At the end of summer, when autumn was about to start, the 16 Hu tribes led by Xiang Shu left the Great Wall and entered Caohai, a place that stretched for thousands of miles. It was Chen Xing’s first time seeing such an extensive and majestic grassland. It stretched far and wide, and flocks of birds flew overhead. In comparison to the prosperous city in the pass, this imposing northern side of the Divine Land was a different sight to behold.
On their way to the north, more and more people joined them with their families. The Qiang and Di tribes had lived in Guanlong for a long time, yet they weren’t given any preferential treatment. All the tribes were sent out on punitive expeditions, the fighting was drawn out for a long time, and they would be taxed heavily once they used soldiers. After years of severe droughts, the people had no way of making a living and could only give up on the lands they had farmed on. Instead, they decided to follow the Great Chanyu all the way to the North to seek a new means of supporting themselves.
As people joined one after another, this migration team had already grown to encompass more than ten thousand people, and the assembly was quite a magnificent sight. When they passed through the Great Wall, the Qin generals dared not block them and could only open up the pass to let them through. When they arrived at Caohai, Xiang Shu and his troops found carriages from somewhere and purchased all necessities before leaving the Great Wall. They eventually gathered into a convoy that galloped towards the end of the world -- Chi Le Chuan.
What kind of place is that? Chen Xing had asked Xiang Shu’s entourage before, and their answer was that it was the northern side of the Divine Land, the last area in which people would live in.
If one continued heading north, they would find themselves in a vast tundra and snowfields where snow would swirl everywhere buffeted by the cold winds. It was a barren wasteland. Few people have returned after heading north.
The major branches of the Five Barbarians in the pass originated from Mt. Baitou, Xing’an Mountains, Xiliang, and other such places. In the end, they formed the Ancient Chi Le Covenant under Chi Le Chuan. That was where the Xiongnu and Tiele people came from, and it was also the shared homeland of all the tribes of the people that the Hans called “Hu”s.
Just like the lyrics in the song, Chi Le Chuan, under the Yin mountains; the sky resembled an arched hut that covered the whole plain.
“The ones living there are mainly nomads, there are very few doctors,” Xiang Shu said, “Purchase some medication of the Central Plains along the way to take back to Chi Le Chuan.”
Chen Xing wrote out a list of medicine and got Xiang Shu’s subordinates to buy them. In his spare time, he would sit on the carriage and look at the writings and drawings Xiang Shu penned down on a piece of paper.
Feng Qianjun’s sudden departure made him very worried, but a more urgent task was at hand, which was to find the whereabouts of the Dinghai Pearl as soon as possible. As long as mana returned to the Divine Land, half of Chen Xing’s heavy burden would be relieved. He believed that in times to come, the ancient Exorcist profession would eventually recover, then gather a tremendous force to fight the Lord behind Feng Qianyi, as well as the “drought fiends” they had created.
For now, he just hoped that Fu Jian would no longer engage in large-scale massacres and control his resentment a little.
Chen Xing said, “I really have no clue as to what the ‘Daze’ mentioned in the books is.”
Xiang Shu’s fore and middle fingers slightly hooked onto a charcoal brush. His way of holding a brush was different from that of a Han’s, yet his slender fingers made his posture look very beautiful. On a piece of parchment paper, he sketched the outline of meandering mountains, rivers, and a land’s terrain.
Chen Xing, “Ya!”
Xiang Shu had only glanced at it once, yet he managed to remember the map on the last page of the ancient book in the Exorcism Department. He showed it to Chen Xing, “Here?”
On the map was a lake, while there were three disconnected peaks behind it that rose into the clouds. A lot of forests were studded at its side. Its terrain was extremely strange; there were lakes on the plain, and there were mountains in the lake, beside which were annotations in the Tiele language.
“Yes, yes, yes!” Chen Xing felt like he had just obtained a treasure. He took it and said, “You actually remembered it all!”
“It’s not Yunmeng Lake, and it’s not in the south either.” Xiang Shu casually said, “Legend has it that it’s on the northern side of Chi Le Chuan, in a far away place. Its Tiele name is Erchilun, while it’s called Carosha in the Xiongnu language. The name refers to a place where the dragon fell to its death.”
Chen Xing asked in surprise, “You’ve been there?”
Xiang Shu, “When I was a kid, I saw it in a book given to me by an old man.”
Chen Xing looked down, then looked at Xiang Shu again, while Xiang Shu had switched over to another piece of parchment and began recalling the scene on the second last page of the book.
“You guys have books too,” Chen Xing uttered in surprise, “Where are your ancient records stored?”
“Why?” Xiang Shu said coldly, “Only you Hans are worthy of reading and writing?”
Chen Xing quickly explained that that wasn’t what he meant, and that he just wanted to take a look. He might be able to find some clues in the place where the Chi Le Covenant stored their ancient texts.
The carriage forged ahead on the grassland. In the distance, mountain ranges enshrouded in mist were vaguely distinguishable, and at that moment, everyone in the procession cheered. Chen Xing abruptly looked up. They turned round the hillside, and across the vast lands, tents stood in large numbers with mountains and rivers as the backdrop. It was nearing the end of summer, a gust of wind blew, and it was as if a striking picture scroll was slowly unfurling before his eyes.
They had arrived at Chi Le Chuan.
Chen Xing was stunned by the scene in front of him. Under the Yin mountains, amidst the gentle embrace of the Kundulun River and Dahei River, the grasslands that stretched for thousands of miles was just like a blanket that supported nearly 200,000 herdsmen. An endless number of tents were all that could be seen, dotting the land from the hillside all the way to the foot of the mountain!
