“Once I saw Youduo, I knew that he had drunk the Demon God blood.” Lu Ying said, “Shi Hai’s purpose for sending him here was to make use of his identity to awaken the sleeping Xiongnu ancestors within Mount Carosha who have been dead for many years, then lead this living dead army down South. With the last bit of strength I had left, I subdued Youduo and made him sleep for a while...then searched for the humans below Chi Le Chuan...”
Xiang Shu said, “That was when we first met.”
“Yes.” Lu Ying forcibly took a deep breath, he was almost at his limit. He calmly said, “But Shulü Kong, you’re a kind child who cares for the living creatures of this world. You didn’t return to Carosha with me. I just didn’t expect that in the end, you would actually become an exorcist’s Protector. It can be seen that no one can escape what is written in the stars.”
Chen Xing continued asking, “What happened after?”
Lu Ying said, “After that...my strength continued to weaken. Late autumn this year, Sima Yue came again. He controlled the crows who ate the decayed for sustenance and started attacking the White Deer Forest, that is, this place. I had no choice but to give up on the Xiongnus and Youduo and seal the valley. Thus, Youduo led all of the living dead Xiongnus to break free of my restraints, then left Carosha overnight.”
“Sima Yue seemed to have been ordered to come here and pollute this land.” Lu Ying said gently, “Xiao Shan was driven down the mountain by me. I wanted him to go forth to seek survival elsewhere, but in order to save me, he kept circling the periphery of the mountain. In the end, he turned to the South and inadvertently bumped into you guys.”
Xiao Shan glanced at Lu Ying, clearly not having had understood what they were saying.
Lu Ying continued, “Xiao Shan judged from King Akele’s attire that he should be Youduo’s senior, so he brought him back. While wandering outside the valley, Sima Yue appeared and defeated Xiao Shan. He seized Xiao Shan’s weapon and snatched King Akele as well. Xiao Shan became extremely anxious, then at last, met the both of you.”
Chen Xing let out a sigh and looked at Xiao Shan, saying, “It wasn’t easy for you too.”
Xiao Shan let out a few “aowu”s like a small wolf. He pulled Chen Xing closer to Lu Ying, then pointed at the rotten half of Lu Ying’s body, signalling to him to treat Lu Ying.
Xiang Shu said, “Now Sima Yue has escaped as well. Seeing the direction in which he was going, he might be heading to Chi Le Chuan. Carosha’s crisis must be resolved, but we have to go back as soon as possible.”
Part of Chen Xing’s doubts has finally been resolved, but what accompanied it were even more mysteries. For a moment, there were numerous, complicated events entangling with one another which made him a little confused, especially when he thought about how his enemy was actually Chiyou...
“Let’s go ba.” Chen Xing felt quite apprehensive. They would take about ten days to reach Chi Le Chuan from here. Just when they were about to bid farewell, Xiang Shu clutched his collar and made him stand properly.
“Where’s the Dinghai Pearl?” Xiang Shu asked.
Only then did Chen Xing remember -- he had almost forgotten the most important thing!!
“Dinghai Pearl?” Lu Ying frowned slightly.
“Close to 300 years ago,” Xiang Shu said, “Did a Han exorcist come here?”
Chen Xing thought to himself that it was fortunate Xiang Shu still remembered about the Dinghai Pearl. His head was spinning from all his thoughts about Chiyou’s resurrection, and now he quickly put it all aside before asking, “How much do you know about the Silence of All Magic?”
Lu Ying suddenly appeared puzzled. He said, “Exorcist... that person? I didn’t really pay attention, but there may actually be a link.”
Chen Xing didn’t dare to interrupt Lu Ying. He had a nagging sensation that there was still something odd about all this. After Lu Ying remained silent for a long while, he said, “How did you two know about Zhang Liu?”
“Zhang Liu.” Chen Xing was extremely confused too as he said, “Is that his name?”
