Jiang Qu Lian stood in the void and looked around all of the ghost willow forest. Countless ghosts have been buried in this ferocious and messy battlefield. Although the ghost willow, which received a large amount of nutrients suddenly, had its branches damaged into pieces and countless broken vines crushed in the red fertile soil, its trunk became stronger and stronger, constantly growing new branches.
The ghost generals discovered that the ghost willow could keep regenerating, so they turned to attack its main trunk. Both sides suffered heavy damages.
Jiang Qu Lian gently closed his eyes and took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes again, his pupils were scarlet and bright. His red hair danced without wind, like the burning karmic fire of hell. He looked up at the sky and let out a high-pitched howl at the blood moon hanging 450,000 kilometers high in the sky. That scream was sharp, shrilling, and sinister, as if it could lift one's scalp. It spread far and wide in Jiuyou, transmitting to the mountains, turbulent streams, dense forests, and remote wilderness.
The ghost king in red issued his final call.
More and more ghost citizens and generals gathered from the depths of Jiuyou to the Underworld. Not many ghosts were summoned even in the battle between the Supreme Demon and the Great Emperor Beiyin, because they were not manipulated by the Heavenly Secret Talisman and were not Underworld messengers in the Underworld, but they were impelled by the king of the ghost kings to fight for him to the death.
The tide of ghosts from all sides of Jiuyou made Xie Bi An cautious in his breathing. He looked down at the Shanhe Sheji Map in his hand, and then looked at Fan Wu She who was fighting alone. He knew that Fan Wu She was not only fighting against thousands of ghosts with his power, but also against the erosion of his mind by the Heavenly Secret Talisman. This battle was probably even crueler than the Fengdu great war a hundred years ago.
They are the last line of defense in the ghost and human realms. If they lose, the lunatic Jiang Qu Lian will do evil that will endanger the three realms. They must defeat Jiang Qu Lian!
Xie Bi An gasped. The scroll in his hand slowly unfolded. The topography of the Underworld slowly appeared on the blank plain silk, and his spiritual power poured into it in large quantities.
"Big brother." Fan Wu She shouted, "Don't forget what you promised me!"
Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She from a distance and nodded. He opened his red lips slightly and whispered: "First ancestor of heaven and earth, a painting opens the sky."
There was a loud rumbling sound, and the earth and mountains shook. The towering Mount Luofeng was also shaking slightly. Stone walls were pulled out from the earth, and a wall was erected around the Underworld! The city wall was made of thick earth and stones. It was more than 3.33m high and several kilometers wide. It was facing the vast land of Jiuyou, resisting the attacks from the massive ghost army.
This amazing scene shocked everyone present. They naturally knew what the ancient magical treasure could do yet underestimated what Xie Bi An could do. This action greatly changed the landscape within a few kilometers radius. How could a physical mortal body bear this kind of consumption of spiritual power?!
Xie Bi An felt the spiritual energy flowing out of his body like a flood and rushing towards the Shanhe Sheji Map. He could not endure it for long, but he would endure it to his limit.
Fan Wu She looked at Xie Bi An's instantly pale face and was incessantly anxious. He said in a deep voice, "Big brother, I will end this battle quickly."
Jiang Qu Lian laughed, "Aren't you afraid of wringing that precious golden core of yours dry? It's such a waste. Why not let me eat it?"
Xie Bi An looked at the army of ghost citizens that were temporarily blocked outside the city wall. He knew that the wall would not last long, so he must defeat the enemy by capturing their leader in order to end the battle quickly.
Fan Wu She manipulated the ghost willow to attack Jiang Qu Lian. Those hundreds of willow branches continued to elongate and thicken. Finally, they turned into spiritual dragons, attacking from all directions.
Jiang Qu Lian swiped with his two ghost claws in a crisscross, and dozens of willow branches broke into several pieces in front of his eyes, but there were more coming from behind him, closing in step by step and leaving no gaps. One of his feet was entangled by the willow branches, and his body was dragged to the ground.
Jiang Qu Lian cut off the willow branches on his feet, turned into a red mist and hid, but he immediately felt a sharp murderous aura behind him. He did not think too much and somersaulted in the air. Immediately, he felt extreme pain on his back, and his body fell straight to the ground.
A string of blood beads drifted on the Junlan sword. Xie Bi An, who had been waiting behind the ghost willow for the right time to strike, gave Jiang Qu Lian a heavy sword blow. If he had a soul weapon like his master's Qingfeng sword in his hand, this blow would probably make Jiang Qu Lian completely lose his ability to resist him.
Jiang Qu Lian tumbled to the ground. Fan Wu She manipulated the ghost willow to chase him, which frantically wrapped around his waist and limbs. He broke the end, but the other end climbed up his body. Finally, he was bound in circles by the willow branches. Red clothes and green leaves; there was an untimely poetic flavor.
Xie Bi An was panting for breath. The consumption of his spiritual energy was starting to make him feel tired. Looking into the distance, more and more ghost citizens were climbing over the walls that were built out of thin air by the Shanhe Sheji Map and are coming towards their ghost king.
It's not easy for Fan Wu She to control this ghost willow, but it was not inferior to controlling millions of troops. His pupils had been covered with black blood veins, and the black death aura surrounded him like a fog. He suppressed his inner demons with his willpower, but the more he fought, the greater the consumption, and the greater the consumption, the more dependent he was on the Heavenly Secret Talisman, and the closer it was for him to succumb to it. He was no longer Zong Zi Xiao who could go crazy wantonly. He wanted to reassure his big brother.
Jiang Qu Lian was hanged up high by the ghost willow. Xie Bi An didn't dare to delay for a moment. He took out Wuqiongbi and directly aimed at the top of Jiang Qu Lian’s head. He poured a lot of spiritual power into this attack. As long as he dealt a heavy blow on the ghost’s head, that ghost would be severely injured at least and be crippled after reincarnation. At worst, that ghost’s soul would be scattered.
Jiang Qu Lian struggled with all his might. When he let out a fierce cry, the willow branches that bounded him broke into thousands of pieces in an instant. He turned into a red fog and escaped the moment before the soul-suppressing stick fell.
Xie Bi An swayed slightly, feeling tired and weak. His spiritual energy has depleted too much and too fast. He might only have one more chance to strike hard.
He looked at Fan Wu She. Their gazes met in mid-air. There’s no need to talk, and there’s no need to give secret signals. The tacit understanding of two lifetimes allowed them to immediately read each other's thoughts and work together flawlessly.
Millions upon millions of willow vines trembled lightly together and made a continuous rustling sound. The Yin soldiers and ghost generals trapped in the dense forest could not escape and fought with the ghost willow desperately. Several fresh branches grew from the trunk of the ghost willow. All the vines on the branches grew towards the sky at the same time one after another, weaving a net in the sky, designed to hunt the erratic and cunning ghost king in red.
Jiang Qu Lian kept shuttling and fleeing among the ghost willows. Countless branches were cut off where the ghost claws could reach. He actually killed a way out for himself in the impenetrable attack.
But Xie Bi An was waiting ahead on this road.
The sword energy of the Junlan Sword came sweeping in and attacked Jiang Qu Lian's vitals. Jiang Qu Lian was as fast as lightning and flew through the ghost willows, taking advantage of Xie Bi An's sword energy to cut off countless willow vines. However, he did not escape without getting hurt and was hit twice by the sword. The blood was dripping on and blending with his red clothes. At first glance, it seemed that the severity of his injuries could not be seen, but his increasingly gloomy face and tardy body motion had already shown his deterioration.
Fan Wu She pursued and attacked relentlessly with Xie Bi An, vowing to end this battle quickly.
Jiang Qu Lian was chased by the ghost willow everywhere. His army of ghost citizens was blocked by the city wall and were unable to come help him. It was equivalent to meeting the two ancient divine treasures head-on at the same time. Even if he had several hundred years of cultivation, it was also difficult for him to escape defeat. With one careless step, his ankle was wrapped around by the ghost willow. With this delay, the ghost willow attacked him in an overwhelming manner and wrapped him up again in the blink of an eye. He had no strength to break free.
Xie Bi An was also an arrow at the end of its flight*. He gripped Wuqiongbi with his trembling hand. With a shout, he flew up to meet the red-clothed ghost king's fierce, hateful, and unwilling gaze, and smashed towards his head.
In the nick of time, there was a crisp "ding" sound. Wuqiongbi was blocked by a long sword shining with a cold silver light.
Xie Bi An’s vision was slightly blurred. For a moment, he couldn’t see the visitor clearly, but he recognized him by his clothes: "Brother Lan?!”
The person who blocked Wuqiongbi's fatal blow was none other than Lan Chui Han.
Jiang Qu Lian lifted his head in astonishment and was looking incredulously at Lan Chui Han's back.
Lan Chui Han had a large body and clear eyes. There was no other haggard appearance from when he was just rescued from hell. He was just like the number one Lord in the world during his prime. However, his eyes changed and became deep and cold.
Xie Bi An came back to his senses and said angrily, "Do you know what you are doing!?"
Despite he could feel the burning sight behind him, Lan Chui Han did not look back at Jiang Qu Lian. He said in a deep voice: "Bi An, let me deal with him."
"How are you going to deal with him?" Xie Bi An said in a cold voice, "He only has two endings. Number one, soul scattering, and number two, go to hell."
"I still have unfinished business with him."
"Whatever grudge you have against each other is not a reason for you to save him." Xie Bi An gritted his teeth and said, "He killed my master, killed countless people, and caused great chaos in the human and ghost realms. He must die."
Jiang Qu Lian started chuckling, "What the hell are you guys doing? Lan Chui Han, or should I call you Lan Jiang?"
Lan Chui Han's body paused, but still did not turn back.
"What, it's been 600 years. You and I have been reincarnated. You still don't want to look at me? Do you disdain it, don't want to, or don't dare to do it?”
"......" Lan Chui Han slowly turned around. He gazed at Jiang Qu Lian. The emotions in his eyes were very complicated.
"Hahahahaha......Does it look good? Do we look good like this?”
Lan Chui Han whispered, "Is it worth your trouble?"
"'Worth my trouble'? I also want to know whether it’s worth my trouble. Jiang Qu Lian stared firmly into Lan Chui Han's eyes, "What about you? You saved me today, what is it for? It's not just because you slept with me, right?"
Lan Chui Han sighed lightly: "I don’t want you to become this way. Stop repeating your mistakes.”
Jiang Qu Lian continued to laugh. He couldn't stop laughing. His laughter became gradually deranged, and tears fell from his eyes. The blood on his body couldn't stop seeping out of the layers of the bound ghost willow, dyeing the green willow branches and his eyes red. His face was gradually distorted, and his eyes were completely red. He suddenly roared and his Yin energy soared. The ghost willow that bound his body was shattered into fine powder this time. The moment he regained his freedom, he suddenly pounced on Lan Chui Han fiercely.
Lan Chui Han could dodge, but he stubbornly restrained his instinct to avoid danger. He stood in place just like that. He let Jiang Qu Lian push him down on the ground. Jiang Qu Lian opened his mouth, bit his neck, and tore off a piece of flesh ruthlessly!
The extreme pain quickly spread throughout his body, but it was no match for the pain in his heart. Lan Chui Han's eyes were sore and swollen. In his slightly blurred vision, he saw Jiang Qu Lian's scarlet eyes, hideously distorted face, and the most primitive hunger that erupted when a beast saw its prey.
The hungry ghost identity awakened inside Jiang Qu Lian, and he lost control. He frantically tore open Lan Chui Han's clothes, and his sharp teeth penetrated the white flesh, dripping crimson blood.
Xie Bi An used his remaining strength to attack Jiang Qu Lian.
Yet Lan Chui Han tightly hugged Jiang Qu Lian who was eating him. He flew up and retreated to the distance while enduring the pain.
Fan Wu She did not chase after him. He was not interested in Jiang Qu Lian's fate. At the same time, he could hardly look after himself. The Yin energy invaded his body wantonly, and his pupils were losing the last bit of white.
"Lan Chui Han, don’t you want to live anymore?!" Xie Bi An was furious and anxious, but he already had no more energy to fight. The topographical landscape on the Shanhe Sheji Map disappeared, but the city walls were left there forever. Many ghost citizens had climbed over the city wall and were approaching the Underworld, and Fan Wu She’s situation was not optimistic. They really didn’t have time anymore.
