Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
It seemed like Long Shen wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer. The sword light in his hand suddenly dimmed, and the demonic energy caught a glimpse of the crack and immediately jumped into the sword light involuntarily. It quickly wrapped around the sword’s body, moving upwards until it reached his wrists, then arms, shoulders, and neck until it covered Long Shen’s entire body.
Seeing this, Cheng Yuan laughed wildly as he waved his arms. All the demonic energy gathered in an instant, trying desperately to devour his prey. As a result, the dark shadow behind Cheng Yuan’s figure sored and his face became clearer.
Just when Cheng Yuan was sure of his victory, he saw that in the black energy, a white light suddenly emerged. Although it was only a little, the brightness was almost comparable to the stars. It was so dazzling that he was unable to look at it directly.
Cheng Yuan couldn’t help but blink.
And it was in this blink of an eye that the white light skyrocketed, rapidly spreading from one point as it broke through the blanket of dense demonic energy heading straight for Cheng Yuan!
Cheng Yuan only felt the murderous aura that was like the surging tide, irresistible, and he couldn’t help but take a step back.
However, wherever the white light went, the demonic energy was crushed and scattered, turning into dust!
Within this half second, Cheng Yuan didn’t have the time to react. He suddenly understood that Long Shen had deliberately shown weakness just now to actually deceive him!
When this thought came to his mind, the white light had already reached his eyes. Cheng Yuan only felt a pain in his body. Within sight, he watched as his body was split by the white light before the demonic energy scattered into the air.
Long Shen was so powerful that he was no match for such an opponent! This was the last thought he had in the last moment of his life before his eyes went black and all his consciousness faded away.
His soul had long been swallowed and fused with the demonic energy, and now that it had been wiped out by the white light, everything had returned back to square one. Cheng Yuan’s ambitions and desires were nothing more than a dream of seeing flowers in the mist*.
*(雾里看花) Idiom originally used to refer to blurred vision and poor eyesight can also mean incomprehensible. It comes from Tandoori Fu’s poem “Small Cold Food Boat”. || In this context, it basically means Cheng Yuan’s ambitions are nothing more than a pipe dream.
However, Long Shen hadn’t stopped yet.
Crossing the ruins of chaotic time, taking advantage of the demonic energy created by the enemy to confuse him, the sword light broke through the limitations of space, then from here to there, from now to then, like a roar from the king of beasts that would make demons from the dark corners prostrate and tremble. The powerful pressure didn’t stop for anyone. It fanned out its gorgeous and brilliant tail feathers across the starry sky and annihilated the corpse mountain and the sea of blood and pounced on the ultimate initiator of darkness!
At the end of the void, the old man in the room suddenly opened his eyes. The white light suddenly came, piercing through the center of his brows with full might, forcing all the darkness back outside the realm. The shadows dispersed while the demonic energy wailed and moaned, as if the end was coming.
The old man’s face looked hideous as he forced out the white light inch by inch.
“Long Shen!” he yelled as his demonic energy condensed before bouncing the white light back fiercely!
Long Shen, on his side of time and space, took two steps back.
But the white light turned into flames for a moment before it returned and exploded, wrapping the old man in flames, like a red lotus on fire, burning all the evil in the world.
The wailing penetrated from the other side of the void and echoed repeatedly in the room in the lingering aftermath.
There was only a pile of ashes left where Cheng Yuan was standing. Those souls whom he had killed disappeared with him, leaving no traces behind. However, for them, this was actually a kind of liberation.
Ming Xian was the incarnation of a zither, and his weapon was also the zither’s strings. His silk string was comparable to that of a sharp knife that could cut a human as if they were a leek. Last time, he only used it to bind Dong Zhi, being merciful and gentle; but now, when using it against Tang Jing, it was ruthless and cruel, leaving no room for error.
The silk string shot into the center of Tang Jing’s forehead like a sharp arrow. Tang Jing dodged. His hand rose and fell, and the silk string was disconnected in an instant. However, in the next moment, two more silk strings arrived within the blink of an eye. One left and one right shot at his shoulders. Tang Jing raised both hands and cut them off decisively while his figure leapt up. He spread his arms like wings and pounced on Ming Xian while slashing his hand that held golden light at his opponent. He almost hit the head but missed and only cut a few strands of hair.
Almost at the same time, the silk string penetrated his shoulder blade and then quickly retracted, bringing out a string of blood beads.
Tang Jing frowned at the pain.
“This is your true strength? Tangtang, this is such a great letdown.”