But Xiang Shu could tell that Lu Ying had his doubts too. He motioned to Chen Xing and said, “Explain everything properly.” So Chen Xing narrated the process of him finding the diary in the Exorcism Department to Lu Ying in detail. After that, Lu Ying said, “En, there was indeed such a person, but I don’t remember clearly anymore...”
“Let’s talk about the Silence of All Magic first.” That was the most important event to Chen Xing right now. If the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth could be restored, Lu Ying may be able to be cured as well. “Since you’ve lived for more than 400 years, you must have experienced that period. Can you tell me what caused the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth to disappear overnight?”
Lu Ying remained silent. Only after a long, long while passed did he suddenly say, “Yes, the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth did disappear just like that. What deductions do you exorcists have about that phenomenon?”
Chen Xing answered, “Some people say that the Xuan Gate was closed.”
“Aside from that?” Lu Ying was still thinking, seeming a little more spirited.
Chen Xing shrugged, palms up. Lu Ying looked up at Chen Xing, then said softly, “Do you know how humans control magic treasures? Although all of the magic treasures in the world now aren’t working properly, I may be able to explain its workings for you two...”
Chen Xing knew this quite clearly without needing Lu Ying to explain. He continued on Lu Ying’s behalf, “Because all of the magic treasures can only be used after spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth is gathered and mustered up. For example, when one uses the Yin Yang Mirror, spiritual Qi must be summoned from the heavens and earth before it can be activated. This shares the same principle as the yao tribes sucking spiritual Qi to cultivate. That is why some magic treasures that are replete with power, over time, have the ability to transform into humans.”
“That’s right.” Lu Ying said with relief, “Not only are you humans at a loss because of the Silence of All Magic, but it has also puzzled us for a long time as well. For a whole 300 years, we were unable to consume any kind of spiritual Qi. But after hearing you say this today, it has suddenly resolved this question I had for many years. Maybe...en...”
Chen Xing said in a hurry, “Tell us ah!”
Lu Ying slowly said, “Although us yaos don’t understand the world as well as you exorcists, and don’t know if there really is a so-called ‘Xuan Gate’ or where it may be even if there is one, however...have you ever considered that the disappearance of spiritual Qi isn’t a result of the Xuan Gate closing, but because a magic treasure had absorbed all of the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth into itself?”
Chen Xing, “...”
Chen Xing was suddenly a little lost. He subconsciously said, “Is that possible? This...what kind of magic treasure can hold all of the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth? That’s...that’s too unreasonable ba!”
Chen Xing looked at Xiang Shu. Xiang Shu didn’t understand a single thing about this and just motioned for him to continue asking, but Chen Xing was thoroughly flabbergasted. When he looked at Lu Ying, Lu Ying had a grave expression plastered on his face.
“Close to 300 years ago...”
“Wait!” Chen Xing said, “Wait! hold on!”
Although that conjecture was quite absurd, it was the only possibility! Because Chen Xing suddenly recalled the portion of text on that diary--
--the Silence of All Magic is destined to be the final destination of all Exorcists, only the Dinghai Pearl can release a torrential outburst of spiritual Qi...
All of the blood in Chen Xing’s body ran cold. He murmured, “Spiritual Qi...it’s all in the Dinghai Pearl!”
“Dinghai Pearl.” Lu Ying said, “En...7 months after Zhang Liu arrived at Carosha, the Silence of All Magic fell. If you hadn’t asked about it, I would’ve never thought...”
“What was Zhang Liu’s purpose in coming here?” Xiang Shu asked.
Lu Ying replied gently, “He wanted to find a treasure buried in this mountain -- a dragon pearl.”
Chen Xing suddenly snapped out of his daze. “There’s a dragon here?”
Lu Ying looked up. The long night had passed, the enigmatic mist of the early morning made everything seem dim. A ray of the early morning sunlight fell, and the fog slowly receded. Looking out from within the valley, Carosha’s lofty and majestic figure could be seen. The meaning within was self-evident.
