Zhu Xian Chapter 241-250

Chapter 241 - Night Breeze

Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King sect.

The boundless moonlight was like a beauty that had not removed her makeup.

Ghost Li stood at the foot of the mountain.

Regarding the matters that happened at Qing Yun this time, exactly what it was, even he himself was unable to explain.

Was it turning back?

Lead astray from the path?

After ten years of time had past, how much of the past had been buried? The changing, vicissitudes of life. That was deep within his heart, a path he had never veered from before. Even under the manipulation of the Soul- Devouring stick, what was the reason that he refused to sink into depravity?

Unless, nothing had changed?

What had he been adhering on? And what had he given up?

He was after all, an unorthodox person that was not acceptable to others. Was he merely a pitiful person who had walked down the wrong path?

The path below the feet, where was that path?

Even with his position as Ghost King sect head, ruthless and unpredictable, with astonishing skills, at this moment, he was actually at a loss. In his hand the dark-green light of the Soul-Devouring stick glimmered faintly, emanating a rare gentleness, quietly accompanying him, as if it understood his perplexity.

And as like ten years ago, under the Zhu Xian Sword, when his life was in critical danger; that hand, gentle and slightly cold, which firmly caught hold of his, and then again let go, diving toward that devastating force.

Spirits of the nine nether worlds,

Various celestial deities and demons,

Take my blood and body,

Offer them as a sacrifice.

Three lives and seven generations, Forever in hell,

Only for love,

Never a regret, even in death!

He chanted these words quietly, tenderness finally appearing again in his eyes.

That green, graceful figure, as if it were yesterday, was clearly in front of his eyes!

She must have been lying in that icy cold stone room a long while.

So he must have been away from the Majestic Fox Mountain a long while too.

Today, could he see her again? Ghost Li seemed to be back to his senses for the first time, as he looked up, in the distance, toward the place where he had stayed for the last ten years.

Suddenly he was stunned.

The Majestic Fox Mountain he knew, where Ghost King sect headquarters was located, although it had never been dazzling or resplendent, multi-leveled or towering, but the rooms and halls had always been an organized mess. Since when had it become as disorderly as this?

The ruins before him cast a broken shadow in the night sky.

Furthermore, usually disciples could be seen at this time returning from their patrols. As he became more alert he realized that he did not see this. Right now in the mountain, it was silent, no longer looking like a big foe as it had in the past.

Ghost Li frowned, focused and listened carefully. Under the quiet moon there seemed to be an indistinct hubbub within Majestic Fox Mountain. Before he could collect his thoughts, the Soul-Devouring stick in his hand and especially the indistinct strands of blood within the Sinister Orb at the tip, as if affected by some form of stimulation, suddenly lit up! The entire orb was shrouded in a bright red light, emitting faint sounds.

For a moment Ghost Li’s mind was in a trance. It was as if he could see again the mountains of corpses, the blood forming rivers.

The sweet, fragrance of blood…

But his cultivation was, after all, superb. Instantly he took back control of himself.

Without hesitation, the stick moved to his left hand, his right hand forming a Buddhist magical gesture. Using Great Brahman Wisdom’s true way, step by step, he sent it in, suppressed the blood strands in the orb.

Immediately a resplendent golden light surfaced within the blood strands, but it did not clash with the surrounding blood color, just quietly merged in!

The next moment, the solemn Buddhism true way together with that sinister red light dimmed down. Following the body of the stick, they once again flowed into Ghost Li’s body.

Accommodating myriads of Taoism!

Or maybe, in the whole world he was the only one able to use this type of method to resolve the vicious blood!

But even though that was the case it was not an easy task to do. Sweat could be seen on Ghost Li’s forehead.

Ever since he had practised the fourth volume of the <Tian Shu>, the deep ravines in his past cultivation were all gradually being filled. Although the Soul-Devouring stick still flared up but it could be completely suppressed. He was also quite confident of his own skills. But…

Just now…

His face turned quite solemn.

He had assumed throughout the entire process that the source of the constant flow of blood energy had been emanating out from the Soul-Devouring stick. It was now, after it was suppressed, that he finally discovered it was still surging without the slightest bit of reduction.

That energy was actually coming from the mountain.

Unceasingly.

Ghost Li quietly hovered, his expression complicated. He had had this feeling once before. It was as if there was somebody with formidable strength, who emptied the mountain and filled it with blood.

Was this related to those four spiritual beasts?

Inside Majestic Fox Mountain, what exactly had changed?

The Soul-Devouring stick lit up. At the instant when his body leapt with impatience Ghost Li was taken aback.

He heard a sigh.

That familiar sigh was just like in his dream the day before!

He turned around out of habit, towards the source of that sound. In the forest, there seemed to be a green figure that flashed past.

Qing Yun Hill.

Return of the Wind Valley.

Among the seven branches of Qing Yun, Return of the Wind was naturally not as towering as TongTian Peak, as lofty as Long Shou Valley, or as sombre as Small Bamboo Valley. But being classified among the seven branches, it was not without merit. In the forest, there was almost no trace of humans. The small path in the forest, whether wide or narrow, indistinct and distinct, it was as if it had merged with the mountains and rivers.

The moon was lonely, the stars desolate.

The light penetrating through the sparse leaves, leaved mottled spots on the ground. Occasionally the wind passed by and the spots on the ground shifted. On the small path behind the mountain.

Taoist Cangsong with Jin Pinger were already in front of the forest.

Both of them were about to step in, when Jin Pinger suddenly said, “Priest, wait a moment.”

Taoist Cangsong turned around with a solemn face and asked, “What?”

Jin Pinger smiled, and said, “Pinger is dim-witted. There are some things I don’t understand. I would like to consult Priest.”

Her eyes lit up, speaking volumes. In a night like this, an intoxicating fragrance spread out.

Yet Taoist Cangsong ignored it and indifferently said, “Fairy Jin, please speak.” Jin  Pinger  stepped  forward,  and  said,  “Just  now  at  Long Shou Valley, the disciples did not observe their ancestor’s instructions. Priest’s complexion also did not look happy, this is to be expected.”

Taoist Cangsong coldly snorted but did not counter.

Jin Pinger walked lightly into the forest, and slowly said, “Long Shou Valley… Sunset Valley… Morning Sun Valley… now we only left this heaven seal left, right?”

Taoist Cangsong nodded, his expression solemn. He did not speak.

Jin Pinger turned over, smiling sweetly, “Just now at Sunset Valley and Morning Sun Valley, although there weren’t any sentry guards there either and we could proceed, Priest’s expression instead eased up, right?”

Taoist Cangsong coldly asked, “What are you trying to say?” Jin Pinger paused for a while, before continuing, “Pinger just wants to know, now that again nobody is here, why did Priest’s expression suddenly turn sombre again?”

Taoist Cangsong frowned. He didn’t expect her to be so observant. He coldly replied, “What fairy Jin wants to know, she only needs to step into the forest to find out.”

The forest seemed to have a mist, fogging up the small path.
The surroundings felt harmonious.

Jin Pinger was silent. She slowly withdrew her right hand into her sleeve. Facing sideways towards Taoist Cangsong, she walked step by step into the forest.

As the mountain breeze blew through the forest there seemed be a faint sound of sigh.

Jin Pinger carefully walked in the forest but did not discover anything unusual. Slightly relieved, she turned, smiled and said, “Priest, can you say now?” Before she could finish her smile, it was frozen on her face.

Where she had turned to look was where she had just been standing, but for some reason it had became obscure, as if shrouded by a thin fog.

With a sense of foreboding, she could tell something was not right. She stretched her hand out and tried to push the fog away from her eyes.

Where she touched was empty. There was nothing unusual.

But that fog still lingered there, quietly. It looked so real, but at the same time it seemed not to be there. Instead it seemed to be in her eyes, in her heart!

Carefully, step by step, she walked back to where she had came from.

The exit was already before her, she slowly stepped out. There was nothing unusual.

Jin Pinger calmed down, and suddenly felt somehow disappointed.

After all, this was only a fog!

Turning around, with some bewilderment, she asked, “Priest?”

Taoist Cangsong was instead solemn, and did not speak.

Jin Pinger frowning slightly, still bewildered, and suspiciously looking around.

Return of the Wind Valley, before the dense forest.

All of the scenery was reflected in her eyes. This stretch of sky and earth was also, like in the forest, hazy, looking surreal.

While she was still in shock, her body felt a chill, a breeze had blown in from somewhere, brushing past her.

That gust of wind flowed lightly past without carrying any dust.

Then, circling around, it blew back again.

Jin Pinger’s countenance changed.

Just then, that small gust of wind clearly brushed past Taoist Cangsong. Yet his robes did not flutter.

Not the slightest. At that time, suddenly without any warning, that small gust became bigger. Howling, it was about to blow this frail lady off.

But still there was no dust.

The surrounding sky and earth, as before, was obscured and did not sway in that unparalleled wind.

The raging wind once again returned.

It was Return of the Wind!

Although shocked, Jin Pinger’s skills were not trivial. She leapt up, avoided the raging wind by a hair breadth.

The wind howled, fiercely charged into the forest.

Not one of the leaves and branches moved. Jin Pinger heaved a sigh of relief, and turned to look at Taoist Cangsong.

He was still quietly standing there, his expression solemn.

Unmoving!

The raging wind again turned back.

Jin Pinger knew she was in peril. Without hesitation she twisted her slender waist, and actually headed straight into that wind!

The wind was still raging!

That light yellow figure suddenly evolved into a beam of light. At such rapid speed she was almost invisible.

Her hair was flying up! The raging wind approached, within the light yellow light, a burst of magnificence was abruptly seen.

The brilliant purple color was like a resplendent sunset glow!

The Purple Light Sword finally appeared.

That burst of invisible wind in this motionless world fiercely greeted that lady.

Without any sound.

Not even a bit.

Like receiving a heavy blow, Jin Pinger flew back, landing on the ground, her blood channels in a turmoil and almost spilling out.

But then she still stood firmly. The light dance before her dispersed!

It was again a clear and bright day that reflected in her eyes.

She stood before the dense forest. Inside the forest, it still looked hazy.

What happened just now was like a dream!

Was a human lifetime real or illusionary? How could it be separated clearly?

From behind, Taoist Cangsong’s voice, mixed with approval, was heard:

“Fairy Jin, do you understand it now?”

Below Majestic Fox Mountain. Ghost Li’s figure could be seen flying, headed urgently sideways.

That figure, that sigh!

Even if his life would be forfeited, he still wanted to grab hold of a lifetime!

Ten years of hardship, ten years of hurt, ten years of misery.

All for what?

So much of feeling in his heart, evolved into his pursuing footsteps.

He was only afraid that, it would only be a dream!

Not knowing what he was mumbling, his footsteps never stopped. Ghost Li’s figure could not be seen as he went through the forest. It only took an instant for him to enter in from one end and come out from another.

Inside the forest it was empty, the thing that remained were the swaying leaves.

He was still unable to catch it?

Or maybe all of this and everything else was only his misperception, like in the stone room at that time?

But!

That sigh had been so real, almost as if it were beside him.

Under the thin moonlight, his figure was already not that of a young man, his appearance was so dismal. Is there God in the heavens? But why did it persistently make a fool of him?

He heaved a long sigh, like an old man suffering.

“Then this is it. Since you can look past life and death, yet in your heart there is something more important than life and death, rather than trying to ask me so many questions, why don’t you think about those things which are more important to you?”

Zhou Yixian’s advice, for some reason, surfaced in his mind.

“Are even more important…”

Under the moonlight, this man lauged bitterly, mumbled to himself.

“Senior, you are wrong after all. Even though I could think of it, but what abilities do I have to grab hold of it…?” His suddenly paused in his words.

Again another sigh, behind him.

Unless…

His throat choked up, as he turned around.

Was it heaven’s grace?

He couldn’t control his emotions, the person behind him, was already in front of him.

No!

It was not!

In that instant, his blood turned cold. Youji stood before him.

“You finally came back?” she slowly said, without emotion.

“Majestic Fox Mountain is already beyond recognition.”

Chapter 242 - Redeem vow

It was said that in ancient times, during the creation of heaven and earth, the world only consisted of the sky and earth, and accompanying it was only goddess Nuwa.

After an indefinite period of time, the myriad of living things on earth began to take form, and a special type of living thing with intelligence, humans, also took form.

Goddess Nuwa gave the human species protection and grace. She gave all that she had to the humans. The humans under goddess Nuwa’s blessings started to multiply, but at this time the God of Fire Zhurong and his seven brothers together with Ancient God Chiyou as the leader of the gods, felt that since what the humans had then had all been bestowed on them by the gods, the gods should be the humans’ master. Nuwa naturally objected to that, and Zhurong and Chiyou argued with the goddess for a long. In their anger they descended to earth and wishfully thought they could rule the humans through their strength as gods. They waged a war against the humans’ ruler at that time, the Emperor. How could humans fight against the gods? In the end the human species lost greatly and was almost annihilated. Finally goddess Nuwa led a group of deities and fought the God of Fire and Chiyou After a fierce battle of three days and three nights, the God of Fire Zhurong and his seven brothers’ primordial spirits were imprisoned by goddess Nuwa using the Eight Savage Inferno Formation activated by the fire essence magical weapon Inferno Mirror. Chiyou’s primordial spirit was also captured by goddess Nuwa using the Hidden Dragon Cauldron which was smelted from the five-coloured divine stone.

****

The power the Hidden Dragon Cauldron used to imprison Chiyou was obtained by absorbing the spiritual energy of all the living things on earth, and the four great ancient divine beasts with their powerful, divine and mysterious spiritual energy became the natural enemies of the Hidden Dragon Cauldron. Goddess Nuwa once warned the Emperor that Chiyou’s primordial spirit had already been imprisoned in the cauldron. But if the four great divine ancient beasts were gathered together with her prohibition-lifting spell from the
<Tian Shu>, the imprisonment could be broken. One of the four beasts, the Yellow Bird, guarded the Celestial Emperor Treasury in the west. With Heaven and Earth watching it, she could be at peace. Tao’s character was violent, so she took him to be her mount to discipline it properly. Zhulong she bestowed to protect the Holy Wilderness Temple, to guard the Hidden Dragon Cauldron properly and never allow the Devil God to be revived. Only Kui Niu would be at the East Ocean Liubo Hill, but without the other three rare beasts there would be nothing to fear.

****

After that fierce battle goddess Nuwa also realized that the humans should choose their own fates like other living things, and that no gods should break this rule. Although she had led the humans previously, but it was wrong. And so Nuwa led the deities to leave the world, her whereabouts now unknown.

Nuwa’s youngest daughter Ruiying was reluctant to leave the mortal world, and wanted to stay. Goddess Nuwa was unable to change her mind and so agreed and also left behind the ten volumes of Tian Shu to her daughter, which contained her lifetime knowledge of the secret methods of the worlds livings arcane truths, and told her daughter that the books were her research into the origin of living things, in harmony with the foundations of the heavens and earth, and that maybe it would be helpful to the development of the human civilization, for her to stay here. Maybe in the future if the humans were misled by evil, she could use the books to guide them. She also handed the Eight Savage Inferno Formation and the Inferno Mirror to her daughter.

And like that goddess Nuwa left. Her youngest daughter Ruiying went to the Holy Wilderness Temple and gave the third volume of Tian Shu to the humans’ ruler at that time, the Emperor. She also placed a volume in the western marsh Celestial Emperor Treasury, on the left side, for the Yellow Bird to guard, and one volume on the right side of the Celestial Emperor Treasury for the Green Bird to guard.

Later on Ruiying went to the southern border ten thousands great mountains and befriended a youth.

Ruiying wandered the earth and arrived at the southern edge of the Divine Land. Here was all mountain ridges, exuberant with vegetation.

She came to know the deep mountains southern border tribe leader, Yun Xiaotian, and fell in love with him, and so she gave him the second volume, hoping it would aid the southern border tribe to prosperity. She also gave birth to a daughter named Linglong but after reading the Tian Shu, Yun Xiaotian refused to eat or drink. He merged the ‘harmonized things’ in the sixth volume of Tian Shu with the southern border spells, and created the Fenxiang Jade Volume and also Fenxiang Valley. He abandoned Ruiying and moved goddess Nuwa’s Inferno Formation, which was suppressing the Eight Savages, to Fenxiang Valley volcano to do research, hoping to take control of the Eight Savages’ powers and dominate the world.

Ruiying in her despair, brought her daughter deep into the southern border ten thousands great mountains and resided with the other natives. Gradually, due to Ruiying’s kindness and helpfulness, she became the natives’ leader.

After Ruiying passed away her daughter Linglong became the new leader. Linglong was as kind as her mother, and, in order to commemorate her, the locals addressed the future leaders as goddess Linglong.

When goddess Nuwa left, there was once a saying, ‘Heaven and Earth is heartless, treats all living things as dogs’. The goddess’ meaning was that humans should decide their own fate, the gods and deities of heaven and earth should not interfere.

The deities should treat the humans like other species, and let them decide thing for themselves.

That dog was referring to ‘the other living things’ and not the real dog.

At that time, after goddess Nuwa assisted the Emperor to defeat the God of Fire and Chiyou, the Emperor used the fifth volume of Tian Shu to become the leader of the Divine Land. This fifth volume was really extraordinary. This was a record of goddess Nuwa’s breakthrough in understanding the initiation of heaven and earth. At that time there were no malevolent violent spells in the book. It only taught humans how to advance together with the heavens and earth, how to surpass their own lives, and how to live harmoniously with all living things on earth, and also the origin of the living things on earth. When Ruiying left at that time, she once warned the emperor ‘Heaven and Earth is heartless, treats all living things as dogs’, humans were created from heaven and earth and among the living things, had the most spiritual intelligence. Their constitutions were different from the deities, their potential incomparable to any living things in the universe, including the deities. It could also be said to be able to surpass the deities in the future. The ten volumes of Tian Shu included ‘Gather the heavens, Comprehend the earth, Harmonize all things, Be above, Transform nothing, Understand the universe, Weave worlds, Pry into hearts, Realize meaning, and
Return soul’, ten volumes.

Chapter 243 - Pude

Mount Xumi, Tian Yin Temple.

The precipitous mountain path meandered ahead and today, like always, under the warm sunlight, it was crowded with people; numerous devout believers heading towards the temple to pay their respect and to worship their revered deities. The Tian Yin Temple monks were stationed everywhere, receiving the incoming commoners, and at some of the rather dangerous parts of the trail there would usually be a few more monks stationed, just in case. At the same time the monks at the entrance smiled and greeted the crowds; it was a peaceful and auspicious scene.

Tian Yin Temple’s presiding abbot, Master Puhong’s disciple Faxiang, was right now also standing inside the entrance, watching the people pass by. With his status and cultivation, he no longer had to do these chores, but he was benevolent and whenever he saw his fellow monks hard at work due to the large crowd, he would come over and help, like today.

However on this day he seemed distracted, feeling ill at ease, but he couldn’t figure out what the problem was. While looking at the devout believers’ faces flashing past before him, and receiving them, his palms placed together in front and softly chanting ‘Amitabba Buddha’, a figure suddenly walked out from the crowd, and stood before him.

Faxiang looked up and was stunned. Clearly he did not expect to see the person in front of him. Then his face revealed a smile, and he said, “We meet again patron.”

The person was Ghost Li. He was wearing a long grey robe, and when standing among the commoner believers he did not stand out at all. The only sense of superiority most probably came from the restless monkey on his shoulder.

Ghost Li looked quite haggard. Although he didn’t look low- spirited, but he didn’t look cheerful either. He only smiled at Faxiang,  and  said,  “Senior  brother  Faxiang,  can  you  please notify Master Puhong? I have a matter and would like to pay him a visit.”

Faxiang smiled and said, “Patron Zhang, please be assured, our mentor has already instructed before; as long as you are here, no matter when and where, he will meet with you. Please follow me!” After speaking, Faxiang took the lead.

Ghost Li quietly followed him. On the way there, the interior of Tian Yin Temple swirled with incense smoke, not to mention being packed with people, shoulder to shoulder.

The two of them walked for a while, when Ghost Li suddenly said to Faxiang, “Senior brother Faxiang, up above Qing Yun, do you really think deities exist?”

Faxiang was silent for a moment, said, “Patron, according to our Buddhism view, divinities are omnipresent, but the most important thing is still the individual’s mind.”

Ghost Li looked indifferent. Looking at the surrounding people, he quietly said, “I don’t understand.”

Faxiang quietly spoke, “Patron’s life is hard. You have been through many trials and tribulations. From my humble view, if you wish to seek release the most crucial point is to have the words ‘look past’ inscribed in your own heart.” Ghost Li was silent for a long time, and eventually did not speak. Faxiang did not speak either, and led him along. Both of them walked through the corridors and paths towards the Little Tian Yin Temple at the rear of the mountain.

When they reached the meditation room, Faxiang nodded to Ghost Li, and Ghost Li understood and stopped.

Faxiang gently knocked a few times on the door, and said, “Teacher, it is disciple Faxiang. Today patron Ghost Li came up the mountain and is here to pay a visit.”

Immediately from inside the room Master Puhong’s deep and kind voice was heard, “Please invite patron Ghost Li in!”

Faxiang gently pushed opened the door, stepped back and stretched  out  his  arm  to  Ghost  Li,  quietly  saying,  “Patron, please.”

Ghost Li nodded and walked into the meditation room.
Faxiang also followed him and closed the door behind him. Master Puhong was, as usual, sitting in meditation on his bed. He looked at Ghost Li, and his face revealed a kind smile. Putting his palms together, he said, “You are here, patron.”

Ghost Li was quite respectful towards this Master Puhong. Without  hesitation  he  bowed  deeply,  and  said,  “Disciple intrudes.”

Master Puhong shook his head and smiled, “I have said it before, Tian Yin Temple’s door is open wide for you. You can come anytime. Furthermore with you here, I am more than happy. I wonder what bothers you?”

Ghost Li slightly hesitated, looked up at Puhong Master, and said, “To be frank to master, disciple is here today because there is something that I really wish to consult with master.”

Master Puhong said, “Patron please speak your mind.”

Ghost Li wanted to speak but stopped. It seemed hard to find the words, but eventually he said, “I would like to ask master, in your honourable temple, is there a treasure that called the ‘Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate’?”

Master Puhong was surprised. Faxiang standing beside him also revealed a surprised look. Both of them looked at each other and then Master Puhong nodded and said, “That’s right, our temple does indeed have this item.”

Ghost Li was immediately attentive. Master Puhong saw his expression,  frowned  slightly  and  asked,  “May  I  ask  patron Ghost Li, why do you suddenly ask about this item?”

Ghost  Li  hesitated  before  replying,  “Actually  both  of  you know the situation that disciple is in. Ten years ago at Qing Yun Hill, disciple had a friend who was severely injured because of disciple, and until now is still unconscious.”

Master Puhong put his palms together and said, “Miss Biyao values love and friendship deeply. This old monk also admires her greatly.” Ghost Li said, “For ten years I went to every corner of the world only wishing to save Biyao but the heavens did not grant my wish and until today there hasn’t been any improvement.”

Speaking until here, although his expression did not change but his eyes couldn’t hide his feeling of dejection.

After a moment of silence, he looked up at Master Puhong and said, “Truthfully, the reason disciple came here today is because several days ago I heard by chance from a senior that there is a marvelous and unfathomable treasure called Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate in Tian Yin Temple, which has the special ability to turn, and conceal Yang and set the soul, and thought maybe there is a faint hope that it can save Biyao, and so I brazenly came here, hoping that master would be compassionate, and would lend disciple this item. Once I have used it, I will definitely return it, personally.”

