Ch.41: At the Paradise Manor; Questions of Xianle 3
That boy didn’t seem to know who the ‘White No-Face’ was, and only watched Xie Lian
with a blank expression. Xie Lian couldn’t tell whether if the boy didn’t understand or
couldn’t understand, but he suddenly shouted, “AH!” Turns out it was Xie Lian who
grabbed onto his shoulders and unconsciously gripped them too tight. It wasn’t until he
shouted that Xie Lian came to, and hurriedly released his hands. “I’m sorry.”
Hua Cheng spoke up in a low voice, “You’re tired. Go rest.”
As soon as he said those words, a small door on the side walls of the hall opened, and
two dainty girls entered to take away the boy. He looked back at Xie Lian as he was led
away. Xie Lian told him, “Don’t worry. I’ll go find you again in a bit.”
After the boy was taken away, Hua Cheng turned to Xie Lian, “Sit down and relax, and
don’t see him for now. If you have any questions for him I have my ways of prying open
‘Prying open his lips’ sounded rather horrifying, and Xie Lian replied, “No, that’s alright.
If he couldn’t say anything then let it go. We’ll take this slow.”
Hua Cheng sat down next to Xie Lian, “What are your plans for the boy?”
Xie Lian, looking exhausted, gave the question some thought, “I think, I’ll keep him by
my side, and bring him along with me first.”
“He’s a ghost, not a human.” Hua Cheng said, “Why don’t you leave him here in the
Ghost City? I’ve no trouble feeding another mouth.”
Xie Lian watched him, and said earnestly, “San Lang, truly, thank you. But…” He sighed,
“I want to bring him along not just for raising him.”
The Ghost City certainly belonged to Hua Cheng; if he was willing to protect the boy,
then no one could harm him and he wouldn’t go hungry. But other than that, the most
important thing for the boy was more so guidance, to help him organize his mind and
speech, and return him to normal. The Ghost City is a bustling place, chaotic and wild,
not ideal for counseling. Other than himself, Xie Lian couldn’t think of anyone else who
would have the patience to undertake that task.
Xie Lian replied slowly, “I’m already immensely grateful that you found him for me. I
can’t trouble you further with the aftermath.”
Hua Cheng appeared to disagree, but didn’t push any more. He said plainly, “It’s really
no trouble. When you’re here, if you need anything just let me know; and you’re free to
go wherever you want.’
Suddenly, Xie Lian noticed the scimitar on Hua Cheng’s waist had changed all of a
Xie Lian looked down and his curiosity was instantly piqued. Turns out, on the hilt of that
scimitar had a silver eye crafted upon it. The patterns of the eye was formed by a few
rough silver strokes, but although simple, it looked mythical as if alive. He didn’t see it at
first because the eye was closed into a thin line, but just then, the eye fluttered open
and revealed a crimson gem-like eyeball, and within the socket it twirled once.
Hua Cheng noticed it too, and spoke up solemnly, “Gege, I need to leave for a bit. I’ll be
“An alarm?” Xie Lian asked. Could it be that Lord Wind Master and Qian Qiu showed
their true selves here in the Ghost City? Xie Lian rose too, “I’ll come with you.”
Hua Cheng gently pushed him back down, “Don’t worry, it’s not His Highness Tai Hua.
It’s just some useless trash that shows up every month. You don’t have to go.”
Since Hua Cheng made it this clear, Xie Lian couldn’t keep insisting on going along.
Hua Cheng turned and left the main hall, waving as he walked away. The beaded
curtain parted automatically as he approached, and after he exited, the beaded curtain
let itself down, clacking, its sound crisp and clear.
Xie Lian relaxed a bit on the black jaded divan and thought about the bandaged boy.
Recalling that he was scared of strangers and emotionally unstable, Xie Lian couldn’t sit
still and rose again, determined to go and see the boy. He passed through the small
door the girls had left from and came to a small garden. The garden was the colour of
vermillion, and cutting through it was a small path, empty of life, and Xie Lian was still
wondering which way he should go when suddenly a black shadow flashed by.
It was the silhouette of that XiaXianYue Officer.
Xie Lian recalled the cursed shackle on his wrist and it’s been on his mind. He was
about to call out to the other when that silhouette disappeared. The way he behaved
was like he was afraid to be discovered, so Xie Lian closed his mouth, and soundlessly
Turning to the corner of a building where the officer disappeared, Xie Lian fixed himself
to the wall and stealthily looked around. That youth moved swiftly and was constantly on
the lookout around him, extremely cautious and indeed afraid to be found. That
XiaXianYue Officer is is one of San Lang’s subordinates, and working under him in his
territory, so why the sneaking around?
The more Xie Lian thought, the more he was suspicious that the officer possessed
malintent, so he hid himself and followed. The masked officer made a number of turns
through the hallways, and Xie Lian followed closely within fifty steps behind, holding his
breath and watching closely. Finally, they rounded a corner and came to a long hallway,
and at the end of the hallway was a set of large, beautifully decorated door.
Still following behind, Xie Lian thought, ‘If he turns around now there won’t be anywhere
to hide.’ But just as the thought crossed his mind, the XiaXianYue Officer stopped and
turned his head.
The moment he stopped Xie Lian was alert and extended his arm in a hurry. RuoYe flew
out and wrapped itself around the wooden beam overhead, pulling Xie Lian up to the
ceiling, and he clung onto the beam.
The officer didn’t see anyone behind him and didn’t think to look up, so he turned
around again and continued in his path. Xie Lian on the other hand, didn’t dare to let
himself down so soon and stayed put on the ceiling, silently inching forward. He thought
he rather resembled a gecko. Good thing the other didn’t go far, and stopped before that
set of doors. Xie Lian stopped too to observe.
In front of this door there was a statue of a woman, wile and beautiful, but of course
from Xie Lian`s angle he only saw a circular head and a shallow, round jaded plate in
her hands. The masked youth didn’t move from where he stood and didn’t move to open
the door. Instead, he turned to the woman statue and raised a hand, tossing something
into the jaded plate. The clacking sound was crisp and Xie Lian saw, ‘dice?’ he thought
It was a sound that he’d heard too many times earlier, and not one he’d forget in a long
time. It was the sound of dice hitting the bottom of a gambling cup. Just as he
suspected, when the masked youth removed his hand and Xie Lian looked, it was
indeed two dice in the jaded plate, both revealing six red dots.
After tossing dice, the masked youth removed them from the plate and put them away
before opening the door. The door wasn’t even locked. When he entered through the
doors and closed them behind him, Xie Lian didn’t hear any sounds of locks activating
either. After waiting a moment, Xie Lian gently lowered himself to the ground like a
piece of paper, and crossed his arms to examine the set of doors.
Technically, this building didn’t seem that big, and whatever that XiaXianYue Officer was
doing inside should make noise. Yet, after he closed the doors behind him, there was no
more sounds coming from within. Xie Lian contemplated and raised a hand to push.
As he suspected, after pushing open the door, there was nothing and no one inside,
only a small table and two chairs. It appeared to be only a normal and luxurious
bedchamber. By the looks of this setup, there was no possibility of there being a hidden
Xie Lian closed the door and looked to the woman statue, and moved his gaze to the
jaded plate in her hands. No doubt the mechanism lay in that jaded plate and the dice.
‘So the building is still locked,’ Xie Lian thought, ‘Just not with physical locks but with
magical locks. To open this lock there needs to be a key or a password. The dice must
roll two sixes in order to see the real interior behind the doors.’
But, for Xie Lian to throw out two sixes right then and there, was something that would
never happen in this world. He could only watch the door and sigh. He paced in front of
the doors, his eyes glued on them, but still turned around to leave in the end. After
walking for a bit, he stopped abruptly. From the other end of the path came a tall,
red-clad figure, a slender and long silver scimitar hung from the waist. It was Hua
He walked over with his arms crossed, “Gege, I’ve been looking for you.”
He looked exactly as he did when he left, only the scimitar on his waist was out of its
scabbard, clattering against him along with the scabbard, clanking as he walked,
painting a picture of arrogance. That silver eye on the hilt of E-Ming was closed. Xie
Lian steadied himself and said, “I was going to go see that child, but your house is too
big and I got lost.”
Xie Lian was originally going to tell Hua Cheng about what had just happened, but when
the words came to his lips, they turned around and he swallowed them.
Xie Lian hadn’t forgotten the goal of this visit to the Ghost City was to investigate the
missing heavenly official. Any signs of fishiness couldn’t be ignored, thus, he decided
not to ring alarm and see if he could go through those doors first. If Hua Cheng had
nothing to do with it, then Xie Lian would report his suspicious subordinate at once, but
if Hua Cheng was involved…
Xie Lian was deep in thought but Hua Cheng took no notice and spoke as he led Xie
Lian back to the main hall, “If you wanted to see that boy, I can send for someone to
bring him to you, and you’d only need to wait at the Paradise Hall.”
It was probably because he was hiding something, when Xie Lian heard Hua Cheng’s
tone of voice, he couldn’t help but become more docile, “You finished your business that
Hua Cheng snorted, his lips curling in disdain, “It’s finished. It was just another band of
useless trash embarrassing themselves, that’s all.”
Hearing him say ‘useless trash’, tone familiar, Xie Lian guessed, “Was it the Green
Ghost Qi Rong?”
Hua Cheng smiled, “That’s right. Didn’t I tell you, many have their eyes on this place of
mine. Qi Rong had wanted the Ghost City for himself for years now, but the most he
could do was want and burn with envy, so every so often he’d send some equally
useless underlings to stir up trouble. Nothing worth mentioning. Actually, I have a place I
want to show gege, but I don’t know if gege would grant me the pleasure?”
“Of course.” Xie Lian replied happily.
Traversing through the long hallways, Hua Cheng led Xie Lian to another large hall.
The doors of the hall seemed to be made of steel with violent beasts carved upon them,
horrible and terrifying. The moment Hua Cheng approached the beasts parted ways and
opened the doors. A blast of killing intent blew at Xie Lian before he even stepped foot
into the hall, and he tensed, veins popping on his hands, prepared to face anything.
However, after seeing clearly what was inside the hall, he blinked. His defenses melted
away in an instant, and his legs moved on their own, bringing him into the hall.
Within the hall, all manners of weapons were hung on all four walls. There were
scimitars, swords, spears, shields, whips, axes… it was an armoury!
Anyone, as long as they’re a man, when situated in an armoury such as this,
surrounded by all kinds of weaponry, would feel as if they were in heaven, and their
blood boil with excitement. Xie Lian was no exception; his eyes were widened and his
face lit. The last time he had shown such excitement was in Jun Wu’s armoury.
Although his face remained schooled, his heart was already battering in his chest, and
his speech stammered, “May… may I touch?”
Hua Cheng smiled, “As you like.”
Xie Lian’s hands instantly flew out to feel the many treasures hung on the walls,
caressing them as if drunken, “These… All of these are masterpieces! This sword is
splendid, it must be a sight to behold on the battlefield! This one too! Wait, and that
Hua Cheng was leaning on the wall near the door, watching Xie Lian’s face go red with
thrill and obsession, “Gege, what do you think?”
Xie Lian was examining each piece so intently he was reluctant to turn his head around.
“What do I think, what?”
“Do you like it?” Hua Cheng asked.
“I do!” Xie Lian replied.
“Do you really like it?” Hua Cheng asked again.
“I really do!” Xie Lian exclaimed.
Hua Cheng seemed to have snickered but Xie Lian didn’t notice. His heart was busy
racing as he unsheathed a shimmering four feet verdant blade, marveling as he did so.
“Are any of them good enough for you?” Hua Cheng spoke up again.
Xie Lian’s entire face was bright and glowing, unable to stop his marveling, “Good!
Good! They’re all good!”
“Originally I was thinking gege didn’t have any useful weapons on hand, so if there was
anything here good enough, you can just pick something for yourself,” Hua Cheng said,
“But since gege likes them all, I’ll give them all to you.”
“No, no, no, there’s no need.” Xie Lian said hurriedly, “I have no use for any handy
“Really?” Hua Cheng said, “But it’s obvious gege really likes swords?”
“Liking doesn’t mean I have to own it,” Xie Lian said, “I haven’t used one in years. Just
looking makes me happy. Besides, I’d have nowhere to put them if you give them all to
“That’s easy to solve.” Hua Cheng replied, “I’ll give this entire armoury to you.”
Xie Lian took that as a joke and grinned, “There’s no way I can take away a room this
“No need to take it away,” Hua Cheng said, “I’ll give you the property too. Just come
visit when you’re free.”
“No, it’s ok.” XIe Lian said, “An armoury requires constant maintenance. I’d hate to see
the weapons suffer.”
Xie Lian placed the sword carefully back onto its hold, and said nostalgically, “Once
upon a time I owned an armoury like this too, but it was burnt down. All of these
weapons are precious devices to be desired, you have to cherish them, San Lang.”
“That’s easy too,” Hua Cheng said, “If I’m free I can help gege maintain the armoury.”
Xie Lian laughed, “Well I certainly don’t have the face to ask My Lord the Ghost King to
do chores for me.”
Suddenly, Xie Lian remembered Jun Wu’s warning right before he left for the mission:
“The wicked scimitar E-Ming is a cursed blade of misfortune. A weapon of such evil can
only be forged by an exceedingly cruel sacrifice and a bloody will. Do not touch it, and
do not let it touch you, lest the consequences be unimaginable.”
Xie Lian contemplated but still decided to ask in the end, “But San Lang, all of these
weapons don’t even come close to your scimitar E-Ming, right?”
Hua Cheng cocked his left brow, “Oh? Has gege heard of my scimitar too?”
“Only some hearsays.” Xie Lian replied.
Hua Cheng snickered, “I bet they’re not nice hearsays. Did someone tell you that my
scimitar was forged by an evil, bloody ritual? That I sacrificed live humans?”
Sharp as always. Xie Lian responded, “Not too horrible. Everyone has their own bad
rumours, but not everyone would believe them. Don’t know if I might have the honour of
seeing the legendary scimitar E-Ming?”
“You’ve actually already seen it, gege.” Hua Cheng said.
He took a few steps closer to Xie Lian and said in a low voice, “Look, gege, this is
The eye upon the scimitar hung at his waist twirled in Xie Lian’s direction. It might be
Xie Lian’s imagination but he thought that silver eye started squinting into a crescent
Ch.42: Borrowing the Underpath; Night Crawl in Paradise Manor
Xie Lian bent down slightly and greeted, “Hello there.”
Hearing the greeting, that eye squinted harder, turning itself into a full crescent shape,
as if smiling. The large eye spun left and right, extremely lively, as if it wasn’t just a
pattern carved onto a scimitar hilt, but a real live eye born of human. Hua Cheng’s lips
lifted upwards, “Gege, it likes you.”
Xie Lian raised his head, “Really?”
Hua Cheng raised his brows, “Really. If it didn’t it’d be too lazy to even blink open. In
fact, there are very few that E-Ming actually likes.”
Hearing this, Xie Lian felt at peace, and said warmly to E-Ming, “Well, thank you.” He
then turned to Hua Cheng, “I rather like it too.”
At his words, that eye blinked madly, and started shaking while still hung around Hua
Cheng’s waist. He reprimanded it, “No.”
“What, ‘no’?” Xie Lian asked.
“No.” Hua Cheng reiterated.
E-Ming shook harder, looking desperate to be freed from the scabbard. Xie Lian asked
curiously, “Are you telling it ‘no’?”
“Yea.” Hua Cheng explained in a serious tone, “It wants you to pet it but I’m telling it no.”
Xie Lian grinned, “Well what’s wrong with that?” And stretched out a hand. E-Ming
widened its eye looking at him expectantly. Xie Lian was going to pet the eyeball, but
thought it’d be poking the eye and hurting it, so he lowered his hand and stroked lightly
along the curve of the hilt. The eye had squinted itself into a full crescent line, and
Xie Lian thought it incredibly intriguing, the more he stroked the scimitar. Xie Lian
himself was the type animals liked; when he’d pet those furry dogs and cats, they’d get
comfortable and often throw themselves into his embrace. Who knew that he’d be
petting a cold, silver scimitar – that legendary scimitar no less! - like he would a puppy!
How is it a ‘bloody cursed blade of misfortune’?
Xie Lian didn’t believe it before, but after seeing with his own eyes, he threw away the
awful hearsays to the back burner, into the ‘not believable’ pile of trash. An evil, bloody
ritual would not forge a spirit this clever and cute.
The two spent a copious amount of time discussing and critiquing various swords and
blades in detail, and Xie Lian exited the armoury in high spirits after, grabbing hold of
Hua Cheng’s hands to return to Paradise Hall.
That boy had also been brought in after washing up and dressed in clean bandages.
Although his face was still wholly covered, he looked new and refreshed. Looking at him
anew, the boy was slender and delicate, and should have been a seedling with infinite
possibilities, but alas the him now was one with his shoulders slumped and waist bent, a
shrivelled form who couldn’t meet anyone’s eyes. Xie Lian couldn’t help but feel
heartbroken for him.
He pulled the boy to sit, “The last few words Xiao Ying said had the intention of having
me take care of you, and I technically agreed to it. But nevertheless, I still have to ask
for your opinion on it. Would you be interested in following me in cultivation from now
The boy watched him blankly, as if afraid to believe the words he was hearing, that
someone was actually willing to take him in and cultivate. Xie Lian continued, “I can’t
say the conditions at my place are good, but I can still promise you won’t need to hide
any longer, and won’t need to steal for food or get beaten.”
When he spoke, Xie Lian didn’t notice that next to him, Hua Cheng’s eyes were
narrowed, watching the boy with a cold, judging look.
Xie Lian continued warmly, “If you can’t remember your own name, then why don’t we
come up with a new one?”
The boy thought about it and said, “Ying.”
Xie Lian supposed that the name was to commemorate Xiao Ying and nodded, “Good.
That’s a good name. You’re of the kingdom of YongAn, and YongAn’s national surname
is Lang, so why don’t you use that as your new name and call yourself Lang Ying?”
The boy finally nodded. Xie Lian took that as the boy’s acceptance in following after
The banquet began. It’s a small feast Hua Cheng prepared for Xie Lian, but by its setup,
it’s of a size that could very well host over ten people. Innumerous women had in their
hands a jaded plate, and upon the plates were various kinds of delightful refreshments,
delicate dishes, fresh fruits, and goodies. Their offerings were endless, and their steps
were dainty and light as they walked along the sides of the main hall in a line, each
presenting their jaded plate as they approached the black jaded divan. Lang Ying only
watched but didn’t dare to reach out, and it wasn’t until Xie Lian pushed a few of the
plates toward him before he slowly grabbed a few items to eat.
Watching him, another scene flashed in Xie Lian’s mind. It was also another boy whose
face was wrapped in bandages, dirty and unkempt, kneeling on the floor with a plate of
offerings, his head bowed low as he stuffed his face in secret.
Just then, a sashaying lady in purple silk approached, offering a carafe of wine. Hua
Cheng reached out and poured Xie Lian a glass, “Won’t you have one?”
