Estranged - Chapter 73

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When Xu Jingxian heard about the heavenly stonefall on the Zhehe Mountain, she was interested as well.

After all, which cultivator disliked the idea of getting treasures and immortal tools? Of course, the more you have, the better.

But Changming was not all that interested. He wanted to investigate what was going on in You Capital first. They agreed to meet at the foot of the Wanlian Buddhist Temple’s mountain on the fifteenth of the seventh month.

Originally, Xu Jingxian was going to follow Changming, but Yun Weisi took the initiative and told her to follow him.

“Do you know why I told you to go with me?”

When she heard Yun Weisi’s question, she froze.

Because my beauty filled you with wanton lust?

No-no, if I answer this way, I’m afraid I won’t be able to retain my life.

Although she was now firmly holding onto the master realm, Xu Jingxian knew for sure that Yun Weisi was way stronger than her. So, in front of him, she behaved earnestly, did not dare to be rude, and had already been pretending to be timid for a long time.

“Perhaps because I’m good at understanding others, follow your every request and work for you sincerely?”

She corrected her words to sound tactful, but still thought to herself, I’m so exceptional that nothing at all can cover my splendor, and even Yun Weisi noticed it.

Yun Weisi: “Because you ate some Yangzhen Grass.”

Xu Jingxian was lost for a moment. She could not find a connection between these two facts.

Yun Weisi frowned at her ignorance, but he had to explain more because of their trip’s aim.

“Spiritual herbs are divided into following categories: divine, immortal, high, middle and low; the Yangzhen Grass you ate is not a top-notch divine herb, but it still could be ranked as an immortal one. Herbs that are better than those of the high category have a sort of connection. Now, you’ve fused with the Yangzhen Grass. Although the reaction will be weak, if a high-rank herb appears, you’ll probably feel it.”

Xu Jingxian: …

That is to say, she was a treasure to detect spiritual herbs now?

Yun Weisi did not hear her answer, so he turned around and looked at her.

“Do you feel anything?”

Xu Jingxian quickly showed a bright smile: “We are still far away now, near the foot of the mountain, so I don’t feel anything.”

Yun Weisi hummed: “Be attentive on the way.”

The corners of Xu Jingxian’s mouth twitched, but she did not dare say anything.

She endured and endured, but could not help saying in the end: “Daozun Yun, with your current cultivation base, even if it’s a divine herb, it’ll have little effect.”

Yun Weisi: “Shizun needs it.”

Xu Jingxian understood him.

She vaguely knew that Changming’s cultivation was blocked, having stopped at a bottleneck with no chance for him to advance. Although, in Xu Jingxian’s opinion, Changming’s current level of cultivation was enough for him to run amok and act wilfully. Obviously, this person, who used to be the first master of the world, would not be satisfied with stalling like this at all. He wanted to achieve more, challenging even the height he had already scaled once.

Yun Weisi wanted to help him.

However, spiritual herbs can be stumbled upon, but cannot be found on purpose. After Xu Jingxian had treaded the path of cultivation, she had only gotten one Yangzhen Grass, going through mortal dangers in the Nine Layers of the Abyss for a chance to get it. Surely, there were many spiritual herbs and magic grasses in the world, but the world was vast, and those who did not have high chances would never obtain them. Many people could not even find a high-rank herb throughout their whole lives, let alone immortal or divine ones.

Mount Zhehe was very unusual. The serpentine paths wiggling through the mountain were hardly discernible, and it was said that even the local people did not dare go up the mountain thoughtlessly. Woodcutters and hunters losing their way and going missing on the mountain was not a rare occasion. Many had seen the mysterious light taking form around here this time, but few common people were actually reckless enough to risk their lives on the mountain, so the two of them rarely encountered people on their way. Halfway up the mountain, a whirl of qi rushed at them. Yun Weisi raised his sleeve, and his spiritual power blocked the whirl, raising up sand and moving rocks, so they could no longer see the scene in front of them.

