Chapter 30 - Searching for Tracks Underground

Tianbao Fuyao Lu

"Within the brass plate was a drop of some strange, bright-red liquid"

Translator(s): moon
Editor(s): juurensha

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At this time, night had fallen, and Li Jinglong suggested, “Wait here a bit.” And with that, he started up a campfire and dug out some dry rations for Hongjun to eat. Hongjun hadn’t had an appetite for the entire day and was all quiet and listless; he only drank a little creek water before he laid down on his own.

“Thanks for your hard work,” Li Jinglong said. “These early steps in the investigation have shown that there really are yao involved, and once this is all over I’ll take you all to go properly have some fun again.”

Hongjun laid down on the grass and turned his head to look at Li Jinglong as he asked, “During my journey down the mountain to Chang’an, I slept like this every day, so I’m used to it. Although, how did you figure it out?”

Li Jinglong said, as if he had been expecting the question, “For a bodyguard to suddenly murder an entire caravan’s worth of people just on the last day before they arrived in Chang’an, before taking his own life, don’t you think this is very illogical?”

Hongjun en-ed and said, “But the yaoguai didn’t commit the murders with his own hands, so what did he come here for?”

Li Jinglong answered, “Perhaps this is where the key clue lies.”

Hongjun wracked his brains, but this was something that he couldn’t figure out. However, Li Jinglong said, “We’ll go back first, discuss things with them, and perhaps then we’ll reach a clearer decision then. Let’s think about something happier, where would you like to go play?”

“I’m not going to Pingkang Li again,” Hongjun said easily.

“After last time when I stopped you, you found it uninteresting?” Li Jinglong asked mildly.

Hongjun didn’t know why, but he suddenly thought of the words he had spoken to the carp yao yesterday. Following Li Jinglong, who understood how to eat well and play well, every day there were a bunch of new things for him to experience. And if they continued on like this, it was as if his entire life would be just as content as it was now.

Li Jinglong, “?”

Hongjun suddenly pointed up at the clusters of stars in the autumn night sky, saying, “Zhangshi, look at the stars, they’re so pretty.”

Li Jinglong en-ed and also laid down, and the two of them watched the stars together.

“I don’t like Qin Wu,” Li Jinglong said. “Are you chugging a little vinegar?”

When Hongjun was asked this question, his heart suddenly began to leap wildly without any cause, and he said awkwardly, “I’m… not!”

“You saw me worrying over him,” Li Jinglong said with an earnest expression, “so you felt pretty dissatisfied, right?”

Hongjun immediately turned to lay down on his side, not saying anything more.

Li Jinglong then said, “I used to be good friends with him, so I just couldn’t bear seeing him fall to the level he’s at today…” and saying this, he turned his eyes again to the starry sky, saying absentmindedly, “Though I’ve only known you for less than a month, your speech and mannerisms show clearly that you’re from a saintly family. And with how you conduct yourself amongst people, it’s even more clear beyond a doubt, so how can you be compared to someone of this dusty world?”

When Hongjun heard Li Jinglong praising him like this, flowers blossomed in his heart. He turned around and looked at him as he said, “Really? You’re making me really happy praising me like that!”

Li Jinglong said mirthfully, “Just take it as me making you feel better.”

Hongjun was a little sleepy, and he mumbled fuzzily, “Sometimes when I see Du Hanqing or little Wu, I can’t help but think, if I hadn’t grown up in Yao… in that house, then perhaps, compared to them, I would be even worse off. So the advantages that I have are only because I was born into a good family, that’s all.”

“That’s not necessarily the case,” Li Jinglong said. “Everyone has their own nature, and though some people may be beaten down again and again until they have nothing left, there are many things they wouldn’t stoop to doing. That day you said, you like zhangshi…”

Hongjun en-ed as his eyelids grew heavy; weariness curled around him, so he missed what Li Jinglong said after that. Li Jinglong, however, felt that it was very strange. How come when he said sleep, he slept? He reached a hand out and shook Hongjun a little before calling his name once, but after he didn’t get an answer, he could only let him be.