"Don't come here." Lan Chui Han's face was ghastly pale. The great pain eroded his sanity and caused him to have a brief trance, but he quickly composed himself. He raised his hand with much difficulty and stroked Jiang Qu Lian's long, thick black hair, and called out in a trembling voice, "Ah Yun."
This "Ah Yun" seemed to have some magical power, which stunned the hungry ghost that only had an instinctive desire. He still had half a piece of fresh meat in his mouth, yet he stopped tearing Lan Chui Han with his teeth.
"It's not that I didn't see you. It's not that I didn't want to see you. I also remembered your name." Lan Chui Han's voice was still trembling, "It's just that in my previous life, I cultivated an abstinent path and no longer had my seven emotions and six desires. I couldn’t respond to you."
Jiang Qu Lian’s scarlet eyes were full of struggle. His intellect was fighting against the instinct of the hungry ghost, like a battle between a clear stream and a turbid stream. Whether it washed away its dirt or tarnished its clarity, it was difficult to predict the outcome before the last minute.
In his hundreds of years of cultivation, only the ever-improving cultivation enabled him to stifle the hunger, but once he is really hungry and out of control, there is no possibility of sobriety until he is full. However, this “Ah Yun” firmly caught a trace of his consciousness in his disordered desire.
"Ah Yun, I have never wanted to see you like this. The real you is not like this. I am also guilty that you fell into the Hungry Ghost Path." Lan Chui Han looked at the stunned Jiang Qu Lian and reached out his hand, caressing his cheek, "That’s enough. Stop doing evil again."
Jiang Qu Lian miraculously calmed down. The craziness in his eyes was slowly fading. The corners of his mouth were still stained with Lan Chui Han’s blood and pieces of flesh. He seemed to be formed by the fusion of blood. The red was blazing and dazzling. That bewitching and demonic beauty made people frightened and fascinated. Half of his red came from his own blood. Although he was only a spiritual body, he was already heavily injured. After losing the support of desire, his body fell.
Lan Chui Han embraced him. His heart was full of pathos. He was a god in his previous life, but he still couldn't understand the Way of Heaven. Otherwise, he wouldn't think hard and still not understand, and searched for answers everywhere. Why did they have to experience such a fate?
"I don't believe you." Jiang Qu Lian coughed out a mouthful of blood and said with difficulty, "You despised me, you loathed me, you said before......that everything about me has nothing to do with you."
Lan Chui Han said gloomily, "I have never despised and loathed you." That only youth who stirred his heart's lake had already lived in the bottom of his heart.
"You......cough cough......" Jiang Qu Lian said with hatred, "I became like this. I became a hungry ghost. Do you know what a hungry ghost is? It's an animal that eats everything. Why, why should I become a hungry ghost?"
Lan Chui Han lowered his head deeply as if he could not face Jiang Qu Lian's interrogation.
"Then why don't you ask why he turned into a mortal?" Cui Jue came walking step by step. Looking at these two, he couldn't help sighing, "If it weren't for him, you would have been thrown into the Hell Path."
Jiang Qu Lian was stunned: "What did……you say?"
Cui Jue was looking at Jiang Qu Lian's eyes with no joy or anger. It was a kind of compassion that overlooked all things from Jiutian. He said slowly: "You blew up the heavenly prison, burned 16 prison guards to death, and made more than 100 evil demons and monsters escape from the prison. Most of them descended to the human realm and caused disasters. Your sins were very serious, and you should have been thrown into the Hell Path or Animal Path and should not even possess any consciousness and memories. However, the god Lan Jiang exchanged his thousands of years of cultivation and divine position for you to go to the Hungry Ghost Path, and he himself was demoted as a mortal and could not become an immortal forever."
Jiang Qu Lian remained stiff for a long time like a stone statue. Only the slightly bright pupils in his eyes still had a trace of fury. What Cui Jue said just now echoed repeatedly in his mind. It was obvious that it was easy to understand, yet he still needed to break up the words to understand them, because he couldn't believe what he heard.
"You hated him for being heartless and ruthless, not even getting a glance or a piece of clothing from him in your previous life, but you didn’t know how much he gave up for you. You suffered in the Heavenly Prison, so he transformed into a prison guard to protect you. You caused a great disaster, so he used his cultivation and divine position to protect you. As a result, he let you cultivate the Hungry Ghost Path and come back to harm countless people." Cui Jue's eyes became gradually sharper, and his tone also sharpened, "Jiang Qu Lian, are you worthy?"
Lan Chui Han's head hung unbearably low. An unspeakable sorrow flowed from his eyes. At first, he thought it was better to put him into the Hungry Ghost Path than the Hell Path or the Animal Path, and that was the best thing among the bad choices, but he never thought that the unbridled, flamboyant, and high-spirited red-haired youth becoming the cruel and evil ghost king now.
Although Ah Yun acted unreasonably at the beginning, he had a kind character. Even if he caused trouble, he didn't do it maliciously. However, the current Jiang Qu Lian had a heart that was already soaked in the poison of hatred and bloodthirstiness for centuries. He regarded the living creatures as nobodies and trampled them as he wished. He regarded the underworld as dogs and horses* of the gods and planned to overthrow everything. He’s mad, crazy, cruel, and heinous. He’s a true ghost and the king of ghost kings.
It was because he had seen Ah Yun's capricious but pure manner that Lan Chui Han was so distressed by Jiang Qu Lian in front of him. If he had known that his choice would have turned that Asura youth into a ghost king and would have brought such a calamity to both the human and ghost realms, he would be willing to smash his soul with his own hands and be done with it.
But now the big mistake had been made and nothing could be undone.
Jiang Qu Lian cleared up his mind, used his remaining strength, and pushed Lan Chui Han away. He laid prostrate on the ground and shook his head strenuously: "Impossible." That crimson gaze moved back and forth between Cui Jue and Lan Chui Han, "Did he ever look at me once? He would give up his cultivation and divine position for me? Hahaha, that's ridiculous!"
"If you don't believe me, open the Golden Trunk Jade Policy and you'll know at a glance." Cui Jue said in a deep voice, "You don't even have the courage to take a look. You're living in a self-blaming fantasy, afraid that the truth will make you realize that everything you've done is wrong, meaningless and harmful to others and to yourself!"
"Shut up!" Jiang Qu Lian glared viciously at Cui Jue, "You're nothing but a lackey of the Heavenly Palace. You haven't been an Asura or a hungry ghost. You were born as an outstanding person and became a ghost immortal after death. Everyone respects you. You will never understand what I've been through."
"I don't have to understand. That's your own life, but you don't even dare to see the full picture of your own life?"
Jiang Qu Lian's hands were clenched into fists. His gaze wavered several times, and finally collided with Lan Chui Han's. His distorted facial features were full of inner struggles. Other than hatred, there was panic in his eyes, as if he was inquiring and escaping.
Lan Chui Han said softly: "Ah Yun, return the Book of Life and Death and the Jade Policy to Official Lord Cui. It doesn't matter whether you see it or not, but you shouldn’t make any more mistakes."
Jiang Qu Lian was silent for a long time and asked in a weak mosquito voice, "Is it true?"
"Is what he said true?" Jiang Qu Lian stared straight into Lan Chui Han's eyes. Those eyes were firm with indescribable tenderness. The first time he saw the young Lan Chui Han in Chidi City, he not only recalled Lan Jiang's appearance, but also these beautiful eyes, just that the emotions they revealed were worlds apart. He barely hesitated before wanting to get close, be intimate, and to have him for himself. He thought Lan Chui Han could give him all the things he longed for but couldn't get from Lan Jiang. Lan Chui Han did give it to him, but it was too late. He had become a ghost and could not be redeemed.
Lan Chui Han pursed his lips and whispered, "I did see you and remembered your name." In this life, he was a talented and affectionate noble master. He could easily say flirty words. At this time, when facing Jiang Qu Lian's inquiry, he obviously should say more pleasant words with a glib tongue, but he couldn't say it. The return of Lan Jiang's memory didn't turn him into another person, just that after the fusion of the two memories, he was no longer just Lan Chui Han. When facing Jiang Qu Lian, he could only refrain and seriously say such words. This is nearly the sincerest response Lan Jiang could give.
Jiang Qu Lian's heart ached extremely, and his eyes gradually blurred: "Was that prison guard really you?"
"You really......really did it for me.....?" Jiang Qu Lian's voice gradually choked, "I don't believe it. You clearly said ‘It has nothing to do with me'. You were obviously indifferent to me!"
Lan Chui Han said gloomily: "If I give up my cultivation, the divine position, and become a mortal, I can regain my seven emotions and six desires as a mortal. I thought, if there’s one day, if our fate is not over and we can meet again in the afterlife, I can...respond to you."
Jiang Qu Lian gasped, and his tears fell uncontrollably: "Are you really this stupid? If you are willing to disguise yourself as a prison guard to help me and give up your divine position for me, isn't that already a 'response'. What I was trying to do in my previous life is just to be closer to you, even if you showed a little bit, a little bit of care for me, we would not be like this!"
Lan Chui Han slowly stretched out his hand, caressed Jiang Qu Lian’s cheek, and said with a soft voice: "Ah Yun, I'm sorry. It's just that the past Lan Jiang couldn't even apologize. In fact, he had many things he wanted to say to you, but he couldn't."
Jiang Qu Lian's tears could not stop flowing down, but then he let out a mournful laughter: "Ridiculous. Why do you want me to know this now? Why did you save me? Why not just let me go to hell and be an animal? I'd rather have my soul scattered than be a hungry ghost!"
"I want you to have a chance to start over. If you fall into the Hell Path or the Animal Path, there will be nothing left."
"A chance to start over? Hahahaha." Jiang Qu Lian cried and laughed, "Do you know what I've eaten? I ate everything. When I was born, the people in the village realized a hungry ghost was born and wanted to kill me in my infancy. My mother was not willing to part with me and took me away. We hid from place to place and depended on each other. But when I couldn't find food and couldn’t tolerate my hunger, I ate her. I ate my mother. I ate my companions, my loyal subordinates, and a pile of fierce ghosts with rotten bones and meat in the deep streams and dense forests. This is a hungry ghost! I can't start over. How can I start over?!"
Lan Chui Han closed his eyes in pain.
Jiang Qu Lian chuckled continuously. His tears were also flowing continuously. He slowly rose from the ground, and his body was swaying, trying to maintain the dignity of the red-clothed ghost king: "Tell me, what did you see in the Chamber of Nightmares?"
"I saw you. I saw you suffering in the Heavenly Prison, and the torture you might have suffered after being demoted to the Underworld." Lan Chui Han said in a deep voice, "If you want to take revenge on me, just come at me. This grudge started between you and me, so it should also end with you and me."
Jiang Qu Lian looked at Lan Chui Han with tears in his eyes. His wet eyes were full of painful struggles: "I also wanted to be human. If I weren’t an Asura, nor a hungry ghost, just a human being, would we......"
Would we have different encounters and different endings?
But he didn't ask him in the end. What else could such a hypothesis do other than increasing the misery? He couldn't ask.
Lan Chui Han stretched out his hand with his palm facing up. His voice was slightly choked: "Ah Yun, return the Book of Life and Death to Official Lord Cui."
"Return it to him, and then what?" Jiang Qu Lian seemed to be crying and laughing, "If I return it to him, I’ll have to go to the infernal hell."
Lan Chui Han laughed miserably, "I'll accompany you. You can't be a human anymore, but I can accompany you in being a ghost. Let's end this."
"I don't want to be a ghost." Jiang Qu Lian murmured, "I don't want to be a ghost."
Jiang Qu Lian looked at Lan Chui Han grimly: "Do you still remember my former appearance?"
"I remember. Your hair was fiery red, and your eyes were big and bright......"
"Yes, I have red hair. Before I recovered the memories of my previous life, I loved to wear red clothes, and especially hated blue." Jiang Qu Lian let out a bitter laugh, "However, when I saw you for the first time in Chidi City, I still recognized you at once and still wanted to get close to you. When you said you wanted to be my cultivation partner, I was so happy and proud. It’s not like I didn’t think about living this life just like this and accompanying you to old age, but my hatred was hard to dispel. How can I forget the torture I’ve suffered?!"
"Everything started by me. If you want to take revenge, I’m at your disposal." Lan Chui Han looked into the distance. More and more ghosts were climbing over the city walls and pouring into the Underworld. He said urgently, "Do not implicate the innocent again!"