“Dragon God Zhuyin’s dragon pearl.” Chen Xing said, “Must be it.”
“He told me,” Lu Ying said lightly, “that he wanted to use that dragon pearl to accomplish something very difficult.”
“What is it?” Xiang Shu asked.
Lu Ying shook his head and continued, “300 years ago, we had just met for a brief moment so we didn’t talk to each other much.”
“Man proposes, but Heaven disposes... one can only do their best. The vicissitudes of the human world occur with just the snap of a finger. What benefit would there be in all the planning done after one passes?” Chen Xing murmured, “He found the Dinghai Pearl in Carosha, then used it so absorb all of the mana in the world and saved it in that magic treasure...what did he want to achieve?”
Xiang Shu said, “Can you let us take a look at where the Dinghai Pearl was?”
“It was in this tree cave.” Lu Ying said, “That year, this islet was the wolf god’s dwelling.”
Xiang Shu and Chen Xing looked at the tree cave in turn. There was nothing unusual about it. Chen Xing said, “Wouldn’t Zhuyin’s dragon pearl be very big? It should be as big as a house ba. Zhuyin was already so big it could even turn into mountains...but since it’s a magic treasure, it’s not impossible for it to shrink or grow in size...wait, I still have some questions to ask...how did the wolf god obtain it?”
Lu Ying continued, “He found it inadvertently someplace deep in the forests, then bit it and brought it to me as a present. It seemed extremely exquisite and beautiful to me, so I kept it.”
“What’s that magic treasure used for?” Xiang Shu asked another key question.
Lu Ying thought about it, then shook his head. “I’m not sure, perhaps it has something to do with Zhuyin’s dragon power.”
Xiang Shu continued, “Since you don’t know what it’s used for, how do you know it can store all of the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth?”
Lu Ying said, “This relic from ancient times is a possession of the Dragon God; it was impossible for humans to even touch it. But once it is forced to activate, the Dragon God’s power must be injected into it. This level of power can’t be matched by an ordinary magic treasure, so the power required to propel it will only be stronger than usual too.”
Chen Xing muttered, “Zhuyin opens its eyes as day, and closes its eyes as night. The effect of the Dinghai Pearl should have something to do with time. After Zhang Liu obtained the Dinghai Pearl, he would’ve needed a lot of power to activate it.”
“Maybe.” Lu Ying sighed with relief. “The responsibility following all this is still for you two to bear, Exorcist, Protector Martial God.”
Chen Xing and Xiang Shu fell silent for a long while. So to speak, they did reap some benefits in coming to Carosha -- they had resolved the doubts surrounding the Dinghai Pearl at the very least. But after obtaining it here, where did Zhang Liu take it to?
Lu Ying said, “If I may be so bold, I have a favour to ask of you two. I hope the two of you can fulfill this wish of mine.”
Lu Ying tried to stand up and Chen Xing immediately said, “You must rest here! After we release the spiritual Qi of the heavens and earth, I’ll come back and find a way to treat your injuries with the Heart Lamp.”
“I can’t wait until then.” Lu Ying stood up while holding onto the withered tree behind him. Xiao Shan immediately stood up with him, appearing baffled. He tugged on Chen Xing’s sleeve to ask him to help.
“I...” Chen Xing didn’t know what Lu Ying wanted to do and could only say, “I’ll try my best.”
Chen Xing forcibly lit up the Heart Lamp and pressed it against Lu Ying’s chest. Lu Ying was enveloped by the white light, but the rotten half of his body couldn’t recover. He said with a smile, “Thank you, I feel much better now.”
“No.” Chen Xing said, “Lu Ying, there must be a way, you...”
Lu Ying knelt down to kowtow, saying, “I’d like to entrust Xiao Shan to you two for the time being.”
Chen Xing, “!!!”
Xiang Shu seemed to have known Lu Ying would say this long ago. He continued standing where he was, motionless.