The campfire slowly died down, and the world sank into darkness.

Hongjun suddenly startled awake in the darkness and let out a loud shout like before. He felt that there was a piece of clothing laid over him, but before he finished struggling, Li Jinglong who was lying next to him immediately reached his hands out and held him down.

Li Jinglong had moved over to lie shoulder to shoulder next to him at some point in the night, and the two of them were covered by his outer robe as they pressed together.

“Had another dream?” Li Jinglong asked him concernedly. “Why are you always having nightmares?”

Hongjun breathed lightly as he said, “I dreamt that I saw yaoguai killing… killing humans.”

He dreamt that he saw that corpse from the daytime hiding behind the rock, shaking uncontrollably, as a black shadow emanating fog moved forward, reaching out a hand. The blood covering the ground turned into wriggling worms that danced and leapt as if they were alive, before finally collecting endlessly in his palm.

“Don’t be afraid,” Li Jinglong said quietly. “Are you sensitive to resentment? I’ve been wanting to ask you since earlier today.”

Hongjun en-ed as he felt the powerful beat of Li Jinglong’s heart within his muscular body. There was a dim brightness near his heart meridian that drew him in, and he scooted over slightly. His spirit, which had been startled by the nightmare, slowly settled, and he once again entered sleep.

In the early morning of the next day, when he woke up again, nothing had happened. Li Jinglong patrolled around the area in another circle before saddling up with Hongjun and chivvying the horse back to Chang’an. When they arrived at the Exorcism Department, the other three were currently lying in the main hall sleeping in their clothes; clearly, they had been looking over cases for the whole night.

“Last night more new cases came,” A-Tai said, his eyes hazy with sleepiness. “A homicide, yaoguai. And there were even eyewitnesses.”

Li Jinglong thought deeply for a moment, before saying, “For now, leave this case be and listen to the results of our investigations. Hongjun, you tell them this time.”

“Ah?” Hongjun had long since forgotten most of it, and said, “Yesterday I first ate two bowls of roasted goose noodles…”

“Wow, you guys!” A-Tai said angrily. “We were working ourselves to death in the Exorcism Department, and you guys went out to eat good food?”

Li Jinglong really felt that the more Hongjun said, the deeper of a pit he dug for them, and he said angrily, “Talk about proper matters!”

So Hongjun could only rely on his memories as he went over their investigations in detail, and when he got to the part about him vomiting, everyone, including the carp yao, spoke in unison, “You deserved it!” At the last, when he was talking about Pinghe Liang, everyone’s foreheads were deeply furrowed as they began to exchange ideas back and forth. This time, it was Li Jinglong who answered; he laid out the causes and effects very clearly in a highly organized manner, before he said to Hongjun, “Haven’t you forgotten something?”

Hongjun couldn’t think of anything. Mo Rigen, however, said first, “The first three might not have had yaoguai involved, but the last one definitely has some oddities.”

“You’re counting Qin Wu in as well,” Li Jinglong pointed out.

“Amongst these four cases, I keep feeling like there’s something in common?” A-Tai mumbled.

“Is the thing in common that the Judiciary Department can’t solve them?” Qiu Yongsi said.

Everyone, “...”

Qiu Yongsi waved a hand and said gleefully, “They’re all related to blood.”

Hongjun, “Oh yeah.”

“Aside from the doctor who’s since escaped from the city, it seems like the trail has gone cold,” Li Jinglong said heavily. “For the rest of the cases, no matter if it was the crime scene or the modus operandi of the killer, they were all extraordinarily violent.”

“That can’t in and of itself constitute a similarity,” Mo Rigen frowned. “Homicides always have fresh blood splattered all over the ground.”

Li Jinglong then said, “The killer always lost their reason at some point in time.”

Qiu Yongsi, “When a person is overcome by rage, they’ll always do some rash action, when they’re driven by a heart devil…”

“Heart devil.” Li Jinglong bluntly pointed out the term that Qiu Yongsi used.

