Bu Tian Gang Ch132

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 132

Otowa continued, “At that time, I hadn’t returned to Japan. In order to find the origin of the stone box, I recruited talented people from all over the world in the name of research. An old man told me that the stone box contained a demon that was sealed in it in ancient times. Because of the balance of heaven and earth, one black and one white, demons can never be killed or destroyed, so there are common people with great abilities who use it to suppress demons with great powers and seal them in stone boxes to prevent catastrophe to maintain the balance.”

Wu Bingtian knew as soon as he heard this that the person who told Otowa this had to be a practitioner who had a deep understanding of the laws of the universe.

The old monk warned Otowa Yasuhiko, who was Asaka Yasuhiko at that time, not to open the stone box. Otherwise, disaster would befall the world, but he obviously didn’t know Otowa’s cold-blooded demonic nature that enjoyed torturing people. Naturally, Otowa wouldn’t listen to such advice, and after hearing what the old monk said, it actually increased his desire to open the box.

“No matter how coercive I was, the old monk refused to help me open the box. In order to prevent the secret from leaking, I had to kill him. There are many dragons and tigers hiding in China and Japan. Eventually I found those who were willing to help me, and it took three years before I finally opened the box.”

Otowa’s breathing became rapid, as if recalling the scene of that year again. He even showed a dreamlike expression, completely ignoring the only audience present.

Wu Bingtian moved his fingers slightly, wondering if he should just violently kill Otowa right now and end everything.

But he quickly found that this idea wouldn’t work because he noticed that there was a very thin red line on the tatami mat between him and Otowa. If he didn’t observe carefully, he would have missed the obvious line.

It was very likely there was an enchantment between him and Otowa, or that the Otowa Yasuhiko in front of him was just a phantom being projected here.

Naturally, Wu Bingtian could choose to launch a sudden attack, but if he failed, he would lose his chance to save the hostage.

In a duel with an old fox like Otowa, a slight mistake would be enough to destroy the entire plan.

Wu Bingtian retracted his gaze from the red line and confronted Otowa. The latter showed him a knowing smile, causing his heart to tremble. It was indeed the correct decision to not act rashly just now.

“So what did you encounter after you opened the box?” Wu Bingtian asked as if nothing had happened.

Otowa said, “At that time, when the box was opened, of all the people present, the two craftsmen and four servants were all swept up by a black qi and fell to the ground. They all died except for me.”

Having said that, an unusual look of excitement appeared on his face.

“Only me. The black qi came to me. Instead of engulfing me, it circled me a few times and finally got into a sword that was in front of me!”

Wu Bingtian said, “And the sword didn’t jump up and kill you?”

Otowa ignored the sarcasm in his tone and seriously answered, “Director Wu, do you think this proves that I’m the legendary person of destiny and the master to receive this demon’s qi? Otherwise, why did everyone that was present die except for me?”

Wu Bingtian also found it strange, but he didn’t show it. He just sneered and said, “Maybe you’re a born demon, and the demonic qi smelled its own kind, so naturally it didn’t kill you.”

Otowa felt that it made sense and nodded. “After thinking about it, I seem to have only this answer. It may be because I killed so many people in China at that time and finally realized that the ultimate happiness in the world isn’t fame or wealth but eternal killing, which fits quite well with the qi in the stone box. That is why it chose me, and I also chose it.”

Wu Bingtian frowned. “Such a sword possessed by demonic qi isn’t an ordinary sword, is it?”

Otowa smiled. “Truly worthy of your title, Director Wu of the Special Administration Bureau. You discovered the key right away. It is indeed not an ordinary sword, but a divine sword that’s unmatched in Japan.”

Wu Bingtian thought for a while, then blurted out, “Kusanagi no Tsurugi*!”

*Legendary Japanese sword and one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. In folklore, the sword represents the virtue of valor. It is also allegedly kept in the Atsuta Shrine (where they are now). Due to Shinto traditions, no one is allowed to see the sword.

