Editor(s): juurensha, namio
Xiang Yuyan, who was wearing a set of martial attire, sat on the swing, rocking with the gentle breeze.
A man walked into the garden, and Xiang Yuyan lifted her head and glanced at him. The two of them both turned their gazes away.
“The old lady has lived too long, so her temper’s too stubborn,” Xiang Yuyan gently said. “Liu-ge, don’t take what she said to heart.”
That man who had been called “Liu-ge” was precisely Zhang Liu. At this moment, he turned his body a little and took a few steps into the garden. His face was fair, with a few wisps of hair tickling his jaw. His five facial features were well-formed, and he even could be described with the words “pretty and handsome”. If he wasn’t standing in such a forceful pose, wearing a set of scribe robes, people could mistake him for a woman.
Zhang Liu said, “Of course I wouldn’t care, but you… I originally believed the Xiang family was more reasonable than I imagined, but now, it seems like I’ve caused you some difficulties instead. Never mind, I’ll think of some other options.”
“Liu-ge!” Xiang Yuyan stood up from the swing, but once again was lost for words. When Zhang Liu turned his body, she couldn’t help but say, “You really want… want to… go about it in this way?”
Zhang Liu smiled gently but didn’t respond.
Xiang Yuyan spoke, as if to herself, “Too crazy, this is just too crazy. Do you actually know the consequences of what will happen if you did things like that?”
“Between the earth and the sky, all magic would be lost. From here on out, there would be no more yao, no more mo, and there would not be exorcists,” Zhang Liu calmly said. “The world would return to being a world full of mortals.”
Xiang Yuyan sank into a deep silence, and Zhang Liu continued, “If these cultivators with their strong power were allowed to continue like this, who would be able to control them? Mara is only reincarnated once every millennium, and for this one godly tribulation in a thousand years, is it worth allowing the exorcists to continue on, inevitably setting them onto the path of evil? The way I see it, the Divine Land doesn’t need to wait for Mara to reincarnate; within these lengthy thousand years, it would first be destroyed at the hands of the exorcists.”
Xiang Yuyan frowned and said, “Liu-ge, you’re always like this. Why do you always like to think the worst of people?”
Zhang Liu answered, “The Chang’an Exorcism Department faces the danger of an internal schism, yet you still think these kinds of things wouldn’t happen? Exorcists still distinguish themselves into Hu or Han, but their job of capturing demons has no distinction between Hu or Han. Mortals have laws, and the government to mediate their struggles; if the Exorcism Department were to split, who would mediate between them?”
Xiang Yuyan earnestly said, “Ignoring the other issues and just focusing on the matter of taking away all mana in this world, in doing so you would become the enemy of every exorcist under the sun.”
“So what?” Zhang Liu said. “At that time, I’ll already have left. Yuyan, you should know exactly how important this matter is.”
Xiang Yuyan was dismayed and upset, saying, “Liu-ge, you really think that only with the Dinghai Pearl and the Acala Blade, the Devil God can be vanquished?”
“Many paths of this world are lined with brambles,” Zhang Liu answered. “If the only way forward is to expend all your effort despite knowing that it’s very difficult, would you back down?”
The two of them suddenly stopped their exchange, looking towards the entrance of the garden, where an old woman filled with rage stood.
“Damu,” Xiang Yuyan lowly said.
Zhang Liu greeted her slightly, before turning and leaving.
This address of “damu” was the same as the address “zumu" in the region of Kuaiji. The Xiang family’s old zumu at this moment walked towards Xiang Yuyan, coldly saying, “Make Zhang Liu leave tomorrow. He’s not allowed to stay with my Xiang family!”
Xiang Yuyan wanted to argue, but she gently breathed in instead.
“You’re still not happy?” the old woman said in a cold tone. “Believing what Zhang Liu says, dictating my Xiang family to make irreversible bad decisions!”
Xiang Yuyan contemplated for a second, before suddenly speaking, “Damu, defeating yao and slaying mo has been my life’s calling. In following Liu-ge to dispatch the Devil God, this child is merely following our calling…”
“You think this is the same as making a long trip to Chang’an or Luoyang?” the old woman coldly said. “You are going to 3000 years ago!”
These words lanced through Chen Xing’s thoughts like a thunderclap, but the grandmother and her granddaughter continued to speak, leaving him no time to muse over the deeper meanings in those words as he subconsciously absorbed this vast amount of information.
The old crone held a walking stick in her hand, her fury unceasing, and said, “Zhang Liu’s plan clearly won’t work! When Mara appears on this earth, the Heart Lamp will inevitably appear, and the Heart Lamp and the Acala Blade are bound by destiny. Even now, you two don’t have the Heart Lamp, but you still want to travel to 3000 years ago to slay the demon. How would that work?”
Xiang Yuyan argued back, “But Liu-ge has also said that as long as we return to the battlefield where multiple powers were vying for the throne, when Chiyou had already been weakened by the descendants of the emperor, we can still succeed with the power of the Dinghai Pearl. In doing so, the millenium long curse that has been hiding in this wide area of the Divine Land would also be eliminated…”
“Stay,” the old woman said. “You must stay here with me, Yuyan, don’t go!”
Xiang Yuyan looked away from that old woman’s glare; her gaze was extremely conflicted.