A stone bridge halfway up the mountain stretched over a natural chasm, connecting two peaks. Clouds and mists were curling underneath, and the deep-blue lively sky was above them, like the upturned surface of a lake whose waters could rush down at them any moment.

“This the Boiling Soil and Concealing Sky?” Xu Jingxian ah-ed.

Sure enough, it was breathtaking scenery.

Two people were fighting above the bridge.

One sword rose and one knife fell, white and purple mixed together. It was hard to tell the winner in the battle of the sword glow and the knife qi. But, looking at the brilliant sky, at the boundless navy sea, with the atmosphere of raw violence created by the two, one would feel that they were spoiling the scenery.

Xu Jingxian observed their fight for a moment and quickly understood their cultivation levels.

They should have been at least high-rankers, close to the master level. Their battle was ruthless, and, of course, very exciting.

The other peak had around three or four people. Probably, they were onlookers, just like Xu Jingxian and Yun Weisi.

Better to say, they were cultivators waiting for a chance to take advantage of the others’ mistakes.

Amidst the sea of fog at the bottom of the chasm, they could faintly discern a soft glow, neither blue nor purple. Occasionally, a limpid sparkling crystal would come into sight.

“That is…”

Xu Jingxian was looking at it carefully for a long time, but could only tell that it resembled a stone.

“The miraculous stone shower?”

Yun Weisi said: “The five-colored miraculous stones are an essential material for forging divine weapons.”

Back then, to forge his Sifei Sword, Changming had searched through the three mountains and five lakes, through every marvellous place in the world, but in the end still did not manage to find the five-colored miraculous stones and had to use other materials.

The three mountains: Penglai, Fangzhang, and Yingzhou—the mountain where immortals were said to live

The five lakes: fig. every corner of the country. Literal interpretations vary

No wonder those two cultivators were determined to fight until their heads were broken and blood started to gush out.

Naturally, Xu Jingxian’s eyes were shining as well, and she was eager to start causing trouble.

But Yun Weisi was not very interested in the five-colored stones. His attention was geared to the Spring Grass growing around the five-colored stone.

It was said that within five li of this grass, even if it was a snowy land with frozen skies, the earth would immediately bloom in all kinds of flowers, grasses growing tall and orioles flying.

Grasses growing tall and orioles flying: the arrival of spring

“Have you felt anything?” he asked Xu Jingxian.

Xu Jingxian hesitated: “I’m a bit hungry, does it count?”

Yun Weisi: …

Under his penetrating gaze, brimming with threatening intentions, Xu Jingxian forced herself to close her eyes and search for the so-called reaction in her body. But she only felt the crisp mountain wind assault her senses, and the spiritual power and steam coming from the battle of the two cultivators.

After all, what was a reaction between spiritual herbs?

It was something deeply mysterious and abstruse, wonderful beyond words.

Xu Jingxian thought, I’m not a walking Yangzhen Grass, how am I supposed to feel the presence of another herb?

She closed her eyes, pretending to be serious, and started coming up with an excuse to gloss over her faults. But suddenly something happened to the fighting cultivators!

The sword glow of one of those cultivators darkened, and he fell into a disadvantageous position. His opponent took advantage of the opportunity, using his spiritual powers to tie the other man up. But at this moment, a cultivator who was watching the battle engaged in it as well!

He gestured towards them, and his sword glow flew towards the back of the cultivator who had gained the advantage.

It was precisely the siskin behind the mantis stalking the cicada!

The siskin behind the mantis stalking the cicada: gain profit from others’ conflict

In a split second, a sword qi flew over, and the two fighting cultivators fell down. The one who attacked them rushed towards the sparkles in the clouds.

Although it was said that sneak attacks were disgraceful, killing people to get a hold of a treasure was a normal behaviour among cultivators. The minority who were firmly standing by their gentlemanly manners could not change the opinion of the majority driven by their inborn greed. Xu Jingxian was pretty much used to seeing such situations.

She was watching it whole-heartedly, and had no intention to get involved in the game. But Yun Weisi moved, throwing himself towards the glittering light!

Xu Jingxian: …

To follow, or not to follow?

