My Master Disconnected Yet Again Chapter 521-530

Chapter 521: Graduation Examination

Shen Ying had never shown her real power in front of the disciples, and they didn't see her often. Yet they could see the high regard Fatty, Yi Qing and even Lonemoon himself had for her. Those older had their concerns. But the younger ones had never been through those things, and they believed themselves even more. They thought that they learned some skills beyond ordinary mortals and that made them different. The thought of survival of the strongest was formed in their minds, so they had no restraint in singling her out.

They even thought that even if they were in the wrong, he would not punish them for a mortal. Such thoughts were completely the opposite from Lonemoon's original intention. Continuing to allow them to grow would only make them even more arrogant, even more insolent, and even looking down upon the mortals who were inferior to them. He wanted a bodyguard for the human race, not a group who ruled and bullied them.

He couldn't help but think back about those that he taught before. Invincible Sect didn't go onto a skewed path because Yu Hong and others also started by suffering at the hands of higher- level cultivators. They witnessed the deepest darkness, so they knew that sunshine was hard to come by. Fatty was even imprisoned in Imperial Sacred Sect for many years, such that he knew the evils of the human mind, so he cherished the kindness of the world even more. Even in the small world of Song Ren, those talisman cultivators cultivated for the simple purpose of protecting the civilians.

But these nine they took in this time were completely different, especially those younger ones. From the beginning, they had the opportunity that others didn't have. This opportunity made them able to soar far above others, so their ego grew naturally. They could no longer see the weak. They thought that they had gone beyond the world, but forgot that they came from there as well.

Those three older ones had more experiences, and Jian Xing had suffered in the past for the sake of his sister. So they had their restraints. But others had completely lost the reverence that they were supposed to have.

How could they expect a group of people with no reverence to the world to turn back and protect this world?

Lonemoon suddenly realized that he couldn't place all hopes of humans on these few people. He had to make multiple preparations.

After all, in this world, besides school education, there was also a phrase called self-teaching! There only needed to be learning resources, and though having a teacher or not did make a difference, the overall direction should be pretty much similar.

For example with Chef, was there any difference whether he had a Master or not? Didn't he teach himself everything anyway?

After Lonemoon thought that through, he told Fatty to prepare many jade slips of heritage. He thought about how most people still didn't know how to use spirit qi and also prepared some books on directing qi into the body. Of course, Fatty copied all of them, since there was no photocopying machine in this world. He also told Fatty to make some spirit artifacts.

After that, he stopped being at home. He turned into a book distributor and randomly went around the human continent, throwing a secret book here and a jade slip there. He also casually opened up several small mystic realms and threw in some spirit herb seeds and let them grow on their own. And then he went back to Purple Night Palace and grabbed a few immortal veins. He came up with ways to dilute them, turn them into spirit veins and then spread them all over the human continent, making the whole continent full of spirit qi.

He even gritted his teeth and threw the spirit artifacts and immortal artifacts he got from Fatty's debt repayment all around, or set some arrays to fix the time of their appearance in the world. After that, he finally stopped. He suddenly somewhat understood Lan Hua's feelings in the past. The feeling of throwing treasures everywhere which could not be recovered. It was so painful!

Therefore, he took out his bill book and meticulously recorded all of these on Hong Meng's bills.

Hmm, he finally felt less painful.

Hong Meng who was handing carrots to Rabbit at Purple Night Palace shivered. He felt that something was amiss.

After  Lonemoon  did  all this,  he finally  felt  relieved. He believed that in no time, a significant number of cultivators would appear on this continent. Of course, his teaching of the disciples became stricter. After all, they were taught by a renowned teacher, and it would be such a shame if they couldn't beat those whom were self-taught.

Fortunately, the four people left were pretty easy to teach. Jian Xing was a sword cultivator. Lonemoon was busy recently, so he used his old method and threw him into ten layers of sword arrays. The three left were all taught by Fatty. It was actually much easier than before, and they all had their specialized talents.

Especially the oldest one. He was already fifty or sixty when he started cultivation and only succeeded in Foundation Establishment after going through many difficulties. He was the last among all to achieve Foundation Establishment. But he was also the one with the most peaceful mind. Fatty had worried at first that he would probably give up before finishing because of age, but he didn't expect that he actually persisted all the way through, and he was even a double-cultivator of talisman and array.

Though his cultivation was below others at the start, he slowly became the one with the most solid fundamentals, the deepest learning and the most diligent among the three. Occasionally he would also give the other two some tips. Even Fatty couldn't help but give him some more attention.

Considering that they had already gotten used to spirit qi, Lonemoon told Mushroom to stop her planting. The spirit qi on the mountain was directly changed into Immortal Qi. This way, their cultivation increased even more rapidly.

And among them, Jian Xing was the fastest.  Since  the previous incident, Lonemoon had talked to him several times. That was, after all, his sister. It was only normal that it'd be hard for him to endure. Lonemoon explained the intricacies of the matter to him, and seeing that he didn't have any grievances, he was reassured and allowed him to continue learning.

He learned very fast. Most of the time, he could learn sword dharmas after one demonstration by Lonemoon. Within less than twenty years, he had reached the fifth level of sword array, out of ten. Though it was not so crazy as Chef in the past, it was still extraordinarily fast. A sword body by birth indeed.

Time passed fast, and all that required teaching were pretty much taught. Those that they couldn't learn for a time they were made to remember first. Since Heavenly Dao had yet to be born in this world, there was no Heavenly Tribulation for their improvement in cultivation. They just went up directly once they reached the level.

The three taught by Fatty had already formed cores, and Jian Xing already had the cultivation of Nascent Soul.

Lonemoon felt that it was time to let them go down the mountain and really understand the crisis in this world.

Considering the unhappiness of the last experiential training, Lonemoon decided to bring them himself and drag Shen Ying along.

"Why me again?" She was unhappy.

"Chef hasn't come back yet. Did you think you can survive alone in the sect?" Without anyone to cook for her and watch her, she would either go missing or starve to death at any moment. There was a high likelihood that it was the former. "Uh…" Should she tell him that Chef actually made spirit birds send over food every once in a while?

"Don't talk nonsense. Off you go." Lonemoon was too lazy to explain to her. He directly dragged her and started walking down the mountain.

Among the four disciples, three were Fatty's, so Fatty naturally followed the party, taking Mushroom with him. With Fatty watching, Mushroom worked pretty hard at cultivation these years. It had already turned its one tail to five tails. Naturally, she also learned real manifestation, and no longer needed to go around planting mushrooms dragging its tail.

Therefore, the original experiential training for disciples became a trip for the whole sect.

Chapter 522: Meeting Old Acquaintance

Lonemoon dragged Shen Ying and directly rode his sword down the mountain and towards the Immortal Ascension Rock. Strips of paper were pasted densely upon it. Some were old and some were new, on them were all kinds of wishes for help.

Ever since the opening of the mountain to take in disciples last time, mortals often came here. And starting from someone unknown, people pasted all kinds of wishes on there in hopes of asking the immortals for help. They had already used Immortal Ascension Rock as a God Begging Rock. Only that among these paper slips, there were some that seemed to be asking for help regarding troubles from demons.

When Lonemoon went out to dissipate his fortune, he would resolve some on his way when he saw. Slowly, a common practice was formed. Those who really met difficulties would come here despite the long distances, asking for help from immortals.

He glanced at it and saw three red paper strips. He took it down casually. Two of them were quite far. The only closer one required two days of traveling. He gave it a look and decided to take a trip. So he directly handed the paper strip to Jian Xing and said, "Right in the west, let's go to this place called Quhang City and take a look."

"Yes, Master." Jian Xing nodded and took it. He gave it a look and then handed the paper strip to the other three.

Just when everyone was about to get on their swords, a female voice suddenly came, "Big brother!"

A woman around thirty years old by the looks ran over and looked towards Jian Xing in the middle with her face full of surprise. Her looks were familiar, and there was cultivation on her, only it was just at Qi Refinement.

"Little Lin!" Jian Xing was stunned, and blurted out, "Why are you here?"

