Jiang Ziya was actually a teenager, this was a little too shocking.
TLC(s): Moon, Elestrea
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Year 1068 BC, 15th day of the third month —— Nuwa Temple, Mount Li.
Noon had passed. A faint wisp of incense smoke lingered inside the great hall as a faint, chilly breeze blew in gently from the outside. Oil lamps and candles flickered, causing the whole hall to alternate between light and dark. Behind the silk curtains was the blurry figure of Nuwa’s white jade statue, and a painting of her hung behind. On the painting, a poem was inscribed, but the ink marks had yet to dry, indicating that it was written not long ago.
Two servants were minding their own business, sweeping the floor of the hall. Suddenly, a ‘gudong’ sound was heard; in the inner hall of worship for the Goddess Nuwa, something heavy had hit the ground! Both servants looked up, staring at each other in great terror.
One asked, “What was that sound?”
The other one could not, for the life of him, figure out what happened. He thought and thought, didn't utter a word, and then carefully pointed at the thin silk covering Nuwa’s statue.
The servant who asked the question first said, “Dawang just departed, all the ministers have also dispersed, and Goddess Nuwa is manifesting herself now?” The latter scolded, “Don’t be ridiculous……” Before he could finish, a man’s groan came from behind the curtains. This time, both servants’ faces changed. They threw away the brooms and ran out of the hall yelling, “Goddess Nuwa has manifested!”
A moment later, the servants brought in with them a shiguan. The shiguan focused his eyes, and found that there really was another person’s figure behind the curtains. He immediately turned pale and asked in a low voice, “After Dawang departed, did anyone come in?”
“There was no one,” one servant violently shook his head. The shiguan took a step forward, his heart nervous, unsure of what to say. Before he could open his mouth, the person behind the curtains let out another groan, as if his head was in so much pain that it could split in half.
“What time is it now?”
This was a man’s voice, so it wasn’t a manifestation of Nuwa herself. The shiguan let out a breath and answered, “It is past noon. Great Immortal, may we know which god you are?”
“What year, month, day.” The man didn't answer, instead asking another question.
The shiguan thought that was odd, but answered anyway, “The 7th year of Di Xin, the 15th day of the third month. Great Immortal, may we know your saintly name and where you came from?”
The man only said, “Haoran. Now it’s the era of Yinshang, huh…… Seems like I was thrown into the Battle of Deification.” He then lifted up the curtains and emerged with unsteady footsteps.
It was a time, of which stories of many immortals residing on Mount Kunlun and Jin’ao Island were circulated among the common folk. Oftentimes, immortals who had ascended would travel the world. Who knew if some random daoist was tumbling over in Nuwa Temple. The shiguan speculated as such, although he had yet to hear of any immortals with the name of “Haoran.”
The shiguan respectfully lowered his head, judging the man’s face. “Haoran-zhenjun, Dawang came to worship Nuwa this morning……”
Haoran stopped his words and asked again, “That poem was written earlier?” He sat down on the altar and looked at the poem on the painting with the shiguan. He read it out loud, “I pray that you come alive, with sweet voice and gentle movement, and I’ll bring you along to my palace. King Zhou’s appetite is not very small.”
The shiguan said helplessly, “Pray that Goddess Nuwa will not punish that. Is zhenjun heading back to the mountain, or towards Zhaoge?”
Haoran rubbed his shoulders and said, “To Zhaoge. Bad fortune has arrived. First, I was thrown into the Battle for Supremacy, where a perfectly good Sword of Xuanyuan was broken into two; then the Yellow Emperor threw me here to be the sandwich filling.”
His words left the shiguan and servants alike in confusion; they could only watch the mysterious immortal leave the great hall, while their hearts quietly came up with all sorts of speculations.