A strong gust of wind came from behind, and, just when that person was about to mount a sneak attack, Xu Jingxian made a decision.

She turned around, threw her thin silk forwards, and realized that the one plotting against her turned out to be a Buddhist monk.

Although he was a monk, he had not shaved, and let his long black hair down; he looked very elegant, and was holding a buddhist cane, and wearing prayer beads on his neck.

That Buddhist monk appeared to be in his twenties or thirties, but one often could not guess a cultivator’s age from their appearance. He was not smiling, but the corners of his lips were curled up naturally, so it seemed like he was always smiling. He rushed at Xu Jingxian again. His expression was inexplicably profound, as if even a thousand mountains and countless seas could not describe it. But Xu Jingxian was not stunned by the beauty at the slightest, on the contrary, she was dreadfully scared!

It was the innate intuition of a cultivator telling Xu Jingxian that this man was extremely dangerous!

At this moment of an imminent peril, Xu Jingxian chose to follow Yun Weisi at lightning speed!

If the sky is falling, there would be a high person to support it. Yun Weisi should be stronger than this Buddhist monk, right?

If the sky is falling, there would be a high person to support it: to hope that someone stronger would help you

Zhang Jie could not move a single finger.

Even in his wildest dreams he would have never imagined himself to be dragged into a posthumous marriage.

He was sitting in a bridal dress and crown in a large red bridal sedan chair. Outside, suonas resounded up to the sky. The sedan was shaking, and he could vaguely see an endless procession greeting the bride through seams. He could not see the end of it, so it was stretching for at least a couple of li.

The song played on the suonas was obviously full of joy, but it sounded weirdly bleak for some reason. The people outside the sedan chair were all dressed in white clothing, their movements stiff. They did not resemble living humans at all.

White clothing: funeral clothes

Moreover, even if it’s a posthumous marriage, why was he sitting in a bridal palanquin?!

A hideous mess of thoughts was swirling in his head, and Zhang Jie soon broke down.

His bridesmaid seemed to have noticed his mood, so she approached him.

“Don’t worry, don’t worry, it’ll be fine soon, you’ll see your husband in no time—”

Even her intonation was slow, like stretching noodles, soft and inflexible.

What’s with that “see your husband”, I’m a man ah! Haven’t you caught the wrong person?!

Zhang Jie wanted to shout, but could not make a sound. He started sweating from his head to his feet, shaking along with the palanquin. They seemed to be passing through an uneven mountain slope.

After some time, the sedan chair finally stopped. He thought, at least I can leave this cursed palanquin. But, after the sound of suonas died down, the voice of the bridesmaid disappeared as well. Silence had enveloped the whole place, and it was so quiet that all kinds of frightening fantasies would be born in a human’s heart.

Zhang Jie recited an incantation to free himself from the predicament, but to no avail. His weapon was taken away at some point, so he really turned into a helpless prey.

Xisuo, xisuo. 

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He heard a strange sound, as if something was moving towards the palanquin.

The curtain door was lifted open, and light was let into the palanquin.

But it was not the light of the bright sun in the daytime. Rather, it was the light of many lanterns brought together.

The red lanterns were hanging all around, both close and far away, curving all the way to the sedan chair.

“Madam, get out of the palanquin, your husband is waiting for you!”

Shackles had wrapped Zhang Jie tightly, forcing him to get up and step forwards against his will.

I’m not some “madam”, you mistook me for someone!

Zhang Jie was so mad that his three immortal souls had almost left his body, but not a single word escaped his lips. His expression was twisted.

The bridesmaid was still babbling by his side: “Madam, cheer up, smile! You won’t find our master even if you search with a lantern!”

Won’t find [someone like] him even if you search with a lantern: outstanding, here: eligible groom

Aren’t there an awful lot of lanterns here? Why don’t we try searching?

Zhang Jie was so angry that he laughed.

He could vaguely see the figure of a person standing in front of them in the dense fog.

He trembled, staring into the distance.