Xie Lian had a bunch of things on mind and wasn’t paying attention, so he carelessly
accepted the glass and drank. It wasn’t til the liquid entered his mouth that he realized it
was alcohol, and moved his gaze back. But this turn made him see what was behind
Hua Cheng’s back. The lady who offered the wine winked at him.
Xie Lian spat on the spot: “PFFFFffttt”
Good thing he already swallowed that sip of wine and nothing came splattering out of
his mouth. He only choked, coughing nonstop. Lang Ying took fright and almost
dropped the cake in his hand. Xie Lian soothed as he coughed, “It’s nothing. It’s
Hua Cheng gently patted his back, “What’s wrong? Is the wine not to your liking?”
Xie Lian hurriedly explained himself, “Oh no! It’s very good. I just suddenly remembered
that my cultivation method forbids alcohol.”
“Oh?” Hua Cheng said, “Then this is my fault for not being considerate, and made gege
break his vow.”
“It’s not your fault,” Xie Lian said, “I’d just forgotten.”
Xie Lian rubbed his forehead, turned around and stealthily glimpsed towards the centre
of the main hall.
That lady who offered wine had her back to him as she sashayed away to the doors, her
figure sensual and seductive. Hua Cheng was only minding his own business or
focused on Xie Lian completely, and had no eye for those beautiful women, and
therefore naturally did not care to see their faces. But the face Xie Lian saw was clear.
That lady who offered wine was none other than the Wind Master Qing Xuan ! ! !
The Lord Wind Master had snuck into Paradise Manor disguised as a woman… that
wink gave Xie Lian quite the shock, and thought ‘you best give me more booze to
swallow this down’. Unaware, Hua Cheng said conversationally, “I had always thought
cultivation was simply for living a carefree, hedonistic life. If you must forbid this and
that, then what’s the point? What do you think?”
Xie Lian steadied himself swiftly, and casually conversed back, “That depends on the
path you choose. Some sects don’t mind earthly pleasures, but my chosen path of
cultivation had always forbidden drinking and promiscuity. Alcohol can be overlooked
once in a while, but abstinence is absolute.”
When he said the word “abstinence”, Hua Cheng cocked his right brow, and displayed
an unreadable expression of either displeasure or annoyance.
Xie Lian continued, “Actually, it also forbids hatred. A gambling hall involves extreme joy
and anguish, and can easily produce hatred, so it should be a place to be avoided. But
if one is sure to maintain peace at heart, unmoved by wins and losses, then avoidance
isn’t technically necessary.”
Hearing this, Hua Cheng laughed out loud, “No wonder gege had the pleasure of
entering the Gambler’s Den.”
Going around in circles, Xie Lian finally brought the subject of the conversation naturally
to ‘gambling’, and said, “Speaking of which, San Lang your gambling techniques are
amazing to behold.”
Hua Cheng chuckled, “It’s just good luck, nothing else.”
Hearing this, Xie Lian compared himself, and felt rather woeful. He cleared his throat
softly, “Well, look at me…” He waved his hand and didn’t finish. “I’m really curious; is
there really a technique to rolling dice?”
If there wasn’t, then Hua Cheng couldn’t just call the numbers as he wanted back at the
Gambler’s Den, and that XiaXuanYue Officer couldn’t have so easily tossed out two
sixes. Hua Cheng smiled, “Naturally, there is a secret technique, but it’s not something
that’s learned in a day.”
Xie Lian had expected that answer. He wasn’t hopeful with that question anyway and
was trying to come up with other ideas when Hua Cheng continued, “However, I can tell
you of a faster way. I promise gege would be able to succeed as you will, and win every
“What way?” Xie Lian asked.
Hua Cheng raised his right hand. It was the very same right hand with a red string tied
on the third finger. The red string was tied into a small bow on the back of the hand,
bright and vivid. He extended the hand and beckoned Xie Lian, “Give me your hand.”
Xie Lian didn’t know what it was for, but since Hua Cheng asked for his hand, he gave it
to him. Hua Cheng squeezed his hand and held it for a bit, smiling before he turned his
hand over and tossed two dice in his palm. “Try it now.”
He chanted mentally for sixes, and rolled the dice. Rattling to a stop, the dice indeed
revealed two red sixes.
“What trick is this?” Xie Lian asked curiously.
“No trick.” Hua Cheng replied, “I’d only just lent you some luck.”
“So luck is like spiritual power and can be borrowed.” Xie Lian said in wonder.
Hua Cheng laughed, “Of course. Next time if gege is going to make bets with anyone,
come see me. I’ll lend you as much luck as you want. I promise your opponent will
suffer a loss so great he won’t be able to return in a hundred years.”
The two played around for many rounds and Xie Lian confirmed for himself that it was
indeed so before he stopped to say he was tired. Hua Cheng got up immediately, had
someone take Lang Ying to settle, before personally escorting Xie Lian to the guest
Watching as his silhouette disappeared down the hall, Xie Lian closed the door, sat by
the table and used a hand to cover his forehead, supporting his lowered head. The
more thoughtful Hua Cheng was, the more guilty Xie Lian felt. ‘There is really nothing to
criticize about the way San Lang treats me. Hopefully this business has nothing to do
with him, and once the truth comes out I’ll explain everything and apologize.’ Xie Lian
He had only sat for a moment when he heard someone calling him from outside the
door with a small voice, “Your Highness… Your Highness…”
Recognizing the voice, Xie Lian immediately rose to open the door, and the person just
outside leapt in. It was indeed Shi Qing Xuan in her female form.
She was still in the ghost lady’s get up, a light silk dress, her waist wrapped tight and
dainty. The moment she leapt in, she rolled onto the ground in a heap and transformed
back to a man, hand on his chest: “I can’t breathe! I CAN’T BREATHE! My god, I’m
going to be choked to death by this thing!”
Xie Lian closed the door behind him and when he turned around what he saw was a full
grown man in a wicked purple silk dress, lying on the ground madly ripping at his chest
and waist bindings. Xie Lian couldn’t look and covered his eyes, “Lord Wind Master…
Lord Wind Master! Can you not just change back to your cultivation robes?”
“Am I dumb?” Shi Qing Xuan replied, “Walking around in the dark in a conspicuous
white robe, I’d be a target!”
‘But… in your current get up, on some level, you’re more of a target…’ Xie Lian thought.
Xie Lian crouched down next to him, “Lord Wind Master, how did you sneak in? Didn’t
we agree to meet three days after?”
“Well what was I to do?” Shi Qing Xuan replied, “I asked around on the streets and they
all said Your Highness was sent to the Paradise Manor, and isn’t Paradise Manor the
ghost king’s lair? Even the name of the place sounded bad. I watched from afar and
decided it was definitely an obscene and wanton place, so I was worried about you and
snuck in using all of my power. What an unlucky journey this has been! Either I get
dragged to facials by women and girls, or I had to swallow my honour to dress like this. I
have never, ever, made sacrifices this huge.”
‘Aren’t you rather enjoying yourself….’ Xie Lian thought. “Where’s His Highness Tai
Hua? If you left him waiting outside, what if he starts something?”
Shi Qing Xuan finally ripped out all the bindings, took a deep breath, and flattened on
the ground like a puddle. “Don’t worry. I pulled rank and commanded him to not move a
muscle, so there shouldn’t be any issues. But seriously, Your Highness, you’re so
“Huh?” Xie Lian gaped, “Me? Lucky?”
“Yea!” Shi Qing Xuan exclaimed, “Look how miserable Lang Qian Qiu and I are. We
either get hung with the threat of having our pants pulled, or we wander the streets like
stray dogs without a place to take us in. And here you are, eating well, sleeping well,
and there’s even a ghost king keeping you company!”
….By that comparison, they were indeed rather miserable. Shi Qing Xuan finally pulled
himself up from the floor. “So, Your Highness, do you still remember our objective for
coming to the Ghost City?”
Xie Lian returned to being serious and replied, “Of course I remember. Back at the
Paradise Hall I was preparing for our mission.”
Shi Qing Xuan looked at him in confusion, “Really? What exactly did you prepare at the
Paradise Hall? I only remember you playing around with Crimson Rain Sought Flower
rolling dice. You guys weren’t even playing properly; you feeling up his hands and him
feeling up yours. What kind of play was that?”
Xie Lian explained himself, “Lord Wind Master, please don’t make it sound so
questionable. We were only trying something out. I’ve found some clues here in the
Paradise Manor and was investigating. To keep going, I needed a little luck.”
Xie Lian raised his right hand, fingers closed tight as if having grabbed hold of
something, and knitted his brows. “I’ve gotten it.”
The two silently snuck out the door, and after two incense time, they successfully found
that small building once more.
Xie Lian approached the woman statue and took out the two dice given to him from
before. He paused and took a deep breath before tossing the dice. The two little objects
rattled before settling, and sure enough, there were two red sixes.
Xie Lian let out a breath of relief, but felt worse remembering that this luck was lent to
him earlier at the Paradise Hall by Hua Cheng. Seeing his remorseful expression, Shi
Qing Xuan patted his shoulders. “Since we’ve come this far, just let it go. But this
Crimson Rain Sought Flower really is quite sincere and treats you well. If I were you, I
would’ve declined this mission from Jun Wu no matter how he begs, lest I be a poor
Xie Lian shook his head. In the end, Shi Qing Xuan could only say such words because
he didn’t know Jun Wu very well. This whole business was certainly awkward for Xie
Lian, and Jun Wu had known it. From his understanding of Jun Wu’s character, under
the circumstances he would never have mentioned this, and would’ve appointed
another heavenly official to the mission. But even knowing this would be awkward for
Xie Lian, Jun Wu still requested for his assistance, which could only mean one thing:
Jun Wu had no one else who was better suited to take on this mission, and only asked
him out of necessity. If that was the case, Xie Lian had no choice.
Besides, the missing heavenly official set off the distress signal seven days ago, and
Hua Cheng also left seven days ago. This was a coincidence he couldn’t ignore.
Xie Lian sighed before taking back the dice and pushed the door. Behind the
glamourous gates was no longer the small simple chamber he’d seen before, but a dark
tunnel with a long stairway stretching into the abyss below, and a cold breeze blowing at
them from the blackness.
Xie Lian traded looks with Shi Qing Xuan and nodded. One behind the other, the two
entered the tunnel and entered the darkness. Shi Qing Xuan took the lead; he snapped
his fingers and ignited a palm torch, and lit up the steps under their feet. Xie Lian closed
the door gently and followed behind.
As they descended, Xie Lian inquired with Shi Qing Xuan, “Lord Wind Master, were
there any heavenly officials banished from the heavenly court in recent years? I mean
“There were.” Shi Qing Xuan replied, “Why do you ask?”
“Because I saw on the wrist of that XiaXuanYue Officer from the Ghost City a cursed
shackle. It could only come from the heavens, no?”
Shi Qing Xuan was surprised, “What? Cursed shackle? That Crimson Rain Sought
Flower is using a former heavenly official as his subordinate??? What arrogance???”
“It can’t be arrogance?” Xie Lian responded, “If one no longer belongs to the heavens,
then wherever one goes would be their choice. Originally there really was no need to
question his motives, but that officer’s been acting suspiciously. It’s worrisome, so I
wanted to see what Lord Wind Master’s thoughts are on his identity.”
Shi Qing Xuan gave it some thought and said, “There was indeed a Martial God of the
West who was banished a few years back, and it caused quite the stir at the time.”
Martial God of the West? Wasn’t that Quan Yi Zhen?
Shi Qing Xuan continued, “But, I don’t think that Highness would descend to the ghost
realm to be a ghost officer! He came from an established, traditional background and
his character wasn’t frivolous.”
If that was the case then why was he banished? Xie Lian was about to continue his
inquiry when the two came to flat ground after sixty or so stone steps.
Before them was a road about five to six people wide, going in only one direction that’s
shrouded in darkness, and the staircase right behind. On either side were thick, solid
walls, so there wasn’t any need to debate where to go; just go forward.
Only, after walking along the path for over two hundred steps, a cold stone wall
appeared before the two, blocking their path.
Ch.43: Borrowing the Underpath; Night Crawl in Paradise Manor 2
Shi Qing Xuan frowned, “The road’s cut off? No way.”
He held the palm torch in one hand, and used the other to feel around the stone wall,
looking for any signs of mechanics. He then casted a few spells for clearing
disillusionment to no avail; the wall remained immovable. There wasn’t more he could
do, “Maybe I’ll just punch a hole through it?”
“That would cause way too much commotion,” Xie Lian said, “The entire Paradise
Manor would be shaken.”
Shi Qing Xuan placed his hand flat on the stone wall and blasted a short burst of
spiritual energy, but dropped his hand after a moment, “Even if I punch it’d be useless.
This wall is probably over ten feet thick.”
Xie Lian saw with his own eyes that the masked youth had entered here, it’d be silly to
think he’d sneak around just to meditate and reflect in a dead end tunnel? There must
be some sort of mechanism involved, so the two continued to examine their
surroundings in greater detail. Soon, Xie Lian pointed, “Lord Wind Master, take a look at
the ground, there seems to be something.”
Shi Qing Xuan dropped his palm immediately and the two squatted around where Xie
Lian had pointed.
The ground of this tunnel was paved with innumerous squared bricks, and each brick
was about the size of a small door. The brick that they were standing on right in front of
the stone wall had a drawing upon it. It wasn’t a large picture, but it was of a little person
Shi Qing Xuan raised his head, “So does this mean it’s the same method as before, that
we’d have to toss the right number to open this stone wall?”
Xie Lian nodded slightly, “That looks to be the case, but I didn’t come in here with that
masked youth, so I don’t know what the right number is.”
“We’ve come this far,” Shi Qing Xuan said, “It’s not realistic to turn back just to find that
out. Let’s just throw a random number and see.”
Xie Lian agreed, “Lord Wind Master, why don’t you give it a go? I don’t know how long
my borrowed luck would last.”
Shi Qing Xuan didn’t decline. He picked up the dice and tossed them to the floor, “How
He rolled a “two” and a “five”. The two waited in silence but the stone wall didn’t move.
Xie Lian picked up the dice, “I guess that didn’t work.”
Shi Qing Xuan suddenly cried, “Your Highness, look under our feet! The picture’s
Hearing this, Xie Lian immediately looked down. Sure enough, the image on the square
brick beneath their feet had been a little person throwing dice, but as they watched, the
colours slowly faded and filled in once more, transforming into a different scene, looking
like a long, fat and thick black creepy crawler.
“What in the world is this?” Shi Qing Xuan wondered.
“An earthworm? A leech?” Xie Lian guessed. “That’s what it looks like. There’s plenty in
the paddy fields, so I’ve seen a lot.”
Shi Qing Xuan wondered some more, “What kind of life did you lead to see a lot of this
Before his words were finished, his entire person disappeared.
It wasn’t just him, Xie Lian himself disappeared too. Turns out, just as the words “what
in the world” were uttered, they both felt hollow beneath their feet at the same time, and
the next moment they started free-falling into another tunnel.
Turns out, that stone wall wasn’t a door after all, and was in all seriousness, a wall. The
square brick beneath their feet was the real door. After tossing the dice, the doors
opened suddenly and closed instantly. Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan free fell for only a
moment before landing heavily onto the ground.
It was a good thing that the ground was soft, otherwise the two would’ve cratered in
deep. They didn’t think the fall was painful and were just pulling themselves up when
their heads knocked into each other. They “ah”-ed and fell back to the ground. Xie Lain,
with one hand covering his forehead, was feeling about his surroundings with his other
hand but only made contact with the soft, wet, muddy ground.
There was no stone tiles. That stone wall was long gone.
When they fell earlier, the palm torch Shi Qing Xuan ignited had been extinguished.
Now that he had lit it up once more and brightened their surroundings, the two
discovered that they were in a mud tunnel.
The tunnel was round in shape with muddy walls, and didn’t appear to be man made.
Shi Qing Xuan rubbed his forehead, “What is this place? Did we get thrown here
because we tossed the wrong number?”
Xie Lian hummed and said, “It’s very possible. That stone door is gone, meaning we
have no chance of turning back. Let’s think of a way to escape first.”
The two talked it over and decided to keep following the tunnel path. The tunnel had
innumerous twists and turns, and if a full grown adult wanted to stand up straight in it
they’d have a hard time. They could only bend at the waist to walk, or crawl, moving
both slowly and tiresomely. The air in this tunnel was also warm and moist, the mud
clingy and annoying, each of their steps sinking and dragging, watery and gross.
Sometimes, they would even step into a rotten remains of plants or animals. Xie Lian’s
face never changed, but Shi Qing Xuan had goosebumps pop up all over. But the more
they traversed the more Xie Lian felt something was off. “Lord Wind Master, we better
move faster, otherwise…”
Just then, a loud, bizarre roaring sound came echoing.
The noise crashed in, the entire tunnel shook, and small blots of mud pitter pattered
down from the quaking. The two looked at each other, and without a word, they sped off
in the opposite direction of the noise.
Yet, that loud sound and the huge quaking shook the tunnel violently, and its speed
much faster than they, cutting in closer by the second. The two of them moved with
much difficulty, one step shallow and one step deep, crawling through the twisting tunnel
without end in sight, not even a ray of light. And not just that, but in the direction they’re
running towards also reverberated the same huge noise and quaking!
Both front and back were blocked, the two had to stop. Along with the crashing noises,
the sound of a heavy and gigantic body pushing through the mud whammed past, and
two humongous earthworms wiggled in, appearing before Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan.
The two worms were swollen and large, their bodies a bruising purple, their skin lightly
translucent. The body of the insects were segmented, no head, no tail, the fronts were
only a meat stump. If those weren’t worms then what were they?
The stone door opened and threw them into such monster’s nest!
Xie Lian raised an arm to guard before himself, RuoYe at the ready. Shi Qing Xuan
untucked his Wind Master fan from who knows where. Unfortunately in this narrow
tunnel it was impossible to start any gusts, and any blows would only recoil, making it
hard to make use of that spiritual device. Just then, Xie Lian recalled that worms were
afraid of light and heat, and he shouted, “Lord Wind Master, please let me some power,
and grow your palm light!”
Shi Qing Xuan followed his direction, and tapped Xie Lian with his left hand while the
flames in his right palm burst a few feet higher. Sure enough, the two giant worms felt
the heat and shrunk back, pulling away a few feet in distance. The two, using the
flames, continued on their path slowly, forcing the giant earthworms to keep a distance,
and prayed for an exit.
However, the tunnel was narrow, and soon enough, it wasn’t only the worms feeling the
heat from the flames, but Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan themselves were sweating
profusely, as if they were baking in an oven, miserable and wretched. And the more
horrifying thing was, Shi Qing Xuan couldn’t keep up burning his powers to keep the
flames alive, and the fire grew smaller and smaller. They also noticed that although the
giant earthworms were evading them, they weren’t as jittery.
After a few more steps, Xie Lian felt his breathing grow difficult and said, “Lord Wind
Master, the palm torch won’t last. The mud here may be moist and loose, but we’re still
deep underground. Soon the air will no longer pass, the fire will die, and we’re going to
Shi Qing Xuan gritted his teeth, “Then we can only use the Distance Shortening Array.”