Xie Bi An's dantian had nearly run dry. He looked at the dense crowd of ghosts, and his hand clutching the Shanhe Sheji Map tightened suddenly. At this moment, the Yin Yang Monument connecting the human and ghost realms was wide open. If they couldn’t block these ghosts in Huangquan Road, they would flow into Jiuzhou. The human realm could no longer withstand such an onslaught. Then, how many people would die?
"Big brother, give me the Sheji Map."
Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She. He was looking at his pitch-black eyes. The black blood veins almost crawled all over the sclerae, and the ruthless Yin energy gave him a great sense of oppression.
In a flash, Xie Bi An felt that he saw the Supreme Demon Zong Zi Xiao of the previous life. The bitter hatred plus the erosion of the Yin energy of the Heavenly Secret Talisman had completely induced his inner demons, making him sinister and cold-blooded. The desire for revenge and the thirst for power eventually destroyed everything, including himself.
Fan Wu She cannot have his mind eroded by the Heavenly Secret Talisman again.
Xie Bi An shook his head: "Wu She, you also promised me that you would control yourself."
"I can. Give me the Sheji Map." Seeing the crowd of ghosts was approaching closer and closer, Fan Wu She said in a deep voice, "Big brother, there is no other way."
Xie Bi An gasped and mobilized the last of his spiritual energy.
"No!" Fan Wu She said in a stern voice, "You can't withstand this kind of spiritual energy consumption now. You'll empty yourself out!"
Jiang Qu Lian also looked at the distance in silence. The army blocked by the walls that Xie Bi An had pulled up had already surpassed the barrier and poured into the Underworld. Most of them were lonely souls and wild ghosts summoned by him and had no consciousness and mindset. Just like a hungry wolf pouncing on a lamb, when they smelled the scent of living people, they only have the instinct of eating and will no longer obey him.
Jiang Qu Lian suddenly felt very tired, as if he had never closed his eyes in these 600 years. There was a string in his heart which had always been stretching tightly, forcing him to move forward alone and racking his brains just to subvert this world he hated. But today, this string broke. It turned out that he had already gotten what he wanted. At this moment, he finally realized his deep fatigue.
Jiang Qu Lian turned his face to look at Lan Chui Han, trying to tug the corners of his mouth, and smiled a little: "If we were only mortals, how good would that be. If you ignored me, I would also keep pestering you, and a lifetime of pestering would soon pass."
Lan Chui Han’s tears rolled down: "I will definitely respond to you, look at you, remember your name, and agree to dual-cultivate with you. You are so fierce and capricious that I can only listen to you for the rest of my life."
The watery vision had already blurred Lan Chui Han’s handsome face. Jiang Qu Lian wiped away his tears with force and looked hard at Lan Chui Han again, as if this was the last time. At the same time, he took out the Book of Life and Death and the Jade Policy from his arms and threw them to Cui Jue. He raised his chin and said arrogantly: "I do not need the Underworld to judge my good and evil. Only I can judge myself." He turned around resolutely and rushed towards the army of ghosts.
Jiang Qu Lian let out a high-pitched ghostly howl. His hands turned into ghost claws, his red clothes danced wildly, and he smashed his claws into the ground like a ball of flame. With a loud boom, the earth split into a narrow deep gorge that ran for miles, splitting the Huangquan Road in two from it. The deep gorge was emitting an orange-red fire light, and heat waves were rising.
The army of lonely souls and wild ghosts fell into it like falling stones.
He opened the Ghost Gate that led straight to the infernal hell!
Jiang Qu Lian's Yin energy was flourishing wildly like a wave, surging in all directions, and everywhere he went, it was as if people were falling into the ice cave. He tore the Ghost Gate bigger and bigger and took the thousands of fierce ghosts he personally summoned back to hell with his own hands.
Jiang Qu Lian looked at the abyss of tumbling lava. That fiery red light and heat gave him a wonderful sense of belonging, as if it was silently calling him. He turned around, and his flying black hair was covered with bright red light by the karmic fire of hell. He showed an unprecedented gentle smile at Lan Chui Han. At this moment, the evil was washed away on his beautiful face and showed a bit of innocence.
In a trance, Lan Chui Han once again saw that simple capricious red-haired Asura youth.
"Be a good person. You’ll simply lose all interest in life if you have no feelings and desires. Eternal life is just a burden. It’s good to be a mortal." Jiang Qu Lian said with a smile, "Lan Jiang, don't forget me." He turned around and jumped into the Ghost Gate.
"Ah Yun----" Lan Chui Han's eyes were wide with anger*, and he flew over without hesitation.
"Brother Lan!" Xie Bi An quickly chased after him, but he was too late to grab a piece of Lan Chui Han's clothes.
Lan Chui Han followed Jiang Qu Lian and fell into the infernal hell. Like two fluttering butterflies, one red and one blue were entangling and flying into the deep abyss, and finally they were annihilated in the boiling lava.
The Ghost Gate, which was a huge opening on the earth, also closed.
Xie Bi An crouched on the ground. His internal organs were convulsing, and his throat was rolling with a bitter cry of sorrow. To him, Lan Chui Han was not only a close friend, but also Zhong Ming’s descendant and the successor of the Junlan sword. He felt a deep pain in his heart when he was watching Lan Chui Han fall.
Cui Jue looked at the Book of Life and Death in his hand. His brows were tightly locked, and the light of his pupils dimmed.
As soon as Jiang Qu Lian disappeared, his Yin soldiers and ghost generals also scattered like birds and animals, and the ghost willow forest returned to its stillness again. Only the limbs and rivers of blood under the tree, as well as the shrill ghost cries when the Yin wind blew, were evidence that a fierce battle had just ended here.
Fan Wu She’s body swayed. He staggered two steps before half kneeling on the ground.
"Wu She!" Xie Bi An ran over and supported him with strong arms.
Fan Wu She slowly raised his head. His eyes became almost completely black. His veins on his forehead were bulging. His sweat flowed wildly down his cheeks, and his messy hair on his forehead added a bit of wretchedness. He looked like he was possessed, fighting against the invisible forces in his body.
"Wu She, Wu She, look at me." Xie Bi An patted Fan Wu She’s face lightly and said in a voice that only the two could hear, "Look at me."
Fan Wu She raised his head and looked at Xie Bi An, but his eyes, which the black death aura had forcibly occupied, kept flickering. He struggled to see the person in front of him clearly. His lips were opening and closing slightly, "......Big brother?"
"I am big brother." Xie Bi An cupped Fan Wu She's face, endured his heartache, and said while doing his best to keep a calm exterior, "Xiao Jiu, do you still recognize big brother?"
"Then do you listen to big brother?" Xie Bi An felt sad and he had the urge to shed tears.
"......Listen?" Fan Wu She's voice reveals a hint of hesitation, and his pupils struggle again.
"Listen to big brother and come back to your senses."
Xie Bi An stretched out his hand, held Fan Wu She's hand, and slowly opened his fingers: "Give me the Heavenly Secret Talisman, okay?" Manipulating that ten-thousand-year-old ghost willow consumed an unimaginable amount of spiritual energy. That spiritual energy was all borrowed by Fan Wu She from the Heavenly Secret Talisman, so the price was also huge. He knew that Fan Wu She was only a foot away from entering the abyss again. He absolutely cannot use the Heavenly Secret Talisman again!
Fan Wu She clenched his hand suddenly. There was a murderous gleam in his eyes, but he was restrained by something and did not flare up. He just gritted his teeth and said, "What are you doing?"
"If you are manipulated by a magical treasure, even if your body is free, your soul hasn’t left hell." Xie Bi An gently stroked Fan Wu She’s cheek and choked. "Xiao Jiu, it was big brother who’s incompetent and couldn't save you in my previous life. I will never give up in this life. I’m here to save you. I'll take you home."
Fan Wu She looked at Xie Bi An in a daze, and his gaze was hesitant.
"You don't need the Heavenly Secret Talisman anymore. Give it to me. I want you to come back to me soberly." Xie Bi An once again held Fan Wu She's hand. His gaze was firm, powerful, and gentle.
"Yes, go home. You've been away from home for too long. Big brother hasn't cooked you a good meal yet." Xie Bi An's tears fell quietly, "Xiao Jiu, come home with big brother."
"'Go home'......" Fan Wu She tears trickled down without warning, like a clear spring washing the filth from his eyes, it’s just that the black death aura was still struggling.
Xie Bi An gently stroked his fingers. He said with tears in his eyes: "You don’t need this kind of thing. Our home doesn’t need this kind of thing. Give it up. Don’t be dragged by hatred and desire again. Don’t lose your original intention."
A wrestle was quietly performing in an invisible place, and Fan Wu She tried his best to suppress the violence and impulse in his body.
Xie Bi An embraced him, still holding his hand in one hand, and whispered like he was coaxing Fan Wu She to sleep when he was a child: "Listen to big brother. Let's go home."
Big brother's embrace was not as thick and broad as when he was a child. It even seemed a bit weak, but it still emitted a faint orchid fragrance. It was still the warmest and most reassuring place in the world.
Fan Wu She’s tears couldn’t stop flowing down. The gloominess in front of his eyes gradually dissipated, like clearing the clouds to see the sun. His hand finally relaxed, and Xie Bi An carefully took the Heavenly Secret Talisman from his hand.
Fan Wu She fell weakly into Xie Bi An's arms and closed his eyes as if his energy had been drained. His nostrils were flaring, and he was panting wearily.
Xie Bi An's dangling heart* landed gently on the ground. He let out a long breath and was stroking Fan Wu She's hair with heartache.
Cui Jue said, "Bi An, leave the Underworld to us. You must return to the human realm now. There is still a crisis that has not yet been solved." He flipped through the Book of Life and Death, and his eyebrows did not relax for a long time, "I can't see Xu Zhi Nan’s ending, because his physical body is dead, and his soul is alive in someone else’s body. I've never seen such a situation. Even the Book of Life and Death is having some difficulty in verifying it. However, according to the changes of life in some of the Chunyang Sect’s disciples, Xu Zhi Nan should be in Luojinwu now. Go back and send him to the Underworld so he could bear the karma he should bear."
Xie Bi An nodded and helped Fan Wu She to stand up.
"Little White Master." Bo Zhu came over and said with teary eyes, "Will I be able to see you again?"
"Yes." Xie Bi An touched his head, "Definitely."
"But can you defeat that demon in the human realm?"
Xie Bi An said with certainty, “The good will always triumph over the evil. The human realm will return to peace."
"Okay, I will wait for you to come back and personally send me to reincarnate."
"It's a deal!" Xie Bi An held Fan Wu She, rose up with his sword, and flew towards the Yin Yang Monument. He turned his head and looked at the ruined Underworld, a messy ghost willow forest, and the Huangquan Road split from it. His heart was full of boundless bewilderedness. He turned his head back with only perseverance remaining in his eyes.
They returned to the human realm through the Yin Yang Monument. Xie Bi An looked at the devastated and empty Fengdu City. Thinking of the bustling scene here and the harmony between people and ghosts, he felt even more dismal.
He took Fan Wu She and flew in the direction of Luojinwu for a while. His physical and spiritual strength were exhausted, so he had to land and rest.
Fan Wu She's consciousness was faint at first. After resting, he was only slightly sober, but he was still weak: "Big brother......where are we going now?"
"To Luojinwu." Xie Bi An made him lean on him and fed him water, "Official Lord Cui said that Xu Zhi Nan is in Luojinwu. As we expected, he wants to go back and control the Chunyang Sect."
"Xu Zhi Nan has already eaten Song Chun Gui's human core, got Cheng Yan Zhi's body, and with the ice crystal and two major magical treasures to protect his body, his current cultivation level is unmatched in the world." Fan Wu She sighed, "We are now overly depleted, and are by no means his opponent."
"No, you absolutely can't use the Heavenly Secret Talisman again. Once you get possessed, all our previous efforts will be wasted." Xie Bi An gently bit his lower lip, "We can defeat him. There are no invincible enemies if we join hands together as brothers.”
Fan Wu She smiled faintly, "With this sentence from big brother, I am willing to go through life and death."
Xie Bi An immediately felt a little embarrassed: "Alright, you rest well. Later, we’ll......"
"Big brother, thank you for saving me." Fan Wu She grabbed Xie Bi An's hand and interlocked their fingers.
"......I came late."
"You didn’t give up on me, so it is not late at all. I have been waiting for you, and finally I’ve waited for you to take me home."