Everyone fell silent again.

“Only Qin Wu was this way right?” Hongjun said. “After all, we haven’t seen any of the other killers.”

Li Jinglong reminded him, “That bodyguard who committed suicide.”

Hongjun immediately remembered the expression of the bodyguard who committed suicide, and it was even he himself who had discovered that detail.

“We need to go find the blacksmith in the wife-murdering case,” Mo Rigen said. “If he’s the same as Qin Wu, then there might very well be a problem.”

“The blacksmith’s neighbors were familiar with him, right?” A-Tai asked.

“According to their testimonies, he was an honest person,” Li Jinglong indicated that A-Tai take a look for himself.

When the topic turned to the blacksmith, Hongjun suddenly remembered something and pulled out that half-moon shaped metal piece he found at the blacksmith’s house, saying, “I keep feeling that this…”

“Wait!” Qiu Yongsi immediately got up, scooted over quickly and grabbed it, holding it in his hand, breathing rapidly.

“What artifact is this?” Hongjun asked. The moment he saw this metal piece, he felt as if there was a very faint whiff of yao energy on it, but he couldn’t say for sure where it came from. Of the five of them, Qiu Yongsi’s knowledge was the most vast, and since he knew about the Sword of Wisdom, he could potentially also know about this thing’s origins.

“This isn’t an artifact,” Qiu Yongsi murmured. “This is a scale…”

The afternoon of the next day, a jailer brought the members of the Exorcism Department, as well as the recordkeeper from the Judiciary Department, Lian Hao, into the deepest part of the prison.

“We’ve interrogated him already, and he doesn’t admit to it. He only mentioned that when he moved to kill his victim, he felt as if he was bewitched.” Lian Hao had the jailer use the keys to open the gates of the cell, letting them in.

The killer had hidden himself in a dark corner of the cell. He was a 50 plus year old blacksmith, spasming sporadically. His hair was completely untied and messy, and he kept muttering strange phrases; clearly, his wits were scrambled.

Li Jinglong lightly touched him, and that blacksmith instantly let out heart-rending wails, crying, “Ghost --! Ghost!”

Mo Rigen knelt on one knee in front of that blacksmith, observing his expression.

“What did you see?” Mo Rigen asked. “Don’t be afraid, tell us.”

The blacksmith couldn’t stop trembling, and his features were twisted in a grimace as his throat let out gurgles, but he didn’t say anything. Li Jinglong’s forehead was furrowed deeply as he glanced at Hongjun, and the two of them both came to a tacit understanding as they recalled the frozen, dead expression of that bodyguard that had killed the entire merchant caravan.

“Ghost, a ghost…” the blacksmith only said that one line as he scrambled around.

When the group left the prison, Hongjun couldn’t resist glancing about, and he found that Qin Wu was imprisoned in another cell. Qin Wu wore a prisoner’s uniform as he lay there on the hay-covered floor, with iron shackles on his wrists and legs, sleeping.

The sounds of iron clanking came as the jailor opened the door, and Hongjun went in to pat Qin Wu awake. Qin Wu instantly jerked to full wakefulness, and he violently grabbed Hongjun’s wrist.

“Save me… save me…” Qin Wu’s voice trembled. “I shouldn’t have done that… I was wrong…”

Hongjun frowned. “Little Wu, tell me, what exactly happened?”

Qin Wu’s eyes were filled with terror, and he was on the verge of tears as he said, “I don’t know… I don’t know… there was a shadow constantly following me… I didn’t want to do it… save me…”

Everyone outside the door of the cell jolted.

“Say it a little clearer.” Li Jinglong entered the cell, kneeling in front of Qin Wu, taking in his expressions.

Qin Wu said, quaking with fright, “After I killed them, a shadow, came in…”

Hongjun instantly grew alert, but Li Jinglong asked, “What did the shadow look like?”