That person was tall, dressed in black robes. He was standing with his arms folded behind his back, and Zhang Jie could not see his face clearly. But the ghost qi coming from him was so thick that it had turned into substance.

Ghost qi…?

Zhang Jie had killed ghosts before.

As a cultivator, he could not have had a limited knowledge. He had visited many places before, and had seen a lot of demons and ghosts.

But he had never seen a ghost with such a strong aura of oppression.

That heavy ghastly qi was pressing relentlessly, and it was impossible to get rid of it or run away.

This person—

No, it was not a person.

Zhang Jie was ineffably terrified, but the shackles were pulling him forward step by step against his will, and he was getting closer to that man.

His whole body rejected closing the distance, and a voice in his head was shouting ceaselessly, warning, danger, don’t make a step closer. But Zhang Jie had no chance to free himself. His spiritual power seemed to have been lost in this place, and he had turned into a common person.

Zhang Jie did not understand it. Obviously, he was looking at colored lanterns in You Capital, how would he suddenly find himself in a bridal sedan chair, kidnapped into this land of ghosts!

I can’t go, can’t go!

That person grabbed him!

Zhang Jie was resisting it with all his might, but had no way out. He was soaked with sweat, and his limbs were trembling with fear.

Zhang Jie opened his mouth, gasping.

The bridesmaid patted him on his shoulder.

“Be a little more restrained, our master likes refined women.”

Zhang Jie was forced to shut his mouth. His breath was hampered too, and the formless oppression was suffocating him.

A hand stretched out from the dusk, slightly pulling on his chains.

Clang! The shackles were snapped into half!

The sound was so gritting that even that person in black trembled slightly.

The expression on the bridesmaid’s face had changed abruptly.

“Who are you!”

Before she finished saying “you”, that hand pressed Zhang Jie’s chest slightly. The shackles fell from his body, and he could now breathe freely.

In a moment, that person started fighting with the man in black.

The lanterns around them swayed one by one, falling to the ground in the darkness and turning into girls in red clothes, rushing at them.

Zhang Jie reached out his arm, but his neck was grabbed ruthlessly, and a scorching pain pierced his neck.

The pain quickly turned into itching, and he could not help reaching his hand to his neck to get rid of this feeling.

He knew he should not touch it, but he simply could not resist the itching.

A hand hit the back of Zhang Jie’s neck, and he fell to the ground powerlessly, losing consciousness.

But the girls in red didn’t intend to let him off, and still rushed to the fore to catch him. Hè Xiyun moved deftly to intercept the attack, waving her sword, then picked him up and threw him into the palanquin.

Changming, who was fighting against the man in black clothes, was actually quite amazed.

His opponent was neither a human nor a demon, his movements were strange, and his cultivation incomprehensible. Changming had partly recovered, but, after fighting with him for some time, Changming still could not measure his opponent’s limits.

The man in black had handsome features, but his bloodless face was stiff and lifeless. His dim green eyes were focused on Changming. Completely disregarding the barrier Changming had put around him, the man grabbed Changming’s wrist.

“I don’t want him anymore, you’re better. Come, be my wife!”

He smiled at Changming. His hand was holding Changming firmly, like steel shackles, and there was no way to break free from them.

“May I know Your Excellency’s honorable name?”

Changming let him hold his wrist, and said in a deep voice.

“Guess.”

They were standing very close, but the man’s breath was not warm, but rather ice-cold, freezing to the bones and making people absolutely terrified.

Changming was prepared to some extent, but still could not help flinching.

“The ruler of ghosts in this world. Wherever he goes, hundreds of ghosts kneel and worship him, and thousands of evil spirits bow their heads; [if he points to the moon, she would turn into the sun], as no one dares oppose him.”

Following his thoughts, the Sifei Sword appeared in his hand. Changming brandished it at once, and the sword qi rushed forwards, forcing his opponent to release him and take three steps back.

“I guess you are that Ghost King who rules over evil spirits, Linghu You.”

Tn:

Linghu You. His name, You, is the same ‘you’ as the ‘you’ from You Country, meaning dark/quiet/underworldly.

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