At the start of autumn, almost all of the nomads beyond the Great Wall migrated towards the Yin mountains, worshipping this sacred mountain of the 16 Hu tribes as they joined the Ancient Chi Le Covenant.
“The Great Chanyu is back!” A kid saw the convoy from the Kudulun River bank and shouted loudly.
A beautiful woman who was washing clothes by the river stood up and started singing with a resounding voice, while the warriors in the convoy responded unbridled with a song of their own. Xiang Shu still sat in the open-air carriage. He kept the parchment paper. His long legs hung off the edge of the carriage as he adjusted his posture, then lay halfway down comfortably.
Thousands of galloping horses rushed out of the Ancient Chi Le Covenant towards them, and the ones in the lead were several youngsters. Both the Xiongnu and Tiele people shouted loudly in succession, but Xiang Shu ignored them. Within an instant, that group of youngsters had gathered on both sides of the convoy. All of them started talking at once and smiled as they inquired about Xiang Shu’s affairs. Chen Xing didn’t understand any of the languages they used, so he could only listen blankly. But from the looks on their faces, he could guess that they were asking Xiang Shu nonstop where exactly he had gone during this period.
The corners of Xiang Shu’s mouth were slightly lifted, which was a rare sight as he seemed to be smiling a little. Afterwards, the troops following behind started clamouring, so the group of youngsters turned back and went to help out in unloading and moving things to settle the people.
A youngster spoke in the Xiongnu language, extended a wooden rod, and wanted to enter the open-air carriage to strike Chen Xing. Chen Xing quickly dodged and appeared to be quite angry. He thought that the other guy must be saying, “Why did you even snatch a Han back”.
“Get lost!” Xiang Shu finally said in the Tiele language.
That youngster burst out laughing, then galloped away on his horse.
People kept trying to draw close, as if they wanted to ask Xiang Shu for instructions. Xiang Shu either didn’t answer them, or he would just lazily utter an “un”, so the ones who came took away the Hu people from within the pass in the convoy to resettle them. The people who moved to the North with Xiang Shu all seemed to be very excited, as if they had found their long-lost relatives here.
Chen Xing said, “Looks like they haven’t been living very comfortably after entering the pass.”
It was the kind of comfort and freedom one feels after returning home. Compared to when they were in Chang’an City where they had to follow the rules set by Fu Jian, study to become an official, and achieve an official rank, these barbarians obviously preferred to return to their carefree lives on the grassland. It was truly carved into their bones.
Xiang Shu didn’t answer. There were fewer and fewer people in the convoy now, and in the end, only the two of them were left. Two carriages were pulled to the foot of the mountains east of the Ancient Covenant, where there was a valley.
There were very few people living here. When they saw Xiang Shu return, all of them cheered.
The carriage stopped right in front of the biggest tent. Xiang Shu jumped off the carriage, and Chen Xing suddenly thought -- since Xiang Shu was the Great Chanyu and had long passed a marriageable age, would he have a wife and children at home?
But there were few people in this valley, and the place that Xiang Shu lived in was very quiet. The royal tent was built at the foot of a mountain; it occupied the source of a stream, so it was obvious as to how venerated the location was.
A lot of people came over to greet Xiang Shu. Xiang Shu replied them in the Tiele language, and everyone dispersed. Chen Xing looked around curiously and asked, “Is this your home?”
Xiang Shu said, “I’ll gather the elders for a meeting first, just do whatever you want ba.”
Then Xiang Shu said something to the rest, presumably asking them to help Chen Xing settle down.
At that moment, someone led a horse over, then Xiang Shu flipped onto the horse and galloped out of the valley after uttering a “jia”.
Chen Xing, “Ai wait! I don’t understand your language!!”
After Xiang Shu left, quite a few young Tiele men came over and studied Chen Xing curiously, then began discussing amongst themselves.
The corners of Chen Xing’s mouth twitched, and he could only nod politely in return.
Someone threw a wet cloth at him. Chen Xing quickly said, “Thank you.” Then used it to wipe his face and thought, so beyond the Great Wall, they receive guests by getting them to wash their faces first.
The crowd muttered a bit more then burst out laughing. Someone pointed Chen Xing to the tent, and Chen Xing said, “Okay, I’ll go rest now. Everyone need not trouble yourselves.”
Chen Xing lifted the tent and entered Xiang Shu’s home. He saw a huge blue embroidered rug spread out on the floor, and there were a lot of other furnishings in the room as well -- bedding, tableware, short tables, everything was available. There were even screens that had been transported over from the south. The lighting in the room was really good; snow-proof windows could be seen at the top of the tent, and the light that streamed through illuminated the inside such that it seemed very bright.
There was even a bookshelf in the corner, which was filled with pictorial books and ancient texts of the various tribes.
But because its master has been away from home for such a long time, everything was covered in dust.
The young Tiele man outside fetched a bucket of water inside. He pointed at the table, then patted Chen Xing’s shoulder and said in the Xianbei language, “Start now, wipe everything well. Finish cleaning up the royal tent before the Great Chanyu returns.”
Chen Xing looked at the cloth in his hand, then looked at the rest. He smiled and answered politely in the Han language,
Zryuu: DINGHAI’S PHYSICAL COPY IS GOING ON SALE TODAY (18/11) at 7:30PM GMT +8!!!!!!
Click here for the physical copy news!!
I’m mega excited bc there’s a few limited edition packages, and the 78 yuan package contains:
1. A MAP!!!!!!!!!
2. CHARACTER BADGES THAT ARE HELLA CUTE
3. Night lamps!!
4. “The Golden Conferment of the Purple Scroll that even Fu Jian couldn’t obtain!” ROFL
5. A VERY BEAUTIFUL POSTER omCZwO
But it’s fcfs so I’m camping at the Taobao site
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.