Even Fatty was shocked. This person was actually Zhi Lin, Jian Xing's younger sister. Only that her look right now was no longer that of a young girl. She actually looked much older than Jian Xing. The joy on the woman's face fell, and it was replaced by a face of sadness. Some moisture also gathered in her eyes. "Big Brother, I have waited here all these years." As she talked, she turned towards Lonemoon and kneeled down towards him. "Exalted Master, I was young and stupid, such that I made huge mistakes. I already know that I was wrong, and I kept regretting over all these years. I don't dare to plead for Exalted Master to forgive me, I only hope… only hope to have an opportunity to atone for my crime."

Lonemoon's face darkened. He glanced at her and said, "Is that so? Then tell me, what was your fault?"

Zhi Lin was stunned, as though she didn't know how to answer. She was stuck. She subconsciously looked towards Shen Ying at the side, her eyes turned and she said, "I… I shouldn't be disrespectful towards Big Sister Shen… No, Exalted Master Shen! I…"

"Ho!" Before she finished speaking, Lonemoon directly sneered. "You don't even know what was your fault, how could you talk about knowing that you were wrong?" If she really knew what her faults were, she wouldn't appear here today, much less with such a posture of the weak. Back then, Fatty did abolish their cultivation, but he didn't hurt their foundation, much less making them lose their memories. If she worked hard enough, she would have regained the cultivation of mere Foundation Establishment long ago, but she was still at Qi Refinement now.

Lonemoon didn't look at her anymore, but only looked at the others and said, "You may leave once you are ready." With that said, he directly called out his sword, grabbed Shen Ying and flew up.

"Exalted Master!" Zhi Lin's look was completely anxious. Seeing that nobody paid her any heed, she had to look towards Jian Xing. "Big Brother!"

Jian Xing gave her a look, held himself back and turned to fly away on his sword.

Others followed. Mushroom actually gave her a look and called out tenderheartedly, "Little Sister Zhi Lin…"

"Mushroom!" Fatty called out and dragged her away. But Zhi Lin didn't give up, but followed behind them on a sword, a sad look on her face.

Jian Xing turned back and gave her a look. After a long while, he turned back and continued sword-riding.

"Do you think that I was too cruel to their group of disciples?" Lonemoon gave Jian Xing a look and asked.

Jian Xing was stunned. He shook his head and said, "No. They made mistakes and failed to live up to Master's expectations in the first place. Right now… they only returned to their original positions. Only that…" He couldn't help but look back once more, before saying seriously, "Zhi Lin is my younger sister after all. Though I know for sure she can't possibly return to the sect, I can't manage to be completely indifferent to her." His look was conflicted, there was no grievance in his eyes.

"Hmm, good that you understand." Lonemoon nodded. This disciple saw things clearly and didn't need him to worry much. "Though she's no longer a disciple of the sect, it's not necessary to be too distant towards her. It's good so long as you know the proper limits." "Yes, Master!"

Lonemoon said no more and continued flying towards their destination. Yet Shen Ying behind him suddenly turned her body and looked straight towards Jian Xing.

Jian Xing looked up subconsciously, but only to see meet a big smile from Shen Ying. He was stunned for a moment. His look was all confused, but somehow… he suddenly felt flustered.

——————

Lonemoon flew with the disciples for two days before they finally reached Quhang City. This was a relatively large city on the west. What was described on the paper strip was a strange matter that happened inside the city recently. Since a few months ago, the people inside the city seemed to have gotten a strange illness together, and they inexplicably fell into sleep once the night fell. Moreover, every one of them  had nightmares and only woke when morning came. The locals thought that there were demons, so they went to the seaside to seek the help of immortals. In order to avoid alerting the enemy, the party dressed as caravan businessmen who went into the city to buy goods. Lonemoon found an inn, settled down, and let the others go inquiring.

The four asked around the city properly and only returned at sunset. They started communicating about their discoveries.

"I heard that the people here fall into sleep every night at eleven. It seems that the demon only comes out at night."

"But there's no remnant demonic aura in the city. It doesn't seem to be demons then."

"People on the west side of the city said that this matter has continued for five to six months. Now, people are lethargic not only at night but also during the day, for no reason at all."

"Exactly. People on the east side also said so. And those who fell asleep during the day had to sleep for four or five days before waking up. Some even took more than ten days." Everybody finished talking, and then they all looked towards Lonemoon in the middle. Apparently, they didn't have a clue.

"Have you seen those people in lethargy?" reminded Lonemoon.

Jian Xing at the side spoke, "Master, I went to see several of them, but there were no other abnormalities with their bodies. They looked to be merely asleep."

"Yes." The oldest among the four also said, "I've also checked their bodies, there was no trace of invasion by demonic aura."

"Hmm." Lonemoon nodded and said, "Have you thought about any way to tackle this?"

The four exchanged a look before replying, "We intend to wait till eleven tonight and find out more about the situation first."

Chapter 523: Strange Occurrence in the City

"Then let's rest first and wait for eleven." Lonemoon announced the end of the meeting. The four got up and left, going back to their own rooms.

Seeing them walking further away, Fatty finally turned back and said, "Master, though there's no demonic aura in this city, there is Ghost Qi. I'm afraid…"

I know." Lonemoon nodded. He naturally could also realize that what was in this city were not demons, but ghosts. "Just watch out and don't let anything happen to them. It's also good that they gain some experience!"

Fatty nodded, before he got up and prepared to leave with Mushroom. Lonemoon turned his head, but saw that Shen Ying sat still and looked right at him.

"What?" "Supper!"

"There's none today. Leave, leave!"

"…" Sigh. She missed Chef again!

Shen Ying had to take out pastries from the bag and go out while eating.

"Oh yeah." Lonemoon suddenly remembered something and added casually. "Shen Ying, tonight you'd better not…"

Before he could finish, he saw that the person had already gone away, and had to take back his words. Never mind, it was only a ghost.

What was in this city was no demon. Since the moment that he entered the city, he had already noticed that this was a ghost who survived by eating human souls. Besides, it was very probably going to ascend to Ghost King soon. The reason for the city people's lethargy was that a part of their soul was sucked away.

Ghosts were actually easier to deal with as compared the demon kind, if they could find it first, of course. These disciples had never come in contact with ghosts and souls, so it was only normal that they couldn't understand what it was for  a moment. So long as their spirits were stable, they wouldn't be controlled by the ghost.

With Shen Ying's ability, even the most powerful ghost would find it hard to capture her. After all, she was the person who had beaten the Ghost King till he cried.

So whoever that things happened to, nothing would happen to her… or they would!

(╯‵□′)╯(┻━┻

"Where is she?!" Lonemoon looked at the empty room and felt an immense fatigue. Fatty looked totally confused as well. "I didn't see Miss Shen go out."

"Look for her! Hurry up and look!" He shouldn't have loosened his grip on the one without a little bit of a sense of direction!

"Yes!" Just as Fatty was about to go out of the door, a loud ring of a bell came into their ears. The sound was simple and remote, it passed through the whole Quhang City instantly. It went into their ears, and for a moment they felt their spirit vibrating, as if something was going to get out of the body.

The four disciples hurried to activate spirit qi and protect their heart and veins before suppressing that feeling.

But a clanging sound actually came from the door. Zhi Lin who followed them all the way fell down at the entrance of the inn downstairs. There was a bit of a bloodstain by the corner of her mouth. Vaguely, she showed signs of her soul leaving her body.

"Little Lin!" Jian Xing was shocked. He directly jumped downstairs and held the person on the ground. He split out a bit of spirit qi to protect her heart and veins. Only then did Zhi Lin's face look better.

"Big Brother…" Zhi Lin looked at the person in front of her with remaining fear. Suddenly, she seemed to have remembered something, she looked up at the people upstairs and said, "Oh yes, Exalted Master, I saw Big Sister Shen in the street just now. I called her, but she didn't respond, as if… as if she was controlled by something."

Lonemoon was shocked. His figure flashed and he was already beside her. "Where did you see her?"

"On the street right in front!" She pointed to the outside.

Lonemoon turned and rushed out. He went searching along the direction she gave, others hurried to follow.

Once they came out, they realized that though it was pitch- dark midnight, the streets outside were full of people. Upon closer look, they were the residents of the city from the day. Every single one of them had their eyes closed, their faces expressionless, and they walked towards the same direction like lost souls, as though they were controlled by something. There was not the slightest bit of sound.