Qin Wu shook his head and said pleadingly, “I don’t know, I didn’t see it clearly. I escaped, I didn’t dare to stay any longer…”

That night, after Qin Wu had slaughtered his enemy’s family with the blade in his hand, before he could recover from his bout of bloodlust-induced madness, he felt that a dark wind began to blow from all around. The blood seemed to come to life as it gathered into wriggling worms on the ground, crawling in all directions. In that instant, his shock and madness were replaced by horror, and with that he lifted his sword and scrambled to escape out of there.

“It was probably a hallucination,” Lian Hao frowned and spoke. “After committing crimes, many people fall into a confused mental state, and very few are able to remain calm.”

Hongjun thought of the cool, collected Qin Wu that he had met that day and compared that image of him to the terrified man of today after he had killed people. They seemed to be two wholly different people, and he had no way to reconcile the two images of him.

That night, a thin sliver of an autumn moon shone in the sky as everyone stopped in front of the Bridge of Nine Turnings, all of them not saying a word.

Hongjun turned that piece of dragon scale over and over in his hand, flipping it from his index finger to his middle finger, from his middle finger to his ring finger, before reversing the process and flipping it back around to his index finger.

“Don’t cut your hand,” Mo Rigen warned him.

“A dragon?” Li Jinglong asked. “Instigating a blacksmith, Qin Wu, and these kinds of people to go kill others, what is it for exactly, what is the motive?”

“It must have something to do with some evil spell,” Qiu Yongsi deduced. “Though what Hongjun has in hand can be called a dragon scale, the nine sons of the dragon each have their own idiosyncrasies, and the possibility of it coming from a real dragon is minute.”

“En,” Hongjun said. “Dragon scales and phoenix feathers both hold the power of extremely powerful magical beasts within them. This perhaps is a scale from the dragon tribe, but it’s definitely not from a real dragon.”

At this time, the sound of splashing came from the Bridge of Nine Turnings, and the carp yao clambered out of the river dripping wet as it said, “The water in the river is all murky, nothing can be seen. But on the innermost side of Lake Jinchi, there’s traces of some large thing crawling all over it, knocking many of the carved rocks on the side out of alignment.”

As long as they were of the water tribe, even if they cultivated into a real dragon, aquatic yao would often need a water source. For those who hadn’t cultivated very high, like the carp yao, soaking in the water was even more necessary for them. Li Jinglong’s first guess was indeed accurate; since this was an aquatic yaoguai, then it must have left traces within the waterways of Chang’an.

“Split up and investigate all of the waterways,” Li Jinglong said. “If you find anything strange, report back immediately.”

Everyone then split up to go search in all the nooks and crannies of Chang’an. In the region of Chang’an, ever since the time of the Western Zhou dynasty when it had been known as the capital, “Haojing”, since the time of the Han dynasty’s fall, there was the saying that “eight rivers wrapped around Chang’an”. The Jing and Wei Rivers flowed through this thousand-year ancient capital, and their tributaries split and met in a complicated web of water, and in places like the Shanglin Gardens, where the water depth could reach as deep as one zhang.

If there were aquatic yaoguai scattered about, then every outlet, every river, and every grille would all bear traces of movement. Hongjun and the carp yao went east along the Lishui Bridge; the tranquil city had already long since entered curfew, and there was only the sound of one human and one yao chatting in a dark alley.

“Some yao are born as dragons, but some yao have to cultivate for thousands of years to become a dragon,” the carp yao sighed. “Say, how unfair is that?”

Hongjun held the Pentacolor Sacred Light in his hand as he lit up his surroundings, saying to the carp yao, “I, however, feel that carp yao have an unfair advantage. Clearly they have no relations to the dragon tribe, but all they have to do is hop over the dragon gate to become a dragon.”

“That’s a fanciful thought,” the carp yao responded. “Those picture books were all lying to you, understand? You have to first gather up merits, and after gathering enough merits, then when you go to hop the dragon gate, you can become a dragon.”