The Kusanagi no Tsurugi, one of the three artifacts of Japan, also known as the Kusunagi Sword, was obtained from the body of the famous eight-headed snake monster*. It was rumored that it was white all over and was enshrined in Atsuta Shrine for many years. Even the Emperor wasn’t allowed to see it.

*Yamata no Orochi. Legendary eight-headed and eight-tailed Japanese dragon/serpent.

In the Edo period, a priest recorded its appearance and then suffered a curse, eventually leading to his death. This cast a layer of mystery on the Kusanagi no Tsurugi, but outsiders would never have thought that the sword was actually obtained by Otowa as early as the 1940s and he even used it to refine magic qi.

As a person of Otowa’s background, it was naturally more convenient to do these things than others.

Otowa nodded. “The Kusanagi no Tsurugi is worthy of being a divine weapon. Not only does it absorb all magic qi, but it’s also able to infuse it little by little into my body, allowing me to turn it to my own use. When I was young, I was in a car accident. I suffered from painful aftereffects and developed headaches as a result. Since I slowly merged with the demonic qi, my body has changed quite a bit. Even the headaches had healed without medicine. More than that, even my aging has slowed down. Now, as long as I eat a fresh heart regularly, I can maintain my life and strength. Don’t you think this is amazing?”

Wu Bingtian said, “The Kusanagi no Tsurugi is known as a Japanese artifact and is heavily guarded. Even if you are part of the royal family, they might not be willing to let you take it out so easily and pollute it with the magic qi, no?”

Otowa laughed. “You’re wrong! Where is the Kusanagi no Tsurugi? What kind of artifact is it? Since it came from the body of a demon, naturally, it’s a veritable magic sword. Besides me, who else can control it? If it wasn’t for the demonic qi from the stone box, I wouldn’t have had such an opportunity. How many people in ancient and modern times wanted to obtain the secrets of the Tsurugi Sword but lost their lives. Only me! Only when I was greeted by fate, blending the magic qi in the stone box, and turning into a demon was I qualified to become the master of the Kusanagi no Tsurugi!”

Wu Bingtian said in disdain, “How vain. You have outlived most of your usefulness and are nothing more than an old coot, and your knowledge is short-sighted. The Mara we killed in Southeast Asia is a real demon. You’re just a mouse hiding in the gutters with some demonic qi. What’s there to boast about?”

Otowa didn’t care about Wu Bingtian’s deliberate provocation and said with a sneer, “Mara? That’s just a doppelganger of the Demon King. It’s not the Demon King himself. Just because it was separated from the main body and has a sense of autonomy, it thinks that it’s self-righteous. Songen was also an out-of-control idiot who thought he would become a demon by assisting it. If he had handed over the demonic qi to me, I wouldn’t have delayed for so long. But it’s not too late now since I have a more ambitious goal and I’m already gradually realizing it.”

Wu Bingtian: “The stone tablets.”

Otowa smiled mysteriously. “Yes, the stone tablets. Do you think it’ll be useful for you to work so hard to prevent me from destroying them? In fact, what I told you was just what I wanted to tell you.”

Wu Bingtian’s heart thumped, but his expression remained calm. “Your information about the stone tablets was stolen from China. Do you think we don’t know it? Why bother with such charades?”

Otowa shook his head. “You don’t know, because this is a message I got when I merged with the demonic qi from that stone box.”

Wu Bingtian wanted to wait for him to say the most critical message, but Otowa stopped and refused to continue.

He glanced at Wu Bingtian slyly, as if he could see through the anxiety under his calmness.

“Director Wu, I have two suggestions now. Do you want to hear them?”

Wu Bingtian: “I have been sitting here listening to your nonsense all this time. Do you still have to ask?”

