Chapter 191: The Expired Female Lead
After Lan Hua's sudden entry, the force of the Lightning Tribulation
increased. But to the celestial emperor Lan Hua, a Golden Immortal's Heavenly Tribulation could not hurt him. In fact, he eased Xuan Tong's burden by warding off many of the bolts.
Lan Hua sat cross-legged on top of Xuan Tong's body. His demonic Qi surged and he activated his Divine Perception to expel the demonic Qi out of her body. However, Xuan Tong sealed off her five senses, subconsciously preventing the unfamiliar aura from getting close.
"Good Heart asked me to save you," Lan Hua explained. Then he added by way of explanation, "Your sect master."
Xuan Tong stopped resisting him when she heard this and allowed his divine perception into her body.
Within moments, Lan Hua had found the source of the demonic Qi. He was a little shocked.
"Huh?" Why was there an aura of a demonic seed in her body?"
He did not think further but worked hard to expel the demonic Qi from her body. Although Xuan Tong did her best to cooperate, having to ward of the periodic bolts of divine lightning slowed down their speed.
But Xuan Tong's demonic Qi eventually decreased and her immortal bones started developing at a faster rate.
An hour later.
Lan Hua finally removed the last strand of demonic Qi from Xuan Tong's body. He got up and left the Heavenly Tribulation's range.
"It's done." Looking at Shen Ying, he said, "Xuan Tong's primordial spirit's demonic Qi is cleansed. She only needs to endure the last few divine lightning bolts, then her immortal bones will form."
"Thank you Emperor Lan Hua." Qi Chengyu gave him a salute. She heaved a sigh of relief. Xuan Tong was brought up by her, so naturally she was the one who was most worried for her.
Shen Ying, as the Invincible Sect's sect master, felt that she should express her gratitude too. "Old Lan…"
"Don't say anything!" Lan Hua cut her off. "I beg you. Every time you open your mouth, I feel obliged to give you something!"
Shen Ying: "…"
The crowd: "…" "The divine lightning is almost over!" Lonemoon reminded everyone.
Everybody turned to look at Xuan Tong. The immortal qi around Xuan Tong grew stronger, as did the force of the Lightning Tribulation's power. Even the array formation set up specially by Lonemoon showed signs of breaking apart — shimmers of lightning shone through the cracks in the array.
"Emperor Chu Xuan, give me a hand!" Lonemoon, who was rebuilding the array, called out to Chu Xuan.
Chu Xuan immediately went over to help Lonemoon to set up the array. Before long, beams of sorcerous light began flashing and the array was once again able to ward off the lingering force of the divine lightning.
At this point, the divine lightning had struck seventy-nine times. There were now only two left. Xuan Tong had recovered her strength and was able to endure the last two most powerful Golden Immortal Divine lightning bolts. Xuan Tong lay weakly on the ground, her whole body black and charred. But all the immortal bones in her body were fully formed. Because she had jumped a level during the tribulation transcendence, her immortal qi was denser than her peers who had undergone the same tribulation transcendence.
"It's all alright." Qi Chengyu heaved a deep sigh of relief and stepped out of the array. She walked to Xuan Tong and said happily, "Little Tong…"
"Little Yu, don't go!" Qi Chengyu was pulled back by Feng Ying suddenly.
A beam of Heavenly Flame shot down from the sky and struck directly on the badly wounded Xuan Tong. At the same moment, Feng Ying's system issued the last warning.
[Danger alert! A high energy body approaching!]
Within moments, the defensive array was ablaze with flames.
The entire Invincible Sect was lit up by a reddish glow. "Wildfire!" Everybody exclaimed in surprise. "How could this be!"
Why did the Wildfire appear? Although there was supposed to be thirty-six wildfires during an immortal's ascension, Xuan Tong was just ascending to become an immortal and the lowest level of an earth immortal at that. Her immortal tribulation could not have attracted this Wildfire Moreover, her demonic Qi had been removed, thus making her a true immortal. The previous two lightning tribulations could have been triggered by the Heavenly Tribulation and had to be endured, but how to explain the Wildfire?
Xuan Tong could no longer be seen within the flames, even her previously weak aura was now undetectable.
"Little Tong!" Qi Chengyu cried out in alarm. She was about to rush out to rescue Xuan Tong but was held back by Feng Ying.
"Wait, Little Yu. If you enter now, the Heavenly Tribulation will strike even harder. You're only a Golden Immortal, you are too weak to withstand it." "But Xuan Tong…" If this carries on, she will surely die!" exclaimed Qi Chengyu worriedly. Seeing that the next bolt of Wildfire was about to descend, she turned to look at the person behind her. "Elder Lonemoon, what…"
Lonemoon looked baffled as well. "I don't know… Huh?
Where's Shen Ying?"
Only then did everyone realize that Shen Ying had disappeared.
At this moment, in the heart of the Wildfire…
Shen Ying lifted up a body charred almost beyond recognition. Patting its face, she said, "Hey, Little Shortie, are you still alive?" After a moment, the lump of charcoal looked at her. Using all her strength, she clutched at Shen Ying's clothes hem with her fingers and said weakly, "Divine…" Then she fell back down, motionless.
"Little Shortie, Little Shortie,!"
"…" Xuan Tong did not respond.
Shen Ying frowned. There was a loud boom and a great ball of fire shot down from the sky, heading straight at the two of them. The force and heat from the fireball was so great that it started it ignited everything on the ground even before it even landed.
Just as it was about to hit the two girls…
Shen Ying's expression hardened and her anger surged. Lifting Xuan Tong up, she raised her leg and kicked the fire ball away. "Get lost!" Are you blind, shooting fire balls everywhere! There was a whoosh and that bolt of heavenly fire flew back up the sky even faster that when it had come down.
Next, there was a loud explosion. The whole sky, which was still covered with thunder clouds, was ablaze in a sea of flames. Heaven and earth turned red.
Shen Ying turned and looked at the sea of fire around her. Her eyes narrowed.
The surrounding flames seemed to shrink back. Then the Wildfire around them parted to reveal a path.
Carrying the lump of human charcoal in her arms, Shen Ying turned to move off. After a moment, she changed direction and walked back to the defensive array.
Yi Qing: "…" The two emperors: "…"
The couple: "…"
What happened just now? Why did the sky started burning and why did the fire on the ground suddenly extinguish by itself? And why did the Heavenly Tribulation halt midway?
Shen Ying put Xuan Tong down on the ground. Waving to Chu Xuan, she called out, "Chicken, come take a look at her!"
Chu Xuan shuddered. "I'm coming!"
He walked over quickly. First, he conjured a seal to protect her heart, then he activated his immortal qi to check on her condition. As time went on, the frown on his face deepened.
Then with a hesitant look, Chu Xuan said, "Exalted… Exalted Immortal! When her immortal bones formed, she was already at the limit of her endurance." He sighed, secretly impressed with the little girl's will power. "Actually she could have recovered, but… then she was struck by the Wildfire. Because she was totally unprepared, the deviant fire was able to enter her body. Now, the Wildfire's fiery qi has invaded her heart meridians. And because she is of the Water Spirit Root, and fire and water clash, she can't self regulate…"
Chu Xuan shook his head and continued, "Her meridians are all severed, her foundation is destroyed and her immortal bones are broken. Even her primordial spirit had been eroded by the Wildfire. She's now in a coma. There's little hope that she'll regain consciousness. Even if she comes to, her cultivation… can't be restored."
Chapter 192: The Reversal Of Tides
Everyone fell silent. They knew that fortune did not favor this child, but had not expected her to be so unlucky.
Qi Chengyu took the news badly. She swayed slightly and tried her best not to cry. She was the one who had guided Xuan Tong in her practice and she knew better than anyone else the hard work Xuan Tong had put in. She treated Xuan Tong almost like her only disciple, but now…
Lonemoon felt equally sad. He turned to look at Shen Ying, who still stood where she was, deep in thought. Then he instructed Chu Xuan, "Take Xuan Tong back to the palace wing."
Chu Xuan carried Xuan Tong and headed back to Invincible Sect with the rest of the disciples.
"Yu Hong!" Lonemoon glanced at Chu Xuan, who was now helping to treat Xuan Tong's injuries and pulled Yu Hong over. "Go to the capital and ask the richest man in the city, Shu Jiang, to come over. I seem to recall that he's a famous immortal physician. Perhaps he can help us." "Yes, Elder!" answered Yu Hong, preparing to leave.
"Wait!" Lonemoon added as an idea came to him, "If you can't find him, look for Xun Shu at the Palace of War Cessation. He's now a state emperor and should be of some use. Tell him this is Shen Ying's instruction!"
"I understand!" Yu Hong nodded and flew off on her sword.
One month later.
Chu Xuan had the highest cultivation level among all the immortals here. With his help, her condition gradually stabilized and her injuries started to heal. Her pallor slowly returned to normal.
Although Chu Xuan was a celestial emperor, his skill lay in setting up arrays, not in the art of healing. Lan Hua was a jack of all trades but he was still a Fiendish Cultivator and his presence near her might even worsen her condition. So during the next few days, he stayed obediently with Radish at the back of the mountain.
