“This was left behind by one of my exorcist predecessors.” Chen Xing said to the other two after he finished reading, “I don’t know why he did this……but he must know the truth behind the silence that fell on all magic!”
The three of them pondered for a long while. Xiang Shu frowned, “It didn’t mention the drought fiends.”
Chen Xing shook his head, “It didn’t.”
Feng Qianjun said, “So he was the one who created the mirror world?”
Chen Xing nodded, “Perhaps. Judging from this point in time, the book was written the year after silence fell on all magic. During that year, all the spiritual Qi of heaven and earth had already disappeared, but this person found a magic weapon called ‘Dinghai Pearl’, and used it to restore his mana.” As he spoke, he looked all around him as he scrutinised the space the three of them were in. He continued, “Then, he activated the Yin Yang Mirror and created the mirror world that we’re in now, then left behind an unfinished book in the mirror?”
Xiang Shu flipped through the last few maps at the back of the book. He studied the last page. Simple mountains, rivers, and lakes were drawn there, without any text marking the locations.
“No,” Xiang Shu frowned deeply, “That’s not right, unless you made a mistake in your explanation.”
Chen Xing, "???"
“That’s the meaning behind what was written in the book.” Chen Xing explained, “It’s very reasonable ah, all mana in the world was gone, this senior found the Dinghai Pearl, and it was the key to restoring mana……wait, no.”
Chen Xing was now aware of a problem as well, but he couldn’t say exactly why.
Feng Qianjun said, “In the book, it was said that he had been searching for the Dinghai Pearl for ‘hundreds of years’. Mana existed in the human world back then, and the spiritual Qi of heaven and earth hadn’t disappeared yet. Even if he knew the reason behind the disappearance, how would he have been able to foresee the future hundreds of years ago and start searching for the Dinghai Pearl in advance?”
Chen Xing stopped talking.
“Where’s the Dinghai Pearl?” Xiang Shu asked.
Chen Xing shrugged with a baffled expression.
“I think it’s highly unlikely for it to be in the mirror.” Xiang Shu continued.
Chen Xing admitted that point. Xiang Shu rummaged through the last three maps at the back of the book and said, “Maybe it’s in one of the places in these three maps. Strange, what did he do after he got the Dinghai Pearl? Could it have been snatched again by someone else?”
“That’s the next clue,” Chen Xing took a deep breath, “There’s finally a lead now. This is great, our trip here wasn’t made in vain. But we’ll need to think of a way to retrieve the Yin Yang Mirror first. Now that it’s in the hands of Brother Feng’s brother……it’s a little dangerous, un.”
Chen Xing glanced at Feng Qianjun, and the three of them understood the situation implicitly at the same time. After connecting the pieces together, they could almost reconstruct the timeline of what had happened. Firstly, after silence fell on all magic, this exorcist predecessor left behind this powerful magic weapon, the Yin Yang Mirror, in Chang’an’s Exorcism Department Headquarters. While the Feng family was revamping Mt. Song and constructing the Songbai residence as an extension on the old site of the Exorcism Department, they had likely obtained the mirror due to a freak combination of coincidences.
But what about the appearance of the drought fiends?
There were a lot of answers that they could only obtain after asking Feng Qianyi.
Chen Xing got up immediately, kept the book and said, “Where did you find this? Take me there.”
Feng Qianjun was about to get up and follow when Xiang Shu made a gesture. Feng Qianjun knew that Xiang Shu meant that he had to avoid arousing suspicion, so he could only say, “I’ll keep guard up here.”
Chen Xing quickly went down to the underground warehouse. Compared to the small warehouse after Xifeng Bank was rebuilt, this warehouse was obviously much more spacious. It was filled with weapons and bookshelves, and only the weapon shelves were empty.
Xiang Shu pointed at a shelf. Chen Xing found an ordinary bronze mirror, lit up the indoor oil lamp, and began looking through the bookshelves to conduct his search.
“It’s so complete!” Chen Xing had read quite a lot of incomplete books at his Shifu’s place that were taken from the Exorcism Department. The department had records of many powerful magic weapons in the world. Over the years, they were passed down to Chen Xing, but they had long been deficient. Now, all of the magic weapons’ introductions were in front of him, so Chen Xing’s spirit felt refreshed in an instant. His curiosity was greatly satisfied now, and he couldn’t care about anything else for the moment — read first, think later.
“Crimson Cloud Gauze, Exorcising Pestle……Heart Lamp? Heart Lamp!”
Chen Xing didn’t expect that there would actually be an ancient record of the Heart Lamp here! In order to prevent traditional arts from being lost, Great Exorcists of past dynasties specifically left behind transcribed copies. This way, even if wars or unexpected incidents were to break out, exorcists who inherited the magic weapons could still return to the department to retrieve the mantras of the magic weapons and control them again. However, attributes of the Heart Lamp had always been subjected to heated debate; people often believed that it would only appear in an age when demons are about to descend, and the Heart Lamp was the only “phantom spiritual treasure” in the world that had no physical form. Controversies still surrounded the question of whether it should truly be considered a magic weapon or not.
Chen Xing instantly reacted as if he had obtained the most precious of treasures. He tossed the matter regarding the Yin Yang Mirror to the back of his mind first, then began reading ten lines at a glance as he browsed through the bamboo slips. The usage of the Heart Lamp was recorded on this bamboo slip: it included three kinds of powers, expelling demons, exorcism, and the clear guard of one’s heart. And most importantly, just as what his Shifu said, the Heart Lamp was least affected by the silence of all magic in the present world!