Xie Bi An held the gentle and powerful hand back, and his heart was injected with a strong force. Just as he realized, he had to redeem himself by redeeming others. This was his real rebirth.
At this moment, it was like dawn finally arriving after a long night.
The two of them recuperated overnight. Xie Bi An's spiritual power recovered slightly, while Fan Wu She’s loss was much greater than his. He just braced himself with difficulty, but they still arrived in Jingzhou as fast as they could.
The Chunyang Sect in Jingzhou, which once represented self-respect, purity, and orthodoxy, was a treasure land that attracted countless cultivators from all over the world. It made Xie Bi An’s heart fill with sadness at this time. First, he thought of the big brother he once respected the most when he was a teenager, who turned out to be a two-faced person and did all kinds of evil. Second, he thought of Lan Chui Han spending his childhood here. From a weak and sick child to a famous, lively, and elegant young master, to him finally disappearing into the boiling lava of the infernal hell. Just the words "Luojinwu" already hurt his heart.
"Big brother, you're thinking of Lan Chui Han, right?" Fan Wu She glanced at Xie Bi An and saw that his eyes were frozen with inextricable sorrow.
"He abandoned everything in this life for Jiang Qu Lian." Xie Bi An deeply knitted his eyebrows, "How can he..." Once his words were spoken, they would certainly be filled with resentment, so he held back, but he couldn't bear the resentment and pain in his chest. He hated Jiang Qu Lian very much. He hated Jiang Qu Lian for killing his master, Lan Chui Han, and so many innocent people. But Lan Chui Han died with him. He couldn't forget it for a lifetime.
"Big brother, this is their own choice. Lan Chui Han did this, so that must be the best ending he could think of."
"'The best ending'......"
"Yes, Jiang Qu Lian's sins are irredeemable. If he was thrown into the Hell Path, he would suffer infinite torture forever. It’s all over now. The Jiang Qu Lian we saw was just a fierce ghost, but in Lan Chui Han’s eyes......" Fan Wu She sighed lightly, "Lan Chui Han had seen his former appearance, so he couldn’t let go."
Xie Bi An was silent and his chest was clogged. How much power did the word "love" have that could make people go crazy? On the contrary, he and Fan Wu She could not step over this barrier. If it was him, what better choice would he have?
During the conversation, the two entered Jingzhou City. It looked depressing and quiet. All the merchants and houses were closed. Not to mention the people in the street, they couldn't even see a few dogs guarding the houses. Jingzhou used to be so prosperous and lively, but now it seemed to be drained of its soul by some demon. This kind of Jingzhou was not surprising to them. Fumenghui, Fengdu city, and Lanxi Town, which one didn’t use to be bustling and crowded?
The immortal cultivation world really seemed to be exhausted. Even if Jiang Qu Lian had died and Xu Zhi Nan had been defeated, who would be able to reorganize the flags and drums*, lead the immortal cultivation world to establish a new order, eliminate the lonely souls and wild ghosts who fled to all parts of Jiuzhou, and return a peaceful and happy human realm to the people in this devastating mess?
Everything made people feel despair.
When they arrived at Luojinwu, unsurprisingly, Xu Zhi Nan was already waiting in front of the monastery. There were many elders and cultivators of Chunyang Sect standing beside him, but there was no sign of his disciple*, Zhao Wen.
The current Xu Zhi Nan has a young and handsome body that belonged to his senior brother Cheng Yan Zhi. Cheng Yan Zhi was already a high-ranking cultivator before he was injured. Even if the refinery of his body was far less than Xu Zhi Nan, who was a generation of immortals at his peak, he’s also a bronze wall*. In addition, Song Chun Gui’s human core helped them fully integrate their soul and flesh and healed Cheng Yan Zhi's injuries. He also had a double armor of ice crystals and the Golden Carved Jade Suit. The strength of this body was beyond everyone's imagination. Even if Zhong Kui was still alive, he probably would not have the confidence to break it with one blow.
Xie Bi An looked at that familiar and unfamiliar face, and found a few scenes related to Cheng Yan Zhi in his vague memory. In his impression of him, he was a quiet but very reliable man, and had great respect for his senior brother. He was young yet talented and definitely had great prospects in the future. Unfortunately, his fate was unfavorable, and he fell into Lu Zhao Feng’s trap. Not only was he seriously injured by the Thunderfire Stones, but his golden core was also dug out and taken away, and he became a living dead man who needed a magical treasure to hang onto his breath. Finally, he was used by Xu Zhi Nan. He still didn’t know the true face of his senior brother until he died, and also misunderstood his beloved woman. His body was seized by Xu Zhi Nan and became a vessel for his rejuvenation.
What a tragic life.
Xu Zhi Nan saw the duo. Although he looked calm on the surface, his body had already entered a defensive state. His muscles were tensed from head to toe, and his eyes were fixed at the duo, eyeing on their every move.
"Xu Zhi Nan, you finally got what you wanted." Xie Bi An said coldly, "What’s next? Who else do you want to harm and what evil do you want to do?"
"Naturally, I will do what I should do as the leader of my Chunyang Sect; to carry my sect forward and mold a foundation for the ages to come." Xu Zhi Nan said.
"How can you face your disciples?" Xie Bi An gritted his teeth, "You not only violated Chunyang Sect’s doctrine and lost the heart of Dao, but also lost your humanity."
"Zi Heng, it's already meaningless for you to say this." Xu Zhi Nan said calmly, "The law of the jungle* is the real rule for the operation of the three realms. Otherwise, why can celestial beings enjoy Jiutian and immortality exclusively, and we have to suffer from reincarnation repeatedly? I have lived for more than 100 years and have changed into three bodies. What doctrine and heart of Dao? I’ve figured out some things, and I no longer cared about other things.”
"As cultivators, we must first cultivate our heart and virtues, yet you have lost your heart and virtue. You have completely lost yourself in the path to immortality, and you still think that you can convince the world by force?!"
"Heh, what else did you expect?" Xu Zhi Nan looked around, "When you appear before me, that means Jiang Qu Lian was defeated, but you look so weak. What are you going to use to defeat me? Is it the Shanhe Sheji Map that will empty your spiritual power, or the Heavenly Secret Talisman that could backfire on him at any time? I am the top of the mountain, and the mountains can only take me as the peak. If I tell you how to cultivate this path, then you will cultivate it in that way."
"You are absolutely wrong." Xie Bi An said sternly, "Those who do not have justice on their side will get little help. No one will sincerely follow you. No one will really help you build an eternal foundation. Where are all the people who were once willing to trust, follow, and help you? Cheng Yan Zhi's body is occupied by you. What about your first disciple Zhao Wen? Where's Qi Meng Sheng?"
Xu Zhi Nan snorted coldly, "Zhao Wen is a mediocre waste. How can I be willing to hand over this huge foundation to a mediocre person? If I have one useful disciple among my disciples, perhaps I wouldn't be so obsessed. As for Qi Meng Sheng......" The expression in his eyes slightly changed. Like a spark in the endless snow plain, there was a trace of warmth. He said, "She is a smart person and will naturally make a wise choice, right?"
A graceful figure came out from behind a group of tall Chunyang Sect’s cultivators. It was Hua Xiang Rong who was abducted by Jiang Qu Lian in Lanxi Town, but as they expected, the insides of Hua Xiang Rong had been replaced by Qi Meng Sheng.
Qi Meng Sheng's eyes were cold and empty as if they couldn’t be filled even if the whole world was thrown into them.
"Qi Meng Sheng......" Xie Bi An took a deep breath, "We are more or less considered as old friends. Long time no see."
Fan Wu She narrowed his eyes slightly, looked at Qi Meng Sheng with fixed eyes, and said mockingly, "You dared to fight with me in the beginning, but now you succumbed to such a nondescript thing."
Qi Meng Sheng silently swept a glance at Fan Wu She, then looked at Xie Bi An, and then averted her gaze. That look should not be attributed to mere evasion, but ---- she had nothing to say.
For more than 100 years, everything had changed, and the sea had turned into mulberry fields. Who could have imagined that they would be reunited in such a way a hundred years later under the chaos of that time?
The most ironic thing about this was that they were back in the same predicament they were in back then, with no progress, and even worse than a hundred years ago. In this situation, there was really nothing to say.
Xu Zhi Nan naturally took Qi Meng Sheng's hand and revealed a proud smile that could not be concealed: "Thanks to Song Zhen Ren’s core, he’s worthy of being the reincarnation of the Human Emperor. Not only did it heal all the injuries of this physical body, including the golden core that was dug out and taken away, but also helped me to break through the highest state of the Chunyang Sect --- the Indestructible Heavenly Fire. I no longer have to be restricted by the Chunyang Technique anymore. I can leave my own offspring and pass on the Chunyang Sect of my Xu family to generations after generations. Hahahahaha---"
"The Chunyang Sect does not belong to your Xu family's, and Jiuzhou will never belong to your Xu family's either." Xie Bi An drew his sword and pointed it at Xu Zhi Nan, "A hundred years ago, neither you nor I would have thought that one day the sword you gave me personally would be used against you."
Xu Zhi Nan slowly glanced at the Junlan sword. There seemed to be something moving slightly and fleeting in his eyes. He smiled lightly: "Zi Heng, I have always thought about our former friendship, but you have repeatedly obstructed me. When you were the Emperor Zong, I also did my best to assist you, but now the tide has turned and I want to be the owner of the world, and you can't tolerate it anymore?"
"No need to provoke me with such words. You know that I don't care about being the emperor. What I can't tolerate is a core thief trying to steal the world.”
Xu Zhi Nan laughed sarcastically: "Since ancient times, it is right and proper for the Han and Ming dynasties to seize the world*, but so what? A truly enlightened ruler cares about making the world peaceful. I will definitely do better than you with Jiuzhou in my hands. Combined with the wealth of my Xu family and the foundation of the Chunyang Sect, I will be able to restore the immortal cultivation world, cleanse evil, and let the people live in peace and happiness."
"Shameless." Xie Bi An trembled with anger. "You accounted for half of the disaster of Jiuzhou. Although Jiang Qu Lian is evil, he has never tried to flaunt himself in the name of justice. You are worse than a ghost."
Xu Zhi Nan's expression changed slightly, and then he smiled again immediately, "This is a good remark, but unfortunately, not a lot of people will hear it anymore." He sighed lightly, "Zi Heng, let's finish this."
Xie Bi An and Fan Wu She attacked Xu Zhi Nan with their swords at the same time. Xu Zhi Nan faced them with empty hands. With only a sweep of his palm, the power of the wind generated from his palm forced the duo to retreat.
Xu Zhi Nan stood with his hands clasped behind his back, and his body was upright: "Take out your magical treasures. Otherwise, you guys are incapable of being my opponent."
It's not that Xie Bi An didn’t want to use the Shanhe Sheji Map, but he couldn’t use it. Not to mention he didn't have enough spiritual power, this battle was not suitable to change the terrain. At least this wouldn’t be the key to victory because they only had one enemy. The only weapon he could rely on now was the sword in his hand.
And Fan Wu She could no longer use the Heavenly Secret Talisman. They couldn’t awaken another demon in order to destroy one.
Xie Bi An gave Fan Wu She a tactical gesture that only they could understand. He stepped into the void and attacked with his long sword directly at Xu Zhi Nan's face.
Fan Wu She quickly went around to his back and cooperated with Xie Bi An in simultaneous frontal and rear attacks.
Although Xu Zhi Nan thought he had an extraordinary ability, he still didn’t dare to take it lightly when facing the world's top swordsmen even if his body was as hard as a bronze wall. The Chunyang Technique uses the body as a weapon. He seemed to accept the sword blows with bare hands, but in fact, his moves were both offensive and defensive, and he quickly circled between the two.
A group of Chunyang Sect disciples looked at each other on the sidelines. They knew that this was Xu Zhi Nan's personal grudge and did not dare to join the battle easily, and Qi Meng Sheng had been looking gloomy all along. Her gaze was moving within the three of them, as if she was examining something.
In the previous life, Xie Bi An and Xu Zhi Nan had sparred a few times. Although Xu Zhi Nan was humble due to his courtesy towards the emperor, he could still find out his cultivation level, which was as good as Xie Bi An’s. But the strength of this person in front of him was already the first in Jiuzhou. After breaking through the state of the Imperishable Heavenly Fire, his physical body was close to a god. Coupled with the double armor of ice crystals and the Golden Carved Jade Suit, not only his speed was astonishing, but he was also unharmed even after getting slashed by their swords.