Haoran stepped out of Nuwa Temple, deeply breathed in the fresh air of 4000 years ago, feeling more refreshed than ever. He turned towards a vast, green grass field and shouted:
“Heaven above and Earth below, Haoran follows the Supreme East Emperor’s and the Yellow Emperor Xuanyuan-Shi’s orders, to come and search for five artifacts of the Void. May the gods and immortals in the heavens grant me a smooth journey, so I could quickly return and save the lives of your descendants and all the living beings——!”
The empty field sent back echoes in unceasing waves. As if it were conscious, chilly winds and dense fog started to set in on Nuwa Temple, layer by layer. Haoran didn't turn back, heading straight towards the mountain’s foot.
The 7th year of Di Xin, the monarchs, aristocrats and people of the Great Divine Land were unaware, but a traveller from 4000 years later had departed Mount Li. Right after that, Goddess Nuwa came back from the heavenly feast and found the insulting poem that King Zhou had written. In anger, she demanded a top-notch artifact, a golden gourd, be brought to her, and then summoned yao from all over the land. She picked out a fox spirit, jade pipa spirit, and pheasant spirit to seduce the last emperor of Shang, thus bringing chaos to the land, pushing its people into mudholes and firepits. This went down in history as the War of Deification —— the sonata involving immortals, daoists, yao and gods had now begun.
At this point in time, Daji just entered the palace, and Jiang Ziya just descended Mount Kunlun. Haoran simply weighed out his options —— in turbulent times, he had to first find someone to assist him. Which direction in this Battle of Deification should he look at, Western Zhou or Yinshang?
He remembered the old man’s repeated emphasis prior to his departure: you must not change history at will. Recklessly changing the past might bring about great disasters. Therefore, he had no other choice besides siding with Jiang Ziya.
A few days later, along the way to Yinshang’s capital, Haoran witnessed a bustling and peaceful Zhaoge. Standing on the city gate’s wall, he looked over the people of Zhaoge walking through and fro and thought about how in a few years’ time, such peace and prosperity would be destroyed by a single fox, forcing all those people to homelessness. Forty thousand people would be pushed to the frontlines during the Battle of Muye, as if they were livestock. Haoran couldn't help but feel uneasy.
Haoran inquired about Jiang Ziya along his way. Based on the description in history books, he was an old fortune teller with gray hair, a gray beard, and gray eyebrows. No one in Zhaoge met that criteria; Haoran couldn't help but wonder, did Jiang Ziya not arrive in Zhaoge during this period of time? Had he even left Kunlun yet?
Having seen all the fortune tellers in the city, Haoran turned back to look for an inn to rest. As he was walking back and forth, the sky suddenly poured down and splashed him wet like a drenched chicken.
“This brother, come have your fortune told?” A voice came from inside an inn.
Haoran turned his head and saw a small, tiny booth set up in the corner of the inn’s entrance. In front of the booth hung a yin and yang summoning flag, and a youth around seventeen years old sat behind the table. His eyebrows had a certain child-like vibe, seemingly younger than Haoran himself by a few years.
The booth front had no customers, business was poor due to the rain. The youth greeted Haoran, “Xiongtai is looking for a person, or looking for a thing? Come, come.”
A thought popped into Haoran’s head. It just so happens that I can use this chance to take shelter from the rain, so he dropped the pretense of politeness, walked into the inn, sat down in front of the booth and said, “I am Haoran, what is xiao-xiansheng’s name?”
The youth took out a tube with stalks of yarrow, then a tortoise shell, and put them in front of Haoran, “Oh? Is daoxiong also a cultivator, not from Kunlun? Xiaodi is Jiang Shang.”
“Daoxiong?” Jiang Shang immediately pushed the table away, using both hands and legs to pull up a fainted Haoran who was sprawling on the floor, “Daoxiong, what’s wrong?”
After a long pause, Haoran slowly breathed out. Searching far and wide, only for him to appear right under your nose…… The corners of his mouth twitched, and he queried, “Your dao name is Feixiong, courtesy name Ziya……”
Jiang Shang hurriedly nodded his head, laughing, “Yes yes yes, how does daoxiong know?”