Otowa smiled. “My first suggestion is to switch to my camp. As you know, I’m from a royal family. Even if I change my name now, I still have unlimited wealth and power. In Japan, there is nothing I can’t do. I heard that Director Wu’s favorite thing is to be an official, but how much can the mere title of Deputy Director of the Special Administration Bureau give you?”

Wu Bingtian snorted coldly. “What a joke! Leave China’s Special Administration Bureau and join you to be a lackey?”

Otowa said, “Of course China is vast, but you’re subjected to many restrictions. If you’re in Japan, it’ll be different. I can let you take charge of the priests and onmyojis in Japan, and you’ll receive countless amounts of money and power. When the darkness completely descends into the world and swallows it up with its demonic qi, those who looked down on you in the past and suppressed your position will prostrate at your feet, crying bitterly and begging for your forgiveness.”

Wu Bingtian was suspicious. “When will the darkness fall?”

Otowa smiled. “That you don’t need to know for now.”

Wu Bingtian: “And your second suggestion?”

Otowa: “The second suggestion is you meet the same fate as Dong Zhilan or Ding Lan.”

Wu Bingtian narrowed his eyes. “It seems that Ding Lan really died at your hands.”

Otowa smiled and said, “Do you want to see him?”

He clapped his hands, and the surrounding environment became pitch black, as if he were in a closed room that had all its lights suddenly turned off. Even Otowa disappeared into thin air. Although Wu Bingtian knew the other party was prepared, he couldn’t help but secretly rejoice that he hadn’t acted rashly just now. Otherwise, he would definitely fall into a trap.

A faint light flickered and dimmed, floating in from outside.

Wu Bingtian seemed to feel something, turned his head abruptly, and saw a boy walking slowly with a round white lantern.

That boy had an ordinary face that didn’t match Ding Lan’s at all.

“Didn’t you say you were going to show me Ding Lan? Where is he?” Wu Bingtian said coldly.

“Ding Lan’s heart was eaten by me while his body was refined with magic qi. I’m afraid you won’t be able to see it. The only thing you can see is probably this lantern.” Otowa’s voice came into his mind from an unknown, dark place, as if he were everywhere around him.

“This is his body oil that is used to light this lantern. Director Wu, this is the only memorial left by your colleague in this world.”

If he could hold back when he heard this sentence, then he wasn’t a man, and he couldn’t even call himself a human.

Wu Bingtian felt that he was at least a human. When compared with such a beast as Otowa, he could even be considered a saint.

He didn’t choose to be patient any longer. Suddenly, a gray shadow burst out from his hand. It didn’t jump towards the boy holding the lantern, but at a certain point on his right!

In the darkness, someone seemed to be surprised. Wu Bingtian felt that his whip had indeed hit something, but there was still darkness in front of him. He could only act based on his intuition and couldn’t help but think of Long Shen and Tang Jing, hoping there was progress on their side.


At noon, Atsuta Shrine was relatively quiet. Tourists from tour groups either had already made their visit and went to eat or would come later in the afternoon. At this moment, there were more individual tourists or locals. Many people were wearing traditional outfits as they brought the elderly and the young. Long Shen, who was dressed in casual clothing and wearing a backpack, was mixed in. Because of his tall and upright figure, even though he was wearing sunglasses, he still attracted a lot of attention.

After the three of them arrived in Tokyo, they acted separately. Wu Bingtian was in the light, Tang Jing was in the dark, and Long Shen was between the two. He didn’t disguise himself like an old man like Wu Bingtian, but his face was slightly modified to become less handsome, though even then it was still regarded as handsome, nonetheless.

“Sir, are you a photographer?” A young girl couldn’t help but step forward to strike up a conversation.

“I can only be considered an amateur at best.” Long Shen took off his sunglasses and grinned. For people who have met Long Shen before, they would never witness such a sunny and bright photography enthusiast as he was now.

Long Shen showed the girl photos from his camera. The girl exclaimed, “This level is the same as a professional. You’re being too humble!”