Speaking till the end, Ghost Li’s lips trembled. He was evidently emotional, his expression changed a few times, and he seemed to hesitate before stepping forward two steps, both hands tightly clenched together, and slowly kneeling before Master Puhong. Master Puhong was shocked and quickly stretched his hand out, saying, “Patron, please do not be like this, quickly stand up.”

Faxiang had gone forward to help Ghost Li up.

Master Puhong looked at Ghost Li for a long time. His expression was compassionate but his eyes seemed uncertain. Clearly this treasure was not a trivial matter to him either. For a moment he looked undecided.

After a while, Master Puhong Master slowly placed his palms together and said, “Patron, I would like to ask a question.”

Ghost Li immediately replied, “Master please ask.”

Master Puhong appeared grave, and said, “Other than my teacher and a few senior brothers, only my disciple Faxiang knows about the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate of Tian Yin Temple. This matter is rather confidential. I would like to ask you, who is the senior you mentioned who told you about this? Could you tell me which master it was that advised you?” Ghost Li was taken aback. For a moment was speechless, and kept quiet for a long time before quietly speaking, “Master, please forgive me. It is not that disciple deliberately wants to withhold this information. But it is really that senior who, after knowing about disciple’s situation, especially instructed disciple not to reveal his identity, and so…”  towards the end, his voice also gradually became quieter, his countenance revealed disappointment and anxiety, and evidently he was struggling inside his heart as well but eventually did not say who it was.

Master Puhong frowned and did not speak. He lowered his head and contemplated.

Ghost Li saw Master Puhong’s countenance and felt even more anxious. Before coming to Tian Yin Temple he had alsp thought about this obscure treasure. If it indeed had such an ability, then naturally it would be an exceptional rare treasure and naturally be prized by Tian Yin Temple. By looking at Master Puhong and Faxiang’s reactions, it didn’t seem that they had the intent to reject but rather seemed extremely concerned about the source of Ghost Li’s information. Ghost Li’s information had naturally come from Zhou Yixian on that day on the ancient path outside HeYang City. The more he came to know about Zhou Yixian, the more he felt that this Jianghu fortune teller, who always seemed to be sprouting nonsensical words, was really an unfathomably deep person. It’s just that after Zhou Yixian told him this information, he reminded him again and again, that he must never reveal who he was.

Right now Ghost Li felt an internal conflict, like two hot blood channels colliding into each other. On one side was the promise to Zhou Yixian, on the other side was an even more important, ten year old, long-cherished wish. For Biyao, even if it was only a small glimmer of hope, he was willing to give up anything to pursue it. Now that he was stuck in-between, for a moment he felt torn.

Fortunately, at this moment, Master Puhong suddenly let out a long sigh and said, “Forget it. No matter who it was that told you, you are fated with junior brother Puzhi’s previous life, and  this  treasure  is  actually...  junior  brother  Puzhi,  he…” Master Puhong suddenly let out a bitter laugh, stopped his words and stood up. Looking at Ghost Li he placed his hands together, and said, “Patron, follow me. I will bring you to see one person.” Ghost Li was surprised, but after hearing that Master Puhong would no longer pursue the source and had the intention of lending him the treasure, he couldn’t help but rejoice and prostrated on the floor. His voice was even quivering as he said, “Many thanks, master.”

Master Puhong went forward to help him up, smiled and said, “Patron, you don’t have to be so polite. Let’s go!” He flung back his robe and walked out of the house.

As Ghost Li and Faxiang followed behind him, Ghost Li couldn’t help but ask, “Master, who are we going to see?”

Puhong Master indifferently replied, “Patron should know how commoners usually address me and my fellow brothers?”

Ghost Li nodded and said, “Yes, Tian Yin Temple’s four great holy monks are ‘Hong, De, Zhi, Kong’. Your names are all admired and respected.” When he spoke the word, ‘Zhi’, a hint of complex emotion flashed past his face, even his voice lowered. Master Puhong and Faxiang also noticed this. Sighing in their hearts, they did not say much.

Master Puhong placed his palms together and said, “I do not need to tell you about my third fellow disciple Puzhi, and you have met my fourth fellow disciple Pukong once. The person I am now bringing you to see is my second fellow disciple, Pude.”

The three of them walked down from Little Tian Yin Temple and again into the bustling hubbub of Tian Yin Temple, which was flourishing with incense smoke. Along the way the temple monks all placed their palms together respectfully when they saw the abbot, and the ordinary commoners fell prostrated in delight. Even some of the elderly who saw Master Puhong knelt and kowtowed as if they had seen a celestial being.

Master Puhong was pleasant, his face kind. Along the way they passed the main hall with the most number of people then turned towards Tian Yin Temple’s rather secluded northeast corner. As the three of them walked on, the believers were gradually left behind and the surroundings became quieter. Eventually Master Puhong and the rest ended up at a small path, which stopped in front of a secluded small courtyard entrance. This place looked deserted. Ghost Li looked up and saw that this small courtyard was rather simple. the man-high walls along the side had been peeling a long time, the wall corners were also full of moss, the small courtyard was half concealed. The group could clearly see the small courtyard littered with dried leaves, and the occasional faint breeze would stir up the fallen leaves, increasing the sense of desolation.

Above the small courtyard entrance an extremely dilapidated board hung with three words inscribed on it: Jing Xin Hall. [Translator’s note: Direct translation would mean Calm/Quiet Heart Hall, to calm one’s heart or meditation]

Ghost Li quietly looked at the board and seemed to be in a trance. Master Puhong walked into the small yard, and Faxiang followed behind.

After a few steps they realized Ghost Li had not followed them and were surprised. They turned back and saw Ghost Li staring at that board. Faxiang couldn’t help but ask curiously, “Patron Zhang, what is it?” Ghost Li moved, seemingly out of his reverie. He was quiet for a moment, but walked over and faintly said, “Nothing, it’s just the name on the board had some similarities to where I stayed when i was young. I had forgotten myself for a moment, please pardon me for my lack of manners.”

Faxiang glanced at him again, shook his head and said, “You’re too courteous. Patron, please enter!”

Ghost Li nodded, and walked into the yard. Master Puhong had already stopped before a wooden house, and turned to look at them.

Ghost Li walked up and quietly said, “Disciple is lacking in manners.”

Master Puhong smiled and said, “No matter.” he turned and gently knocked three times on the door, saying, “Amitabha Buddha, junior brother Pude, today I brought a patron to see you. Please forgive me for intruding on junior brother’s secluded cultivation. I am at fault, I am at fault.” A gust of wind blew from behind them, stirring up the fallen leaves and ruffling their clothes. The wooden door in front of them seemed to be gently pushed by the wind, making a light [zhi ya] sound, and slowly opening inward.

At the same time, a hagged and hoarse voice was heard, like a metal weapon corroded by rust after being unused for a long time, slowly said, “Yes...who? Able to....trouble senior brother, you… to… come….ah…”

Master Puhong smiled and walked in. Faxiang followed behind him. Ghost Li, for some reason, felt nervous. He inhaled deeply and strided in.

Even though Ghost Li already knew Tian Yin Temple monks do not care about life’s luxuries, and their furnishings had always been simple and crude, but walking into this wooden house the simplicity shocked him. There was simply no furnishing at all, only some straw placed in a corner on the floor, and a dark, withered elder monk who sat cross-legged there, looking up slowly at them. Master Puhong walked forward, and came to stand before that old monk. Ghost Li quietly stood behind, looking from the side, and saw that the elderly monk’s countenance, compared with master Puhong, was greatly different. Master Puhong was radiant and kind, looking dignified and had presence. It was no wonder numerous believers prostrated themselves before him. Comparing that to the elderly monk sitting in the corner, he could really be described as ‘a vile skin-bag’, a term commonly used in Buddhism.

Master Puhong stood before the old monk and watched him for a long time before sighing. He sat down directly on the dirty floor before the old monk, and faintly said, “Junior brother, we have not seen each other for ten years, right?”

That old monk slowly placed his palms together. His voice was   still   hoarse   and   deep,   as   he   said,   “Yes...ah, senior...brother... have you been… well?”

Ghost Li was surprised to hear that. Although it was rather secluded here but it didn’t look as if this place was especially guarded and so it was not isolated. But both of them were together in this Tian Yin Temple and yet over these ten long years for both of them to not actually meet was really unbelievable.

As if guessing Ghost Li’s thoughts, Master Puhong turned and smiled to Ghost Li, and said, “This is my second junior brother Pude.”

Although Ghost Li still did not know why Master Puhong brought him here, but Pude was one of the four great respected holy monks. In addition, he himself was here to make a request of others, he dared not be rude and quickly paid his respect, saying, “Disciple Ghost Li pays his respects to Master Pude.”

Master Pude slowly looked over to Ghost Li’s face. His movements were extremely stiff and slow. They made one feel that even moving his gaze was also effort. Ghost Li really could not understand why this renowned monk of the four great holy monks would be like this but his face did not reveal the slightest look of discourtesy.

Master Puhong Master faintly said, “Junior brother Pude is seeking enlightenment from a branch of our Buddhism sect called ‘Bitter Meditation’. If it’s not someone with great wisdom or courage, he will not be able to cultivate it. Do not look at his withered state right now, his cultivation and skills has long surpassed me.”

Master Pude’s withered face moved slightly. It was impossible to view his change of expression to tell whether or not he smiled. He slowly said, “Senior brother...you are too kind…”

Master Puhong placed his palms together and quietly chanted “Amitabha Buddha” and said, “Junior brother, today I have come to disturb your meditation, my sin is great. I will first ask for forgiveness, it’s just that this matter is not like others,“  he glanced at Ghost Li and then continued, “Junior brother, do you know who he is?”

Ever since Master Pude Master looked at Ghost Li his gaze never left him. However his gaze seemed to be like a dried well without ripples, and nobody could tell what he was thinking.

After hearing Master Puhong’s words, Master Pude slowly said, “w...who?” Master Puhong gently sighed and said, “He is that one from ten years ago, where junior brother Puzhi made that mistake and sowed the seeds of sin, that youth from the foot of Qing Yun Hill, Grasstemple Village’s Zhang Xiaofan.”

“What?”   This  was  the  first  time  Master  Pude  did  not stammer in his words. Even his face slowly changed, and after a long time his eyes were still on Ghost Li as he said, “He is that...child?”

Perhaps due to speaking more words, Master Pude’s words were less stammered and gradually flowed more smoothly.

Chapter 244 - Extraordinary Treasure

Ghost Li did not speak, the house descended into silence.

The next moment, Master Puhong spoke in a slow voice, “Junior brother, you are aware of the cause and consequences of this matter, I will not mention it further. Today patron Ghost Li is here to borrow a treasure from our Tian Yin Temple to save someone.”

Master Pude was still watching Ghost Li. His gaze from the initial shock slowly turned gentler. Evidently Master Pude and Master Puhong felt differently about Ghost Li. After hearing Master Puhong’s words, Master Pude’s expression remained unchanged as he hoarsely asked, “What treasure?”

Although Master Pude’s was still somehow stammering but his words mostly flowed smoothly.

Master Puhong glanced at Ghost Li and sighed as he said, “He wishes to borrow the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate.” Master Pude was stunned. His withered face changed again; clearly he was very shocked by it.

Ghost  Li  walked  up  and  sincerely  said,  “Masters,  this disciple’s friend has had her soul is trapped in a strange object for ten years, she is no different from a living dead person. A day has not passed without disciple’s heart being in pain. Even if it’s a one in ten thousandth chance disciple does not dare give up. I implore both masters benevolence, if disciple’s long- cherished wish is fulfilled and disciple's friend is saved, disciple is willing to work like an ox and horse to repay both masters’ kindness.”

Master Puhong and Master Pude both placed their palms together  and  chanted.  Master  Puhong  said,  “Patron  please don’t be like this, we don’t deserve it.” Master Pude had recovered from the initial shock, and was composed again. His brows frowning, he said, “I would like to ask patron, how did patron come to know about the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate in our humble temple?”  Ghost Li’s face revealed a difficult expression and he looked at Puhong Master.

Master Puhong gave a bitter laugh and said, “Junior brother, I have already asked patron Ghost Li about this but according to patron Ghost Li, the senior master who told him about this secret refused to allow him to reveal his identity. Senior brother me is unable to decide and thought that since you have always been the one safeguarding Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate, I would come here to disturb junior brother’s seclusion and seek your opinion.” Ghost Li then understood why Master Puhong and Faxiang had brought him here to see Master Pude. It seemed like this mysterious treasure was really exceptional, it was actually personally safeguarded by one of the four great holy monks of several decades. Could it be that it really had special power and could save Biyao? With such thoughts, Ghost Li couldn’t help but feel his body burning up, both of his hands clenching tightly into fists. The house right now was in silence, and everyone’s gaze was on the silent Master Puhong. He was looking down, and seemed to be contemplating something. Watching his expressionless face, Ghost Li couldn’t help but have sweat in his palms.

Not knowing after how long, Master Puhong then slowly looked up, and looked towards Ghost Li and gently placed his palms together and said, “Patron.”

Ghost Li quickly returned the gesture, and said, “I plea for master to be merciful.” Master Pude’s voice was still hoarse, his tone slow, as he said, “Several years ago, third junior brother Puzhi committed a grave mistake to you. Our Tian Yin Temple really owes you much…”

Master Puhong and Faxiang placed their palms together, and softly chanted “Amitabha Buddha”.

Master Pude continued on, “This Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate was in fact brought back by junior brother Puzhi who travelled the northwest wildlands. You also, can actually be considered junior brother Puzhi’s disciple, it should naturally be handed to you. It’s just that…”

Ghost Li was about to feel hopeful from Master Pude’s words, but unexpectedly Master Pude’s countenance suddenly changed. He seemed to be hesitant. In his mind was the image of Biyao quietly lying in green in the Majestic Fox Mountain icy cold stone chamber. His body trembling, hot blood gushing up, he clenched his teeth and walked two steps forward, and came before Master Pude. Master Puhong and Faxiang were surprised. Master Pude too looked up at Ghost Li, but saw that Ghost Li did not have any trace of disrespectfulness, and knelt down before Master Pude.

[Bu dong!]

The low muffled sound came from the stone floor as Ghost Li’s forehead knocked against the floor before Master Pude. Looking at him from the side, both of his hands were tightly clenched into fists. Even the joints had become white. His body was slightly trembling, his voice seemed choked, he continuously repeated, “Master, my sins are deep. I’ve let many down. If I can’t save her, I.. I.. I...beg master to be benevolent, beg master to be benevolent…” until the end, he seemed unable to control himself, only repeatedly imploring.

Faxiang was standing to the side and his countenance changed, a trace of emotion flashing past his face.

Master Pude was also shocked. He paused for a moment and then turned to look at Master Puhong. He saw him with his palms together, and did not say anything. After a long time he nodded slightly. Pude Master slowly turned his head back, looked at the young man who was still crouching before him, and after a long time gently said, “Get up first”.

Ghost Li was still kneeling, head down on the ground, unmoving.

Master Pude’s lips moved slightly. He seemed to reveal a smile. Not knowing what he had recalled, he was heard slowly speaking, “This temper of yours is really completely different from junior brother Puzhi at that time, sigh…” the expression on his face, for only that instant, seemed to reveal a faint sense of melancholy, then he quietly said, “You can get up, I will promise you.”

Ghost Li’s body shook, the joy in his heart was hard to suppress, he abruptly looked up.

Ghost Li looked over and saw Master Pude taking out a round item about half a chi wide wrapped in black cloth, but he unable to see clearly what it was. Master Pude actually kept this treasure with him, it was something really important. The black cloth was not securely tied. Master Pude placed it on the ground before him. With a gentle tug the knot was released, but when he wanted to lift up the black cloth, he seemed to hesitate for a moment then, with a soft sigh, shook his head and lifted the cloth up.

A gentle white light spilled out when the black cloth was slowly lifted, turning brighter and brighter but not piercing to the eyes at all. In the gentle light faint dust floated up, in this secluded and quiet small house, a low, pleasing sound of music came out of nowhere, indistinctly reverberating all around.

When the black cloth was completely lifted Ghost Li finally saw the item before him clearly. This was the treasure which contained the tiny hope of saving Biyao. It’s just that in the next moment, a surprised look was revealed on his face. He seemed unable to believe it. He looked up in shock at Master Pude. Master Pude was expressionless. The next moment Ghost Li subconsciously turned to look at Master Puhong. Master Puhong only softly sighed, placed his palms together and chanted, “Amitabha Buddha”.

Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King sect headquarters. Not knowing since when, many of the Ghost King sect’s disciples had started to sense something strange with their surroundings. Strange, weird things, and things that had never happened before, were occurred repeatedly within these past few days.

For example, this sturdy solid mountain cave has existed for several hundred years. Every stone chamber that was occupied by the Ghost King sect’s disciples was surrounded by solid rock walls, smooth and without a crack. Even if the occupiers used a knife and tried to poke a small hole in it, even if they tried for a whole day, they might not succeed. However for the past several days, cracks had appeared on many of the stone walls, and the cracks had continued to expand.

Also, those disciples who lived in the cave were long used to a quiet life. However, not knowing since when, whenever they lay down and were about to doze off many heard faint terrible sounds coming from deep below the stone rooms. The strange sounds seemed to be the lava deep below them, rumbling as it flowed, as if it was about to erupt and drown them at anytime. The strange sounds, like a sharp needle piercing into their ears, shocked them out of their sleep, but after waking up they did not seem to hear anything. These strange things had never happened before but what the disciple feared the most were the strange things that happened to the people. A few disciples who clearly looked normal as usual, would suddenly turned mad, like a frenzied beast, attacking anyone nearby, even if those people were their family or best friends. The disciples who turned frenzied would use the most cruel methods to kill whoever that they saw, and only stopped when they were killed by others who came running after hearing the commotion and banded together.

In this short period of time these terrible things had happened one after another. The people were on guard, not even trusting their close friends or family. Nobody knew what caused these things to happen. The entire mountain seemed to have descend into a strange and dangerous atmosphere. The sunset glowed like spilled blood. The disciples who were standing guard at the entrance stood there uneasily, some stared at the setting sun, some in a daze, not knowing what they were thinking.

Suddenly, someone exclaimed with an [yi], calling out, “Someone is coming.” The group was surprised and looked ahead. At the foot of the mountain there was indeed a white figure floating over, heading towards the Ghost King sect. They did not know if the person was a friend or foe, and for a moment were tense. The white figure was approaching at a fast speed, and soon was already halfway up the mountain. As it neared the entrance, the disciples went forward and looked carefully, and made a light [hu] sound of relief. It was actually Ghost King sect head and vice head Ghost Li’s honoured guest - Xiao Bai.

Xiao Bai stopped. She felt it was strange somehow. The guards looked relieved and seemed different from usual. It could be that they themselves did not notice, but Xiao Bai was a cultivated Nine-tailed Celestial Fox who had not seen nothing. Almost like a reflex, she felt that these disciples seemed to be carrying a huge burden on their backs, like a taut bow and uncontrollable.

However for her to comment like that when she first met them was naturally not possible. Furthermore, the disciples smiled and parted way for her. Xiao Bai nodded slightly to them, thinking to herself that it might be due to Ghost King sect head being too stern on them! Xiao bai walked two steps in, suddenly stopped and called out to one of the disciples, “Hey!”

It would have been better if she did not shout out. Suddenly with the loud shout from behind them, almost all of the disciples jumped away at the same time as if they had been struck by lightning, and one of them drew his weapon, as if facing a great foe and ready to fight.

Xiao Bai was stunned, and asked, “What happened to you all?”

The disciples looked at each other, after a moment they gradually put down their weapons and relaxed. The disciple who was called out by Xiao Bai laughed bitterly, and said, “What is it?”

Xiao Bai carefully assessed them, saw dark circles underneath their eyes, brows tightly frowning, looking rather tired, as if they had not rested well for a long time. The suspicion in her heart deepened, and she asked, “What exactly happened, why are you all so tense?” The disciple made another bitter laugh, shook his head and said, “Miss, it’s better if you don’t ask more. Why did you call for me just now?”

Xiao Bai hesitated for a moment, then said, “Is your vice head Ghost Li in the mountain?”

The disciple shook his head, and said, “Vice head has been gone for many days. He is not in the mountain.”

Xiao Bai frowned, and said, “Where did he go? Did he say when is he coming back?”

The Ghost King sect disciple replied, “Vice head has always been secretive about his whereabouts, how would we know where he is going? As for when he will be back, obviously we will not know too.” Xiao Bai was quiet for a moment, nodded and agreed. These ordinary disciples would naturally not know Ghost Li’s whereabouts. She turned and walked further into the mountain. But when her figure was about to vanish deep into the mountain, with her extraordinary hearing, she heard the disciples quietly chatting, “Old Lee, what happened to you? Even pulling out your sword? Thankfully Miss Xiao Bai is not particular. If not I don’t know how you would clear up the mess.” The other party who was addressed as ‘old Lee’, made a bitter laugh. He could be heard saying, “You ask why I was so tense? If you were fine too you would not be jumping up high like a rabbit! Damn, these past few days are really not liveable, only a slight disturbance and I feel terrified.”

Upon hearing it the others also sighed. Nobody actually refuted old Lee’s words. Subsequently the mood seemed to turn heavy and nobody spoke anymore.

The suspicion on Xiao Bai face increased as she stood concealed within the cave’s shadows, but after a few thoughts she couldn’t tell where the problem was and could only walk on slowly. Her return trip this time was naturally to look for Ghost Li. Several days earlier she went to the southern border Miao tribe’s holy altar and according to the shaman’s signs, she finally found the shaman tribe’s secret and within it, the thing which she had been helping Ghost Li to look for all along. But at the same time, she also discovered other things, and until now, she had not decided if she wanted to tell Ghost Li about it. However as Ghost Li was not in the mountain, Xiao Bai also did not know where to begin. And not long ago, she had missed Ghost Li at the abandoned morgue outside HeYang City. If not, with her around and her thousand-years of cultivation, things might take a turn for the better for Ghost Li. It’s just that whether in the unseen mystical world everything had their fixed destiny, this was what no one could say for sure.

Xiao Bai pondered. With the world so wide, to find Ghost Li was like finding a needle in the sea. But with Biyao here at Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost Li would return here sooner or later, and since she was still undecided about whether to tell Ghost Li, she could take the time to think about it carefully!

With such thoughts, Xiao Bai made up her mind and subconsciously strided towards Ghost Li’s residence. Her footsteps echoed in the corridors, and after a short distance, Xiao Bai suddenly frowned and stopped.

In the long tunnels, the disciples would usually be walking along and some would be chatting and laughing, but right now it was actually deserted. She was alone, standing there in the tunnel. For some reason everyone was in hiding, there was not a trace of another person!

Xiao Bai turned and looked back. The entrance to the tunnel seemed to be enveloped in a deep darkness, so dense that it could not be dispersed anymore.

She quietly looked for a moment and then turned and continued on. Her footsteps reverberated in the empty tunnel, seeming to sound much louder than usual.

In this weird silence, Xiao Bai slowly walked toward Ghost Li’s residence. For some reason, although Ghost Li was not around but subconsciously she still came here and, when she was about to push open the door, suddenly her body froze. As if discovering something, she slowly looked up.