The sword that stabbed him could not penetrate his flesh, which shocked the duo like never before.
Xu Zhi Nan stroked off the fragments of his clothes: "I told you, you guys are not my opponents. I would have the chance just now if I wanted to kill you guys."
"Then why didn't you do it?" Fan Wu She sneered, "Are you afraid of the Heavenly Secret Talisman?"
"If I were afraid of the Heavenly Secret Talisman, I wouldn't have come to see you guys in person, and if I couldn't pass this hurdle, I naturally wouldn't be able to rule the world." Xu Zhi Nan smiled faintly, "What's more, it is you two who are really afraid of the Heavenly Secret Talisman."
Xie Bi An mobilized his spiritual power and poured it into the Junlan sword. He said in a cold voice, "What you should be afraid of is what only those guilty people need to be afraid of."
Fan Wu She looked at Xie Bi An. His gaze had a few struggles, and Xie Bi An shook his head at him.
They attacked Xu Zhi Nan again. Xu Zhi Nan, who had been attacked from the front and back, fought with the two of them. He still appeared to be at ease. His speed was so fast that there was almost only a shadow left. Even if the two cooperated seamlessly and blocked his retreat, he could safely withdraw by relying on his invulnerable body and taking advantage of the gap to slap Fan Wu She.
This slap really had the power of a boulder on the chest, and Fan Wu She’s body flew several meters upside down. Fresh blood was spat from his mouth and spread on the ground, which looked horrifying.
Xie Bi An defended Fan Wu She and helped him up. The two suffered injuries in the battle with Jiang Qu Lian, and their spiritual power was greatly consumed. At this time, they were almost at the end of their ropes. And Xu Zhi Nan's strength was far beyond their imagination.
"Depending on you two......" Xu Zhi Nan sneered, "Why are you two the only ones left? Perhaps the immortal cultivation world knew how to go along with the trend and only you two are incorrigibly stubborn."
Xie Bi An gripped the hilt of his sword tightly and said in a deep voice, "It's not just us." He looked around at the disciples of the Chunyang Sect, "Is this person still the leader you want to follow? How can the doctrine of Chunyang Sect allow a core thief, who doesn't even let his own people off, to be the helmsman? Each of you has achieved success from cultivation, so where is your heart of Dao at this time?"
All the people of Chunyang Sect were blinking their eyes* in silence.
Xu Zhi Nan said sorrowfully, "They are all my disciples and followers. How dare you try to instigate them? Ridiculous!"
"First, they’re humans, and second, they’re your disciples." Xie Bi An's gaze finally fell on Qi Meng Sheng, "Immortal Lord Qi, this man killed the man you loved and took over his body. Are you willing to let it be like this?"
Qi Meng Sheng looked at Xie Bi An coldly and did not say a word.
Xu Zhi Nan suddenly became furious: "The more you do this, the more incompetent you show. Take out the ancient divine treasure and fight me to the death. Otherwise, this is your last chance."
Fan Wu She slowly pulled himself away from Xie Bi An's hand and stood up on his own. He said word-by-word in a gloomy voice: "Don’t be arrogant." With his five fingers outstretched, the Heavenly Secret Talisman received his call and flew into his hands from Xie Bi An.
"Big brother, no matter how many times, I believe you can pull me back from the darkness." Fan Wu She smiled faintly at him, and his spiritual energy gurgled into the Heavenly Secret Talisman.
As if facing a great enemy, Xu Zhi Nan was also ready to fight to the death: "Bring it on. Let me see what kind of final struggle the two of you can do."
At this moment, a cold and solemn voice sounded outside the monastery: "They are not fighting alone." The voice was not loud, but it was sonorous and powerful.
The crowd turned around in amazement. They only saw the visitor sitting in a wheelchair, dressed in a green crow Daoist uniform, and had one arm. His face was pale and cold, but he did not lose his dignity. It was Song Chun Gui, who had his golden core dug out and would never have a chance to be on the path to immortality again. There were even more cultivators behind him coming into the monastery in a steady stream.
"......Song Zhen Ren?" Xie Bi An's eyes brightened up as if they were illuminated by the light.
Xu Zhi Nan was slightly stunned. He would never have thought that Song Chun Gui, who had his golden core dug out and his lifelong cultivation destroyed by him, dared to appear in front of him and look directly into his eyes. It seemed that he had reorganized his flags and drums and even brought so many people to fight Xu Zhi Nan again.
What rights did a mortal, who didn’t even have a core, have?
"Song Zhen Ren, how is your health?" Xie Bi An saw that Song Chun Gui had lost a lot of weight in just a few days. Even with the best immortal medicine, the wound where his core was dug out certainly could not fully recover.
Song Chun Gui waved his hand to stop the disciple who was pushing his wheelchair for him. Using his only hand, he jabbed the sword on the ground and slowly stood up.
Everyone held their breath as they were watching Song Chun Gui, who was once the famous Lone Sword of the immortal cultivation world, barely able to stand up on his own now.
His body swayed several times and finally stood up straight amidst the crowd's concern.
Song Chun Gui nodded his head to Xie Bi An in greeting and said blandly, "White Immortal, I am still weak without my golden core, but I will get better.” There were signs of fatigue on his face, but his gaze was extraordinarily clear. That was not a pretended indifference, nor did he hide his disappointment and desolation, but all his emotions were frank and reasonable as if he was showing everyone the process of healing his serious injuries. Pain means pain, and unyielding means unyielding.
Xie Bi An was speechless for a moment. At this point, he could not help but imagine that if he was the one who had his golden core dug out, had his lifetime of painstaking cultivation turned into nothing, and still had to be a stepping stone for evil, would he be able to stand up again?
How many people in this world could stand up again?
Song Chun Gui said slowly: "You don’t have to feel too sad for me. I was born incomplete, but even if I’m incomplete, it does not prevent me from becoming an adult. Without the golden core now, I have no chance to be on the path to immortality, but I can still cultivate, practice with my sword, and dare to do things the others dare not do. The Dao is in my heart, not in my dantian."
"'The Dao is in your heart, not in your dantian'*. Well said. We admire Song Zhen Ren's open-mindedness." Xie Bi An immediately had respect for him. His previous thoughts on Song Chun Gui were very contradictory. Although he knew his personality, he was angry at his foolish loyalty and filial piety to Li Bu Yu. Now, it seemed that only Song Chun Gui, who implemented his original intention from beginning to end, could really keep his heart of Dao. Even if he lost all his cultivation, he could still say such magnificent words.
"Senior Brother Song, everyone follows you." A cultivator of Wuliang Sect said sincerely, "As cultivators, we always talked about 'cultivating the heart first', but in reality, everyone only cared about the amount of spiritual power and sword skills. Cultivating the heart had long become empty words. But you didn't give up on yourself even though you lost your golden core, and you even took your injury to lobby various immortal sects and casual cultivators to fight against the core thief together. This is the great Heavenly Path to ordain conscience for heaven and earth and to secure life and fortune for the people*. "
"You're right." A casual cultivator stood up and said, "There are two things I don't agree with most in my life. First, the immortal cultivation world is controlled by the so-called famous orthodoxy, and they only care about one’s family background. Second, people are not particular about wisdom and kindheartedness. They only care about the level of cultivation. How many useless disciples are in a sect, and how many talented people have no heart and virtue? This immortal cultivation world has long been rotten. It should be rebuilt after putting it in a desperate situation.”
"Yes, Song Zhen Ren lost his golden core, but the Dao is in his heart. The world must not fall into the hands of the core thief!"
The crowd shouted in unison and were looking at Xu Zhi Nan's eyes. Despite their fears, they did not lose their unswerving determination.
Xu Zhi Nan looked around at the crowd and smiled in anger: "Good, very good. If you are not willing to reshape the immortal cultivation world with me, I can't force you, so I will send you all to the Underworld. I believe the turmoil there has just ended and there are many things waiting to be done, so all of you can come in handy."
With a swish sound, Song Chun Gui drew his sword: "White Immortal and the rest are not alone. Today, the immortal cultivation world will reform radically and eradicate a cancerous tumor like you!" A large number of cultivators rushed into Luojinwu.
Xu Zhi Nan gave orders to the Chunyang Sect’s disciples, "Kill them."
Many disciples hesitated or cowered. They looked at each other and were hesitating. No one acted first for a moment.
Xu Zhi Nan said in a stern voice, "Kill them!" With a wave of his hand, the Golden Carved Jade Suit he wore emitted a burst of golden light. His body expanded and finally transformed into a golden-armored giant to face the cultivators who rushed into Luojinwu.
Some of the Chunyang Sect disciples followed Xu Zhi Nan to fight, but the majority made no move, seemingly waiting for an outcome to be determined.
A great battle officially started at Luojinwu.
With Xie Bi An and Fan Wu She in front, a dozen swordsmen simultaneously attacked Xu Zhi Nan fiercely, attacking his joints, arteries, and other vital points from all angles, but Xu Zhi Nan's body was so indestructible that ordinary swords could not hurt him at all. He was like a person driving away the mosquitoes and defeating the attacking cultivators who were surrounding him one by one.
After fighting several times, those who were still willing to fight Xu Zhi Nan had already disregarded life and death. Even if they were forced to retreat by Xu Zhi Nan, they would soon rush up again and make him overwhelmed by the number of people.
Among the disciples of Chunyang Sect, there were those who were willing to follow Xu Zhi Nan, but from the number of people, they could see that he had already lost the will of his people. More people were waiting to support the winning side. Therefore, it looked like he was fighting alone even though this battle was in his Chunyang Sect’s lair.
However, Xu Zhi Nan's power was far beyond people's imagination. He could even summon the snow owl while fighting fiercely with the swordsmen. Chunyang Sect’s fire attribute and Cangyu Sect’s ice attribute were extremely incompatible. Previously, he was able to use the ice skill because he used Qi Meng Sheng's body. Now, he had changed to a body with Chunyang Technique and could even control Cangyu Sect’s magical treasure. This showed his profound cultivation.
Although everyone tried their best, the battle situation tilted to Xu Zhi Nan again, and the crusaders suffered heavy casualties. Xu Zhi Nan only had superficial wounds. His body was a real impregnable and indestructible city.
Many people were either dead or wounded. Looking at the flawless golden-armored giant, even if they fought to the end of their lives, it’s difficult for them to reverse the losing battle. From that moment Xu Zhi Nan occupied Qi Meng Sheng's body to commit crimes, they had never really defeated this man after several crusades and battles.
Is this how it is going to be? Is the immortal cultivation world about to fall into the hands of a core thief?
Xie Bi An wiped off the blood from the corner of his mouth, hollowed out his dantian without thinking about the consequence, and injected his spiritual energy into his sword, knowing that this might be his last sword move.
Suddenly, something flew out of his qiankun bag. He subconsciously went to grab it, but he missed. He turned his head suddenly to see that the Heavenly Secret Talisman had been held in Fan Wu She's hand and was emitting a treacherous black death aura.
Fan Wu She's eyes were quickly darkened by the black death aura: "Why bother wasting time? Let me end this battle quickly."
Xie Bi An closed his eyes. When he opened them again, his pupils were full of painful struggle. He said in a trembling voice: "Wu She, if your inner demons grew after this battle, this time… I’ll take you away.”
Fan Wu She hooked his lips into a smile: "It’s a deal."
"No need." A cold voice interjected the battlefield, like a cool breeze blowing in a glacial valley, followed by a condensed crystal-like arrow that shot at Xu Zhi Nan's temple at a speed difficult for the naked eye to see.
Xu Zhi Nan had broken through the Indestructible Heavenly Fire. Even though his physique had become so huge, his speed was still amazingly fast. He could have dodged, but he did not. He just let that arrow hit himself, as if he just wanted to show everyone that his body was flawless and seize the pleasure of victory from the despair on everyone’s face.
That ice arrow only had half of its arrowhead pierced into Xu Zhi Nan's flesh and could not go deeper anymore.
Xu Zhi Nan looked down from above at Qi Meng Sheng, who shot the arrow, and slowly pulled it out and threw it beside her feet. His gaze was even gloomier and colder.
Qi Meng Sheng raised her head and looked at him. Her voice was indifferent, but there was an aura of approaching storm clouds: "Let’s end this here."
"Meng Sheng, stop doing things that are meaningless." Xu Zhi Nan's tone was full of warning, "My tolerance towards you is more than everyone else. I've given in to your demands repeatedly. What more do you want from me?"