If Dong Zhi were here, he would be surprised to hear his master speaking in fluent Japanese almost without having to think about it. The pronunciation was a standard Tokyo accent, and the girl was convinced and regarded him as a native Japanese who often traveled around the world.

Long Shen could have gone in alone, but if a man and woman were traveling together, the goal was always better than traveling alone. The two of them talked as they strolled along. As he was disguised as a photography enthusiast, he picked up on the history of the shrine easily and spoke with eloquence, earning him admiration from the girl.

The two kept talking as they strolled along, all the way into the shrine.

“Sorry, Yoshiko, I have to go to the bathroom. Why don’t you go on ahead?” Long Shen said.

The girl hurriedly replied, “Just go. I’ll stroll around here and wait for you!”

Long Shen nodded and turned to walk to the bathroom.

After entering the bathroom stall, Long Shen locked the door and took out three short incense sticks and a small porcelain bottle from his pocket.

The porcelain bottle contained a talisman stained with Li Ying’s blood. Before they set off that day, Li Ying’s master on Mount Maoshan specially sent it to them. With this, Long Shen could find Li Ying’s location.

As soon as he entered the shrine just now, he keenly felt an aura that was seemingly absent. According to the time, Wu Bingtian and Tang Jing agreed to act on the same day with him, and now they had to act separately. He didn’t know if the fluctuation came from Wu Bingtian or Tang Jing.

Without stopping, Long Shen lit the short incense and inserted it into the porcelain bottle.

The incense curled up, but it folded down in mid-air, as if an invisible hand pinched the smoke and forcibly twisted it in one direction.

Long Shen looked in that direction. The topographic map of the shrine he had seen before appeared in his mind. He immediately found the direction it was referring to.

He pinched the smoke, threw the short incense into the toilet, and flushed it. He then cut his fingers and dripped the blood into the porcelain bottle. After doing all this quickly, he put the porcelain bottle back in his pocket, opened the door, washed his hands, dried them, and walked out of the bathroom without stopping for a moment.

The entire process only took a few minutes. The girl who was wandering outside wasn’t annoyed by the neglect at all. Just when she wanted to invite Long Shen to visit the treasure museum, she heard the other party apologetically say, “I just received a call. A local friend heard that I was here and wanted to see me. I’m afraid we won’t be able to continue anymore.”

The girl was a little disappointed and couldn’t help but say, “If he doesn’t mind…”

Long Shen smiled embarrassedly. “Sorry, it’s a girl.”

The girl immediately understood and forced a smile. “That’s okay. I’ll give you my number. If you want to go somewhere during your stay here these days, I can be your guide, Mr. Tanaka.”

Under the cherry blossom trees, there were a few tourists who occasionally stared at this man and woman. The man was handsome and upright, and the woman was delicate and beautiful. When she spoke, her words were shy and timid. It was inevitable that it was reminiscent of first love.

The truth was far from what others imagined. Of course, the girl had a good impression of Long Shen. However, they met by chance, and Long Shen simply used her as a cover. With someone walking with him as they chat, it would look more natural than him looking around by himself, which made it look less suspicious.

Long Shen bid goodbye to the girl, then hurriedly left under the other party’s disappointed gaze as he walked towards the gate.

He went out the main entrance but turned in another direction and walked around the perimeter of the shrine, turning from the main road to a small path, and finally stopping at a place.

Long Shen took out the small porcelain bottle, and suddenly a wisp of green smoke rose from it. Just like in the bathroom, the smoke broke halfway and pointed forward.

This method of finding people was taught by the school in Mount Maoshan, and it was somewhat like He Yu’s way of looking for his junior brother in Guangzhou.

Long Shen’s gaze fell on the corner of the wall.

Three flowers grew there.

They were wildflowers of an unusual variety that were often seen everywhere. They grew at high altitudes and were resistant to cold and drought, which made them a favorite to use as a decoration on grass. Though it was winter, the sun was warm, and the flowers and trees swayed gently, giving off a leisurely, calm atmosphere.