On the solid rock wall outside the room there were seven or eight deep cracks and potholes, revealing the rough rock wall. They looked like some power had forcefully pulled it apart, twisting it in torment, like a huge wound on the stone wall. One could imagine blood spilling out from the cracks! Xiao Bai’s body trembled. Stared at those cracks, her pupils shrank slightly. With her years of cultivation, she could acutely sense that, beside her and those glaring cracks, something strange permeated the air.

The air made her feel disgusted!

However before she could made sense of these, something strange happened. Far away in the tunnel behind her, a piercing loud roar was heard. Following closely were sharp cries, some shouts in anger, some in fear. The cries and shouts blew over like a breeze.

Xiao Bai’s figure moved. She swept towards the commotion. Right now she could clearly tell something strange had happened in the mountain, and it was most likely a terrible change!

Her figure swiftly flew ahead. Tn the deserted tunnel earlier was now full of people. Some were running far away but most carried weapons and were charging murderously in a certain direction. In the distance, someone cried out loudly, “Again! Again! This time it is old Lee who has gone mad…” Xiao Bai’s heart suddenly sank. Her figure was already nearby, she stopped at an empty spot where many people had crowded around.

Every one of them looked murderous, but Xiao Bai could clearly tell that more than anger, they were afraid. In the crowd, a person covered with blood was holding a sharp sword. Like a trapped beast, he bellowing hatefully, and kept waving his sword around. A few people lay motionless before him, deep wounds could be seen on their bodies. Most likely they would not survive.

Xiao Bai looked in shock at the murderer who was completely mad. A moment before she had heard him talking like a normal person and had seen he was worried, but now his companions were already lying before him, killed by him, and he himself, like a mad beast, was shouting incessantly.

The surrounding people shouted in anger and charged in. Old Lee waved his sword and wanted to kill but many more sharp swords had already struck him and, after a while, once the crowd started to disperse, Xiao Bai looked over and saw his body twitching on the ground, his head full of wounds slowly turning around, and for a second, her eyes met his. [Rumble!]

Like a soundless thunder in her head, Xiao Bai couldn’t help but step back. Her face turned pale. That man’s eyes were totally red. Other than murder, there was not a trace of humanity in them. Looking at that ruthless despair, even with her years of cultivation, she felt as if she could not breathe.

What kind of madness existed in this space!

The crowd talked among themselves. As their fear slowly dispersed, Xiao Bai strided forward, and slowly went near that body.

Bright red blood flowed out soundlessly, gradually seeping into the mud and rocks. The crazed red eyes had turned dull and dark red, probably because he had lost his life. Xiao Bai stared deeply. Suddenly she whipped around, her face as cold as ice, looking at that tunnel which had become deserted again.

In the darkness ahead, a thick stench of blood filled the air, like a huge, greedy, bloodthirsty beast, hatefully watching the outside world, thirsting endlessly for blood.

A figure, stood quietly in the darkness, looming!

Chapter 245 - Fear

Mt Meru, Tian Yin Temple.

It was all silent in the secluded wooden house. Master Puhong and Master Pude were silent. Faxiang, who was standing to this side revealed a stunned expression on his face but he did not speak either. Ghost Li stared fixedly at the item which was opened before him. The gentle white glow illuminated his face in light and darkness.

The item within the black cloth was a jade dish magical weapon. The material a mild pale color. Surrounding its border were shallow recesses set at fixed intervals; each recess had a thin groove extend out, starting deep and gradually turning shallower towards the center.

The white light in the centre of the dish was the most gentle and bright, like water flowing gently in the empty air. Under the light numerous tiny jade cubes could be seen. They were thick and dense, but seemed to be arranged orderly in the center. Wth Ghost Li’s current cultivation, he could see that each side of the cube was engraved with a primitive character but he did not understand them. Mysterious primitive drawings were engraved along the edge of the dish, on the north, south, east and west. Some were like stars in the sky or an isolated island in the deep sea, and some were too weird to tell.

However, right now Ghost Li was not too concerned about the meaning of these words and drawings. What he was taken aback by was that these numerous tiny cubes spun around continuously. Not one was still; they were like flowing water, flowing slowly but flowing not only in one direction but all directions at once. But their movements seemed logical; none of the cubes collided with each other even once.

Ghost Li watched for a long time. Suddenly he felt as if there was a mysterious energy in this jade dish. The innumerable jade cubes seemed to transform into a river among the mountains, pouring unceasingly; in one moment they became an illusion of a star-studded sky, the stars moving, the firmament infinite; in the next moment, the stars had died out, and he stood in shock in the darkness, that lonely deep darkness, as scenes flashed before him, from his previous life, and also what seemed like his next life, but underneath his feet, a huge bottomless dark hole appeared, a powerful sucking force charging up, which pulled his body down, causing him to descend down as if he would be lost in the darkness forever … [Dai!]

Suddenly, a loud shout, like a shock of thunder rang out beside his ear. Ghost Li’s body shook, like awakening suddenly from a dream. His forehead was covered in sweat. He was as exhausted as if he had experienced a battle, panting heavily.

Master Puhong, who made the sound of a lion roar, revealed a benevolent expression. He gently put his palms together and said, “Patron, your life is rough, bogged down with too many mortal affairs, and you have numerous painful things that happened in the past. The demons in your heart are too many. This Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate is unique in the world. It has the ability to draw and seize souls and can stop life and death; it can predict reincarnation and decide destiny; it has the power to reverse qian kun [translator’s note: heaven and earth]. It can also make one lose their mind and will and be taken over by heart demons, so you must be careful.”

Ghost Li quietly panted. After some time he slowly quietened down. The dish in front was still giving out a gentle white light, quietly spinning before them. Although he was shocked by this treasure’s special ability, if the treasure was really as stated his hope of saving Biyao would increase. Therefore he was delighted, immediately prostrating before  the  masters,  and  saying,  “Disciple  earnestly  request both masters’ benevolent hearts to construct seven-storey pagoda, give disciple a helping hand and temporary lend this treasure to disciple to save someone. Disciple will definitely personally return it and in the future worship daily, praying for both masters to achieve enlightenment!” After speaking, he kowtowed heavily.

Master Pude slightly lifted his hand. Even though his words had became smoother but his movements were still stiff. Only his arm moved a little and stopped.

Thankfully, master Puhong had already walked over, and assisted Ghost Li up. He gently said, “Patron, you don’t have to be like this. Let’s get up and talk!”

Faxiang also walked over, and Ghost Li then slowly stood up.

Master  Puhong  smiled,  and  said,  “Since  Master  Pude  has already taken the treasure out, it means he is willing to lend it to you, you don’t have to worry.”

Ghost Li was overjoyed, and was about to prostrate and give thanks, when Master Pude’s voice was suddenly heard, “Patron, I have a few words to say.”

Ghost  Li  quickly  solemnly  replied,  “Master,  please  speak.
Disciple is all ears.”

Maste Pude spoke slowly, saying, “This treasure is good and also evil. Its best ability is to mislead one’s mind. If your mind is like a clear mirror, open and aboveboard, it will greatly assist you; but if like just now the demons in your heart are enticed, it will turn on you. I do not know patron well but I can tell patron’s cultivation is unusually high and patron is well- knowledgable, trained in various skills. Your potential to cultivate the truth is not a small matter, your achievements will surpass us. However although patron is strong externally you are weak internally, vigorous and emotional. The demons in your heart have already become a great trouble, like a sharp sword hovering above your head, does patron know this?” Ghost Li was silent for a long while, then said, “To be frank with both masters, disciple never cares to master creation or cultivate immortality. As for life and death, after all that has happened, disciple does not have much feelings about living. The world to me is like an illusion, what’s more a heart demon. Disciple today is constantly on the move around the world. It’s just that in disciple’s heart, there are still several whom disciple is unable to abandon, disciple treats it as living an ignoble existence to repay them.”

He slowly lifted his head up, faintly smiled and said, “As for the rest, master doesn’t have to worry about me.”

Master Pude looked at Ghost Li for a long time, sighed, then closed his eyes and did not speak.

Ghost Li paid his obeisance to Master Pude, walked forward and carefully wrapped the dish back into the black cloth and placed it in his bosom.

Master Puhong put his palms together and said, “Patron, be careful in everything.” Ghost Li nodded, and suddenly frowned. His hand slapped his forehead, and he smiled and said, “Look at my memory! I have forgotten everything in my joy, even the method to use this treasure, I have not yet sought consultation!”

Master Pude slowly opened his eyes, glanced at Master Puhong, and Master Puhong understood. Master Pude again let out a soft sigh and shook his head.

Master Puhong slightly frowned but did not speak. Master Pude hesitated, then looked at Ghost Li.

Ghost Li bowed deeply, and said, “Master please give me your guidance, disciple will be grateful.”

Master Pude wordlessly shook his head. Ghost Li was surprised, did not understand. After a moment, Master Pude’s hoarsely said, “I have kept this treasure with me for several decades, carefully studying it day and night, and until today I can only see that it is profound and variable, and able to set the soul and control reincarnation but I am unable to figure out exactly how to activate this treasure.” Ghost Li felt as if a basin of cold water had just poured onto his head. A chill descended from his head to his feet. He stared in disbelief at Master Pude and then at Master Puhong.

Master Puhong sighed, and said, “Patron, this is the reason why Master Pude and I have been hesitating. Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate indeed has the ability to reverse qian kun, to alter cause and effect, but I guess also due to its power to defy heavens, common people are unable to comprehend its mystery.”

Ghost Li was in a daze and did not speak. His heart was in chaos. A thousand words floated to his head but in the end only bitter silence remained.

Suddenly after a long time he gave a bitter laugh, shook his head  and  said,  “Regardless,  I  would  still  like  to  ask  both masters to lend this treasure to disciple. No matter what, there is still a hope.”

Both masters replied at the same time, “Amitabha Buddha.” Faxiang standing beside felt sorry. He stepped forward and quietly said, “Patron Zhang, I’m really sorry…”

Ghost Li silently shook his head and smiled at Faxiang, but to Faxiang it was an extremely bitter smile. He could be heard saying, “Senior brother Faxiang, you don’t have to console me with kind words. Actually it’s not the first time such things have happened to me. Not long ago, I also had an extremely high hope right before my eyes but instead it failed through a lack of final effort…”

His voice suddenly turned quiet. An agonized expression flashed past his face for a moment. He did not speak anymore. Facing masters Puhong and Pude, he cupped one hand in another, bowed deeply and then turned and strided out.

Looking at Ghost Li’s back, Master Puhong’s eyes held complicated emotions. He put his palms together and chanted, “Amitabha Buddha, buddha be merciful, he is entangled with his sins, it is really a lifetime of setbacks.”

Master Pude was silent and also gently chanted, “Amitabha Buddha!” Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King sect headquarters.

Xiao Bai had been back to the mountain for three days, and in those three days, her brows seemed to be constantly frowning. In the three days the tragic scene had happened more than once in front of her. Watching as those mad disciples were killed and the other disciples were living in fear daily, it seemed like even those that were not mad would soon be pushed to madness. Xiao Bai was completely confident that, in this mountain, something abnormal and terrible had happened.

However, what made her most bewildered and furious was that, under such situations, she actually could not meet with Ghost King.

From the disciples, she had found out that Ghost King had long decreed that he was going into seclusion and would not meet guests. Even disciples could not meet him too. Xiao Bai had requested the disciples to notify him a few times but they had always replied with the same message: either the disciples were unable to meet Ghost King, or Ghost King asked Xiao Bai to wait a few more days and he would be out soon; in short he would not see her. Although Xiao Bai was highly skilled, but under this unusual atmosphere in Ghost King sect, her mood would not be good no matter what, and everyday she saw disciples going berserk and dying. The degree of madness was horrible, unable to be described with words. Truthfully, with her cultivation Xiao Bai had already sensed a strange bloodthirsty force hidden within this grand cave, and it was increasing. Especially after she saw someone die, that blood stench would become even thicker.

Three days before, when she first arrived and witnessed a death, she accidentally discovered a mysterious figure concealed in one of the corners, exuding the strongest smell of blood. But when she pursued the figure disappeared and never appeared again.

And right now, Xiao Bai could feel her patience was wearing thin!

Xiao Bai sat alone in the stone chamber. The thick walls around her still bore the same cracks. It was a frightening sight but it could still block most of the noises and created a cocoon of silence which seemed precious at this moment. However Xiao Bai did not look peaceful in this chamber. On the contrary, the anger on her face seemed to have become stronger. What had happened in these last few days had completely destroyed whatever image she had held of Ghost King previously. The disciples were immersed in fear and the sect head had completely disappeared, not even coming out to assure his people, let alone provide a solution.

This was completely unheard of. Xiao Bai once even suspected that something might have happened to Ghost King; that some powerful figure had secretly killed him and the result had been this. If not, with Ghost King as a man of great talent and bold vision, how could such a situation result? But as Xiao Bai pondered and pondered, she felt that the Ghost King who was such a powerful figure would never suffer the rebellion of his disciples. Eventually Xiao Bai, who still cared about the fact that Ghost King was still her deceased sister Xiao Chi’s husband, did not want to strain the relationship and so patiently waited. Who knew it had already been three days and three nights?

[Pa!]

Xiao Bai’s face was sombre like water, with a slap she stood up and walked straight to the door. It had already been three days. She could no longer tolerated it any longer. She was determined to find Ghost King. If she couldn’t she would rather leave this place. She really did not want to stay another day in this abnormal place. Just when she was about to reach the door, Xiao Bai seemed to sense something and stopped. As expected, a movement was heard outside the door, and a voice respectfully asked, “Is Miss Xiao Bai around?”

Xiao Bai walked forward and opened the stone door. A disciple was standing outside, about twenty years old, looking young, but he had dark circles under his eyes and an unconcealed tiredness. One could guess this person was also troubled by the recent events.

The disciple saw Xiao Bai and became more alert. Xiao Bai, the sect head, and the vice sect head Ghost Li were all close and everyone in the sect knew it. Naturally he was respectful towards her.

Xiao Bai looked at him, said, “What is it?” The young disciple said, “Disciple is following sect head’s command to invite Ms Xiao Bai to meet him.”

Xiao Bai was surprised and then sneered, “Is he finally free, willing to see me?”

Her tone contained her unhappiness and displeasure towards Ghost King, and upon hearing it the disciple’s face showed fear and he lowered his head even more.

Xiao Bai snorted. She did not wish to make things difficult for him, and said, “I was just about to go and see him. Since it is so, you can lead the way!”

The disciple seemed relieved, nodded and said, “Yes Miss, please follow me.” After which he did not dare to take another glance at Xiao Bai and turned and walked into the tunnel.

Xiao Bai followed the disciple, and realised they were heading towards where Ghost King stayed. It seemed like Ghost King had came out of his so-called ‘seclusion’ and returned to his residence. Xiao Bai’s lips twitched with a cold sneer.

The both of them walked about ten zhangs away from Ghost King’s room, when the disciple stopped and quietly said, “Miss Xiao Bai, sect head instructed that he wished to meet you alone so I will not enter.”

Xiao Bai frowned. Although Ghost King had given the instruction but this disciple was leaving when they were still ten zhangs away, it was still an impolite gesture. However when she turned to look at the disciple’s face, she was shocked. The disciple’s face looked stiff, both hands at his sides, subconsciously rubbing his pants where his hands were. It seemed like his palms were sweating and he was in a extremely fearful and nervous state.

Xiao Bai was silent. Her expression turned gentle, and she sighed and said, “Alright you can go!”

The young disciple looked up at Xiao Bai and immediately looked down, but it was clear he was totally relieved, as if a thousand-ton rock had been removed from his back. His lips also revealed a smile, and quietly said, “Thank you Miss.” after which he turned and left.

Xiao Bai turned around, looked at Ghost King’s residence, composed herself and strided toward it. Suddenly at this moment a heartrending roar was heard far behind her. That cry was sharp like a knife, piercing through the stillness of this cave.

This was not the first time that Xiao Bai heard it but her heart still sank. She whipped around but the tunnel was empty. Only a figure, frozen like a rock, stood there. Far away the cries gradually mixed together with the hubbub of shouting, following which was a chaotic mixture of cursing and fighting sounds. A faint blood stench like an invisible river flow again surrounded Xiao Bai.

It’s just that right now Xiao Bai was not concerned about that. Frowning, she was staring at that young disciple. The area around Ghost King’s residence was naturally quieter than the other areas. In this long corridor, other than Xiao Bai and the disciple, there was nobody else. The hair-rising screams continued to travel over here, not knowing who it was that went berserk again. Suddenly, that young disciple’s body started to shake. The tremblings increased and closely following it was a despairing shout, “Ah!     I can’t stand it anymore….”

He pulled out his sword and, as if surrounded by evil people, slashed and waved his sword around. The sharp sword made sharp whistling sounds in the air, at times slashing onto the hard rock walls, leaving faint marks.

The cries from far away gradually toned down but the crowd seemed to have heard something and started moving in this direction. Xiao Bai coldly snorted. Suddenly her figure moved and she was already beside the disciple. The disciple seemed to have lost his mind, and slashed towards Xiao Bai. Xiao Bai’s left hand shot into the air like lightning and caught the disciple’s wrist, applied a slight force and immediately a crisp sound was heard as the sword fell from his hand. He lay against the wall as if all his strength had been sapped out.

Xiao Bai looked carefully into that person’s eyes and listened to his heavy breathing. His eyes was dazed and slightly crazed but other than a few bloodshot veins he did not have the blood- red colour eyes. ***

Xiao Bai was relieved. She heard the crowd coming closer and, after contemplating a moment, her right hand brushed above the disciple’s head and her white sleeve flashed. That disciple’s body jolted and his eyes closed as he collapsed onto the ground.

Xiao Bai’s face was tense. She suddenly whipped around and floated in the air facing Ghost King’s residence. Behind her people started to appear, running over.

Chapter 246 - Hope

[Rumble…]

The heavy stone door closed behind Xiao Bai with a grumble, at the same time cutting off the hubbub outside. Xiao Bai’s bright eyes swept over the room and then stopped at the man sitting behind the writing desk in front of her.

The person’s stature was big and tall, his expression stern and imposing; it was Ghost King.

Ghost King was also looking at Xiao Bai but he did not speak. Initially, before entering, Xiao Bai was full of grievances, but right now she did not know where to start. With a snort, her eyes took another glance around the room and then frowned. A strange feeling rose up in her heart. It seemed that there was something not right, but the surrounding furnishings were exactly the same as before, and even she herself could not tell what was wrong.

At this moment Ghost King slowly stood up and asked, “Why did you come back suddenly?” His voice was very deep. It sounded different from his usual voice but Xiao Bai’s mind was occupied with other things and did not notice. Since Ghost King asked she sneered and replied, “So you are actually aware that I am back? Anyway I am not back for you.”

Ghost King indifferently asked, “Oh, then what is it for?”

Xiao Bai impatiently said, “I came back to look for Ghost Li but now is not the time to talk about these, I have some questions to ask you…”

“Wait!”  Ghost King’s composed face suddenly changed. He interrupted Xiao Bai and asked, “You said you are looking for Ghost Li?”

Xiao Bai glanced at him, the corner of her lips twitching as she said, “So what if I am?”

Ghost King’s face darkened. A strange glint flashed across his eyes as he stared at Xiao Bai for a while. A strange chill seemed to emanate from his eyes but Xiao Bai seemed not to feel it, her expression remained unchanged and instead she looked straight into his eyes, as if challenging him.

Both of them stared at each other for a while, and then Ghost King suddenly sighed. He was the first to look away, and said, “Nothing.”

Xiao Bai humphed, and said, “Let me ask you something. The chaotic situation in Majestic Fox Mountain recently, where every day someone will turn crazy for no reason and hurt others, every day someone will died tragically, everyone is in a state of anxiety, and everyone is in a state of self defence, are you actually aware of it?”

Ghost King clasped his hands behind his back and stood with an expression like the rock. He did not change and, after a moment,  indifferently  said,  “Oh,  there  is  actually  such  a thing?”

Xiao Bai was not just simply angry. She stepped forward and said, “You as the Ghost King sect head, how can you be apathetic toward these serious incidents? What exactly are you thinking?” Ghost King turned around, his eyes cold and detached. He glanced at Xiao Bai, and his tone turned cold as he said, “You are also aware that I am Ghost King sect head. But I don’t know what kind of relations Miss Xiao Bai has with Ghost King sect to come and meddle in the Ghost King sect’s internal affairs?”

Xiao Bai was stunned. Clearly she did not expect Ghost King to say such words. The anger on her face increased. Both of them stared at each other in silence with eyes like daggers.

After a period of time Xiao Bai said, word by word, “This organization has my sister Xiao Chi’s blood and sweat in it. I don’t care exactly what madness you are exhibiting but I will not stand by and watch you destroy it!”

“Destroy it? Hahahaha…” Ghost King seemed to have heard the most ludicrous thing. He laughed loudly and his face changed too. From sombre he instantly became arrogant. With a long cry to the sky, he said, “What do you know? It is because this organization has Xiao Chi’s sweat and blood that I run it with my heart. In the future watch me unify the world, dominate all, and you will know my strategy, hahahaha…” His laughter was savage, revealing an exuberant expression, completely different from the past. Xiao Bai was nonplussed. As a Nine-tailed Celestial Fox, although she was normally considered a kind person to others but she did not have much regard for human lives, yet right now, looking at Ghost King’s expression, completely disregarding the lives of Ghost King sect’s countless disciples, even she as a demon race being felt it was too much. Xiao Bai felt that her trip back this time was really a mistake. Everyone around her seemed to be going mad. Even those who were not mad seemed to be almost mad, and this Ghost King before her seemed to be out of character. It really made her infuriated and bewildered.

In her anger, Xiao Bai angrily shouted, “Are you mad? They are all your sect disciples! How can you disregard their lives?”

Upon hearing the word, ‘mad’, Ghost King immediately changed. The muscles on his face twisted, his laughter stopped, and his eyes turned stern like swords, staring straight at Xiao Bai.

Xiao Bai saw the abrupt change in Ghost King’s expression, sensed his murderous intention and was shocked. She looked up stunned at Ghost King. In the stone chamber, in the silence, a faint smell of blood wafted, and this strange energy, as much as Xiao Bai did not wish to believe, it was clearly emanating from Ghost King.

“What. Did. You. Say?”

Ghost King stood there, staring at Xiao Bai. His voice became deep again, spitting out every word from between clenched teeth.

Xiao Bai did not answer. She only looked at Ghost King and then her initial shocked expression calmed down and she turned expressionless. In the end her eyes still contained a sense of mockery. She looked up and said, “I was quick- tempered just now, and said the wrong words, don’t worry.”

This was not the reaction Ghost King had expected. A surprised look flitted across his face but regardless, Xiao Bai’s words made the tense atmosphere inside the stone chamber ease down. The strange blood stench also faded. Xiao Bai stared deeply at Ghost King and said, “I said it just now. I am here to look for Ghost Li, since he is not around then I can’t be bothered to stay on, I will go now.”

Ghost King looked hesitant. His brows slightly frowning. It seemed like he was still puzzling over Xiao Bai’s sudden change of attitude. He was even hesitating to speak.

Xiao Bai did not allow Ghost King time to ponder, and said, “If you don’t have any else to discuss then I will leave now.” After speaking, she turned and headed to the stone door.