Possibly due the severity of her injuries, Xuan Tong did not awake from her coma. Later, Yu Hong brought Shu Jiang to take a look at her injuries. His prognosis was the same as Chu Xuan. However, after a few days of treatment, Xuan Tong started to show signs of awakening.
Finally, after a month, Xuan Tong opened her eyes.
"Little Tong!" Qi Chengyu, who had been nursing Xuan Tong for a month, rushed over and looked her over. Then she asked anxiously, "How are you feeling?"
Xuan Tong looked dazed. She opened her mouth as if to speak but no words came out. She looked fearful and lost.
Qi Chengyu quickly comforted her, "You were badly wounded, you need time to recuperate! It's normal to if you can't speak temporarily." Xuan Tong shook her head, as if anxious to say something.
"Don't worry!" Chengyu patted her head and said slowly, "With our sect master, the elders and the emperors around, you'll be all right."
Xuan Tong subconsciously turned her head when she heard this,
"Hey, Little Shortie!" greeted Shen Ying with a wave of her hand.
Xuan Tong got a start and almost fell out of bed in surprise.
Luckily, Chengyu caught hold of her in time.
"Don't be excited. Little Ying came specially to see you, " Chengyu told her laughingly. Being a member of Shen Ying's fan club, she could naturally understand Xuan Tong's feelings. Moreover, she had been in seclusion for a long time to prepare for her immortal ascension. Too bad that… "This immortal needs to have a quiet rest, everyone please… " Shu Jiang indicated for her visitors to leave.
Lonemoon looked at Chengyu and nodded. Then they led the rest of the visitors out of the room.
"Have a good rest!" Shen Ying looked at Xuan Tong, who had shrunk behind her bed covers. Turning round, she followed Father Niu out of the room. As she passed by the window, she slid the her fingers along the window edge. Her fingers came back coated with layer of ash. After pausing for a moment, she stepped out of the room.
Everyone had now returned to the front palace. Shu Jiang wiped the sweat off his brows and saluted everyone respectfully. "Although Fellow Immortal Xuan Tong has awakened, her primordial spirit and foundation are unlikely to be restored. I'm afraid… I can't do anything more for her."
"You mean even with the Spirit Convening Lamp can't heal her?" asked Lonemoon anxiously. He had thought that the lamp could mend an immortal's primordial spirit. "This…" Shu Jiang paused and said regretfully, "Fellow Immortal Xuan Tong's injuries were caused by the Wildfire, they were made worse by the clash between her Spirit Root and the fire element. The Spirit Convening Lamp can mend her primordial spirit but if the fiery qi in her body is not expelled, her injuries will not heal fully. The Spirit Convening can treat the symptoms but not the cause. It will just cause her more suffering."
Lonemoon frowned. Now he was certain that Xuan Tong was no longer the female lead. Female leads would never be caught in such a miserable situation.
"Is there… really no other way?" No matter what, Xuan Tong was part of his sect, and as a nanny…. correction, as an elder he had a duty towards her.
Shu Jiang looked at Chu Xuan before answering hesitantly, "There… is a way!"
"What is it?" "Has Young Emperor ever heard of the Luo Han stone?"
"…" What's that?
"Luo Han Stone!" exclaimed Chu Xuan. "Are you talking about the stone belonging to Emperor Xin Han of Yi Shui continent?"
"That's right!" Shu Jiang nodded his head. "It's Emperor Xin Han's divine artifact." Since He Chuan's emperor was here, perhaps they could borrow it from him. "It's said that this stone is the coldest thing in the world, it can freeze the sea instantly. As it can counteract Fellow Immortal Xuan Tong's fiery qi, we can use it to expel this qi from her body and then slowly restore her foundation."
"Emperor Xin Han…" Lonemoon frowned. It seemed they were back to dealing with this asshole Xin Han. That fox demon had stolen the Spirit Convening Lamp to save him. Now they had to borrow the Luo Han Stone from him. How the tides have reversed!
"Thank you Exalted Immortal Shu." Lonemoon saluted Shu Jiang.
"You're welcome, Young Emperor." Shu Jiang hurriedly returned the salute. After thinking a while, he added, "By the way, it is advisable not to move Fellow Immortal Xuan Tong. It's best that you bring the stone back here. Time is short. If her fiery qi is not removed soon, it will be very difficult to restore her foundation."
"Right, we'll take note," replied Lonemoon with a nod.
After leaving a few more instructions, Shu Jiang went back to check on Xuan Tong.
"Looks like we have to make a trip to see Xin Han. There's no time to lose. Shen Ying, let's go… Shen Ying? Shen Ying!" Lonemoon gave Shen Ying, who was still holding on to her fruit, a shake.
"Huh?" Startled, Shen Ying, dropped her fruit. Yi Qing quickly passed her another fruit.
"What's wrong with you?" Lonemoon looked at her in puzzlement. She had even forgotten to chew her fruit, this was a first! "Ever since Xuan Tong's Heavenly Tribulation, you don't seem to be yourself."
"Master?" Yi Qing looked at Shen Ying with concern. "Your food intake seems to have decreased by about… one percent!"
"…" Do you need to be so accurate?
Lonemoon's eyes widened as a thought came to him, "Have you… discovered some other problem?"
"Not exactly…" replied Shen Ying, cocking her head. After a while, she straightened up and looked earnestly at the two men. "Chef, Father Niu. Do you think…" "Wait!" Lonemoon gestured for her to stop. "Don't tell us now!"
Lonemoon replied gravely, "Every time you get serious, I will feel a BUFF epiphany coming on. We still need to rush to Yi Shui continent! Wait until I'm more prepared!"
Yi Qing: "…"
Chu Xuan: "…"
Shen Ying: "…" Son of a b*tch!
Chapter 193: Borrowing the Luo Han Stone
Yi Shui continent was located at the northernmost tip of the immortal realm and therefore did not have the perennial spring-like climate of Feng Cang continent. It was almost entirely covered in snow, with very little greenery. Apart from snow, all they could see was the boundless ocean.
As they were worried about Xuan Tong, Shen Ying, Lonemoon and Yi QIng headed straight for Yi Shui Palace without stopping. They saw only a few immortal officials along the way.
As they had the special travel access pass given by Chu Xuan, they were able to reach the entrance of the palace without incident. They informed the immortal official guard of the purpose of their visit. After a while, someone came out and greeted them with a salute.
"His Highness invites you in!" They were then led into the main palace.
A man clad in white robes sat on the throne. He had chiseled features and his long hair was tied in a bun. His outward appearance was proper and decent. However, the expression in his eyes was as cold as ice. An almost inhuman aura enveloped him.
They guessed that he must be the celestial emperor Xin Han.
"Greetings, your highness." They politely saluted him.
Xin Han looked at them, his face expressionless. Then, he asked coolly, "So you are from the Invincible Sect?"
"That's right!" Lonemoon answered, adopting a businesslike expression.
Seemingly recalling something, Xin Han frowned and said coldly, "I remember… that I've already asked my people to return the Spirit Convening Lamp to Feng Cang."
"Your highness misunderstands! We've already received the lamp." Lonemoon said before continuing, "We're not here for the lamp."
"Oh? What is it then?"
Lonemoon smiled and said in a friendly tone, "It's like this. One of the disciples in our sect met with a mishap during her tribulation, resulting in fiery qi entering her body. We've tried many ways but could not expel it from her body, so…"
"You want to borrow the Luo Han Stone!" Xin Han interrupted in that cold voice of his. A slight frown appeared on his face.
"That's right, we've come for the stone." Guessing that he was unlikely to agree to their request, Lonemoon tried to soften his tone and said earnestly, "We know that this is a divine artifact, but we desperately want to save the child. If you highness agrees, we are willing to exchange it for the Divine Refining Clock. If you don't trust us, we can go back together."
Waving his hand, a clock with numerous cracks appeared on his palm. As he had been busy these few days, he had not been able to send it to Xun Shu for repair. Xin Han's expression did not change. He looked at the clock for a moment, then continued, "By right, I should agree to your request as the Divine Refining Clock can help me to restore my primordial spirit. The Luo Han Stone is indeed in my palace. But… it is inconvenient for me to lend it to you."
"What do mean?" asked Lonemoon, perplexed. You either lend it or you don't. What could be inconvenient about lending it?
Xin Han frown deepened. His previously emotionless expression darkened. Suddenly he gave a deep sigh and got up. He started walking towards the back of the palace. "Follow me and you will know what I mean."
Everyone exchanged glances and then followed his footsteps.
Xin Han led the group of them through a sea of clouds towards a separate immortal palace. During the flight, he explained the reason why he had rejected their request.
"When I was badly injured, Qiao… Bai Qiao found the Divine Refining Lamp and brought it to me when my primordial spirit was at its most unstable. Thinking it would help to stabilize my primordial spirit, she forcibly lit the lamp and cast a spirit suppressing spell. So…"
Waving his hand, the gate of the immortal palace opened and a white cloud of icy air rushed out. Even Lonemoon and Yi Qing, who were young emperor immortals were shocked.