Haoran didn't know whether to laugh or cry. Jiang Ziya was actually a teenager, this was a little too shocking. He then asked, “How old are you this year?”
Jiang Ziya came back to his senses and said, “Xiaodi is 82 this year. Cultivators from Kunlun generally look a bit younger than mortal beings.” He then smiled toothily at Haoran, flashing two little, harmless canines.
Haoran thought, in where was it “a bit younger”. History books only recorded Jiang Ziya as 80-something years old and nothing about his appearance. Had Haoran known sooner, he would not have looked aimlessly around Zhaoge’s streets like a fly without its head.
Jiang Shang then asked with curiosity, “Could it be that, Haoran-xiong cultivated the Positive Qi of Heaven and Earth? One of Sanqing’s mysterious arts? Which master did you learn from?”
Haoran understood that Jiang Shang felt something when he pulled him up, so he said without concealing anything, “No, I don’t know any cultivation method, nor am I affiliated with any master. This body has been full of positive qi since birth.” Remembering that the Jiang Shang from history books was very precise in his divination, Haoran dropped the formality, picked out a few stalks of yarrow and asked, “I have come to Zhaoge to look for five items from early ancient times, now scattered across the land. They are called the ‘Artifacts of Void’.”
Jiang Shang turned serious. He sat up straight and asked, “What are those?” His question made Haoran choke so hard he fell. Jiang Shang took the yarrows, then began the intricate calculations for Haoran.
Haoran waited at the side and talked to himself mockingly, “I have zero relation with Mount Kunlun and Jin’ao Island. The positive qi inside this body has only one use, to repair damaged flesh and bones, much like a punching bag, but it’s also the only thing I can rely on during this quest for bell, sword, axe, pot and pagoda.” The listener nodded his head non-stop in great amusement.
Haoran stared intently at Jiang Shang, only to find the child-like features of his eyebrows had yet to retreat from his face, and he showed a contemplating expression. No matter how he looked at it, Haoran couldn't link this not yet twenty-year-old youth to the widely revered Taigong Wang.
Jiang Shang’s calculations seemed to take a great toll on his mind. A while later, as if he discovered something, he looked up merrily.
“Found a hint?” Haoran asked impatiently.
As if a great load had been taken off his mind, Jiang Shang said, “Haoran-xiong mentioned five treasured items. The first one, ‘Bell’, has an extraordinary, divine connection to your arrival.”
Haoran said, “That’s right, the Bell of the East Emperor. Did your divination reveal where it is?”
Jiang Shang seemed to be in a bind and shook his head. Deep in his heart, Haoran was disappointed, but he still cheered Jiang Shang up, “Being able to reveal the names was already a difficult task.”
Jiang Shang looked up to Haoran, “After calling up two items, my mind is already at its limit. The Bell of the East Emperor seems nearby yet far away, ambiguous and indiscernible. ‘Sword’ shows signs of breakage, it had once splitted in two.”
In his heart, Haoran was ecstatic, he hurriedly said, “Yes, the Sword of Xuanyuan snapped into two in the midst of the Battle for Supremacy. The Yellow Emperor had thrown me…… the two halves of Xuanyuan-Shi’s sword into this era, essentially tossing the biggest, most headache-inducing trouble to me.”
Jiang Shang continued, “However, the guaxiang indicates that the righteous gods hold almighty powers; they have already mended it as good as new.”
Haoran immediately couldn't contain his excitement. At first, he was worried that because the Sword of Xuanyuan was broken into two, even if it was found, he would still need to expend a lot of effort to repair it. It turned out that the Xuanyuan Sword had already been repaired, saving him a lot of trouble. That was good news. Jiang Shang went silent for a moment, glancing at the sky outside with a twinge of fear.
Haoran frowned, “What’s wrong?”
Jiang Shang shook his head, “I too am not sure if the interpretation is correct. The Sword of Xuanyuan is at…...”