A disciple activated his spirit qi to check their souls, yet his face paled. "Their… Their souls are not in the bodies!"

Others froze for a moment. And then, they pushed open the doors of the homes and walked inside to look. Yet they found shadows lying on the beds. These were the souls of those people in the streets, yet their expression was painful, as though they were experiencing some horrible nightmare.

"It was the bell rings just now!" Jian Xing said in a deep voice. "Their souls were shaken out of their body by the ringing. Something got control of their bodies."

"Let's find Shen Ying first!" Lonemoon said with a deep voice and he flew up directly. He released his divine perception and glanced over the dense crowds in the streets, before he noticed a familiar figure in the street, walking step by step towards the city gate, following the crowds. Upon closer look, there was a bit of vague Ghost Qi tangled on her leg. "There!" Lonemoon flew down directly. He waved a hand to dispel the Ghost Qi around Shen Ying's feet, and she stopped immediately.

Others followed over. Fatty spoke subconsciously, "So strange.
Why would Miss Shen be bothered by mere Ghost Qi…"

"Shh…" Before he could finish, Lonemoon suddenly turned back, his face anxious and his voice pressed low. "Don't speak!"

"Huh?!" Others froze right where they were.

They thought something big happened to Shen Ying. Yet upon closer look, they realized that she had her eyes shut tight and her face expressionless just like other senseless  bodies,  only that… the sounds of soft snoring came.

Fatty: "…"

Jian Xing, "…" Everyone: "…"

She was sleeping, right? Her soul did not leave her body, but was simply asleep!

Before others could react, Lonemoon's transmitted a voice transmission seriously, as though they were facing some powerful enemy. "Go, hurry up and get the pillow and quilt from her room. Don't make any sound, if… you don't want to die!"

The disciples looked totally confused, but they still obediently went back for quilt and pillow.

"Hurry, hand them to me, be careful!" Lonemoon took the quilt from their hands, took a deep breath, before walking forward with immense care, and then wrapped it around Shen Ying with immense care. And then, he held the person with extreme care, and placed her on the quilt laid on the ground.

His movement looked like a slow-motion replay. He even held his breath throughout the whole process, scared of making a sound.

Only when he placed the person back into the quilt, did he let out a long breath and wipe the cold sweat on his forehead. Good, good, she didn't wake! I was so scared.

The on-lookers, "…"

"Master." Jian Xing looked at the figures who had gradually exited the city, he couldn't help but send a voice transmission saying, "The people in this city…"

Lonemoon turned and gave them a look, before nodding, "All of you should go! If you encounter something, try to keep a distance when fighting. I'll look after Shen Ying  here.  Fatty, look after them."

"Yes, Master." Fatty nodded. He gave the four disciples a look, before taking Mushroom and flying off with the crowd going out of the city. Zhi Lin turned back and gave Lonemoon a look. Something flashed in her eyes, and then she hurried to follow them on her sword.

The group followed the figures all the way out of the city. However, outside the city, thick, white mist covered the whole sky, such that one could only see clearly within one foot. They had to fly down, in case they were separated by the mist.

Chapter 524: Falling into Sleep

"We gather and follow these people." Jian Xing said in a deep voice. Others understood and nodded. The demon controlled these people with a purpose. They were sure to find it by following them.

Fatty didn't stop them, but followed behind from far away.

They followed the crowd and walked for a long time. Suddenly, from the white mist in front, dots of light appeared, and human voices could be vaguely heard. They were stunned, and their footsteps hurried forward, only to find that it was the city gate of Quhang City in front. They obviously followed the crowd and walked straight out of the city, why did they turn back?

And at this time, inside the Quhang City, it was  not completely silent like when they exited, but bright  with lanterns and lights everywhere. There were loud speaking voices. The whole place was as bustling as during a festival. From time to time, children played with each other and ran across the streets holding lanterns. The scene was creepy whichever way you looked at it. "What happened?" The disciples looked completely confused.

"Big Brother." Zhi Lin grabbed Jian Xing's hand subconsciously.

Jian Xing frowned. After a long while he spoke, "We go inside to check the situation first."

The other three exchanged a look, and then nodded, before they walked together into the city.

Yet Mushroom at the side shook her head, unwilling to walk on. She said, "I don't like it here. It's very weird. Can we not go in?"

They looked back at it and started hesitating somewhat. But if they didn't go inside the city, they couldn't know what happened.

"Big Sister Mushroom, you don't need to be afraid." Zhi Lin stepped forward and comforted her with a kind and gentle look. "How about you hold my hand? We will protect you." With that said, she smiled at her very gently. It was only that she looked older than Mushroom yet called her Big Sister, it made one feel somewhat awkward.

Mushroom did have a good impression of Zhi Lin. She gave her a look, hesitated for a moment and still took her hand and followed inside.

Fatty frowned, something flashed across his eyes. Demons are always more sensitive than humans, a pity… He sighed and had to follow in.

The city became even more bustling. The lights were bright beside the streets, lines and lines of lanterns hung, and there were even all kinds of vendor's stands by the roads, where the vendors called out. It looked to be the scene of an ordinary night market.

The more they looked, the stranger they felt, but for a moment they couldn't tell what was the matter. They thought about it, and then turned to ask the people beside them, "Big Brother, may I know if there's anything big happening today? Why is the city so bustling?"

That person looked up at him and said, "You are from other cities, right? In our city, there's a night market every month. That's the way it's always been."

"I see." The disciples look deepened, and he continued to ask, "Then, is there anything strange happening in this city recently?"

"Strange? How could there be anything strange!" That person was stunned, and then gave him a stare of displeasure. "Our Quhang City is peaceful and well! Don't you talk nonsense. Go away, go away. Don't interfere with me doing business."

The disciple had to retreat awkwardly. The expressions of all others grew heavy. Apparently, during the day, everyone in the city looked sad and troubled, and the whole city knew about the matter of lethargy, yet why did this person seem completely unaware of it? "Big Brother, why are Exalted Master and others gone?" Zhi Lin suddenly pointed to the street in front and said, "Apparently, when we went out of the city previously, he was here with Big Sister… Exalted Master Shen. I remember this street!"

Others looked around, and only then did they realize that it was indeed the street along which they exited the city, but Lonemoon who was at first looking after Shen Ying anxiously was gone without a trace right now. But they had been out of the city for a mere quarter of an hour.

"Could they have gone back to the inn first?"

Jian Xing's face fell. "Let's go back to the inn and ask."

Therefore, the group hastened their footsteps and returned to the previous inn, but strangely, that innkeeper didn't seem to know them. He thought that they just arrived for a stay at the inn, and there were no Lonemoon and Shen Ying in the inn.

The more they thought about it, the weirder they felt. All of them looked at Jian Xing, who had the highest cultivation. "Uncle-Master Jian Xing, what are we to do? He was the disciple of Lonemoon, the same generation as Fatty, so everyone called him Uncle-Master."

"We go around and try to get some information first." suggested Jian Xing, "After four hours, we gather back here."

They nodded, and only then did they spread out and go around in different directions. Even Mushroom was dragged along by Zhi Lin. Fatty didn't actually go around asking, but sat down at the inn, waiting for them to come back. After four hours, they returned to the inn, only that none of their faces looked good.

"I already asked. All the people in the city seemed to forget about their own lethargy.

"Same on my side. And I purposely went to those people I asked during the day, but they chased me out."

"These people seemed to be completely different people during the day and at night."

"Can it be… that this is just a mystic realm?! All these people are fake?"

They paled. Should this be a mystic realm, how powerful did one have to be to replicate a whole city?

"It can't be!" Jian Xing shook his head. "They are real people indeed. They don't look like illusions from spells."

Everyone fell silent, having not a single bit of clue. When they really went out of ways, though they didn't want to, they could only turn to Fatty beside them.

"Exalted Master…" Jian Xing cupped his fists and said, "Please give us some hint."

Fatty smiled. Seeing that they were really at a bottleneck, he finally spoke to remind them, "This is indeed not a  mystic realm, but a dreamland!" "Dream?!" Everyone was shocked, staring at one another.