Everything inside the palace was covered in a layer of ice. In the middle of the room they saw a girl lying on a bed, seemingly asleep. They could sense a weak aura emanating from her.
"She's… Bai Qiao!" Lonemoon exclaimed in surprise. When he saw her several weeks back, she had been energetic and lively. Now, she seemed like the picture of death.
"She tried to activate the divine artifact using a soul suppressing spell. However, her cultivation was not strong enough to control the spell and her primordial spirit was injured in the process." Xin Han explained, shaking his head. But there was no sign of any regret or pity on his face, only disapproval. "I discovered this only when I awoke. But I don't know much about how primordial spirit work, so I used this Luo Han Stone to seal her meridians, to prevent her condition from worsening."
Then he conjured a seal. A piece of red ruby instantly appeared above the ice bed, emitting a stream of cold air.
"Without the Luo Han Stone, her condition will probably worsen. That's why I can't lend it you!" Xin Han explained as he lifted Bai Qiao up. Then he conjured a few healing seals. Drops of perspiration appeared on Bai Qiao's forehead and her pallor improved. After a while, she slowly opened her eyes.
"Are you feeling better?" Xin Han asked coolly.
Bai Qiao seemed taken aback. "You…" Her voice was so hoarse that it was almost inaudible. The effort of speaking made her double up in pain.
Lonemoon frowned. He had mentally prepared himself to make great sacrifices to their wealth in order to borrow the stone. But now this happened. As this stone was needed to save Bai Jiao, he could not insist on borrowing it. "Your highness said that she has damaged her primordial spirit?" Yi Qing asked suddenly.
Everyone was surprised by his question, even Bai Qiao turned her head to look at him. She widened her eyes in recognition and said, "I…"
"You need to rest!" Xin Han waved his hand over Bai Qiao's eyes. Bai Qiao's body relaxed and she once again fell into a deep sleep. Xin Han laid her back on the bed and turned to look at them, "Bai Qiao has indeed damaged her primordial spirit."
Lonemoon finally caught onto Yi Qing's question.
"Then I have a solution. My sect's Spirit Convening Lamp is more useful than the Luo Han Stone in restoring her primordial spirit." Lonemoon suggested, "We will leave the Spirit Convening Lamp here and you lend us your stone. Once they have both recovered, we will each return the item to the other. What do you think?"
After a moment's hesitation, Xin Han replied with a nod, "This solution solves both our problems. Agreed!"
Lonemoon brought out the Spirit Convening Lamp with a wave of his hand.
Xin Han did not move to take the lamp. Instead, he looked down at Bai Qiao and said, "Please wait a moment while I retrieve the Luo Han Stone."
Lonemoon and the others took the lamp and left the room. Xin Han came out with the Luo Han Stone stone shortly and exchanged it for the Spirit Convening Lamp.
As they were anxious to get back, they bid a quick farewell to Xin Han and flew directly out of the palace.
Once they were out of sight of the palace, Yi Qing suddenly spoke, "He did it deliberately!"
Chapter 194: An Old Flame and a New Love
"You can tell as well?" Lonemoon glanced at him and nodded. "This Xin Han really has a problem, but this Luo Han Stone is indeed real." He had known Tao Shu for a long time - he was always able to tell whether a divine artifact was real or not. What Lonemoon did not understand was why Xin Han instigated them to trade the Luo Han Stone for the Spirit Convening Lamp. Could it really be to save Bai Qiao?
"It's not for her!" As if he could hear Lonemoon's thoughts, Yi Qing shouted. There was no emotions in his eyes when he looked at Bai Qiao.
"Who cares! Whatever it is, the Luo Han Stone is ours now." Lonemoon did not want to spend any more time thinking about it. As an aside, he said, "But I saw this Emperor for myself. I really am starting to believe that this man is heartless." Bai Qiao was so faithful toward him, yet the way he acted showed that he wasn't in the least bit guilty or moved. He looked like he was carved out of ice.
"He has a heart!" "Huh?" What does he mean?
Lonemoon frowned. That man did look like a heartless block of ice, but he felt like the coldness was a little… intentional.
"Master said relationships have nothing to do with the heart - he would not be like this unless he's retarded!"
Lonemoon rolled his eyes. "Shen Ying, you're always… Eh! Where's Shen Ying?" Lonemoon turned around and realised that there was an empty space where Shen Ying was supposed to be. Shen Ying had mounted Yi Qing's flying sword together with him. Yet, she was gone now. Suddenly, Lonemoon had a bad feeling in his heart. "Holy shit! When did she disappear?"
"I think it was when we left the heavenly palace… that she disappeared?"
"Wait! Did she enter the heavenly palace with us earlier?" Yi Qing: "…"
Back at the Yi Shui Heavenly Palace, in the ice room.
The thick layers of ice had all disappeared. All around them, the cold air had not yet dissipated. However, it was already less cold than before. At least now, the cold wasn't slicing into their hearts. The person who was passed out on the ice bed had regained consciousness.
She was pressing down onto her chest, gasping for air. After awhile, she turned to get off the bed, but a white light flashed all around her.
"Ah!" Bai Qiao shouted. It was then that she realised an array illuminated under her feet. She looked closely and realised it was an entrapping array. "Qiao Qiao." A cold male voice sounded beside her ear. Xin Han suddenly appeared beside her, reaching out to touch her face. "Why were you so rash?"
The woman on the bed paused. Subconsciously, she retreated, avoiding his touch. She scanned him from head to toe. He was saying such sweet things, but he still had an icy demeanour. She looked to the lamp in his hands. Then, anger overcame her.
"What do you want?"
Xin Han showed no hint of expression on his face. He lowered his voice and said, "Qiao Qiao, after all these years, you should know best what I want. Aren't you the cause of everything that has happened?"
Bai Qiao's face fell. "What do you mean?"
"What, are you going back on your promise to me?" Xin Han laughed mirthlessly. His eyes seemed to grow colder. "…" Bai Qiao did not respond. She sat up, becoming more wary.
He suddenly leaned in and his icy cold expression turned into one of pure anger. "In the beginning, when you fell into the mortal realm, if you had not possessed her and stolen her identity, how would I have mistaken you for her? She was my Dao Partner, and you stole everything from her. Even after ascending to immortality, you lied to me for so many years. Do you feel any guilt toward her at all?"
"I said it before, I'm not…"
"What's the point of trying to deny it all now?" Xin Han interrupted her. His eyes grew icy again. "Didn't you say that you would do anything for me? Now, why don't you return her body to her?"
"What!" Bai Qiao's eyes widened.
Xin Han smirked. His entire face came to life as if a thousand stars illuminated it. Bai Qiao hesitated. "I found…" He said, staring at the woman in front of him, as if trying to find something in her face. "I finally found her reincarnate. You were the one who stole her body in the beginning - isn't it only right that you return it to her now?"
"You… You want to swap our souls!" Bai Qiao could hardly believe what she heard.
"I just found out as well that she's in the immortal realm as well. Speaking of which… I should thank you for helping me find the lamp." He glanced at the lamp in his hand, then looked back at her face. This time, she did not have time to dodge. He wrapped his hands around her neck and said, "You must return what you owe her."
Bai Qiao could not even make a sound.
Xin Han stared at her for a long time before releasing her. Then, he walked forward, stopping at the innermost wall. At once, he conjured a seal and a map array appeared on the white wall. A few moments later, the entire wall opened in front of their very eyes, revealing a hidden room. "What did you lock me in here for?" An angry female voice sounded from inside the room. A girl in fully green robes walked out of he room and glared at Xin Han. "You had better release me as soon as you can. Don't think that it's a big deal that you're a Celestial Emperor. My Master is Celestial Emperor Chen Ge. If even one strand of hair is missing from my head, my master would not let you off!"
"Little Xuan." Xin Han stared blankly at the woman in front of him. He reached out and held her hand.
The girl immediately shook his hand off and shouted, "Don't touch me! I've said it a hundred times - I'm Hui Ling, not your Little Xuan or whatever! I'm not your wife!"
Xin Han did not get angry. Instead, he softened his voice. "You just don't remember it. Immediately… you'll regain all your memories."
"What do you mean?" Hui Ling paused.
Xin Han smiled at her and pulled her along with him to the middle of the house. He pointed to the woman on the bed and said, "Do you remember her?"
"Who is she?" Hui Ling frowned.
"It's alright if you don't remember her. I've placed a revival spell on her body. You will soon understand everything." He conjured an array around Hui Ling and anxiously said, "When you become her, I will release the seal I placed on her body. Then, you will remember everything, and you'll be a Stygian Immortal."
"A Stygian Immortal!" Hui Ling exclaimed. She understood what he meant at once. "You want to swap our souls? No… No I don't want it!" She wanted to run, but she was trapped in the array.
"Don't worry, you will be alright," Xin Han comforted her. He walked to Bai Qiao's side and placed the Spirit Convening Lamp along the boundaries of the array.
He wanted to activate his powers and perform the soul swapping technique, but Bai Qiao suddenly broke out of the array and charged toward him. Her immortal Qi condensed into a sword which she used to stab him.