Although neither of the two had a free hand to draw an array and the current
environment wasn’t exactly ideal, there was no other way. “Let me find somewhere flat.”
Xie Lian said.
Just then, he felt beneath his step a small plate that didn’t seem to be moist and spongy
but more so like a stone tile. Xie Lian’s mind moved and he immediately crouched down
to check. Just as he suspected – it was another stone door!
There was also another drawing of a little person tossing dice on this door. Shi Qing
Xuan also stepped onto the tile and was overjoyed, “Quick, quick, quick! Throw the dice
and open it!”
Xie Lian was just about to toss out the dice but suddenly thought, ‘But what if I roll out
worse outcomes and open a more horrifying place?’ Xie Lian passed the dice to Shi
Qing Xuan, “Here, you do it!”
Without a word, Shi Qing Xuan grabbed the dice and tossed. Rattle, rattle. This time it
was a ‘three’ and a ‘four’. Xie Lian picked up the dice readily and and the two stood
together over the tile. The palm torch on Shi Qing Xuan’s hand became smaller by
another inch, and the two giant worms were squirming and twisting, struggling to
approach. Xie Lian watched the drawing on the tile closely as it slowly dissolved into
another picture. It was of a forest and a number of weirdly dressed little people were
dancing in circles around another.
Just then, the worms wouldn’t hold back anymore, and rushed towards them with a
small mouth on the head opening, dragging their heavy bodies.
Thankfully, just as the worms were only mere feet away from them, the stone door
This time, the two fell into another narrow hole, but the ground was hard, cramped, and
dry. The fall was painful and the two tumbled and knocked into each other. Xie Lian was
used to pain so he didn’t make a sound, but Shi Qing Xuan yelled in pain. Xie Lian’s
ears were hurt by the loud screaming. Worried something might have happened, he
called out, “Lord Wind Master, are you ok?”
Shi Qing Xuan’s head was at the bottom and his legs up, “I don’t know if I’m ok. I’ve
never fallen like this before. Your Highness, there’s way too much thrill working with
Hearing this Xie Lian couldn’t help but let out a small laugh, and realized the two of
them fell into a hole in a tree.
He crawled out of the hole with great difficulty and extended a helping hand to Shi Qing
Xuan, “Thanks for all your hard work.”
“You’re welcome.” Shi Qing Xuan replied.
He pulled on Xie Lian’s hand and climbed out of the hole, muddy and disheveled, his
silk dress robe ripped and rumpled. When he got out he put a hand over his brows to
block out the sharp brightness of the sun. “Where’s this?”
“As you see, a forest in the deep mountains.” Xie Lian replied. He looked around him
and said, “I think these stone doors are a spiritual device that have the same function as
the Distance Shortening Array. Different numbers tossed will take us to different places.
I wonder if we tossed any right numbers.”
Shi Qing Xuan crossed his two now uncovered arms and pondered seriously, “Using the
Distance Shortening Array just once requires an immense amount of spiritual power. To
create these stone doors to prevent others from snooping around, that Crimson Rain
Sought Flower is indeed powerful and no stranger to mind games.”
Although his expression was solemn, with bare arms and such an unkempt disposition,
he didn’t look serious at all and rather hilarious. Xie Lian held back his laugh with great
difficulty and thought about the way Hua Cheng would lift his lips and shook his head.
‘Rather than mind games, it’s more… that he’s mischievious.’ Xie Lian thought.
The two only just gotten out of the hole in the tree, and not even a few steps after a
number of red skinned naked people suddenly poured out from the nearby bushes and
surrounded them. They started jumping, howling as they did so,
The two were shocked, and Shi Qing Xuan cried, “What is this now?!”
Xie Lian raised his hand, “Don’t panic, don’t panic!”
He steadied himself to look at those savages, and they weren’t truly naked, but were
wearing animal skins and leaves, looking like they were ready to drink blood. They had
long branch spears and sharp stoned axes in hand, and when they smiled at the two,
their teeth were jaggedly sharp like saws.
The two ran without saying a word.
Shi Qing Xuan shouted as he ran, “My brother used to always tell me! That deep in the
southern mountains are many savage cannibals that live off of human flesh! He told me
not to ever come to such a place on my own! Is that what those are?!”
Xie Lian was practiced in the art of escape so his entire demeanour and manner were
much more serene than Shi Qing Xuan. He replied calmly, “Hm. That’s very possible!
Either way let’s find the door first! Let’s see if there are any more stone doors nearby!”
Those savages ran after them screaming and howling tirelessly. Originally, Xie Lian and
Shi Qing Xuan could only escape and not fight back because there were heavenly laws
that dictated that should gods ever descend to the mortal realm, they shalt not use their
powers to oppress. This law was to prevent heavenly officials from bullying mortals and
create disasters borne of power. But the cannibals unceasingly threw sharp rocks and
branches at them, and one such branch scraped Shi Qing Xuan’s cheek.
This was absolutely unacceptable. Shi Qing Xuan felt his face and there was the lightest
of a bloody scratch, and saw red.
He roared and came to a sudden stop. Turning around, he shouted, “YOU IGNORANT
HILLBILLY SAVAGES! NOT ONLY DID YOU NOT COWER IN FEAR BEFORE ME,
THE LORD WIND MASTER, YOU DARE RUIN MY FACE!! UNBELIEVABLE!!!”
After his cries, he pulled out his wind master fan, flashing it open with a powerful
whoosh and swun with force. The savages were blown off the ground and smashed into
nearby trees, howling as they hung off the branches. The two could finally stop running,
and took in deep breaths trying to calm their heartbeat. That thought came to Xie Lian
again, it’s hard being a god… in the three realms, no one had it easier…
Shi Qing Xuan huffed and turned to Xie Lian, “Your Highness, you saw it, right? They
were asking for it! I wasn’t using my powers to oppress.”
“I saw, yes.” Xie Lian said.
Shi Qing Xuan felt his face again and mumbled under his breath, “Even my brother
wouldn’t dare…” He turned around again, “Let’s go find that stone door.”
Xie Lian nodded silently and watched Shi Qing Xuan fixed his clothes and hair, looking
carefree once more. Unfortunately he was dressed in a bedraggled purple silk dress, so
his air of carefree had a flavour of queer; it was an unforgettable sight. Xie Lian couldn’t
help but lament. Thinking back on when they first met at the BanYue Pass, the Lord
Wind Master was such a scintillating figure, so much so that Xie Lian had thought him a
powerful being with immeasurable depth; if not of a supreme demonic cultivator, then a
supreme saint. Now that they’re close, he understood everything was but an illusion…
The two walked around in circles in the forest and finally found a set of stone doors next
to a different tree hole. This time, Shi Qing Xuan refused to toss the dice and shook his
head. “I don’t know what’s going on, but even though my luck isn’t the best every time,
it’s also not the worst every time. Lady Fortune doesn’t seem to be with me today; twice
I tossed and the first time was that earthworm tunnel, and the second time a cannibal
playground. Who knows what’s next.”
Xie Lian cleared his throat softly and guiltily replied, “Maybe it’s because I’m with you so
I brought your luck down with me.”
“What are you saying!” Shi Qing Xuan exclaimed, “It’s impossible for anyone to bring
down the luck of I, the Lord Wind Master! But why don’t you give it a go? Maybe there’s
still some of the luck you borrowed from your San Lang left.”
Xie Lian didn’t know why, but he felt a little embarrassed when he heard “your San
Lang”. He wanted to explain, but at the same time, what’s there to explain? If he must
explain then it’d be a little weird, so in the end, he didn’t say anything. He felt the dice in
his hands and tossed them out lightly.
Xie Lian held his breath as he watched the drawings on the stone door transform, and
mentally prepared himself to face whatever came next. But this time, the picture didn’t
change and the stone door creaked open.
Behind the door was another long stairway that descended into darkness, blowing cold
The two looked at each other, both thinking, ‘Did we circle back to the beginning after
going through all that?’
Even if it was back at the beginning, it was still better than bizarre dangers; they’ve had
enough. Thus, the two decided to descend. The moment they entered through, the door
closed behind them, and when they reached out to push, the door had become a stone
“Looks like our only way is downwards.” Xie Lian said.
“Ugh, alright.” Shi Qing Xuan sighed, “Give me a break and we’ll continue to play that
hateful Crimson Rain Sought Flower’s game!”
The two once again descended down the long and rectangular stony path. After two
hundred steps or so, Xie Lian realized something. “Good news, Lord Wind Master. This
isn’t the same path we took the first time, even though they’re similar.”
Shi Qing Xuan noticed it too, “You’re right. The first time we reached the stone wall after
two hundred some steps, but not this time.”
Xie Lian said softly, “Looks like this time we’re on the right path.”
Just as he finished his words the two came to a stop.
Not far before them in the darkness wafted the stench of blood. Accompanying the
smell was the heavy breathing of a man.
The two didn’t move a muscle and said no words. No light, no flames, yet the other had
already sensed their presence, because right after they stopped, a cold voice rang out.
“I have nothing to say.” The deep voice of a man said.
Hearing that voice, Shi Qing Xuan immediately ignited a palm torch.
Ch.44: Paradise to Ashes; The Second Coming of Fang Xin
Xie Lian didn’t think Shi Qing Xuan would suddenly light a fire and didn’t even have the
time to stop him before it was too late. The flames were exceedingly bright and revealed
the silhouette of a black clad man.
The man in black had his head hung low against the stone wall at the end of the path,
his face as white as a sheet, his hair a mess; but underneath that unkemptness was a
pair of eyes that shone with determination, like burning ice. Although he sat cross
legged without a trace of discomfort, the stench of thick blood in the air indicated he was
gravely wounded, and was obviously imprisoned here. His “I have nothing to say” was
probably him mistaking them for interrogators.
Shi Qing Xuan saw his face and cried, “It’s you!”
That man didn’t seem to expect other people either and was taken aback, looking like
he wanted to say “its you!” too, but alas, held back. Xie Lian calmed the RuoYe that was
ready to attack. “So you two know each other?”
After crossing so many hurdles and found someone, Shi Qing Xuan looked relieved and
was about to respond when that man cut in and said in an indisputable tone, “I don’t
Shi Qing Xuan raged at those words and pointed at him with his fan, “Is it so shameful
to know me? What hurtful words, Ming-Xiong*! I’m your best friend!”
The man denied it resolutely, “I have no friends that would run around in that sort of
Shi Qing Xuan was still in his ragged purple silk dress, truly… a shameful sight. Xie Lian
wanted to laugh and thought there’s really people in this world who would use
‘someone’s best friend’ to validate themselves; it’s definitely Shi Qing Xuan’s style. But
“Ming-Xiong”? If he remembers correctly, of the five elemental masters, the Earth
Master’s name was Ming Yi. Xie Lian spoke up, “Are you perhaps the Lord Earth
“It’s him. You’ve met before.” Shi Qing Xuan replied.
Xie Lian looked Ming Yi over and said, “Have we?” He didn’t recall ever meeting such a
“You have.” Shi Qing Xuan said.
“We haven’t.” Ming Yi stated.
“Yea, you have!” Shi Qing Xuan said exasperatedly, “Last time at the BanYue Pass! You
guys didn’t forget that fast, did you?”
Seeing Ming Yi’s face go from pale white to grim, Xie Lian finally remembered! Last time
when they met at the BanYue Pass, wasn’t there a black clad lady next to Shi Qing
Hua Cheng already told him at the time that that wasn’t the Water Master, but must also
be one of the five elemental masters. As expected, Shi Qing Xuan was not only
passionate about transforming into his female form, he’s also passionate about
dragging others into doing the same. No wonder the black clad lady at the time looked
extremely pissed and disgusted. Thinking back on how Shi Qing Xuan begged him to
“join in the fun”, Xie Lian sighed thinking that was close, and was glad he didn’t relent.
“Lord Earth Master, was the Ascending Fire Dragon set forth by you?” Xie Lian asked.
“It was.” Ming Yi answered.
They found the right person. Xie Lian nodded and said, “The Lord Earth Master is
probably heavily wounded. We best make our escape now and talk later.”
Without any prompt, Shi Qing Xuan knelt down and carried Ming Yi on his back, “Then
let’s get out of here.”
The three retraced their steps and Shi Qing Xuan talked as he walked, “I say,
Ming-Xiong, aren’t you good at fighting? You were perfectly fine back at the BanYue
Pass, so how did you get beat up this bad in just several days? How did you piss off
that Crimson Rain Sought Flower?”
His tone was a teasing taunt and Xie Lian mentally noted, ‘Fearless of getting punched
in the face, that’s definitely the way to talk to a good friend.’ Ming Yi looked like he’s had
enough of listening to Shi Qing Xuan talk and only said, “Shut up!”
Xie Lian also wanted to know the answer to the same question but changed his
wording, “Lord Earth Master, why would Hua Cheng want to provoke you?”
Ming Yi didn’t tell him to shut up but didn’t answer either. Xie Lian turned his head
slightly to look at him and saw he had his eyes closed. After having been imprisoned
and interrogated for days and heavily wounded, Ming Yi must’ve finally let down his
guard after being rescued and could relax at last. It wasn’t anything urgent anyway, so
Xie Lian didn’t try to wake him. The three ran up the stairs and Xie Lian threw out his
dice at the top. He didn’t know what number he tossed out in the dark, only that before
them came a soft creaking sound, and a crack of light appeared. Xie Lian pushed at the
door and was just thinking whether if he’d have the chance to take Lang Ying away too
when he realized the first step his took was hollow.
The moment he felt himself fall forward he cried, “Don’t come out!”
Xie Lian flipped in the air and fell on something hard. He was just feeling relieved that it
wasn’t some bladed mountain or a sea of fire he fell into when he raised his head and
realized a bladed mountain or a sea of fire might’ve been a better alternative. Hua
Cheng’s exceptionally handsome face was inches away from his, his brows raised,
looking at him.
This time when the stone door opened, his hollowed step made him fall on top of Hua
The place of his fall was the armoury! Hua Cheng was seated on the throne of the
armoury, composedly wiping the scimitar E-Ming. Even when someone suddenly fell on
top of him from above he’d only moved his hands away and stopped the cleaning
without any air of surprise. He calmly looked at Xie Lian, as if waiting for an explanation.
Of course Xie Lian had none, and could only lay in his lap and stare back boldly.
Suddenly, he saw another person at the peripheral of his vision, and when he turned
around, he saw it was Lang Ying.
That bandaged boy was sitting on the floor looking frightened, his hands grabbing his
head, staring at the two of them. Why was Lang Ying here too? It looked as if Hua
Cheng was interrogating him? And when Xie Lian’s eyes moved upwards, he saw half
of Shi Qing Xuan’s white boot stepping out. There wasn’t time to think, and in a hurry,
Xie Lian gripped Hua Cheng’s shoulders.
“I’m sorry!” Xie Lian cried, then pushed Hua Cheng aside.
This push threw Hua Cheng over a meter away and he even tumbled a couple times.
After tumbling, Hua Cheng immediately stood and steadied himself, and by then Shi
Qing Xuan, carrying Ming Yi, already jumped and landed with ease the same spot Hua
Cheng was just sitting. Xie Lian forced himself to look back, and Hua Cheng was still
looking at him without a word, but his brows were raised higher.
Xie Lian leapt to his feet and backed off a few feet, apologizing as he did so, “I’m sorry!
Lang Ying ran towards Xie Lian while watching Hua Cheng, still appearing quite afraid,
and hid behind him. Xie Lian shielded him and said, “San Lang, allow me to explain.”
“I’m waiting.” Hua Cheng responded.
“Wait, isn’t it the opposite?” Shi Qing Xuan spoke up, “He should be the one who owes
you an explanation! He’s the one responsible for the missing heavenly official; be wary,
This was exactly the situation Xie Lian didn’t want to face. He looked at Hua Cheng
intently, “San Lang, I don’t know what the misunderstanding was between you and the
Lord Earth Master, but let’s all calm down and talk this out.”
The best case scenario would be Hua Cheng letting them go without harm. Although the
Earth Master was wounded, his life was not at stake and he wasn’t missing any limbs. If
he could drop it, then all of this wouldn’t have to devolve to the worst extreme case. If
Hua Cheng let them leave and they report back to the heavens, then they’d be in his
debt and Xie Lian could use it as a chance to ask Jun Wu to dismiss the whole thing.
However, Hua Cheng said instead, “Earth Master? What Earth Master?”
After a pause, he continued, “Oh, did you mean the one the Wind Master is carrying?
He’s nothing more than an inept subordinate of mine.”
Hearing this, both Xie Lian and Shi Qing Xuan were taken aback. “He’s obviously one of
the heavenly officials, how dare you say otherwise!” Shi Qing Xuan said.
Hua Cheng laughed, “Then, I wonder why your honourable heavenly official would hide
his identity, drop his respectable title and come work as an officer under me?”
Hua Cheng drew out E-Ming in a flash of crescent moon, “If that is truly the Earth
Master, then what patience to put on an act for ten years. In the past ten years I had
thought him suspicious from time to time, but there was no proof. If it wasn’t for bumping
into him and the Wind Master at BanYue, I’d still be in the clouds.”
In that moment Xie Lian understood everything.
So that’s what happened!
The Earth Master went missing and was imprisoned ultimately was because he had
hidden his true identity ten years ago to go undercover as a ghost officer under Hua
Cheng. In other words, he was a spy. Hua Cheng had thought his actions surreptitious,
but without concrete evidence, he’d only kept him under his watch. And it was only
recently that Hua Cheng finally uncovered his identity as the Earth Master.
During that journey to the BanYue Pass, Hua Cheng had seen the Earth Master next to
the Wind Master.
Even under the disguise of a woman (thanks to the Wind Master), Hua Cheng still saw
beneath that fake skin, and discovered that black clad lady was the ghost officer he
suspected, and locked his identity on as one of the five elemental masters.
After the whole ordeal at BanYue had concluded, Hua Cheng probably left PuQi Shrine
to go conclude things with the Earth Master. It may have been during Hua Cheng’s
pursuit to kill, whilst under dire circumstances, that Ming Yi set off the distress signal.
Then, Jun Wu summoned Xie Lian and gave him the mission to run this rescue.
That a heavenly official did not mind his duties but went undercover in the ghost realm
for over a decade was quite the scandal. Nevermind the politics behind it; if Ming Yi was
to remain imprisoned and tortured, if he was to actually die under Hua Cheng’s hands,
then all heaven would break loose; it would be absolute chaos in the world. If that day
were to come, no one would be spared. After thinking all this through, Xie Lian could
only say, “I understand that the fault is ours. But, San Lang, I hope you will let us go this
Hua Cheng watched him intently, and after a moment, said in a calm tone, “Your
Highness, some things are best not to be involved in too much.”
Suddenly, Shi Qing Xuan cried from the side, “Wind: come to me!”
The moment the fan came out, wild gusts started blowing through the armoury. The
many weapons hung on the walls and on the shelves started rattling. “Lord Wind
Master! We haven’t done anything yet??” Xie Lian said, alarmed.
“I don’t think either of you are going to make a move first,” Shi Qing Xuan said, “So I’ll
be the bad guy this time. WIND! WIIINNNNNDDD COME TO ME!!!”
