"So, what on earth is Qinglu ah?"
Spoiler for Tianbao, Dinghai, and Mingwang. Super big spoiler for the twist in Dinghai (I recommend not to read if you haven't reached Dinghai 88 because it will spoil the fun), please read at your own discretion! Takes place in the post-canon of everything.
"...Hongjun, I'll take you to three thousand worlds. I'll take you to see worlds that are different from ours."
Hongjun hugged Li Jinglong. Li Jinglong unsheathed his sword, and with Hongjun, he slashed through the void and stepped into the dark timeless portal. As the river of time and period converged, they were sent to one of those boundless new worlds.
A sound of thunder resounded. Right after they stepped into the void and opened the dark timeless portal, Li Jinglong bumped into and fell flat on his stomach —— on the top of a scorching male body.
Li Jinglong pushed off the ground. His body was sore all over and he struggled to stand up. As he looked down, he saw the man under him.
Not too far, a huge monster breathing out black qi waved its antennae and roared, "So what about the exorcists!?" But as it was about to wage war, it suddenly froze.
Chen Xing: "You… who are you people? We're stopping the yao! Don't cause trouble!"
Hongjun: "Who are you? Where is this?"
Li Jinglong and Xiang Shu stared at each other, their mouth twitching. Li Jinglong found that the man under him had a handsome face —— he wore a Hu military robe, and his face currently flushed red in indignation.
Li Jinglong bowed his head. "Where is this? Sorry, brother, we came through the dark portal… this is the first time we're here, so we're strangers to this world…"
Hongjun: "Uh… Zhangshi, maybe you could get off him first before slowly explaining it?"
Xiang Shu: "..."
Fear grew inside the yao's heart. But trying the best to maintain its imposing manner, it coldly said, "I'll give you some time then, talk later?"
"Ah, right, right!" Chen Xing shouted, "Stop the yao! Be serious!"
Xiang Shu roared, "Get off me!"
Xiang Shu immediately used one foot to kick Li Jinglong away before turning over and leaping up. He held the Sword of Wisdom as it shone in radiance. Chen Xing pulled Hongjun away and retreated behind Xiang Shu.
"What?!" Li Jinglong said, "There's a yao?! A… a yao?"
"Are you blind?!" Xiang Shu angrily said, "A yao this huge, still can't see?!"
"Sword of Wisdom!" Hongjun was shocked, "That pretty man also wields the Sword of Wisdom! There are two Sword of Wisdoms! What is this place?"
However, there was no room for pleasantries because the yao rushed at them, waving its antennae full of black qi!
Xiang Shu shouted, "You all retreat first!"
Li Jinglong hurriedly unsheathed his magical artifact. He and Xiang Shu each held the Sword of Wisdom. As two golden lights flew towards the yao, it snarled, "Fuck, how come there are two Acalas?!"
The huge, black yao was called Taowu. Dealing with one Xiang Shu was already extremely difficult for it. Everyone has to make a living outside, why bother ne? Two Sword of Wisdoms striking it at the same time, this treatment had never happened to any yao nor would it happen again to any yao.
As a great yao, Taowu originally had been in a good mood these days. At first, it had planned to get up early, go to the lake and take a bath, then go out casually to eat some humans… of course, it hadn't eaten humans for many years: humans have too many thorns and they taste awful.
Afterward, it had planned to go south, chill around, purchase some calligraphy, paintings, also knick-knacks made by people, before going back to its nest to play and admire the things.
But its good mood for the whole day was all ruined by two Acalas! Two! TWO! How could it fight them?!
"You also have Acala??!" Xiang Shu couldn't believe it and looked at Li Jinglong.
"You too?!" Li Jinglong was astonished.
Right at the moment the two of them lost their concentration, Taowu suddenly looked up to the sky and madly roared, "I'VE HAD ENOOOOOOOOOOUGH——!"
Right after it spoke, Taowu turned into a plume of black mist and with a roar, it shot towards Chen Xing and Hongjun. Li Jinglong muttered, "Not good," but just as he was about to turn around, the black mist suddenly passed through Li Jinglong's space and then disappeared.
Chen Xing: "It ran… where did it go? How could it run away la?!"
The rift opened by the dark portal only lasted for a short moment before closing. Li Jinglong and Xiang Shu looked at each other in dismay —— they didn't know what had happened.
Even though Chen Xing was also a Great Exorcist and had subdued yaos now and then, it was his first time seeing a yao disappear like that.
Hongjun said, "Damn… could it be... it ran through the dark portal we used?"
Four people looked at each other. Xiang Shu wielded his sword towards Li Jinglong. Li Jinglong immediately said, "Stop, we're on your side, calm down."
"Xiang Shu," Chen Xing frowned, "don't scold people ah! Calm down, about the yao that has run away, it's not that serious."
Xiang Shu held the sword in one hand. He had no choice but to withdraw and return it to the scabbard.
One shichen later, in the relay station, Li Jinglong apologized and explained, "So, it's like that. I see, so you are… a senior from 400 years ago."