"Did you remember the words on that paper slip asking for help?" Fatty gave them a look before continuing, "It said that at night, everyone fell into a nightmare, and they only woke up in the morning. Where we are at now is inside their dreams. Somebody controlled their consciousness, and they entered the same dream.

They froze. No wonder those people  remembered  nothing about the things during the day, nor the matter of their lethargy at night. It was a dream after all. When they saw  those  white mists just now, they were probably already pulled into the dreamland.

"But, isn't it a nightmare?" Zhi Lin spoke, confused. "All of them look happy to me. It doesn't look like a nightmare, does it?"

The other disciples thought the same.

Fatty smiled and said, "Soon they won't be." "What?" They were stunned, not yet able to understand his meaning. Suddenly, a scream sounded and the streets suddenly fell into chaos. People kept screaming out loud, and people with panic written all over their faces ran across the roads, all towards the back.

"What is it?" They stood up directly.

Yet in the next instant, a loud roar sounded.

Roar!

Chapter 525: Breaking Dreamland

Instantly, the sound passed through the whole Quhang City, and even the ground started shaking. The group went out of the inn, and saw that outside the city gate, a giant monstrous beast suddenly appeared. It was totally dark so its figure couldn't be seen, but the pair of blood-red eyes were shining with red light, looking into the city.

Its figure was extremely high and stood almost twice as tall as the city gate. It waved its huge claws, and with only one push, it pushed the city wall over. The city underneath was full of terrified screams.

"Can this be the monster that harmed the city!" A disciple moved to pull out his sword subconsciously.

"Don't forget," Fatty spoke to remind them, "that this is a dreamland."

The disciples paused, looking up at the monster in front. Could this monster be fake? But it looked so real. Their faces changed, and for a time, they didn't know whether they should attack it. Yet the monster came closer and closer. It directly pushed down the city wall and bit towards the panicked crowd. They could even smell the blood inside that huge red mouth. The people inside the city were running around in all directions, but there were too many of them that not all could escape. There were a few who fell behind after all.

Therefore, that monster bit down hard, and immediately blood was spilled, and the scene was very shocking. It also sent out seven or eight octopus-like tentacles, tangling around those running away, and threw all of them into its mouth one by one, making gnawing sounds.

The disciples' hands clenched tight, as they struggled to curb their urge to go attacking. Something flashed across Zhi Lin's face, and she suddenly pulled out her sword and said loudly, "I can't bear looking at it anymore. Even if it's an illusion, I can't watch this monster hurting people as it likes."

With that said, she rushed over directly.

"Zhi Lin!" Others moved to stop her, but it was already too late. They watched her flying over on her sword. She called out a strong fire and sent it towards the monster. A pity that her cultivation was too low after all, that she not only failed to do any harm to the monster, she even got entangled in its tentacles. She was almost going to be put into its mouth to be eaten.

"Little Lin!" Jian Xing was shocked. He directly pulled out his sword and rushed over.

The other disciples followed, rushed over and started attacking that monster. Jian Xing even cut off its tentacle and saved Zhi Lin.

Fatty gave the four a look and shook his head. They lacked experience after all.

Under the combined attack of four, the monster gradually lost its ability to fight them. It started making many screams and started fleeing towards the city gate. Of course, they wouldn't let it flee. They chased over together.

Jian Xing even called out a sword array directly. Immediately, a rain of more than a thousand swords fell from the sky and right on top of the monster below, nailing it to the gate of the city instantly.

The monster made out a terrible scream, before its huge body fell to the ground with a bang. The disciples let out a sigh of relief. Yet before they could feel the joy of victory, another familiar roar came from behind them.

Suddenly, behind them, another identical monster appeared, and started climbing into the gap in the city gate slowly.

"What happened?" Everyone looked full of shock. Why would there be more? They had to turn and deal with this one. Yet these monsters seemed to be coming out without an end. Once one was killed, another identical one would appear, as though they were determined to fight with them forever.

Only then did they start to reflect on Fatty's words. Did he stop them just now because he guessed that this would be the case? He turned and looked at the panicked crowd in the city, yet realized that though they were running very hard, none had managed to run out of the city gate, it was as if… they were trapped by something. "Brother, look, what is that?" Zhi Lin suddenly pointed to the corner of the wall and said.

Jian Xing turned to look, and realized that on the crack of the city wall where the monster pushed it over, a bit of red  light shone. It was like the light of some spell. He didn't think much, but waved to form a sword dharma, while  saying  loudly  to others, "There's an array on the city wall. Attack that city gate."

Fatty who was watching down below paled, "Stop!"

Unfortunately, it was already too late. The sword dharma in Jian Xing's hand had already waved towards the city gate. Though those of others was a bit later, they also inclined towards the city gate. With a loud bang, large portions of the city gate collapsed immediately. Instantly, it was like a domino being pushed over: not only the city gates, but also everything inside the city started collapsing. The city which was originally bright and bustling started distorting, as though the whole world was disappearing.

The disciples were shocked. Before they could even figure out the situation around them, they felt a heaviness over their bodies and they fell right down. In the next instant, there was blackness in front of their eyes, and they appeared in an area of flat land outside the city. Around them stood the expressionless crowd who went out of the city just now. Everything was just like when they just exited the city,  as  though  they  had  never seen that bright and bustling city.

Could their souls have escaped the body just now as well? Before they could think about it carefully, the taste of blood rushed into their mouths, and all of them spat out blood. And in the next moment, the crowd around them who was previously standing suddenly started falling down powerlessly. Soon, the bodies laid all over the floor.

The injured disciples looked at one another. What was going out? Yet when they looked up, they saw Fatty with a heavy face.

"This is no good!" Fatty looked up at the sky which was starting to brighten. "Those live souls in the city…" He turned and called out his flying sword.

"Exalted Master, what is this…" The disciples' faces were still completely blank, totally not knowing what just happened. Fatty gave them a stare with some anger, before explaining, "Did you all forget that the souls of all the people had left the body! You directly interrupted the dream, how are they going back to their bodies?" Fatty went up on his sword while saying, "You all stay here and look over their bodies! Don't let that ghost near!"

With that said, he directly turned and flew towards the city.

At this moment in the city, Lonemoon who was watching a certain foodie, waiting for her to wake up, looked up at the sky, and immediately frowned.

He rose and walked into a house next door and looked carefully. Indeed, the live soul lying on the bed started destabilizing, vaguely showing signs of turning into a ghost. Yet his body was still not back. It seemed that it was too late.

Lonemoon's face darkened. The sun was about to come out. He finally went out, made a seal with both hands, and a huge array appeared underneath his feet, covering the whole city instantly. It temporarily suppressed the live souls in the city from dissipating. In the next moment, the sun rose slowly. A certain person who spent the whole night sleeping soundly on the street also opened her eyes. Immediately, she saw the person who sat by her, his face full of resentment.

"Hey, Father Niu, morning!"

"To hell with 'morning'!" Lonemoon rolled his eyes at her directly. "Next time, before you sleep, you had better use a rope to tie yourself to your bed." Even a mere Ghost Qi could carry you away, how deeply were you sleeping!

Chapter 526: Subduing The Ghost

"Huh?" Shen Ying's face was in total confusion. Only then did she realize that she didn't seem to be lying where she slept last night. She blinked blankly. Never mind, she was too lazy to think. It's not important!

Just when Lonemoon was about to give her some scolding, Fatty had already flown back hurriedly. "Master, the people in the city…" Once he touched the ground, he felt the array on the ground, and let out a sigh of relief. Good that Master discovered it first.

"What happened?" Lonemoon gave him a look. "Didn't you all go to catch that trouble-making ghost? Why are the people in the city unable to have their souls return to their bodies?"

"That ghost probably realized danger, so it called out ghost mist and captured all of them into the dream." said Fatty with an embarrassed face. "They unexpectedly broke the dream before time, those people's souls didn't have time to return, so…"

Lonemoon's face  fell.  What  was  this?  Were  they  actually plotting with the ghost?

"Master, we have little time. I've already let them watch over those people's bodies outside the city. Let's allow these people's souls to return to the bodies first!"

"Yup." Lonemoon nodded.