There was a huge cracking sound, and Xie Lian could feel layers of dust falling on his
head from above. He raised his head and saw that it was the roof that was being raised
by the gusts, breaking at the seams into a large crack.
The armoury had no windows or other visible exits, and Shi Qing Xuan had no intention
to fight but to escape through the crack of the roof!
Within the mad gales, Hua Cheng’s raven black hair and maple red clothes flew wildly
with the winds, but his person never moved, He smirked, “You have a fan, and
coincidentally, so do I.”
From one of the many shelves, Hua Cheng retrieved a fan. It was small and intricate, its
spine and leaf made of pure gold, serene and beautiful. Hua Cheng twirled it in his
hand, snapping it open. He grinned wordlessly, elegant amidst his murderous aura. He
flipped his hand and fanned, and a strong gust shot towards them with a blinding silver
flash. The three dodged and heard behind them the sound of hail like darts smashing
against the walls and ground. When they turned their heads to see, it was long rows
upon rows of golden foils nailed to the ground. Each foil thin but deeply embedded, its
sharpness apparent and vicious.
Each weapon within this armoury was a treasure to behold; a simple hand could have
such murderous effect!
Hua Cheng flipped his hand again and another golden gust blew. The winds called forth
by Shi Qing Xuan were strong, but the stronger it was, the more dangerous the situation
became. The armoury was a mere chamber, its space limited. A portion of the winds
raised by the Wind Master fan would rebound around the interior, hauling the golden
foils along, dancing in this madness. Xie Lian was afraid the golden foils would harm
people, so he shielded Lang Ying and cried, “Lord Wind Master, please stop for now!”
The golden foils had continuously brushed closely against Shi Qing Xuan and Ming Yi.
Shi Qing Xuan wanted to stop too, however the roof had been raised by his winds,
revealing a crack, and if he should stop now all of his efforts would go to waste. Just
then the golden foils encircling them suddenly flew upwards uniformly. There was a
cacophony of crackling before a person broke through the roof and jumped through the
crack, debris and dust coming down with him.
The moment he landed that person shouted, “Lord Wind Master, I apologize but I just
couldn’t sit still anymore!”
Shi Qing Xuan was overjoyed, “Qian Qiu you’ve come in the nick of time!”
That young man carried a longsword, its blade the size of a grown man’s palm – it was
indeed Lang Qian Qiu. His longsword was a shimmering gold, but looking at it closely, it
wasn’t because his sword was golden, but because it sucked up all the golden foils,
covering the blade completely, making it look as if it was a golden sword.
Lang Qian Qiu’s longsword was forged by a curious metal borne of a lodestone
mountain and had the ability to magnetize metals. As long as the object of suction did
not exceed a certain level of spiritual power, once he had the sword in hand, he could
mentally release its ability and magnetize all surrounding metals, melting it into his
blade. Sure enough, soon the innumerous golden foils were all sucked into the sword
and dissolved into the blade. Seeing this, Hua Cheng laughed out loud, closed his fan
and threw it away behind him. “Are the heavenly officials so pathetically poor that they
couldn’t let a teeny bit of gold go?”
If those words were directed at Xie Lian he would only pretend not to have heard them.
But they were directed at Lang Qian Qiu, a noble born of royalty. He hadn’t cared for
riches his entire life, and although he knew the enemy was intentionally taunting him, he
was still boiling with rage. He raised his sword with both his hands and struck towards
Hua Cheng. Hua Cheng drew out his scimitar with one hand, generating silver
shimmers in the air, calmly ready to welcome the attack.
Lang Qian Qiu’s strike used all of his power. He was born a charging bull fearless of
tigers, but Xie Lian had clearly seen the difference between their strengths, and if this
strike was to land, he will die for sure!
On the sidelines, even Shi Qing Xuan who was no swordsman watched with alarm and
yelled, “Qian Qiu! Don’t!!!”
But in that split second, how could a shout stop the arrow that’s left the bow?
Just as the blades of a sword and a scimitar was about to make contact, a blinding
white light blew up within the armoury.
It was a light so immense it covered every inch of the armoury, and everyone lost their
sight temporarily. All they could see was white. Xie Lian, however, was prepared, and
could somewhat see. His right hand gathered all of the powers he borrowed from Shi
Qing Xuan and created a giant flame and blazed it towards a random direction.
A corner of the armoury immediately caught on fire. Soon after, Xie Lian released
RuoYe, wrapped himself, Shi Qing Xuan, Ming Yi, Lang Qian Qiu, and Lang Ying, and
shouted, “Lord Wind Master, blow us upwards!”
Even though Shi Qing Xuan couldn’t open his eyes, he still followed Xie Lian’s direction.
He raised his fan and snapped downwards, and a violent twister formed from flat
ground, blowing towards the ceiling and at last broke through the shaky roof!
RuoYe had the five of them in a bundle and flew towards the sky. In midair, sight finally
returned to many of them, and Shi Qing Xuan could see down below them giant flames
ablaze, black smoke heavy in the air; the armoury was burning. He was afraid Hua
Cheng would give chase and flapped his fan. Now it really became ‘fanning the flame’;
the blaze instantly erupted in size, and kindles landed on all the nearby buildings. Now
over half of Paradise Manor was ablaze!
With great difficulty, Xie Lian finally grabbed hold of the Shi Qing Xuan who was fanning
with all his might. “Lord Wind Master, please stop fanning! The whole place is going to
Startled, Shi Qing Xuan cried, “Alright, alright I’m stopping! Let me go, Your Highness,
your grip is too strong!”
It wasn’t until the Wind Master stopped his winds that Xie Lian let go. He looked down
and amidst the red flames, Xie Lian was still able to spot a crimson silhouette. They
were too high in the sky and he couldn’t see clearly, but his gut instinct told him that in
that moment in time, Hua Cheng was standing there watching him.
He didn’t give chase and didn’t put out the flames. He only stood there, letting the
wildfires devour capriciously.
Outside the Paradise Manor, screams and howling roared from all over the Ghost City
streets, and crowds of ghosts ran amok. Xie Lian couldn’t breathe, and his voice
cracked, mumbling to himself, “I… only wanted to start a small fire to create a
distraction, how did it turn out like this…”
It was only earlier that Hua Cheng had leaned against the doors of that armoury, half
jokingly telling him he wanted to gift him the entire armoury with every weapon inside,
but now everything was engulfed in a sea of fire. Although there may be many golden
devices that were unafraid of intense heat, there were surely also many that could not
touch flames. After all this burning, many treasures would become ashes. Xie Lian had
not expected the flames to grow so violently, devouring the entire Paradise Manor.
Even if Hua Cheng didn’t consider it a ‘home’, it was still his residence!
Seeing how crushed Xie Lian was, Shi Qing Xuan also felt bad, “Um… I’m really sorry,
Your Highness! I didn’t think things through and only wanted to escape faster. This is all
my fault! It was most definitely only a small flame at first… if the Crimson Rain Sought
Flower comes knocking for paybacks you just tell him to come to me! Don’t worry I can
pay whatever amount! Money is never an issue!”
But money was definitely not the issue. Xie Lian closed his eyes and couldn’t speak. Shi
Qing Xuan patted his shoulder in consolation but suddenly felt wetness in his palm and
a strange, stark smell of blood. He turned his head to see and his face lost colour, “Your
Highness, what happened to your hand!”
Xie Lian’s right hand was covered in blood. His entire right arm was thoroughly dyed
with blood, and the trembling was not slight. Yet both his hands still sternly held onto
that white silk band to keep everyone from getting blown apart by the wild winds.
“What’s going on with you?!” Shi Qing Xuan cried.
Xie Lian blinked back and strained to steady himself before shaking his head, “It’s
nothing… just a small injury. It’ll get better once we get back.”
“That white light was you?” Shi Qing Xuan remembered. “Your Highness, you broke
those two off?”
“I’m a swordsman after all.” Xie Lian replied.
Shi Qing Xuan had guessed right. Right then when the blades of Hua Cheng and Lang
Qian Qiu were about to make contact, Xie Lian flashed in.
He picked up a sword from the pile of weapons on the shelves and made two moves
between the sword and the scimitar.
The first move, he knocked back Lang Qian Qiu’s longsword. The second move, he
blocked the scimitar E-Ming.
The strength of those two moves were not only powerful, but extremely well controlled.
Even when Xie Lian blocked both blades, the force of the strikes were not rebounded
onto the attackers.
Because, with Xie Lian sandwiched in the middle, he used his sword and his own arm to
absorb both attacks completely.
Lang Qian Qiu’s longsword was manageable, but Hua Cheng’s scimitar was a force to
be reckoned with. The sword Xie Lian used was one from Hua Cheng’s collection, so
naturally it was also a formidable blade. When the two blades met it blasted that
blinding white light. With the two moves, the first strike against Lang Qian Qiu’s
longsword created a crack, and the second strike against the scimitar E-Ming shattered
the sword to pieces.
All of this was done within a fraction of a second, faster than the eye could see. Shi
Qing Xuan looked at the miserable state of Xie Lian’s right hand, the whole right arm a
bloody mess and commented, “Your Highness… you’re way too intense. I can’t believe
you blocked them single-handedly!”
The Flower-Crowned Martial God; Sword in One Hand, Flower in the Other. Shi Qing
Xuan only remembered the flower, but had forgotten. Xie Lian ascended because of his
Thinking back on how close of a call it was, Shi Qing Xuan’s heart was still racing.
“Thank goodness Your Highness had the moves, otherwise who knows how many
pieces Lang Qian Qiu would be cut by Hua Cheng.”
The strange thing was, next to them Lang Qian Qiu appeared to be unharmed, but his
expression was frozen, like his soul had left his body. “Qian Qiu?” Shi Qing Xuan called,
“Qian Qiu are you alright? Wake up! What’s with you? Have your sight not returned
Riding on tailwind, the group of them finally reached the heavenly capital. Dragging and
carrying, they rushed past the Ascension Gates and ran straight for the Great Martial
Hall. Lang Ying couldn’t enter the hall, so Xie Lian settled him in a small side chamber.
No one seemed to be on duty, so he called within the communication array: “Is any
honourable official here? Please everyone, come quickly to the Great Martial Hall! It’s
an emergency, we have a wounded official!”
As he shouted, next to him Shi Qing Xuan snapped his fingers and switched back to his
white cultivator robe, and released a hundred thousand merits. “It’s two wounded
Xie Lian said hurriedly, “Lord Wind Master don’t be so excited. We can just talk, there’s
no need to release any merits. Everyone will naturally come.”
“No, Your Highness,” Shi Qing Xuan said, “You have to know, spreading merits works
faster than talking by a hundred times!”
Soon enough, a voice came from afar, “Who’s wounded?”
When the word “who” was uttered, the voice was still far away, but by the last word the
person had appeared, and it was Feng Xin. He entered the hall and looked at Xie Lian,
then at Lang Qian Qiu, his face faltering.
“I’m fine, but the Lord Earth Master seemed to be heavily wounded.” Xie Lian said.
“So what?” Another voice came, “There’s so many heavenly officials. Whoever returned
unscathed after each round of patrol?”
The voice was decorous and mellow, but the words sharp. It was Mu Qing. He crossed
into the Great Hall and also took a look at Xie Lian then at Lang Qian Qiu. Yet his
expression was the opposite of Feng Xin, having only raised a brow, as if ready to
spectate a good show. He saw that Feng Xing moved to check on Xie Lian’s arm so he
bent to check on Ming Yi and said, “So this is the Lord Earth Master?”
During that exchange, a number of heavenly officials poured into the hall. The Earth
Master Yi had always been inconspicuous and out of sight, so for many it was the first
time they had ever seen his person, and they cluttered around staring at him curiously.
The masses were mostly confused, not knowing the reason they were called to the
Great Martial Hall, but having collected the Wind Master’s merits, they had to come and
check things out.
“Thanks, but I’m alright. It’ll get better by itself after a while.” Xie Lian said to Feng Xin.
Feng Xin didn’t mince words either, “Watch yourself.”
Xie Lian uttered another thanks softly, but when he turned around, Lang Qian Qiu was
watching him with a frozen expression. “Your Highness Tai Hua, what’s wrong?” he
Feng Xin also noticed something off about Lang Qian Qiu and questioned, “Was His
Highness Tai Hua also injured somewhere?”
“I don’t think so. Let me see.” Xie Lian said and extended his hand, reaching for Lang
Qian Qiu’s brow. Yet, in a flash, Lang Qian Qiu seized Xie Lian’s wrist.
There was hesitation on Lang Qian Qiu’s face, as if he discovered something but wasn’t
sure, but a fire had started burning within his eyes. Xie Lian felt a wave of rage
trembling from Lang Qian Qiu’s arm to his.
Now all the spectating officials had noticed this strange situation and started whispering
amongst themselves. Shi Qing Xuan and Mu Qing both started to rise and Feng Xin
spoke, “Your Highness Tai Hua, what are you doing?”
Lang Qian Qiu finally moved his lips. He only said two words but Xie Lian’s heart sank
to the very bottom.
“…Guoshi?” Lang Qian Qiu gritted his teeth.
Xie Lian’s pupil shrank slightly.
The onlooking officials half guessed half confused, muttering, “What Guoshi? Who’s the
Guoshi?” Some were more astute and figured it out.
Lang Qian Qiu was the Crown Prince of YongAn, and the Guoshi of YongAn during his
time was the second of the Two Wicked Masters: The Guoshi Fang Xin. No one knew of
his origin or his real identity. Yet here, Lang Qian Qiu had Xie Lian in his grip and called
him “Guoshi”, meaning… Xie Lian was the evil that brought ruin to YongAn – the Guoshi
However, Xie Lian was the Crown Prince of XianLe. The kingdom of XianLe had fallen
in the hands of the kingdom of YongAn, so why would he go and become the Guoshi of
The Prince Tai Hua was renown for his optimism and cheerfulness, never having played
mind games nor made things difficult for anyone, and he had never exhibited such an
expression; half despair half rage, half enmity half hatred.
Lang Qian Qiu had Xie Lian in a deadly grip, his breathing becoming harsher, and finally
said in a strained voice, “You… I killed you with my own two hands. Sealed you in that
coffin. You… Guoshi, you certainly are a crafty one!”
Heavens. It looked like something big was about to go down today.
●‘Xiong’ is a more formal way to say ‘older brother’ than ‘gege’, but also used
informally between male friends meaning ‘bro’.
Ch.45: The Black-Hearted Guoshi; Gilded Banquet Awash in Blood
Feng Xin was the closest to the two, and he looked at Xie Lian with an unconcealed
shock. Mu Qing on the other hand had glowing eyes, the schooled shock had a hidden
layer of excitement. Shi Qing Xuan let go of Ming Yi and said, “Qian Qiu did you
misunderstand something? If His Highness was that Guoshi Fang Xin, how would you
not recognize him until now?”
Another voice rang out the sidelines, “Qing Xuan, you don’t know? Legends say the
Guoshi Fang Xin was proud, mysterious, and cold. He’d always worn a white gold
mask, having never shown his real face to anyone. His Highness Tai Hua must’ve never
known his true identity.”
The one who spoke had his arms crossed and stood far on the sidelines. It was Pei
Ming. Just seeing his face made Shi Qing Xuan annoyed, and he swung his whisk, “If
that’s the case, then no one had seen what the Guoshi Fang Xin looked like. Why must
General Pei make it sound like it’s a sure thing that His Highness XianLe is the Guoshi
When in action, Shi Qing Xuan and Xie Lian were ridiculous and hilarious, but once in
the heavenly court, they changed their composure, calm and poised, mindful of their
behaviour. Just then, a snow white silhouette appeared from the back chambers.
The moment he arrived everyone calmed down. The chattering officials all stood in their
place, silencing their gossip, and bowed, “Your Majesty.”
Jun Wu raised his hand slightly and everyone straightened once more. He walked
willfully, and as he passed by Xie Lian, he tapped on his right shoulder. The sleeve that
was still dripping with fresh blood ceased immediately after the tap.
After taking a moment to look over Ming Yi, Jun Wu stated, “It’s nothing serious. Settle
the Earth Master in.”
Thus, four famous medicinal heavenly officials came over to lift Ming Yi up and took him
away. Shi Qing Xuan looked as if he wanted to follow, but seeing the current tension in
the Great Martial Hall, he couldn’t not worry and decided not to go after all.
With his hands behind his back, Jun Wu returned to the throne before speaking again,
“So tell me. What’s happened now? Why won’t Tai Hua let XianLe go, and why is
XianLe bowing his head?”
Lang Qian Qiu glanced at Xie Lian, seeing that he was still silent, as they were
surrounded by heavenly officials, there was no need to fear his escape, so Lang Qian
Qiu released his hand and turned to Jun Wu in a bow, “My Lord, many hundreds of
years ago, this man altered his name to Fang Xin, slaughtered my clan, and brought
ruin to my kingdom. I request for a duel, and pray the lord will be our judge!”
Within the Great Martial Hall, even ones who had never heard of the name Fang Xin ran
to research the name within the communication array. What was uncovered was an
astonishing tale. Good thing Ling Wen was present to answer everyone’s query: “The
Guoshi Fang Xin was the saviour and teacher to the Crown Prince of YongAn, Lang
Qian Qiu. He was named one of the Two Wicked Masters because of the infamous
bloodbath that washed the Gilded Banquet of the YongAn monarchy.”
“What was the Gilded Banquet?” Shi Qing Xuan asked.
“Lord Wind Master,” Ling Wen replied, “This Gilded Banquet was first a tradition passed
down from the nobilities of XianLe, and called thus because every cutlery, utensils,
cups, and instruments were of the highest grade of gold, exquisite and luxurious.”
After the kingdom of YongAn was established, at the beginning they announced to the
world they would not follow the culture of excess from the old kingdom, and put all their
focus on their peoples. Yet, after a few decades, the old ways were relearnt, including
that culture of excess.”
Ling Wen continued: “On the night of the seventeenth birthday of the Crown Prince of
YongAn, the palace threw a Gilded Banquet in celebration. That Guoshi Fang Xin… in
that feast, with one sword in hand, slaughtered every royalty in attendance.”
The golden goblets toppled and blood spilt like wine.
“Only the Crown Prince of YongAn escaped because of his late arrival to the feast.
Otherwise he too would’ve been annihilated.”
This coup d’etat was aimed at the building of YongAn, and if it wasn’t for Lang Qian Qiu
who had the people’s heart and his hard work, there would no doubt be a riot. It was
with great difficulty that the chaos was settled, and soon after, the YongAn monarchy
released a bounty to pursue the fugitive murderer. At last when he was captured, Lang
Qian Qiu killed the evil Guoshi Fang Xin with his own two hands, sealed the corpse
within a triple layered coffin, before sealing it again underground.
However, the roots of the monarchy had been gravely damaged, and since then, it
inevitably declined before it was overtaken by another clan in the end.
Lang Qian Qiu glared at Xie Lian, “I never understood why you did what you did. You
said you couldn’t stand seeing us on the throne, but I didn’t believe it, and I never
thought you wanted to overthrow the monarchy to take our place. But now I finally know
The heavenly officials were eyes wide with shock, muttering to each other.