Xin Han blocked off the attack with his palm, but a hundred thousand swords appeared in front of him and charged straight toward him. Xin Han was taken aback - he had no choice but to summon his own weapon to block off the swords.
Bai Qiao did not fight any longer. She took the opportunity to run out of the door. She was just about to fly out when an array lit up and sealed the entire exit.
There was another bright flash of light and Bai Qiao fell onto the floor. She was very seriously injured already, and now she began to spit out blood. She was hanging on to what little energy she had not to fall over and lose consciousness again.
Xin Han saw the array that trapped Bai Qiao. There were streaks of blood on it - the array was broken. She had started trying to break the array when he turned his back on her. There was an unspeakable shock in his heart. "I never thought that you would improve so much in this period." He smirked, then walked toward her. "But… did you think you can escape? Bai Ti has washed his hands off you. Nobody will come and rescue you!"
Once he finished speaking, he conjured a spell. There was yet another flash of light and he pointed the spell toward Bai Qiao.
Suddenly, something tightened around his wrist. He could no longer move. The spell in his hand disappeared. A lazy voice spoke.
"Sorry, I'm here!"
Xin Han: "…"
Hui Ling: "…"
Everybody present was silent. Shen Ying turned to glance at the girl on the floor. She waved and smiled, "Hey! Little Shortie!"
Chapter 195: A Slightly Different Shortie
The girl on the floor paused and her eyes widened. She looked directly at Shen Ying, who seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. Her clear eyes welled up immediately as if she could hold her tears back no longer. She began to cry.
Shen Ying jumped. "Why are you crying?"
The girl began to wail.
"Wah… Divine… Divine Immortal, Sect Master…" She pounced on Shen Ying and hugged her thighs, crying even harder than before. "Sect Master, you recognised me… You really recognised me… Wah!" Shen Ying knew who she was! She looked completely different now - she had become a completely different person. Yet, she knew who she was immediately!
Shen Ying pursed her lips. The girl on the floor had looked at her as if she was dying to offer up some joss sticks. It would be difficult not to recognise her!
"Don't cry." Shen Ying tried to shake her off her thighs, but she could not move her legs. That was why she always thought children were troublesome - they were equally troublesome even after growing up.
"Yes, Sect Master!" She nodded, but the tears did not stop flowing.
"It's you!" Hui Ling exclaimed. A complicated expression flashed across her face. "How did you get here?"
Shen Ying turned and glanced at Hui Ling. She was about to respond when the immortal Qi around her seemed to explode. She felt a strong wind. Xin Han had drawn his ice blade and was charging toward her with it, intending to force her to back away.
"Be careful!" The girl who had been hugging Shen Ying's legs shouted. Her tears finally stopped. The ice blade was just about to enter Shen Ying's body. Shen Ying paused. She did not try to push the blade away. She merely lifted her hand and there was a spurt of blood that covered the floor.
"Ah!" A painful scream shot across the entire immortal palace.
With a loud thud, an arm dropped onto the floor.
Shen Ying glanced at the arm and back at the man in front of
her. She paused. "Er… I forgot I was holding on to your arm." Who knew that it would break so easily? Why did you use so much strength to cut off your own arm?
"You… Who exactly are you?" Xin Han had gone completely pale. He retreated several steps, then conjured several spells to stop the pain. He did not take his eyes off Shen Ying the entire time. He could not break free of her grip earlier, and now he lost an arm. Horrible!
"Stop this nonsense. we're going to fight anyway. Let's see who wins first," Shen Ying said irritably. "Get moving!"
Xin Han's expression fell. He did not dare to make another careless mistake. He regulated all his immortal Qi and conjured a hundred thousand wind blades. Then, he summoned his intrinsic dharmic artifact. "Hmph! I don't care who you are, but you're not leaving this place today."
The entire room became filled with icy wind blades. Together, they acted like a blender. Everything in their wake was left in shreds. The beautiful immortal palace became a room of dust. They could even see the sky and the soil now because the ceiling and the ground were reduced to dust.
He flicked a finger and all the wind blades shot toward Shen Ying. At the same time, Xin Han used the pure white immortal sword in his hand to charge toward Shen Ying.
Shen Ying felt another strong gust of wind. All the wind blades were heading toward her, but they combusted once they got near her and fell onto the ground. She did not feel a thing - only the hairs on her head flying because of the wind.
What kind of skill is this… Why was he blowing wind at her?
Was he trying to blow her away? -_-|||
She looked up at Xin Han and frowned. Taking a step forward, she reached out and grabbed his collar. "Sorry, your breath stinks!"
After saying this, she dealt him a blow downwards.
There was a series of cracking sounds. A huge crack appeared beneath her feet. They began to sink downward. The entire peak had been split into two. Yet, she did not stop. She moved aside and then dealt another blow downward. Xin Han, who was already half-buried in the ground just kept sinking further… and further…
History has a scary habit of repeating itself…
Shen Ying did not feel too happy because… it was lunchtime and Chef was gone!
Two minutes later… She pushed the man in her hands aside and turned to face the girl behind her. "Hey, Little Shortie!"
"Sect… Master?" The girl behind her stared blankly back at her. It was obvious that she was shocked at what she had just witnessed. Shen Ying was indeed worthy of being the sect master!
"Keep the lamp." Shen Ying pointed at the Spirit Convening Lamp not far away. "Father Niu will get angry if it's spoilt."
"Yes!" The girl regained her composure and ran toward the lamp. She picked it up, but just when she wanted to return to Shen Ying's side, someone gripped her ankle.
"Qiao… Qiao." She had no idea where Xin Han was getting this energy from. He looked at her with his blue-green and swollen face. "How could you treat me this way?"
She paused. Something flashed across her eyes. She smiled gently at him. The smile illuminated her face - she was so shockingly beautiful. Even Xin Han was shocked. "Xin Han…" She sucked in a deep breath, raised her leg, aimed for his most vulnerable area and stomped down hard. "F*ck you! I'm not your f*cking Qiao Qiao! I said I'm Xuan Tong. I've been disgusted by the two of you for two months now. You're so disgusting… so disgusting… so disgusting!"
She kept stomping on him. He was Celestial Emperor Xin Han, one of the ten Celestial Emperors afterall. Yet, at that moment, he was reduced to nothing but pain. He shrivelled up like a shrimp, wailing and screaming.
Shen Ying: "…"
Who taught this child what she knows?
"Stop!" Someone shouted. Hui Ling rushed up and shouted indignantly at Xuan Tong, "He's already so miserable, why are you still bullying him? You don't have to be so evil, do you?"
Xuan Tong frowned. "Lady, he wanted to swap my soul! Is he allowed to be evil while no one else is allowed to seek revenge? You might be willing to swap your soul but I'm not!" "But you're fine now, aren't you?" Hui Ling looked at the wounded man lying on the floor. She could not stop herself from continuing, "What's more, he's just trying to find his wife. You were the one who possessed his wife in the first place. What could he have done?"
The more she spoke, the more sense she was making. She was held here against her will, but he had not touched a single hair of hers while she was here. He also always gave in to her. It was obvious that Celestial Emperor Xin Han was not an evil man.
"Lady, are you deaf?" Xuan Tong frowned every more deeply. "I've already said it - I'm not Bai Qiao. I don't care what they had between them and I don't know why I'm trapped in her body. But this has nothing to do with me!"
"You…" Hui Ling's voice faded. She glanced worriedly at the man on the ground and remained in front of Xuan Tong. "Live and let live. I will not let you hurt him anymore."
"Little Xuan…" Xin Han looked up at Hui Ling, obviously moved. "I knew it - you've reincarnated but you still love me." He was getting extremely emotional and looking at Hui Ling as if she was his world. It would not have looked so comical if not for his swollen and blue-green face, as well as his shrivelled up shrimp-like body.
Xuan Tong could no longer stand to watch it. She turned away.
Hui Ling acted like she did not notice Xuan Tong. She helped the man up and shot Xuan Tong a dirty look before saying, "Celestial Emperor, don't worry. My master will be right over. He will seek justice for you."
"…" Xuan Tong pursed her lips. She seemed to hear what Elder Lonemoon uttering his signature phrase in her head.
Chapter 196: The Meeting of the Lovers
"Little Xuan, you're the only one in the world that cares so much about me," said Xin Han, an unknown emotion flickering across his eyes.
"You… hai! I told you I'm not her. Why do you insist on…"
"No, you must be!" Xin Han clutched her hand tightly and said in an earnest tone, "Nothing matters to me as long as you come back to me, so…"
"Xin Han, why are you so…" Hui Ling paused in shock. "What are you doing?"
Suddenly, the array formation under the two girls lit up and a black crack appeared behind them. They felt themselves drawn towards the crack by a powerful force of attraction.
Xin Han said with a crazed look in his eyes, "We will never be separated." Then he picked up Hui Ling and walked towards the crack. The crack grew bigger and bigger, sucking in everything around it. Xuan Tong, who was standing beside them, had to hold on to an immortal sword she had stuck into the ground for support.