Fatty took out a Calabash Dharma artifact and opened it. He made hand seals while intoning spells. Soon, many live souls were seen to enter the Calabash in the form of flowing light. It took him a whole four hours, before he captured the last bit of live soul and sealed the top of the Calabash.

"Let's go!" Lonemoon went up on his sword. "You too!" He took Shen Ying beside him casually.

Shen Ying, "…" Where was breakfast?

The bodies of the citizens were not far outside the city. From faraway, they saw many people lying on the ground. Three disciples were watching over them at the side. Seeing the three arriving, joy came to their faces and they came forward. "Exalted Master, you are all back."

Fatty glanced over the three. "Where are the others? Why are only three of you here?" Jian Xing, Mushroom and Zhi Lin were actually all gone.

The three faces changed. They exchanged a look among themselves before replying, "Exalted Master, after you left, an evil ghost suddenly ran out. Miss Zhi Lin was caught by it, Uncle-Master Jian Xing and Mushroom both chased after it."

Fatty's face fell. He turned towards Lonemoon, "Master…"

"You stay here and help the people's souls return, Shen Ying and I will go and take a look." said Lonemoon. He grabbed Shen Ying and went off chasing after the aura of Jian  Xing  and others.

The two didn't fly long when they suddenly felt their surroundings become very cold. In the mountain woods in front, large waves Ghost Qi concentrated, taking up the whole mountain top, impenetrable even by sunlight.

Lonemoon frowned. It was… about to ascend to Ghost King?

He flew down directly. Following the weak aura of the three, they came to the entrance of a cave. The entrance had half collapsed, as though somebody had fought here. Looking at the remnant Sword Qi in the surroundings, it was probably Jian Xing.

He drew out a bit of Immortal Qi to cover his whole body and dispel the Ghost Qi of the surroundings. Subconsciously he turned to say, "Shen Ying, the Ghost Qi is too thick here, you…" Before he finished, he turned and realized that all the Ghost Qi around them had stayed far away from her. It was a full two or three meters away, even further than his dispelling with Immortal Qi.

"Huh?" Shen Ying's head tilted.

"… Nothing, let's go inside!" What the f*ck! Apparently with natural dispelling ability, how on earth did she get controlled by Ghost Qi last night?

They walked directly into that cave full of Ghost  Qi.  The Ghost Qi inside was even thicker, but with every step that Lonemoon took, the Ghost Qi around him was dispelled by his Immortal Qi. Though he could directly dispel all the Ghost Qi inside, he thought about the people further in and didn't do so.

The inside of the cave was big and full of crossroads everywhere, like a natural maze. But there was no difficulty for Lonemoon. He swept with his divine perception, and the situation of the whole cave came clear. He walked right in the direction towards the three, with his only concern being the person behind him, who had no sense of direction and would turn the wrong way from time to time.

"Here!"

"Oh."

When Lonemoon dragged back the person who turned wrongly for the ninth time, they were finally in the deepest end of the cave. The Ghost Qi around them was even thicker and mixed with a wave of bloody aura. Vaguely, sounds of fighting and ghost cries came from the front.

"It's right in front!"

Lonemoon's footsteps hastened, turning a big turn. Yet a pool of blood appeared in front of him, on which several skeletons floated. Above the pool of blood, a female ghost whose look was terrifying with rotten meat all over her face was fighting with Jian Xing.

That ghost was already halfway a Ghost King, and no weaker than a Nascent Soul cultivator, yet the Ghost Qi on its body was somewhat weak, as though it was badly injured. Obviously, it was interrupted at an important moment during ascension, therefore suffered from the backlash. Jian Xing at the side also suffered many injuries. There were bloodstains all over him, and there was Ghost Qi around his wounds.

As though noticing that a stronger aura had entered, the ghost panicked and couldn't care much anymore. It released the Ghost Qi all over his body instantly, stopping Jian Xing's attack. Its two claws went downward, sucking the blood in the pool dry. Its original terrifying look started changing back, and in an instant, it turned into a woman of extreme beauty, and the Ghost Qi on her body even became tens of times thicker.

It wanted to ascend forcefully! Jian Xing's hand paused, shaken by the other party's sudden increased suppression. Just as he was about to counter-attack, that Ghost King avoided him directly and rushed over in the direction of Lonemoon and Shen Ying.

"Master!" Jian Xing's face changed. He directly activated spirit qi all over his body and made a sword wave with his entire body's strength. In the next instant, he heard a sharp scream coming from that Ghost King, as it was hit directly. The Ghost Qi around its body dissipated in a moment, and the figure which just formed dissipated like it was broken. Yet in the middle of it, a ray of red light suddenly came out, rushing right in the direction of Shen Ying.

"Careful!" reminded Lonemoon subconsciously, just as he was about to act…

That red light actually stopped. Shen Ying was holding out one hand and grasping it tightly. That red light struggled hard in her hand like a loach, but however hard it tried, it couldn't escape. It could only make a series of loud, screeching sounds.

Alright, he must have been stupid, to worry about a cheat.

"Hmm?" Shen Ying looked at that red light in curiosity and even flipped it left and right. That sharp sound became even louder, as though crying in pain.

"Exalted Master…" Jian Xing, whose strength was depleted, also walked over. His face was completely pale, and he looked like he had been through a hard fight. He looked down at the red light in Shen Ying's hand. "This is the remnant soul of that ghost just now?"

"It should be." Lonemoon nodded.

Jian Xing's eyes darkened, and he said directly, "This ghost has done much harm. In case it recovers, even though it's just a remnant soul, it should be destroyed as soon as possible." Lonemoon frowned and then looked up at him. "It is already a remnant soul, there's no way it can recover. If we keep attacking, its soul will only dissipate into nothingness."

"But…" Jian Xing was stunned. His face was full of confusion, as though he didn't know how to deal with the matter.

Chapter 527: Back from Graduation Examination

Lonemoon took out a dharmic talisman, casted a spell and covered it on Shen Ying's hand. Immediately, that red light slipped into the talisman paper. "Take it back to the mountain, cleanse the baleful Qi on it with spirit qi and just send it into Samsara." With that said, he was just about to keep the talisman, but then he thought about it, and his hand turned to stuff it into Shen Ying's storage bag. The immortal qi on him was too thick, he was afraid that he'd really break the remnant soul if he's not careful. It's still safer to put it on Shen Ying.

"… Yes, Master." Jian Xing nodded. He gave Shen Ying a look and said nothing more.

Yet the ground suddenly started shaking. Without the support from the Ghost Qi of that evil ghost, the mountain started destabilizing.

"It is collapsing here. Let's leave quickly." reminded Lonemoon. "Wait!" Jian Xing turned and said, "There's still Mushroom!" He pointed to the side.

Indeed, Mushroom was lying here, seeming to have fainted. Lonemoon walked up and grabbed her directly. Then he looked around, but saw no other figure. He asked subconsciously, "Where's that sister of yours?" Wasn't she the one said to be caught?

Jian Xing's face whitened and his eyes dimmed immediately. His head bowed down with some sorrow. Lonemoon understood immediately that he came one step too late. For a time, he didn't know what to say. He sighed and lingered no more, but directly waved to set an array, transporting them out.

Before the four returned to the place just now, they already saw Fatty and others who rushed towards them.

"Master, is that ghost dealt with?" Fatty hastened his footsteps and walked over, yet he saw the person he was grabbing immediately. "Mushroom! What's up with her?" Fatty hurried to take the person into his arms and started checking carefully. "She was injured by that ghost and fainted." Lonemoon explained casually. "That ghost was very good at soul summoning, her primordial spirit might be unstable."

Fatty's face changed. He hurried to take Mushroom's hand and sent a bit of immortal qi inside. Indeed, the primordial spirit showed the tendency to leave the body at any moment. He hurried to help her stabilize the primordial spirit.

Lonemoon actually turned to Jian Xing at the back, took out a recovering elixir and said, "You are also hurt rather badly. Eat the elixir and adjust your breathing right here for a while."

"Thank you so much, Master!" Jian Xing took the elixir and ate it. Instantly, the wounds on him began to heal.

The other disciples looked behind them, and discovering that one person was missing, they couldn't help but say, "Uncle- Master Jian Xing, where is Miss Zhi Lin? Why didn't she come back with your party?"