“This is revenge!”
“It couldn’t have been anything else! The kingdom of XianLe had fallen, so he had to
ruin YongAn too. YongAn killed his royal parents, so he had to murder the royal parents
of the Crown Prince of YongAn. An eye for an eye. It’s pure vengeance!”
“But the ones who wiped out XianLe wasn’t Lang Qian Qiu’s generation, this rage was
“And here I thought the Laughing Stock of the Three Realms was a fool, but he’s
actually quite the aggressive character. Going undercover as a Guoshi in enemy state,
slaughtering the entire monarchy in one go. Incredible…”
Xie Lian could feel Jun Wu’s eyes on him, and closed his own. He heard Jun Wu say,
“Tai Hua, you firmly believe XianLe to be Fang Xin, but do you have proof?”
“The Guoshi Fang Xin was the one who taught me swordsmanship; how can I not
recognize him the moment he strikes?” Lang Qian Qiu replied.
The gossipping poured in like tides.
“Nevermind making a mess of things, but isn’t teaching the Crown Prince
swordsmanship a little too extra?”
“No wonder after the third ascension we haven’t seen him touch a single sword. He’s
afraid to show his tail.”
Lang Qian Qiu stated: “This time I went to the Ghost City and fought with Crimson Rain
The moment he mentioned the Ghost City and Hua Cheng, many of the officials
shivered again in fright, but Lang Qian Qiu continued: “When I was twelve, there was
once when I was kidnapped during an outing. The kidnappers dragged me onto the
streets and when the guards caught up they started brawling. A street performer was
dragged in, and bruised as he was, he intercepted the fight with but a tree branch, and
easily rescued me with but a few swings.
The kidnappers and the guards both suffered grave damages, and it was this street
performer who escorted me all the way back to the palace. Out of immense gratitude,
his majesty my father and the queen my mother fervently tried to retain him and
discovered his skills in swordsmanship, and so he was ultimately invited to become the
Guoshi. He taught me the way of the blades for five years. I’m more than familiar with
his style, how can I be wrong?”
“Your Highness Tai Hua,” Mu Qing said faintly, “You’re saying that what you saw was but
a shadow, and other than you, no one else has seen it. So all of this is only by your
Mu Qing’s argument sounded like it was in Xie Lian’s favour, but it was actually more
complex. He had already seen that Lang Qian Qiu wouldn’t let this go, and the more he
was questioned, the more he will prove himself, and not the least bit helpful to Xie Lian’s
situation. Sure enough, Lang Qian Qiu demanded, “Fine. Please bring me a sword!”
There were many martial gods within the hall that carry a sword, and hearing his call,
there was immediately a sword thrown towards him. Lang Qian Qiu caught it and forced
it in front of Xie Lian, “Take it. We’ll duel now without holding back, using everything
we’ve got and see whether if we have the same style, and whether if I was taught by
Everyone thought to duel in the Great Martial Hall was reckless, but with the Gilded
Banquet, that a Crown Prince’s entire family was slaughtered in cold blood, they could
understand why he was this agitated. Xie Lian’s injury was still on Shi Qing Xuan’s
mind, and he said, “Qian Qiu, His Highness blocked that attack from Hua Cheng for
you, and injured his right arm like this, so how can he duel with you?”
Hearing this, Lang Qian Qiu suddenly extended his left palm, and smacked heavily
upon his own right arm. There was a loud crack and a mist of blood spurted out from his
entire right arm from the shoulder, bleeding profusely, and fell limply. There wasn’t any
need to check to understand that it was a heavy injury and everyone was shocked. Xie
Lian was also taken aback and raised his eyes, “What are you doing?”
“The Lord Wind Master was right.” Lang Qian Qiu said, “You did injure your arm saving
me, and so I return an arm to you. But saving me is one thing, killing my clan is the
undeniable truth. I know you’re dextrous and can use a sword with either arms without
lessening your skills. We’ll duel with our left. Pick up the sword if you’re a man!”
Xie Lian looked at the sword, then looked at him, and finally, shook his head slowly. “I’ve
sworn many years ago to never kill with the sword again.”
With those words, Lang Qian Qiu recalled that night when he finally arrived at the feast,
the scene of that black robed man pulling out a longsword from the dead bodies of his
parents, and his eyes reddened with madness, the sword in his left hand emitting a
shaking, crackling sound from his left grip. Shi Qing Xuan swung out his whisk again
and it wrapped around the sword to hold it down. “I think there might be some sort of
misunderstanding here. If that Guoshi Fang Xin had always worn a mask, then anyone
could’ve pretended to be him to commit murder. How does my Lord think?”
Everyone turned their gaze to the jaded throne.
“Xian Le.” Jun Wu spoke.
“Yes, my lord.” Xie Lian bowed.
“Do you concede to Tai Hua’s accusations?” Jun Wu asked.
“I concede.” Xie Lian replied.
The “I concede” was uttered in a frozen tone, very unlike Xie Lian’s usual manner of
speaking, and the faces of Feng Xin, Mu Qing, and Shi Qing Xuan all dropped.
Jun Wu nodded, and asked, “The Guoshi Fang Xin who spilt blood upon the Gilded
Banquet– was it you?”
After a moment of silence, Xie Lian raised his head, determined, “That’s right. It was
Words of steel with no turning back. “So you admit. Very good.” Lang Qian Qiu said.
As aforementioned, there were innumerous heavenly officials with mortal blood on their
hands in the upper court. But truthfully, there hadn’t been that many who had their blood
debt escalate to this point. It might be because those mortals didn’t have someone like
Lang Qian Qiu in the family who could ascend and demand justice from the heavens.
Before Pei Su had General Pei as a shield, but in the end he couldn’t escape exile. Xie
Lian had no one behind him, so now it’d all depend on whether if Jun Wu still value past
affections and hold the heart to protect him.
Yet, many still couldn’t fathom what attitude Jun Wu held towards Xie Lian. The first
ascension, the Crown Prince of XianLe was of course treated with the utmost favour;
the second ascension, the two had a huge fight, and Xie Lian even stabbed Jun Wu a
few times before he was defeated; and this third ascension, the two had been at peace
with each other, as if the past conflicts had been forgotten, and Jun Wu even built a
palace for Xie Lian in the nicest area of the heavenly capital. It was truly difficult to
understand. Now, everyone had their ears attentive, waiting eagerly to hear how the lord
will sentence Xie Lian.
However, before Jun Wu had the chance to pass verdict, Xie Lian spoke up first. “Xian
Le has a presumptuous request.”
“What is it.” Jun Wu responded.
“I humbly ask the Lord to remove my godhood, and banish me to the mortal realm.” Xie
Some of the heavenly officials were astonished, and at the same time amazed. Of
course no one wanted to be banished, it’s not easy to ascend. To work so hard to climb
so high only to fall, just thinking about it felt rueful. To dare ask for banishment from Jun
Wu so straightforwardly, a lot of them couldn’t do it. Some of the other heavenly officials
didn’t think much of it. After all, at this point it might be better to back off than to fight to
the death. Xie Lian had been banished twice already; a third time probably meant
nothing to him, and maybe he’s even used to it.
Lang Qian Qiu on the other hand, objected, “I don’t need you to banish yourself.
Ascension is because you have the skills. I only want a duel.”
“I don’t want to fight you.” Xie Lian said.
“Why?” Lang Qian Qiu shouted, “It’s not like we’ve never fought before. Life or death,
the outcome doesn’t matter, let’s just put an end to this!”
Xie Lian said plainly, “No reason. Fight me, and you will for sure die.”
Ch.46: Enraged Nan Yang; Fist Fight with Xuan Zheng
Although the words were an understatement lightly said, it caused all those around to
take in a harsh breath. Many had in their minds: you’re nothing more than a powerless
rubbish god, how could you be so shameless to say to the one Lang Qian Qiu, Martial
God of the East, that if you fight he’ll die for sure? What arrogance! It was like the
request for banishment was because fighting Lang Qian Qiu was beneath him. Pure
bullshit. Yet Lang Qian Qiu didn’t think his words were exaggerated at all. “I said, life
and death don’t matter! I don’t need you to let me off easy either!”
Xie Lian ignored him and reiterated his request to Jun Wu, “Pray my lord banish me to
the lesser realm.”
Shi Qing Xuan suddenly raised his arm, “Wait! I have more to say!”
“Speak, Wind Master.” Jun Wu said.
“Everyone here seemed to think His Highness Xian Le spilt the blood of YongAn royalty
for revenge. Yet, if it was revenge, then why did he let the Crown Prince of YongAn, His
Highness Tai Hua go? Logically, the one an avenger would want to cut down the most
should be the Crown Prince himself, am I wrong?”
It wasn’t that no one had thought of this detail, but no one had thought it necessary to
voice it either. Now that the Wind Master took the lead, some nodded their heads in
agreement. Shi Qing Xuan continued, “His Highness and I haven’t known each other for
long, but I did see with my own eyes him fighting head on against the scimitar E-Ming in
order to protect His Highness Tai Hua. Qian Qiu, if he regarded the YongAn monarchy
with hatred, why would he unnecessarily defend you against the blade?”
Hearing that Xie Lian faced E-Ming head on, both Feng Xin and Mu Qin stared at Xie
Lian. Around, there were whispers saying, “Maybe he was just feeling guilty”, but Shi
Qing Xuan immediately raised his voice to exclaim, “That was the weapon of
misfortune; the cursed blade! SO! I think this whole business is highly suspect!”
“I’m envious that His Royal Highness has gained the Lord Wind Master’s friendship to
defend him so.” Pei Ming said, “Too bad our Little Pei isn’t as fortunate.”
“General Pei, don’t muddy the waters.” Shi Qing Xuan said, “Can Little Pei’s case be
compared the same? I saw him commit crimes with my own eyes too, and heard with
my own ears his admission of said crimes.”
“Then isn’t that exactly the same as today?” Pei Ming argued, “His Highness Tai Hua
saw him commit crimes, and heard him admit to said crimes with his own ears. How is
that any different?”
Shi Qing Xuan grew furious and was about to argue back when Xie Lian held him back,
“Lord Wind Master, thank you, I am in your debt. But please let this go.”
Shi Qing Xuan himself hadn’t thought of a good comeback against Pei Ming yet, so he
only pointed at him but no more words came out.
Finally, Jun Wu spoke, his tone tranquil. “Everyone please calm down.”
His voice wasn’t particularly loud, very serene, yet everyone within the Great Martial
Hall heard his words clearly, and they all stood back to position. Once the hall quieted
down, Jun Wu spoke again, “Tai Hua, your actions have always been impulsive. When
situations arise, one mustn’t be rash; listen calmly, assess, and then evaluate once you
know the whole story.”
Lang Qian Qiu lowered his head to heed the lesson. Jun Wu continued, “Xian Le
refuses to give us that full story, so his request for banishment is denied. He will be
detained in the Palace of Xian Le, and I will personally interrogate him afterwards.
Before then, the two of you shan’t meet.”
It was a conclusion no one had expected.
Jun Wu actually shielded Xie Lian, the laughing stock of the three realms who had no
temples, no devotees, and no merits!
Lang Qian Qiu was the martial god who ruled the east; if he was unhappy with the
verdict, then what a losing business! Even then Jun Wu chose to shield Xie Lian…
didn’t that mean he’s still very much in favour?!
Many of the officials now saw where the wind was blowing, and decided mentally that
from now on they wouldn’t publicly mention the words “laughingstock of the three
realms”. Shi Qing Xuan let out a sigh of relief and loudly praised Jun Wu for his wisdom.
Lang Qian Qiu on the other hand, only stared at Xie Lian intently, “Whatever the lord
wishes to question, go ahead and question, but whatever the conclusion, I will still duel
With that, Lang Qian Qiu bowed to Jun Wu before he turned and left the hall. Jun Wu
waved his hand and a couple martial officials came forward to take Xie Lian away. As
they passed by Shi Qing Xuan, Xie Lian spoke in a soft voice, “Lord Wind Master,
thanks for everything. But if you must help me, don’t say anymore on my behalf, but can
I ask you to do two things for me?”
Shi Qing Xuan was still feeling bad about fanning the fire that burnt down Paradise
Manor, and wished dearly Xie Lian would ask him for anything, “Whatever you need.”
“The boy I settled in the side chambers, please take care of him.” Xie Lian said.
“Nothing I can’t do! What’s the second thing?” Shi Qing Xuan said.
“If General Pei still wants to make things difficult for Ban Yue in the future, please help
“Of course.” Shi Qing Xuan replied, “I won’t let Pei Ming get his way. Where is she?”
“I’ve hidden her in a small pickle jar in my PuQi Shrine. If you have the time, please air
her out sometimes.” Xie Lian said.
After thanking the Wind Master, two heavenly officials brought Xie Lian before the
Palace of Xian Le before courteously excusing themselves.
“Thanks for your hard work.” Xie Lian bowed his head slightly.
Stepping through the front gates, Xie Lian closed the doors behind him. Looking around,
as he expected, not just appearance wise but all the facilities were exactly the same as
his previous palace. Last time he passed by he didn’t enter, never having guessed that
the first time he was to step foot in here would be due to detention. Not the best sign.
But after so much excitement of the past few days, his heart was tired, and Xie Lian
passed out immediately on the ground.
He dreamt of many things.
He seemed to be meditating with his eyes closed, when when he blinked open, he
found himself sitting in the lotus position before a desk, his black robes flowing on the
floor in layers around him, and on his face seemed to be a cold, heavy mask.
When he lowered his head, the sight before him was of a young boy sprawled over the
desk. The boy appeared to be fourteen or fifteen years of age, his attire distinguished,
his form strumming with life, but fast asleep.
He shook his head and walked over. Bending slightly, he knocked on the desk, “Your
Maybe it was because of the cold mask, even his voice was cool. The boy finally woke
with a start. When he raised his eyes and saw him, he sat upright immediately in horror:
He said: “You fell asleep again. Copy the Ethics Scripture ten times as punishment.”
The Crown Prince cried in dismay: “Master, please no! Why don’t you have me run ten
laps around the palace as punishment?”
“Copy twenty times. Do it now, and write nicely.”
The Crown Prince seemed to fear him, and sat up properly to start writing. He then sat
back at his original position and continued to meditate.
Truthfully, everyone in the palace was a little scared of him. But this sense of distance
and oppressive power was created intentionally by him.
However, this Crown Prince may be too young, so he could never hold that sense of
fear for long. Not long after he started copying the scripture, he called out: “Master!”
He put down the book in hand, “What is it?”
“I’ve become skilled in all the sword techniques you taught me last time. Isn’t it time for
a new technique?” The Crown Prince said.
“Alright. What do you want to learn?” He said.
“I want to learn the technique you used to save me!” The Crown Prince exclaimed.
He contemplated for a bit and said: “That one? No.”
“Why?” The Crown Prince asked.
“That technique is impractical. At least it’s unsuitable for one in your position.” He
The Crown Prince didn’t understand: “But isn’t it convenient? Using one sword to
dissolve the power of two! You saved me with that technique!”
It was normal for the Crown Prince not to understand. He said: “Your royal highness, let
me ask you a question.”
He said: “Once there were two people, eyes sunken red with hunger, and started
fighting in order to rob each other of food. In came a third person, and he wanted to stop
the fight. Do you think words would be effective in this situation?”
“…No, it’d be useless. They only want food, right?”
“That’s right. Because the root of the problem wasn’t solved, no one would listen to your
reason. Thus, the only way this third person can stop the fight was to provide what they
wanted. To give food from his own purse.”
The Crown Prince seemed to understand but not.
He continued: “The reasoning is the same. You must understand that the moment a
sword is unsheathed, someone will be hurt. When power is released, something must
“Thus, it was wrong for you to say I dissolved the force of two swords. Nothing was
dissolved; I absorbed their attacks. To stop an attack by hurting oneself is a foolish
technique, and only used when there are no other alternatives.”
“You’re an esteemed Crown Prince. You’ve no use for something of the sort.”
The Crown Prince continued to copy his scripture, but after a while, he face sunk with
He asked: “Did you have any other questions?”
After a moment of hesitation, the Crown Prince said: “One thing. Master, if the third
person didn’t have enough food, then what should be done?”
The Crown Prince continued: “If both of the hungry had gotten food but wanted more,
and fought harder because of greed, and sought more food from the third person, what
should be done?”
“What do you think?” He asked.
The Crown Prince pondered and said: “I don’t know… Maybe, he shouldn’t have
intercepted from the start.”
The Great Hall was gold. Everything was golden. However, at present, it all became
Every golden banquet table sprawled a person. Their throats were pierced, their deaths
His hand that held the sword wouldn’t stop shaking. The stately king was covered in
blood, his eyes red filled with pain and hatred. Next to his feet was the dead body of the
His sword in hand, he took one step after another and walked over. When the king
raised his head and saw him, he was dumbfounded. “Guoshi? You…?!”
A severely cold and cruel sword struck.
Right at the same time, he sensed something and turned his head immediately. The
young Crown Prince was just outside the door, standing amidst the corpses of guards.
The boy’s eyes were blank, as if wondering what he saw was reality or a dream. He
took a step and almost tripped on the threshold, his mind lost.
He pulled out his sword; blood splattered onto his black robes.
The Crown Prince didn’t trip on the threshold but tripped on the dead bodies on the
ground. He rushed to the king’s body, his voice finally returning: “Father!? Mother?!”
Yet the king would never speak again. The Crown Prince couldn’t shake him awake and
whipped his head madly towards him, his eyes wide: “Master! What are you doing?
WHAT DID YOU DO?! Guoshi!!!”
It was a long while after before he heard his own voice devoid of emotion –
“You all deserved it.”
Xie Lian didn’t sleep well and rolled awake with a start.
He sleepily rubbed his eyes and realized he didn’t actually sleep that long, and didn’t
dream anything nice either. Good thing there was something on his chest that poked
him awake. He sat for a while, then found something in his clothes after feeling around
for it. He opened his palm and revealed two dice, the same ones from the Paradise
A sea of red subconsciously floated in his mind. The scene was blurry but that crimson
silhouette was clear as day, watching him unmoving within that sea of red. Xie Lian
sighed, “I wonder how much is left of San Lang’s Paradise Manor. If I get banished
again this time, who knows how much junk I’ll have to sell or how long it’d take to pay
him back… decades, centuries, if anything I’ll pay him with my entire life.”
Xie Lian looked at the dice for a bit before clapping his hands close, shook them in his
palms and tossed them to the ground. The dice rattled and rolled around the ground
before coming to a stop.
As expected, all the luck he borrowed from Hua Cheng were used up. He was hoping
for another roll of two sixes, but it was only snake eyes.
Xie Lian couldn’t help but laugh, shook his head, and suddenly heard footsteps coming
from behind. He steadied himself immediately and packed away both the dice and his
The footsteps didn’t sound like Jun Wu. Jun Wu walked with deep certainty, unhurried.
Although Hua Cheng walked with nonchalance, often lazy, yet the aura of confidence
and surety were exactly the same. This set of footsteps however, were a little floaty. Xie
Lian turned his head around and was taken aback, “It’s you.”