"Don't do this!" Realizing that he was trying to take her away, Hui Ling started to struggle.
"Don't worry, nothing will happen to you." Xin Han comforted her, "We're just leaving this place."
"Little Ling…" She heard the sound of a familiar voice coming from the the sky. Chen Ge had finally arrived, flying towards them on his sword. He looked shocked to see the crack on the ground. What is happening…" His words trailed off as he spotted Xuan Tong. Looking at her, he felt something inexplicable tug at his heart.
Who was she?
"Master, save me!" A joyful Hui Ling wanted to rush over to his side, but was held back by Xin Han. "Emperor Xin Han, what do you mean by this?" Seeing that the three of them were about to be sucked into the crack, Chen Ge conjured out a long piece of golden rope. "I'll use this to save you."
Chen Ge tossed the rope into the air. It flew straight towards them and… coiled around Xuan Tong!
Chen Ge: "…"
Hui Ling: "…"
Shen Ying: "…"
Then Hui Ling, with a look of disbelief on her face, fell straight into the crack in the ground and disappeared.
A dazed look appeared on Chen Ge's face. Meanwhile, Xuan Tong's sword had already snapped. The attraction force from the crack was so great that he too was pulled towards it. Just as the two were about to be sucked into the crack, Shen Ying flew over in a flash and carried them off, one on each hand.
Everything happened in the blink of an eye. When they looked down, the crack had closed up.
"Sect master…" Xuan Tong's heart was still pounding. Although she did not know what kind of tunnel Xin Han had dug, she instinctively sensed that danger lurked within it. She looked up at Shen Ying and handed the lamp to her.
"Keep it with you. Pass it to Father Niu later."
Xuan Tong nodded and kept it.
Chen Ge was still gazing at Xuan Tong fixedly, seemingly lost in thought. After a long while, he asked hesitantly, "Are you all right… Ouch!"
Before he could finish his sentence, Xuan Tong raised her leg and kicked with great force between his legs.
Chen Ge was caught totally unawares. Although his body was protected by immortal qi, the pain still made him double up, his hands clutching the unmentionable body part.
"Hmph! It's all your brain-damaged disciple's fault!" My sect master came here to rescue me, but your disciple sided with that disgusting man. "Next time, teach her properly. Don't let her loose to harm others!"
Shen Ying: "…"
Is Little Shortie all right? That was a vicious move!
Surprisingly, Chen Ge was not angry! He continued to look at Xuan Tong with a conflicted expression in his eyes.
"Sect master, Xin Han has escaped. What should we do now?" Xuan Tong turned around to face Shen Ying, reverting to her usual timid, obedient self. "… Let's return home." We'll decide after I eat.
"Yes, Sect Master!" Xuan Tong summoned her sword hurriedly. She looked at Shen Ying excitedly. She finally had a chance to fly with her sect master. Happiness! Even her injuries did not seem to hurt her now.
Shen Ying mounted the sword and they flew off towards the palace exit.
"Little Shortie, who taught you how to kick like that?"
"Master Qi taught me!"
"Roasted Chicken Gal?" Was she so vicious?
"Yes. Master Qi said there are no good men in this world."
Shen Ying: "…" Shen Ying felt a deep sense of commiseration.
Shen Ying happened to meet the Chef and Father Niu at the palace entrance. The palace was quite deserted, probably because Xin Han had not wanted anyone to know that he was using the soul exchanging spell. So they managed to reach the palace entrance quickly without incident.
"Master!" Yi Qing flew over swiftly. He heaved a sigh of relief when he saw Shen Ying.
"Where did you go?" Father Niu asked, glaring at Shen Ying. Then he turned to look at 'Bai Qiao'. "Why did you bring her along?"
"She's Little Shorty!" explained Shen Ying.
"Elder Lonemoon." 'Bai Qiao' explained, "I'm Xuan Tong. I don't know why, but after the Heavenly Tribulation, I found myself stuck in this body."
"Xuan Tong!" exclaimed Lonemoon. He thought for a moment and a sudden realization came to him. "Let's return first… Huh? Why is Emperor Chen Ge here as well?"
Chen Ge paused in thought as he looked at Xuan Tong, who looked back at him guardedly. He had no idea why he had followed them.
"We'll talk after after we get back!" Yi Qing suggested. He pulled Shen Ying over to his sword reflexively. He guessed that Shen Ying must have been involved in the commotion inside the palace. It was time they left. This was Yi Shui's territory after all.
Everyone nodded and flew towards Heavens beyond Heaven.
At Invincible Sect. Lonemoon swept his gaze over 'Xuan Tong'. She had recovered from her injuries but there an uneasy expression on her face. After a while, he asked soberly, "Bai Qiao?"
She shuddered, clenching her fists. They knew.
"Tell me. What happened?"
"I… I had no intention of occupying her body." Since they had found out her identity, Bai Qiao had no option but to confess, "That day, to save Xin Han, I had used up all my powers and almost destroyed my primordial spirit. In a moment of panic, I used a soul swapping technique. I didn't think that I would… would be swapped into her body." When she awoke, she heard them say that Xuan Tong's body was too weak, and they were going to borrow the Luo Han Stone. As she wanted to find out about Xin Han's condition, she did not reveal her identity. "Xin Han… Xin Han. How is he? Is he all right?"
"He's fine! Of course he's fine!" Lonemoon snorted coldly. "He's so fine that he could even… carry out soul swapping for his former lover." "What?" Bai Qiao asked, puzzled.
Lonemoon eyed Bai Qiao and then recounted everything that Xuan Tong had told him. The more she listened, the paler she became. She looked devastated.
After a while, she shook her head and said, "It cannot be. Xin Han won't treat me this way." She had given up everything for him. She could not believe that everything he did had been in revenge for Yun Xuan and that he did not love her at all.
"I don't care whether you believe it or not!" said Lonemoon, rolling his eyes. "Tell us. Is there a way to swap your souls back?" He had never heard of this soul swapping technique before and neither had Chu Xuan and Lan Hua. But he had heard of body possession. But in body possession, the victim soul would be devoured by the possessor; no soul exchange was possible.
"It can't be…" Bai Qiao collapsed on the floor. As if she had not heard him, she kept muttering, "He obviously knew… that I did not deliberately enter Yun Xuan's body. I don't know what happened. After the ascension, I returned into my own body. He told me that he didn't mind. I had no intention of causing her death!"
"…" These love-sick idiots were really annoying!
"How could he say he never loved me? I don't believe… I don't believe!" Bai Qiao covered her face and wailed loudly. Yet a sliver of hope still glimmered in her eyes. "He said that he would never wed anyone but me in this life. Yun Xuan was only his junior sister, how could he like her? He's like this because he
practices Heartless Dao. That's it! It's all because of Heartless
Everyone present frowned to see her indulge in self delusion. Especially as she was using Xuan Tong's body. Roasted Chicken Gal had to clench her fists to prevent herself from giving her a good beating.
"I want to clarify the matter with him!" Bai Qiao suddenly stood up. "I'm sure he loves me, not Yun Xuan!"
"He definitely does not love her!" Shen Ying spoke up suddenly. Everyone looked surprised and turned to look at her. What did she mean?
Bai Qiao eyes brightened. She was pleased to find an ally.
"Little creature, I need you to answer one question."
"Who did you learn this soul swapping technique from?"
Chapter 197: The Truth Behind The Soul Swapping
Bai Qiao was surprised by her question. "This technique… was created by Xin Han. It was to help me return to my fox body after my immortal ascension."
"That means to say, he taught you this technique?"
Bai Qiao nodded and continued, "When he me brought along for the ascension, he had to withstand the Heavenly Tribulation for the two of us. I was already heavily injured when I was in the Lower realm. So he had to create this technique…"
"Oh…" Shen Ying turned to look at Yi Qing. He immediately understood what she meant and his expression darkened.
"Why are you asking this?" Lonemoon and the others were puzzled.
"Creating a technique is not that easy." Yi Qing explained. His sword technique was also self-created, but it was created only after years of hard work and experimentation. Even now, he was still making improvements to it. Creating immortal techniques involved the same process. "Moreover, none of the celestial emperors in the immortal realm have heard of this soul swapping technique."
Everyone's expression changed upon hearing this.
"Xin Han was only an Earth Immortal when he had his first immortal ascension. Yet he was able to come up with this technique under pressure when Bai Qiao was badly wounded." Yi Qing frowned and said, "Unless he has God-given talents, or
"He knew this technique from the start!" Shen Ying said, completing the sentence for him.
"That's not possible!" Bai Qiao's expression changed. She seemed to catch their meaning. Shaking her head vigorously, she said, "He created this technique for me… He said that he would love me no matter how I changed. He won't lie to me!" "Let me guess." Shen Ying ignored her and continued. "You said you did not know how you entered that Yun Xuan's body. That means you were only a soul in the lower realm. What is the procedure for souls descending to the lower realm?"
Everyone fell silent for a moment before turning to look at Chen Ge.
"…" Why are all of you looking at me? Chen Ge looked baffled, but he answered nevertheless, "Naturally they would have to enter the Three Realm's Samsara and be reincarnated."