The figure of Jian Xing who just sat down swayed a little. His hands tightened by his body. After a long while, he finally said in a low voice, "I… didn't reach in time. She was killed by that ghost."

Everyone's faces paled together, and they started sighing and sobbing. Especially the disciple who just spoke, he didn't know what to do at all. Though Zhi Lin was also chased out of the sect, she used to cultivate together with them after all. Though she made mistakes on the way, it was not worth a death. There was a bit of friendship after all, especially with her being the younger sister of Jian Xing.

Jian Xing worked harder in cultivation than others partly because of this younger sister as well. So long as he finished his studies and went down the mountain, there would eventually be a day of reunion. A pity that… life is unpredictable.

The scene silenced down, and nobody knew how to comfort him.

Lonemoon also sighed, and said in a low voice, "The matter of the ghost this time is so troublesome because of your misjudgment. Not only did you fail to identify the source of the problem in the beginning, you even broke the dreamland before time, making all the souls in the city unable to return to their bodies."

He glanced over these disciples, he had to say that they really lacked experience. "If not for me and Fatty stabilizing those live souls temporarily, I'm afraid it would cost the lives of all the people in this city."

Everyone bowed their heads low in guilt. It was indeed their fault. They thought that something that could affect a whole city must be the likes of a large demon beast, but nobody thought that it was actually a ghost, that's why they almost brought harm onto the people of a city.

"After this matter, all of you have to know that even the best cultivator is not omnipotent, and even the most capable can fall miserably in a very easy task. Never be arrogant and forget why you began this journey." At first, this matter was very easy to solve. They didn't need to wait till dark at all, but only needed to follow the Ghost Qi, find the ghost and kill it. Furthermore, Yang Qi is stronger during the day, and the ghost was easier to deal with than at night. Yet none of them noticed this. They didn't even notice the Ghost Qi in the city. He had to say that Fatty and him were rather disappointed. "Yes, Exalted Master!" All the disciples replied together.

Lonemoon said no more, as everyone was injured after all. Earlier, they were forcefully captured into dreamland, and repelled out of it after they broke the dreamland before time, so all of them suffered injuries of various degrees, besides Fatty who had prior preparation.

He thought about it and produced the other two paper slips asking for help. He gave everyone another look before ordering, "Fatty, you take Mushroom and Jian Xing back to the sect to rest first. The three of them will deal with these two following places."

Fatty looked at Jian Xing, severely injured, and then at Mushroom, still unconscious in his arms, and nodded. "Yes, Master."

Jian Xing had also recovered some of his essence qi. He stood up.

Fatty finally took out a Dharma artifact, took the two and flew off.

In the following days, Lonemoon was in no hurry. Bringing the three disciples and dragging Shen Ying who wanted to be idle at any moment, he flew towards the other two places. If they came by other problems on the way, they'd also solve them on the way.

Surprisingly, they actually met other cultivators on the way, only that their cultivation was low in general, mostly at first or second level of Qi Refinement. Lonemoon thought it must be because the treasures he spread out earlier had already been picked up by some people, and they started cultivating.

At a small town, they even met a cultivator who had recently achieved Foundation Establishment. He led a group of people at first or second level of Qi Refinement, and were about to deal with a fourth-level demon beast. They helped him out casually. After asking, they were informed that that Foundation Establishment cultivator found a book several years ago and tried to cultivate, but he didn't expect it to actually work, so he spread the news. Right now, everyone in that town had started cultivating. Lonemoon expressed great satisfaction with the results of the treasures spreading. Only that for anyone without guidance, their cultivation was much more difficult.

They went all the way following the addresses on the paper slips. This time, they met no great trouble, but only two low- level demon beasts who were making trouble. The three disciples dealt with them very easily, and no further problems ensued.

But the mental state of the three still showed obvious changes from before. That distinct pride on them was reduced, and they were more discreet when faced with danger.

It was three months later when they finished all three tasks and returned to the sect. Once they entered the gate, a wind carrying sword qi blew over instantly, and then stopped abruptly in front of Shen Ying.

"Master!" A familiar voice sounded instantly, full of joy and longing. "Hey, Chef!" Shen Ying waved a hand in greeting. "You're back." I have supper again!

Chapter 528: Something Wrong with Mushroom

"Master…" Chef looked at the person in front of him closely. His heart and his eyes were full of her figure. His hands tightened and then loosened beside his body many times, as though he wanted to do something but couldn't do it out of some concerns. Only his look became more focused, and something soft and gentle seemed to slowly flow out of those eyes.

Lonemoon, "…"

"Alright, go and rest, everyone." He waved at the three disciples behind him.

The three finally saluted and walked away rapidly following Lonemoon. But their eyes couldn't help but drift back frequently towards the two by the mountain gate. The disciples seldom went to the back palace, and Yi Qing had been away from the sect for many years, so they didn't know his relation to Shen Ying, and they couldn't help but get somewhat confused. Did they hear it wrongly? Just now, they heard  Exalted Master Yi Qing call Exalted Master Shen 'Master'? But looking at the way they were, they didn't seem like master and disciple?

Chef didn't move for the whole time. When others had left, he finally looked unable to hold back himself anymore. He reached out and held the person in front of him so tightly that there was no gap at all. Warm air followed his deep voice into the bottom of her ears, mingled with a bit of grievance.

"Master…"

"Hmm."

"Master…"

"Yeah."

"Master…" "What?"

He just kept calling her, as though he could never get bored with it. Only that each one was lower than the previous.

"Master…"

"Huh?"

"Master…"

"You making up the number of words?" Shen Ying's head tilted.

Chef's figure was stunned for an instant and then he held her even more tightly. He finally moved on to another sentence, albeit with an even greater sense of grievance. "Master… I missed you… very… very much!" Shen Ying stopped for a long moment, before she reached out and hugged him back. Her face somehow felt hot. Oops, even a wily old fox can get picked up by such straightforward words! So she couldn't help but reply, "Me too."

Chef was stunned. On the face that always lacked expression, the corners of the mouth began to rise uncontrollably. He buried his head into the hair behind her back, and then held her even tighter.

He just held her for a long time, until Shen Ying felt her hands a bit tired.

"Chef!"

"Hmm."

"Can you cook now?"

"…" As the saying goes, a man can't forget his duty, neither can a Chef.

—————

Chef was back, so Shen Ying finally returned to the happy life as a rice worm, eating five meals a day. Perhaps because she had been limited by Father Niu to three meals a day for too long, Shen Ying actually felt a bit too full.

Therefore, she went out for a walk on a rare occasion. This walk was actually supposed to be at back mountain, but she ended up in front palace. Four disciples were practicing spells at the training yard. After going out, the disciples taught by Fatty all achieved improvements in their cultivation. One of them even broke into late-stage Golden Core immediately. This was probably mainly attributed to the improvement on his state of mind.

Only Jian Xing's cultivation didn't improve much, because his injuries were rather severe. He spent months being cared for in the sect, and he had recovered right now. He still had the highest cultivation among the four. Besides, he had learned all the sword techniques Father Niu taught him. There were already signs of sword intent being formed.

A few days ago, Father Niu was heard bragging in front of Chef, saying that he should be the first one to go down the mountain among the four. With the cultivation of Nascent Soul, founding a sect shouldn't be a problem.

In fact, Father Niu already had thoughts of letting him go down the mountain when they went out for experiential training last time, only that he happened to suffer severe injuries and came back to be treated. But the difference was only a matter of days. After Lonemoon's further testing, he would be let down the mountain. The first immortal cultivation sect of this plane was to be a sword cultivators' sect. These days, Father Niu often came over to show off from time to time, like he had finally achieved some great wish of his life.

Shen Ying gave the disciples a look, not paying them much attention. Just when she was about to slip back, she found a familiar figure sitting beside the training yard, staring intently at the four who were training. She hesitated for a moment, and then turned and walked over.

"Mushroom." She called out, but the other didn't respond. She had to walk a few steps closer and sit down right beside her, "Is this interesting to watch?"

"Huh?!" Mushroom was shocked. She turned and gave her a look, stiffened for a brief moment before smiling. "Shen Ying, why are you here?"

"I just walked randomly and came by here." It was absolutely not because she got lost without her. She replied casually, "Why aren't you growing mushrooms at back mountain?" She had no one to lead the way now.