The person before him was clad in black, his face fair and his lips thin. His expression
was indifferent, maybe even cool. As a martial god, he looked more like a civil god. Who
else could it be but Mu Qing.
He saw Xie Lian’s startled expression and raised his brows, “Who did you think? Feng
Without waiting for a response, he lifted his black robes and crossed the threshold of
the door. “Feng Xin probably won’t come after all.”
“What are you doing here?” Xie Lian asked.
“The emperor detained you, and won’t let His Highness Tai Hua come. But he didn’t say
I couldn’t come.” Mu Qing said.
He didn’t bother answering Xie Lian’s Question. Whatever. Xie Lian wasn’t actually
curious anyway, and didn’t question him further. Mu Qing looked around the newly built
palace of XianLe, his eyes ending up on Xie Lian. After some thought, he suddenly
threw something at him. A blue shadow flashed in the air; Xie Lian caught it with his left
hand, and when he opened his palm it was a small blue porcelain bottle.
It was a bottle of medicine. Mu Qing said apathetically, “Dragging around a bloody right
arm doesn’t look good.”
Xie Lian held the bottle but didn’t move, and watched him with discern instead.
After his third ascension there could only be one word to describe the way Mu Qing
treated him: weird. It always felt like he was waiting for Xie Lian to get booted for the
third time so he could make sneering remarks. Yet now that Xie Lian might actually get
booted for the third time, he suddenly became friendly and even came to gift him
medication. This 180 degree change in attitude actually made Xie Lian feel a little weird.
Seeing that Xie Lian wasn’t moving, Mu Qing smirked faintly, “Use it if you want. Either
way no one else is gonna come.”
It wasn’t a smile without mirth; it was obvious that he’s actually feeling pretty good.
Although Xie Lian didn’t feel his right arm was in pain, there was no reason to just leave
the injuries be either. That pat from Jun Wu was a quick fix, but it’s better to have
medication. Thus, he opened the small blue bottle and carelessly started pouring the
contents onto his arm. What came out of the bottle wasn’t powder or pill, but a light blue
smoke. The smoke floated wildly, wrapping around his arm, its scent cool and
refreshing. It was certainly a high grade item.
Mu Qing suddenly asked, “Was everything Lang Qian Qiu said true? Did you really kill
all those YongAn royalties?”
Xie Lian raised his eyes to look at him. Even if Mu Qing had been forcibly hiding it, Xie
Lian could still see a thread of uncontrollable excitement in his eyes. He seemed to be
highly interested in the details of Xie Lian spilling blood at the Gilded Banquet and
continued his questions, “How did you kill them?”
Just then, another set of footfalls came from behind them. The two turned their heads at
the same time, and the one visiting this time was Feng Xin! The moment he entered he
saw Mu Qing in the main hall, even smiling next to a crouching Xie Lian, he immediately
frowned with alarm, “What are you doing here?”
Xie Lian waved the little bottle in his hand. Mu Qing schooled his expression. He was
just saying that Feng Xin wouldn’t be coming, and Feng Xin arrived the next second; not
funny at all.
“This isn’t your palace. What? You can come but I can’t?” Mu Qing rebutted.
Feng Xin ignored him and turned to Xie Lian. He hadn’t even opened his mouth and Xie
Lian spoke up, “If the two of you came to ask the same question, then I will give you one
answer. There’s no need to not believe; every word I said at the Great Martial Hall today
Feng Xin paled. Mu Qing hated that expression and said in annoyance, “Alright, put that
face away. After everything, who are you looking pained for?”
Feng Xin glared at him, “Not for you! Get out!”
“And who are you to tell me to get out?” Mu Qing said, “Speaking as if you’re so loyal.
How many years did you last again? Didn’t you run away too?”
Veins popped all over Feng Xin’s face. Xie Lian could sense this exchange was going in
the wrong direction and raised his hand, “Hold it. Hold it.”
As if Mu Qing was the type to hold it back. He sneered, “Everyone says it was because
you couldn’t stand seeing your old master fall from grace. What a pretty excuse. At the
end of the day, you just didn’t want to waste the rest of your days following a broken
Feng Xin swung out his fist, “WHAT THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW?!”
Bam! Feng Xin’s fist landed squarely on Mu Qing’s face. Mu Qing was a standard pretty
boy; a bashing punch from Feng Xin was like a persimmon smashed on his face, bloody
and miserable. Yet he stood his ground, and without even a whine, he punched right
back. When the two ascended they both obtained their own spiritual devices, yet at the
height of anger, the best tool to release their rage was their fists. When Feng Xin and
Mu Qing fought eight hundred years ago, their martial arts were at the same level. After
eight hundred years there was still no difference. Each punch landed; the brawl was
messy and mad, each holding their own.
Feng Xin cried angrily, “Don’t think I don’t know your nasty thoughts! The more crimes
he commit the happier you become!!”
Mu Qing spat, “I knew you always looked down on me, what a joke! Look at yourself!
What right do you have to look down on me. The pot calling the kettle black!”
Lang Qian Qiu and Xie Lian hadn’t even started dueling and Feng Xin and Mu Qing
already started brawling. Their grudges had been building for a long time; the fight was
uncontrolled and riotous, each cussing at the other without hearing what was cussed
back, and certainly had no mind to hear anything Xie Lian had to say. Xie Lian recalled
back when the three of them were younger, Mu Qing had been soft-spoken and
well-mannered, and if Feng Xin had hit anyone it was all under Xie Lian’s command,
and he’d stop when Xie Lian said stop. Now neither was the case.
Dragging his arm, Xie Lian ran towards the door, hoping to call for help from any nearby
officials, but, before he even stepped foot out of the main hall, there was a huge loud
BANG that exploded from the front. Feng Xin and Mu Qing were also shocked by the
large noise and stopped, their eyes alert, looking to where the sound came from.
The front doors to the Palace of Xian Le was kicked open by someone. Beyond the door
wasn’t the expansive Great Martial Avenue of the Heavenly Court, but a dead, deep
And from within the darkness, innumerous chilling silver butterflies rushed out towards
Ch.47: Raiding a Heavenly Palace; Three Lines to Scare All Gods
Silver shimmered turbulently, and without thinking, Xie Lian’s first reaction was to block
with his hand, and the RuoYe on his arm, if the situation called for it, would attack
automatically. Yet, those silver butterflies never charged towards him, and instead, flew
around him to attack the two behind who were fist fighting just moments ago.
Feng Xin and Mu Qing suffered before in the hands of those wraithe butterflies, knew
how powerful they were, and didn’t dare to be careless. They both raised their hands at
the same time and cried, “SHIELD!”
Millions of silver butterflies jetted towards them, flapping their wings like blasting winds,
but there was an invisible wall blocking them, and the butterflies smashed against it like
a thunderstorm, hailing and battering. White lights flared from the friction like sparks. It
appeared that the two had casted a spell to shield, but even against a magical shield
the wraith butterflies were forceful and endless, crazy like moths to flames. Even with a
spiritual defense the two seemed to be pushed back by the relentless deluge of
A moment of carelessness and the enemy took the upper hand. If they didn’t release
the shield the butterflies will push closer, if they did, there’d still be no chance for them
to grab for their weapons, and both Feng Xin and Mu Qing mentally swore, gritting their
teeth to hang on. Feng Xin took a glance and saw Xie Lian was still standing where he
was, his head lowered, and shouted immediately, “Your Highness, don’t stand there,
come behind the shield!”
Yet, when Xie Lian turned his head, not a single hair was harmed. He frowned, “Huh?”
The two looked closely and almost spat blood from angry shock on the spot. Xie Lian
had in his hand a wraith butterfly, looking rather confused. Earlier when the butterflies
were gusting through like wild winds, there was one that was a little slow and couldn’t
follow. It’d flapped with difficulty in front of Xie Lian, and he thought it worked really hard
but the poor little silver butterfly couldn’t fly anymore, so he subconsciously extended
his palm just beneath it. That silver butterfly landed on his palm, wings still flapping, but
refused to leave anymore.
Both Feng Xin and Mu Qing popped veins, “DON’T TOUCH THAT THING WITH YOUR
Just then, Xie Lian felt a tightening on his wrist – someone had gotten a hold of him,
and pulled hard. His entire person was pulled into the darkness beyond the door.
Yet, although he was shrouded in the dark, he didn’t feel any alarm or insecurity. This
darkness was like a layer of gentle armour; not only did he not sense danger, it actually
somehow calmed him down.
Even if the person behind the darkness hadn’t shown himself, but with the silver
butterflies, would it be hard to guess who it was? Mu Qing cried in disbelief, “What
impudence to come all the way to the heavenly court! What arrogance!”
A voice laughed, “We’re all the same. Wasn’t the Upper Court impudent in my territory?”
Even if Xie Lian already knew who it was that grabbed him, but hearing the familiar
voice from so close, he was still a little startled. Feng Xin shouted, “Hua Cheng, the
Heavenly Martial Emperor is here in the Heavenly Court. You let him go!”
Hua Cheng clicked his tongue, “Then let’s see if you have the skill.”
As he finished his words, the giant doors closed heavily with a bang.
Xie Lian could feel Hua Cheng holding him tightly with one hand, taking him to an
unknown destination. It was black all around them, and the silver bells on the black
boots clinged and clanged in his ears. The ground beneath their feet were uneven; it
really wasn’t the bright, glorious roads of heaven, but moreso a wild valley.
Hua Cheng must’ve used the Distance Shortening array to connect the front gates of
the Palace to Xian Le to some valley. But to connect the Heavenly Court to somewhere
else using the Distance Shortening Array was no easy feat, at least, only a handful of
heavenly officials could do it, so how had he done it? Xie Lian was about to speak when
a voice exploded in his ear, “YOUR HIGHNESS! WHERE ARE YOU?!”
The angry roar came from Feng Xin. His voice was in his ear but his person was not. It
was all shouted within the communication array. Xie Lian’s eardrums hurt from the
noise, and many of the heavenly officials were also blasted out, asking in fright, “What’s
going on, General Nan Yang? Did something happen?”
Mu Qing entered the communication array too, “Bad news! Where’s Ling Wen? Report
to the Emperor, Xie Lian’s escaped!”
He usually spoke gently and courteously, but now his voice was laced with worry and
anxiety. Ling Wen reacted immediately, “What? I’ll go to the Palace of Xian Le to take a
An official cried in shock, “The laug… His Royal Highness ran away? Wasn’t he
detained in the Palace of Xian Le?!”
Shi Qing Xuan entered the communication array too, “I just saw a bunch of Middle Court
martial officials guarding the palace, you can only enter but not leave, so how could he
Feng Xin shouted, “HE DIDN’T RUN AWAY, HE WAS KIDNAPPED! Your Highness can
you still hear us speak? Where are you right now??”
In that moment, everyone spoke, and they all talked loudly, each asking for answers.
The mess of the Guoshi Fang Xin and Lang Qian Qiu hadn’t even cleared yet. Jun Wu
detained Xie Lian, but the person in question was gone! Wasn’t this starting more
problems and gossip? Either way they must find the person first, so Ling Wen rushed to
check on the situation, to see if she could locate Xie Lian. Feng Xin and Mu Qing were
yelling within the communication array, looking for skilled martial gods to give chase,
and Shi Qing Xuan released many more waves of merits. The communication array was
in complete chaos, loud and tumultuous, to the point where Xie Lian couldn’t even get a
word in. He took a deep breath and was about to tell everyone to calm down when Hua
Cheng suddenly turned around, and two fingers came forward.
Those cold digits gently touched his temple, and Hua Cheng laughed, “Haha. Long time
no see. How’s everyone doing?”
With the soft touch of his two fingers, Hua Cheng entered the heavenly communication
array through Xie Lian. His casual greeting was heard not just by Xie Lian, but all the
heavenly officials hustling within the communication array, and they all fell into a dead
There was a silent uproar in everyone’s minds.
No wonder!! Such arrogance could only come from That Person!
Hua Cheng continued, “I don’t know if you all missed me, but I didn’t think about any of
you at all.”
There were indeed many heavenly officials in the heavens who secretly thought about
him everyday, but hearing that Hua Cheng didn’t think about them at all, they all
chanted heavenly blessings thank you thank you thank you please continue to never
think of us. Then, Hua Cheng snickered, “However, I’ve been fairly free recently. If
anyone is feeling bored and want to tussle with me, by all means they’re welcome to.”
Under the circumstances, his intent was more than obvious: “If anyone is brave enough
to give chase, I’ll challenge that person next time.”
It’d be a challenge they’re sure to lose and have their faces sweep the floor. Wasn’t this
a blatant threat??
Earlier when they heard Xie Lian ran away or was kidnapped, the communication array
roared to life. It was after all a rare riot, and all cared deeply; some martial gods were
even ready to heed the call, prepared to give chase. However, with only three lines from
Hua Cheng, all such passion disappeared. If Jun Wu gave command to send whoever
to pursue, then it couldn’t be helped; it’d be official business. But this was something
that just happened, everything was still a mess, so naturally no one wanted to bring
trouble to themselves. No one wanted Hua Cheng to remember them. Thus, they all
pretended they weren’t present, but their ears were attentive to the development of this
situation, and their hearts anxious and shook. This Crimson Rain Sought Flower was
overly fearless! To come all the way to the heavens just to kidnap, and the kidnapped
was that laughingstock of the three realms – was there some deeply rooted grudge or
Silence befell the communication array; only Feng Xin continued to swear, and Hua
Cheng removed his fingers after making his speech. “Don’t mind them.” He said to Xie
“San Lang…” Xie Lian blurted, but Hua Cheng let go of his hand.
“We’re too close to the Heavenly Court. Let’s hurry.” Hua Cheng said.
His voice was low, and his tone was hard to discern. Yet his letting go of Xie Lian’s wrist
was swift, almost as if shaken off. Xie Lian was immediately reminded of the first time
they met and how he evaded his touch. Xie Lian froze on the spot.
He originally wanted to ask Hua Cheng why he’d appear so suddenly. Although he
didn’t think deeply about it, he sort of felt maybe he came to rescue him, so when he
called out ‘San Lang’ just now, he was a little happy. But with how Hua Cheng shook off
his hand, Xie Lian suddenly realized: why did he think Hua Cheng would come to
rescue him? Nevermind thinking whether if Hua Cheng cared to follow his actions that
closely, he’d only just escaped the Ghost City after setting Paradise Manor on fire. It
was more likely that Hua Cheng came knocking for paybacks, for revenge?
Hua Cheng caught, imprisoned, and interrogated the Lord Earth Master who went
undercover as a spy, that was the undeniable truth, but the fault naturally laid with the
one who went undercover. Yet, he snuck into the Ghost City, burrowed all over Paradise
Manor to find said person, and set off fire. Even if in the end Paradise Manor burnt the
way it did was because Shi Qing Xuan fanned the flames, the first kindle in the armoury
was started by him. Others might not even have thought of setting anything on fire, so
no matter what Xie Lian needed to take responsibility.
The two walked, one behind the other. The more Xie Lian thought, the worse he felt,
and the guiltier he became. “…San Lang, I’m sorry.” He apologized.
Hua Cheng suddenly paused in his step, “Why are you apologizing?”
Xie Lian stopped too, “I went to the Ghost City for investigating the missing Earth
Master. I didn’t tell you the truth yet you treated me with utmost hospitality, but I even
burnt down your Paradise Manor. I feel really bad.”
Hua Cheng didn’t say anything. Xie Lian also knew that “I feel really bad” really didn’t
amount to much, and felt even more ashamed. He lightly cleared his throat, “But I
reckon I’ll be banished soon. After I descend I’ll for sure think of a way to repay you, see
if I could…”
“Why do you have to repay me?” Hua Cheng interrupted.
His tone was a little hard as if he couldn’t listen any more, and he turned around in a fit,
“Did you forget that my blade wounded your arm? I hurt you, not the other way around.
Why do you have to repay me?”
Xie Lian never thought his right arm was in pain, and even now he completely forgot his
right hand was injured. He paused then said, “My right arm? My right arm’s fine. It’ll be
better soon. Besides, it only became like this because I rushed forward to strike, so
you’re not to blame?”
Hua Cheng watched him intently, his left eye unusually bright. Xie Lian suddenly noticed
that he appeared to be shaking.
After a moment, Xie Lian realized it wasn’t Hua Cheng who was shaking, but the
scimitar E-Ming on his waist.
That silver scimitar, hung upon red robes, was shaking nonstop. The eye contoured by
a silver line was also trembling. If it was the eye of a child, then this child, at that
moment in time, must be bawling with tears.
Ch.48: Adroit Dice for the Safety of Only One
Seeing its state, Xie Lian unconsciously reached out, wanting to pet it, “What’s wrong…”
But Hua Cheng side stepped and turned his body slightly, avoiding Xie Lian’s touch, and
smacked hard on the hilt, “Nothing’s wrong. Don’t mind it.”
After getting smacked soundly, the cursed blade scimitar E-Ming, feared by all in the
heavens, shook even harder. Just then, Xie Lian heard Feng Xin again in the
communication array: “How did Hua Cheng connect the Distance Shortening Array to
the heavenly court?! How do we open this door?!”
Shi Qing Xuan cried, “General Nan Yang! Me, me, me! I think I know how! His Highness
and I suffered this trick of Hua Cheng’s when we were on our mission. Take two dice
and toss them before the door, then push to see if it’ll open.”
Xie Lian remembered. Wasn’t he casually tossing dice for fun earlier in the main hall?
He could still recall clearly having run pathetically for their lives in that earthworm cave
and from those cannibal savages, if they really did open the doors, who knows what
other calamities await them? He cried hurriedly, “Stop! Don’t! Be careful!”
However, his voice never made it to the communication array. It seemed he didn’t have
the time to refill his spiritual power, and it had all but depleted, and could only listen
without speaking. Even if he could speak, it might’ve been too late. Feng Xin seemed to
do exactly what Shi Qing Xuan said without a second thought. How did he know?
Because the next second, Feng Xin suddenly screamed curses in the communication
array. He cussed whenever he’s agitated, and when he cursed the words were often too
vulgar for the ear, and for censorship reasons the words shall not be repeated. Most of
the officials were carefully following the situation, and asked immediately, “General,
Mu Qing’s voice came and it also sounded quite dismayed, “What is this place???” It
appeared that he entered through the doors with Feng Xin.
“Be careful, guys!” Shi Qing Xuan called out, “Different numbered rolls will bring you to
different places. What number did you guys roll?”
“He rolled a four!” Mu Qing said.
Xie Lian could hear Feng Xin’s voice also carried a trace of panic and terror, and was
worried they might have run into an extremely dangerous place. His voice couldn’t be
heard in the communication array, but he remembered that the one who casted the spell
in the first place was right next to him, so without thinking too much, he hurriedly asked,
“San Lang, what does a roll of four open to?”
“Depends,” Hua Cheng replied. “The door will open to whatever the roller fears the
Just as Hua Cheng answered, Mu Qing cooly said, “You fought to roll first and rolled out
a women’s bath! Give me the dice, I’ll roll!”