But this wasn’t the reason why Long Shen was staring at them.

Of the three wildflowers that grew side by side, only the middle one remained motionless in the wind, as if its entire body was firmly clung by an invisible force.

Long Shen suddenly stretched out his hand and pulled out the wildflower in the middle.

He used very little strength, as ordinary wildflowers weren’t difficult to pick. As soon as he picked it, the scene in front of him changed.

The stone wall that was blocking him suddenly gave birth to a door that was trembling slightly, as if it had been visually distorted after being steamed in hot weather. Without hesitation, Long Shen pushed open the door and walked in.

Immediately, after he fully entered the doorway, the stone wall returned to its original state. Except for the missing wildflower, everything else was the same.

Several tourists passed by and stood by the stone wall for a group photo, but they didn’t notice anything unusual.

But Long Shen knew that the door was actually an enchantment, and the wildflower was the key to triggering it. He had now entered the enchantment. He was still in the shrine, but it wasn’t considered part of the shrine. The surrounding area was a space opened by magic, just like the rooftop of the Special Administration Bureau.

However, the rooftop of the Special Administration Bureau was a collection of efforts from several masters and was slightly superior compared to this. There was no rotation of the four seasons, nor was there day and night. Long Shen looked around and saw that the clouds above him hadn’t changed positions since he entered.

The stones and bricks on the ground were neatly arranged, and a path stretched from his feet to the door of a house in front of him.

The light smoke from the porcelain bottle rose intermittently, pointing towards that house.

Long Shen walked slowly along the path, but just as he took his sixth step, the surrounding scenery suddenly changed. The ground beneath his feet had warped into a crater with boiling lava inside, while he was on a suspension bridge that could barely accommodate a person.

All around him was a tumbling sea of fire. Sparks were flying, and the billowing heat was steaming up from the lava below. After a while, his shoes became so hot that they almost melted. The wooden planks were baked at a high temperature, with occasional pieces falling into the molten sea, leaving only a few isolated iron cables on the bridge. Without the wooden planks, each link was at least five or six steps away, making it hard to maintain physical balance, let alone cross the bridge.

A little spark splashed on the back of his hand. The burning pain quickly passed from his skin to his nerves.

Long Shen knew well that all this in front of him wasn’t a simple illusion, but a product of a combination of illusion and reality. Now that Otowa had turned into a demon, he must have mastered the ability to distort space; overlapping the real lava sea of fire with the location here, creating a space where truth and lies could blend, just like the rooftop of the Special Administration Bureau.

If he were an ordinary practitioner, most likely he would think that it was just an ordinary illusion, but if he were to accidentally step on air and fall, he would inevitably fall into real magma, leaving not even bones behind.

Long Shen’s complexion remained the same. As soon as he turned his wrist, he immediately added a long sword to his right hand. The entire body of the sword was dark, but it faintly glowed with white light.

He let go of his hand and let the long sword fall straight towards the magma, but halfway through the fall, the sword suddenly stopped and then made a sharp turn. It flew up instead and landed on Long Shen’s feet. The blade rapidly became bigger and turned into a golden light that directly covered the iron suspension bridge.

Long Shen walked forward. His sword was as stable as a rock, and even the chains on the suspension bridge didn’t shake.

In just a moment, he had already walked the entire length of the bridge, and the surrounding scenery suddenly changed. The courtyard was still a courtyard, and the path was still a path, as if everything was just a dream. Long Shen didn’t hesitate much and opened the door directly on both sides.

In a very ordinary Japanese-style room, Li Ying sat crossed-legged in the middle. There was also a boy beside him, holding a dinner plate, as if to deliver food.

Hearing the movement of the door opening, both of them walked towards it.

Li Ying was overjoyed. “Boss Long!”