It was because the Heart Lamp uses the three huns and seven pos as the source of its power, and it exists in the soul, which is the root of all human beings. When this magic weapon is used, the Heart Lamp will light up and illuminate the vast expanse, just like sparks that start prairie fires. It would rouse the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth and gather an even stronger power for exorcising demons.
When Shifu lectured him on the mysteries behind the Heart Lamp, he did so with a mere smattering of knowledge. Now that Chen Xing finally found the lone book that remained, that is to say, ever since the spiritual Qi of the heaven and earth dried up, he found that the three mystical powers of the Heart Lamp, though weak, could still be used!
One point was elucidated even more clearly in the lone book, the Heart Lamp could only protect all things in the world from being encroached upon by demonic hindrances and expel evil spirits, but it couldn’t slay demons directly, let alone be used to hurt people. In a certain sense, this “magic weapon” was born just to restrain “demons”. When used to deal with evil things, its light could stab the enemy, but it couldn’t do anything to people. At most it would only be able to emit some light to scare people away……
“Take it out, read it next time.” Xiang Shu reminded, “Yin Yang Mirror.”
Chen Xing snapped out of his stupor. He started inspecting the books from front to back, and finally pulled out a bamboo scroll from the row of “Heaven” magic weapons, then unfurled it.
“Yin Yang Mirror, a magic weapon of ancient times. Able to create stone rubs of anything in the world, powered by the spiritual Qi of heaven and earth, inscriptions are engraved at the back.”
Xiang Shu held up a lamp beside him. Chen Xing roughly read through the description for the usage of the magic weapon and frowned, “But how is this Yin Yang Mirror activated exactly? Unless……” As he spoke, he was vaguely reminded of a key point that he had deduced beforehand—— resentment.
In order for magic weapons in the world to unleash its powers, it must absorb spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth. However, this so-called spiritual Qi is nothing more than the circulation of abundant power of heaven and earth. Resentment left behind after death theoretically had the same source as spiritual Qi, they were just presented in different ways. Spiritual Qi is clear, while resentment is turbid, analogous to the common saying that there are two types of Qis of heaven and earth — “clear” and “turbid”. Evil arts once existed; they either indulged in fetal blood practices or refined human souls, and it was their way of controlling resentment.
And the one holding the mirror had clearly found a way to utilise resentment. Perhaps they had refined this magic weapon on a battlefield with heavy casualties, then took it for their own use. It was just perfect for them to store living corpses in that they couldn’t keep anywhere else.
“The Yin Yang Mirror has two sides and one body; the Yang side is in the human world, while the Yin side is in the mirror world. In order to reopen the path back to reality, you must find the Yin side in this world.”
Chen Xing finished reading the instructions on its usage. The mirror itself had already been refined; it was very simple to activate, and that was of no problem to him. It was just difficult to find where it was hidden.
Xiang Shu flicked the heavy darksteel sword in his hands. A blunt, metallic sound rang out, and he motioned for Chen Xing to look.
“And what’s this?” Xiang Shu asked.
Chen Xing got Xiang Shu to hold it out and inspected the patterns on the sword. He said, “The Nine Syllables of Tao are engraved on it. Maybe it’s used for subduing demons.”
Xiang Shu, “This sword wasn’t found in the Feng Family’s secret warehouse, only a scabbard was there.”
As he spoke, Xiang Shu inserted the sword into the scabbard — it was a perfect fit.
Chen Xing said, baffled, “I’m not sure about it either. I’ve never seen any descriptions related to this weapon before. The Yin Yang mirror creates stone rubs of the present world, but it’s limited by one’s strength; the more complex the rubbings are, the more mana would be required. If my expectations aren’t off, the mirror world should only comprise of Chang’an City, and it may not even comprise the entire Chang’an. Supposing that this sword is a magic weapon as well, it would be very difficult for the Yin Yang Mirror to create stone rubbings of other magic weapons. The spiritual power required would be too much after all.”
Chen Xing held up the lamp again and began searching through the shelves, proving that there was indeed nothing. But there was a bamboo slip marked with the words “Sen Luo Wan Xiang”; it was the description of the treasure knife. Chen Xing had seen it before at his Shifu’s place, so he took it down as he wanted to pass it to Feng Qianjun.
Xiang Shu looked down to check the sword and asked, “Can this be brought back to the present world?”
Chen Xing answered, “That’s hard to say……do you like it? If you like it then keep it ba, it belongs to the Exorcism Department anyway. I’ll give it to you as the Head of the department. Even if it doesn’t have any spiritual power, it can be used to hit other people……don’t use it to hit me!”
Xiang Shu made a gesture, and Chen Xing dodged straight away, but Xiang Shu just ended up turning around. Chen Xing understood — Xiang Shu was just teasing him, and he thought you can actually crack jokes? I really misjudged you.
“Guys,” Feng Qianjun said from upstairs, “Are you two done? I think it’s better for you both to come up and take a look, we’re in trouble.”
Xiang Shu carried the sword along with its scabbard on his back and went up to the next floor in a few steps. Chen Xing chased after him and threw the bamboo slip that recorded Sen Luo in the Universe to Feng Qianjun. Feng Qianjun didn’t have time to read through it in detail before he took the two up to the third floor in a hurry.
Whether or not it was day or night could not be distinguished by looking at the dark and gloomy sky outside. Both sides of the Mt. Song gorge were packed densely with living corpses; close to 100,000 living corpses surrounded the headquarters of the Exorcism Department, while shadow warriors with arrows nocked on their bows stood on the highlands.
The headless knight rode its horse high atop Mt. Song as it faced the headquarters of the Exorcism Department.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee.