Xinwen saw his eyes, he realized that the other was looking at him with contempt. It made Li Xinwen wonder if he had done anything wrong to this person before. ‘But that is impossible, ah! I haven’t met a single monk until today.’
“Bingwen,” the monk called out to Monk Bingwen before he greeted the other with a line of prayers.
“Senior Bingwan. Have you finished your training?” Monk Bingwen asked after he returned the gesture.
“En. What makes you bring these guests inside?” Monk Bingwan asked as he looked towards Li Xinwen and Min Xiaoyu, but his gaze finally locked onto Li Xinwen and he narrowed his eyes slightly. “I thought it was just my imagination, but this guest’s hands are indeed covered in blood.”
Li Xinwen frowned when he heard that. He looked down at his hands, which were still clean, then back at the two monks. “You sure know how to joke,” Li Xinwen said. True, he had killed a few cultivators using this body, but saying that his hands were covered in blood seemed a bit exaggerated.
“The guest should know whether or not I am joking,” the monk replied.
Li Xinwen just hummed at the other’s reply and continued to wait. After a while, the energy fluctuations finally calmed down and the aura of someone that had reached Yuanying stage spread through the area. Not long after, a figure suddenly appeared in front of them.
“Abbot Bingzhan,” both Monk Bingwen and Bingwan greeted the newly arrived person. “Congratulations on getting a step closer to achieving Nirvana.”
The abbot didn’t answer and instead, eyed Li Xinwen for a while, before finally turning to Min Xiaoyu. “You must be Shaotian’s grandson, you look exactly like he did when he was younger,” Abbot Bingzhan said to Min Xiaoyu. “I know why you are here. You are looking for your grandfather, correct?”
“Yes, Your Excellency. Do you know where my grandfather is?”
“Even if I tell you, the place where he is, is not where you should be,” the abbot replied. “Earlier, I received two divinations while breaking through… One is written here,” Abbot Bingzhan took out a parchment of folded paper and handed it to Min Xiaoyu. “In two days, you are to open this. Do not open it before its time or else, your karmic fate might be harmed and you will end up meeting your death soon.”
Min Xiaoyu took the folded paper into his hand, and it suddenly felt heavy. He felt as if the content of the paper in his hand would change his life forever.
“As for your grandfather… he has already chosen to follow his destiny. You should allow him to fulfil his destiny,” Abbot Bingzhan added after a while. “Now then, Mr Li, I believe this is for you,” Abbot Bingzhan said as he then removed the prayer beads that were wrapped around his wrists and handed the strand of beads to Li Xinwen.
Li Xinwen stared at it but didn’t make a move to take it. “I’m sorry, I don’t want to become a monk.”
Abbot Bingzhan heard this, and a smile formed on his lips. “My apologies. I’ve forgotten to remove the protective seal on this,” Abbot Bingzhan said before he waved his other hand over the praying beads. As soon as he did so, an array that was placed on the prayer beads became visible before it shattered.
Li Xinwen could almost immediately feel the spiritual energy that came from the prayer beads, and it seemed that was not just him who felt it.
[Lan Yu: Master! Master!! I could sense the other pieces of the medium!]
‘So, it is part of the jade?’ Li Xinwen asked Lan Yu for confirmation.
[Lan Yu: En! Master, Lan Yu will help, let’s find it quickly!]
The excitement in Lan Yu’s voice was contagious because Li Xinwen also felt his heart race in excitement. Li Xinwen looked at Abbot Bingzhan, who still had a calm expression on his face as he waited for Li Xinwen to take the prayer beads.
‘No need to find it, Lan Yu. I see it already,’ Li Xinwen didn’t forget to inform the spirit fairy inside the dimension. Li Xinwen reached out his hand, intending to take the prayer beads. But before he could touch it, he paused and looked again at Abbot Bingzhan, gauging his expression. ‘Is he really giving me this?’ Li Xinwen wondered.
Li Xinwen couldn’t help but feel a bit suspicious. After all, there is no such thing as free stuff in this world. So he couldn’t help but part his lips to ask: “Why are you giving me this?”
“Because it will be more useful to you than it is to me,” Abbot Bingzhan replied calmly, as if he had known Li Xinwen would ask this question. . “I mentioned earlier, I received two divinations. One, was about Min Shaotian’s little grandson. The other was related to you.”
“Oh? What is it about?” Li Xinwen asked. It must be known that divination that monks receive are usually events that would happen in the future, or something that might happen in an alternate future. A divination can be seen as just a guide. Whether one would choose to follow it or not, depended on one’s own understanding. As such, monks in Long Xing would usually avoid telling others their divinations, in order to avoid the shifts of fates and destinies.
“Unfortunately, I will not be able to tell you specifically what happened. It is just that… this world’s fate is closely related to your fate, and things that happened to you in your past life are also related to this world’s fate,” Abbot Bingzhan replied.
“Things that happened in my past life? What do you mean?” Li Xinwen narrowed his eyes as he asked the abbot.
“The answer will naturally show itself when the time is right.”
“And when is the right time?” Li Xinwen asked again.
“A watched flower never blooms, while a carelessly planted willow grows into shade. I cannot tell you when the right time is for fear that you will be distracted by it, making wrong decisions and thus, changing your fate.”
‘Cryptic answer as usual. I guess the monks here and back in Long Xing are not that different,’ Li Xinwen said, letting out an amused chuckle at what he heard. “But I already chose to go against fate the moment I started cultivating.”
This time, Abbot Bingzhan did not reply. Instead, he simply forced the praying beads into Li Xinwen’s hand. “To you, your own path and to me, my own. Even if you decide to go against fate, I will not. But what I can tell you is this… in the future, where death threatens to envelop the earth, you will lead an army to fight against invaders from another world.”
The sentence ‘invaders from another world’ piqued Li Xinwen’s interest. “Then-”
“Unfortunately, the time for us to talk has run out,” as Abbot Bingzhan said this, he pointed up to the sky.
Li Xinwen actually wanted to ask more but when Abbot Bingzhan pointed upwards, he realized that the light from the sun had almost disappeared from the sky. Reluctantly, Li Xinwen tightened his grip on the prayer beads. “I will come here again tomorrow. Mr. Min, let’s go.”
Not waiting for Min Xiaoyu’s reply, Li Xinwen quickly grabbed the other and hoisted him upon his shoulder. Moments later, the two disappeared from Tianjing Temple and Abbot Bingzhan let out a disappointed sigh.
“Abbot Bingzhan?” Monk Bingwen noticed the abbot’s disappointment and he couldn’t help but let his curiosity win over him.
“It is nothing. I just feel it is unfortunate that I will not be able to see him again,” Abbot Bingzhan replied.
“Why?” this time, it was Monk Bingwan who asked. Unlike Bingwen, Bingwan was more straightforward and rough.
“Like Shaotian and the rest, I will go and fulfil my destiny soon. Bingwan, Bingwen… the two of you are my greatest disciples. I am really proud of how the two of you have grown ever since you entered the temple,” Abbot Bingzhan said with a smile on his face. “Unfortunately, the future will be hard on you two.”
Abbot Bingzhan then walked over towards them and placed a hand on their shoulders. “After today, I will no longer be around. I hope that you two will protect the other disciples of this temple, along with the people who will seek refuge here in the future.”
“Bingwan, you are strong so you have to protect Bingwen, who is weaker than you,” Abbot Bingzhan said as he looked at Monk Bingwan with a serious expression. Then, he turned to Monk Bingwen and addressed him: “Bingwen, you are in charge of the temple’s well being. As you know, Bingwan’s temper is sometimes uncontrollable. When it gets out of hand, you should calm him down.”
After that, Abbot Bingzhan removed his hands and cast a spell that would restrict the movement of the two monks. Both monks looked at Abbot Bingzhan with disbelief and tried to speak, but unfortunately, even their voice was sealed.
“With the two of you together, I can leave this world in peace. Beneath this temple, I leave my legacy to both of you. Don’t worry. The spell itself will lose its effect at midnight.”
After saying that, Abbot Bingzhan moved, and disappeared from his spot. Both Monk Bingwen and Bingwan couldn’t see his movement at all, so they had no idea where the abbot was planning to go. Not to mention, Abbot Bingzhan’s cultivation level was several realms higher than theirs, so the Abbot was be able to conceal himself, preventing them from finding him.
The fight within the mountain cave had also reached its climax. Even though An Wuya struggled to fight as he was surrounded by his three enemies, Min Shaotian’s side also couldn’t get the upper hand. The fighting experience between the two sides was simply too huge.
At this time, Chen Jingguo finished with his preparations. He looked towards the battle that was happening before him. ‘Luckily, the mountain was reinforced with a formation to prevent it from being destroyed…’ he thought to himself.
Chen Jingguo continued to watch, biding….. his time as he looked for an opening. He knew that he wouldn’t be able to deal with Min Shaotian, let alone Yan Zhuyi. So his eyes were trained on the young Lan Minghui. The chance arrived when Lan Minghui was kicked towards him by An Wuya.
With the chance created by An Wuya, Chen Jingguo immediately launched an attack against Lan Minghui. He focused his spiritual energy into his hand, his fingers forming into a claw, and aimed at Lan Minghui’s abdomen.
Because Lan Minghui was focused solely on An Wuya, he had forgotten about the existence of Chen Jingguo. The first attack landed squarely on Lan Minghui’s abdomen, close to the area where his dantian was located. He could feel his spiritual energy becoming erratic from receiving the attack but luckily, he was quick to respond by quelling the spiritual energy.
With the addition of Chen Jingguo into the fight, Min Shaotian’s group was now separated into two. An Wuya alone dealt with Min Shaotian and Yan Zhuyi while Chen Jingguo distracted Lan Minghui.
When it was the three of them, they hadn’t managed to get an advantage against An Wuya; now that they were reduced into two people, they began to struggle.
As soon as An Wuya saw a small opening, he immediately capitalised on it. He sent a heavy sword strike layered with dense spiritual energy towards Min Shaotian, forcing the other to dodge. Unfortunately, the attack came too quickly and Min Shaotian ended up suffering injuries.
“Shaotian!” Yan Zhuyi called out, her tone full of worry. Seeing her distracted momentarily, An Wuya changed his target and attacked Yan Zhuyi next.
With another swing of his sword, An Wuya once again sent an offensive move. This time, the amount of spiritual energies gathered within the attack was even higher than the previous attack aimed at Min Shaotian.
Pain wrecked through Yan Zhuyi’s body, forcing blood out of her lips before her body was propelled to the walls by the force. She heard both Min Shaotian and Lan Minghui calling out to her, telling her to dodge, but when she regained her bearings, she saw that An Wuya was already upon her. Sensing her impending doom, she could only close her eyes. Warm blood splashed onto her face, yet the expected pain was absent.
When Yan Zhuyi reopened her eyes, she saw Min Shaotian’s back before her with a hand pierced through his abdomen. Her eyes widened in shock and when she tried to call out to Min Shaotian, she found that her voice was stuck in her throat.
“To think you’d deliver yourself to me like this. Very well, I only need one of you to complete the process, so consider this an honor,” An Wuya said with a cold smile on his face as he began to absorb Min Shaotian’s spiritual energy.
Imagine the pain of having someone ripping your flesh off your body and your bones being grounded while you are still conscious. For cultivators, damage caused to their spiritual foundation is almost the same except, due to their heightened sense, they would feel an even worse pain.