Ming Xian used the gentlest tone, but his words sounded unfeeling. “If you show me any more mercy, you will have no bones left.”
As soon as his voice fell, several silk strings shot sharply from all directions, blocking Tang Jing’s room to fight back and his way to retreat. Ming Xian showed no mercy and directly hit Tang Jing’s key points.
Tang Jing’s brows sank. He didn’t retreat. His body fluttered, passing through the silk string formation, going straight for Ming Xian’s neck.
Ming Xian didn’t expect that when Tang Jing got truly serious, his attack would be useless against him. He couldn’t help frowning slightly, withdrawing the silk string, and flashing back.
However, his opponent’s speed was too fast. As soon as his hands moved, Tang Jing’s hand had already caught his neck. A sharp pain came from his neck immediately. Ming Xian flew back as Tang Jing’s five fingers fell on his shoulder instead, directly tearing off the shirt there and the flesh underneath.
The blood quickly dyed the white shirt red and dampened his entire shoulder. Rather than being angry, Ming Xian smiled. It seemed he didn’t need the silk strings anymore. The two of them could just get at it with their bare hands.
Although they were empty-handed, the two of them were human-shaped killing machines. They fought with astral energy, and the fight was naturally fierce.
Ming Xian was a bit inattentive, and his ribs were scratched. The flesh from the wound was pulled out, revealing the bones underneath.
Of course, Tang Jing didn’t fare much better. One of his arms was kicked by Ming Xian and was no longer usable, most likely broken.
He turned his head and spat out a mouthful of blood, then flew up to kick Ming Xian’s chest and abdomen. Ming Xian dodged, reached out and grabbed his ankle, then punched his chest with the other hand. Tang Jing spun around and broke away through the trees as Ming Xian’s palm connected to the tree behind him instead.
With a bang, the tree broke apart and fell before shattering into powder that fluttered everywhere.
If Tang Jing reacted a little slower, he would be like that tree at this moment.
He believed that Ming Xian was really going to kill him.
The two of them were murderous, but there was an indescribable beauty between them, as if this wasn’t a life-or-death duel, but just sparring practice.
However, only when you were in the middle of it could you feel the air currents that were circling around them. Wherever they went, the human-person-high grass was cut uniformly to the base of their roots.
The strong affection between the two of them in bed before was gone. Today, Tang Jing and Ming Xian were enemies of two different camps. They had no room for compromise or reconciliation. Even if they had an unforgettable love, the two would never be merciful to each other.
What was more, they hadn’t.
Tang Jing knew that the silly pure sweetness that Ming Xian had shown in front of him was fake. The real Ming Xian was a highly poisonous rose that killed without even blinking.
At the moment of life and death, Tang Jing couldn’t help but think, if they weren’t harboring ghosts*, didn’t meet purposefully, and went back in time and got to know each other again, would the results be different?
*Metaphor referring to two people who are together, but the relationship isn’t in harmony because they each have different plans in their hearts.
But time didn’t go back, and everything was on the established track.
Ming Xian shot fiercely, all of them aimed at Tang Jing’s vitals. His cheeks were splashed with beads of blood, which made his original beautiful features more bewitching, like the reincarnation of Asura*. In his eyes, Tang Jing was no longer a living being but something that was dead and was about to wither.
*A demigod or titan of Kamadhhatu. They are described as having three heads with three faces each and either four or six arms.
They were both instrumental spirits, and each knew each other’s weaknesses best. They were far stronger than ordinary people, but their bodies weren’t invincible. Tang Jing was transformed from a mirror that had gold and stone for his body, but since he had become human, naturally he obtained the characteristics of a human, like internal organs, a head, and a neck; these were all fatal.
A starless and moonless night.
Inside the house, Long Shen was passing through Cheng Yuan and was fighting with Otowa Yasuhiko thousands of miles away.
Outside the house, wherever Ming Xian and Tang Jing went, grass flew everywhere, getting caught in a cyclone that was spinning madly.
The wind was fluttering, dark clouds covered the sky, and the streetlights not far away flickered a few times, one after another, announcing the end of life.
Once Tang Jing was focused and left no room for errors, Ming Xian began to feel the strain. He was punched several times in the chest. Most likely, the impact had broken a few of his ribs and caused internal injuries to his organs, but these injuries weren’t fatal. The most terrible thing was that he was just kicked in the head by Tang Jing. An ordinary person would’ve died a long time ago, but Ming Xian was still able to jump up and ignore the dizziness as he continued to attack Tang Jing like a storm.