“Shh.” Hongjun stood by one of the entrances to the waterway in the west of the city, holding the Pentacolor Sacred Light up to shine into it. There was the sound of water dripping, and as another drop fell, the carp yao hurriedly hid behind Hongjun.

Within the darkness, their surroundings were very quiet. The Li River went underground at this point, flowing out of the boundaries of the city and into the moat around the outside of Chang’an. It was also at this location that the eastern Chang’an city wall was built by Qin Qiong during Li Shimin’s reign. It was built on a hill, and during a drought, the water would flow in from the outside, entering Chang’an and causing the water level to rise. During a flood, the water in the city would flow towards the Wei River, heading towards the Qinchuan Plains; this method was used to control the water flow in and out of the city.

After Wu Zetian moved the capital to Luoyang, this place had been left to rot for a long time, and as of today, it had not been tended to for a long time. The Ministry of Industry didn’t maintain it, which caused the underwater canal to be filled with silt. The opening was blocked off by a stout iron grille, but beneath the bars of the iron grille, something glimmered faintly as the light shone over it.

The carp yao dashed over to pick it up, and Hongjun exclaimed, “It’s another piece! Why does it look different?”

Hongjun put those two metal scales next to each other to compare, only to see that one piece was dark grey, while the other was a green-blue, a very clear difference.

“There’s more than one,” Hongjun said darkly.

Hongjun tried to lift up the iron grille, but that grille weighed almost two thousand jin, so he could only pull out his throwing knives and slice off one of the bars. He held that broken bar in his hand as he turned and entered the waterway.

“Hongjun, don’t be so quick to act, your throwing knives aren’t a complete set. I’ll go call the others, and we can discuss then!” the carp yao said.

Hongjun didn’t know whether he should laugh or cry. “You’re looking down on me too much ba.”

Though Hongjun had bumped and stumbled into many situations on his journey here, he still had a little bit of actual ability. Compared to his comrades in the Exorcism Department, however, it was not enough. The carp yao turned round to alert their companions, while Hongjun slowly pressed forward in that darkened waterway.

The tunnel was wide and deep. The sound of water dripping came intermittently, and around him the darkness was so dense that when he reached a hand out he couldn’t see his fingers. From afar, a breath of wind gusted by, before a “zhi ya--” sound came, as if someone was pushing at a wooden door.

“Who’s there!” Hongjun cried, startled.

There was no response. Hongjun stood alone in the darkness, and with a pa he let out a crisp, clean snap. The spell cast light in all directions, vaguely tracing out the shape of a phoenix taking flight before a blazing ball of sacred fire sprang into existence, turning into tens of meteors that split up and shot towards the two ends of the tunnel. The sound of tinder igniting came without stopping as the torches stuck along the walls of the cavern all lit up, and the inside of the tunnel once again grew bright.

There was another “zhi ya --”, and Hongjun slowly headed towards the source of that sound. When he turned a corner, he found that he had entered a very spacious underground cavern, inside of which were many disused warships, and the river gurgled past. A stream of water streamed down from on high, splashing over the paddles of a rotting water wheel, and every time the water wheel made a half-revolution, it let out that sound.

Hongjun was just about to turn, when suddenly from behind a hand pressed down on his shoulder. A voice said chillingly by his ear, “Hai, mie, hou, bi…”

Hongjun‘s hairs instantly stood on end, and he almost cut off A-Tai’s hand with one swipe of his throwing knife. When he turned, A-Tai immediately indicated that he should stay quiet. The carp yao had only found A-Tai in the vicinity, and the others hadn’t yet come over.

“What exactly does that sentence mean?” Hongjun was frightened almost out of his wits.

“It’s Persian for ‘Hello, Hongjun, little darling’.” A-Tai held that gem-encrusted folding fan as he spoke, smiling ruefully.

“The last part is what you added on yourself, huh,” Hongjun said impassively, before tossing the other dragon scale to A-Tai. A-Tai indicated that he should look down, before with a wave of his fan, small wisps of flame flew hulala out of his ring, lighting up the still riverbank.