"Hmm," Xiang Shu nodded uncharacteristically as he thought about it, then said, "To slash through the void."
Li Jinglong: "You know?"
When Li Jinglong saw Xiang Shu and Chen Xing's clothing, he knew that with that one move, they had returned to the Jin Dynasty and unexpectedly crossed over to nearly 400 years ago.
"I know," Xiang Shu said in a deep voice, "I'm studying this sword's technique."
"Your family's temperament is really good ah." The two men were sitting on the side while drinking milk tea, and Hongjun told Chen Xing, "At first I thought he would get angry ne."
Chen Xing said, "Good temper my ass! He got them all from me."
Xiang Shu and Li Jinglong were discussing in a low voice. Hongjun examined Xiang Shu's attire and he felt it resembled that of an emperor's. He was discreet in both speech and manner, so Hongjun originally thought that they were in trouble and they would be scolded by him. Who could've guessed that Chen Xing would just "hehe" and said that while Xiang Shu might appear to be cold, he was actually an old-school, warm-hearted person.
"He used to be grumpy to death," said Chen Xing. "Only after living in Qinglu for three months did he become much gentler la."
"Qinglu?" Hongjun said, "What is Qinglu?"
Hongjun envied Chen Xing so much: What kind of magical place is that? All the way, he said nothing while Chen Xing explained that Xiang Shu was his Protector and he was an exorcist. Hongjun immediately thought about the relationship between the two men: Xiang Shu was like Chen Xing's bodyguard, and he envied them right away.
Although Li Jinglong was a military official, he was actually the emperor's bodyguard. Hongjun also wanted to be an emperor and make Li Jinglong his own bodyguard.
"Once you enter Qinglu," Hongjun said, "you can make him obedient ma?"
Chen Xing blinked and said, "When we have time later, I'll slowly explain it to you. In short, there are plenty of ways."
Hongjun had wanted to ask more, but Xiang Shu and Li Jinglong, who had been talking for some time, got up.
"Since it was taught by Tuoba," Xiang Shu made it clear, "it should be a technique I create in the future."
Li Jinglong was left speechless when he heard this. He had just learned a sword technique to pierce through time. For the technique to work, it required the Sword of Wisdom. In all likelihoods, the creator was also the holder of the Sword of Wisdom.
Xiang Shu said, "In order for this technique to work, I suspect there must be a corresponding item that acts as the receiver, just like a time ‘beacon'."
That was the only hint Li Jinglong had needed. He immediately understood that once they opened the passage in time, their destination must have the Sword of Wisdom! Meaning, when they opened up another passage, they would reach a space where another Sword of Wisdom, Acala's successor was located.
"Try it," Xiang Shu was also very curious. After listening to Li Jinglong's explanation, it really should be the sword technique he would invent in the future.
Li Jinglong said, "The place where Taowu has fled to, it's surely through this dark timeless portal that I had inadvertently opened."
"I think we should just forget it," said Chen Xing. "Since it had gone somewhere else, it's also the place with the Sword of Wisdom anyway, so someone will eventually restrain it."
Xiang Shu also pondered, "Are you going to live here?"
Xiang Shu was the Dinghai Pearl's transformation and his mother had once crossed over several hundred years, so time travel wasn't really surprising at all. Li Jinglong was careless; they had gone back to the Jin Dynasty, but the Jin Dynasty was not as prosperous as the Tang Dynasty and they also didn't have any acquaintances.
Hongjun said, "Don't you want to see what will happen in the future? I know a lot about what had happened in the Jin Dynasty ah."
Chen Xing was suddenly encouraged by Hongjun and thought: That's right, the future is full of infinite possibilities. What will it be like a thousand years from now on? You aren't curious ma?
Xiang Shu answered, "No matter the era, each of us will only live for a lifetime. Even though we cross over several thousands of years, we can't actually live for thousands of years."
"That's true," Chen Xing changed his tune.
"Let's go," said Li Jinglong. "Apart from subduing demons, aren't you both idle?"
Chen Xing: "True."
Hongjun: "I think it's better to stay? Can I borrow your magical artifact ‘Qinglu'?"
"No problem," Chen Xing immediately said. "I can also teach you what you need to prepare beforehand..."
Xiang Shu: "Ahem!"
"Let's go," Chen Xing said to Hongjun, "If you still want to come back ne, I'll lend it to you then."
Every time Chen Xing saw a beautiful person, they always made him feel good. That was how he originally became fascinated with Xiang Shu.
Li Jinglong embraced Hongjun and used the ‘slash through the void' technique. With a bang, he chopped open the space then transformed into a beam of light as they flew away.
"Wow——" Chen Xing was shocked; it was his first time to see this kind of great technique.
"I was the one who created it," said Xiang Shu coldly. "'Wow' what?"
As he said that, Xiang Shu also stepped forwards and put an arm around Chen Xing's waist, his sword unsheathed. Chen Xing shouted loudly as he was taken to move through the dark portal. Countless stars appeared as they painted ten millions of thin lines in front of him.
As soon as his surroundings were clear, there was a panicked voice in his ears.