Tang Jing wasn’t in better shape either. One of his arms was dislocated and broken, but he continued to fight Ming Xian in an awkward posture. His neck, which once laid on the bed as they were tossing in the rain, was now being crushed by Ming Xian. A large piece of flesh was torn off that revealed the white bones underneath. Blood gushed out, covering his clothes that no longer looked like their original color. He looked just as wretched as Ming Xian.
But even with just one hand, it was comparable to that of a sword. If not stopped, he could cut gold and jade with just one shot. As a result, the ground around them had countless holes and was a complete mess.
However, this fierce battle would eventually come to an end.
Ming Xian’s long legs flew up, right in the middle of Tang Jing’s abdomen causing him to instantly spat out a mouthful of blood. He turned around and fell to the ground.
However, just the second before he was kicked, he plunged his hand through Ming Xian’s chest, leaving five blood holes.
Instead of pausing, Ming Xian took advantage of Tang Jing’s fall and flew up. Then, with all the silk strings in his hand, he directly pointed them at his opponent’s head.
The transparent and colorless silk string was cut off by a golden light halfway. Before Ming Xian had time to react, the golden light had already reached his eyes. He only felt a dull pain in his chest. A fishy sweetness surged in his throat, and he couldn’t help but spit it out.
The soil next to him was stained with blood, flowing along the veins of the land, deep into the roots of the grass. Ming Xian touched his heart, which was now a big hole, from the front to the back. An ordinary human would’ve died by now, but he was still breathing weakly as he lay on the ground.
Once, when he was just transformed, he thought he wouldn’t die, but it turned out that he was wrong. He could still feel pain and was on the verge of death due to excessive blood loss and heavy injuries.
There was a large swath of darkness in front of him as blood flowed from his forehead, slid across the corners of his eyes, and blurred his vision. Ming Xian didn’t even have the strength to wipe it away.
A figure seemed to be stumbling towards him. Ming Xian had completely lost his strength and fighting spirit and no longer wanted to move.
He heard that humans always saw a flash of their deepest memory of their life before passing, but Ming Xian found that his mind was now blank. He didn’t even think about anything. On the contrary, he felt that it was good to be able to lie down quietly like this all the time.
It was just like before he had yet to cultivate his body. As a zither, he stayed in one place quietly, with no one to disturb him, and allowed the time to leisurely fly by.
He couldn’t help sighing softly. He wasn’t sad, but relieved.
Holding up the back of his head with one hand, Ming Xian actually couldn’t see much anymore, but still smiled at the other slightly.
“Will you be sad when I die?”
“Yes.” He heard Tang Jing reply like this.
“Because I am your kind?” Ming Xian asked again.
Tang Jing swallowed the blood churning in his throat and gently wiped the blood from the corners of his eyes for the other party. “No, because I found out that I seem to like you a little.”
Ming Xian laughed. “You already said this sentence in the park last time. Has Mr. Tang lost his memory?”
Tang Jing: “My liking is a little deeper than at that time.”
Ming Xian: “Only a little?”
Tang Jing: “More than a little.”
Ming Xian smiled.
“There is one more thing.”
He couldn’t see, so he simply closed his eyes to save some effort.
“The stone tablet is part of an ancient demon suppression array. It’s suppressing a great demon from ancient times. Its power is far above that of all other demons. Once the array is broken, the great demon will be resurrected. It’ll reverse yin and yang, overturn the rivers and seas, plunge the stars into disarray, and bring disaster upon the entire world. Regarding the array, when the Tang envoys were sent back to the country, they also took away some files that recorded the matter. Later, China went through many dynasty changes and most of the classics were damaged and scattered, but no matter how the war broke out in Japan, the royal family had always been the same for all ages, so those classics collected in the palace have been preserved. Otowa is doing everything possible to send people to China to destroy the stone tablets that originated from this.”
Ming Xian spoke lightly in a whisper. If it weren’t for the situation between the two of them now, it was like he was telling a tale or legend to a classroom in a pleasant and soothing voice.
In fact, there had been much speculation about this matter within the Special Administration Bureau, which was roughly the same as what Ming Xian said, but Tang Jing didn’t interrupt the other party. He just held him in his arms and listened to him quietly.
Ming Xian continued, “I know that you are also looking for the stone tablets now, racing against time against Otowa’s men, but you’re going in the wrong direction.”
He coughed a few times as blood foam overflowed from his mouth. Tang Jing raised him a little higher so the other party could be more comfortable, and tried to inject his own vitality into Ming Xian, hoping to save his life, but the other party stopped him.