On the riverbank appeared a line of human footprints. The two of them looked at the footprints for a moment, before lifting their heads at the same time, looking towards the still waters.

“Perhaps it’s hiding in the water,” A-Tai said very quietly. “Want to bet on it?”

Hongjun answered, equally quietly, “I feel like this yaoguai might not be at home.”

A-Tai raised an eyebrow, meaning, where did you get this information, and Hongjun said quietly, “For the past several days, the homicides have all happened at night, right?”

“Smart,” A-Tai chuckled, before without any warning, he waved the fan in his hand, churning up the waters of the river!

“Wah ah!” Hongjun said hurriedly, “I was only guessing!”

The Godly Hurricane Fan in A-Tai’s hand exerted its full power, and to the sound of a huge bang, all of the water flowing in the river was caught in a giant spiral, before with a huala it collapsed downwards. The sides of the cavern were covered with waterfalls that flowed downwards.

“Little darling was right, it’s clearly not at home,” A-Tai said easily. “Why don’t we each search a side? You pick first?”

Hongjun then turned around, and together with A-Tai they began to search the two sides of the cavern. The warships that had been made out of wood were rotting and falling apart, and he carefully picked his way over the deck of one of them.

“A-Tai!” Hongjun said. “Come take a look at this?”

A-Tai swiftly leapt over the prows of several ships, landing next to Hongjun. On the deck, Hongjun had found a carved array packed with sigils. Within the array was placed a brass plate, and within the brass plate was a drop of some strange, bright-red liquid, which was constantly moving.

The two of them exchanged a glance before lifting their heads and looking around at their surroundings.

“It seems like a hastily built altar,” A-Tai frowned. “Is it used for sacrifices? And what’s this array for?”

“Why haven’t they come yet?” Hongjun asked.

A-Tai kept feeling that there was something off, and he said, “Take the thing, and we’ll go.”

A-Tai indicated that Hongjun should pick up that brass plate as he himself pulled out a tiny, delicate glass bottle. He pulled out the stopper, pointing the mouth of the bottle towards that drop of blood, and right after, in an instant, that drop of blood seemed to come to life as it turned into a thin film with a shua. It then came flying at the two of them!

“Careful!” A-Tai shouted.

Hongjun hadn’t yet had a chance to react when A-Tai instantly waved his folding fan. A strong wind gusted out, sending the two of them out of the array! And in the next instant, that drop of fresh blood shot into the water of the river, instantly turning the waters of the river blood-red, as it rushed towards the two of them!

Hongjun began to shout loudly. “What is this?!”

A-Tai shouted, “Leave this place! Go find help!”

Right after that A-Tai used up all of his strength, waving his fan once as he tried to send Hongjun out of the way of the oncoming wave of blood, but in that instant a shadow appeared at the entrance to the cave and blocked off Hongjun’s path forward!

The sea of fresh blood covered the land and sky as it came towards them. Hongjun’s body was in mid-air, as he saw a shadow coming towards him, cloak fluttering out behind him, revealing a fierce face - it was Yazi! The skin of Yazi’s face was pulled tight in a grimace as he peel back his lips to reveal his tusks, spreading his sharp claws, leaping towards Hongjun!

“A-Tai --!”

Hongjun let out a loud shout, but A-Tai had already been swept away by that sea of blood that had coalesced into a giant wave. Right after, the throwing knives in Hongjun’s left and right hands came out at the same time, and those two knives solidly caught Yazi’s sharp claws! Yazi opened his mouth, and his eyes that were like copper bells shone with a flash of strong light. Though Hongjun felt not even a sliver of fear, his entire body trembled at the force.

In that instant the Pentacolor Sacred Light shot out, colliding heavily with Yazi. Yazi had never expected that it could not beat this youth, so it had underestimated his enemy. Now, it flew out backwards, slamming heavily into the side of a boat, breaking through the railings, and flipping head over heels into the sea of blood!

