Liu Fei had woken.
Editor(s): juurensha, namio
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Hongjun began to understand more of the situation, even as Li Jinglong continued to explain. “Whether it was the various Saiwai cities that were plundered and pillaged or Liangzhou that was invaded didn’t matter, because both were intended to kill people to increase the members in the army. Zhang Hao’s background is unclear, but with his identity as a yaoguai that spreads plague, he must have someone issuing commands to him. And the illness that Mo Rigen, the old general, and the soldiers of the city have caught, must have come from this guy.”
“Who could be giving him orders?” Hongjun asked.
“That, we will only know by asking him.” Li Jinglong commanded, “Do it ba.”
Hongjun first melted the part of the ice around where the arms were located, so the soldiers could go forth to tie them tightly with iron chains, before doing the same for his feet. Even after putting iron fetters and iron chains on him, Li Jinglong was still afraid that he would break free again, so he tied additional wetted leather cords around the corpse ghost king’s ankles and wrists.
The last soldiers, dragging another chain, lifted up the corpse ghost king within the icy coffin up, tying him to the stone pillar. Suddenly, the ice coffin broke apart, scattering shards of ice all over the ground as the ghost king broke free!
“Liu Fei?” Li Jinglong asked, pressing an icy towel against the left eye that had swollen from getting hit.
The ghost king was dangling from the stone pillar, and upon hearing that name, he slowly lifted his head. His eyes were like the rest of the corpse ghosts, appearing a murky white. The only thing that was different was that his pupils were faintly visible.
“Hand over the antidote,” Li Jinglong said darkly.
Hongjun’s heart leapt into his throat.
The ghost king didn’t respond. He only lifted his head slightly, his expression not changing one bit, his eyes seemingly staring towards the sky. Lu Xu wanted to come forward, but Hongjun tugged him back and shook his head.
“Hand over the antidote!” Li Jinglong demanded, almost in a roar. Right after, the light of the Heart Lamp shone forth from his hands, instantly lighting up the ghost king. The ghost king let out a muffled bellow as he struggled ceaselessly, evidently in extreme pain.
Li Jinglong pulled the Heart Lamp back. Hongjun couldn’t help the horror he felt in his heart; this was the first time that he had seen Li Jinglong interrogate yaoguai. But without this interrogation, the lives of Mo Rigen and so many people would be in grave danger.
“Are they able to speak?” Hongjun recalled that this entire time, they had basically never seen any corpse ghost speak.
“Give him a brush and paper,” Li Jinglong ordered the soldiers.
With that, a soldier brought over a brush and paper, handing them to the ghost king. Li Jinglong knew that he had no time to waste; he had to first get the method of curing the poison, and only after that would it be time to ask about the hidden mastermind behind all of this.
The ghost king gripped the brush. The soldiers then placed a sheet of paper against the underside of a wooden basin and let him write on it.
Li Jinglong said, “If you want to live, then be honest.”
Li Jinglong’s words could be interpreted in several different ways, because saying “if you want to live” to an already-deceased person was indeed quite strange. But the ghost king, after pondering silently for a moment, suddenly tossed aside the brush with his bound hands, before letting out an angered roar at the soldiers!
With that explosive roar, the soldiers immediately cried out and scrambled away with their tails between their legs. Li Jinglong couldn’t bear it any longer, and he lifted his fist. He was thinking about sending a punch flying onto that ghost king’s face, but the ghost king wasn’t afraid at all. He tested the chains, meaning, you have me chained. If you have the skill, why not release me and fight me one-on-one?
Li Jinglong was enraged beyond belief, but he managed to suppress his anger and turned to leave.
“What should we do?” Hongjun asked anxiously, chasing after Li Jinglong.
“I don’t know.” Feeling extremely restless, Li Jinglong asked, “How are the patients doing?”
Before this, Hongjun had already checked over Mo Rigen and Geshu Han. After taking the medicine, their conditions had stabilized. It was just that they hadn’t woken from their comas, and he didn’t know how long they could hold out.
“Let me think about it.” Li Jinglong sat down on the bed in the side hall. Several days of insufficient sleep caused him to feel extremely tired now.
“Liu Fei, Liu Fei…” Li Jinglong recalled what Zhang Hao had said, and he muttered to himself, “Who was this ghost king when he was alive? Was there any historical general named Liu Fei?”
The most important thing now was to make him speak. Hongjun was just about to leave, but Li Jinglong said, “Keep me company for a while, Hongjun, I’m too tired.”
Li Jinglong’s plan was intricate, with rings within rings. He had successfully pulled off the strategy of capturing a group of thieves by capturing their ringleader, but he hadn’t expected to fall short at the last step. Zhang Hao’s betrayal was something that he never could have foreseen, but if he had kept his guard up earlier before detaining Zhang Hao, then perhaps there would still be a way.