“Damu,” Xiang Yuyan gently said, “I remember that in this life of yours, your greatest regret was to separate from Dafu… you’ve also said before that there would be one day, when…”
“Don’t say anymore!” the old woman said, surprisingly forceful. “I won’t let you go with Zhang Liu!”
The old woman was filled with passion and panted heavily after that sentence. Xiang Yuyan busied herself with taking care of the matriarch, supporting her as they left.
The interior of the garden suddenly cycled through the four seasons; it was first filled with spring flowers whose blossoms flew like snow, before the sky changed to one filled with falling snowflakes. Within the multitude of shadowy figures, Xiang Yuyan’s appeared, carrying a sword box. She wore a set of ordinary robes, and as she walked into the garden in the midst of this harsh winter, her beauty appeared even more refined with no equal, and those eyebrows and five facial features seemed to share some similarities with Xiang Shu’s profile.
Pinned to the sleeve cuff of her drab martial robe was a piece of black crepe.
“You’re prepared?” Zhang Liu’s voice said.
Zhang Liu was wearing the clothing of a Hu person, which showed off his well-built physique, and following this statement he walked into the garden.
“Liu-ge, the Acala Blade you asked for.” Xiang Yuyan placed the box horizontally on the stone table and opened it. Inside was exactly the same heavy blade that Xiang Shu had obtained from the Exorcists’ Department. She then spoke again, “You don’t want to take a look? This was the godly weapon that my dafu used when he was alive.”
“We’ll store it temporarily within the Yin Yang Mirror,” Zhang Liu said, pulling out a mirror and putting the sword into it.
“How much did you bring from Chang’an?” Xiang Yuyan looked sorrowful but not hurt; she had seemingly already left the pain of her matriarch’s passing behind, and her expression was set in one of determination.
“I brought all the tianzi-level artifacts,” Zhang Liu said, “There are still some skills that I have not shown the public, due to the convenience of my position.”
Xiang Yuyan helplessly began to smile, and under the influence of that smile, the garden temporarily became filled with the warmth of spring.
Zhang Liu lifted his hand again, and from the center of his palm shone a magic pearl that constantly emitted bright light!
Chen Xing only felt that in that one second, all the blood in his body froze!
That pearl emitted a strong light, but its actual shape and details could not be seen clearly.
“This is the Dinghai Pearl?” Xiang Yuyan was also seeing it for the first time and, as she reached her hand out to touch it, the Dinghai Pearl’s light grew in intensity.
“Correct,” Zhang Liu said. “This is where the ‘nucleus’ of the region of the Divine Land we exist in is located. These golden rings are what I will call ‘Tide Rings’. Time is like an ocean, and years move like the tide; from now on, we must find a spiritual spot where we can absorb mana, and after setting down an array, we can use the spiritual Qi of the heavens and the earth to reverse the rotation of the light ring inside this pearl; with that, time will flow backwards, and events can be rewritten anew.”
Xiang Yuyan stared stunned at the Dinghai Pearl, as Zhang Liu put that artifact away and motioned that they could leave now.
“I still have one more unfulfilled wish,” Xiang Yuyan said quietly. “Give me a little more time.”
Zhang Liu made a 'please' hand gesture, and Xiang Yuyan pulled out a tiny blue-green copper bell. Holding it within her hand, she then gave Zhang Liu a box, and when Zhang Liu opened the box to take a look, there was a single flower inside.
Zhang Liu furrowed his brow, “Yuyan, you…”
“I’ll let this butterfly stay here, on my ancestral soil.” Xiang Yuyan lifted her head, watching the snowflakes drifting down from the sky. “Let my memories, like the falling snow, stay here forever, to never leave.”
Soon, the Luohun Bell within Xiang Yuyan’s hand vibrated, emitting a gentle “dang”.
Xiang Shu opened his two eyes wide.
Xiang Yuyan’s body began to shine with a faint light, and from within that radiance flew a glowing butterfly. It flapped its wings, flying towards the inside of the Luohun Bell, but Xiang Yuyan cupped the Luohun Bell, gently shifting it aside and letting the butterfly pass. That butterfly then naturally landed on the blossom within the box.
Zhang Liu closed the box, and within Xiang Yuyan’s eyes there were faint traces of loss.
“The Divine Land of 3000 years ago is still the Divine Land ,” Zhang Liu said, “The residents of the Divine Land are still people like you and me.”
“I know,” Xiang Yuyan softly said, “But after all, we will after all never be able to return. I only wanted the memories of the Xiang family to be buried in this place, so that part of my three hun and seven po stay here, in the ground of a time 3000 years later, to hibernate for a long time.”
She then buried the box within the earth, before finally rising and leaving together with Zhang Liu.
The white light suddenly winked out, leaving behind the four people standing in the garden. Chen Xing subconsciously lifted his head, looking towards Xiang Shu.
When the cock crowed, the sky had already begun to lighten, and the shadows that had been baring their fangs in the rockery and the fallow garden slowly faded away. In the same manner, the black cloth that had originally been blindfolding Chen Xing had finally been untied, falling to the ground. At this moment he and Xiang Shu were still holding hands, and Xiang Shu subconsciously grasped Chen Xing’s fingers tightly, gently exhaling, as if he had experienced a fleeting dream of a transient life from 300 years ago.
moon: and the plot thickens! and more handholding! also the use of the glowing butterfly has been revealed!
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.