"Who?!" the teenager's voice madly shouted, "Who is it ah—— we're stopping the yao! Don't cause trouble ah!"
Li Jinglong first flew out with Hongjun. They were going to bump into Xiang Cheng, but Xiang Cheng immediately threw himself forwards and he was still able to stand up. But as soon as he turned around, Xiang Shu and Chen Xing also came with a momentum akin to the clap of thunder as they flew straight towards Xiang Cheng.
Xiang Cheng: "........................"
Chi Xiaoduo's mood fell apart at that moment. Seeing that the yao had been restrained well, he had caught up with him. Unexpectedly, the space suddenly fluctuated; four people in ancient clothings flew out, and like cannonballs, they hit Xiang Cheng one after another.
What's even more intolerable was that these four people weren't wearing ancient clothings from the same dynasty——! How could they even be together—— Come on!
Xiang Cheng: "..."
Xiang Cheng struggled to get up from the ground. He looked all over the place for his Sword of Wisdom that had been knocked off.
"Found it, found it!" Li Jinglong immediately said, "That's the yao!"
Taowu's mood had also fallen apart, after all, the time gap was too large. It first came out from the dark portal, but found itself in a completely strange place, as if it was entering another Divine Land. There were people everywhere and everyone was holding a rectangular thin tablet as they endlessly flashing the tablet towards it.
Taowu was so scared that he immediately transformed into a man and ran away.
As a result, the Exorcism Department received a report that there's a yao running naked in Mount Mogan, a scenic area in Huzhou... Xiang Cheng and Chi Xiaoduo were responsible for the arrest.
"Where are you from?" Xiang Cheng asked.
"Subdue the yao first!" Xiang Shu and Li Jinglong said in unison.
The two thought that they would get headaches had they tried to explain now, so they could only quickly distract the other's attention.
"Sword of Wisdom!" Chi Xiaoduo was shocked, "They all have Sword of Wisdoms ah! Three Sword of Wisdoms!"
Chen Xing said, "Quickly capture Taowu and I'll take him back. Yi? What is this place? What is that? What's it called?"
Chi Xiaoduo: "This is called 'mobile phone', we are recording the arrest process..."
Then, Taowu watched helplessly as Xiang Shu, Li Jinglong and Xiang Cheng, these three people, with all kinds of golden lights on their bodies, sealed its retreat path and raised their own embodiment of Acala.
"Three Acalas——!!" Taowu roared, "Who did I provoke today?! Three! Three appeared!"
Hongjun: "You still want to run? If you run again, four or even five will come out! Taowu! Give up!"
Chi Xiaoduo: "Wow, there are really three? Acalas are in wholesale ma???"
Three Acalas, each of them has six instruments —— three times six was eighteen, so with a total of eighteen instruments, Taowu was dazzled to the point he might as well give up resistance. It couldn't escape anyway, and could only wait to be restrained.
BOOM! Golden lights spread around, the ancient great yao received the highest treatment out of all yao races: to be recaptured by three Acalas at the same time. It had never happened to any yao nor would it happen again to any yao.
After that, everyone looked at each other.
Taowu was bound by Chi Xiaodou's yao-sealing beads. It lost all his skills and became a small yao beast.
"Why are you arresting me? Why arrest me ah——!" Taowu kept struggling and wailing, "Who did I provoke? Three of you even came together to capture me?"
Chi Xiaoduo said, "Because you run naked in a scenic area. It is immoral."
Xiang Cheng: "Yes, because you run naked."
Hongjun said, "Because when we want to catch you, you still run?"
Li Jinglong: "Yes."
Chen Xing: "You... Are you all bullies? Of course not! Taowu! It's because you eat people!"
Taowu: "I don't eat people! Only scare them!"
Xiang Shu impatiently said, "Depending on the situation, we might let you go after we come back!"
Xiang Shu said, "It originated from our time, hand it to me." With that, he took off the yao-sealing beads and nodded in gratitude to everyone.
Xiang Cheng looked at the two men's Sword of Wisdoms and ancient clothings, and roughly understood at once. He asked, "How did you get here?"
Li Jinglong looked around and replied, "This… it's a long story. But this place… doesn't look bad. Hongjun, do you want to stay?"
However, Hongjun, with Chi Xiaoduo and Chen Xing, had gone to who-knows-where. The three were curiously discussing things.
Hongjun: "So, what on earth is Qinglu ah?"
Chi Xiaoduo: "???"
Chen Xing: "Shh, find a place with no people. I'll tell you slowly."
Xiang Shu looked at two people, then looked at the three people in the distance.
"This is a good place, let's have a drink?" Xiang Shu put away his Sword of Wisdom. Li Jinglong and Xiang Cheng saluted towards him. They each whistled one after another, calling Chi Xiaoduo, Chen Xing and Hongjun, before walking into the depths of the mountains in the midst of spring breeze.
—— Extra: Dark Portal · End ——
This extra is written by Feitian, but was originally posted by the winner of this raffle (hosted by Feitian in February 2020) on their weibo.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Elestrea.