Right now, the most important thing was figuring out how to make this ghost king open his mouth and speak.
Hongjun brought up another possibility. “What if he’s only a puppet on strings, and no matter if he’s the ghost king or just an ordinary corpse ghost, he has no individual thoughts of his own, but is rather being controlled right now?”
“Impossible,” Li Jinglong answered after thinking deeply for a moment. “His martial skills and his techniques, his ability to direct the troops in formation, these all cannot simply come from the hands of another.”
Hongjun fell into deep thought. Li Jinglong slumped in front of the table and said, “Let me sleep for one ke.”
Hongjun stoked the fire in the stove higher for him, and only after Li Jinglong was soundly asleep did he rise to go see his patients. After making his rounds, he returned to stand in front of the hallway. Several soldiers were standing guard in the courtyard outside, and the sunlight shone directly down. The ghost king had finally gained some expression; his eyes were narrowed in pain, and his hair was loose and unbound as he was tied to the stone pillar. Clearly, he was very afraid of the sun.
Hongjun suddenly thought of something -- whenever the corpse ghost army moved out, if it wasn’t night, it was during a day of heavy snow, a day where there was no sunlight. And they were even more afraid of Li Jinglong’s Heart Lamp than normal yaoguai.
Lu Xu was still waiting on the drill grounds, and when he saw that Hongjun and Li Jinglong hadn’t finished discussing matters, he called out impatiently, “Hongjun!”
Hongjun indicated that he shouldn’t be impatient, and he responded, “We will find a way.”
He slowly approached the ghost king, stopping three paces away from him.
“Liu Fei?” Hongjun asked.
Lu Xu followed along behind him. The ghost king’s head was originally drooping downwards, icicles hanging densely from his hair. With this movement, he slowly lifted his head a little, using his murky eyeballs to look at Hongjun.
“I’m also a yao,” Hongjun said suddenly.
The ghost king didn’t respond.
Hongjun pulled off his peacock plume, bringing it in front of the ghost king, indicating that he should look, as he said, “This is something my father left me after he passed, he’s a yaoguai. Liu Fei, why did you do all this?”
The ghost king didn’t look at the peacock plume. He only lifted his eyes, fixing his stare on Hongjun. Finally, a crisp ge sound issued forth from his throat.
Lu Xu watched for a moment longer, but with a sudden turn, he swiftly left the drill grounds.
Hongjun: “Where are you going?”
Lu Xu had already run off without a trace, so Hongjun could only let him be. He continued, “I know you saved Qin Liang before, so you’re not a bad person. Liu Fei, our friends are about to die, can you tell us what exactly all of this was for?”
The carp yao asked, “Why does he look like he’s lost his soul? Hongjun, say, after corpse ghosts die, are their souls still in their bodies?”
Hongjun’s forehead furrowed deeply. He remembered that back in the day, Qing Xiong had given him a book. It detailed the various flying and walking beasts and birds, but it hadn’t had any records related to corpse ghosts.
Hongjun observed the ghost king, saying, “It looks like it’s not that he doesn’t want to speak, but rather that he can’t speak. What should we do…”
Just as Hongjun was stuck on what to do, not far in the distance he heard Lu Xu’s shout. “Hongjun!”
Hongjun turned and glanced back, only to see Lu Xu supporting Mo Rigen, shuffling step by step out of the courtyard. The fright he felt at that was not small, and Hongjun hurried to turn and help support him as well. Mo Rigen had slept for a long time, but now he managed to struggle into wakefulness, even as he coughed non-stop, his body icy cold.
Hongjun said, “Quick, go back and lie down. Lu Xu, what did you have him come here for?”
Mo Rigen was originally very ill, and at this time, his footsteps were like he was walking on cotton, and his movements were very forced. He panted as he asked, “Who is… this? What has… happened?”
Lu Xu said, “Li Mingxing, Li Mingxing!”
Lu Xu persisted in bringing Mo Rigen in front of the ghost king. Hurriedly, on the other side, Hongjun had Mo Rigen sling his arm over his own shoulders. Lu Xu reached out a hand, circled it a few times in the air, muttered a few garbled sentences to himself, before placing his hand on Hongjun’s forehead. He then turned his head to look at Mo Rigen, pointing at the ghost king as he did so.
“What does that mean?” Mo Rigen’s eyes were drooping shut of his own accord, and his entire body was limp and boneless.
Extremely frantic, Lu Xu kept pressing his hand onto Hongjun’s forehead, before pressing it against the ghost king’s forehead, then looking at Mo Rigen.