Min Shaotian’s pained scream resounded in the cave. Yan Zhuyi, upon hearing it, quickly maneuvered her body to save Min Shaotian. It was unfortunate that An Wuya had kept his guard up, so her attack did not reach her target.
“Hmph! Pesky little ant!” An Wuya’s eyes narrowed as he waved his free hand towards Yan Zhuyi, in an attempt to send her flying. But to his surprise, a black shadow appeared before Yan Zhuyi and blocked his attack. Not only that, he also sensed that the other was already at Yuanying stage. ‘His strength is only slightly lower than mine… I need to hurry,’ An Wuya suddenly felt that he was in danger and tried to quickly absorb Min Shaotian’s spiritual energy.
Unfortunately for him, the other did not let him do as he wished. A strong attack was aimed at him and An Wuya’s hand, which had pierced Min Shaotian’s abdomen, was cut off. Min Shaotian’s body fell and was immediately caught by the newcomer.
“Bing… Zhan…?” Min Shaotian’s vision was fuzzy but he was sure that the one who caught him resembled the monk.
“En. How are you feeling? Are you still able to fight?” the monk, Bingzhan, asked. His eyes never left An Wuya’s figure, who was currently picking up his severed limbs. He stared at it, disbelief clearly pasted on his face.
Min Shaotian stared helplessly at An Wuya, who was standing in front of him. The demon, despite having his arm cut off, didn’t seem to be affected by it. Or at least, that is what Min Shaotian thought until he heard An Wuya laugh.
“Good, good… very good! You dare to wound this lord!” An Wuya’s eyes contained a maniacal gleam within and with a burst of his demonic energy, An Wuya’s figure began to change. His body grew larger, and the horns on his head elongated. His teeth turned into sharp fangs while sharp bones jutted out of his back. An Wuya no longer resembled a human, and just the sight of him made the cultivators from the modern world shiver. His current form could only be described in one word: Hideous.
“If I don’t scatter your soul after killing you, I will only bring shame to my kind!” An Wuya roared before he let out an ear-splitting scream. With the scream, came a weight that heavily pressed down on Min Shaotian and his team.
Because they were already heavily injured, both Min Shaotian and Yan Zhuyi’s face paled considerably. Lan Minghui, who was slightly further away, was also affected but he swallowed down the blood that threatened to come up his throat. His opponent though, was not able to stand the pressure from An Wuya.
For Chen Jingguo, this was the first time he saw An Wuya’s true form. And it was also the first time he felt such a strong demonic energy being emitted. “My lord…” When the pressure was too much for him to bear, he couldn’t help calling out to An Wuya in order to remind him of his existence.
Hearing Chen Jingguo’s pitiful voice, An Wuya’s eyes darted over to him. Upon seeing the demon’s gaze, Chen Jingguo suddenly felt cold all over his body. It was as if, once his usefulness was gone, An Wuya wouldn’t hesitate to kill him. But just as he thought that he was going to die, the pressure around him suddenly disappeared.
“Chen Jingguo, is everything in place?”
The voice that was once smooth and seductive had turned cold and raspy. It made Chen Jingguo react slightly slower because he was not used to hearing it. “Ah, yes. Everything is already in place…”
“Good. Start the process!”
“But, your soul-!”
“When I tell you to start, then you just have to do it. Don’t worry… don’t we already have a good sacrifice here?” as An Wuya said this, his eyes landed on the heavily injured Min Shaotian. “As someone who is already one foot down into his grave, he is truly holding onto that little life remaining in him. It is unfortunate that, even with all the will power he has, he is doomed to perish.”
Just as those words left An Wuya’s lips, Min Shaotian suddenly felt his spiritual energies within his dantian become chaotic. He tried to calm them down but the more he tried to guide them, the more he felt them slowly disappearing. Before long, he felt that the spiritual energies within his dantian became empty. His cultivation had disappeared.