The boy was taken aback when he saw the stranger’s face and scolded, “Who are you?! Leave at once!”

Naturally, Long Shen didn’t comply and instead strode towards them.

The boy let out a low growl and rushed towards Long Shen, but halfway through he turned into a white wolf with bloody fangs.

“Boss Long, be careful!”

“How’s the situation now?”

Long Shen asked as he turned his head sideways to avoid the wolf’s fierce pounce. The white wolf moved extremely quickly. As soon as it landed, it turned around and pounced again. Long Shen made a casual move, and the sword light swept in from the outside and flew steadily into his hand. He raised his sword and slashed. Suddenly, the strong wind howled, and the snakes danced wildly. The white wolf was hit by the sword on its waist and abdomen. A deep bone wound appeared instantly, causing it to wail as it pounced at Long Shen again.

Li Ying seemed to be trapped by something. Seeing Long Shen’s arrival, he sat still, but he wasn’t unhindered from speaking. He also knew that Long Shen had limited time, and he didn’t know when Otowa would be alarmed, so he hurriedly briefed him.

“Ding Lan is dead, Yu Buhui’s whereabouts are unknown, and I’m trapped in an enchantment! Otowa is extremely powerful—much more than any human or demon. He seems to have completely turned into a demon and has an arsenal of magic weapons and monsters in his hands. He is a beast. I watched him burn Ding Ge’s body with my own eyes, and he refined it into a lamp with corpse oil—”

Having said this, Li Ying choked for a moment. His eyes were red, and he gritted his teeth, barely able to finish speaking.

“Otowa didn’t kill me because he wanted to use me as bait to lure you over. Boss Long, please leave me. Otowa has placed a ban on me, and he has even more powerful means…”

As soon as he finished speaking, the white wolf was beheaded by Long Shen. Li Ying suddenly disappeared. The messy room seemed to have triggered some mechanism and instantly turned into an overlapping space composed of dozens of mirror images. There was the same room everywhere, and the same Li Ying was trapped in each room.

“Long Shen.”

A voice came from afar, illusory, that sounded old and gloomy.

“You’ve finally come. I’ve been waiting for you. I didn’t think Wu Bingtian would really dare to come alone.”

Long Shen moved slowly in the mirror space, as if he wanted to find the source of the sound.

Seeing this, Otowa smiled. “Don’t waste your energy. I’m not here at all. This space is perfect. You won’t find any flaws. I’d like to see if the famous Director Long is really that powerful!”

Long Shen said, “There’s no absolute perfection in the world. Any formation and space always have a fulcrum.”

Otowa: “I’m afraid your companion will be dead before you find a way out. Your Director Wu has just been caught by me. But don’t worry, I won’t kill those ordinary people so easily, especially you. You’re my rare and precious prey. I’ll refine you into the most powerful weapon in the world.”

Long Shen’s movements weren’t affected by Otowa’s words. He walked slowly in the space, stopping from time to time as if to check on the surrounding movements.

Whether Wu Bingtian was captured or whether Otowa was lying, neither had the slightest effect on Long Shen’s heart.

Through a mirror, Otowa could clearly see his enemy trapped in the mirror space, just like in real-time surveillance. With a smile at the corner of his mouth, he watched like a hunter determined to capture his prey.

“I heard that Long Shen isn’t human,” he said.

“I have also heard this kind of rumor. I also have heard that his true body is the famous Seven Star Longyuan Sword in China.” The person sitting next to Otowa was the familiar Fujikawa Aoi that had gone to Yinchuan to destroy the stone tablet and was later captured. He had lost half his life when he returned to Japan.

The other party’s face was pale, and his figure looked ricketier. No longer was he the cold and majestic person on Changbai Mountain, but he now looked more like an ordinary old man.

But this little old man was once an all-powerful figure in the Japanese practitioner circle.

“The Seven Star Longyuan Sword?” Otowa smiled playfully.