Hongjun’s Pentacolor Sacred Light was originally the strongest protective artifact, and it could protect against basically anything, including flying sand, blazing fire, chilling ice, and wild thunder. It was good for defense but not for attack, and if he were to pursue Yazi, having an incomplete set of throwing knives would make things difficult, but blocking a yaoguai was something that he could still do.

“A-Tai!” Hongjun called loudly.

A cyclone spiralled into existence, and the blood wave moved to the two sides. Ice shot in all directions, and at times blazing fire and lightning erupted at the same time. Clearly, A-Tai who had been swept into the blood sea was currently struggling mightily, but unexpectedly the blood sea had no physical form; it was just a series of waves, and the Godly Hurricane Fan could block the waves coming from the front but not from behind. A-Tai leapt non-stop between the prows of the boats, but another huge wave rushed overhead, and he was almost once again swept back in!

The sea of blood relentlessly rose higher, and A-Tai was already panting heavily. The broken boat on which he had landed had already almost all disintegrated, becoming a lone island in the sea of blood.

In a flash, Hongjun sent his grappling hook shooting out, wrapping shua shua around the highest point of the cavern. He ran swiftly, one hand grabbing the other end of the rope, circling around that ring-shaped cavern, before turning his body and running upwards. With a turn, he spread his arms as he leapt through the air towards A-Tai, shouting, “Grab on --!”

The frenzied blood sea rushed down in all directions towards A-Tai, and with a vengeful roar, A-Tai spun in a circle in place, and a violent wind erupted outwards, turning the wall of blood that was rushing towards him into a whirlpool, before he flipped head over heels in the air, sending out a cyclone rushing towards the ship, borrowing that force to leap upwards towards the ceiling of the cavern.

The ship could only disintegrate under that powerful rush of energy, and as Hongjun leapt down from mid-air, grabbing A-Tai tightly with one hand, A-Tai turned and waved his fan once more, and the violent gust of wind rushed back, sending the two of them like an arrow leaving a bow towards the entrance!

The blood sea swallowed up all of the empty space as it rushed upwards towards the ceiling of the cavern, before curling in on itself and closing in, rushing downwards towards the two of them! Hongjun flicked his left hand once, and the Pentacolor Sacred Light rose from the ground, turning into a wall. The blood sea slammed into the wall, but it had no way to pass through!

A-Tai couldn’t stop panting, and Hongjun’s hands turned in an arc as he pushed the Pentacolor Sacred Light forwards. A-Tai shouted, “Nicely done!”

That blood sea was pushed relentlessly back by Hongjun, and the earth-shaking tsunami was forcefully stopped in its tracks just like that. Right afterwards, a misshapen monster appeared from within the water, slamming heavily into the protective barrier of the Pentacolor Sacred Light!

Yazi finally revealed itself, but just as before, it couldn’t break through Hongjun’s super artifact. Watching this scene, the entirety of the cavern seemed to become a glass fishbowl, and a ray of light several zhang in length and width blocked off the almost ten thousand jin river water that had been dyed red with blood. Inside the water, a horrific huge beast was currently wildly attacking the barrier!

“How long can you keep it up?” A-Tai asked.

“In terms of the magic… I should be able to keep it up until tomorrow morning with no problems,” Hongjun said. “It’s just that my hands will get tired.”

“When I say release it, then you release it,” A-Tai said. “And then turn and run. When I tell you to stop, you stop, then use your artifact to block it.”

“Alright,” Hongjun answered. “Be careful.”

In that instant Yazi once again rushed towards the Pentacolor Sacred Light, colliding heavily with the light, before the Pentacolor Sacred Light glowed brightly and sent it flying out.

“Release!” A-Tai shouted.

Hongjun let the Pentacolor Sacred Light dissipate, and in that instant the tsunami wave of the sea of blood collapsed down onto them like a landslide. Right after, A-Tai spread his arms out to the side, leaping backwards, shouting, “Run!”