Although Ghost King’s residence was spacious but it was built inside the cave mountain and had limited space. Xiao Bai was less than ten steps away from the door. Watching her slender figure head for the door, Ghost King’s expression suddenly changed. Different complicated expressions mixed together, at times full of a murderous air, at times undecided.

However Xiao Bai’s pace did not slow. She was ten steps away but although her speed was not fast she was soon at the door. The heavy stone door slowly opened before her, emitting a deep rumbling sounds, and she did not look back. The white robes covering her slender and voluptuous figure, gently drifted past.

But where did the wind come from in this mountain-deep cave? Behind her, silently the door closed up once again, separating her from the stone chamber. Xiao Bai stood indifferently, inhaled deeply and followed the empty corridor out. While walking she slowly relaxed her tense body.

Her eyes seemed to still contain a sneer but not it was impossible to know what she was thinking about. When her eyes swept past the spacious corridor, she suddenly saw the deep cracks on the rock walls, and a sneer again flashed past her lips.

She already knew what she had sensed wrong when she first entered the room. The caves all had these cracks on the rock walls, but inside the stone chamber it was different.

It was totally undamaged! Ghost Li landed from the sky. The monkey Xiao Hui was still on his shoulder, peering around. To the active Xiao Hui, there did not seem to ever be a quiet moment. And its body never knew the word tired.

However although the monkey would not be tired but its master’s expression seemed gloomy. Ghost Li landed. In the distance was the lofty, towering Majestic Fox Mountain, but for some reason he did not land as usual at the entrance. Instead he landed at the foot of the mountain and slowly made his way up.

It was obvious Ghost Li was in a heavy mood. His brows were tightly knitted together, and even he himself had forgotten how long it had been that he had really laughed.

There was a slight heavy feeling in his chest. Ghost Li did not have to use his hand to feel it to know what it was - the mysterious magical weapon Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate!

Ghost Li never knew that there was actually such an enigmatic weapon in the world, and never ever expected that the wanderer fortune-teller Zhou Yixian would know about this extremely confidential secret of Tian Yin Temple, but after he had this tiny hope, there was an even bigger worry, anxiety and confusion. Until now, he was still unable to figure out this treasure. But that was to be expected; Master Pude, as one of Tian Yin Temple’s four great holy monks could not figure it out after ten years. How could he break this puzzle in these few days?

But what about Biyao?

Ghost Li stopped and took a deep breath. He looked as if he was suffocating under a thousand-tons of rock. After a long time he suddenly laughed bitterly, and again strided up the mountain.

Many said that life was like a dream but did not know why in the world, no matter what kind of dream it was, one would still have to face it!

Without realizing it, he had already reached the entrance. The disciples who were patrolling the entrance saw him. At first they were surprised, but then seemed to recall something and their faces revealed joy and all ran over.

“Vice head, you are finally back.”

“You are just a minute late. Miss Xiao Bai was here to look for you and just left!”

“If you were still not back, we.. we really wouldn’t know if we would still be alive to see you…”

A flurry of voices surrounded him. Ghost Li was shocked, and asked, “What are you all talking about?”

For the past while the disciples had really been living as if they were in extreme danger. They, suffered untold misery and yet, in such conditions, none of the people in charge were around. The four holy envoys usually had authority but there had been no news of Qinglong after he went to the southern border. Scarlet Bird had also left Majestic Fox Mountain and gone missing for a period of time. And Ghost King, who had always placed emphasis on Ghost King sect, unexpectedly became unconcerned. Ghost King sect was really in a mess and if it wasn’t for the fact that everyone was afraid of the stern rules of the sect and therefore did not dare to desert, this Majestic Fox Mountain might have just turned into a empty mountain.

Ghost Li had a high status in the sect. Although he was usually cold but he never bullied the common disciples and they all secretly revered this taciturn vice head. Right now, with danger on the horizon, Ghost Li suddenly returning was like sending coals in the snow, like a straw of hope. How could they not be delighted?

Hearing the disciples rushing to relate the situation, Ghost Li quietly lowered his head, felt his chest gently. The dish through the clothes emitted a faint warmth.

“Enough!” Suddenly, he coldly spoke.

The disciples were stunned. Ghost Li quietly pushed the disciples away and walked in.

Someone shouted from behind, “Vice... vice head, don’t tell me even you... even you are abandoning us?”

Ghost Li paused, his deep and suppressed voice was heard speaking slowly, “Ten years have passed already. I tried my best and still can’t save Biyao. I look down even on myself. What ability do I have to save others…?”

He continued forward, his figure looking desolate from behind. The youthful and arrogant demeanor he should have right now were totally missing. The disciples looked at each other. Each one was ashen, despair like a tide washed over them, drowning them.

Ghost Li walked into the corridor. After just two steps, Xiao Hui suddenly shook, let out a cry, [zhi!], and stood up, its three eyes at the same time glowing with golden light as if facing a great foe. Ghost Li frowned and lifted Xiao Hui down. He quietly asked, “Xiao Hui, what is it?”

Xiao Hui cried out a few times, [zhi zhi, zhi zhi], appearing tense. At the same time, he waved both arms waving at the side. Ghost Li’s eyes focused and following Xiao Hui’s finger, his expression slowly turning cold.

Where Xiao Hui was pointing, on the hard rock walls, deep strange cracks could be seen.

Ghost Li slowly placed Xiao Hui on his shoulder again and slowly strode forward. Xiao Hui crouched on his shoulder, his three eyes wide open, a look of alert on his face as he carefully observing the surroundings. This tunnel used to be busy with people, but right now there was only Ghost Li and Xiao Hui; the Ghost King sect disciples were nowhere to be seen.

The empty tunnels splitting into different paths one after another. As Ghost Li walked further in the cracks on the walls became thicker and more dense. A strange smell started to permeate the tunnels, as if some beast had opened its eyes in the darkness and was watching them. The faint blood stench wafted through the empty tunnels.

Ghost Li’s footsteps became slower. His eyes looked from one crack to another. Here, something indeed had happened!

He stopped, seeming to recall something, and his face paled instantly. This strange unknown force was surrounding the mountain and Biyao was still lying in the stone room…

Instantly, Ghost Li like a flash of lightning sped off and a sharp piercing sound was heard in the tunnel. The next moment he had disappeared.

[Rumble!]

The heavy stone door opened, and Ghost Li anxiously stood at the entrance. The moment the door allowed enough space for a person to go through, he was already in. White vapour that was faint and gentle, like a dream, came from the ice cold stone platform, drifting in the air. A green figure, carrying a faint smile on her lips, was still quietly lying there.

Ghost Li quietly stood there, and after a long time, he let out a long breath. His tense face also relaxed.

He watched Biyao for a long while, slowly walking up to the side of the platform, looking at this beautiful girl who was still as beautiful as at that time, and quietly said, “I am back, Biyao.”

There was no answer, only cold silence. Ghost Li’s lips moved slightly, a trace of sadness flashed past his eyes.

He sat down beside the platform and looked around. He discovered that this room, for some reason, was different from the tunnels. The rock walls were undamaged, without a single crack. Ghost Li frowned slightly, his eyes showing incomprehension, but right now he did not have the mood to ponder. Soon, he had turned back to face Biyao. He stretched out his hand and took out an item covered with black cloth. Slowly he opened it, revealing a dish glowing in gentle white light and warmth, brushing past Biyao’s pale face.

“Biyao…” Ghost Li gently called.

But before he could continue, from behind him, outside the room entrance, a cold and stern voice was heard.

“Hold on!”

Ghost Li frowned and turned.

Ghost King was standing there with his hands behind his back, his eyes as sharp as knives, as he stared at the thing in Ghost Li’s hand. Coldly he said, “The thing you are holding, what is it?”

Chapter 247 - Qian Kun Lock

Majestic Fox Mountain, deep inside the Ghost King sect cave, at the blood pool.

The huge cave was still enveloped by a thick stench of blood, the rising air had even dyed the rock walls blood red. In the unceasing bubbling pool of blood the four ancient spiritual beasts submerged within it looked exhausted. The dark red beams of light which shone down from the mysterious cauldron hovering in the air looked much dimmer than before. But the cauldron itself was filled with a divine light. Even the inscriptions on the cauldron body were shining, and the strange devil image engraved in the centre had became totally red. An unusual energy hovered above it.

Although there was clearly no other sound in the huge cave that housed the blood pool other than the bubbling sounds coming up from the blood pool itself, but being inside the cave one would feel as if there was a vortex inside, an invisible yet huge force appearing from an unseen world, little by little growing bigger and stronger, peeking in at this world.

There was no wind yet clothes still fluttered. Right now Mr Ghost was dressed in black and could clearly feel the cold force which reeked with blood hovering around him. His eyes, which revealed a strange fire, did not have a single hint of fear. His gaze moved away from the cauldron in the air and slowly swept around the cave. Obviously this was the source of the mysterious blood stench permeating the Ghost King sect. As that powerful force continued to swell even the various tunnels in the cave were scarred. The rock walls in
here were naturally even more hard pressed.

A huge, glaring crack slashed down deeply from the top of the walls to the bottom. At the largest point the width of the gap actually reached one zhang wide; at the smallest point it was three more than chi. The sturdy thick walls in this place looked like thin paper wilfully torn apart, as if some ancient deity with devastating powerful force had slashed the mountains and split the sea.

Today was a rare occasion in that Ghost King did not visit the blood pool but Mr Ghost knew the reason was that he had gone to meet that thousand-year old Nine-tailed Celestial Fox who had unexpectedly arrived several days ago. He guessed that with her cultivation it was not possible she would not detect the strange occurrences in the sect. However as Mr Ghost thought about this, there was only a sneer underneath his black veil. He was not worried at all. The next moment his gaze once again returned to the cauldron.

Red light glimmered with what seemed like a frequency, like a strange breathing. The devil face’s red eyes glinted, seemingly looking at Mr Ghost.

“Asura…”Mr Ghost softly called out. He slowly knelt down, opening both of his palms and prostrating on the ground.

The light hovering in mid-air seemed to intensify.

And at this moment, when everything seemed quiet, a movement suddenly came from the cauldron’s red light. It seemed to be stimulated and then, without waiting for Mr Ghost to react, an abrupt shock burst out beside his ears. An invisible wave, like an angry tide, crashed over. With his cultivation level he could still feel a vague pain and that mysterious vortex force suddenly solidified. Strange whistling sounds gradually rang out; they seemed to be angry howls. Even Mr Ghost did not expect this strange happening. He could not understand the reason for it. Leaping up, he stared intently at the cauldron in the air and carefully observed it. His eyes suddenly focused, and he saw that the devil face which had turned completely red had on its forehead a weak and gentle white spot of light. This spot of white light was completely incomparable to the blood energy surrounding the chamber; it was too large a difference. But for some reason, not only was the cauldron’s mysterious force unable to remove it,
even under the howling blood light with its terrible force
enveloping the chamber, that spot of weak white light, was still twinkling, not a bit weaker.

Mr Ghost was taken back. His face paled as he cried out, “Qian Kun Lock...how can it be?”

And as if the shock was too great, Mr Ghost, who had always appeared cold and composed, was actually stunned and almost beside himself. He paced back and forth anxiously on the platform beneath the cauldron and mumbled to himself, “Impossible. Impossible. How could the ancient prohibition appear on the cauldron? What happened? What happened?” Suddenly, his body froze. Almost at the same time as he sensed it, the mysterious white light suddenly lit up. A gentle white light shot out, like a sharp dagger, which seemed especially glaring amidst the red light.

Looking at it from afar, it was as if that white dagger stabbed into the center of the devil face’s forehead, nailing the face tightly.

In the chamber a sharp cry was heard. The red light swiftly rotated. Powerful force filled the space; the rock walls started to quake and large stones tumbled down. In the blood pool, numerous large vortices also appeared. The four beasts looked up without energy, not knowing what to do. The sharp cries became shrill, like an angry roar enveloping the cauldron from all directions. The cauldron in the centre of the storm, red light flickered violently on its face, looked extremely twisted and hideous.

However, in the midst of this terrible and formidable power, this angry red glow, surging like angry waves, the white light stood bright and proud; those terrible powers which looked like they could destroy heaven and earth, could do nothing against this solitary white light. No matter how the red light attacked from all directions, in the end, under the intensely blood-shot eyes of Mr Ghost, the white light dagger continued to stab into the devil face.

After an unknown length of time had passed the terrible force finally weakened. The rapidly spinning red light also gradually ceased. The unusual happenings in the chamber gradually became silent. In Mr Ghost’s eyes, full of despair, the blood-red devil face, which was almost complete, had only half of its face left covered in red and the entire cauldron’s dark red light was much dimmer, all because of that white, gentle looking light. “How could it be? how could it be…?” his voice desolate, Mr Ghost stood lost on the platform. He looked like a dead man, without any vitality. He had exhausted his lifetime of energy to search for the mysterious power in the cauldron. It was not too much to say that it was his life-time goal, and when he was at the door to his success, this suddenly happened! “No. No. Things have not failed completely. Not to panic, not to panic…” Mr Ghost was, after all, not an ordinary person. He inhaled deeply, forcing himself to calm down. His mind started to ponder quickly. Although the cauldron’s power was suppressed by the sudden appearance of this ancient prohibition but all was not lost yet. It was just that its vital point had been sealed and as long as they could break this Qian Kun Lock, they could still achieve success. However, although Mr Ghost was greatly knowledgeable but he was not so presumptuous to think he could break the ancient spell. The legends said that this kind of supreme ancient power was used by ancient deities to seal the heaven and earth demons. Other than a few ancient weapons, it was definitely not something a human’s strength could deal with.

But he himself knew almost nothing about that ancient weapon, not to mention whether it was even in the mortal world. The erudite scholar also never once heard about it, he only knew that there was this ancient legend, that was all. At this moment where could he go to look for that ancient weapon?

With such thoughts Mr Ghost’s body wavered. He suddenly shouted loudly and spat out a mouthful of blood. Bright red blood splattered onto the platform, looking especially glaring.

In the cold stone room, Ghost Li and Ghost King looked at each other. Ghost King was solemn, his eyes stern; Ghost Li looked indifferent. “The jade dish that you are holding in your hand, what is it?
Why did you bring it to Biyao?” Ghost King coldly asked.

Ghost Li did not answer. He looked back to Biyao, and after a long while said, “I want to save her.”

Ghost King frowned, a glint flashed passed his eyes. He hurried over and said, “This can save Biyao?”

Ghost Li looked at the “Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate” in his hand and suddenly, with a bitter laugh said, “I don’t know.”

Ghost King was stunned, said, “What do you mean?”

Ghost Li said, “I only heard someone said this treasure has special abilities, that maybe it could save Biyao, and so I went to borrow it. As to how to do it, I am unsure too.”

Ghost King looked at the dish. As his eyes focused he was clearly also surprised by this jade item’s appearance. But with his knowledge, he had not heard of it. He frowned and asked, “What is the name of this treasure?"

Ghost Li said, “This is the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate. It is said to be able to set the soul, to break the reincarnation cycle. But as to exactly how…” Master Pude’s withered image flashed past his mind, with a bitter laugh he said, “How to do it exactly, nobody knows.”  A flash of anger was seen on Ghost King’s face. Red lines appeared in his eyes, secretly containing a murderous intention, but in the next moment he looked at Biyao, the slight smile on her face reflected in his eyes, and, as if touching upon some thoughts, his eyes eventually turned gentle.

Maybe, at this moment, only Biyao could give him this temporary peace!

“This treasure is not an ordinary item!” Ghost King suddenly spoke, “I can tell, although I have never heard about this treasure, but this jade is not ordinary. The glow is pure and does not scatter, it is definitely not an ordinary thing. Quickly try  it,  maybe...maybe  it  has  a  special  effect…”   his  voice suddenly turned deep. In these ten years both he and Ghost Li had faced numerous obstacles and failures. Though they still hoped but both of them knew, it was only a tiny thread of hope.

Ghost Li quietly nodded, placed the dish in his hand and went near to Biyao. The gentle white light rotated but there was no other movements. With a hopeful heart Ghost Li sent his body’s energy into the dish, but the dish was like a deep sea. His energy entered and like a clay oxen entering the sea, vanished. The jade dish showed no reaction. Ghost Li was not surprised. On the way back he had tried various methods on the dish, including sending his internal energy in, but all had failed. Thinking back to Tian Yin Temple Master Pude who for several decades did not succeed, it was most likely that Master Pude would have already tried no less than a hundred times the various methods that Ghost Li had come up with over these past few days.

Actually how would Ghost Li not already know all of this? But no matter what, he would not give up a single hope of saving Biyao. He could only try his best and hope that the heavens would take pity. There is always the possibility of a miracle, however in the end it was still fruitless. Ghost Li stood up dejectedly. Disappointment also revealed on Ghost King’s face but he did not rebuke him and also did not take the dish to examine it himself. Although they were not on good terms recently but Ghost King knew how Ghost Li felt towards Biyao. As long as there was still a trace of hope, Ghost Li would definitely not abandon it and naturally tried all means and ways.

He heaved a long sigh. His face looked to have aged a more. He quietly shook his head and was about to leave, when suddenly his body shook. As if he had recalled something, he suddenly turned and urgently said to Ghost Li, “Try putting the jade dish together with the Hehuan bell?”

***

Ghost Li was surprised and then comprehended. A tense look flashed past his face. He went near to Biyao and carefully separated her hands. Touching her skin, even though they were still smooth and supple but they were icy cold. He felt a pain in his heart and did not dare to think further. Carefully he took out the Hehuan Bell. The golden bell gently shook, making clear crisp sounds. A faint glow passed by, like a beautiful lady’s eyes, watching him.

Ghost Li held the jade dish on one hand and the Hehuan Bell on the other. He gently placed it on the dish. The tiny cubes in the dish were still rotating around, like a river among the mountains, like a star-studded sky, all indistinctly within.

Under both Ghost King and Ghost Li’s watchful gazes, slowly the Hehuan Bell entered the space above the dish. When it was just one chi’s distance away, Ghost Li suddenly felt something. He frowned and a surprise lit up in his eyes.

Ghost King immediately noticed it, stared at him and asked, “What is it?”

Ghost Li did not speak, only inhaled deeply, and then when the bell was one chi above, suddenly let go.

Ghost King was surprised. In the gentle glow, Hehuan Bell did not fall. Like being supported by an invisible force, it floated gently in the white light. In the next moment the pleasant chimes of the bell was heard.

Both of their faces revealed surprise and joy!

But at this critical moment, before their joyful expressions could stay for a moment longer, the entire cold chamber, no the entire mountain, quaked violently. A powerful and terribly huge invisible power, together with a thick stench of blood, erupted out from deep below them. Like some huge aggravated beast, roaring angrily and wishing to be free of restraints.

Ghost Li and Ghost King looked at each other. What was different between them was that Ghost Li was shocked and Ghost King was instead angry!

[Pa pa pa pa…]

Piercing rumbles were heard from all directions. They turned to look, and on the perfect stone walls, in this sudden, wild erupting force, finally started to crack. The cracks looked to be extending swiftly. At the same time, the ground beneath them quaked violently, like heaven and earth were collapsing, like the end of the mortal world.

Outside the chamber, shouts of panic and cries were heard, accompanied by even louder rumbles. Both of them did not have to look to know that the situation outside the room was worse than in here, but right now neither of them had the mind to be concerned about it.

Ghost Li clenched his teeth. Holding the dish, he placed it near Biyao. At the same time the bell trembled gently. Crisp, clear chimes sounded out among the surrounding rumbles, sounded especially contrasting. Although the sound was faint but to the both of them this sound was louder than an avalanche.

The bell floated in the white glow of the dish. The tremblings increased and the chimes were fast at times and slow at times. Indistinctly, with some pain, both of their foreheads were full of sweat. Even their eyes did not dare to blink, as they stared intently at the trembling bell. Suddenly, the vast strange force around them vanished. The rumbles stopped too. Only the reverberations in the distance carried the remains of the abrupt change. Like a whale inhaling water, the terrible force swiftly retreated.

That moment was the time when Mr Ghost was in the blood pool, looking as the ancient prohibition displayed its prowess, sealing the vital point of the cauldron.

And things also took a surprising change before Ghost Li and Ghost King.

The Hehuan Bell had a strange change while in the white glow. It seemed to be getting out of its predicament and the dish remained the same as usual, but just when that huge force receded, the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate seemed to sense something. An invisible force in the unseen world called out in return, and the gentle light suddenly exploded.

Ghost Li and Ghost King were both greatly shocked, and cried out, “What?” The white light instantly became dazzling. It was almost impossible to view it directly and the innumerable jade cubes spun more than ten times faster than usual. They couldn’t be differentiated anymore, and every cube’s character also lit up.

Following the strange change in the dish, the trembling Hehuan Bell swiftly quietened down. Even the chimes slowed and soon became silent.

Ghost King panicked, and angrily said, “What happened?”

Ghost Li was also extremely anxious. He clenched his teeth and said, “I don’t know either!”

Both of them watched helplessly as the dish’s light became stronger and stronger, until in the end the star-studded sky and the river passing through the mountains engraved at the periphery of the dish seemed to come alive, as if the entire dish had received life, whistling non-stop, and as if calling to something, and again also as if in response to some call. In the resplendent light the bell seemed to receive a heavy blow. It trembled slightly in the air, and then, as if it had lost its support, fell down and stopped moving.

Both of them stared at the dish and bell in a daze, their faces ashen.

The earthquake had ceased for some time and the Qian Kun Reincarnation dish had also resumed its usual appearance. There was no more dazzling halo but the illumination of the gentle white light. The bell seemed to have lost its vitality. No matter how Ghost Li tried, it didn’t show any reaction.

Ghost King’s face was extremely sombre but his initial anger had already disappeared. Replacing it was that cold indifference. He quietly watched Ghost Li try with that one in a thousand hope, and witnessed him fail again and again. Finally, he slowly stood up, closed his eyes, and stood for a while. Then without a word, he quietly turned and left the room.

The stone door quietly closed up. A huge crack could be seen horizontally across the heavy sturdy door, like it had been torn apart. In the quiet stone room, Ghost Li finally and slowly stopped his failed experiment. He woodenly sat beside the platform, motionless.

After an unknown length of time, he slowly picked up the bell and gently placed it back in Biyao’s hands. He carefully arranged her hands back to where they had been previously. Each and every movement was extremely delicate and gentle, as if he were afraid that any further pressure would injure this sleeping lady.

He stared intently at Biyao’s face, as if infatuated, and after a long time he could be heard hoarsely saying, “Sorry Biyao, I fail to save you again…”

After leaving the ice room, Ghost King’s face changed greatly. The indifference was instantly replaced by a cruel and fierce aura. A murderous energy emanated from his eyes, casting fear in anyone who saw it.

He coldly glanced around and saw the scars on the walls of the tunnels. Obviously it was because of the quake just now. The walls which already had numerous cracks looked even more fragile. Many new cracks could be seen and the original cracks had grown much bigger. It was a terrifying sight, and almost felt as if the cave was about to collapse. And far inside the tunnel many disciples could be seen running around, with undulating shouts; clearly they were very much shocked.

Ghost King looked even more infuriate. He turned and took a stride; the next moment his figure disappeared deep into the tunnel. Shortly after he had arrived at the blood pool chamber.

In the vast chamber, as per usual, the thick blood stench assaulted the nose, but the once terrifying red glow which filled the room had strangely weakened. Ghost King frowned and then saw Mr Ghost’s black figure standing alone on the platform.