"I want you to go to a place where you should be." Qi Meng Sheng sighed softly, "Xu Zhi Nan, go to a place where you should be, and let Yan Zhi's body go to a place where he should be.”
Xu Zhi Nan's pupils contracted violently, and he immediately smiled again: "Are you willing to give him up? You haven't even seen what Yan Zhi really looked like back then. Which high-level disciple of Chunyang Sect is not dashing? You've only seen him at the point of death when he was surrounded by the Seven Stars Lamp." He straightened his back, "You see, this is Yan Zhi."
"But you're not him. You're not Cheng Yan Zhi." Qi Meng Sheng's gaze gradually moistened, "You have used our bodies to do evil. What is the meaning of this empty shell if it does not belong to us?"
"I'm not him?" Xu Zhi Nan secretly clenched his fists, "Yeah, I'm not him. Why didn't you find out earlier that I'm not him? But what's the difference between him and me? We lived and ate together, grew up in the same sect, practiced the same technique, and cultivated the same path. My family background is more illustrious than his, and I’m more talented than him. I am the next leader of Chunyang Sect appointed by my master. I met you and fell in love with you earlier than him. He was already half-dead, yet you liked him through my body?!” Xu Zhi Nan's words were full of resentment. Even after more than a hundred years, it’s still fully soaked in blood and tears when it’s mentioned again.
"Only one of what you said was wrong. Both of you did not cultivate the same path." Qi Meng Sheng said with tears in her eyes, "Yan Zhi was kind, upright, loyal, and respectful towards you. He trusted you even when he died. He still believed you even though he didn’t believe me. However, you made full use of him and let him die along with your old body, leaving this body for your rebirth."
"If it weren't for me, he would have died over a hundred years ago!" Xu Zhi Nan growled, "I once regarded him as my closest brother, that's why I used the Seven Stars Lamp to hang on to his life regardless of my master’s objection and lent him my body. I was willing to share my life with him, but how did he repay me? He snatched my beloved woman. He let me down. Both of you betrayed me!"
Qi Meng Sheng gritted her teeth and said, "I never betrayed you. I loved him from the start till the end. It was you who confused me. If I hadn't found out that both of your personalities were different, you would have lied to me for the rest of my life."
Xu Zhi Nan's face gradually became hideous: "Then what do you want me to do? Give my woman to him, give my body to him, and wish you both a long and happy life together!?”
"I don't belong to you, and his body doesn’t belong to you either." Teardrops fell one after another from Qi Meng Sheng's eyes, but those foggy tears could not block the light in her eyes. She bit her lips, and her back remained straight, "In fact, I also wish I knew nothing. It's better to be confused throughout my life than to see you become like this. You even implicated my people in Kunlun and brought disaster to everyone in the world. Everything is beyond any help, so let me end it."
"What do you want to do?" Xu Zhi Nan seemed to be crying and laughing, "Kill me? With your current level of cultivation? Even if you have the ability to kill me, are you willing to do so?" He pointed to his heart and said sarcastically, "Do you want to give him up?"
"I didn’t want to give him up last time, but......" Qi Meng Sheng shed tears while smiling bitterly, "Below three inches of skin is white bones, so why would I not give up a body? He is gone. I can’t let you use his body to continue to do evil."
"That's right, he's dead, completely and utterly dead. If you still want to be stubborn, I may not be willing to kill you, but I can let your Cangyu Sect go and accompany him."
Qi Meng Sheng gently shook her head: "Xu Zhi Nan, you have done everything you can to reshape an indestructible body for yourself, but you are only a mortal after all. Even if you broke through the Imperishable Heavenly Fire, you are still a mortal. It’s not like you’re flawless."
Xu Zhi Nan laughed uncontrollably: "Flaw? Where are my flaws?" He looked around, and when he glanced at Fan Wu She, his expression changed slightly, "In this world, the only one who can fight with me is the Heavenly Secret Talisman, but if the Heavenly Secret Talisman awakens his inner demons, you will not be able to free yourselves from this human realm’s purgatory even if I die. Between us, he is worse than me."
Fan Wu She said disdainfully, "We’ll talk about that after killing you first."
"Your flaw is in your heart." There was a layer of sadness between Qi Meng Sheng's eyebrows and eyes, "Xu Zhi Nan, you thought you had completely obtained Yan Zhi's body and were reborn. In fact, you always knew that different souls and bodies couldn’t really fuse, so you urgently needed a top-quality human core, not only to change into a younger body, but also to be able to place your three souls and six spirits in it steadily."
Xu Zhi Nan narrowed his eyes slightly.
"Why did I know that? Because you put me into Yan Zhi’s body, and now into Rong Er’s body. Replacing the soul and flesh with the Seven Stars Life-Sustaining Lamp is extremely damaging to both parties unless one can truly fuse. Now it seems that Song Chun Gui's human core had helped you achieve this."
"Of course. Otherwise, why would I bother to go through all the trouble?" Xu Zhi Nan gazed at Qi Meng Sheng with emotions that could not be described as love or hate, "I will also find a good human core for you so that your soul and this body......"
"I am not you, and you are not Cheng Yan Zhi." Qi Meng Sheng's gaze became cold and ruthless. She said word by word with power and resonance, "Xu Zhi Nan, you harmed Yan Zhi, harmed me, and harmed the Cangyu Sect. Today, I want you to see your beautiful dream shatter before it’s achieved with your own eyes." She took out a blood talisman from her pocket.
Xu Zhi Nan was shocked: "What do you want to do?"
Among the talismans used by cultivators, the blood talisman written with one's own blood is the most powerful. The power of the talisman written in blood is more than ten times powerful than the one written in cinnabar. The blood talisman will also cause harm to the cultivator, so it is not used casually unless it’s in a critical moment.
This blood talisman had already been written, which meant that Qi Meng Sheng had planned in advance.
When Qi Meng Sheng injected spiritual power into that blood talisman, its runes emitted a blood-colored light. The crowd could immediately recognize that it was a soul-summoning talisman. It was a forbidden art that everyone knew how to write. Cultivators learned it from books when they were young. It was slightly less powerful than the soul summoning array, and it could be performed by one person at any time. However, summoning the souls of people who have died violated the law of the Dao, and would also create karma, so it was explicitly forbidden by the immortal cultivation world.
All forbidden arts would backfire on the caster themselves, it's just that the severity varies, such as the Supreme Demon Zong Zi Xiao, who got backfired by the Heavenly Secret Talisman back then. Qi Meng Sheng not only performed the forbidden art, but also used a blood talisman, which would cause irreversible harm to herself. Therefore, Xu Zhi Nan felt frightened.
Qi Meng Sheng mouthed the incantations. Her eyes were like burning torches, staring fixedly at the soul-summoning blood talisman. She released her spiritual power madly, and that talisman flew towards Xu Zhi Nan like an arrow. She shouted: "Cheng Yan Zhi, may your spirit come back to us!”
Xu Zhi Nan’s expression was gloomy. He snorted coldly, generated a wind with a sweep of his palm, and that yellow talisman was like being caught in a whirlwind, which instantly tore it into pieces. However, the blood-colored talisman did not disappear. The ghostly red glow intensified and became more and more dazzling in the air. The sky which was bright just now had darkened suddenly.
Qi Meng Sheng probably had poured all the spiritual power she could transfer into this soul-summoning talisman.
"Qi Meng Sheng, are you crazy? Jiang Qu Lian told me that Cheng Yan Zhi had already been reincarnated. What’s the use even if you can summon back a fragmented earth soul?!"
After a person died, among the three souls, the heavenly soul would return to heaven, the earth soul would return to earth, and the human soul would be led to the underworld and reincarnated. The mind, memory, and cultivation of the earth soul were incomplete. The only "function" was that those with obsession or resentment might become evil spirits.
"Might as well try it to see whether it’s effective or not." Qi Meng Sheng rebuked in a low voice. Her spiritual pressure was flaring up, and her eyes were flickering with a firm and persistent light.
Xu Zhi Nan inexplicably started to panic. He simply bit his finger and drew a forbidden talisman in the air. This forbidden talisman was a universal talisman. As long as the caster was strong enough, it could destroy any spell and formation. That forbidden talisman was wrapped with a green glow and attacked the soul-summoning talisman. The two talismans collided and competed in mid-air. If it had been Qi Meng Sheng, who was a generation of Immortal Lords in those years, she would have had the strength to fight with the current Xu Zhi Nan. However, Hua Xiang Rong's body was too weak in comparison. Soon, the soul-summoning talisman was in a disadvantageous position.
Xie Bi An immediately came up with an idea: "Wu She, change the soul weapon!"
Fan Wu She immediately understood. The soul weapon was far more useful on the soul than the physical body. As Qi Meng Sheng said, Xu Zhi Nan's soul was not stable in Cheng Yan Zhi's body. Even after eating a top-quality human core and breaking through the Imperishable Heavenly Fire, from Xu Zhi Nan's reaction, it could be seen that the different spirit and flesh still could not be fully merged. If the real soul of this body was summoned back at this time, it would have a great impact on Xu Zhi Nan. That’s why Xu Zhi Nan used his blood talisman to deal with it.
In addition, attacking Xu Zhi Nan's soul with the soul weapons now must be a heavy blow to him. Since they could not break through his tough body, they would defeat him from the inside!
Xu Zhi Nan's face suddenly changed, and he realized the purpose of this duo.
The two switched to their soul weapons and flew up, attacking Xu Zhi Nan from the front and back. These were the two parts that were easiest to strike a person's soul. The soul would be knocked out of the body if an ordinary person got hit. Xu Zhi Nan was now the body of a giant, so he could attack in a very large range, and his speed was much slower. This hard and huge body was like a fortress that could resist knives and guns, but it had become his disadvantage now.
The soul-hooking chain immediately wrapped around the crack of the Golden Carved Jade Suit. Fan Wu She ascended a few steps along Xu Zhi Nan’s body and leaped onto his shoulder. Xu Zhi Nan reached out to grab Fan Wu She, but Xie Bi An had already raised Wuqiongbi and attacked his back viciously.
Sensing the murderous aura behind him, Xu Zhi Nan had to turn back to defend and force Xie Bi An back, because the soul weapon was not a sword, he did not dare to take the attack directly.
Under the fierce converging attacks, with plenty of spiritual energy absorbed by Xu Zhi Nan’s blood talisman, he was suddenly struggling to cope.
Fan Wu She dodged Xu Zhi Nan's attack, jumped onto his shoulder several times, and aimed the soul-hooking chain between his brows.
Xu Zhi Nan shouted angrily. The golden-armored giant's hand grabbed towards Fan Wu She with an incredibly fast speed. If he was caught by this hand, he would undoubtedly be crushed.
Fan Wu She turned over again, went around to the back of his neck, and once again drew Xu Zhi Nan's attention to himself. Xie Bi An took advantage of this opportunity to attack again. He poured a lot of spiritual power into Wuqiongbi. A green spell was forming in midair. With a wave of Wuqiongbi, he hit directly on Xu Zhi Nan’s back. That spell on Xu Zhi Nan’s body looked very small, but it burst out with extreme power.
Xu Zhi Nan shouted in pain. His huge body staggered a few steps and twitched briefly but fiercely. That was his soul in shock!
Although this blow was not a heavy blow to Xu Zhi Nan, it was not easy to feasibly hurt him, and the pain on his face also proved the effectiveness of this blow.
The soul-summoning talisman, which was about to be suppressed by the forbidden talisman, became strong again because Xu Zhi Nan was injured. The blood-colored glow erupted. A sudden eerie wind spiraled close to the ground and swirled up countless fallen leaves and crushed stones.
Qi Meng Sheng once again clearly shouted the name of the summoning spirit: "Cheng, Yan, Zhi!"
Xu Zhi Nan's face gradually became pale, as if an immobilizing spell was cast on him. He suddenly slowed down all his movements, and his eyes were staring straight ahead. The muscles of his face were twitching and trembling, and his original handsome features were distorted frighteningly at this time.
When Qi Meng Sheng saw this, her tears rolled down again. She trembled and asked cautiously, "Yan Zhi, is that you?"
Xu Zhi Nan didn't move, and everyone didn't move either. The chaotic battlefield seemed to freeze instantly. It was so quiet that a pin drop could be heard.
For a long time, a faint sigh came from the air.
"Yan Zhi......" Qi Meng Sheng cried, "is it you?"