“You… what have you done?” Min Shaotian asked An Wuya in disbelief.
“I merely planted a special Gu18 within you,” An Wuya replied. “Don’t worry, I will be taking it back now,” he continued as he curled his finger towards himself. A thick, fat Gu shot out of Min Shaotian’s abdomen and landed in An Wuya’s palm.
The Gu is well fed, and filled with the spiritual energy that belonged to Min Shaotian. “Jingguo! Begin!” An Wuya said as he absorbed the Gu into his body.
Chen Jingguo started the process of unsealing and Bingzhan felt that things were getting out of control. Lan Minghui wanted to stop Chen Jingguo but unfortunately, it was too late. Once the process has started, it cannot be stopped. ‘The only way is to kill him,’ Lan Minghui thought as he glanced at An Wuya.
Chen Jingguo was smiling as he stared at An Wuya. “My lord! It worked! Finally, my dream will come true!” he said as he continued to stare at An Wuya. It was not known what his dream truly was, but for him to collude with a demon, it was surely not a good one.
An Wuya on the other hand, felt that Chen Jingguo was no longer needed and he slowly approached him. “Jingguo, you are indeed the best subordinate that I have in this realm. Your dream was to conquer this world, right? Let me help you realize that,” An Wuya said with a smile.
Of course, with his current appearance, Chen Jingguo felt a chill when he saw the demon smile. But he still forced himself to smile. Only, his smile disappeared a second later when he felt a sharp pain in his abdomen.
Looking down, he saw that An Wuya’s clawed hand had pierced into him and he also felt that his spiritual energy was running rampant. “My… lord…?” Chen Jingguo stared at An Wuya with disbelief.
“Don’t worry. Since you will be absorbed into me, when I reign this world, then it is the same as realizing your dream,” An Wuya said in a soft whisper. “Chen Jingguo, your contribution through all these years are very much appreciated.”
After absorbing Chen Jingguo’s soul, one could sense An Wuya’s strength rising up more and more with every second. Bingzhan, who was the strongest amongst the four, knew that he had to kill An Wuya before the unsealing was done.
He glanced at the weakened Min Shaotian and Yan Zhuyi. ‘Shaotian’s cultivation has been destroyed, and Yan Zhuyi is heavily injured…’ he thought to himself.
“Minghui!” Bingzhan called Lan Minghui out. “You go and bring Shaotian and Yan Zhuyi out! Escape as far as you can from here!” Bingzhan said to the younger male.
“No! I want to fight!” Lan Minghui answered.
“Listen to your elder!” Bingzhan roared at Lan Minghui. “With your strength, you will only become a dead weight. Don’t worry, it is not as if I do not have a plan,” Bingzhan added the last sentence in order to assure his three comrades.
Lan Minghui hesitated for a bit but finally agreed that he would not be of help even if he stayed. He quickly went over to Bingzhan’s side, and picked up the very weakened Min Shaotian into his arms and then supported Yan Zhuyi.
“Master Bingzhan, please kill that demon. Help me avenge my father…” Lan Minghui said before he disappeared from the place.
An Wuya was about to chase after Lan Minghui only to be stopped by Abbot Bingzhan.
“That is a matter of course. Even if this one has to sacrifice his life, this demon must die today,” Bingzhan murmured softly as if replying to Lan Minghui. “An Wuya, years ago, you came and we were too weak to kill you. This time, I shall settle the account of that time,” he said, addressing An Wuya.
“With just you alone? Do not make me laugh!” An Wuya replied.
Bingzhan did not reply and instead, continued his assault on An Wuya. Each of his moves were strong and calculated, but there was still a hint of desperation in them. Bingzhan was now rushing against time. The stronger An Wuya became, the harder it would be to kill him, and once the unsealing was done, it would be impossible to do so.
In the end, Abbot Bingzhan realized that An Wuya’s strength would soon surpass him so he could only close his eyes as he made one last desperate move. “It seems that this is the only way,” Abbot Bingzhan said as he concentrated his spiritual energy towards his dantian.