Without thinking, he walked over and came to his side. Coldly he said, “What happened? It was still fine when I left. Why did the cauldron’s power go out of control?”

Mr Ghost’s body moved slightly but he did not turn or speak. Ghost King became even more infuriated. A murderous aura flashed past his face, as he said, “I tell you, most likely due to this divine power losing control just now, it might have impaired the treatment to save my Yao’er. You have been here all along, if you do not give me a reason, don’t blame me for being merciless!”

At the end Ghost King’s tone was already harsh, Mr Ghost did not have to turn around to feel the murderous intent like a sharp knife at his back, but he did not panic at all. Instead, using a tired voice, he lightly pointed to the cauldron in the air and weakly said, “Sect head, take a look at the cauldron first.”

Ghost King looked up but did not notice anything. The cauldron was still hovering in the air, the surroundings were also still blanketed in red. Immediately he replied, “What did you want me to see, isn’t it like usual…” halfway through his voice suddenly paused. He did not continue on but fixed his eyes on the cauldron.

Not knowing since when, in the blood light, at the centre of the forehead of the cauldron’s devil face, a strange white light like a light dagger had stabbed itself into its forehead. The redness around the devil face, which had been completely red previously, had now receded, and the area above the eyes was again the primitive cauldron’s dark blue. Ghost King’s face turned pale. He spun around and asked Mr Ghost, “What happened?”

Mr Ghost heaved a sigh and quietly said, “It was all good initially; the cauldron’s Four Divinities Blood Formation was about to be successfully completed. Who knows? Today may have been the day when the formation had reached the phase where the blood energy was completed and the asura had gathered. Suddenly this prohibition appeared inside the cauldron, sealing the ancient cauldron’s vital point halfway between life and death, forcing the blood energy which had merged and accumulated in its body to be dispersed. The blood formation’s asura divine power retaliated. Even I was struggling to control it too but in the end, could do nothing against the divine prohibition and instead the asura power, with no outlet for its power, crashed all around, and then things got out of control.”

Ghost King inhaled a breath of cold air. He turned and stared at that light which looked extremely weak. After a while, he quietly said, “What prohibition is this? Why does it have such powerful power that could actually seal the divine power which can destroy heaven and earth?” Mr Ghost hesitated and said, “I am not too sure either but most likely it is the legendary ancient divine prohibition, Qian Kun Lock!”

“Qian Kun Lock?” Ghost King frowned as he repeated, “Why is it that I never heard of it?”

Mr Ghost shook his head and said, “This divine prohibition has never appeared in the mortal world. Since ancient times it was only vaguely mentioned in some obscure manuscripts. Nobody  really  believed  that  it  actually  existed.”  Mr  Ghost paused for a moment and looked at Ghost King, saw him staring fixedly at that weak light and his expression extremely ugly.

Mr Ghost sighed in his heart, and again continued, “It is said that this divine prohibition was especially used by the ancient gods to seal the devil. Unless humans can find the other ancient weapon, then there may be some hope.”

Ghost  King’s  body  trembled,  turned  and  asked,  “What ancient weapon?” Mr Ghost said with a bitter laugh, “This even I also do not know.”

Ghost King angrily said, “Then does it mean what we have done so far for this formation is all in vain?”

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment, then slowly said, “From what I see, the Four Divinities Blood Formation’s spiritual energy has not totally dispersed yet. The blood energy is still abundant; even the asura energy is still within the cauldron. But it is only temporary. The vitality of the formation is still there and we are only half a step away from success. The problem is that the Qian Kun Lock suddenly appeared today and sealed the cauldron’s body channel, breaking off its linkage with the spiritual energy. The blood energy is unable to enter the cauldron and the asura power is unable to break through, resulting in this predicament.”

Ghost King’s facial expressions changed rapidly, alternating between different emotions, but the cruel and fierce energy that was about to explode seemed to take form, wave after wave of it directed at Mr Ghost. Mr Ghost’s black veil swayed without wind but his body was still standing there, quietly looking at Ghost King.

After a long time, Ghost King suddenly released a long breath. His expression gradually calmed down. Even his tone was calm. He coldly said, “So, what do you think should be done now?”

Mr Ghost secretly sighed and said, “Now the most crucial thing is naturally this Qian Kun Lock. As long as it is removed, success will be realised in one fell swoop.”

Ghost King said, “What do you intend to do?”

Mr Ghost hesitated and said, “If that legendary ancient weapon really exists then naturally that is the best, but it seems like the possibility is not big. But looking at this Qian Kun Lock, although it is amazing, but is far from what the ancient legends say. The Hidden Dragon Cauldron is an extremely ancient object, it is most likely at least ten thousand years old. Although Qian Kun Lock is an ancient, matchless power, but with time slipping by over these hundreds of thousands of years, no matter what its power it had it must have been worn down. As long as we investigate it carefully, we might be able to break it.”

Ghost King was silent and then nodded. His expression also calmed down and then, after a moment of contemplating, he seemed to recall something. His expression turned dejected, and heaving a long sigh he said, “Don’t tell me this is all fate?”

Mr Ghost was surprised. He did not understand and asked, “What?”

Ghost King gave a bitter laugh. The cruel aura was gone from his face. Instead, helplessness and bitterness was shown. he shook his head and said, “Nothing, I will have to trouble you once again.”

After speaking, and without waiting for his reply, Ghost King turned and left the blood pool. Mr Ghost looked at him from behind. He saw his broad figure and for some reason he seemed rather tired and slightly trembling, as if on his shoulder and heart there was always a thousand-ton burden pressing down. And, it seemed to be getting worse and worse…

Ghost Li pushed opened the stone door and returned to his own residence. The door slowly closed up behind him, emitting a deep groaning. Ghost Li seemed to feel nothing; his eyes were dazed, he did not even remember how did he got here.

The stone walls of his room were covered by the same cracks, some thin some thick. The thick ones had tiny stones occasionally falling out from them; clearly this place did not escape the mysterious force either. But Ghost Li did not notice any of this. He dove to his bed, his hands released without any strength, and the round dish wrapped in black cloth lightly fell and soundlessly landed on the bed beside his hand.

A grey figure flashed by as Xiao Hui jumped over from the side onto his body, but Ghost Li still did not move and there was no reaction from him. Xiao Hui felt puzzled. It stretched out its head and looked at Ghost Li’s face. His eyes were shut tight, his face pale. Xiao Hui’s three eyes blinked and seemed to understand something. It called out, [zhi zhi], and became quiet, It did not disturb him and jumped down, sitting on the bed with its back facing its master, not making a sound. Silence descended in the stone room. After an unknown length of time Ghost Li still remained motionless. Xiao Hui looked at its master worriedly but seemed hesitatant, not wishing to disturb him. Its monkey head turned here and there, and suddenly saw something wrapped in black cloth lying on the bed.

Xiao Hui eyes blinked. He stared at it for a while and then turned to look at Ghost Li. He was still lying motionless. Xiao Hui’s tail swayed. It scratched its head and then moved forward, its hand swiftly stretching out and taking the item.

Xiao Hui flipped the wrapped dish over a few times but did not see anything. In the end the wrapped cloth, which was not wrapped tightly due to Ghost Li’s distracted mood, slipped off and a white dish fell out. With a light [pa] sound, it gently fell onto the bed before Xiao Hui.

Xiao Hui was shocked. It shrank back and, saw that the dish was rather weird, giving out a gentle white halo and having innumerable jade cubes that rotating freely in the middle unceasingly. Xiao Hui was immediately attracted. Its three eyes didn’t even blinking as it kept watching the dish and then carefully stretched out, and touched the side. The dish slided a little silently. Xiao Hui’s hands quickly retreated. It seemed like it was testing this strange dish out, but it did not seem dangerous. Xiao Hui looked at its hand which had touched the dish, carefully observing that it was neither red, nor itchy, nor painful. Grinning, it looked at the dish again. Its head turned to look around and then grabbed it the dish.

The gentle light spilled out, illuminating Xiao Hui’s face. Xiao Hui’s eyes opened wide, looked at the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate; the jade cubes still rotated around, like the passing of time, endlessly.

Slowly, as if mesmerised, its three eyes went nearer and nearer to the dish, staring at the numerous jade cubes, each one reflecting in its three eyes, indistinctly turning into numerous stars in the firmament.

Suddenly, Xiao Hui’s body tilted. For some reason it had left Ghost Li’s body and was at the edge of the bed. Its feet stepped into empty space and immediately fell down from the bed and landed on the ground. [Zhi!] Xiao Hui made a low shout and then jumped up. Luckily it had held the dish tightly and the dish did not fall to the ground. Xiao Hui looked right and left, its three eyes rolled up together and then one hand held the dish against its body as the other scratched its head. Clearly it was perplexed. It was just sitting beside its master, why did it suddenly fall off the bed?

Xiao Hui tilted its head and thought for a while but eventually could not figure out why. It felt dejected but it was inherently lively and so did not remain dejected for long. It looked up at the bed, saw that Ghost Li was still motionless and so sat down on the bed and placed the dish before it.

In the white light, the cubes were still moving around. But this time, Xiao Hui was not absorbed in it like before. Its eyes became round, and suddenly it grinned, lifted up one of its hands, and stretched out a finger towards those tiny cubes.

Xiao Hui’s finger slowly went in. Suddenly it touched one of the cube faces, but these cubes seemed to have some power and so were not affected by its touch and continued moving forward without any pause.

Xiao Hui was surprised. It was not angry but instead became excited. It seemed to have found a thing to play with and used its hand to push another cube again. As expected this cube did not stop either. It became delighted, made a few [zhi zhi] sounds, and then continued to play happily with the cubes.

In the faint illumination of white light, Xiao Hui looked to be so happy…

But after a while Xiao Hui got bored and then began abruptly using its finger to forcefully press down onto a cube. The force was not like before, it was rather strong. Xiao Hui was by nature a different species and after following Ghost Li for so many years, its cultivation was not like before. With this press, the situation immediately changed. The cube being pressed down looked as if it were struggling to be released but Xiao Hui, being excited, pressed down even harder. After a few struggles, the cube finally stopped.

[Pu!]

A deep groan was immediately heard from the dish. It instead gave Xiao Hui a fright and, looking at it, although the cube was not moving the other cubes did not stop. The next moment, another cube rolled over and knocked into this cube. The two cubes collided and appeared fine, but in the next instant, things changed. The gentle light of the dish brightened and at the same time, [pu pu pu pu] sounds rang out unceasing. One after another the cubes all collided and more and more stopped rotating. The white light also became brighter and brighter until, in the end, it was ten times brighter than what Ghost Li experienced in the ice chamber. Unable to view it at all, it was as if the sun had descended into this tiny room.

Xiao Hui stared in shock. Looking at the dish in its hand, even if it was a gifted species, right now it could not stand the brightness and stepped back, its hands loosened to let the dish land with a [pa] sound on the ground.

The strange situation did not disappear with the drop of the dish. The dish continued to release piercing light, and in its resplendence mysterious drawings appeared scene by scene.

Xiao Hui, as if being burned by fire, jumped up and hid in one of the corners, but it could not resist its curiosity, and kept peering out. On the bed, Ghost Li did not sense any of the strange happenings, he was still lying motionless. And the unexpected thing was, it did not just happen in this stone room. In the basement beneath the stone room, in the blood pool chamber, Mr Ghost who was sitting cross-legged on the platform, had his eyes closed and was pondering. Above his head, the cauldron was still hovering, the light dagger was still tightly stabbed into the devil’s forehead. Although it looked weak but it did not disperse.

And at this moment, even Mr Ghost did not notice that the white light on the cauldron started to change.

It slowly became brighter. Following its brilliance, the blood red energy below the rest of the devil face was forced to recede until the nose bridge. The blood energy on the devil face moved. Looking from afar, the face seemed to be twisting, appearing even more hideous and angry.

As time passed the light seemed to awaken, turning brighter and brighter, as if in response to something.

On the platform, Mr Ghost’s body moved. He seemed to have sensed something but was not sure. After a moment of hesitation he slowly opened his eyes and looked up at the cauldron.

Chapter 248 - Helpless

As time passed by in the world, that beam of light seemed to have awakened, becoming brighter and brighter, as if responding to something.

On the platform, Mr Ghost’s figure moved. He looked like he had sensed something but was unsure. He hesitated for a moment and then slowly opened his eyes, looking up at the cauldron.

Ghost Li’s body moved slightly. He gradually woke up from a confused state, turned around and sat up, feeling dizzy. That he could actually be in such a state with his current cultivation was really rare. But Ghost Li did not seem to mind. He composed himself and let out a long breath. Turning around he was stunned. He saw the jade dish on the stone floor, emitting a warm white glow. It was the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate. Xiao Hui was crouching beside the jade dish. It seemed curious. Looking at it right and left, it stretched out its hand to touch it a few times but each time it retreated halfway; it seemed to be rather afraid of this jade dish. Ghost Li frowned. He thought hard but couldn’t figure out how he dropped this jade dish on the floor. He only had a vague recollection of himself returning to his room from the icy cold chamber. It must have been that he was too depressed due to the disappointment and couldn’t focus! Ghost Li made a bitter laugh to himself after a moment, sighed and got off the bed. He bent down and took the dish. Xiao Hui sitting on the floor looked up at Ghost Li, its three eyes bright, not knowing what it was thinking too.

Ghost Li gestured at Xiao Hui and said, “Come here Xiao Hui.”

Xiao Hui made a [zhi zhi] noise and jumped over, leaping up to Ghost Li, but it still seemed to be wary of the dish in Ghost Li’s hands and did not stay in his embrace, jumping up to his shoulder and sitting down, frequently glancing at the dish.

Ghost Li did not think much about it. He patted Xiao Hui’s body. In this world only this monkey stayed next to him. After a while his gaze returned to the dish. In the white glow the dish was still the same as before. In the centre, the innumerable jade cubes were still following their own paths, circulating unceasingly, as if nothing had happened. Ghost Li looked at the dish in his hand. The glow from the dish illuminated his face, not knowing what secret it contained, concealed deep within.

Ghost Li looked at it for a long time. Eventually he still shook his head, a trace of disappointment flickering past his face. He took the black cloth and again wrapped the dish in it. Xiao Hui watched Ghost Li’s actions. As Ghost Li was about to put the dish back into his bosom, Xiao Hui suddenly called out [zhi zhi].

Ghost Li turned his head over. He felt puzzled, frowned and asked, “What is it Xiao Hui?”

Xiao Hui scratched its head but it also couldn’t explain what was wrong or its concerns. It spread it hands and shrugged. Ghost Li patted Xiao Hui’s head and did not think much about it. He sat for a while and suddenly spoke again, “Xiao Hui, how long have I been asleep?”

Xiao Hui’s three eyes blinked, spoke [zhi zhi zhi zhi], and at the same time gestured with its hands. Ghost Li watched for a while, and slowly said, “Such a long time, ah? Then let’s go out and  take  a  walk!”   He  paused,  stood  up  and  at  the  same smoothed Xiao Hui in his embrace. His expression looked slightly lost but he inhaled deeply, then indifferently said, “No matter what, we still have to live on, right?” Xiao Hui’s three eyes peered left and right. Not knowing if it understood Ghost Li’s words, Ghost Li was not in the mood to ponder. He gently patted Xiao Hui’s back. Xiao Hui climbed up on his shoulder. Ghost Li walked to the door. In the deep rumbling sound of the door opening, they walked out. Outside the stone room, the multi directional corridors still extending out to both sides. The thick cracks were getting denser, strongly reminding the people here that the strange unknown was still here and dangerous. Ghost Li stood for a while at the entrance, his eyes on the big and small cracks on the walls.

Some of these cracks were already quite big; from the top of the wall down to close to the ground, revealing the grey rocks within. The sturdy rock wall seemed to have become as weak as a thin paper after these cracks appeared. Ghost Li walked slowly to the walls and to one of the cracks, looking at it expressionlessly for a long time.

After that he looked up above the corridor and his brows frowned. These cracks had increased in numbers since his return. He was unable to tell at a glance, but when he was in the icy cold chamber he clearly recalled that sudden mysterious power. The source seemed to be coming from below, but looking at the surrounding wall cracks, it was the ceilings of the tunnels that received the most severe damage, next the sides of the walls. An impatient look flicked across his face. He seemed to be in a bad mood. Although the cracks looked extremely strange he really did not have the mood to think about them. Composing himself, Ghost Li did not look at the cracks anymore, and headed down one of the tunnels with
Xiao Hui.

The tunnel stretched ahead. The difference from the past was it was much quieter. The disciples preferred to stay in their rooms and hide. No one was willing to come out and walk around. In the huge tunnel, only Ghost Li’s figure was seen.

However, Ghost Li did not seem to mind that. The direction he was heading was towards the entrance of the cave. Not knowing if it was because he was too vexed, he intended to go out for a walk.

Ghost Li’s footsteps reverberated in the tunnel. The footsteps sounded louder due to the silence. Xiao Hui crouched on his shoulder, it seemed unused to the unusual silence, turning its head here and there, peering all around. Suddenly, Xiao Hui’s head stopped. Looking ahead, Ghost Li also seemed to sense something too. He stopped and looked ahead. There was nobody in front of him but in the next moment there was a movement. It was a black figure quietly drifting out.

It was actually that mysterious, unfathomable and elusive Mr Ghost.

Mr Ghost saw Ghost Li at the same time and, looking startled as well, stopped. Both of them looked at each other for a while but did not speak. The atmosphere in the tunnel seemed to turn rather cold and awkward, when finally Mr Ghost indifferently asked, “When did you return?”

Ghost Li was indifferent as he replied, “Not long ago.”

Mr Ghost nodded and, having nothing more to say and since he had already said something, considered to have made his greetings, stepped forward to move off. Ghost Li quietly stepped aside to make way. Mr Ghost suddenly stopped after passing by Ghost Li. He saw that he was unusually hesitant, and after a moment of silence he said, “Did you say you have just returned not long ago?”

Ghost Li indifferently said, “Yes, what is it?”

Mr Ghost hesitated, as if deliberating his words, then slowly said, “Then did you…  notice here…  something that was not right?”

Ghost  Li  glanced  at  Mr  Ghost  and  asked,  “What  do  you mean?”

After a period of silence Mr Ghost again shook his head and said,  “No,  nothing.  I  will  go  first.”  After  speaking  this  he walked straight ahead and did not speak further.

Ghost Li watched his retreating figure. He watched as Mr Ghost gradually walked further away, drifting unsteadily like an apparition. But his figure was moving much slower than before. Mr Ghost’s movements were slower and his walk unstead. From time to time he would lean against the stone walls. Especially near the stone rooms, either deliberately or undeliberately, Mr Ghost would go near the room entrance, pause for a moment and then continue on.

For some reason, he seemed to be searching for something?

Ghost Li indifferently turned around. Even if Mr Ghost was searching for something, it was of no concern to him. Following the original direction, Ghost Li continued forward. This time he did not meet anyone again and soon reached the exit.

When Ghost Li walked out of the exit a beam of sunlight, carrying some warmth, shone onto his face. He squinted his eyes slightly and inhaled deeply. Under the sunlight, the stone in his heart seemed to lighten up slightly.

Qing Yun Hill, Tong Tian Peak. As the days passed by, Qing Yun Hill sect head Reverend Daoxuan never revealed himself once. With his status as the number one leader of all the good factions in the world, this was naturally not a trivial matter. The burden on his shoulder of his eldest disciple Xiao Yicai, who had been concealing this fact while searching secretly, increased as each day passed.

Not mentioning the frequent enquiries from the other good faction sects at Qing Yun, which were easy to turn away, but Qing Yun sect was a sect with many branches and disciples and Reverend Daoxuan did not really hand over the position to Xiao Yicai. So Xiao Yicai faced difficulty handling many affairs. And since Qing Yun sect had always placed Tong Tian Peak at the centre, and as they had strangely had no news for many days from their sect head, the news from the branch always being that he was in seclusion, in the end they also could no longer use seclusion as an excuse and Xiao Yicai simply stated that Reverend Daoxuan had already left to roam the world and nobody knew where the elder was.

Actually Xiao Yicai could not be blamed for this. Among the thousands of disciples in Qing Yun sect, only Small Bamboo Valley Master Shuiyue and Lu Xueqi knew the truth about Reverend Daoxuan’s current situation, and Big Bamboo Valley Tian Buyi and Suru who had been great supports, had passed away. If Master Shuiyue and Lu Xueqi did not disclose this fact, how would others know about this great secret? And so the people could only continue to question Xiao Yicai.

Right now Xiao Yicai looking exhausted. He seemed to have lost weight, and was greatly different from his usual wit, competency and vigour. One could imagine how much pressure he was under right now.

Yet he was still unable to rest. In the Crystal Hall of Tong Tian Peak, the other six branches of Qing Yun sect seemed unable to wait another day, and came together to Tong Tian Peak to ask what exactly had happened to Reverend Daoxuan, and the reason for his long absence. This was something that had never happened before.

Most of the branch leaders had already arrived. Only Small Bamboo Valley’s Master Shuiyue and her most outstanding disciple Lu Xueqi could not seen, but her senior sister Wenmin was present. The other branch leaders sat in the center; the most glaringly different being the leader position of Big Bamboo Valley which in the end it was taken over by big disciple Song Daren. In the crowd, Song Daren was still wearing mourning clothes. He was clearly still in mourning for his teacher and teacher’s wife. His expression was also sombre, occasionally his eyes swept past the crowd, and inadvertently came to land on Small Bamboo Valley’s Wenmin who stood before him, nodding slightly to him.

Song Daren was silent. His lips moved and forced a smile to Wenmin but soon looked down. Obviously he was still immersed in grief. Wenmin’s eyes revealed sadness. Her expression also seemed dejected.

Although the gathering today was for the six branches but those leading were naturally not these newly promoted second generation disciples Song Daren or Qihao. Return of the Wind Valley’s Zeng Shuchang and the others would not leave the responsibility to them and immediately started to question Xiao Yicai.

Xiao Yicai had been managing the daily affairs of the sect for some time but since Reverend Daoxuan did not hand the position to him he still had to stand and reply before these leaders without a seat. Right now in the hall the sect head Reverend Daoxuan’s seat was still empty. Xiao Yicai stood beside the great seat, a bitter smile on his face, replying to each of the questions.

But although the atmosphere was not the best but they were unable to get the answer to their questions. Xiao Yicai insisted that he did not know where Reverend Daoxuan was and truthfully he really did not know. He could only reply that Reverend Daoxuan, with his high cultivation, might had been inspired the day before and so left to roam the world.

The branch leaders naturally could not accept this. Reverend Daoxuan had been leading for so many years and never behaved like this, leaving without any notice. However, Xiao Yicai only repeated this answer, also making one feel helpless. He couldn’t be rude and reply that without a precedent, it doesn’t mean it wouldn’t happen right?

The interrogations lasted from morning until noon. All of them were hoarse from questioning. Xiao Yicai was even more exhausted, but in the end he still had the same answer. The rest of them looked at each other and, after a long while, Return of the Wind Valley’s Zeng Shuchang was the first to stand up. With an angry snort, he flung his sleeve and left. Once the one leading had left, Qihao, Song Daren and the rest who were called here to add to the numbers naturally also followed and left.

Watching the people leaving, Xiao Yicai then let out a sigh of relief. Suddenly his body wavered, and felt like he was about to collapse. Fortunately he had a strong foundation and so immediately composed himself. He bitterly laughed secretly to himself, sighed and said to himself, “Teacher, where exactly are you? If you still do not return, I really can’t sustain it anymore.”