“Both his parents passed away when he was young.” Lu Ying said seriously, “His father’s surname is Xiao. He was a Han escort who came to Longcheng from the North. His mother was the daughter of Hu Hanye Chanyu and the Han lady, Wang Zhaojun, but that tribe was destroyed during the calamity in Longcheng 12 years ago. He was the only child. The wolf god once vowed to protect the Xiongnu, and before he died, he bestowed his yao powers upon him...he’s twelve years old this year.”
Chen Xing said, “Xiao Shan’s twelve years old now?! How does he look like a twelve-year-old in any way?! What do you guys usually feed him? He’s so small!”
This was Xiang Shu’s first time seeing someone scolding the entruster while an orphan was being entrusted to them, so he quickly signalled to Chen Xing with a gaze to get him to stop talking. But Chen Xing said, “Look at my family’s Protector, that’s how a twelve-year-old should look like.”
Xiang Shu, “…………”
Lu Ying, “...”
Lu Ying could only say, “I don’t like eating meat by nature, and he doesn’t want to eat meat in front of me either, so he hasn’t grown much.”
“No wonder.” Chen Xing’s heart ached as he said, “Without eating any meat and only consuming fruits, how could he grow much?”
Xiang Shu finally couldn’t stand it any longer. He motioned to Chen Xing to stop.
Yet Lu Ying laughed. “It’s okay. You’re the wielder of the Heart Lamp, and if he is fortunate enough to stay by your side and grow up well, in two years, when he becomes an adult at fourteen, you can just let him do what he wants. It’s okay if you don’t want to take him along either. Sending him back to the humans under Chi Le Chuan would be enough to take a load off my mind.”
Chen Xing said, “It’s not that I’m not willing, the key is whether Xiao Shan would follow us or not. Would you like to, Xiao Shan?”
Lu Ying patted Xiao Shan’s head, smiled at him a little, and uttered a strange sentence. Xiao Shan stared doubtfully at Xiang Shu, then studied Chen Xing. Lu Ying urged him a little more, and only then did Xiao Shan nod unwillingly.
“I asked him to help you two find a way to save me.” Lu Ying continued talking to the other two, “Exorcist, Protector Martial God, I will be entrusting my only worry to you two. Leave now ba, don’t let him see.”
Chen Xing suddenly had a bad feeling. He murmured, “You’re leaving.”
“It’s time.” Lu Ying said gently, “Go ba.”
Xiao Shan suddenly sensed something as well and started crying. Lu Ying wanted to hug him, but didn’t have the energy to do so anymore, so Xiang Shu picked him up. Lu Ying planted a soft kiss on Xiao Shan’s forehead.
Chen Xing took half a step back, yet Lu Ying reminded him, “Don’t cry. He has very acute senses, and he’ll feel it. After leaving Carosha, White Mane will send you guys back to Chi Le Chuan. It is the wolf god’s former servant wolf.”
Chen Xing recalled the giant wolf and nodded. He extended a hand towards Xiao Shan. Xiao Shan pulled Chen Xing with one hand while he pulled Lu Ying with his other, refusing to let go.
Lu Ying pretended to be angry and turned his head slightly, so Xiao Shan had to let go.
Lu Ying handed the amber containing the ashes of the phoenix to Chen Xing and said, “I’ll give this to you two.”
Chen Xing accepted it, took a few steps back, and Lu Ying continued, “Don’t look back.”
Chen Xing felt his nose sour, but Xiang Shu said, “Go.”
Chen Xing held Xiao Shan’s hand. Xiao Shan still turned back, reluctant to part with Lu Ying, but Lu Ying turned around with his back facing them and returned to the withered forest.
“Exorcist.” With his back to them, Lu Ying loosened his robes and looked down at the rotten half of his body. He asked, “What’s your name?”
“Chen Xing,” Chen Xing answered with his back facing Lu Ying.
Lu Ying asked again, “You came from the human world, so you must have walked through many places. I have one final question I would like to ask you.”