"Hui Ze said there is no need to grow mushrooms any more, so I stopped."

Shen Ying's movement of eating pastry paused. She turned and gave her a look. After a long while, she replied slowly, "Oh." She looked down at the small bench she was sitting on and continued to ask, "Your injuries are all healed?"

"Yup." She nodded hard. "Hui Ze cured me. It's already alright now. Look!" With that said, she opened her hand and showed her, her face all innocent.

Shen Ying's head tilted. She took her hand and really looked. "How long has it been since it was cured?"

"It only took one month." She smiled even more happily. "Before you all came back, I'm all cured."

"Oh." Shen Ying's eyes narrowed. She clapped off the pastry scraps on her hands, opened a bag, pulled out a red fruit and handed it over, "Wanna eat?"

Mushroom's eyes brightened, and she nodded like a chick eating grains, "Yup!" With that said, she nodded while taking it. She held the fruit with both hands and started biting it.

She finished a whole fruit very rapidly, and then turned back to look at her with shining eyes, and said sweetly, "Thank you."

Yet Shen Ying's eyes darkened instantly, and all the lazy aura about her body disappeared. "You answered wrongly!" "Huh?" Mushroom was stunned.

In the next moment, Shen Ying suddenly reached out and grabbed her neck. "You forgot to call me a good person!"

"You…" Before she could speak, her whole person was lifted up single-handedly by her. A terrifying aura rushed towards her instantly like a huge tide. The grip was apparently not very tight, but she felt unable to breathe. A boundless horror swept over her, and in a moment, it was as if only one word remained in her mind: death!

Into her ears came her voice, speaking word by word, "Speak!
Where is Mushroom?"

"What are you doing?" Before the other could answer, those practicing disciples had already closed in. The one rushing in front was Jian Xing, his hand still holding on to the sword used for practicing.

"What… What are you doing?" Jian Xing gave Shen Ying a look and then looked towards the person in her hand with concern. Vaguely there was some anxiety in his voice. "You should quickly let Miss Mushroom go."

Other disciples also spoke.

"Exalted Master, what are you…"

"Exalted Master, Mushroom's injuries have only just healed, if she really offended you in some way, please don't haggle about it."

"Yes, Exalted Master. Although Mushroom is a demon, she is a good one. Can you let her go first?"

Chapter 529: Possession

Shen Ying did not even spare them a glance. Her expression fell slightly and she spoke slowly, "I'm asking you again - where is Mushroom?"

The disciples paused. What did she mean? Wasn't she holding onto Mushroom?

Jian Xing, who was standing by the side, could take it no longer. He pulled out his sword and attacked. "Exalted Master, I'm sorry!"

He lifted up his sword and waved it at the mushroom Shen Ying was holding. His sword was inches away from her palm. Suddenly, another gust of sword Qi charged forward, breaking Jian Xing's move. The impact caused him to fly and crash into the ground with a loud bang.

The next moment, Yi Qing appeared. He stood beside Shen Ying. It was obvious where that gust of sword Qi came from. Lonemoon's voice came from behind them. "What are you doing?"

"Master, are you alright?" Yi Qing scanned Shen Ying from head to toe anxiously. Seeing that she was uninjured, he turned to face the person on the ground.

Overwhelming sword Qi filled the atmosphere and covered the skies, surging toward Jian Xing. The entire arena began to crack open. Jian Xing felt an immense pressure pressing him against the ground. His meridians began to split open, and he was covered in his own blood in no time. Even the other three disciples were kneeling over and coughing up blood. Their primordial spirits were being torn apart.

"Chef, calm down!" Lonemoon shouted, trying to pull back the raging Yi Qing.

Yi Qing did not react until Shen Ying shouted, "Chef!"

He retracted his sword Qi immediately. Everybody relaxed. Only a couple of seconds passed, yet they felt like they had a near-death experience. They were all clearly shaken. What kind of sword Qi was that? It was so formidable

"Fatty, go and check on him!" Lonemoon instructed Fatty. Fatty ran to the middle of the arena and helped the blood- covered Jian Xing up. He shoved a pill into his mouth and used his own immortal QI to help heal Jian Xing's meridians. If Yi Qing delayed retracting his sword Qi for just one second, JIan Xing would have been permanently paralysed.

"Senior Brother…" Jiang Xing opened his eyes wide and stared at Fatty. He was finally regaining consciousness. Yi Qing watched on, with the sword Qi in his body threatening to burst forward once again.

"Chef, wait. Clarify what just happened first." Lonemoon quickly pulled Chef back and turned to Jian  Xing.  His expression darkened. "What exactly happened? How can you use your sword against Shen Ying?"

Jian Xing pressed onto his chest and turned to face Shen Ying. He looked panicked. Awhile later, he said, "She… wanted to kill Mushroom." Lonemoon turned back and saw that the person Shen Ying was holding onto was Mushroom. Mushroom's face was drained of all color. She looked like she had been strangled.

"Mushroom…" Fatty shoved Jian Xing aside in a panic and walked briskly over to Shen Ying.

"Shen Ying?" Lonemoon hesitated. Why was this happening all of a sudden? Didn't she like Mushroom? She liked Mushroom so much that she was even willing to share her fruits with her.

However, Shen Ying made no response to Jian Xing's accusation. She just stared at the person in her hands and asked, "Where did you hide Mushroom?"

"What are you talking about? What hide-" Lonemoon stopped himself mid-sentence, finally understanding something. His eyes widened. Conjuring a seal, he tapped on Mushroom's forehead.

A moment later, a translucent soul jumped out of Mushroom's body. The soul was wearing the exact same clothes, but the soul's face was not Mushroom's. Instead, it was another familiar face.

"Zhi Lin!" The three disciples shouted in unison.

Even Lonemoon was shocked. Since when did Mushroom become possessed? They did not notice any signs of possession on Mushroom's body before.

"She's Zhi Lin. Where's Mushroom?" Fatty asked, confused. He was the one who healed Mushroom before, but he had not noticed that anything was different.

Zhi Lin panicked. She turned around to fly away, but Shen Ying let go of Mushroom's body and grabbed the translucent body instead, using the same hand at that. "You're still  not going to talk?"

Shen Ying tightened her grip. The soul in her hand began showing signs of cracking. "Ah…" Zhi Ling felt a sharp pain shooting throughout her body. She let out a piercing wail, "No, no… It's been eaten by evil ghosts… I didn't kill her! Don't kill me…"

"No!" Jian Xing shouted. "She didn't do that on purpose.
Please don't hurt her!"

Lonemoon's expression darkened. He turned to face  Jian Xing. "You knew about this from the beginning!"

"I…" Jian Xing's face drained of color. A moment later, he said in a low voice, "That day, the evil ghosts caught them both at the same time. By the time I arrived, Mushroom's soul had been devoured." He raised his head to glance at Zhi Lin's soul, which was still being held onto by Shen Ying. He continued, "I saved Little Lin's soul and realized that her body had also been devoured. All I could do was lead her soul into Mushroom's body."

He struggled to get on his knees. Facing Lonemoon, he said, "Master, your disciple did this in a moment of desperation to save a life. I was afraid… you would develop a misunderstanding toward Zhi Lin. That's why I didn't say anything. Please forgive me, Master." Lonemoon frowned. Possession was no small matter, but given the circumstances he found himself in, he really had no other choice but to possess Mushroom's body. Otherwise, Jian Xing might not have been able to save either one of them. Even Lonemoon did not dare say that he did the wrong thing.

However…

"Is that so?" Shen Ying suddenly said, her gaze cool. "Is Mushroom really dead?"

All of them paused. What did she mean?

Shen Ying suddenly raised her other hand and reached out toward Zhi Lin's forehead.

"What are you doing? Stop it!" Zhi Lin screamed. She struggled, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not escape from Shen Ying's grip. The next moment, a piercing pain shot through her body - even more tortuous than the attack before. Earlier, she felt her soul cracking apart, but this time, it felt like someone was ripping her into pieces. Shen Ying was indeed tearing her soul into pieces. She grabbed one side of Zhi Lin's soul in each hand and tore it.

"Ah… Save me, save me… Brother!"