Kinky Thoughts:

Kusanagi no Tsurugi

A legendary Japanese sword and one of the three Imperial Regalia of Japan. It was originally called Ame-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (天叢雲剣, “Heavenly Sword of Gathering Clouds”), but its name was later changed to the more popular Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi (“Grass-Cutting Sword”). In folklore, the sword represents the virtue of valor.

Yamata no Orochi

A legendary eight-headed and eight-tailed Japanese dragon/serpent.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch131

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 131

Li Han’er took the Shangqing pill, dumbfounded. Without hurrying to eat it, she put it in her pocket and pointed her fingers at Dong Zhi’s chest.

“Boss, your clothes are torn. Don’t you feel air leaking in?”

Before Dong Zhi had time to understand the significance of the change from addressing him as captain to boss, he hurriedly looked down.

He was wearing two pieces of clothing; a down jacket on the outside and a long-sleeve one-piece on the inside. They were both torn by the collar just now. Not only was the white stuffing exposed, but even the shirt inside was torn. Not to mention, when Li Han’er mentioned it, he suddenly felt his skin being blown by a cold wind and got goosebumps all over.

Dong Zhi covered it with his hands and said embarrassedly, “I’m exposed.”

Liu Qingbo was speechless. “Grand master, what’s wrong with being looked at?”

Dong Zhi laughed and said, “There are two ladies present!”

Li Han’er said, “Did anyone bring a sewing kit? I can sew it back up. Otherwise, you won’t be able to wear them. It’ll always leak.”

Liu Qingbo: “…Except for him, no one else would take that kind of thing on a long trip like this.”

Dong Zhi said, “I didn’t bring a needle and thread, but I brought something else. Lao Liu, where’s my bag?”

Just now, everyone had put their backpacks next to the campfire. When the zombies came, they immediately turned the sky asunder, so who would keep in mind their backpacks? Fortunately, the zombies weren’t interested in the backpacks. Although they were scattered, their luggage was still there.

Liu Qingbo grabbed Dong Zhi’s backpack, and he couldn’t help baring his teeth. “What the hell is in here? Why is it so heavy?”

“It’s okay. Just some daily necessities,” Dong Zhi said while rummaging inside for a long time. He finally found a compressed vacuum bag. He opened the zipper exposing the vacuum bag to the air, and the thing inside expanded quickly. At first glance, it turned out to be a brand-new down jacket.

Everyone: ……

Liu Qingbo felt like he was going crazy. “What the hell is up with your backpack?!”

Dong Zhi said innocently, “I brought some spare clothes. After all, we’re on an island. In case it’s windy and rainy, won’t it be uncomfortable if your clothes get wet? Well, this just happened.”

Liu Qingbo expressed serious doubt. “The weight of your backpack just now doesn’t seem to have the weight of an extra down jacket.”

Dong Zhi thought for a while. “Oh, that might be the two cans of canned beef. I was planning to take them out when we go to another island in two days. We’ll eat them in front of the other teams and make them jealous to death while we get to eat good food.

Liu Qingbo didn’t want to talk anymore, and everyone else laughed.

Dong Zhi asked strangely, “Why, don’t you like to eat beef? Xiao Zhang, you practice Quanzhen* so you’re vegetarian, right?”

*Currently one of the two dominant denominations of Daoism in China. You can read more about it on Wikipedia.

Zhang Song was annoyed. “I’m not a vegetarian! Didn’t you already call me Lao Zhang before? Why did you change it again? Stop calling me xiao!”

Dong Zhi responded, “It turns out you like to be called Lao Zhang. Before, you were just being duplicitous and were too embarrassed to say it. You should have told me earlier. I also think Lao Zhang is better. Calling you Xiao Zhang makes me seem old.”

He looked at Zhang Song’s grinding teeth with an expression that was saying: You should’ve said something earlier.