Chen Xing didn’t turn around and remained silent.
“...I heard that in the distant Western Regions, there is a sage.” Lu Ying said gently, “Under its divine power, everyone in the world would obtain redemption, and all obsessions would gain enlightenment. Is this really the case?”
“It’s called ‘Buddha’,” Chen Xing murmured.
Lu Ying, “Where can I find it?”
Chen Xing said, “Perhaps in the West, or perhaps in the Central Plains. I’ve only heard about it from time to time. It has been nearly 800 years since it was around.”
Lu Ying tidied up his robes. His white garment was long, and his black hair fluttered amidst the early morning breeze. He looked up at the clear sky as blue as a sapphire gem, closed his eyes, and said with a smile, “When my soul goes to the West, hopefully I’ll be able to find my final destination. Exorcist, Protector Martial God, we may or may not meet again.”
Chen Xing picked up his pace and left Mount Carosha. Xiao Shan was still turning back time and again. Chen Xing wanted to pick him up, but Xiao Shan kept struggling.
Soon after, within the Mount Carosha in early morning, a resounding deer cry rang out.
A gentle breeze blew. Within an instant, the snow that blanketed the mountains melted. Lu Ying stood in the middle of the withered, barren island, and released his grip on his collar. His white robes fell to the ground. The young man’s fair, naked body began glowing, and the rotten half of his body was dotted with light particles as it began a gradual restoration.
Lu Ying turned around gracefully. His long hair transformed into a splendid coat of fur, and his pure white body began elongating and transformed into a giant, glowing stag. Only his pair of shining horns were missing. He lifted his front hooves up, stepped on air, then ripples began spreading in mid air accompanied by plop sounds.
Withered trees, barren land, stone mountains. The deer god’s horns commanded all life. Its last bit of yao powers poured out like a torrent, and like a gentle blanket of light and wind, it covered the entire Carosha.
Beyond the mountains, all of the wolves, white deer, foxes, and birds all over the mountains faced the depths of the sacred mountain, Carosha.
Xiang Shu, Chen Xing, and Xiao Shan stood in the snow field and stared at this scene in a daze.
The luminous stag stepped out of the valley, and wherever it passed, snow would melt, and all life would be reborn! The cypress trees in the forest flourished, and within an instant, flowers bloomed everywhere. Melted snow flowed and converged into the forest lake before turning into a waterfall that cascaded down like white silk.
Deep in the valley, vegetation began spreading gently and covered King Akele’s huge body.
“You, were born on this earth.” Lu Ying’s gentle voice travelled over, “And you will eventually return to this earth as well.”
Deep in the verdant and lush canyon, the fog had dispersed completely. Just like a scene from a fairytale, thousands of flowers were blooming. The shadow of the Gray Wolf flickered under the trees. The White Deer flew back to the valley, then turned into white particles along with the Gray Wolf before disappearing with a bang. The particles rose from within the valley and converged in the sky, then joined the vast, grandiose river in the Divine Vein.
Xiao Shan finally understood. He burst out with a thunderous cry filled with sorrow. However, Xiang Shu had been prepared long ago and he locked onto Xiao Shan’s wrist with one hand. Xiao Shan wanted to rush back to Carosha, but he couldn’t break free from Xiang Shu’s vice-like grip.
The pack of wolves dashed over from within the valley. Like a well-trained army, all of them bowed one after another as they surrounded the three people.
The giant White Mane wolf walked over to the three of them and bowed. Chen Xing said to Xiao Shan, “Lu Ying wants you to live well.”
Xiao Shan wiped away his tears and didn’t know what to do for a moment. Xiang Shu motioned for them to leave, so Chen Xing hugged Xiao Shan and mounted the wolf. Xiao Shan snapped out of his daze, and when he wanted to struggle again, the pack of wolves clustered around them and led them away from Carosha.
A group of us has started translating the Tianbao Manhua and we will be releasing the prologue soon! Future releases will be uploaded here.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.