Let’s not talk about Xiao Yicai’s bitterness for a moment. Song Daren, who was also following the crowd out, was still in mourning, being a member of Big Bamboo Valley. Nobody came with him. He walked quietly out of Crystal hall. The scene just now reminded him of his teachers’ deaths and Song Daren felt even more anguished. He really did not want to stay here for even a minute longer. He only wished to leave this place quickly.

But when he walked out of the hall and down the stairs, and was about to cross the rainbow bridge onto the clouds to return back, he suddenly heard someone called him, “Daren”. Song Daren turned and saw it was Small Bamboo Valley’s Wenmin who was waving to him. Song Daren felt a slight warmth in his heart,as he walked over. Wenmin saw his haggard look and felt pain in her heart. She was about to speak but stopped. Seeing that there were people passing by constantly and it was not a good place to talk, she signalled to him and walked ahead.

Song Daren understood and followed her across the bridge. They came to the broad expanse of cloud platform. Both of them walked to a secluded area, and after checking that nobody was around, Wenmin asked, “Are... are you okay?”

Song Daren smiled bitterly. He looked down and said, “You know my situation, sigh…” he heaved out a long sigh, and said, “But I still have some junior brothers. If I do not take up this responsibility, I’m afraid they might find it even harder to accept.” [Translator’s note: This part is a bit weird but I have searched around, seemed to be the same]

Wenmin was stunned for a moment, and said, “Why, Xueqi and teacher are together?” The young female disciple at the side said, “That’s right. This morning after you left, teacher called senior sister Xueqi over.”

Wenmin nodded, said, “Alright I understand. I will go over now. You can continue with your work!”

The group acknowledged, smiled and left. Wenmin watched these naive junior sisters and couldn’t help but envy them. Maybe being simple and pure would instead make one happier!

She watched as they disappeared and then let out a sigh of relief and hurried towards Master Shuiyue’s hut deep inside the bamboo forest.

The small winding path inside the forest was flanked by exuberant bamboos and the air had a fragrance. After a few turns the hut gradually appeared in sight.

Wenmin came to the door, gently knocked twice on the bamboo door, and said, “Teacher, disciple Wenmin is here.” Master Shuiyue ’s voice was heard from inside the hut, faintly saying, “Come in!”

Following her voice, the hut’s door emitted a deep [zhi ya] sound, was pushed opened, and Lu Xueqi’s beautiful figure appeared.  She  smiled  lightly  at  Wenmin  and  said,  “Senior sister, you are back.”

Wenmin smiled at Lu Xueqi and walked in.

Inside the hut, Master Shuiyue was sitting on a simple bamboo bed. Lu Xueqi walked back in and stood beside her. Master Shuiyue glanced at Wenmin and said, “Did you just get back?”

Wenmin  respectfully  replied,  “Yes.  Disciple  just  returned from TongTian Peak.”

Master Shuiyue was silent for a moment, then asked, “Tell me the situation at TongTian Peak.” Wenmin nodded and said, “Yes.” Then she truthfully related the morning’s situation, the crowd’s questions, and Xiao Yicai’s difficult position and replies. She did not miss anything out.

Master Shuiyue quietly listened and did not speak. Lu Xueqi was also expressionless. Only when Wenmin spoke about Xiao Yicai’s difficulty, she couldn’t help but turn and glance at Master Shuiyue but Master Shuiyue remained expressionless.

After a while Wenmin’s reported finished. She hesitated for a moment and said, “Teacher, there is one more thing. Disciple is unsure if she should say it…”

Master Shuiyue closed her eyes. She seemed to be contemplating Wenmin’s words from earlier on. When she heard her request she said, “You can just speak what’s on your mind!”

Wenmin acknowledged and said, “Yes. Then disciple will say it. Today the six leaders were to gather at TongTian Peak. The five other leaders were there, only you were not. Return of the Wind Valley’s Zeng Shuchang and some of the others grumbled to disciple and asked disciple to convey to teacher, saying that everyone is a part of Qing Yun sect, worship the same ancestors, and wanted teacher to step out and talk too.”

After speaking, Wenmin carefully looked up at her teacher. She saw her keeping quiet. There was no anger and also no reply. She only closed her eyes in contemplation.

Master Shuiyue did not speak. Wenmin also did not dare to speak anymore. After a moment, Master Shuiyue slowly spoke, “What you have just said is that other than me, the rest of the five leaders were there?”

Wenmin was stunned. She nodded and said, “Yes.”

Master Shuiyue glanced at Wenmin, and said, “Who from Big Bamboo Valley came?”

Wenmin’s heart jumped. For some reason, when her teacher singled out Big Bamboo Valley, she hesitated and said, “It was teacher-uncle Tian and teacher-aunt Suru’s big disciple Song Daren.” Lu Xueqi’s expression quietly turned sombre, anguish flickered past her eyes.

Master Shuiyue’s expression also turned somewhat sombre. She let out a breath and said, “Other than him, who else from Big Bamboo Valley came?”

Wenmin said, “Big Bamboo Valley senior and junior brothers are in mourning, so only senior brother Song Daren came alone. Even senior brother Song was wearing the mourning clothes.”

Master Shuiyue was silent for a moment then indifferently said, “It is not easy for them too, ah… Did you go and console that Song Daren?”

Wenmin was taken aback. Master Shuiyue had always been strict with her disciples, especially in love matters. Wenmin and Song Daren were secretly in love for many years. It was already an open secret, her heart was already in jitters, afraid that her teacher would reprimand her, but now Master Shuiyue suddenly brought it up, she even began breaking out in a cold sweat. She hesitated for a long time, and quietly said, “Teacher, I... I saw senior brother Song looked quite pitiful so I was soft-hearted for a moment and then... then went up and spoke a few words to him. Disciple... disciple definitely does not dare to defy teacher’s guidance.”

Master Shuiyue quietly looked at Wenmin. Wenmin’s heart pounded faster and faster, not knowing if she would be reprimanded by her teacher. Who could guess that in the next moment, Master Shuiyue suddenly sighed and said, “Xiao min, you don’t have to be this scared. Teacher is not blaming you.”

Wenmin almost thought she had heard it wrongly. She asked in surprise, “Teacher, what are you saying?”

Master Shuiyue indifferently replied, “Because Big Bamboo Valley is still in mourning it is not possible in the short term. After some more time passes, go ask that Song Daren to come and propose marriage. He is, afterall, a branch leader now anyway, he will not be unworthy of you.”

A [weng] sound rang out in Wenmin’s head. She seemed unable to accept the sudden news. She was too overjoyed to speak but did not understand why her teacher, who had always firmly objected to this, would suddenly have changed her attitude.

[Updated]**

Master Shuiyue sat on the bamboo bed, saw her disciple’s face displaying a happiness mixed with surprise, and silently sighed in her heart. She quietly said, “Maybe if I had thought it through earlier she would have had much more happiness.”

Lu Xueqi walked forward and hugged Wenmin’s shoulders, gently embracing her senior sister. Her eyes contained happiness   for   her,   and   she   softly   said,   “Senior   sister, congratulations.”

Wenmin was overwhelmed by her emotions. Her eyes turned slightly red, brimming with tears. She quickly wiped her eyes. Master Shuiyue saw it, felt funny and annoyed, and scolded her, “I am only approving, why are you feeling so overwhelmed?” Wenmin felt embarrassed. Her cheeks turned red and she bowed down to Master Shuiyue, saying softly, “Disciple thanks teacher’s great kindness.”

Master Shuiyue watched Wenmin for a long time, then shook her head and gently said, “Forget it, you can rise.”

Lu Xueqi helped Wenmin up. Master Shuiyue ’s gaze was warm. She looked at Wenmin and said, “Teacher will not be able to decide your matters in the future for you anymore. You have to learn to take care of yourself.”

Wenmin felt anguish in her heart. Ever since young she had looked up to Master Shuiyue as her teacher and mother. She couldn’t help but quietly sob. Master Shuiyue waved her hand and said, “Alright, you are also tired from your trip. Go back and rest.”

Wenmin’s voice was choked as she replied, “Yes, disciple will excuse herself now.” After speaking, she slowly left the room. Lu Xueqi followed behind her. After sending her off for a distance, she returned.

In the hut, both of them quietly faced each other. After a long time, Master Shuiyue suddenly gave a bitter laugh, and said, “Have  I  been  wrong  in  the  past,  causing  her  to  suffer lovesickness and also you?”

Lu Xueqi walked over to Master Shuiyue and knelt down before her. She quietly said, “Teacher, we were all brought up by you, taught until we became adults. It’s only we who could be wrong. We would never dare to have the slightest thought of blame or bear a grudge towards teacher.”

Master Shuiyue stretched out her hand and gently smoothed Lu Xueqi’s soft black hair. She sighed and said, “You can rise first.”

Lu Xueqi acknowledged and stood up. Master Shuiyue closed her eyes and meditated. She did not speak anymore. Lu Xueqi was silent for a while, then suddenly said, “Teacher, I have something to say.” Master Shuiyue opened her eyes and looked at her. Her expression was calm as she indifferently said, “You want to talk about Tongtian Peak?”

Lu  Xueqi  nodded  and  said,  “Yes.  Now  that  Big  Bamboo Valley’s Teacher-uncle Tian and Teacher-aunt Su have both passed away and Teacher-uncle Daoxuan is… I’m afraid it’s really hard for him to turn back... why don’t we tell the truth to the other leaders? Even if only for Qing Yun’s reputation, we should at least notify the other six leaders and Tongting Peak’s Xiao Yicai.”

Master Shuiyue was silent for a moment, and said, “You are right, I have also thought about that.”

Lu Xueqi was surprised, then said, “Teacher, then why do you still…”

Shuiyue Master with a bitter laugh and said, “You mean since I have already thought about that then why do I still not notify them? Silly child! Have you considered about, after we tell them, how many would believe us?” Lu Xueqi was stunned; speechless for a moment.

Master Shuiyue sighed and said, “You have also said it just now. There are several thousand people in Qing Yun sect. Those who know about this are your Teacher-uncle Tian, your Teacher-aunt Su, me your teacher and you, four of us. Now that both of them are no longer around, only the two of us know. But even if we tell everyone about it, do you think there will be someone in the whole of Qing Yun sect who will believe this matter? Will anyone believe that our sect important treasure Zhu Xian ancient sword actually contains evil energy? Will anyone believe that our sect head Reverend who has a profound cultivation and has saved the world countless times, has actually turned into a ruthless, evil devil who kills without blinking an eye?”

Lu Xueqi was speechless beyond words.

Master Shuiyue quietly said, “This secret, by right, should only be told to the succeeding sect leader. If we say tell others about it, nobody in Qing Yun sect will believe it. Furthermore we do not have any evidence, so how do we tell them?” Lu Xueqi clenched her teeth. After a long time bitterly she said, “But with the situation right now it is only a matter of time before we can no longer conceal the truth about Teacher- uncle Daoxuan. Even if we do not speak it, there might be a day when he would appear by himself. Then what will we do?”

Master Shuiyue heaved a long sigh. She closed her eyes and said, “What to do? I also do not know exactly what to do.”

Lu Xueqi stayed quiet. The hut descended into silence.

Outside the hut, the lush green bamboos swayed with the wind, making pleasant bamboo rustling sounds. The scene was pleasing to the eyes, yet in the bamboo hut within the forest, it appeared to be becoming more and more depressing.

Majestic Fox Mountain, Ghost King sect.

Over the past days Ghost Li tried using ‘Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate’ every day to treat Biyao, but for some reason, other than the first time the dish caused the Hehuan Bell to react, on all the following attempts the ‘Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate’ was still ‘Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate’ but the Hehuan Bell never reacted again. Each time Ghost Li placed the bell onto the dish, there was no illumination or chiming from the bell, and each time, like a small stone, it fell down onto the dish.

Although Ghost Li had still not given up and still carried a tiny hope inside and kept trying, but the only thing that awaited him was more innumerable failures. Ghost King also came initially to the cold room and stayed guard, but after witnessing the numerous failed attempts he seemed to give up earlier than Ghost Li and came less frequently until recently he did not come at all.

Or maybe it was that to Ghost King, watching Ghost Li fail again and again was an even more painful experience.

[Pa…]

There was a light crisp sound. With some light reverberations the Hehuan Bell once again fell from the air and landed in the centre of the dish. It gently moved a few times and then stopped. Ghost Li was already expressionless. He was even numbed to the feeling of disappointment. He did not continue to try, and sat quietly and dumbly for a while. Then he put the dish away and placed the bell back into Biyao’s hands.

He stared deeply at Biyao’s peaceful face. It had been ten years already. She was still so beautiful, like when they first met. Even the hint of smile on her lips could invoke numerous memories etched deep inside him.

It’s just that after touching her her skin felt cold, coldly reminding Ghost Li of the difference between reality and the past.

Ghost Li quietly stood up. He took a long glance at Biyao. His lips moved, but whatever it was he wanted to say he did not speak it, and then he turned slowly left the room.

Outside the cold room, the corridor was still as empty as usual. Ghost Li walked along the corridor. Both sides of the wall seemed to have much more cracks, and deeper, but Ghost Li did not have any reaction to all these and continued to walk quietly. Behind him, deep inside the other direction of the corridor, in a certain dark corner, Ghost King quietly stood, watching that young man walk further and further away. Ghost King did not go forward to ask about the situation in the ice room. It had been so many years already, he could even tell Biyao’s situation from Ghost Li’s body language alone.

Could it be there is really no hope at all?

A dejected look flashed past Ghost King’s face. He turned and walked into the darkness.

When he appeared again he was already inside the blood pool cave. He slowly walked to the platform. As expected, Mr Ghost’s dark figure was still standing there alone, hard at thought. And the cauldron was still hovering above. Under the illumination of the red light the white beam could be seen indistinctly. It seemed to be much brighter and on that devil face on the cauldron the red light had receded more, making it appeared more twisted and savage.

An inexplicable anger rose up in Ghost King. Both hands clenched tightly. There was no sign of improvement in his most beloved daughter, and now even the formation which he had spent so much effort in, because of an unexplainable ancient prohibition, was unable to proceed.

Mr Ghost seemed to sense something. His figure moved, slowly turning around and said, “You are here.”

Ghost King inhaled deeply, slowly suppressing that anger and murderous aura. His face returned to normal, and he walked over and said, “How is it? Have you thought of any ideas?”

Mr Ghost quietly shook his head.

Although he already expected this answer but Ghost King still felt a wave of anger. Recently he seemed to be angered and kill easily. If it was not that Mr Ghost was an important figure to activate this formation, Ghost King might really make a move against him.

Ghost King’s expressions naturally could not escape Mr Ghost’s notice. But Mr Ghost seemed not to mind that. He only indifferently  spoke,  “Give  me  another  few  days.  You  have already waited for so long. What’s the matter with a while more?”

Ghost King’s figure shook. He seemed to be taken aback. After a long while he seemed to recover his calmness. He slowly nodded and said, “You are right.” After speaking this, he hesitated. He appeared to sense that his earlier emotions might have been overboard, forced a laugh, and said, “These few days I’ve been treating Biyao with Ghost Li, but things are still the same. I’m in a foul mood, please don’t mind.”

Mr Ghost nodded and said, “I understand the deep relationship between father and daughter.” He paused and then slowly turned his body, his gaze coming back to the hovering cauldron, especially that mysterious beam of light. At the same time he spoke, “Is there still no improvement for Ms Biyao? Over these few years, almost every method has been tried.”

Ghost King sighed and said, “It is so. Although that fellow Ghost Li doesn’t get along too well with me but he is true to Biyao. Recently he has found a rare ancient magical treasure from somewhere and tried to treat Biyao with it. Initially, the first time, there seemed to be a result and there was some response from the Hehuan Bell. But unexpectedly, at the critical moment, the blood formation here in the basement was suddenly was stimulated, and in the aftermath of the strange changes it does not seem to work anymore…”

Ghost King spoke without any intention, staring blankly, as he recalled his daughter lying on the cold platform. His heart throbbed in pain indistinctly, not even noticing Mr Ghost’s reaction towards the end of his words, who’s entire body almost froze.

After a moment, Mr Ghost’s voice sounded as calm as before as he quietly asked, “Oh? How does the treasure that Ghost Li brought look like?”

Ghost King, who was still feeling low-spirited, casually said, “It looks like a dish, rather fine and smooth. A few strange drawings are engraved on it. The strangest thing is that it has many tiny jade cubes in the centre. Not only do they have strange characters on them, they can actually orbit ceaselessly on their own and never collide with each other.”

Ghost King suddenly frowned and asked Mr Ghost, “Why are you suddenly interested in this?” Mr Ghost, his back facing him, was still watching the hovering cauldron. He was silent for a long time and was finally  heard  saying  quietly,  “Nothing.  I  am  only  casually asking.”

Chapter 249 - Astrolabe

Ghost Li had been back at Majestic Fox Mountain for a total of ten days already but his biggest and only goal showed no signs of being realised.

In the last few days, the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate and the Hehuan Bell in Biyao’s hands no longer showed any reaction to each other. Each time he brought hope with him to test but the end result was always icy coldness. And that strange mysterious energy from beneath the earth seemed to have also disappeared after that day, never occurring again.

And as if in response to that, the miserable and tragic atmosphere inside the Ghost King sect changed for the better all of a sudden. Over these ten days there actually wasn’t a single incident of disciples going mad and killing others. The terrifying deepening cracks in the wall also ceased.

Everything seemed to have returned back to normal, and all of the people started to gradually recover from the being on the brink of going berserk. Smiles started to appear on their faces; even though trepidation remained in some smiles, the mood was greatly different from before. In the cave and in the tunnels, more and more disciples wandered about. The previous scene where everyone walked past each other like they were strangers was gone, and gradually there was laughter and speaking again.

Regardless of whether or not this was coincidental, all of this started to happen after Ghost Li returned to the mountain. Among the disciples a rumour started going around saying that after the vice sect head returned, although he appeared to be unconcerned about his disciples but in reality he had swiftly found the root of their troubles and exterminated it, returning peace to the Ghost King sect.

Although the rumour was rather ridiculous and inaccurate but, perhaps because of the difficult and fearful past days, many disciples believed it and this rumour spread swiftly around. As for how Ghost Li found the root of the troubles and how he exterminated it, it was unclear and almost nobody could say for sure what the root of the trouble was. However, nobody seemed to care about this anymore, only discussing it among themselves privately.

Ghost Li naturally did not know about these rumours. Even if he did he would not pay any attention to them. What he was concerned about was only Biyao within that cold chamber. And this person, who was extremely important to him, still showed no signs of improvement. To him, that tiny faith he once had and stubbornly held on to had finally reached the end today and vanished.

[Pa!]

Again another light sounded. The Hehuan bell once again landed on the jade dish, rolled slightly and stopped.

Ghost Li stared in a daze at the dish and bell in his hands. In his dark eyes the last ray of light had also disappeared.

He quietly stood for a long time, then took the bell and walked to the platform and placed it in Biyao’s hands. He carefully clasped her hands together over her chest. His actions were extremely gently, as if he were afraid he might hurt her.

Following this, he looked deeply at Biyao’s face, and quietly said, “Biyao, I’m sorry. I failed to save you again…this Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate is a secret treasure that belongs to Tian Yin Temple. I have borrowed it for several days already and really can’t shamelessly hold on to it any longer.”

Speaking till here, his facial muscles twitched. His eyes closed, as if his heart was highly agitated. After a long time he slowly calmed down and gently said, “Don’t worry. As long as I am alive, no matter what, even if I have to go to the ends of the earth, I will definitely save you! Just bear it for a while more, alright?”

Biyao quietly lay before him. Her face was still peaceful, a faint smile was on her lips. Although there was no reaction but maybe she was responding to him!

Ghost Li’s eyes suddenly turned moist. He quickly turned around, looked up and inhaled deeply, until that tiny bit of moisture had receded, then he slowly walked out.

The thick stone door slowly closed up behind him. Ghost Li’s heart also dropped to the lowest valley. Standing for a long time, he quietly shook his head, as if trying to shake some thoughts out of his head and was then about to turn and walk off. Suddenly he was stunned and stopped. Outside the room, ahead in the tunnel, the black figure of Mr Ghost quietly stood there like a spirit without any vitality, watching Ghost Li. His eyes behind his veil stared intently at Ghost Li and then on the jade dish in his hands, never leaving.

Ghost Li then discovered that, in his emotions, he had forgotten to put away the dish before coming out. He immediately took out the black cloth and wrapped the dish back in it, placing it in his bosom. Mr Ghost watched his actions. He did not stop him but his eyes had a glint within, who knew what he was thinking?

Although Ghost Li felt puzzled by Mr Ghost’s behaviour but Mr Ghost had always behaved erratically, and right now he was not in the mood to pursue trivial stuff. He also couldn’t care less why Mr Ghost was standing there. After putting away the dish he did not even bother to greet Mr Ghost, and strided off, walking past him. He did not even turn to look at him, walking straight ahead instead.

Although Ghost Li did not seem to care but it looked like Mr Ghost did not think that way. After walking about ten feet, Mr Ghost’s voice could suddenly be heard coldly and clearly, saying “Please, stop.” Ghost Li frowned. He turned around and asked, “What is it?”

Mr Ghost’s eyes flashed with glint, as he slowly asked, “Is Ms Biyao still doing well?”

Ghost Li’s face suddenly revealed a trace of anger; nobody in the entire sect did not know about Biyao’s condition. Mr Ghost’s question was clearly asking the obvious, and it wouldn’t have been a big deal if it was to somebody else but Biyao had always been a taboo subject to Ghost Li and none of the disciples dared to speak like this in front of him. After so many years, Mr Ghost was the first.

Ghost Li’s expression turned cold. His eyes became sharp. Staring at Mr Ghost, he coldly said, “What are you trying to say?”

Mr Ghost seemed to ignore the cold murderous air emanating from Ghost Li, but he did not answer his question directly. Instead he asked another question, “I heard you have found a new treasure to treat Ms Biyao, is that right?” Ghost Li coldly replied, “That’s right but what is the purpose of your question?”

After speaking, he took one step forward toward Mr Ghost, his eyes turned even sterner. An invisible, murderous air had started to stir.

Mr Ghost seemed oblivious to the approaching danger, and he also seemed not to notice that Ghost Li was already in anger. His demeanor was totally cold, and only indifferently said, “Let me look at that treasure of yours, can you?”

Ghost Li’s face was livid. His clothes were stirring without wind. Clearly he was incensed. He made another step forward and though this step looked small his figure was already three chi away from Mr Ghost. With a raise of his hand he could envelope Mr Ghost in his powers.

Just that this turbulent atmosphere, looking as if it would soon erupt, at this crucial moment, it suddenly changed because of one sentence from Mr Ghost, “Maybe.. I might have some solutions to using this treasure.”

The ice cold stone room was built especially by Ghost King for Biyao. Since it was where Biyao was, and because of her special condition, naturally it was the most secluded place within the Ghost King sect headquarters. Ghost King had long decreed that ordinary disciples were not allowed to come near this area.

Inside the Ghost King sect there were not more than five that could access the icy cold stone room. Ghost Li and the mysterious Mr Ghost were among them and right now, outside the room, the corridor was empty. Only the two of them stood there staring at each other.