Haoran inhaled sharply, fully aware that that was a dangerous course of action. Just as he was about to yell at Jiang Shang to stop, the latter already disregarded the rumbling thunder outside and revealed, “Where the True Dragon resides.”
Just as he finished, the roaring thunder exploded, lightning strikes carrying the weight of ten thousand jun blew up in the space above the inn. Amidst the loud peals of thunder, Haoran leaped over, covered Jiang Shang and rolled both of them under the table.
Fortunately, Jiang Shang was vague enough when he interpreted the guaxiang, so the lightning and thunder were rumbling only for a moment, then immediately receded. Haoran could only feel his heart beating like crazy. After ensuring that their surroundings were safe, they reemerged from below the table. Right at that moment, laughter like silver bells came from outside the inn.
“I was wondering if you already packed up your booth, turns out you’re pushing and pulling under the table, practicing this dual cultivation method.” The laughter came from a newly widowed woman in a full white mourning dress. Jiang Ziya awkwardly dusted off his robe, fixed his square cap and sat into the table. He cast a serious look on the other grieving woman, and then zoned out.
The woman’s beauty was otherworldly, celestial, like a fairy free of the mortals’ smoke and fire. In the flowing white dress, she came into this world; not even the coarse hemp cloth on her forehead, or her red puffy eyes, could make her any less gorgeous. She pompously entered the inn, followed by a bunch of lechers. In an instant, the whole inn became so tightly packed that not even water could flow through.
After a very long time, Jiang Shang still didn't avert his gaze from the woman, to which the onlookers were snickering among themselves. But only Haoran and Ziya knew, this woman was a yao.
The widow hesitated for a moment, not recognising Haoran’s origin. She lightly sat down on the other side of the table away from him, then said to Jiang Shang: “I heard that daozhang’s divinations are very precise, could you tell this nujia’s fortune?
As the story went, Nuwa picked out the fox spirit, the jade pipa spirit and the pheasant spirit from Xuanyuan Tomb, among tens of thousands of other yao. The fox yao had already made a move and possessed the body of Su Daji, daughter of Jizhou-hou, Su Hu. The original soul was also taken; the yao carved out a place for herself within days. Following the selection of King Zhou’s royal consorts, she seized the opportunity to enter the palace. Wang-guiren, the jade pipa, rode the yao cloud to visit her sister. On the way back to Xuanyuan Tomb, she encountered a sky full of heavenly thunder, and thus had no choice but to lower her cloud and take shelter.
As Wang-guiren stepped inside the inn to take a look, she couldn’t feel anything except the abundant positive qi surrounding Haoran. The positive qi of heaven and earth, so thick and massive, smothered her, rejuvenated her body, and made her feel all warm and fuzzy that she wanted to moan out loud! The desire was unbearable! As she saw Haoran’s refined facial features, his body all tall and lean, a true rare beauty, Wang-guiren gracefully inched closer to him, her heart demanding a way to suck this man dry.
Haoran still hadn’t realised that in her eyes, he had turned into a golden, fragrant roasted chicken. Suddenly recalling the legend of Jiang Ziya beating Wang-guiren back into her true form, he immediately thought up a plan: as recorded in history books, Jiang Ziya captured Wang-guiren, then entered the palace together with the jade pipa spirit. As her true form was revealed and witnessed by the King, Jiang Ziya went with the flow and attained a position in the court.
Jiang Shang moved the tube of yarrow stalks to one side, face completely deadpan. Wang-guiren grabbed a fist full of air, pouting, “Xiao-daozhang, read nujia’s fortune please?” Her hand hovered towards the tortoise shell, which unexpectedly was also taken away by Haoran. There was only an ink slab remaining on the table. After all, it’s not nice to touch an ink slab full of ink, so Wang-guiren’s beautiful, jade-like hand awkwardly stopped mid-air and couldn’t stretch forwards nor pull back.
Jiang Shang said coldly, “Since you’ve no luck with yarrow nor tortoise shell, then I can only read your palm.” Wang-guiren let out a light laugh, revealing her dimples.