Xu Zhi Nan's body trembled uncontrollably as if something invisible was fighting in his body. His head was hung down, his hands kept trying to clench, and his lips were opening and closing slightly, letting out an indistinct voice.
"Cheng Yan Zhi!" Qi Meng Sheng roared.
Xu Zhi Nan's body trembled again. He shrunk rapidly and returned to normal. He staggered a few steps, put his back against a camphor tree, and slowly raised his head. That moment when he saw Qi Meng Sheng, his tears fell: "Is...is…it…you…?"
"It's me." Qi Meng Sheng only felt her heart ache extremely.
"Meng......Sheng......" After a hundred years, Cheng Yan Zhi's earth soul returned to his body again.
The crowd was shocked by it.
Qi Meng Sheng’s tears were running like a bubbling spring: "This is…this is the first time I've seen the real you."
"......I'm sorry." Cheng Yan Zhi was desperately suppressing something. He was using his lonely earth soul resisting Xu Zhi Nan's three souls and six spirits, and he also saw everything in Xu Zhi Nan's memories. After seeing everything, painful and hopeless tears flowed down from his eyes, "I thought......senior brother had lied to me. I'm sorry......"
"It's not your fault, Yan Zhi, it was never your fault." Qi Meng Sheng cried, "I was incompetent and didn't stop him."
Cheng Yan Zhi shook his head and murmured in pain, "Why is senior brother like this.....?"
"He is no longer the senior brother you knew. In these hundred years, too many things have happened. We have gone too far and there was no way back." Qi Meng Sheng slowly walked up to Cheng Yan Zhi. She stretched out her hands. The look of wanting to embrace but not daring to made people extremely distressed. Finally, she just gently cupped Cheng Yan Zhi's face, "Yan Zhi, you and I fell in love but never met each other in our true form. In the past, I didn't care that you were just a living dead man. Now I don't care that you are only a wisp of a remnant soul. You are always in my heart."
Cheng Yan Zhi stiffened and suddenly hugged Qi Meng Sheng. This was the first time he hugged the woman he loved most with his own body, but this time it was her turn to live in someone else's body. This bitter love spanning a hundred years would not even have a moment of perfection from beginning to end. He burst into tears: "Meng Sheng, I'm sorry. If I could restrain my emotions, none of us would be like this. I'm sorry."
Qi Meng Sheng also hugged back tightly: "Yan Zhi, let’s not talk about right and wrong. Let’s not talk about it. We must stop him now. This is our last chance."
"Okay......wuu......" Cheng Yan Zhi's body twitched again. His arms holding Qi Meng Sheng suddenly tightened. The force was so great that it seemed like he wanted to embed Qi Meng Sheng into his own body. There was a strange voice rolling in his throat and his expression was changing unpredictably. From this face, people saw the expression belonging to Xu Zhi Nan.
Qi Meng Sheng endured the pain and called out, "Yan Zhi, stop him, stop him!"
"Meng Sheng, see you…in the next life.” Cheng Yan Zhi roared furiously and pushed Qi Meng Sheng away fiercely.
Cracks suddenly appeared one by one on the body that was invincible and invulnerable to swords and spears. The dazzling golden light was shooting out from the cracks, lighting up the gloomy sky. Cheng Yan Zhi's body was like a Thunderfire Stone that was about to explode, and he screamed bitterly.
"Qi Meng Sheng----" That was Xu Zhi Nan's last roar, which was full of despair, pain, and unwillingness.
With a boom, this body burst into flames in an instant, turning into a huge ball of fire.
Qi Meng Sheng stared at the fire in a daze, and the heat dried up her tears. The golden light reflected in her pupils was clearly the most brilliant color, but she clearly gave off a miserable and lonely feeling of death.
Initially, that ball of fire burned warmly and magnificently, as if it could burn everything, but it eventually returned to desolation too. The light disappeared and the temperature cooled. Finally, it turned into a wisp of smoke and dissipated into the world.
The empty Golden Carved Jade Suit fell to the ground.
Everyone looked at this scene and could not come back to their senses for a long time.
This was originally the ultimate style of the Chunyang Technique ---- the Indestructible Heavenly Fire, where one will be reborn after death*. As long as one breaks through a boundary, one can be reborn regardless of any state, which is equivalent to having eternal life as a mortal, but if one is careless, one will be burnt alive. Cheng Yan Zhi was the genuine owner of this body. Even if he was only a wisp of a remnant soul, he had defeated Xu Zhi Nan.
From now on, there would be neither Cheng Yan Zhi nor Xu Zhi Nan in this world.
He racked his brains and suffered defeat on the verge of success. The conspiracy and scam that spanned a hundred years ended at this moment.
That day, Lake Jinwu reflected a blood-colored setting sun. All the devastation would accompany the sunset and gradually disappear in the dark, but someone would eventually clean up the battlefield, repair the wreckage, and heal the painful wounds. When the sun rose in the East, everything would be peaceful and prosperous again.
That day will come sooner or later.
But now, they were still in the endless night*. They were the group of people cleaning the battlefield.
After Xu Zhi Nan's death, although Chunyang Sect retrieved the Golden Carved Jade Suit, they still had a long way to go to revitalize their sect, and the other sects also had their own difficult situations.
The burden of rebuilding the Immortal Alliance fell on Song Chun Gui. Looking at the immortal cultivation world, it was impossible to find a leader that everyone could trust other than him, and this future Immortal Lord, who had lost his golden core and no longer had a chance to be on the immortal path, was a person that everyone had high hopes for.
However, when he brought a group of cultivators to Luojinwu to fight against Xu Zhi Nan, when he was more concerned about the world than himself, and when he stood up on his own without being haughty or humble and said "the Dao is in his heart, not in his dantian", he had already cultivated the great Dao at that moment, so why would he care about the amount of spiritual power and the level of swordsmanship?
Most of the disciples of the Wuliang Sect supported him. Casual cultivators and small sects, who had been excluded from the regulation of aristocratic families, supported him too. The elders and sect relatives who had witnessed him not fearing life and death and fighting against the demonic immortal families for many years were sincerely convinced despite being unable to swallow up their own pride.
Therefore, Song Chun Gui was promoted to Alliance Leader of the Immortal Alliance in Luojinwu under everyone’s witness. A simple meal and wine became the first chapter of the future of the human realm’s immortal cultivation world.
Song Chun Gui would return to Wuliang Sect, deal with Li Zhi Qing, seize the position of Sect Leader, and spend the rest of his life from now on recovering the immortal cultivation world and bringing peace back to the human realm.
And Qi Meng Sheng would return to Kunlun. Her disciples and people were waiting for her. Before she left, she announced that the Cangyu Sect would withdraw from the Immortal Alliance, and without her permission, there would be no communication between inside and outside the Pass.
She only took away her Cangyu Sect’s magical treasure and her determination to never set foot in this sad place in the Central Plains again.
Both Xie Bi An and Fan Wu She were seriously injured and were recuperating in Luojinwu.
Fan Wu She absorbed a large amount of Yin energy from the Heavenly Secret Talisman when he fought against Jiang Qu Lian. He was probably only one step away from triggering his inner demons. During his recuperation in these few days, he used his spiritual power to force the Yin energy out of his body, so he was quite weak during this time.
Especially when he saw Xie Bi An, he would become exceptionally weak. Even the food had to be fed to him.
Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She’s helpless and innocent face and his fingers clutching the spoon, he could not tell if he really could not eat on his own or if he was pretending.
"Big brother, it's okay, I'm not hungry either." Fan Wu She said and lowered his head.
"Alright, just eat. You have to eat even if you're not hungry." Xie Bi An sighed secretly and brought the spoon to his mouth, "Your wound will heal quickly this way.”
Fan Wu She was unrestrained and was eating the food made and fed by his big brother without qualms about it: "Big brother's cooking is the best in the world."
"Then eat more." Xie Bi An caught a hint of cunning in Fan Wu She's eyes yet did not expose him.
After finishing the meal, Xie Bi An wanted to clear the table, but Fan Wu She held his hand with one hand and took the tray with the other hand and put it aside: "There’s no hurry. Sit with me for a while."
"It's hard to wash them after leaving it for a long time. I'll go and......"
"Big brother, stop avoiding me. It's useless." Fan Wu She's big hand wrapped around Xie Bi An's hand. He said warmly, "It's been so long. No matter how you hide, I'll always chase after you, won't I?"
Xie Bi An sighed lightly, "I just hope you get well quickly now, and then......"
"And then what?"
"Then we go back to the Underworld and seal the Heavenly Secret Talisman." Xie Bi An looked straight into Fan Wu She's eyes, "Just like you promised me at the beginning."
"I promised you that after everything was over, I would seal the Heavenly Secret Talisman." Fan Wu She said with deep emotion, "What about the promise you made to me?”
"Let's go and pick up our reincarnated master, and the three of us will be together and never separate, okay?"
Xie Bi An pondered for a moment. He looked straight at Fan Wu She and did not evade: "Wu She, I still don’t know how to face you naturally. There are some things in my heart that cannot disappear."
"I understand. You just need to let me stay by your side. I will use this lifetime to compensate for you. As long as we don’t separate, everything will be fine." Fan Wu She gently lifted Xie Bi An's chin, "Big brother isn't willing to separate from me, right?"
Xie Bi An blinked and looked away as his eyes twinkled.
"Big brother is not willing to separate from me. From now on, no one can separate us anymore."
Xie Bi An pursed his lips, "You must listen to big brother."
"You have to do your best to repay the evil you have done in this life. You must do good deeds throughout your life."
"I’ll repay it."
"You also have to......"
Fan Wu She leaned in and kissed Xie Bi An's lips. He was kissing him gently, softly, indulgently, sincerely, and lovingly.
After Xie Bi An was slightly stunned, there was a little struggle in his eyes, but he didn't push him away.
This kiss was so deep with love as if it could melt the snowfields of Kunlun. Even the light gasps exchanged between them were the sound of breaking ice.
After Fan Wu She recovered from his injuries, the two left Luojinwu and returned to Fengdu City.
The Yin Yang Monument had been repaired, but there were still no people and ghosts in the city. The people who had fled this place did not dare to come back so easily. Even though the Yin servants had cleared the city as well as the outside, those wronged spirits and fierce ghosts released by Jiang Qu Lian still needed to be released from their sufferings and enlightened by thousands of cultivators all over Jiuzhou. This would be the biggest responsibility of the Immortal Alliance in the future, and there is a long way to go with this important job.
They returned to the Underworld. Under Cui Jue's supervision, the Underworld had been restored to its former state, and Bo Zhu became the person who followed him.
"I have personally sent Day Patrol and Night Patrol to reincarnate." Cui Jue said with a smile, "I specially chose two families who were friends for a long time from the same city for them. Both are wealthy and kind hearted. They will arrange a betrothal for them* and the two will love each other until old age.”
Xie Bi An was delighted from the bottom of his heart: "That’s great. They have redeemed their sins and have made great achievements. They deserve it."
"Yeah. After five hundred years of not leaving each other, they finally got married." Cui Jue sighed with emotion.
"And what about you?" Xie Bi An looked at Bo Zhu, "Isn't it time for you to reincarnate too?"
Bo Zhu was a kid picked up by Xie Bi An on Huangquan Road. He was escorted by the Yin servants and was about to go to Yanluo Hall, but yelled that he wanted to be a ghost rather than a human being, because he was prone to illnesses and had been bedridden since he was a child. He was despised by his family as a burden. “Bo Zhu” was a name that he changed for himself, insinuating that his life was like a weak candle flame*. He died young at the age of 13 and became a ghost. On the contrary, he was happier to stand up and walk for the first time than being a human.
Xie Bi An was soft hearted for a moment and took him back to the Heaven Master Palace. However, he had been trying to convince him to reincarnate. He had not done evil throughout his life and would surely reincarnate into a good family.
Bo Zhu smiled: "Little White Master, I decided not to reincarnate. When I was alive, I was suffering every day. Why should I go to the precarious human realm again? I want to stay with Official Lord Cui so that I can see you again when you return to the Underworld."
Xie Bi An opened his mouth and wanted to persuade him, but looking at Bo Zhu's sparkling eyes, he was convinced that he really liked the Underworld more. He nodded after sighing lightly, "That's fine."
Cui Jue asked, "What are your plans for the future?"