Ghost Li’s gaze was still staring sternly at Mr Ghost but the angry murderous energy had gradually subsided. After a period of time, he suddenly said, “Do you know this thing?”

Mr Ghost indifferently replied, “I have only taken a hasty glance just now and didn’t look carefully at the treasure’s appearance, so I can’t tell.” Ghost Li was silent for a moment. He put his hand in and uncovered the jade dish. He was about to pass it to Mr Ghost when he hesitated. He placed it in his hand but did not stretch out.

Mr Ghost’s gaze lingered on the warm jade. He slowly looked up at Ghost Li, but did not speak and did not rush.

Ghost Li’s eyes frowned, feeling somehow hesitant. Although right now this mysterious Mr Ghost was part of the Ghost King sect but clearly Ghost Li did not have any trust in him at all. In the past during the Beast Deity battle, at Qing Yun Hill Tong Tian Peak rear mountain, Mr Ghost had made a sneak attack when Ghost Li was fighting with that mysterious elderly at Founders Ancestral Hall. Because of that Ghost Li felt displeased and disgusted.

However despite being disgusted this mysterious person was not something that Ghost Li dared to take lightly, whether because of his cultivation or knowledge, and after hesitating for a moment in the end that tiny hope buried deep inside his heart won and Ghost Li slowly handed the jade dish over. Mr Ghost did not speak. He took the dish, held it before himself and, through the veil over his face, carefully observed it.

The warm jade dish emitted a warm and gentle white glow, like an invisible ripple, slowly flowing in the air. Those drawings engraved on the sides of the dish were awe inspiring; some primitive and heroic, some vivid and ingenious, some like the stars in the infirmament, and some like rivers flowing through the mountains. However the most attractive thing was still the jade cubes in the centre of the dish. The innumerable cubes quietly flowing around unceasingly, yet each had its own path. There was never a collision, which fascinated people, indistinctly making one feel that these innumerable cubes must contained some logic of heaven and earth.

Other than that, this mysterious treasure of Tian Yin Temple actually had a tiny difference since Ghost Li had brought it out from the temple. Each of those tiny moving cubes had a strange character. When Ghost Li obtained the dish the characters were dim and without light but in the dish right now in Mr Ghost’s hand, while the cubes were moving some characters would suddenly light up and then dim down. These characters seemed to light up without logic or sequence. It’s that after one lit up, another would light up too. It had much more vitality than before but this just deepened its mystery.

Ghost Li naturally noticed this change. It was after the first strange earthquake when he first used the dish. Ghost Li even felt hopeful when he saw that but after ten days, no matter how he tried, it was still as before. He was unable to comprehend this mysterious treasure.

No one knew the emotions on Mr Ghost’s face, concealed behind his veil, and so were unable to guess what he was feeling. One could only the glint in his eyes becoming brighter and brighter.

Ghost Li’s heart suddenly became tense.

Not knowing for how long, Mr Ghost flipped the dish over and looked at it several times, then finally looked up at Ghost Li. Ghost Li suppressed his voice, as if suppressing his own feelings, and quietly asked, “How is it?”

Mr Ghost closed his eyes for a moment, then slowly said, “This is an ancient treasure, named: Astrolabe!”

Ghost Li was stunned, and repeated, “Astrolabe?”

Mr Ghost nodded his head firmly.

Ghost Li did not expect this from Mr Ghost. He was taken aback for a moment. That day at Tian Yin Temple, Master Puhong and Master Pude spoke so certainty and genuinely that this was the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate, why when it came to Mr Ghost did it become Astrolabe?

However Ghost Li soon cast this question aside. To him it made no difference whether this was the Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate or astrolabe. Most importantlywas whether Mr Ghost knew the secret of this treasure and could use it to save Biyao. Looking at Mr Ghost’s affirmative expression at seeing this treasure, he seemed confident. Ghost Li couldn’t help but became excited. He urgently asked, “Then... then do you know if it... it can save Biyao?”

Mr Ghost was silent, though it was only for a short period, but to Ghost Li it was like a thousand hundred years. His heart was up in his throat, afraid that Mr Ghost would say “No”.

Fortunately, although Mr Ghost was somehow hesitant but he did not say no. He could be heard saying, “This is an ancient weapon. For a long time it did not appear in the mortal world. Although I know one or two things about it but I am not totally sure, I still need to try it.”

Ghost Li then felt relieved but couldn’t help but feel depressed. However, once he thought of having another tiny hope again, although it was tiny his heart was overjoyed.

He had really been immersed in despair for too long. Even a little hope could make him feel fixated.

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment, then said, “This is not a suitable place. Why don’t we move into the icy cold room first?”

Ghost Li nodded and was about to go over. He hesitated, and then for the first time ever stretched out his hand to the side and made a gesture to Mr Ghost, saying, “Mister, first please!”

Ghost Li had always disregarded others in the Ghost King sect. Even if it was the Ghost King, he rarely gave way. Right now he had such an attitude towards this Mr Ghost whom he never had had good feelings for, it could be seen how important Biyao was to him. Mr Ghost seemed surprised as well. He glanced at him, nodded, and walked over. Ghost Li followed behind him and the two of them once again entered the stone room.

In the stone room Biyao was on the stone platform as usual, quiet and beautiful, faint white wisps of cold air wafted up, lingering in the air.

Ghost Li walked up to Biyao and was about to take the bell when Mr Ghost suddenly said, “Don’t take the bell yet.” Ghost Li was surprised. He turned and look at Mr Ghost, and said, “Biyao’s soul is locked in this bell. If we don’t take it, how do we save her?”

Mr Ghost shook his head, and said, “I have just said it, the astrolabe is a ancient weapon. I also only know a little about it. I am not confident either. Before trying, it is better not to alert the bell first. When we are more confident, it is still not too late then to use spells. At least we can ensure Ms Biyao’s soul is safe.”

Ghost Li was enlightened. He quickly nodded, and said, “Mr Ghost is right.”

Mr Ghost held the dish and sat cross-legged on the other side of the room. Ghost Li sat opposite him, watching closely. Although Mr Ghost had given him a sudden hope, but Ghost Li was still wary of him. Even though he was courteous he was still on guard.

Mr Ghost slowly placed the dish in front of him and closed his eyes. He seemed to have some doubts in his heart. After a while, he opened his eyes and then stretched out his first right finger and slowly pointed it towards the jade.

Ghost Li’s face changed but he suppressed. His face revealed tension. Watching Mr Ghost but unable to see his expression, his eyes were staring unblinking at the dish. Clearly he was tense too.

Mr Ghost’s finger soon neared the dish, about five cun above he stopped.Under his finger, the dish was still the same. Gentle white light and tiny cubes rotated by themselves in the centre. The undulating words quietly lit up.

Mr Ghost paused his finger. Both his eyes stared in the centre, as if looking for something. Ghost Li was perplexed but did not dare to disturb him. He saw Mr Ghost hesitate for half a tea time when, suddenly, with a light shout, the finger above the dish pressed down like lightning streaking across the horizon.

After a light muffled groan, one of the cube’s character lit up. And when it was about to go dim, Mr Ghost’s hand happened to press down on this cube. On the peaceful jade dish a brilliant, resplendent light suddenly exploded out!

At the same time Ghost Li had an illusion. The outside world seemed to slow down for that instant and the stone room seemed to be a hundred, thousand times bigger. He felt like an ant, facing the infinite unknown world.

This strange illusion immediately passed but Ghost Li’s palms were full of cold sweat. But right now he didn’t have time to ponder. Once he returned to his senses, his first reaction was to look at the jade dish. The brilliant light grew more and more resplendent. Deep inside the light, light [pa pa] sounds could constantly be heard. It was most likely due to Mr Ghost’s finger which had disrupted the cubes’ trajectories; more and more cubes were collided into it.

As the sounds gradually became louder, the light became more brilliant and instantly filled the entire room. Ghost Li was unable to view Mr Ghost’s figure anymore. Before this strange light he was surprised and delighted. The light continued to grow stronger, like a tiny sun setting in this room, but there was no heat. Instead, in the thousands of beams of light, there was another deep, low sound, like an incantation, like chanting, like the wind whistling among the mountains, like the birds in a deep and secluded valley.

Suddenly, in this tense and strange moment, Ghost Li felt his heart pound once heavily. His entire body shook, as if all his blood channels had stopped flowing. He felt dizzy and almost fainted.

Ghost Li was greatly shocked. Before he could react, in that resplendent light and mysterious chanting,, the yongquan meridians on his palms and the soles of his feet soles, the dantian meridian in his stomach and the baihui meridian on the top of his head, received a shock all at the same time. These were the most sensitive gathering points of the entire body. In the blood channels in his entire body, the blood also flowed backwards; the pain was like being cut with a knife. Even with his tenacity, he couldn’t help but groan, feeling full of pain.

Behind the light, Mr Ghost seemed to sense something, and asked, “What is it?” Hearing his calm voice, he seemed totally unaffected. Ghost Li was very surprised. He had not encountered such a scenario before. Even when the Sinister Orb’s evil power attacked him, this was greatly different from the past. And ever since he had learnt the <Tian Shu> fourth volume, the Sinister Orb’s power had already gathered together and never once attacked him. The Soul-devouring stick also lay quietly in his bosom, unmoving.

However as this thought flashed through his mind, the pain in his body seemed to increase even more. The blood channels across his entire body shook even more, almost to the point of convulsion, and his four limbs gradually turned numb. The shock that started at his palms, stomach and head swiftly shifted, moving from his entire body to just his forehead.

This change was extremely faster than one could imagine. Ghost Li’s entire body shook violently. Thankfully the bright light concealed him, and Mr Ghost did not know what exactly had happened, but with his skills he could sense a great change happening in Ghost Li. In the vague, flicking light, Mr Ghost seemed to have stood up. Ghost Li felt as if his body was being cut up by knives. Yet he did not know the reason, and at this painful moment, the trembling feeling around the various points on his body all gathered in the centre of his forehead. In that instant, he could almost hear his own head emitting an explosive sound, like an explosion around the area of his eyebrows going off.

A piercing light, like a sharp dagger, stabbed into his forehead, through his head!

In that instant, Ghost Li felt like the world was spinning. He almost lost consciousness but he had always been stoic and determined, and for so many years he had developed a unyielding toughness. He withstood all that and sensed that where the pain was on his forehead was actually fine. It was not like he had imagined but was an illusion just now; it was so real and terrifying!

And at this moment, Mr Ghost was heard saying, “What happened to you?”

Following his words, Ghost Li suddenly felt his body relax. The strange pressure receded like a tide. The brilliant light swiftly dimmed. He inhaled deeper, focused and looked ahead. Mr Ghost had stood up and was looking at Ghost Li. His finger was naturally away from the dish.

Losing the pressure, the cubes again resumed their orbit and the dish resumed its appearance. Under Mr Ghost’s eyes, Ghost Li was silent for a moment and then slowly resumed his normal expression, and said, “Nothing. The light was too bright just now, I stretched out my hand to block it.”

Mr Ghost was surprised and frowned. Ghost Li’s skills were not below his. Naturally he would not believe Ghost Li would be afraid of the bright light but Ghost Li did not look like he would tell him, so Mr Ghost quietly pondered and sat back down.

Ghost Li glanced at him, and said, “How is it... what is your understanding of this Qian Kun… this astrolabe? Can it make spells?”

Mr Ghost nodded but his expression was strange. He was about to speak when both of their countenances changed, sensing something. The entire room seemed to shake, followed closely by a strange yet thick blood stench which assaulted their noses, permeating everywhere. On the rock walls, cracking sounds were heard [pa pa pa pa], the cracks enlarged again, and numerous big and small stones rolled down.

The earthquake became more and more violent. Maybe it was because of the cracks enlarging, the soundproofing effects were not like before. They could faintly hear the despair and angry roaring sounds from outside. In the nauseating stench, their countenances changed again.

The mysterious force which had been silent for ten days, again awakened in this moment. The walls and ground quaked harder. This time the strange force seemed to be especially fierce, and had no intention of stopping. Ghost Li rushed forward to the platform and guarded Biyao. Mr Ghost surveyed the surroundings, frowning but not speaking, as if thinking about something. His face vaguely showed some suspicion.

The shouts and howls continued outside. It seemed as if they had once again descended into the fear and madness of before. The cracks continued to widen; stones kept falling down, and the scene appeared especially scary. [Rumble!]

Suddenly a loud sound came from the entrance. A large stone was exploded into pieces. As the rocks flew, a figure swiftly swept in. His face anxious, it was Ghost King.

Ghost King immediately looked at the platform when he came in. He saw Ghost Li was already protecting Biyao. Although the earthquake was strong and stones kept rolling down from above but when Ghost Li raised his hands, all of the stones around the platform rebounded off.

Ghost King let out a sigh of relief. Although his heart had slightly calmed down but his expression did not. Looking around he saw Mr Ghost who was also on the other side of the room, involuntarily frowned and said, “What are you doing here, are you still not going…?”

Halfway through speaking, Ghost King suddenly stopped. Mr Ghost seemed to understand and nodded. His figure moved, but he suddenly thought of something and looked at the ground, at that astrolabe, or Qian Kun Reincarnation Plate, quietly lying there. Mr Ghost took a step towards it, when he suddenly felt a sharp gaze coming at him from behind. It was extremely cold. He slowly turned around, and saw Ghost Li who while deflecting a large stone, staring at him.

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment. He did not move forward again and swept out of the room. His black figure flashed out like an apparition, and was not seen again.

With only Ghost King and Ghost Li left in the room, Ghost King glanced at the dish on the ground. He looked at Ghost Li and was silent for a moment. He wanted to speak but only sighed. He did not discuss the reason for Mr Ghost presence here but since Ghost Li had brought this dish to this icy cold room, naturally he would be hoping to save Biyao. And after looking at this scene, without asking he also knew that it had failed.

Ghost King quietly walked to the other side of the platform. It happened that a rock was falling down due to the strong quake. Ghost King lightly waved, and that rock, as if receiving a heavy blow, flew obliquely out. With a rumble it collided against the wall and smashed into pieces. Ghost Li glanced at Ghost King, but did not speak. The two men quietly stood beside the sleeping lady, patiently protected her. Biyao’s face was still carrying that slight smile. Maybe in her heart she was feeling some happiness too!

Again a period of time passed but this strange quake still did not subside. On the contrary, the mysterious force with the thick stench of blood rampantly raged below. Ghost King and Ghost Li had high skills. They clearly felt this force was not an ordinary earthquake. It had spiritual intelligence, like it was a huge trapped beast, angrily howling and struggling to break free of its restraints and chains. Even if it were to destroy heaven and earth, it would not care.

Outside the room, as the door had been destroyed by Ghost King, the wailings and mad howlings outside which were getting sharper and denser, also sounded louder. Ghost King’s face gradually revealed his irritation. His anger also slowly surfaced. Ghost Li stood beside him and could feel his mood changing. He took a glance at him and was shocked.

Ghost King’s facial muscles were slightly twisting. He appeared rather savage, completely different from his usual demeanour. In his eyes, a dark red colour also strangely surfaced, like a faint red light glimmering in his eyes.

Ghost Li was secretly shocked. Ghost King happened to look over and both of their eyes met. Ghost King coldly sneered, his voice cold as he said, “What are you looking at!”

Ghost Li met his gaze. He did not show any signs of retreating. With the same tone he said, “Nothing.”

Ghost King’s gaze froze. Icy cold energy shot out from his eyes, staring at Ghost Li. The atmosphere between them which had turned slightly warm, for some reason turned tense, but at this moment, after a strong quake, both of them felt the force below them suddenly receding.

And as expected, in the next moment the walls and ground stopped quaking. The small falling stones also finally stopped, and the strange smell in the air also dispersed. Ghost Li let out a light breath of air. Looked at the platform, he saw Biyao lying there safely, sleeping with a smile. Following which Ghost Li looked at Ghost King, and saw him also watching Biyao. The anger and the indistinct murderous intention all quietly disappeared. In this world, maybe it was only when he was watching his only beloved daughter, was he able to wake up from his anger and calm down.

Ghost King watched Biyao for a while, his eyes full of love and then slowly looked away. “Take good care of her.” he said.

Ghost Li nodded and said, “I will.”

Ghost King turned and strided out and soon disappeared from sight. Ghost Li stood there for a while, his eyes sweeping across the floor. He saw the dish was still lying there. Strangely none of the falling rocks hit this dish.

Ghost Li walked over, picked up the dish, carefully checked it and then wrapped it back into the black cloth. Outside the room, the cries also gradually ceased, but even though the calamity was over, the hubbub could still be heard. Evidently many were still immersed in their fear. Ghost Li frowned, his eyes taking in the surrounding devastated ruins. After this destruction, the walls suffered even more wounds and, different from before, not only the walls were damaged but even the ground had also started to show cracks; there were even some potholes.

If the ice room had suffered such heavy damage, one could guess the terrible scene in the corridors outside and where the disciples resided. Moanings were heard incessantly, seemed like this was the best annotation.

Ghost Li’s gaze gradually turned sharper. He walked to one of the cracks and carefully observed it. After that, he touched the crack with a finger while frowning. Fine stone gravel fell, landing on the ground and rebounded a few times before rolling into a corner. Ghost Li slowly brought back his hand. He made another strange action, his palm placed before his nose, lightly snifting, as if trying to smell something.

His eyes turned even brighter and sharper.

This strange force had appeared twice after his return, and each time coincided with when he used the jade dish to treat Biyao. It would be hard to say it was just coincidental. Since it involved him saving Biyao, which was his most important priority, then he could no longer stand by and watch.

Deep inside the cave, at the blood pool.

The raging Four Divinities Blood Formation’s power had already calmed down. Although the air was still filled with blood but the waves from the light emitted from the cauldron had already ceased.

Mr Ghost stood alone on the platform, looking up at the cauldron. In the flickering red light, his eyes were still staring intently at the white beam on the devil’s face.

The white light was like a sharp dagger, and was much brighter than the last time he had seen it. It had also grown thicker. Under these circumstances, the devil’s face was even more twisted. Right now even the redness of the red glow which had receded half down the face had also dimmed. It seemed like it could not be sustained for much longer. Mr Ghost looked at the bad situation, but his eyes no longer held anxiety or urgency. Instead he felt more delight. After a long time he could be heard laughing and quietly muttering, “As expected, as expected, it is due to that astrolabe…”

His figure moved. Moving ahead, he stopping at the end of the platform, and peered out at the pool below. He saw the four beasts submerged in the blood fluid, lifeless and exhausted. Clearly these ancient beasts’ vitalities were already completely sucked out by this formation.

And the cauldron was filled with spiritual energy which turned into beams of red light, shrouding the cauldron. The cauldron was glimmering incessantly, as if responding to these beams of energy. But at the most critical moment, the light dagger blocked the energy channel, preventing these beams of energy from entering, and so the formation was unable to be complete.

Mr Ghost looked at the various scenes, both eyes half-closed. He seemed to be contemplating, his fingers interlocked with each other, his fingers subconsciously tapping gently, evidently deep in thought. And at this moment, behind the platform a sound of clothes flapping was heard. Mr Ghost immediately felt it, turned over and saw Ghost King’s sombre face walking over.

Not bothering with courtesy, Ghost King directly asked Mr Ghost, “What happened? Why did the blood formation spiritual energy lose control to this extent?”

Mr Ghost slowly glanced up at the light dagger on the cauldron, and indifferently said, “This unusual earthquake was from the formation’s asura divine power. Naturally it has a spiritual energy, and it desired to break free of its celestial Qian Kun lock. It struggled with all its might, and in the meantime triggered the vicious blood energy here as well as the beasts’ spiritual energy accumulated by the formation. Using the force of the three powers it ended up creating this earth-shattering might.”

Ghost King snorted, also looked up and said, “Well said. How is it that it could move the mountains and yet could do nothing against this tiny beam of light?” Mr Ghost indifferently replied, “If the ancient divine prohibition could be so easily removed, then it will not be an ancient divine power.”

Ghost King’s face showed a flash of anger, and he coldly said, “I don’t wish to hear all this. Do you have a means to remove this dog-fart Qian Kun lock or not ?”

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment then suddenly, with a quiet laugh, he said, “Initially I was helpless but now...“ he slowly looked at Ghost King and said, “I have an idea.”

Ghost King was instead surprised and asked, “What, you have found a solution already?”

Mr Ghost slowly nodded but did not say what the idea was. Instead he turned around and looked at the cauldron in the air. After a long period of time he gently said, “Bear with it a while more. The time of your birth will not be far now ”

In the air, the cauldron glimmered incessantly, as if it had a spirit and was quietly watching the humans below. In the cave, everywhere was a mess. The earthquake this time was much stronger than before and the mysterious force seemed even more enraged than before. More than ten of the Ghost King sect’s disciples went berserk at the same time. Although they were killed off one by one by the remaining
clear-minded disciples, the casualties were more than ten. And the most important thing was, the casualties of those who either died by madness or in battle, were their comrades. Many before that last moment were still facing a common foe or chatting together, and the next moment they had turned into an arch enemy.

Chapter 250 - Waiting

This was a cruel and terrible thing to happen, especially to the disciples who had experienced a rare ten day period of peace. This madness and fear was ten times more than what they had experienced previously, and their nerves were stretched to the max.

Not long after the violent earthquake, finally there was deserters.

Not many deserted, only one, and not someone important, only an ordinary disciple, one who had joined the Ghost King sect for less than three years. Ghost King sect was one of the Evil sect branches, furthermore this was the residence of the holy sect leader. How would they not also have the various severe punishments famous among Evil sects?

The deserter was soon captured and brought back and severely punished but the dark shadow and suffocating atmosphere shrouding every one of them could never be erased. At some point they became taciturn. The large Ghost King sect was in dead silence. The disciples avoided talking. The goal of the path of cultivation path was enough to make one mesmerized in suffocation but not knowing what it exactly moved?

In such scenario, the sect head Ghost King who had always placed the sect as his topmost priority, still remained silent. After causing fear among the disciples by swiftly executing the deserter, he remained reclusive and mysterious; nobody knew what this overlord, who was once an ingenious and brilliant strategist, was thinking. Was he mad from that terrible power too? Or was he scheming some big plan?

Anyway, nobody knew!

But Ghost Li clearly felt this strange energy. Truthfully, as long as someone was slightly clear-minded and had some intelligence, they could sense the abnormal chaos in the sect very obviously. It’s just that Ghost Li had unwittingly done something about it.

To him, Biyao was first. And now the most important thing was that mysterious force which erupted whenever it was at the most critical moment. Before coming back he had never felt this force. Such an evil and terrible force seemed not be a force from the mortal world.

But after secretly searching the entire cave, other than the ground which was streaked with cracks and fissures, he did not find anything.

That left only one place; he had not searched Ghost King’s residence.

But, before he could think of a plan to search that place, someone had already come to look for him.

Due to the powerful earthquake that day which caused many rocks to tumble down in the corridors, Ghost Li stayed in the ice cold stone room when he was not secretly out investigating. Even if he went out, he would rush back in fear that another earthquake would cause the rocks to tumble down and hurt Biyao; that would be an irreparable mistake. Right now the Ghost King sect was obviously not a safe place anymore. Ghost Li thought about the dangers and went to look for Ghost King.

Ghost King naturally would not dare to take a chance with his daughter, but in this short time he was unable to find a suitable place to house Biyao. Biyao’s body had been sleeping for ten years and could not be easily moved from the ice platform, and they still would need time to find a cold and dry place outside the Ghost King sect.