Tang Jing’s actions were to no avail, and Ming Xian didn’t need it either.
He said slowly, “The stone tablet is on the dragon vein.”
Tang Jing was slightly shocked.
The dragon veins were not feng shui specially designed to produce the emperor’s geomantic omen. In the vast land of China, mountains and rivers were everywhere, and naturally, there were countless dragon veins that hid wind and gathered water. For example, the Kunlun Mountains were considered by all feng shui masters from ancient times to the present as the ancestors of all mountains and the source of the dragon veins.
In addition to the Kunlun Mountains, there were numerous large and small dragon vein branches. The recognized ancient capital of the ten dynasties was also where the dragon veins were located. Changbai Mountain was also a dragon vein in the northeast, and Mount Helan was also considered a small dragon vein, nourished by dragon energy from the Western Xia dynasty.
Ming Xian said, “Not all dragon veins will have stone tablets. I heard Otowa say that there are only eight of them.”
Previously, based on the stone tablets that had been unearthed, the Special Administration Bureau speculated that the stone tablets might be located on famous monuments. Now it seemed that this kind of speculation wasn’t even close but was a thousand miles away.
Tang Jing immediately thought of one thing. “Is there a stone tablet in Shencheng?”
Otherwise, Otowa Yasuhiko wouldn’t go to great lengths here.
Ming Xian: “Yes, under Lake Wangyue. There’s a tunnel leading to Lake Dianshan, and under that there’s a water channel leading to a river. The stone tablet is there. It’s guarded by a strange beast. Cheng Yuan… Wanted to break the seal and let the beast destroy the stone tablet.”
Tang Jing frowned tightly. “Do you know the specific location of the remaining stone tablets?”
Ming Xian shook his head with difficulty. “Otowa is also vigilant against me. He doesn’t trust anyone, so that’s all I know, but I suspect he may not know where they are. Otherwise, the array would’ve been broken a long time ago.”
Otowa Yasuhiko. This person had frequently appeared in their sights since the beginning of the bone dragon incident on Changbai Mountain.
In front of the public, he was a successful entrepreneur. The Otowa Consortium was very important to the Japanese industry and had deep connections in both their political and economic circles. After the Changbai Mountain incident, Otowa Yasuhiko entered the sights of the Special Administration Bureau. It wasn’t that they hadn’t investigated him, but Otowa had taken precautions. Not only was their investigation blocked, but the Special Administration Bureau also found that the power of this person was beyond their original imagination.
Tang Jing frowned. “Otowa Yasuhiko is a demon?”
Ming Xian smiled mockingly. “He’s different from an Archfiend. An Archfiend is originally a demon that only disguises itself in human skin, while Otowa was originally human, but because of desire, he willingly turned himself into a demon. His current identity is a disguise after changing his name…”
He lost too much blood, and his body was gradually dissipating heat, causing his words to be broken. Tang Jing found that the vitality he had injected into the other party’s body had fallen into the sea and was completely ineffective. He couldn’t help but feel heavy in his heart.
Ming Xian gasped for a while and barely managed to say, “His original name… is… Asaka Yasuhiko.”
At the end, it was difficult to continue. He coughed violently, spilling blood from his mouth, nose, eyes, and ears, then his eyes began to relax.
Tang Jing tightened his arms, put Ming Xian in place, and closed his eyes. For the first time, he felt he wanted to work hard to do one thing, but there was nothing he could do.
“If artifact spirits also have a next life, I hope to be like you. Not to travel far away, not to be refined into a killing tool. I hope if we can meet again, we will have a good start, not like now…”
There was a faint smile floating on Ming Xian’s face, and he looked a little dazed. His consciousness had gradually separated from his body and flowed into an unknown distance.
His hand slowly drooped, falling to the ground that had been discolored with blood.
Tang Jing watched the person in his arms gradually become transparent, turning into a spot of light for a moment, then scattering in the air like a stream of fireflies… Leaving no traces behind.
Just like between them.
It was over before it even began.
Tang Jing didn’t move for a while. He thought it was blood, but when he reached out and touched it, it was a transparent wet mark.
Thousands of miles away, within the Ise Shrine, an old man suddenly turned pale and vomited a large mouthful of blood.
“Mr. Otowa, are you okay?”
The boy serving beside him was so panicked that he quickly reached out to help him, but immediately, the boy’s eyes widened, and his life ended in a moment of disbelief.