Hongjun suddenly remembered that one night, when he had been sunk in a nightmare and was woken by Mo Rigen, he had spoken a few words of a spell, before pressing his hand against Hongjun’s forehead.
Hongjun understood. Lu Xu must also have been woken from a bad dream with this method before, and he knew that Mo Rigen had this kind of special power. And when Lu Xu saw the ghost king’s mental state, he thought that perhaps the ghost king was dreaming!
“Mo Rigen!” Hongjun said. “Use your magic to wake him and pacify his dream demons!”
Mo Rigen: “...”
Mo Rigen said faintly, with no energy, “I’m so cold…”
“Hang in there for a little longer,” Hongjun hurried to add.
“You guys are even making a half-dead person cast spells,” the carp yao said. “Do you all have any compassion left?! Send him back quickly to rest ba!”
Mo Rigen struggled to lift his hand, his gaze unfocused as he focused all his attention on thinking over the incantation.
Hongjun’s heart began to thump loudly, and he thought that he was probably being too cruel. Lu Xu was still standing to one side, giving him moral support, but Mo Rigen couldn’t lift that hand of his. With that, Hongjun lifted his hand for him, saying, “As long as you say the incantation it’ll be alright. Or how about you teach me, and I’ll do it?”
Mo Rigen shook his head. “You won’t be able to learn it…”
Brokenly, he uttered a few sentences, and taking a breath, he forcefully braced himself and pressed his hand against the ghost king’s forehead.
In that instant, the silhouette of a huge, grey-blue wolf appeared behind Mo Rigen. As if it was rearing up from the ground, it let out a deafening roar at the ghost king!
The ghost king was caught off guard by this rush of power, and black flames burst out from all over his body, blowing backwards behind him as if they were being pushed by a powerful, wild wind. Mo Rigen let out a few loud shouts in succession, his palm still pressed on the ghost king’s forehead even as he trembled non-stop. The ghost king seemed as if he had been struck by powerful mana. He let out a pained roar as his hands struggled incessantly, jerking the metal chains about!
When Li Jinglong heard those sounds, he immediately rushed over. When he saw Lu Xu and Hongjun holding Mo Rigen up, and Mo Rigen pressing one hand against the ghost king’s forehead, although he didn’t know what had happened, he hurried over anyways.
Mo Rigen’s expression was one of extreme pain, even as the black energy behind the ghost king gathered into a roaring monster, which moved to swallow Mo Rigen. The shape of the Grey Wolf grew faint, and Li Jinglong, instantly coming to a decision, activated the power of the Heart Lamp and slapped one hand on Mo Rigen’s back.
White light shot through Mo Rigen’s entire body, and the spiritual energy in his hand once again grew strong, turning into a whirlwind that flew at the black smoke behind the ghost king to destroy it! Instantly, that black smoke seemed to let out a wail, as with a hong, it was dispersed by the whirlwind of white light!
With that, Mo Rigen’s spiritual energy was drawn back into himself, and he spat out a mouthful of blood before collapsing.
Lu Xu hurried to grab Mo Rigen in a half-hug as Hongjun and Li Jinglong rushed forward to catch Mo Rigen’s heavy body.
The ghost king’s bowed head slowly lifted. In his murky eyes, hues of grey continued to gather, turning into pupils. His forehead furrowed as he raised his gaze to take in the three people in front of him, before he turned his head to look at the metal chains holding him down.
At the same time, Yadan. Dark clouds clustered together thickly in the sky, and the snowflakes filled the air of the stone canyon.
Deep underground, in a patch of darkness, Zhang Hao dragged along its broken body, staggering into the crypt.
A woman wrapped in a white robe stood in the center, and she said coldly, “You’ve ruined the entire plan, Zhang Hao. There’s no way for us to explain the matter to the yao king now.”
Zhang Hao responded, “How can you blame me for this? The corpse ghost army is still out and about. As soon as I left Yumen Pass, I left them far behind. There’s no rush, the rattle drum is still with us. As long as we can sneak back in, let Liu Fei out, and steal back the great general’s sword…”
The white-robed woman turned, and with her teeth gritted, she spat out, word by word, “Liu, Fei, is, already, awake.”
Zhang Hao startled, an expression of horror on its face. Its teeth rattled together as the two of them looked simultaneously towards the heights of the crypt.
The crypt was completely filled with fifty thousand stone coffins, almost half of which were now empty. At the top, there was a white jade coffin with its lid opened, and on its front were carved the words: the King of Jiangdu, Liu of the Great Han.
The inside of the coffin was completely empty.
At the very top was a dark coffin. The words carved on it were already blurred and hard to read, but faintly the words “Great Qin” could be made out. There was a small rattle drum placed atop it.
moon: sorry mo rigen you’re in for a rough ride
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.