"That… that was an accident!" Bai Qiao's face turned increasingly pale and he body started to sway.
"What if it was not?" Shen Ying continued, "A cultivator from the mortal realm accidentally finds a wandering immortal soul who needs to be reincarnated. And coincidentally, this cultivators knows a soul swapping technique. This wandering soul is a female. What is more, this cultivator happens to have a lover who is unable to withstand the immortal ascension. What do you think he would do?" "Swap souls!" A look of stunned realization spread across everybody's faces. "Once in the immortal body, she would be able to avoid the Heavenly Tribulation and become an immortal directly." She could bypass the immortal ascension and become Stygian Immortal once she entered the immortal realm!"
"Yes." Shen Ying nodded her head. "But this technique has a flaw. There was no guarantee that it would work, that was why…"
"That was why Yun Xuan died in the soul swapping process!" Lonemoon said, "Xin Han made a mess of the matter and then pretended he knew nothing about it!" Holy shit! He had seen many shameless people but this fellow took the cake!
"He needed the Spirit Convening Lamp because he knew there was a flaw in the soul swapping technique." Shen Ying munched her apple and looked at Bai Qiao and Xuan Tong. "I guess the flaw is… is that for it to work, it requires that the primordial spirits of both parties be highly unstable."
"That explains why, during Little Tong's Heavenly Tribulation, her body was accidentally swapped with Bai Qiao's!" exclaimed Qi Chengyu. Little Tong's primordial spirit had been damaged by the last bolt of Wildfire, while Bai Qiao had also damaged hers while trying to save Xin Han, hence the two were able to swap their bodies successfully!
Shen Ying finished munching her fruit and switched to another one. Looking at Bai Qiao, who was now as pale as a sheet, she said slowly, "You are not the one responsible for possessing his wife's body. You were caught in their scam. You were the one who was deceived for ten thousand years, not him!"
Bai Qiao back away in despair. Her legs gave way and she fell to the floor. She lay there lifelessly but her tears gushed out like water from a broken dam.
Everyone let out a sigh. Perhaps Bai Qiao herself had had her suspicions about the matter, but love had blinded her from seeing the truth.
What Xin Han said about taking revenge for his Dao partner simply did not make sense. If he had really loved Yun Xuan, he could not have failed to tell the real Yun Xuan from the fake. He had kept on with the pretense on account of Bai Qiao being the daughter of Emperor Bai Ti. Xin Han was not heartless because of his practice of the Heartless Dao, the only person he loved was himself. He had chosen to abandon Yun Xuan to achieve immortal ascension, so naturally, he had no qualms abandoning Bai Qiao now!
Lonemoon looked at the devastated Bai Qiao and shook his head. It looked as if he would not get any more answers out of her today. Turning to Xuan Tong and Yu Hong, he instructed, "Take her back. Inform Emperor Bai Ti about this matter and ask him to fetch her back."
"All right!" Yu Hong answered. With Xuan Tong's help, she carried Bai Qi out of the room. Qi Chengyu and the other disciples left as well, as did Chen Ge…
Xuan Tong looked back at the man following her. She frowned and said reflexively, "Scram!"
"OK." Chen Ge turned back and sat down.
Shen Ying: "…" Yi Qing: "…"
What happened to this child? Even the script had changed. The female lead was supposed to have a one-sided crush on the male lead, but now the roles seem to have reversed. And wasn't Chen Ge supposed to be trying to save his disciple? Why was he following her instead?
"Er… It looks like we can't take the risk of Xuan Tong and Bai Qiao swapping their souls back?" Lone coughed awkwardly and stole a look at Chen Ge. The changes to the plot was getting too weird for him. They could not simply beat the two girls up to damage their primordial spirits just for the sake of swapping their souls back. They could only wait for Bai Ti to come and let the guardians of the girls decide on the matter. "But at least this problem has a solution."
"What solution?" Shen Ying asked suddenly.
"What do you mean?" "That Sin fellow…"
"It's Xin, Xin Han!" Lonemoon's mouth twitched in exasperation. You can't change a person's name at will!
"Yes, that's right. If he was the one who masterminded the soul swapping affair, don't you think it's strange that he abducted Green Tea (Hui Ling)?"
Everyone stood up in shock. Shen Ying was right. If he were truly the mastermind, then being the heartless man that he was, why would he swap Hui Ling's soul into Bai Qiao's body? He was already a celestial emperor; he had no reason to risk offending Bai Ti.
"Master! Xuan Tong told us that the aura inside the tunnel was very strange." Yi Qing suddenly recalled. "Do you know what it was?"
"Demonic Qi!" Before Shen Ying could answer, Chen Ge finally came out from his reverie and cut in, "There was demonic Qi inside the tunnel!" Lonemoon: "…"
Yi Qing: "…"
The crowd: "…"
Chapter 198: Changing Race
Bai Ti arrived promptly. Within two days, he arrived to fetch his daughter. He was very different from the way he appeared the last time - this time, he looked very much older. The way he looked at Bai Qiao showed that he no longer cared for nor cherished her as much anymore. It seemed that he had been extremely hurt by Bai Qiao's stubborn behavior.
Just as Lonemoon expected, the two of them could not swap their souls back. Bai Qiao was fully healed and Xuan Tong's primordial spirit had fully recovered. The success rate for the soul swapping technique was far too low, and there was no way they could fix the targets. They were afraid that if they tried to swap their souls, the souls would end up disappearing. Even with the Spirit Convening Lamp, the risks were the same. The Spirit Convening Lamp could not fix the targets, but it could only ensure that one did not lose his primordial spirit. In other words, when one's primordial spirit was completely whole, and soul swapping is attempted by force, one of the souls would definitely die.
Obviously, when Xin Han thought of swapping Bai Qiao's and Hui Ling's souls, he did not think that Bai Qiao would survive. That was why even though he knew it was not Bai Qiao in that body, he still wanted to go ahead with the soul swapping. When Xuan Tong figured this out, she felt a wave of panic. Thank goodness! Thank goodness Sect Master recognised her, otherwise…
Suddenly, she felt overcome by emotion. She turned and entered Shen Ying's room silently, filling it with potatoes, red potatoes, fresh flowers and other offerings.
Shen Ying: "…"
Yi Qing: "…"
At last, Bai Ti decided not to swap their souls. The two of them were to remain the way they were and Bai Ti was to bring Bai Qiao back. Her cultivation level had been completely destroyed and she was going to have to re-train herself. It was likely that she would not be able to
Xuan Tong, who turned from a human cultivator into demon was suffering much the same fate. Although she had Qi Chengyu's immortal Qi every now and then, which allowed her to keep her human form, her body was not even as powerful as first-stage demons.
Incidentally, Lonemoon did not object to them sticking to the status quo. He only requested that Bai Ti, Xuan Tong and Bai Qiao make a Heavenly Dao promise with him, that they would never attempt to swap their souls back no matter what.
Bai Ti agreed.
After the promise was made, four huge bolts of divine lightning shot down from the sky, casting a curse on each of them. Lonemoon, who looked like he had been forced into making a bad deal, suddenly plastered his business grin onto his face. He turned around and chased them away, saying, "Your Majesty Bai Ti, it's getting late, forgive me for not seeing you out."
"This matter… I have your sect to thank for all your help. You saved my child." Bai Ti was short-tempered, but he still understood how to appreciate favours. The soul swap occurred by accident, but they did save his daughter afterall. "I will thank you properly in time to come."
When he finished speaking, he brought his daughter - who was still recovering from the huge blow - back to Bai Zhao.
Lonemoon's grin widened. This grin just got wider and wider, especially a few days later when people from Bai Zhao arrived from the sect to send over ten storage bags' worth of thank-you gift. His eyes were slits, just like Xuan Tong's new eyes.
Everybody in Invincible Sect who knew what was going on: "…"
He took advantage of them and still went further so as to make more money out of this misery. Xuan Tong and Bai Qiao were both suffering equally badly. One was a mortal, and one was a normal fox. Bai Ti had no idea, but Shen Ying and the rest knew all of this. Xin Han said before that the cultivation level in Bai Qiao had not vanished. What's more, her powers had been sealed by some unknown powers. She was actually a Stygian Immortal. Not only did Xuan Tong increase in cultivation level for no reason, Lonemoon also got paid a huge sum for it.
When everybody saw Xuan Tong's fox body, however, they saw the difficulties. Nobody knew where the seal was. She looked just like a spirit fox that had just gained sentience.No wonder Bai Ti had not realised his own daughter's odd form.
They studied Xuan Tong's body for several days, but still no one could locate the seal. That was until one day, when Radish, who had come to deliver dandelions and carry Xuan Tong's offerings away, suddenly spoke. "Eh, this fox's paw has a mark on it. It looks just like the one that Brother Lan has!"
"The spirit-sealing deed!" Chen Ge was the first to react. "That's the work of demons!"
Everybody was shocked. It was no wonder that they could not locate it - it was the work of demons. They immediately brought Xuan Tong to the rear mountain and located the God of Fortune Lan, who had been refining pills for months. Indeed, the moment he saw Xuan Tong's predicament, he managed to solve it.