After thinking about it, Xie Bi An decided not to tell Cui Jue that they were going to adopt Zhong Kui's reincarnation. On the contrary, they could be like Zhong Kui; bring the child back to the Underworld one day, report to Cui Jue later, and let him have no choice but to accept it. Thinking about this, Xie Bi An couldn't help laughing, "Official Lord Cui, we came back this time to put the Heavenly Secret Talisman back into the Eastern Emperor’s Bell and seal it up."
Cui Jue nodded his head in appreciation, "Very good."
"After that......" Xie Bi An looked at Fan Wu She, "After all that has happened, I have long been exhausted and would love to find a secret place to live in seclusion and spend the rest of my life in peace. However, I can't let those wronged spirits and fierce ghosts harm people. I am the Impermanence. From now on, I should also perform the duties as an Impermanence until the human and ghost realms return to their former peace."
Fan Wu She said without hesitation, "There are black and white Impermanence. I will do whatever big brother does."
Cui Jue frowned at Fan Wu She and coughed lightly, "I'm relieved that Bi An can control you. I believe that he will not let you go if you do evil again.”
"I won't." Xie Bi An said with certainty.
Fan Wu She curled his lips and smiled again.
When the two came out from the Judge’s mansion, they did not delay and flew towards the Eastern Emperor’s Bell.
The two stood in front of the towering Eastern Emperor's Bell and strongly felt its power and majesty. This was undoubtedly the only place that could seal the ancient evil item, the Heavenly Secret Talisman, and this should be the best place for the Heavenly Secret Talisman to return to.
Fan Wu She looked at the jade talisman in his hand and had mixed feelings in his heart. To say that there was no reluctance in sealing this divine treasure was certainly false. He was born with great talent. After knowing that he had tyrannical potential, his male ambition began to expand infinitely. He longed for power and pursued it. If it was not because of Xie Bi An, he wouldn't hand over the Heavenly Secret Talisman even if there was a landslide and the three realms were destroyed.
But he really didn't need the Heavenly Secret Talisman now, because he had his big brother, which was his biggest source of power.
He looked into Xie Bi An's eyes and sent the Heavenly Secret Talisman away with his own hands.
Xie Bi An nodded and gave him an affirmative look. He then controlled the Shanhe Sheji Map, tilted the Eastern Emperor's Bell up to show a small gap and resealed the Heavenly Secret Talisman.
When the Eastern Emperor's Bell landed on the ground with an ancient and sacred dull sound, their hearts seemed to be gently and slowly put on the ground from the high sky.
Fan Wu She blinked at Xie Bi An, "Big brother, am I obedient?"
"Because I love you."
Xie Bi An blushed at this unexpected sentence. He stammered, "You..."
Fan Wu She took Xie Bi An's hand: "From now on, you are the only person in the world who possesses an ancient divine treasure. Go and do what you want to do. I will always be with you."
Xie Bi An stared at Fan Wu She blankly. This familiar face that ran through his past and present lives reminded him of many things that happened in the past; happy, sad, good, and bad. He had seen the most innocent and dependent look, the most evil and brutal look, the most loyal and affectionate look, and the most despaired and fearful look on this face. All his different looks composed of the person he loved most in his life. Whether it was Xiao Jiu, Zong Zi Xiao or Fan Wu She, he had never let him go. He will never let him go.
So, they chased the sky light leaking from the gap between the black clouds and passed through this extremely long wind and rain*.
Xie Bi An turned his face and looked at the ancient Eastern Emperor’s Bell in front of him. He reached out and caressed its thick bronze body and profound totems. When he closed his eyes, it was as if he heard the loud sound that could split the chaotic world coming from beyond the highest heavens, just like his master's patient and sincere teachings to him.
He got inspired because of this. He opened his eyes and revealed a peaceful and beautiful smile to Fan Wu She: "Okay." Suddenly, a garden of orchids was in full bloom. He was still that eldest prince who was gentle, brave, and delicate among the flowers.
Fan Wu She held his hand tightly. He only felt his heart throbbing and an inexplicable urge to shed tears. To see such a smile on this face again, all the pain and suffering he had suffered for a hundred years had become his willingness.
Chapter 280 (end)
Six Months Later
"Zheng Nan, don't run so fast."
A child who was still wearing open-crotch pants* wriggled his two fleshy short legs, skipped through the flowering shrubs, and pounced on the person who was tending to the flowers.
Xie Bi An hugged Zhong Zheng Nan, and the two let out giggles at the same time.
"Master." Zhong Zheng Nan called out tenderly, "It's so hot."
"You run around like this and are sweating all over. No wonder you’re feeling hot." Xie Bi An clamped him with both arms and wiped the mud off his hands before picking him up. He turned around, went inside the house, and poured him a cup of water.
The child took the cup of water and gulped it down.
"Slow down, or else you’ll choke. Why do you do everything so rashly? You’re like......" When Xie Bi An was about to continue speaking, he couldn't help laughing. This child was the reincarnation of his master, so it’s not surprising that he’s similar to master’s temperament.
"One more cup." The child wiped his mouth and handed it to Xie Bi An.
When Xie Bi An saw his naïve appearance, he couldn't help but laugh again. Why was he so similar to the way his master craved wine back then? When his master was young, did he have the manner of drinking wine when he drank water?
At this time, the courtyard door was pushed open with a creak. Fan Wu She came in while carrying a piece of pork, two jin of white wine, and a basket of vegetables: "Big brother, I'm back."
"Have you bought everything I asked you to?"
"I’ve bought them all."
Xie Bi An took the items and checked: "Fengdu's Xiaoyaoniang is master's favorite drink. Let’s make a few dishes that master loves to eat."
Right now, they were in Fengdu's Orchid Garden.
After sealing the Heavenly Secret Talisman, they began to eliminate the ghosts inside and outside of Fengdu. In a few months, they brought back many people who had left their homes. In these few days, everyone in the city has been rebuilding their homes in full swing.
The orchid garden, which was mostly destroyed previously, was also planted with all kinds of orchids. He recalled that he had not rebuilt the orchid garden in Wuji Palace in his previous life, because at that time, he was already dispirited even though he was the emperor who could easily plant orchids all over Daming City. Now that he had personally rebuilt the orchid garden in Fengdu, not only was his wish fulfilled, but it also made him realize that his natural character, which had been frozen for a long time, was recovering bit by bit.
Today was the anniversary of Zhong Kui's death. They planned to set out on their journey with Zhong Zheng Nan after paying homage to Zhong Kui. Fengdu had returned to peace and stability, and the underworld was in charge. They wanted to travel around to subdue the demons and eliminate the evil spirits.
Fan Wu She rubbed Zhong Zheng Nan's head: "Did you listen to your master when I wasn't around?"
"I listened. Did martial uncle bring sugar figurines for me?"
"Still thinking of eating candy every day?" Fan Wu She took out a small rubber ball from his qiankun bag, "Go and play with this."
The child hugged the small rubber ball and ran out excitedly.
Xie Bi An was still thinking about making a few dishes when his waist was tightened suddenly. Fan Wu She hugged him from behind.
"Cut it out." Xie Bi An was a little nervous. He turned his head back to find Zhong Zheng Nan for fear that the child would see something. However, Fan Wu She was used to being presumptuous, and this was probably not Zhong Zheng Nan’s first time seeing it.
"He’s playing outside. Don't mind him." Fan Wu She put his steaming hot lips on Xie Bi An's neck. "I haven't seen big brother for 2 hours and missed you already. What can I do about it?"
"You’re talking nonsense again."
"I'm not talking nonsense. You see, we have to cultivate, take care of our child, eliminate evil spirits, and plant flowers every day. We really have too little time to be alone." Fan Wu She put his forehead against Xie Bi An's cheek and said with dissatisfaction.
"That’s nonsense. We’re together every day." Xie Bi An patted his hand, "Alright, alright, let go of me. That Dongpo pork* has to take a long time to stew."
Fan Wu She came close to Xie Bi An's face and acted like a spoiled child, "Kiss me, big brother."
Xie Bi An secretly smiled and gave a peck on Fan Wu She's lips.
"Tell me what you did during the 2 hours when I was away. I don't want to miss it at all."
"I moved a few flowers and fertilized them. When we leave in a few days' time, the orchid garden will be handed over to Aunt Liu to take care of, and I'm still a bit worried."
"We will come back from time to time." Fan Wu She continued to kiss Xie Bi An's face intimately, "Big brother is so fragrant. You were originally very fragrant, but every time you stay in the orchid garden for a while, you become even more fragrant.”
"You use the same things as me to fumigate your clothes and quilt with aromatics, as well as bathing supplies, so the smell on your body is also similar to mine."
"That's different. Big brother just smells extraordinarily good. I've loved it since I was a child." Fan Wu She chuckled, "You blame me for biting you. It's all because big brother smells so good that I want to eat one mouthful at a time."
"Alright, don't say such......" Xie Bi An's face was hot. He couldn't stand Fan Wu She’s obscene remarks all day long. He would be even more ridiculous if their clothes were taken off. He pinched Fan Wu She's hand, "Hurry up and let go, I'm going to cook."
Only then did Fan Wu She reluctantly released him: "I'll help you."
"Okay, wash the meat."
In the past, when Xie Bi An cooked in Wuji Palace, Xiao Jiu also liked to be around the cooking stove*. No, in fact, he liked to be around his big brother. He often said he wanted to help, but he just wanted to steal food. Now, Xiao Jiu had grown up. He would still steal food. However, he really did help out. They washed their hands together and made the broth. What was sweet and fragrant was not only the food, but also the great tenderness between lovers soaked in the smell of smoke and fire in the world*.
They brought along the steaming hot food and wine, carried Zhong Zheng Nan, and went to pay homage to Zhong Kui.
Zhong Kui's grave was always clean and tidy. A cultivator who had received Zhong Kui's grace volunteered to be the tomb keeper. Tens of thousands of people had gone to worship the Heaven Master’s memorial temple a few li away from morning till night. The actual place where he was buried was not known to outsiders.
Xie Bi An placed the wine and food properly, burned the incense, and brought Fan Wu She and Zhong Zheng Nan to kneel down together.
"Zheng Nan, this is your grand-master*. He’s master’s master. In the future every year, master will bring you to pay homage to grand-master. If one day master is too old to walk, you must also come on behalf of master. Do you understand?"
Zhong Zheng Nan still couldn’t read the words on the tombstone and did not even understand who was lying there. He only nodded obediently: "Disciple understands."
Xie Bi An kowtowed deeply, "Master, disciple has come to see you."
Fan Wu She also kowtowed, "One day as a teacher, a lifetime as a teacher. Master, the disciple will use the rest of my life to redeem my sins. Master can watch over me from heaven.”
Xie Bi An filled up three cups of wine, drank with Zhong Kui*, and told him everything that had happened in the past. When something sad was mentioned, he couldn’t help but shed tears. He really missed his master. Throughout his two lives, only Zhong Kui treated him sincerely and unconditionally for his own good from the beginning to end. To him, Zhong Kui was his master and father who filled in his great shortcomings in his previous life and gave him the skills and faith to persevere in this life.
Upon seeing this, Zhong Zheng Nan reached out his little hand to wipe Xie Bi An's tears and said in a soft little voice, "Master, please don't cry."
Xie Bi An was greatly touched. He embraced the child and a surge of strength grew as he said softly, "Master, I hope this disciple has not let you down."
Fan Wu She said gently, "Big brother is the best disciple in the world. Master would be proud of you."
Infinite softness and firmness were growing in Xie Bi An’s heart as he looked at the tombstone standing quietly in front of him, and the clever child nestling in his arms. He smiled and said, "Master, I will spend my life subduing demons, eliminating evil spirits, protecting the people, and guarding the stability and peace of the human and ghost realms, just like how you did." He looked at Fan Wu She, "Junior brother will also help me."
Fan Wu She took his hand, "Yes."
Xie Bi An said solemnly and certainly, "When Zheng Nan grows up, he will pass on this mission from generation to generation. In the next hundred million years, the world will still pay homage and worship Heaven Master Zhong Kui."
From now on, there would be no more Human Emperor or Supreme Demon. Those horribly dark or beautiful legendary stories would gradually fade away in time. Only two Impermanence immortals, one black and one white, would wander around Jiuzhou all year round, subdue demons, eliminate evil spirits, release fierce ghosts and wronged spirits from suffering and enlighten them so that a clear distinction between life and death would be made and everyone would respect each other without disturbing one another. It was also ensured that the good would be rewarded and the evil would be punished so that everyone would respect karma.
The story has an end, and life is long.
--End of the book...