"Little Lin!" Jian Xing tried his best to get up and run toward them, but he had no energy to even get to his feet. All he could do was watch as Shen Ying ruthlessly tore Zhi Lin's soul into pieces.

The translucent body was becoming more and more see- through by the second. There were now two souls. One half looked like Zhi Lin, but the other…

"Mushroom!" Fatty shouted.

Everyone present, including Jian Xing, looked on in disbelief. How could this be? Why was Mushroom's soul connected to Zhi Lin?

Fatty stepped forward and took hold of the almost transparent soul in Shen Ying's right hand. He called out, but there was no response. "How did this happen?"

"She lost her primary soul. This is only a part of her soul," Lonemoon explained. He figured it out with just one look at Mushroom's soul. A soul without the primary soul had no sentience. That was why Zhi Lin's portion of the soul was not reacting.

Chapter 530: Zhi Lin's Death

Lonemoon turned to look at the still screaming Zhi Lin in Shen Ying's hand. "You swallowed a part of Mushroom's soul on purpose!" That part of Mushroom's soul might still have contained some of her memories. That was probably why Zhi Lin could disguise herself as her for so long, so that even Fatty could not tell that she was not Mushroom. This was also probably why Lonemoon was not able to tell that Zhi Lin was possessed. "Mushroom was not devoured by an evil spirit - you were the one who attacked her!"

"No… I don't know, I don't know!" Zhi Lin struggled and shouted. They could no longer tell if she was writhing in pain at being literally torn apart, or writhing in guilt after being exposed. She began to stutter helplessly, "I just wanted to come back. I just wanted to come back!"

Everyone's expressions turned dark as they looked on in disbelief at Zhi Lin. She possessed Mushroom's body on purpose. That meant that there were many other "coincidences" that could be better explained, including the fact that her soul remained on this earth without her body. They began to think back to everything they had experienced thus far. They could not help but think of the fact that she had been at the bottom of the mountain the entire time. Quhuang City was not far away, perhaps from the beginning she… Suddenly, a wave of shock spread throughout the group.

Even Jian Xing turned pale. He looked absolutely shocked.

Lonemoon lowered his gaze. He raised his hand and dissipated the remaining life hovering around Zhi Lin's soul. Her translucent soul slowly turned black. That was… ghost Qi!

She was no longer a living soul - she was a true ghost now. He prepared a Reincarnation Array and turned to Shen Ying. "Send her to Samsara."

Shen Ying frowned. She tightened her grip and a loud crack was heard. A few cracks appeared on the soul in her hands. Then, Shen Ying tossed the soul into the Reincarnation Array. Since Zhi Lin swallowed a part of Mushroom's soul, she must have been missing a part of her own soul as well. Now that Shen Ying had torn Mushroom's soul away from Zhi Lin's, Zhi Lin's soul was no longer whole. What's more, it was cracked. Even if she entered Samsara, she would never be born complete again. She would always be missing something. Lonemoon sighed. She turned to the part of Mushroom's soul that was beside Fatty. She was more pitiful. All that was left of her was this small part of her soul. Lonemoon could only guess how many times she would have to go through Samsara in order to have a chance to be reborn. After all, even her primary soul had been swallowed by the evil ghost…

Wait a moment!

Evil ghost?

Lonemoon paused, suddenly recalling something. "Shen Ying, where was the remnant soul from the evil ghost earlier?"

Shen Ying stared blankly at Lonemoon. A moment later, she said, "Oh, here!" She retrieved the amulet she got earlier from her storage bag and broke it, setting the remnant soul free. A ball of red light floated out from the amulet and formed a perfect sphere which emanated ghost Qi. In just a few months, the remnant soul had grown. The strange thing was this remnant soul did not take this chance to try and escape. Instead, it remained obediently in front of Shen Ying. Lonemoon watched on and found that the remnant soul was covered in the baleful Qi of evil spirits. There was no hint of Mushroom's aura at all. Could he be mistaken?

Just as he was pondering this, Shen Ying flicked her wrist and tossed the red sphere in front of Yi Qing. "Chef, fire!"

"Yes, Master!" Without any hesitation, Yi Qing flicked  his wrist and conjured the True Phoenix Fire. The flames of the True Phoenix Fire surrounding the remnant soul so that all the baleful Qi disappeared. Even the ghost Qi was wiped out. Yi Qing retracted the fire to reveal that the originally red remnant soul had turned back into white, and it was slowly taking on human form.

"Mushroom!" Fatty shouted joyfully. He was the first to recognize Mushroom.

Nobody would have guessed that the evil spirit's remnant soul contained Mushroom's primary soul. Lonemoon heaved a sigh of relief. It was no wonder that the remnant soul of the evil spirit rushed toward Shen Ying after the evil ghost died. So it had not been trying to escape - it was Mushroom's primary soul rushing to Shen Ying for help. He immediately joined Mushroom's primary soul to the remnant soul in Fatty's hand. Then, he returned the combined souls to Mushroom's body. A moment later, Mushroom opened her eyes and looked at Fatty, confused. "Hui Ze?" As if recalling something, Mushroom became frightened.

"You're alright now, you're alright now!" Fatty comforted her. He activated a bit of his immortal Qi and sent it into her body. Shortly after, she quieted down. Her eyelids became heavy and she slowly drifted back into unconsciousness. Although her primary soul was back, she had lost many other parts of her soul. It was not easy for her to regain consciousness for just those few seconds. But as long as her primary soul was back in her body, Mushroom would be able to recover the other parts of her soul.

Lonemoon glanced at Mushroom, then turned back to face Jian Xing, who was still in the arena. His expression darkened once again as he walked over to him.

"Mas… ter." Jian Xing's expression was complicated. He had not seemed to come to terms with what he had just witnessed. There was confusion, helplessness and desperation in his eyes. "Jian Xing, do you recognize your mistake?" Lonemoon looked at Jian Xing disappointedly. In all these years, Jian Xing was the disciple Lonemoon had spent the most effort on. He may not have been the most outstanding disciple, but Lonemoon had the highest hopes for him. Because of the high hopes Lonemoon had in him, the disappointment he was feeling was high as well.

"Master…" Jian Xing became more and more panicked. "Please forgive me, Master. I didn't know that Little Lin… would do something like that."

The other three disciples got on their knees and began to plead on Jian Xing's behalf.

"Exalted Master, Uncle-Master Jian Xing was Zhi Lin's older brother, but he had no idea what she did. He's considered innocent as well."

"That's right, Exalted Master. He should not be blamed if he had no idea." Zhi Lin was not like that before. Nobody would have guessed that she would possess Mushroom on purpose." "Exalted Master, he slipped up once but please forgive him just this once on account of the fact that he was wholeheartedly committed to defeating that evil ghost."

Even Fatty frowned and added, "Master, since Zhi Lin has been dealt with, Mushroom has already gotten the justice she deserves." Jian Xing was the only sword cultivator whom Lonemoon had spent so much effort to train after all. What's more, he was now so close to descending the mountain to establish his own sect by now. Fatty was angry about what happened with Mushroom as well, but he had no heart to watch all of Lonemoon's efforts go down the drain.

Lonemoon's expression was very dark by now. He gripped his fan tightly by his side. Taking a deep breath in, he turned to face Shen Ying and Chef. "What do you think?"

Chef said nothing. It was obvious from his expression that he was still angry. He was not too concerned about Mushroom, but in Yi Qing's eyes, anyone who dared to attack Shen Ying should be killed.

Shen Ying, on the other hand, raised her head to look at Lonemoon. A moment later, she replied, "You can decide. Don't listen to anyone else's opinion, including mine."

Lonemoon hesitated. His expression softened as he turned to the person on the ground. He emphasized on each word as he said, "Jian Xing, apart from helping Zhi Lin to possess Mushroom, did you really have nothing to do with her scheme?"

Jian Xing hesitated. Then, he nodded and said, "Your disciple really knew nothing about it all!"

"Jian Xing…" Lonemoon took in a deep breath and sighed deeply. There seemed to be something he could not let go. "You've really disappointed me!"

Jian Xing began to panic. He could not shake off the feeling that he had just lost something very important. Immediately, he reached out for Lonemoon's sleeve. "Master…"

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