Hearing “women’s bath”, Xie Lian covered his face with his hands.
Feng Xin had always kept his distance from women, and always stayed away from even
speaking of them, as if the female sex were savage wild beasts. To him, a women’s
bath, really was the scariest place on earth, worse than the immeasurable depths of
tiger caves or dragon lakes. It seemed Mu Qing had successfully taken the dice, and
Xie Lian sighed a breath of relief. However, not a moment later, the two roared again.
Shi Qing Xuan woefully called: “Generals, what did you run into this time?”
There was no response, only odd burbling sounds, as if the two of them had sunken into
water. Everyone held their breath, and after a moment, Feng Xin emerged, taking large
breaths of air, sounding as if he broke through the water surface, and spitting out
something. He yelled, “Black Marsh Crocodiles!”
Turns out, the two of them were barely two steps out of the women’s bath in a frenzy,
when Mu Qing took the dice by force and rolled, and their next step led them to fall into
a muddling marsh. They were immediately submerged to past their waist in the muddy
marsh, over their mouths, and after fighting to get out, over a dozen curiously long
crocodile monsters swam over to surround them. Each of those monsters were over
four meters in length, fed on human flesh, and grew human arms and legs from such
evil practices. When they moved, the sight was terrifying and gross, making the two
disgusted beyond belief. Half sunken in the black marsh, the two fought the crocs in
fervour and madness, until Feng Xin finally had had enough, “Give me the dice, let me
throw! You didn’t roll anything good either!”
Mu Qing was one to never admit defeat, and shot a white spiritual blast, “Croc Monsters
are still more decent than a women’s bath! Who knows what you’ll roll next. Give it to
“Fuckin–” Feng Xin yelled angrily, “Didn’t you already take the dice? Where are they?!”
The two had completely forgot their conscience were still connected to the
communication array, and continued to fight each other, denouncing each other’s luck in
dice rolling; the whereabouts of the dice long lost and forgotten. The heavenly officials
listened to their curses and shouts; a riot was the bigger the better – exciting! So
exciting!! The two generals finally ripped through their masks and stopped caring about
their faces! The officials held back their laughter, some even slamming their fists in their
own seats, wishing desperately they could be watching this live and cheer the fight on.
Although Feng Xin and Mu Qing’s luck didn’t seem to be the best, they were still martial
gods after all, and a little monster here and there were at most a nuisance, so there
were nothing overly dangerous. Xie Lian prayed they would give up sooner and be
released from that predicament. At the same time, he was thankful that he himself didn’t
roll out a number that called forth any horrors, and rolled out a Hua Cheng instead. He
spoke as he walked, “I rolled snake eyes earlier. Does that mean every time snake eyes
is rolled I’ll be able to see you?”
The moment he ended his sentence he realized his words sounded a little weird, as if
he really wanted to meet Hua Cheng, and thought it inappropriate. But Hua Cheng
Xie Lian felt a little awkward and scratched his cheek, “Oh. So that’s not the case. I got
Hua Cheng, walking in front of him, said, “If you wanted to see me, it won’t matter what
you roll. I will appear.”
Hearing this, Xie Lian swallowed hard, and forgot everything else he wanted to say.
He hadn’t had the chance to dissect the meaning of those words before the voice of
another said in a sunken tone within the communication array: “Let me!”
It wasn’t long after that person had spoken that there was a flash of white light drew
across the sky and a crashing sound. Suddenly, Hua Cheng and Xie Lian’s path was
When the white light cooled and slowly cleared away, Xie Lian saw that the thing that
flew from the sky and blocking them now was a sword.
The sword was long and slender, half entombed into the ground on a slant, the body of
the sword itself still quivering. The sword was dark like black jade, deep and foreboding,
smoother than a mirror, and if anyone were to go near, they could see their own
reflection on the blade. Only the thin, silver white line of the heart of the sword cut
across the blade in half.
The name of this sword was ‘Fang Xin*’.
A shadow landed in front of the sword and said, “This is your sword.”
After the death of the Guoshi Fang Xin, the sword he carried was kept by the Crown
Prince of YongAn. The one who had thrown the sword Fang Xin and blocked their path
was none other than Lang Qian Qiu.
It looked like Feng Xin and Mu Qing failed, but Lang Qian Qiu was able to roll the right
numbers. It really couldn’t be said whether if it was because of his luck or if it was Xie
Lian’s misfortune. The only thing that could be said with certainty was of the two Crown
Princes, Lang Qian Qiu had always been more fortunate than Xie Lian.
Hua Cheng stood with his hands behind his back, his expression unchanged, only, his
body made a small movement. The moment he moved, Xie Lian immediately stretched
out a hand to stop him and said in a small voice, “Let me.”
Right in the middle of the valley, Lang Qian Qiu blocked the only road, his hand holding
that oversized longsword, and said, “I only want to duel with you with all my might. It
doesn’t matter how this ends. Even if I die in your hands, I won’t ask for any
compensation. I don’t need you to ask the Great Lord for banishment. You taught me
the art of swordsmanship; it’s not like you can’t win, so why won’t you fight me?”
Xie Lian knew even without Lang Qian Qiu saying it that he would fight with everything
he’s got. But, if he didn’t hold back, then Xie Lian must also fight seriously. If that was
the case, none of the scenarios would be what Xie Lian would want to see. But if he
didn’t fight him, he wouldn’t relent.
After a long while, Xie Lian finally nodded his head slowly, “Fine.”
He took a few steps forward and approached that sword, pulled it from the ground, and
said softly, “You asked for this.”
After hundreds of years, Fang Xin finally returned to the hands of its master.
It moaned softly in Xie Lian’s hands. Closeby, Hua Cheng’s eyes also shone from
hearing the euphoric cries of that sword.
With the sword in hand, Xie Lian swung and pointed it to the ground before saying
cooly, “However this duel ends, do not regret it.”
“I WILL NEVER!” Lang Qian Qiu shouted.
Lang Qian Qiu felt like his head was going to split; both his hands held the longsword
tightly, his eyes focused, his breath held, his sight locked onto Fang Xin, the sword that
was black as jade, not daring to be careless for even a moment.
Xie Lian jolted the sword, and suddenly dashed like an arrow. Lang Qian Qiu’s eyes
cemented, ready to strike, when suddenly his body froze, as if something had him
wrapped tightly, and he fell heavily to the ground.
He lowered his head to see and found he really was bound! A snow white silk band was
wrapped multiple times around his body like a poisonous snake!
Lang Qian Qiu was taught swordsmanship by the Guoshi Fang Xin ever since he was
young, and held fear and reverence for the Guoshi; even after blood spilt like rivers at
the Gilded Banquet, that awe had never ceased. The moment Xie Lian touched the
sword, he spent his entire focus on the other’s movement, and never noticed that there
was a white silk band that snuck behind to ambush him the moment he was ready to
attack. How could there be such a shameless thing???
Seeing that RuoYe succeeded, Xie Lian instantly relaxed his tense expression and
He threw Fang Xin aside and took in a long breath, thinking, ‘Whew, that was close.’
Lang Qian Qiu laid on the ground struggling to break free. He didn’t know how vicious
the white silk band could be, and the more he struggled the tighter it bound. He cried
angrily, “Guoshi, what is this?! Let me go and let’s fight to the death!”
Xie Lian wiped sweat from his forehead and replied, “We already fought to the death.
The thing that’s binding you is one of my spiritual devices. You already lost.”
“How can this count?” Lang Qian Qiu shouted, “When I said fight to death, obviously I
meant using a sword to fight! Use a sword if you’re a man! Ambushing with a white
ribbon? How cunning!”
He really thought the sword was the best of all weapons and didn’t think much of his
words, but it totally sounded like he was a male official who was prejudiced against
using white silk bands. But Xie Lian didn’t care whether if he acted like a man or not.
He’d even crossdressed before, and hung the words ‘I can’t get erect’ around his lips.
Nothing could get to him.
Xie Lian knelt down next to Lang Qian Qiu, “You didn’t think things through and never
said I had to use a sword. I used your loophole, so who’re you gonna tell?”
After a pause, he continued in a serious tone, “That’s right, I ambushed you. So what? I
succeeded. Yes, I was cunning, but so what? I won. If your opponent was anyone other
than me, you would already be dead.”
Hua Cheng stood not far from the two, and laughed soundlessly. He crossed his arms
and looked away. Lang Qian Qiu was shocked to the core.
When that person was still the Guoshi of YongAn, all of his teachings were honourable
and conscientious, straightforward and genuine. He’d never thought there’d be a day
when he’d hear from the lips of his once teacher something like “Yes, I ambushed, but
so what? I succeeded; yes I was cunning, but so what? I won”. He was stunned.
After saying his fill, Xie Lian stood up, “Think about it on your own. Next time, don’t get
in others’ way.”
●Fang Xin means “Affection of a young woman.”
Ch.49: Adroit Dice for the Safety of Only One 2
Seeing that he was about to walk away, Lang Qian Qiu immediately called out, “Stop!”
Xie Lian stopped. Lang Qian Qiu gritted his teeth and finally ground out, “You… owe me
“What kind of explanation do you want?” Xie Lian asked.
“Of past grudges, for our kingdom and family. It’s not that I can’t understand your hatred
for YongAn, but…”
He choked up. It wasn’t for another moment before he continued in a strained, quivering
voice, “But Guoshi… Did my parents and I not treat the remaining citizens of XianLe
well? I was friends with many of them, and I… I did my best to protect them.”
Every word he said was the truth.
After the Kingdom of XianLe had fallen, many remaining citizens never forgot their
roots, and even after the Kingdom of YongAn was built and started its rule, those people
and their descendants continued to live on as the people of XianLe, often clashing with
people of the new kingdom.
The first few generations of the YongAn monarchy ruled with force, and cruelly
massacred many of the rioting XianLe people. Inversely, there were also underground
alliances formed by the XianLe people to plot the assassination of many of the YongAn
nobility, and even succeeded a few times. This continued on, and the end result was a
deeply seeded hatred for each other on both sides.
However, with the start of the rule of Lang Qian Qiu’s parents, the king took on a
different attitude, and treated the XianLe people with kindness and compassion. He
wanted to unite the country of the old and the new against all voices of dissent. Even if
the idea of granting princely titles to past XianLe royalties was absurd, he used it as a
way to show his sincerity, and regarded them with respect. Lang Qian Qiu himself had
never been prejudiced because of past hatred; everything was but history.
The Guoshi Fang Xin then was a mysterious figure, having never revealed his true
identity, so no one knew on which side stood the mastermind behind the Gilded
Banquet bloodbath. However, the hatred between YongAn and XianLe ran too deep;
both sides would accuse each other whenever anything should happen, and so many of
the surviving nobles all pointed their fingers at XianLe, and used the chance to request
for the complete annihilation of the remaining people of XianLe. Yet, Lang Qian Qiu had
rejected all their efforts.
His determination protected the lives of many, and prevented them from suffering a
nameless genocide. However, now that he was reminiscing, the more good he did then,
the more wronged he felt now.
Not that he felt what he had done was worthless, but he felt deeply aggrieved. It’s never
worthless to do what you think is right, but to have shown so much benevolence without
reciprocation, he couldn’t help but feel wronged.
Lang Qian Qiu’s eyes reddened, and continued to question, “Guoshi, did I not do
enough? Did my parents do something wrong? Why must you treat me like this?” The
more he thought, the more vexed he became, and struggled against RuoYe’s bind once
more, straining to lift his upper body, “Do you not think you owe us an explanation??”
“I can’t give you one.” Xie Lian said.
The response was so direct, Lang Qian Qiu choked back his anger, “Guoshi, you’ve
changed so much. You were never like this before.”
“…” Xie Lian rubbed his forehead and said, “I remember I’ve already told you long ago,
not to venerate me as an incorruptible saintly figure; I’m nothing like the person in your
mind. In the end you’d only disappoint yourself.”
Lang Qian Qiu laid on the ground and mumbled, “… The past you or the present you, I
don’t know which one is the real you anymore.”
“They’re all me. But you were only seventeen back then. Now that you’re older, of
course I’d be teaching you a different lesson.” Xie Lian said.
Lang Qian Qiu closed his mouth for a moment but then blurted, “Was it because your
seventeenth was a trial, that you had to turn my seventeenth into a trial too?”
Xie Lian didn’t respond.
Seeing that he wouldn’t speak, Lang Qian Qiu’s anger flared and took in a huge breath.
He yelled, “IF THAT WAS YOUR INTENTION THEN I WON’T LET YOU HAVE YOUR
Xie Lian’s eyes widened at those words.
Lang Qian Qiu couldn’t stand, but his eyes were bright and his tone tenacious, as if a
roaring flame was blazing within his eyes. He continued, his tone harsh, like he was
peeved but also like he was declaring war, “If you want me to fill my heart with hatred
like you, I surely won’t! If you’re going to force me to abandon myself, I refuse! I will
never! — NO MATTER WHAT YOU DO TO ME, I WILL NEVER BECOME LIKE YOU!!!”
It was a declaration so heroic Xie Lian was becoming dazed just listening to it. It took a
moment before he came to, and ‘pfft’-ed, bursting into laughter.
Lang Qian Qiu’s face was covered with fiery tears, his blood boiling with passion and
was at the height of his zealous cries, but all that was deflated by Xie Lian’s laugh, and
he became angrily bewildered. Xie Lian on the other hand was clapping as he laughed,
his laughter growing by the minute, and he cried, “GOOD!”
Xie Lian couldn’t remember the last time he’d laughed this heartily or for what, and it
took him some time before ceasing. He rubbed his eyes and nodded, “Good.
Remember what you said today. That you will never become like me.”
Hua Cheng still had his arms crossed and watched coldly. Just as Xie Lian finished
speaking, there was suddenly a blast of red smoke before him!
The explosion came too suddenly and Xie Lian jolted, thinking Lang Qian Qiu might’ve
used some strange trick, and immediately evaded, his gaze watchful. However, the
blast was loud in sound only, and didn’t pose any harm. When the smoke had cleared,
Lang Qian Qiu had disappeared from where he laid. What was left was a daruma doll,
swaying left and right.
The daruma doll had a very round face and body like a giant squash. Its brows black
and its expression like a tiger, cute and juvenile. At that moment it was glaring, plump
with anger, and it carried a fat sword on its back, gallant in its form – exactly like Lang
Qian Qiu, except it’s a lovable big toy. Xie Lian stopped smiling and called, “Qian Qiu?!”
RuoYe let go and returned to wrap itself around Xie Lian’s wrist. Hua Cheng walked
over leisurely and flicked his finger on the body of that daruma doll, laughing, “Why
does he look so foolish no matter what form he takes?”
Xie Lian picked up the daruma doll and didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, “This…
this… San Lang, is this Qian Qiu? Why did he turn into this form? Stop playing around
with him and change him back.”
“No. Take him along and let’s go.” Hua Cheng replied.
“Go where?” Xie Lian asked.
Just then, the two had come to a cramped little cave. Hua Cheng didn’t answer him. He
tossed up a dice and it landed in his palm. He lowered his eyes to glance at it before
entering the cave.
To turn someone into a daruma doll was such a mischievous spell is very much Hua
Cheng’s style, but it’s also hard to undo. Either way Xie Lian couldn’t unravel it, and he
couldn’t guarantee any other heavenly officials could do it either, so he held the doll in
his hands and was just about to follow Hua Cheng when he abruptly remembered the
tossed Fang Xin, and doubled back to pick up the sword. He strapped it onto his back,
and chased after Hua Cheng.
Xie Lian wanted Hua Cheng to undo the spell but the man was noncommittal. The two
walked around in the cave for a bit, and soon after it became wider and more spacious
than the entrance. Footfalls echoed in the cave, and some distance in front of them
came a faint light and sounds of singing.
When Xie Lian was led to Paradise Manor in the Ghost City, he had also heard singing,
but the graceful songs of charming female ghosts were enticing and beautiful like
aphrodisiac, intoxicating. This singing was like the chaotic dance of demons, appalling
and hideous. The two were nothing alike. Xie Lian couldn’t help but ask, “San Lang,
what is this place?
“Shh.” Hua Cheng lightly silenced him.
Xie Lian’s question was already voiced in a near whisper; hearing the shush, he held his
breath. Soon he discovered why the need to be silent. Right in front of them came
bunches of floating green ghost fires. And when the little bunches of flames
approached, he saw they were little ghosts dressed in green.
On the heads of each little ghost was a small flaming light, as if they themselves were a
green candle. There was nowhere to hide in this cave and the path was narrow. Xie
Lian was about to reach for Fang Xin, but thought RuoYe would be better suited in this
situation, and dropped his hand again.
But then, just as the little ghosts passed by them, they didn’t bat an eyelash before
moving on, continuing to whisper amongst themselves. It wasn’t like they didn’t see
them, but more so that they didn’t think it strange to see them. Xie Lian looked at Hua
Cheng, and the one standing next to him wasn’t the exceptionally handsome red-clad
ghost king he knew, but another little pale ghost with a green flame on his head.
So it seemed that Hua Cheng had changed them into fake skins without him knowing
when it happened. Thinking that he himself must be upholding a green flame above his
head, Xie Lian couldn’t help but raise a hand to feel. “Why must we…” Why must they
transform into such a bizarre appearance?
Although he trailed off, Hua Cheng obviously knew what he wanted to say. “I already
mentioned that the Green Ghost Qi Rong is vulgar and crass. All of his lackeys have to
look like this.”
Xie Lian didn’t realize that Hua Cheng had brought him to the Green Ghost Qi Rong’s
Before when the heavens and the ghost realm mentioned the Green Ghost Qi Rong,
they all had to comment on just how uncouth he was, and Xie Lian couldn’t fathom why.
Now that he’d learned that all of his little ghost subordinates had to dress like this, he
could somewhat understand. Going only by the title ‘The Night-Touring Green Lantern’,
there was at least still a trace of sarcastic elegance, but if it was literally ‘green light’
walking around at night, then there’s definitely a gap between what he had in mind.
“Didn’t you already destroy his lair?” Xie Lian asked.
“I did, but he escaped.” Hua Cheng replied. “Escaped for fifty years, then built a new
Xie Lian held the Lang Qian Qiu daruma doll close to this chest, and whispered after
making sure there was no one around, “San Lang, are you here to find the Green
Ghost? Why don’t you undo Qian Qiu’s spell and let him go first, and then I’ll
Hua Cheng obstinately refused, “No, take him with you. I need him to meet someone.”
Xie Lian was curious. Hua Cheng didn’t act like he cared much for Lang Qian Qiu, so
why would he take him to meet anyone especially? But all of his options were rather
awkward, so he didn’t speak anymore on the subject. When the two finally emerged
from the cave and the tunnel opened to a wider space, more caves appeared before
There seemed to be caves and tunnels dug all over this mountain; caves connecting
caves, tunnels leading to more tunnels. Each entrance had a number of ghosts with a
green lantern on their heads going in and out, like a giant beehive or an anthill. If Xie
Lian had come in by himself, there’d be no way he’d remember the way. Yet, Hua
Cheng acted like he was at home, and traversed through various tunnels and caves
without hesitation, exceedingly at ease, like he knew the paths by heart.