The old man drew his five fingers from the boy’s chest and held a beating heart in his hand. He swallowed the heart in a few bites and then rang the bell to call for someone to drag the boy’s body away.
The black-clothed attendants had long been accustomed to seeing this, as they showed no surprise or change in their faces. They came in silence and left in silence.
There was a trail of blood on the floor, but someone would soon come clean up and restore everything to its original state.
The old man, who had eaten a fresh heart, seemed to feel better, but it was only for a little while. His heart was still restless, and he felt unbearable, surging with the desire to kill and see blood.
His manic mood forced him to get up and walk back and forth, but he still had the urge to destroy everyone and everything that was in front of him.
“Your Excellency, Your Excellency!”
Another boy ran in from the outside, looking dazed, but when he saw blood on the ground, his voice stopped abruptly.
The old man wasn’t tall, he even looked a bit rickety and thin, but he was full of oppression. Under the forced gaze and his bloodshot eyes, the boy’s legs went soft, and he fell to his knees.
“…Your Excellency, something has happened to the gold and silver pingwen zither.”
The boy trembled and couldn’t speak.
Otowa Yasuhiko originally wanted to eat his heart to replenish his vitality, but when he heard his report, he changed his mind. “Take me to see it.”
He followed the boy through the ancient corridors and courtyards and came to a room.
The view suddenly darkened. In modern society, it was almost like traveling through time and space. There were no electric lights, and only a few candles were faintly shining in the corners.
The boy knelt down at the door and didn’t dare to come in and said, in a trembling voice, “I came to clean just now. As usual, I wanted to wipe the zither, but I found that it had already…”
The zither that was originally placed on the long table had all its strings broken, and its body was cracked by a deep mark from the eye of the string to the dragon pond. It was split in half and was broken beyond repair.
Otowa Yasuhiko never lets anyone into this room. Only a boy with his permission could come in every day to clean the area and wipe down the zither. He knew what a cruel and bloodthirsty person his master was, so he was too scared to say a word.
He couldn’t figure out why a good zither, which no one had touched, suddenly broke.
Otowa Yasuhiko walked over and stroked the scarred zither with his wrinkled hand. The haze in his eyes was so strong that it almost overflowed.
“Do you think you can escape the palm of my hand by destroying yourself like this?”
A cold laugh echoed lowly in the room. The swaying candles seemed to be infected as they became fainter and dimmer.
“Prepare the car, I’m going out,” he whispered.
No one responded.
Otowa Yasuhiko turned his head and found the boy kneeling on the ground motionless. He walked over, raised his foot, and pushed the boy over.
The boy had fallen down in response; his pupils dilating and his mouth slightly agape. He was actually scared to death.
Otowa Yasuhiko glanced at him in disgust, walked out, and asked someone to drag the dead away.
An attendant stepped forward and said, respectfully and carefully, “What are your orders?”
Otowa Yasuhiko: “Prepare the car and private jet. I’m going to Nara.”
The attendant responded and asked again, “What can I prepare for you here?”
Otowa Yasuhiko glanced back.
“Take the zither and have Shōsō-in prepare it. I want a replica of the gold and silver pingwen zither.”
In a humid cave, Dong Zhi and his companions were faced with a dilemma of advancing or retreating. A monster suddenly jumped out of the water, dragging the clanging chain, and suddenly rushed towards Dong Zhi!
It suddenly flashed into view that was a stone’s throw away that Dong Zhi was able to finally see the appearance of the behemoth.
An ape-like creature with eyes that shined like gold and its body was covered with fur that opened like a halberd. It was clearly big, but it moved swifter than any animal.
Dong Zhi was about to draw out his talisman when his back collar was pulled fiercely back by Huo Jie.
The distance between Dong Zhi and the monster was too close just now. Huo Jie thought he was frightened and unprepared, so he pulled him away.
In a flash, Liu Qingbo came to his senses and raised his sword to greet it. Huo Jie followed closely behind. The two fought against the monster as a pair. They flew about for some time, hitting against the wall and sometimes in the water, stirring up unrest and ripples that pattered against the stone wall above the top of their heads. Within a few seconds, the scene devolved into chaos as the stone wall above their heads was slashed by sword energy. Debris fell one after another while the monster slapped its hands on the ground, causing the cave to shake.
Dong Zhi took a closer look, only to find that the other end of the chain turned out to be locked on the monster. It passed through one side of its lute bone and out the other, firmly tying the monster to it. The other end of the chain extended directly into the cave behind them, into an unknown darkness.
The side CP already went offline?! So fast. Is this the end of Ming Xian?