Lonemoon worried at first that if Chen Ge saw Lan Hua in Invincible Sect, a conflict would arise. Hence, he did not allow Lan Hua to take a single step out of the rear garden. But by then, it was proven though that Chen Ge was not in the least bit bothered by this. Throughout the entire process, he just stared worriedly at Xuan Tong. He was the most anxious out of all of them about Xuan Tong's predicament, as if Xuan Tong was his disciple and not Invincible Sect's.
It was just like Xin Han had said. The moment the seal was undone, the immortal Qi in Xuan Tong's body exploded. Her cultivation level increased at a frightening rate so that she immediately became a Stygian Immortal. Her cultivation level was now the highest after Lonemoon and Yi Qing.
Her tail had also multiplied into nine tails. She was a white nine-tail fox. On her body were streaks of white lightning. She was lightning-elemental!
Lonemoon's eyes twinkled as he gazed at her. Then, he patted the now human Xuan Tong on her shoulder, saying, "From today on, I will personally train you in the sword technique!"
People with lightning-elemental body types were usually naturals at sword cultivation! This time, nobody would be able to lead her astray. Physical cultivators my ass!
Shen Ying: "…"
Yi Qing: "…"
Father Niu, did you forget that she's the female lead?
Xuan Tong paused. Although she was a Stygian Immortal, she was not at all skilled in terms of any technique. Suddenly, her eyes lit up. She knelt down and exclaimed, "Thank you, Elder!"
Sticking close to Elder would allow her to see Sect Master more.
That was great!
Chen Ge could not help but take a step forward. "Actually, I can help…" "Get lost!"
"Oh…" A certain male lead stepped back in his place.
For some reason, Xuan Tong could not stand the sight of that Celestial Emperor called Chen Ge. The moment she saw him, she wanted to hit him.
Shen Ying: "…"
Yi Qing: "…"
They could almost hear the novel plot falling apart…
Lonemoon cleared his throat and turned to Lan Hua, telling him about Xin Han tearing an opening that was filled with demonic Qi. Indeed, he found an answer to that as well. "The Bite of Ten Thousand Voids!" Lan Hua exclaimed.
"What does that mean?" Lonemoon asked. "Explain yourself."
"That's a kind of sorcery that works like a transportation array," Lan Hua explained. "But it does not have to be conjured beforehand, nor would it cost any immortal stones. The way it works in space is different as well. The Bite of Ten Thousand Voids would allow one to teleport to anywhere in the world in seconds."
"You mean to say that we have no way of knowing where he went?"
"That might not be true!" Lan Hua could not help but offer a cup of hot tea to the foodie who was sitting beside him snacking on pastries. Then, he continued, "The Bite of Ten Thousand Voids requires a large amount of demonic Qi. At the exit, there would also be some kind of phenomenon. You can look around to see where any phenomenon has been spotted in the last few days in the immortal realm, then you'll be able to locate him." Chen Ge frowned and addressed the crowd as if recalling something. His expression was sombre.
"I'm afraid… things aren't that simple."
Chapter 199: The Phenomenon at the Cloud Sea
"What does the Celestial Emperor mean by this?" Lonemoon asked.
Chen Ge fell silent for awhile before replying, "Do you all remember when I was still Ning Zi'an and had a demon seed planted inside me?"
Everybody stared blankly back at him. Lonemoon snuck a glance at Xuan Tong, who did not seem to notice anything wrong. Lonemoon replied, "I remember! Could that have something to do with Xin Han?"
"Indeed!" Chen Ge nodded. "I just remembered that today. Before I discovered the demon seed, I was invited by him to go to the Void Land to subdue a huge ancient beast. He said that the beast was at the east of Yi Shui, on a land that had been frozen for years. The people thought of various ways and means to chase it into the Void Land, and finally succeeded. To prevent it from coming out again, he invited me to go to the Void Land to subdue it. My Feng Cang continent has always been located really close to Yi Shui. I was afraid that should the beast escape, we would be affected as well. That's why I agreed to go down and help him."
"Could it be… That demon beast?" Lonemoon repeated in shock.
"I only realised later that the great beast was completely black. It travelled extremely fast so we could hardly detect its aura. In the beginning, I thought that this beast was just unique. Thinking back now, I know that the Void Land was a mess of immortal and demon Qi and thus I did not realise that the beast had demonic Qi in it." Chen Ge frowned deeply. "Shortly after we subdued that beast, I was severely injured in another fight. Only after that I realised I had a demon seed planted in me."
"You mean to say… Xin Han purposely led you there to plant the demon seed inside you," Lonemoon summarised.
Chen Ge was not too sure himself. It was just that even after all these years, he could not figure out who it was that planted the demon seed inside of him. He had always thought it being the person he got into a fight with. But that person was an immortal - using immortal techniques. People who did not have demonic Qi inside of them could not plant demon seeds. He was a Celestial Emperor at that - the person who could hurt him so seriously must have been a Celestial Emperor as well. In the beginning, he suspected Chu Xuan- being the only Emperor whom Chen Ge did not get along with amongst the ten Celestial Emperors.
He glanced at Lan Hua with mixed feelings in his chest. But seeing as how Shen Ying and the others were still so calm, he decided to push his thoughts aside.
"Let's not bother about whether this theory is true or not for now. All we can do is open the Bite of Ten Thousand Voids. Even if he isn't a demon, he is very familiar with the ways of demons." Lan Hua continued, "If he had been plotting this from a long time ago, we will not be able to find him easily."
Everyone suddenly looked uncomfortable. Xin Han was way too good at hiding. Who would have thought that one of the Celestial Emperors whose relationship with Bai Qiao was so complicated would be related to demons? What's more, they could not even guess what he was up to.
"What's the Void Land?" Shen Ying suddenly asked. "Exalted Goddess, that is a realm that is located on the west of the Bo Sea," Chu Xuan, the mini encyclopedia, glared at Chen Ge. He immediately explained, "That's the only wilderness located in the Bo Sea, but it's closer to the west boundaries of the immortal realm. It is said that it is extremely chaotic there. That's why there's no form of life that grows there–no plants, no animals. Instead, it is filled with obstacles, demons, and things of Yin Qi. Nobody from the immortal realm likes to go…"
Chu Xuan paused mid-sentence, eyes widening. "Xin Han couldn't really have gone there, right?"
Everybody in the hall also reacted, shock evident on their faces. That was really possible. Lan Hua said one needed huge amounts of demonic Qi to open the Bite of Ten Thousand Voids, and that there would surely be a phenomenon where the exit was. In the entire immortal realm, the only place where there could be demonic Qi and phenomena occurring without rousing suspicions was the Void Land.
"We can only find out the answer by sending people to enquire of the Celestial Emperor of the Bo Sea, and sending others to the places surrounding the Void Land," Lonemoon suggested. He looked at Chu Xuan and Chen Ge for approval.
Chen Ge nodded and turned to walk out of the hall. He conjured a transportation array and disappeared.
Perhaps it was just as Chu Xuan said–that Chen Ge had the best public relations among all the Celestial Emperors. Within two days, he received a response from the Celestial Emperor of the Bo Sea. Unexpectedly, there was no phenomenon that occurred in the Void Land.
But the other party also said that there was an important piece of news. The Cloud Sea, which was connected to the Bo Sea, saw a weird phenomenon in the last few days. The waters rose and flooded the nearby Yi Shui continent. Even the Cloud Sea's Celestial Emperor Ying Zhi could not do anything about it. But the Cloud Sea was very much isolated and the immortals there did not interact much with the other immortals, so he was not sure what the situation there was like.
Lonemoon cursed under his breath. Now, there was another Cloud Sea to deal with. He gave up the plans to go to the Bo Sea and headed to the Cloud Sea together with Chen Ge, who suddenly recalled that he had a disciple to save, Boss Lan, Yi Qing and Shen Ying.
They could not sit still before they found out exactly what was going on with Xin Han. At Yi Shui, they were the ones who ruined his plan to perform the soul swapping. They were considered his arch-enemies. Knowing how scheming the man was, they were guessing that he was thinking of a way to deal with them. Invincible Sect had already got itself into such a mess – why not take the first step instead of sitting around and wait for trouble to come to its doorstep?
Chu Xuan remained behind to watch over the sect. They were confident that nothing much would happen there. Somehow, Lonemoon had a feeling that things weren't as simple as they appeared.
The five of them spent a few days flying before they arrived at the Cloud Sea. From afar, they saw a thin white cloth floating down toward the ground from the sky. It looked like a silk ribbon that was joining the sky to the earth. Water flowed down from the belt into the Yun Feng continent.
This was Lonemoon's, Shen Ying's and Yi Qing's first time in the Cloud Sea. Subconsciously, the three of them looked up at the sky and realised that they were an azure blue. Even atop their heads, water was moving non-stop. There were several types of spirit and immortal beasts swimming around in the water above their heads – big and small.
No wonder this place was called the Cloud Sea! There really was a sea among the clouds!