Without any choice, although Ghost Li was anxious he could only wait. Ghost King dispatched more men to search for suitable places and Ghost Li stayed guard beside Biyao day and night.

The cold room was, after all, different from other rooms. Over these few days the cracks on the walls were repaired in the shortest time possible. Even the stone door was replaced. Compared to other places, the cold room was not as devastated. Ghost Li leaned back against the ice platform. Sitting on the floor, his eyes wandering around the room. Xiao Hui crouched beside him, looked rather obedient, its hand holding some wild fruits and busily munching on them.

On usual days Ghost Li would not bring Xiao Hui into the room but due to the current special situation, he had to stand guard beside Biyao for the whole day and was unable to return to his residence. He was also suspicious of the strange force in the mountain and so did not wish to let Xiao Hui run around by himself, therefore he brought it along with him.

The white cold air rose gently from the platform behind him, like a mist floating in the air. Ghost Li quietly watched the translucent smoke, his eyes becoming obscure.

At this moment, the door emitted a low groan and then opened. As it was a newly replaced door, the sound was rather unfamiliar. A black figure quietly walked in - it was Mr Ghost.

Ghost Li glanced at him, and did not speak. The door closed behind Mr Ghost, cutting off the outside world.

Mr Ghost walked forward slowly but did not say anything to Ghost Li. Instead he glanced at Biyao for a while and then spoke, “Ms Biyao turning into this state... without realizing it it has been ten years already…”

Ghost Li’s face suddenly tensed, staring sharply at Mr Ghost. It was impossible to know Mr Ghost’s expression under his black veil, but from his body movements he seemed oblivious to it.

Slowly, Ghost Li looked away towards Biyao and saw her faint smile. His heart suddenly tightened, and a dejected look passed across his face.

When Mr Ghost saw Ghost Li’s expression a strange glint lightly moved through his eyes. He pausing and then turning to face Ghost Li, saying, “Do you wish to save Ms Biyao?” Ghost Li looked up at Mr Ghost but did not show any expression on his face. He indifferently said, “If you have something to say, say it.”

Mr Ghost seemed not to mind Ghost Li’s cold attitude, and said, “Though there were some strange happenings that day when the astrolabe displayed its powers, and the situation turned chaotic but I thought carefully about it after that, and it is still not totally hopeless to use the astrolabe to save Ms Biyao.”

Ghost Li’s countenance moved and he stood up. Xiao Hui saw his master moved, and swished its tail and leapt twice. It climbed up and sat down on Ghost Li’s shoulder, and then took a bite out of the fruit in its mouth and looked at Mr Ghost.

Under the stares of Ghost Li and Xiao Hui, one human and one monkey, Mr Ghost paused and then continued, “It seems to me, this astrolabe is an ancient divine item which has been long lost on earth but never showed up before, it is not a trivial thing.”

Ghost Li was taken aback, “Ancient divine item?” Mr Ghost nodded and said, “According to ancient legends, the various celestial deities only passed down several rare treasures in the ancient times, and all had inconceivable divine powers. They were not something a mortal could control or understand, and this astrolabe magical treasure should be one of them.”

He paused and glanced at Ghost Li, saw him frowning but listening raptly. Mr Ghost’s veil shifted slightly, and again he spoke, “In the legend, this astrolabe is a rare and unfathomable treasure, possessing the truths of heaven and earth, containing infinite mysteries, able to break yin and yang, able to set the soul, able to pry into astronomical phenomena; some ancients even said it could comprehend creation, reverse cause, consequences and destinies. It is really an incredible rare celestial weapon.”

Ghost Li’s mind thought rapidly back to that day at Tian Yin Temple, where Masters Puhong, and Pude also said similar words. Although some of the contents were different but clearly this was an exceptional item. Could it be... could it be Mr Ghost really had the ability to save Biyao? With the thought, his body trembled. He stepped forward and said, “Mister, please save her.”

Mr Ghost shifted slightly, avoiding Ghost Li’s bow, and indifferently said, “Ms Biyao is afterall Ghost King sect head’s beloved daughter. I have received the sect head’s great benevolence. if I can save her, I will not shrink from my duties. But…”

Ghost Li paused. Feeling anxious, he said, “Mister, if you have words, please speak them.”

Mr Ghost was quiet for a moment, then said, “As I have just said, this is an ancient divine weapon. It is mysterious and unfathomable. I must be able to comprehend the abilities and powers in it and then treat Ms Biyao.”

This was an extremely good news. However after hearing it Ghost Li instead had a strange reaction. It was not wild joy. He shifted his gaze from Mr Ghost, and turned towards the ice platform. After a moment, he slowly turned back, his expression indifferent. His eyes had an indistinct obscure mockery and wariness to them, and he indifferently said, “Then what Mister meant was…”

Mr Ghost was silent for a moment, then spoke directly, “I need time to comprehend the profound mysteries of this astrolabe. If you trust me and also wish to save Ms Biyao, then please temporary lend the astrolabe to me. Once I have comprehended it, I will definitely return immediately to save Ms Biyao.”

Ghost Li’s lips moved slightly. He slowly revealed a cold sneer. His eyes also turned cold. Slowly he said, “Then what if I don’t trust you?”

Mr Ghost was nonplussed. For a moment seemed taken aback, and did not know what to say.

Ghost Li coldly said, “That day at Qing Yun Hill Tongtian Peak, outside the Founders Ancestral Hall, that elder was clearly well-acquainted with you. You killed him without a blink of an eye. Between us, we have also fought a few times. Whether or not we had the intention to kill, we know it clearly in our hearts. If according to you, this divine item is really that remarkable, firstly it concerns the big matter of saving Biyao, secondly this is not mine, so how can I entrust this so easily to you?”

Mr Ghost sneered, said, “So it seems like Ms Biyao is not as important in your heart anymore. In front of you there is a hope to save her and you would rather give up?”

Ghost Li coldly snorted, said, “If you want me to hand this over to you, that is impossible.”

Mr Ghost spread his hands out and said, “Oh! There is no way then.”

Ghost Li was silent for a moment, then said, “I have a plan, that is to trouble you with something…”  He glanced at Mr Ghost, frowned and hesitated for a moment. Finally he softened his tone and said, “That is to trouble Mister for a while, you will be able to study the treasure and also relieve my worries, I’m not sure if Mister is willing to listen?” Mr Ghost with a “Oh”  said, “Is there such solution? Please speak.”

Ghost Li said, “I have to inconvenience Mister to study the astrolabe in this ice room!”

Mr Ghost was stunned, and said, “What?”

Ghost Li indifferently replied, “Of course while doing so, I will be at Mister’s side. Or if Mister feels that this place is not suitable, I am also willing to allow Mister to choose other places. But I must always be at your side.”

Mr Ghost looked at Ghost Li, his eyes glinting. Ghost Li remained composed but his eyes were firm. Evidently he was unwilling to make any further concession. Mr Ghost was silent, then slowly spoke, “Please let me consider this for a while. I will speak to you again!”

After speaking, he turned and glanced at Biyao, then suddenly said, “But the sufferings that Miss Biyao underwent over these ten years are really not small. You yourself must think this over carefully.”

Ghost Li coldly humphed. A trace of anguish flashed past his eyes but his eyes were still sharp and clear, as he said, “I don’t need you to mention that, I am aware of it a hundred times more than you.”

Mr Ghost nodded, turned, opened the door and left.

Watching that black figure disappear from sight, the door closed with a rumble. Ghost Li quietly turned and sat down beside the platform. He looked deeply at Biyao’s face. After a long while, he could be heard muttering, “Biyao, don’t blame me. I really have no choice but to do this…”

After leaving the room Mr Ghost stood outside for a moment. The tunnel outside was still deserted but for some reason, looking at it now, a strange air seemed to permeate it.

Mr Ghost watched the empty corridor for a while, turned and headed to the other side. His footsteps were silent. In this strange silence, there was not a sound, he was like an apparition.

As he headed further down the tunnel grew darker. Mr Ghost was dressed in black, looking suited to the atmosphere. From afar he seemed to gradually merge into the darkness.

However he continued to walk on. Suddenly he stopped. Looking ahead, before him was a corner in the tunnel that headed into another direction. That corner was not lit; it appeared to be the darkest area. And, in that obscure corner, a figure seemed to be standing.

Mr Ghost looked deeply at that figure walked slowly over. In the darkness, that person moved and a deep voice was heard, “How is it?”

Mr Ghost silently shook his head and said, “He refused to give me that treasure.”

That figure froze for a moment. He seemed to be surprised and then for some reason, seemed to be infuriated. He abruptly stepped forward and said, “Don’t tell me he actually doesn’t care about Biyao’s survival anymore?”

Mr Ghost shook his head and said, “You know his character. Miss Biyao is the most important person to him. It’s just that he doesn’t trust me and so refused to hand the treasure to me to study it.”

That shadow snorted, and walked out from it slowly the Ghost King appeared. His face was cold as he said, “Since he refused to hand the treasure over and our blood formation is incomplete, for the moment it is not wise to fall out with him. What should we do?”

Mr Ghost indifferently said, “Ghost Li still cares about Ms Biyao and so he gave me a condition.”

Ghost King was surprised and asked, “What condition?” Mr Ghost sighed lightly and said, “He will lend me the treasure to study but only if he is around when I do it.” Ghost King immediately frowned. He hesitated for a moment then said, “We want to take the treasure in order to release the Qian Kun Lock on the cauldron and the blood formation. If he must be within sight, how are we going to use that power?”

Mr Ghost laughed bitterly, and said, “That is the hard part.”

Ghost King was silent and did not speak. Mr Ghost thought for a while, then said, “I suggest maybe we can first take the treasure and examine it. If the ancient weapon has infinite mysteries maybe we really can find a way to activate the Qian Kun Lock across space. Previously the Qian Kun Lock reacted to the astrolabe over a long distance too.”

Ghost King nodded, and said, “I think that is the only solution for now.”

Mr Ghost turned and stepped forward, indifferently saying, “Then I will go first to prepare.”

“Wait!” Ghost King’s voice was suddenly heard from behind. Mr Ghost paused, turned and look at Ghost King, then asked, “Does Sect Head still have other matters to discuss?”

Ghost King’s eyes suddenly turned stern. He stared at Mr Ghost for a long while and then slowly said, “There is one more thing, I want to ask you.”

Mr Ghost said, “Sect Head please speak.”

Ghost King’s face was indifferent but his eyes seemed perplexed as he said, “Tell me, the ancient astrolabe, other than being able to release the Qian Kun Lock, is it also possible...to save Biyao?”

Mr Ghost was silent. After a long time he slowly spoke, “I am not sure. I have to examine the treasure first before I will know.”

Ghost King’s lips moved and then he waved his hand, quietly saying, “I understand. You can go!” Mr Ghost cupped his hands toward Ghost King, turned and left.

Ghost King was left alone in the tunnel. For a long time he did not move. Darkness quietly permeated the area, gently swallowed his solitary figure into the shadows. Not long after, other than a stretch of darkness, his figure could no longer be seen.

Ghost Li sat quietly in the cold room, his back against the stone platform. Xiao Hui lay sound asleep beside his legs, its head on his lap.

The stone room was silent; so quiet one could almost hear their own heartbeat. Ghost Li looked indifferent but there was a glint in his eyes. There was an indistinct anxiety in them. It had been a day since Mr Ghost suggested to study the astrolabe but that black figure had not appeared again. Ghost Li had started to feel uneasy. Especially since in the corner of his eyes he could see Biyao lying on the platform, the anguish in his heart turned stronger. He even had the thought to disregard all caution in order to save Biyao.

But just at that moment, almost in return for his sleepless night, the room door emitted a groan and opened. Mr Ghost’s black figure appeared and he slowly walked in.

The sound of the door rumbled over, deep and loud, also waking up Xiao Hui, who was sleeping. Xiao Hui flipped over, crawled up from the floor, and scratched its head. Its eyes were still half-asleep. After a while it gradually cleared its mind, then bared its teeth at Mr Ghost and climbed up Ghost Li who had already stood up. It seemed like it was extremely displeased with Mr Ghost for disturbing its sleep.

But Ghost Li did not show the same displeasure. In fact he secretly let out a sigh of relief. He smiled faintly as he looked at Mr Ghost, and simply asked, “How?”

Mr Ghost naturally was not a talkative person either. He directly answered, “I will do accordingly to what you suggested before.” Ghost Li nodded, then saw him look around and suddenly say, “But…”

Ghost Li was surprised, and said, “But what?”

Mr Ghost said, “But I’m afraid it will be better if we change the location.”

Ghost Li frowned and asked, “Why?”

Mr Ghost indifferently replied, “This cold room is, afterall, where Ms Biyao rests. There have been strange happenings when the astrolabe was activated the last few times. If we were to study it here, wouldn’t it be detrimental to her?”

Ghost Li was silent for a moment, then slowly nodded and said,  “That  is  right.  It  is  indeed  better  that  we  change  to another location.” He looked at Mr Ghost and said, “Could it be that Mister already has a place in mind?”

Mr  Ghost  smiled  and  said,  “Since  I  had  decided  before coming here, naturally I have thought out everything. Just follow me!”

Speaking this, he turned and headed out of the room.

Ghost Li turned and glanced at Biyao lying on the platform. Softly he said, “Biyao, just rest in peace. I will definitely find a way to save you.”

Biyao lay quietly there, smiling in her peacefulness. Ghost Li quietly looked at her for a while then turned, inhaled deeply and strided out.

After the stone door slowly closed up behind them, Ghost Li looked at that black figure and said, “Miser please lead the way!” Mr Ghost quietly laughed. That voice sounded somehow strange. Ghost Li couldn’t help but frown. Although he had heard that tone of Mr Ghost’s voice in their conversations before but today, for some reason today, he found it especially grating.

Mr Ghost made a gesture to Ghost Li, and turned and headed deep into the mountain. Ghost Li followed behind, Xiao Hui on his shoulder, no longer sleepy, peering around, especially looking at the cracks which became deeper and thicker as they walked.

Both of them walked along in the tunnel. Nobody else could be seen. Their footsteps reverberated in the empty space. After a  while,  Ghost  Li  suddenly  spoke,  “Has  Mister  noticed  the surrounding cracks?”

Mr Ghost seemed to stifle for a moment but did not stop or turn. He continued walking ahead, and at the same time quietly spoke, “These are so obvious, of course I have seen them, but I’m not sure why vice sect head is suddenly asking about it?” Ghost Li’s steps also did not change. He following behind Mr Ghost but his gaze had glints when he looked at the cracks and then shifted to Mr Ghost’s back, and said, “I have been at Ghost King sect for ten years, and this had never happened before. Mister has been at Ghost King sect longer than me, and has extensive knowledge. Maybe you can enlightened me?”

Mr Ghost suddenly stopped. His figure seemed to freeze and Ghost Li also stopped at the same time, quietly watching him. The dim tunnel was deserted, almost only darkness permeated everything, slowly gathering around Mr Ghost. Mr Ghost was quiet for a long time before turning around and looked at Ghost Li.

Ghost Li stood behind him, not avoiding him at all, looking directly in his eyes.

Mr Ghost’s expression was obscure behind his veil, but his eyes were bright, almost incompatible with the darkness around him. His deep voice was calm and unruffled, as he quietly said, “I would like to ask vice sect head, why of all the people in Ghost King sect are you asking me?” Ghost Li stared into his eyes, and said, “Obviously because I know Mister’s knowledge is the best in Ghost King sect and so I am sincerely seeking to know.”

Mr Ghost was silent. He looked at Ghost Li, saw his indifference face, and couldn’t tell what he was thinking. After a long time, he said, “These cracks were previously caused by the multiple earthquakes that happened within one hundred miles of the mountain. The mountain was shaken by the quake and resulted in these cracks.”

Ghost Li looked deeply at Mr Ghost, his eyes glimmering, as he said, “So it was because of that?”

Mr Ghost suddenly asked in return, “If it was not, what does vice head sect think it was?”

Ghost Li did not speak. The tunnel suddenly turned quiet and carried a trace of coldness. Mr Ghost suddenly had a false perception. Not knowing since when, around that young man Ghost Li, some darkness was quietly gathering. After a moment, Ghost Li indifferently said, “I am only sincerely seeking your advice and do not have other intentions. Since Mister said it is so, then it is.”

Mr Ghost looked deeply at Ghost Li. He slowly turned and continued onwards. Ghost Li’s footsteps could be heard following behind.

Huge, ugly towering cracks criss-crossed each other on the rock walls of the tunnel beside them, as if grinning savagely at them, quietly howling.

The two figures continued on deeper slowly, the darkness behind them quietly besieged them; swallowing the last bit of light.

Not knowing how long they had walked, Ghost Li observed the surroundings, and slowly frowned.

Finally Mr Ghost stopped, standing at a secluded stone room entrance. Clearly he had chosen this place. But Ghost Li’s brows were even more tightly knitted. “Wait!”

Just when Mr Ghost was about to open this door, Ghost Li suddenly spoke, “Isn’t this Ghost King sect head’s room?”

Mr Ghost slowly turned around, and quietly said, “That’s right, it is this place.”

Ghost Li frowning, said, “You want to study the astrolabe here?”

Mr Ghost nodded and said, “That’s right.”

Ghost Li coldly stared at him, and said, “There are a few thousand rooms in the cave. Why must you choose here?”

Mr Ghost glanced at Ghost Li, a glint flashed in his eyes, and said, “Why, do you feel that there is anything inappropriate with the selection of the Ghost King head’s residence?” Ghost Li was silent. The truth was, he really couldn’t find anything inappropriate with using the Ghost King’s residence, but he had been investigating everywhere for the source of that mysterious force and only Ghost King’s residence had not been searched.

Staring at that stone door, Ghost Li quietly said, “Nothing, but this is, afterall, Ghost King’s residence. Should he at least be notified?”

Mr Ghost quietly laughed, and said, “You don’t have to worry. I have already told the sect head. After knowing it is for Ms Biyao, of course he approved. As for why I chose this place…”

A glint flashed past his eyes, as he quietly said, “Just because it is quiet.”

Ghost Li looked at Mr Ghost, and suddenly with a cold laugh said, “Only because it is quiet?” Mr Ghost seemed oblivious to the unspoken meaning in Ghost Li’s question, and said, “Only that.”

Ghost Li did not ask anymore questions.

Mr Ghost nodded and opened the door. The familiar deep rumble was heard. Slowly the door opened and revealed the simple interior.

Ghost Li followed Mr Ghost in, casually looking around. He saw the paintings on the walls and furnishings. It was still the same as before but Ghost Li frowned. He discovered that, for a moment, he was unable to recall the last time he had came to the residence to look for the Ghost King.

The Ghost King was not in. Mr Ghost turned around and met Ghost Li’s gaze, saying, “The Ghost King sect head has already instructed for us to study here in peace. He is busy with affairs and so will not be disturbing us for these few days.”

Ghost Li nodded. Suddenly he recalled something and asked, “Oh right, over at Biyao’s…” Mr Ghost waved his hand, indicating for Ghost Li to be assured, and said, “Don’t worry. Sect head has said he will look after Ms Biyao while we are here. You can at least trust Ms Biyao’s father right?”

Ghost Li was silent. He nodded and said, “If it’s so I feel assured. If there are no other matters then let us begin!”

Mr Ghost took two futons from the side, threw one to Ghost Li and sat on the other one. He said, “Alright.”

Ghost Li sat on the other one, took out the wrapped astrolabe, removed the cover, looked at the item for a moment and then slowly passed it to Mr Ghost.

Xiao Hui’s gaze followed that astrolabe. Its expression also seemed to turn somehow strange.

Mr Ghost took the astrolabe, felt the warm, faint white light radiated out and revolving before him, reflecting in his eyes. He quietly looked at the astrolabe, gazing at every inch, as if looking to see through it. In the room, a silence descended. Even the sound of breathing seemed to vanish.

On the other side of the cave, after Ghost Li left with Mr Ghost, the white mist, carrying with it some loneliness, drifted in the air of the cold room which was tranquil as usual.

The room was empty. The green figure was still quietly lying there, unmoving, a peaceful expression with a smile on her lips, as if everything was like ten years ago. Time seemed not to leave any trace on her face.

She was still as beautiful, but not knowing in her heart, was there ever a faint sorrow, or maybe a little regret?

The cold white air drifted like smoke. Looking gradually hazy, as if dreaming for too long, an indistinct figure in the dream.

[Ding!] Suddenly a clear crisp sound rang out clearly in the room. The invisible sound wave passed through, like a gentle breeze. The cold haze in the room trembled for a moment.

[Ding!]

Again another light ring of the bell. This time it was even clearer. That sound was coming from Biyao’s hands, from the tiny bell.

In the room, the air seemed to swirl faster and the pleasant sound of the bell reverberated from the walls, continuing one after another, forming a quiet song, somehow joyful, somehow sorrowful, somehow passionate, somehow sighing.

[Ding!]

The third chime was suddenly of a higher pitch. The white mist instantly drifted backwards, like waves among clouds. A clear whistle rang out, and faint golden light shone out from Biyao’s hands. In the room, an indistinct sound of wind and thunder rang out. Just that at the next moment, as if out of energy and unable to continue, the clear chime slowly toned down, and the golden light, gradually dimmed.

The bells slowly disappeared from the room, the mist regained its usual, gently drifting, as if nothing had happened, without leaving any signs.

Silence again returned to the room.

Not knowing after how long, a rumble was heard in the room, the door opening slowly. Ghost King’s figure appeared, walking in slowly.

He came to the platform, looked at his daughter, and after a long time quietly said, “Yao’er, father is here to see you.”

Biyao’s expression did not change, like that moment ten years ago. Ghost King was clearly already used to it. His gaze was full of love, without a single bit of viciousness. He sat beside the platform. Looked up, he saw the mist in the air.

“Yao’er...it has been ten years already. Without realizing it, you have slept for ten years already.” He suddenly laughed, his lips carrying some bitterness, as he said, “If you wake up now, will you still recognize your father?”

He paused for a moment, shook his head slightly again, then with a bitter laugh, as if laughing at himself, muttered, “How could that be? Of course you will recognize me. It’s just that you will definitely say: Dad, why you do have so many grey hairs?”

Ghost King’s hand brushed lightly over his hair, and his expression also seemed distant. Between his fingers were all grey hairs.

He sank into silence, as if reminiscing something. Not knowing if he was sighing over himself growing old with age or the time spent between father and daughter. After a long while, he could be heard softly speaking, “Yao’er, don’t worry. As long as father is alive, I will definitely save you. Ghost Li has already gone with Mr Ghost to study the astrolabe and, heavens willing, will be able to comprehend a way to save you…”

He stopped, his expression gradually turning cold, quietly continuing, “But if heaven really is unwilling, you don’t have to be afraid either. As long as the astrolabe is able to release the Qian Kun Lock, and the blood formation is completed, father will be invincible by then. Not only dominating the world, even saving you will be easy!”

The white mist suddenly receded by one chi. In that instant Ghost King seemed agitated. An invisible energy seemed to explode out into the surroundings, and after a while the white mist again drifted back, gathering in the centre.

“Don’t be scared, don’t be anxious,”  Ghost King’s gaze was still staring at the mist but he was still gently speaking, “Father will definitely save you.” “The  room  where  father  stays,  of  all  the  places  in  the mountain, is the nearest to the blood formation.”

“Now, all we must do is to patiently wait…”

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