The two of them had on their green flamed little ghost skin, and no one stopped them in
their paths. Xie Lian breathed in relief, but Hua Cheng thought he was sighing and
asked, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing,” Xie Lian said, “I thought you would attack the lair head on instead of sneaking
in. I’m not too good with fighting, so I’m relieved.”
He meant it when he said he wasn’t “good at fighting”. He may be skilled, but he wasn’t
good at dealing with the aftermath. Hua Cheng seemed to have puffed a laugh. “I did
attack head on the first time, but the moment he found out he ran away.” Hua Cheng
said, “This time I’m here for his person, so of course I can’t have him notice I’m here.”
Was the person Hua Cheng wanted Qian Qiu to meet the Green Ghost? Xie Lian
wondered, ‘Was there a relationship between the two of them? Well, whatever he wants
to do I’ll still accompany him, then ask him to undo the spell later.’ Xie Lian still had the
burning of Paradise Manor on his mind, and still felt guilty. As he was thinking, Hua
Cheng spoke, “That useless trash can’t do anything, but he’s very vigilant. Those little
ghosts can’t approach his person, and it’s not easy disguising as his closest henchmen.
To get close, there’s only one way.”
Just then, four little ghosts came by, laughing and chatting. Hua Cheng slowed his
steps, and Xie Lian followed his lead. Turns out, the little ghosts had behind them, a
train of bound humans, dragged by a long rope.
Among the humans, some were ragged and unkempt, some in extravagant clothes, but
they all seemed to be young men and women under the age of thirty. There was even a
child who was grabbing onto the corner of a sleeve of one of the young men; they were
probably father and son. Their hands were bound, and looking terrified, some ready to
faint, while trudging through the demonic lair. They brushed past Hua Cheng, and
without missing a beat, he turned around and seamlessly joined the end of the march.
He gently elbowed Xie Lian, and he repeated Hua Cheng’s actions. When he looked
over, Hua Cheng had already changed skin again, and this time, it was a clean cut
young man. He himself probably looked similar.
The little band made twists and turns through the tunnels and caves. The little ghosts
leading the group seemed to be quite content in their duties, and from time to time
showed off a little authority, yelling and snarling at the prisoners behind them, “No funny
business! – No crying! With your faces all covered in tears and snot, if you ruin our
great one’s appetite, we’ll teach you what’s it like to want to die!”
Of the Four Great Evils, there had never been words that the other three Supreme’s
devoured human flesh, only the Green Ghost Qi Rong remained gluttonous; no wonder
his equals and enemies scoffed at any mentions of him, dismissing him as unsightly and
ignorant. Earlier Hua Cheng said there was only one way to get close to the Green
Ghost Qi Rong, and it appeared that mixing in with the ‘food’ was the way. As he
walked, Xie Lian reached for Hua Cheng’s hand. Once he succeeded in grabbing hold
of it, he felt Hua Cheng freeze, like he wanted to pull away. It wasn’t that Xie Lian didn’t
notice, but under the circumstances there wasn’t much room for thought. He held Hua
Cheng’s hand tight, and lightly drew a word in his palm: ‘Save’.
Since Xie Lian saw, then he must save those people. This gesture was him informing
Hua Cheng of his intentions.
After the word was written, Hua Cheng gently folded his fingers and closed his palm. A
moment later, the band exited a tunnel and proceeded to enter an exceedingly large
The moment they entered the cave, a field of shadowed objects entered their vision. Xie
Lian squinted and hadn’t quite made out what those objects were, but instead he felt
Hua Cheng grip his wrist, and drew a few words on the back of his palm: ‘Watch your
head. Don’t touch.’
At first Xie Lian thought there hung many rags from above, but when he looked closer,
his pupils shrank – what rags? It was a field of blackened, tightly packed people, feet
above, heads hung low, suspended in midair.
The forest of upside down corpses!
However, although there hung those flipped dead bodies, there was no bloody rain
because those corpses were all dried without a drop of fresh blood left in their veins.
The expressions on those dried corpses all looked to be in pain, their mouths open
wide, and there was a thin layer of snow-like crystals on their bodies and faces. It was
In the deepest recesses of the cave, the lights shone bright and there was a giant chair,
a long table, golden goblets and jaded utensils. Such extravagance made it look more
like a royal banquet hall rather than a deep mountain cave. A bit further away from the
long table was an enormous steel cauldron, big enough to allow over ten people to
swim within. The cauldron was red and boiling, its contents bubbling in rage, and if
anyone should accidentally fall in, it would only be seconds before they’re cooked
The four little ghosts ushered the group of prisoners towards the cauldron, but some fell
to the ground shivering in fear when they saw what was waiting for them, and in the
midst of yelling, hitting, and pulling, Xie Lian suddenly felt next to him, Hua Cheng’s arm
went stiff and stopped in his step.
He turned his head to see, and saw that although Hua Cheng still had on the
appearance of a clean cut young man, his eyes were blazing with rage.
Even though Hua Cheng was always smiling, Xie Lian knew his true emotions were
always hidden deep within. Xie Lian had never seen in his eyes a violent fury this
blatant. He followed Hua Cheng’s sight and the next moment, felt his own breathing
stop. Before the extravagant giant chair knelt a person.
In the first glance it was a person, but upon a closer look, it was actually a stone statue
the size of a real person. It was a rather interesting statue sculpted in a kneeling
position, its back facing him, its head downcast. It was the very form that could be
described as a dog with its tail between its legs. It was easy to presume that the only
purpose of making such a statue was for humiliating this person.
Xie Lian didn’t need to turn the statue around to know that its face must be exactly the
same as his.
Ch.50: Adroit Dice for the Safety of Only One 3
Generally people would not know how their own backs look like, but Xie Lian was
different. He was more than familiar with how his own back looked.
When the kingdom of XianLe first fell, to relieve themselves of anger, the people burnt
down his Baqian Taizi* Temple, desecrated all of his statues, robbed the gems on his
sword and cleaned his attire of gold. Yet after all that the rage continued to burn, and so
they came up with a new idea, and it was to build such kneeling statues.
The Crown Prince that was highly venerated and worshipped was sculpted into the form
of one who knelt and begged for forgiveness, and placed in crowded areas of town so
everyone was free to spit at or kick it when they passed by, and rid themselves of
misfortune. Or worse, some even had him sculpted to be prostrating, and used the
statue directly as a threshold, allowing tens of thousands to walk all over it. In the first
ten, twenty years after the kingdom of XianLe fell, those statues were a common sight in
many of the cities and towns, so how could Xie Lian himself not recognize his own
Just then, the voice of a young man said, “That little hyena Pei Su had to hug the bitch
legs of that manwhore Pei before he could ascend, so who does he think he is? He’s
nothing more than an exiled wild dog. To ruin my plans… Once I’m through with him,
even after the winds dry up his corpse no one would dare go to collect it!”
Before the person himself had appeared, cussing was already heard. Xie Lian gazed
over, and saw a figure clad in green enter the cave floating in. Due to a reason
somehow not worth mentioning, Xie Lian couldn’t help but look to the top of his head
first, and was actually kind of disappointed to see that person had only a mask on, but
no light above his head. A bunch of little ghosts dressed in green surrounded this green
clad man, and he stood as if he was surrounded by a circle of green light. This must be
one of the Four Evils in the ghost realm, the Green Ghost Qi Rong.
Ever since Nan Feng had first mentioned the name Qi Rong, Xie Lian had kept it in the
back of his mind and wondered whether if this ‘Qi Rong’ was the same ‘Qi Rong’ he
knew. However, there was an unwritten rule that no matter demons or ghosts they
would all hide their real names, and bury their past lives. Because of this, he didn’t think
they were the same person, only that the fake name had coincided with the real one.
Yet from the looks of things, he was more than certain. If it wasn’t that Qi Rong he knew,
how could there be another ‘Qi Rong’ who was obsessed with the statue of the kneeling
Crown Prince? And why would the sound of his voice be so familiar?
The little green ghosts that surrounded Qi Rong were loudly acclaiming him king and
wildly chattered, so Xie Lian somewhat figured out what had transpired. Turns out when
Qi Rong sent a few of his henchmen to the Ghost City, they failed in causing havoc, and
was decimated by Hua Cheng. He then regrouped and was ready to fight again. But
before the second round had even started, the henchmen bumped into the exiled Pei
Su on the road. Although exiled in the mortal realm, Pei Su nevertheless was once a
heavenly official, and had nothing better to do, so when the henchmen bumped into him
he might as well clean them up, and so they were once again decimated.
To lose so many henchmen in a short period of time, the moment Qi Rong received the
news he was furious, and cursed nonstop: “Like ancestors like descendants, that
fucking manwhore of a Pei Ming probably has sores all over his crotch. I should chop off
both his and Pei Su’s fucking dicks and hang them at their temples, and whoever
worships them will bleed pus with every step!”
Xie Lian had to really suppress the urge to cover his ears. The profanities were the
same; when Feng Xin got upset his curses were also too vulgar for ears, but as much
as he swore, it was obvious that they were only words of temporary anger, and there
was no real malintent. Qi Rong’s curses were different. The recipients have no doubt
that he truly wanted to curse them to die as crudely as the way he condemned, and
wholly unafraid to take cheap shots, thoroughly crass and obscene.
That group of little green ghosts agreed with Qi Rong loudly. He probably remembered
the able subordinates he worked so hard to raise, and continued, “Too bad that
strong-spirited woman Xuan Ji was captured by those two shameless Pei dogs and was
wronged so miserably. She couldn’t be saved even now.”
Xie Lian couldn’t agree with those words. Indeed Xuan Ji had a tragic story, but not
everything was General’s Pei’s fault like Qi Rong had described. After all, those ten
brides were kidnapped by her very person, and she was the one who killed them in cold
blood. Strong-spirited for sure, and a good woman indeed. But to say Little Pei only
ascended because he begged General Pei was something Xie Lian couldn’t agree with.
After seeing so many to ascended and descended, there was one thing Xie Lian could
say with absolute certainty: the skilled may not always ascend; but the ascended is
always skilled. If one is powerless, no matter who promoted them, they would not be
able to overcome heavenly calamities, and could only at most be an official in the
middle court. Xie Lian hadn’t interacted much with Pei Su, but even he could see that
Little Pei’s martial power was above that of Lang Qian Qiu. Only, power didn’t equal to
rank; there’s politics at play too, otherwise Pei Su would’ve long gotten his own palace.
Obviously those things weren’t of consideration to Qi Rong. He swore like there wasn’t
a single one in all of the realms he didn’t want cursed to death. He called Pei Ming a
man whore, Little Pei a leg-hugging dog, Jun Wu a faker, Ling Wen a bitch, Lang Qian
Qiu a moron, Quan Yi Zhen shit, the Water Master black-hearted, the Wind Master a
slutty woman – he probably didn’t know Shi Qing Xuan was actually a man. If Xie Lian
hadn’t seen it for himself, he wouldn’t be able to believe anyone could be so resentful.
Finally, Qi Rong made it to the main point, which was how Hua Cheng and that low-key
Ship-Sinking Black Water looked down on him. They were mere ‘Supreme’s, one day
for sure he’d have them kneel before him. Xie Lian should be angry hearing this, but
because he couldn’t even imagine how that would ever play out, he couldn’t help but
find it hilarious instead, and stole a glimpse at Hua Cheng. Hua Cheng himself didn’t
have any reaction, but instead was still closely staring at that kneeling stone statue.
Finally, thankfully, Qi Rong seemed to be assuaged by all the cursing, and changed the
subject. “How was the thing I sent you guys to do? Have Quan Yi Zhen and that man
whore Pei started fighting yet?”
He sat down as he spoke, lounging in his luxurious throne. He raised his legs and
rested his boots on the shoulders of that statue, using it as a footstool.
Xie Lian had been holding on to Hua Cheng’s arm, and stopped him immediately when
he felt him shuffle a step forward. He felt the pull back may not be enough, so he drew
another word in Hua Cheng’s palm: “Thanks”
Hua Cheng recognized the word. He lowered his head, then glanced at Xie Lian who
was watching him back with gratefulness in his eyes, thanking him for his good
intentions. Then, Xie Lian shook his head lightly, and drew the words “Listen” and
Qi Rong was talking as if he sent henchmen to do something, and it had something to
do with those two heavenly officials. It couldn’t be anything good, so Xie Lian wanted to
keep listening. As for the statue getting used as a footstool, thinking back, it’s even
been used as a threshold before, so really it meant nothing to Xie Lian. It was only a
piece of rock, not his person. Although he had only written those three simple words,
when their eyes met, Xie Lian knew Hua Cheng had understood what he had meant.
Hua Cheng slowly held his hand tight and turned his head away, so Xie Lian could no
longer see his face.
A little green ghost spoke up, “We followed our king’s instructions, and have long since
spread the rumours that Pei Ming wants to make Pei Su the martial god of the west.
Now it’s becoming more and more of a riot, so we used that as an excuse and
desecrated hundreds of Ming Guan temples disguised as Qi Ying palace’s devotees,
and no one was the wiser! Hahaha, my lord may not know, but those devotees are
really stupid! They saw us smashing temples, and smashed along with us with even
Qi Rong was pleased. “Keep fueling them! Quan Yi Zhen can endure it, but I won’t
believe that manwhore Pei Ming can put up with it!”
Even if what they were spreading wasn’t exactly a rumour, this kind of fabrication was
still full of malintent, especially something as unscrupulous as disguising as mortals to
sabotage temples, absolutely heinous, depraved, and perverse. No wonder whenever
Qi Rong was mentioned, everyone in the heavens would say he wasn’t skilled but
extremely troublesome. Xie Lian mentally noted, ‘If there’s a chance, do tell Jun Wu to
watch for any disputes between the two heavenly officials caused by others.’
When Qi Rong finished with business, he laid back, his pair of long legs resting on the
statue changed position. The little ghosts immediately knew what to do, and went to the
small crowd of people to pick out the best cut. The one child in the group was probably
not even ten years of age, and wasn’t very cognizant of the situation. He blinked his
large eyes and held on tight to his father’s shirt corner, yanking at it the more scared he
became. His young father’s face was ashen pale, trying to comfort him with a trembling
voice, “Don’t be scared, don’t be scared.” Yet it was obvious he himself was terrified to
One of the little green ghosts saw there was a child and was delighted, extending its
arm to grab at him. The young father screamed and jolted. Xie Lian moved before he
knew what he was going to do, but then he felt movement from the figure next to him.
Xie Lian turned his head to see, and Hua Cheng had stepped out from within the crowd.
Since Hua Cheng came especially to seek out the Green Ghost, now that he’d seen Qi
Rong he should’ve removed the disguise. Xie Lian had no doubt that Hua Cheng was
powerful enough to destroy everything within sight and no one would be able to stop
him. Yet, Hua Cheng did not reveal his true form, and maintained the skin of that normal
looking young man, and walked forward lazily.
A number of little green ghosts raised their weapons and shouted in alarm, “Stop! What
are you doing?!”
Qi Rong asked curiously, with this feet still up, “What’s with that little guy? Take him
Hua Cheng laughed, “Won’t you all show a little respect in the presence of XianLe
Hearing his words, not only Qi Rong, but even Xie Lian was taken aback.
After a frozen moment, Qi Rong stood up in a fit, snorted beneath the mask, as if his
fury was changed to a mad laugh, “What fucking bravery! To make such a joke before
me?! Tell me, and what branch of the XianLe royal blood are you from? Which one??”
Hua Cheng replied leisurely, “The Prince An Le.”
Xie Lian could feel the Lang Qian Qiu daruma doll in his arms jerk once.
Prince An Le was the descendant of the XianLe royalty the same generation as Lang
Qian Qiu, and could be said to be friends with Lang Qian Qiu.
Qi Rong’s mocking laugh could be heard from under the mask, “Prince An Le? I think
you’re seeking your own death! Who told you to start shit in front of me? The person
who appointed you didn’t teach you a little history? Prince An Le was the last remaining
royal blood of XianLe, and he’s already dead! Who the fuck are you to pretend to be
XianLe royalty before me?”
Hua Cheng raised his brow, “Oh? Dead? How did he die?”
Qi Rong shouted, “TAKE HIM DOWN! TAKE DOWN THAT ODD PIECE OF SHIT!”
Under his command, a large number of little green ghosts poured in from all around the
cave, yelling. In the midst of that chaos, Hua Cheng only smirked faintly.
His expression was nonchalant before, but the next moment it was as if a layer of frost
had been laid upon his face. His form suddenly flickered and disappeared, appearing
the next blink behind Qi Rong.
He single-handedly grabbed the back of Qi Rong’s head, and smashed it down hard like
a child playing with a ball. “And who the fuck are you, to be so insolent before me!”
A loud BANG and that luxurious throne suddenly had debris flying, dust filled the air. Xie
Lian pulled the child behind himself to shield him, and blocked off a few small pebbles.
When the dust settled, Qi Rong had disappeared. At a closer look, he didn’t disappear,
but his entire head was deeply embedded into the ground after Hua Cheng’s blow.
Humans and ghosts alike screamed and ran away.
“Don’t run away!” Xie lian shouted. If the people alerted all the ghosts within the cave,
they’d be killed for sure! But of course, as always, no one listened to him. Xie Lian
dropped his hands helplessly.
Under the circumstances, he had no time to worry about others either. Across the room,
Hua Cheng slowly knelt down; he used one hand to grab a fistful of Qi Rong’s hair, and
pulled out a bloodied head from the hole in the ground, and the body was pulled out
along with the head. After a brief moment of observation, Hua Cheng seemed to be
extremely amused, and burst out laughing.
Although he was laughing, his eyes were off by a million watts, eerie and terrifying.
RuoYe flew out and struck away a few of the little green ghosts who were trying to cut
down the escaping people. Xie Lian then turned around in a rush, his instincts telling
him something was very wrong. “San Lang? San Lang!”
Qi Rong’s mask cracked, some pieces falling. He threw up a mouthful of blood and
yelled, “SOMEBODY STOP HIM! Y’ALL COME AND STOP HIM!!”
Hua Cheng was just violently bashing him, but now he seemed to be at ease as if they
were best buddies and chatting. He chuckled, “Oh, didn’t you know? There are some
things in this world that’s unstoppable. Like, the sun setting in the west. Also, an
elephant squashing an ant. Or for example, —- ME TAKING YOUR LOWLY LIFE!”
By his last line, his face was savage and ferocious. He had in his hold Qi Rong’s whole
body, and he bashed it down into the ground again!
Another loud BANG. Qi Rong’s body laid in the ground and was smushed into a pool
worse than mush. The mask on his face cracked, breaking into small pieces revealing
half a face.
If anyone were to see that half a face, they’d discover a shocking fact:
The Green Ghost Qi Rong and the Crown Prince of XianLe, one ghost one god, a
difference of hell and heaven, looked very much alike!
●Baqian Taizi Temple translates to the Temple of Eight Thousand Crowned
●MXTX Author Note: [SPOILER in white font] Of course there won’t be the
overused cliche of ”Because the culprit looks like the protag so they went to kill
pretending to be protag, and made protag take the blame.”