Hongjun immediately turned and ran, and as A-Tai leapt backwards, he slowly pulled apart his hands. A ring on his left hand released a series of densely packed fireballs, and with a wave of the fan in his right hand, the swarm of fireballs shot towards the sea of blood!

In that instant, Yazi rushed out of the great wave of the blood sea, roaring as it leapt towards the two of them, and A-Tai then shouted, “Stop!”

When Hongjun turned his head, he saw out of the corner of his eye that Yazi had opened his bloody maw, but what was awaiting him was an unceasing flow of tens of fireballs. In that instant, the fireballs flew with xiu xius as they all entered Yazi’s mouth!

Hongjun bowed his body, and his hands pressed against the ground as the protective shield of the Pentacolor Sacred Light once again rose.

With a dull thud, as if someone had slammed headfirst into a wall, the fireballs that Yazi had swallowed down exploded in his gut. The power of the explosion erupted a hole in his abdomen, and right after that he slammed into the Pentacolor Sacred Light. The blood sea had been agitated into a murky mess, and with that smokescreen it slammed into the wall and was sent flying backwards.

Hongjun, “Hahahaha--”

He only felt that that scene was very droll, and A-Tai huffed out a breath. “Let’s retreat ba.”

Hongjun’s hands pressed against the barrier of the Pentacolor Sacred Light, sealing up the tunnel, blocking off the roiling sea of blood. Yazi had long since disappeared, and what was also strange was that the sea of blood was slowly calming.

The two of them took a few steps back, and the color of the sea of blood seemed to slowly fade. That smear of bright red seemed to have a life of its own as it non-stop shrunk in on itself in the water. Hongjun recalled that drop of wriggling blood that he had seen on the saucer, so he decided to test out releasing the protection of the Sacred Light. The polluted water splashed down with a huala.

On the soaking wet ground, a smear of bright red blood wriggled slowly. Yazi’s abdomen had been punctured through, and he had already escaped off to who knows where.

Hongjun furrowed his brows as he and A-Tai looked at each other.

Translator's Comment:

moon: a-tai, scaring hongjun since 2017 (rip a-tai, zhangshi’s coming for you)

This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), mon.



Translator, writer, avid reader. 吃刀群众. Jiejie enthusiast.

Reach out to me via the links to the right if you would like to re-translate any of my works. Please allow 2 business days for a response to an email or a DM.


Fic writer, editor, and translator for GHOFD, PUBG, Fanservice Paradox, and other projects.

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25 days ago

Hongjun is gonna take revenge on A-tai someday for scaring him

1 month ago

thank you for the chapter 🖤

Sᴛᴀʀʙᴇᴀᴍ ‘
Sᴛᴀʀʙᴇᴀᴍ ‘
3 months ago

Wow, by reading this chapter I can visualize the fight scene that happened from the donghua, it was epic 🙂

4 months ago

ooooh that fight scene was actually awesome~

10 months ago

Eiiii~ this chapter is quite like doing some parkour hahahaha, a-tai you’re amazing hahaha (and HJ yaaaassss eating vinegar since last chapter haha, don’t worry, zhangshi is yours) i wonder what kind of yaoguai is that– did HJ predicted the future in his dream? ?

Thank you so much for the chapter!!!!~ ??????????????

Daniela Hq
Daniela Hq
10 months ago

What’s with the blood? Want to know so badly! Cute dorks by the way. Thanks for the chapter~

10 months ago

Such a good chapter! HJ getting a bit jealous over his crush and LJL being perceptive and then stargazing together! Thank you!

10 months ago

aaaaahhhh thank you for the chapter ❤️ a-tai scaring hongjun ?

10 months ago

As always, thank you for the chapter <3

10 months ago

Hahaha. A-Tai is so amusing. That battle was awesome.

Ohhh, was Li Jinglong confessing his feelings?! Well, he must try again when Hongjun is awake.

Thanks for the chapter!