"Whoa!" Shen Ying could not help but exclaim at this sight that defied science. "Won't this water… wu wu."
Before she could finish speaking, Yi Qing's and Lonemoon's expressions changed. Both of them moved to cover her mouth.
"Shut up, let the immortal people of the Cloud Sea go?"
"Master, why don't you have something to eat?"
Shen Ying: "…" Lan Hua and Chen Ge, who did not understand what was going on: "…"
Lonemoon glanced at the thin cloth in the sky. This was the so-called phenomenon, right? The few of them flew over. Lan Hua took a closer look at the hole in the sky that seemed to be leaking. Then, he shook his head. There was no detectable demonic Qi here.
Lonemoon's expression fell. Then, they all flew toward the entrance to the Cloud Sea. It looked like they had no choice but to look for the Celestial Emperor of the Cloud Sea to have a quick chat. The entrance was not far from where they were. In a little over ten minutes, they saw the heavenly gates.
Strangely, there were no immortal guards outside the heavenly gates. There was only a huge stone tablet in the middle of the gates. On it, a reminder was written in big red letters.
[A royal decree from the Celestial Emperor: Male immortals and dogs are not allowed in!] The group: "…"
What does that mean? How did male immortals offend this Celestial Emperor? Why did he block the entrance with this huge stone?
"I almost forgot that Celestial Emperor Ying Zhi of the Cloud Sea is a female," Chen Ge said.
"Don't tell me that she… was hurt emotionally like Bai Qiao was?" It was obvious that she hated all males.
"What should we do?" Lan Hua frowned. "Will she tell us about Xin Han?"
"There's an array on this stone tablet!" Yi Qing pointed forward.
Lonemoon: "Holy shit, it's the Lonely Yang Array! It can destroy all Yang Qi. Exactly how much does this Celestial Emperor hate men?" Lan Hua: "So only women can enter?"
Yi Qing: "Can we use the transformation technique?"
Chen Ge: "No way! The transformation spell cannot hide the Yang Qi in males."
"Why not we let Radish turn into a woman and find out the situation inside? He's a bit of both anyway – he has not decided what he wants to be!"
"Pui! I don't want to turn into a woman!"
"Then what should we do? We can't fight our way in, can we?
We don't have any females with us!"
"Why don't we go in through the silk cloth back there?"
"That…" Shen Ying, who had been silent for a long time, could not help but raise her hand. "Have you forgotten that I'm a female!"
The five of them: "…"
They all fell silent for at least five seconds.
"Er… we really did forget," Lonemoon answered. "Are you sure that you can look more like a woman than Radish can?"
Shen Ying: "…" Son of a b*tch!
Chapter 200: Breaking The Heavenly Gate Array
Shen Ying walked towards the stone tablet. Instantly, the array light on top of the tablet flashed. She walked straight through it without encountering any resistance. A familiar voice rang out from a yellow voice transmission talisman which she was holding in her hand.
"Shen Ying, can you hear me? Do you see the red array formation in front of you?"
Shen Ying took a look at the red light flickering in the distance and nodded. Then she remembered that the person at the other end could not see her and replied, "Yes."
"Enter the array on the left. You will find a piece of immortal stone in the center of the array." Lonemoon explained. "Do you see it?"
"Yes." "Very good. That stone is the switch which activates the array.
Remove the stone and let us in."
"We're here to investigate, not to fight. Don't touch anything other than the stone."
"Remember, it's the array on the left. The stone on the right is an array stone, removing it will cause…"
Before he could complete his sentence, there was a loud boom. The stone tablet which blocked off access to the Heavenly Gate, came crashing down and shattered into little pieces on the ground. Through a cloud of dust, Shen Ying could faintly see someone holding onto an array stone, a stunned expression on his face.
The four of them: "…" "Er…" Shen Ying glanced at the immortal stone in her hand."Is it switched off?"
"Switched off, my foot!" She had destroyed the entire array! Lonemoon was hopping mad. "You just love destroying things, don't you? I know you are a navigation idiot, but at least you should know right from left!"
"Isn't this left?" I know where my left is, it's the hand I used to pick up my bowl.
"You're now facing us, so of course this is your left. I meant the direction you came from, where you entered, do you understand?"
"…" So you're blaming me? "Who are you people! How dare you break into the Sea Cloud Palace?" Several immortals, all carrying immortal weapons, came flying over. Within moments, they were entirely surrounded. Curiously, they were all female immortals.
The leader of the group took a look at the shattered stone tablet and glared at them. "How dare you damage his highness' sacred decree tablet! Seize them!" She gave a signal with her hand and the surrounding immortals charged towards them.
"Stop!" Chen Ge stepped forwards, unleashing the suppressing aura of a celestial emperor. "I'm Chen Ge. I've come here to discuss some matters with your emperor."
"You're the emperor of Feng Cang?" Intimidated by his aura, the female immortal stepped back. Her expression changed and she swept a glance at them. "We of Sea Cloud do not have relations with other continents. Even if you are the emperor of Feng Cang, you don't have the right to destroy our sacred decree tablet!"
"We…" Chen Ge glanced at Shen Ying, who, after passing the array stone to Yi Qing, started munching on a piece of fruit. He had no choice but to come up with an explanation. "This is a misunderstanding! There were no guards at the Heavenly Gate and we could not find anyone to pass our message. So we tried to unlock the array. Unfortunately, we destroyed the array by accident."
The female immortal was unmoved by his explanation. Looking at them warily, she said, "I don't care who you are! Male immortals are not allowed into the palace. Anyone who defies the order… will be killed!"
She gave a signal with her hand and the immortals moved towards them.Just as the two sides were about to start fighting, a male voice suddenly rang out.
"Exalted Immortal Zhu Yun, what's the trouble?"
A male immortal descended and landed next to the female immortal. He was clad in blue robes and wore a purple crown on his head. His hands were clasped behind his back and there was a stern expression on his face. Immortal qi swirled around his body. There was something familiar about his face. "What happened to the Ji Yang array?" He was shocked to see the ground covered with stone fragments. He raised his eyes subconsciously towards the person is front and said, "Aren't you Emperor Chen Ge? Why have you come…" His words trailed off as he spotted something. His eyes widened and he exploded in anger, "Lan Hua!"
Boss Lan's expression changed too. Stepping forwards, he said hesitantly, "Brother Yu, why are you here…"
"You still have the cheek to come here!" Before Lan Hua could complete his sentence, Lan Yu summoned his weapon and snarled, "I'm going to kill you!" Then he charged straight towards Lan Hua. A frantic battle ensued.
Everyone looked baffled at what was happening.
Why were they fighting?
"Your highness…" Lonemoon could not help asking Chen Ge, "Who is this emperor?" "He's Emperor Lan Yu, ruler of Yun Zhe continent," Chen Ge replied.
"Oh…" The others nodded their heads, finally understanding.
So this was Lan Hua's treacherous younger brother. But looking at his all-out attack on Lan Hua, it seemed as if he had a grievance against him. Obviously, there was more to their feud than met the eye.
"Chef, did you bring melon seeds" asked Shen Ying.
"Yes, Master, would you like sunflower, pumpkin or watermelon seeds?"
"A little of each."
"Yes Master, no problem Master!" Lonemoon: "…"
Chen Ge: "…"
Wasn't Lan Hua part of their group? Why were they treating the fight as an entertainment?
The Lan brothers fought for a few hours. Neither seemed to give an inch; both attacked with everything they had, yet after fighting for a whole day, no clear winner emerged. As it seemed like the fight would drag on forever, Chen Ge took the chance to explain to the immortal guard what happened at Heavenly Gate.
Shen Ying had finished the third bag of melon seeds, yet the two brothers were still fighting.
Lonemoon looked at the sky and gave Shen Ying a shove. "Shen Ying, talk sense into them!"
"Huh?" Shen Ying looked at him in surprise. "Are you sure you want me to go?" She asked, preparing to get up. Lonemoon suddenly remembered what she had done to the Heavenly Gate and pulled her back. "Forget it. Yi Qing, get them to stop." The big cheat was useful, but she was too hard to control!
Yi Qing nodded and passed the bag of seeds to Shen Ying. Then he jumped into the fray. Instantly, swords appeared in the sky and started raining down on the two brothers.
"A sword Immortal! Who are you?"
"Holy shit! Yi QIng, what are you doing?" Why was Yi Qing attacking Lan Hua as well?
Yi Qing did not reply him. Instead, he increased the intensity of his attack. The swords immediately transformed into one huge sword, which then headed towards the two men. Just as the sword was about to hit them, the blade flipped and the flat side of the sword hit them instead.
The two brothers fell face down onto the ground, stirring up a cloud of dust. Their faces became cut and bloodied as a result of landing on the stone fragments on the ground.
Yi Qing flew back and reported calmly, "I've stopped their fight!"
Chen Ge: "…"
The crowd: "…"
Lonemoon looked at Yi Qing suspiciously. This was not stopping a fight, this was more like beating them up! And he had even beaten up Lan Hua, their team mate! Yi Qing must have wanted to beat up Lan Hua all along!