An Wuya realized what Bingzhan wanted to do and he suddenly panicked. He remembered the outcome of his losses years ago and felt that he didn’t want to suffer the same humiliation as that time. “Not again!” he roared as he tried to escape.
But Bingzhan had long anticipated An Wuya’s move and latched himself on to the demon with a tight grip. “An Wuya, I hope that in your next life, you will learn to be kind to others,” Abbot Bingzhan said before he began to recite lines from the scriptures that he knew by heart, sealing An Wuya’s movement.
“What is wrong with you humans and your self sacrifice?! Do you think that this is heroic?! Are those mortals worth such sacrifice?!” An Wuya asked, to which Bingzhan did not bother to reply.
The spiritual energy from Bingzhan began to swell, forming a strong energy. Soon, a large explosion occurred. The scale of the explosion was so strong that even the formation placed around the mountain shattered.
Outside the mountain, Lan Minghui stared at the blast that was formed by Abbot Bingzhan’s self explosion. At his side, Yan Zhuyi stared at the big explosion in disbelief and watched as the huge mountain was reduced into rubbles.
“Xiao Hui, I’m okay now. You go bring your uncle Min back first. He needs to be treated as soon as possible. When you get back, try as best as you can to suppress the media. We can’t let anyone find out about this,” Yan Zhuyi told the younger male.
“Alright. I understand. I’ll also prepare for your treatment,” Lan Minghui replied before he left with Min Shaotian. Yan Zhuyi watched Lan Minghui’s disappearing figure before she went back to the place where the mountain was.
After the explosion, the two spiritual signatures belonging to An Wuya and Abbot Bingzhan had become weaker, almost disappearing. But Yan Zhuyi would not feel reassured until she saw that An Wuya was truly dead.
When she arrived, the mountain was in ruins, and in the center of the crater, she saw two figures lying on the ground. One belonged to Abbot Bingzhan, while the other was none other than An Wuya. Both appeared to be in their last breaths.
Yan Zhuyi quickly went over to Abbot Bingzhan, wanting to try and save him, but she was surprised when An Wuya suddenly stood up.
“Crazy… crazy, crazy, crazy! Crazier than even this lord!” An Wuya said in a maniacal manner. “Since you want to protect this world so much, then let this lord leave a present for you!”
As soon as he said that, he focused his last remaining spiritual energy to make one final move. Yan Zhuyi realized this and quickly moved towards An Wuya to deal the last blow. With An Wuya weakened to his last breath, it was easy even for Yan Zhuyi to kill him.
“Heh… unfortunately, you were just a bit too slow,” An Wuya told Yan Zhuyi. “This world will soon be in chaos. Let those humans you are struggling to save kill each other!”
After saying his piece, his spiritual signature finally disappeared and not long after, his body disintegrated into ashes. At the same time, Abbot Bingzhan also drew his last breath but unlike An Wuya, his body didn’t disappear. However with the lack of spiritual energy to keep it the way it was, it quickly shriveled up, becoming a mummy.
Yan Zhuyi appeared saddened and approached the dead body. She picked the remains of Abbot Bingzhan and brought them away with her. Not long after she disappeared, the sound of propellers could be heard as a helicopter approached the area.
“Everyone! This is what remains of Mt. Shengyan! We still do not know the cause of this destruction. It might be a military experiment that has gone wrong, or maybe a terrorist attack that went wrong… we from National Great Star media will continue to follow up on this incident…” said a reporter, who could be seen talking while facing the camera. Behind the reporter was the ruined mountain.
18 Gu – a demonic poison produced through sorcery / black magic. The basic method of producing it involved sealing several different poisonous or venomous creatures in a container and waiting until there was a single survivor. It was believed that the poison from all the other creatures would be concentrated in the survivor as Gu poison.