Jiang Shang pretended not to hear the endless jeering from surrounding onlookers, and he took Wang-guiren’s hand that was so soft it felt boneless, flipped it over to the palm side and sighed, “Your body is surrounded by intense death qi, I fear it is not a good sign.”
“My husband has just passed away.” Wang-guiren’s heart was not set on Jiang Ziya; she turned to Haoran, continuously throwing him amorous gazes as she glanced at him several times with eyes as beautiful as ripples in the autumn lake, “Naturally, I’m surrounded by intense resentment.”
Haoran sneered, “I fear that was not the case.”
“Humans are not all good, yao too are not all bad.” Jiang Shang continued, “If you’re a good yao, then we can let you go, right Haoran-xiong?”
In his heart, Haoran knew for sure that Jiang Shang still had no clues that Nuwa had sent the three yao to wreak havoc in Zhaoge and only thought of this jade pipa spirit as a yao passing by. Onlookers around were murmuring among themselves. Haoran sneered and continued, “You must have eaten a lot of people right, jade pipa spirit.”
With her identity revealed in one sentence, Wang-guiren and Jiang Shang’s faces fell. What had started as a mere artificial struggle turned into a real one, and what was once a fake hold changed into a real, tight hold. Wang-guiren didn't expect this man to know of her true identity, so she hurriedly stood up and wanted to flee, but Jiang Shang was pressing on her Gate of Vitality with one hand, rendering her no chance to escape.
Speaking of Xuanyuan Tomb, Haoran suddenly had a thought. He signaled to Jiang Shang with his eyes to do something, but the latter kept holding onto Wang-guiren’s hand awkwardly. The onlookers were causing a ruckus in the background.
Haoran failed to pass the message through mouthing his words, so he could only repeat it out loud, “Beat her back into her true form quickly!”
“I…… Give me some time to think…… Don’t rush don’t rush……” Jiang Shang’s words were no less than a stroke of lightning over Haoran’s body. Wang-guiren raised her eyebrows and shouted loudly, “Pervert! Let laoniang go right now!” And then grappled with Jiang Ziya.
Within a blink of an eye, onlookers inside the inn charged forwards. A big mess of people tried to pull Jiang Shang and the beautiful widow apart, but none of the helping hands were on Jiang Shang’s body. You might be asking, where were the hands?
Of course, they were wrapping and wrapping around the waist, groping and groping the bosoms, caressing and caressing the neck. Wang-guiren’s clothes were in disarray, her dewy shoulders peeking out underneath the fabrics; the spring scene unravelling in front of their eyes. Wang-guiren huffed in anger; ever since becoming a yao, this was the first time she was stripped naked like this, and a bunch of callused, vulgar, old perverts’ hands kept rubbing and fondling all over her body! But her Gate of Vitality was in Jiang Ziya’s grip, leaving her with no choice but to bear the harassment of the mob.
A tearing sound, gods know which thirsty motherfuckers took advantage of the situation and tore out half of Wang-guiren’s white dress. Fortune-telling turned into a comedy show, and Jiang Ziya on the other side turned his head away, not daring to look anymore. His hand was still hanging onto Wang-guiren’s but trembled non-stop, wanting to let go but couldn’t let go. In the end, Haoran had no more patience. He casually grabbed a thing within his reach, which happened to be the ink slab on the table, aimed at Wang-guiren’s Tianling Acupoint on the crown of her head and slammed down hard! He shouted:
“Wang-guiren! Your mom called you back to Xuanyuan Tomb for dinner!”
Instantly, the inn went still. Gropers who still hadn’t enjoyed enough suddenly poured into the street like a swarm of bees; they were running and yelling, “This fortune-telling has turned into a murderscene la!!”
Chapter 2 is finally here! Updates will be sporadic but do look forwards to the next chapter as Haoran and King Zhou meet at last! Woohoo!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Keishi.