The trip on the island had just begun, and everyone understood that there were even greater challenges ahead of them. This was just a small battle. Everyone needed to relax. It was also clear that Dong Zhi was just joking to lighten the atmosphere.

In contrast, Yoshida, as an outsider, couldn’t mix in.

There were only four people on her team. Now, except for her, two had died, and one was still unaccounted for. Until they set off again the next day and traveled all the way through the forest, she had little hope of seeing her missing companion again. The jungle covered a large area. If it weren’t for her good luck, Yoshida wouldn’t have met Dong Zhi and the others, and even if she hadn’t died at the hands of the zombies, she most likely would be lost in the boundless dark forest, lingering on her last breath without knowing whether she would live or die.

In the second half of the night and even the next day, they set off again. Until the evening of that day, everything proceeded smoothly, and everyone walked out of the forest. It seemed they had wiped out the zombies, as they never appeared again.

The sea broke into everyone’s sight again. It just happened to be high tide. The sea surged in and splashed heavily against the rocks, causing waves a few meters high. This wasn’t the place where they landed, but there were still several speed boats tied to a boulder on the shore, and there were also some jars next to them. They were tied to the stones with ropes and floated heavily in the rising and retreating tide, but they wouldn’t be washed away.

The fog was vast, which reduced the visibility of the sea by a lot. There was really nothing to see, but since they had spent a few days in the forest and only saw gloomy trees and zombies, looking at the sea immediately made the stuffiness in their chest disappear. Their mood had lightened up a lot, and even their breathing became refreshed. Zhang Song couldn’t help but stretch his arms open and embrace the sea breeze. The clothes on his body were blown by the wind, creating flapping sounds. Standing on the reefs, there was a sense of floating on the wind.

But at the moment, the wind was high, the waves were rough, and it was going to be dark again. It was obviously not suitable for sailing yet. Everyone opened the jars and poured the fresh water in them into their own water bottles. They were ready to spend the night on the rocky beach and set off tomorrow morning, depending on the weather.

Since Yoshida was by herself, it was obviously impossible to continue the competition. She planned to wait here a few more days. If her missing companion didn’t come out by then, she would leave the island and quit the competition. There were several speedboats, and the storage capacity of the fresh water tanks was sufficient. Since Yoshida had made up her mind, Dong Zhi didn’t try to persuade her. He wished her a smooth journey and would contact her when he returned to China. He also opened a can of canned beef in advance and cooked it with noodles around the campfire that night. It was regarded as their memorial to their last night on Diana Island.

When the last ray of light receded from the white mist and the world finally returned to night, not far behind the campfire, the dark forest was still lifeless and desolated, with only the footprints they left behind.

Dong Zhi glanced back at the dense forest shrouded in mist, took out an empty box that Eguchi had used to release the demonic qi from his pocket, and weighed it. Then he pulled back his arm and tossed it hard. The box made an arc and fell directly into the sea, where it was swept away by the waves and disappeared.


Nagoya, Japan.

An elderly man with mixed black and gray hair stepped out of a hotel. He put on a bright yellow tour hat and walked out of the hotel, pausing every few steps to take out his phone to take pictures of the pedestrians on the street. He would show admiration from time to time, making it easy to guess his identity. Maybe he was someone from a small town who stayed there all his life, and this was the first time he went abroad and came to Japan with a tour group for sightseeing, but he accidently fell behind since he was casually strolling along and didn’t look rushed at all.

He slowly came to the outside of the Atsuta Shrine, and just in front of him was the tour group that was preparing to enter. He quickly hastened his steps to catch up to the others. When they saw him dressed in a similar hat, they didn’t pay much attention. The old man followed the foreign tourists in line and leaned towards the Chinese tour guide. After listening to the introduction, he turned around and went to the bathroom until the tour group moved on to the next attraction.

A few minutes later, the old man came out of the bathroom, didn’t seem rushed to catch up to the tour group, and instead walked in the opposite direction.

Atsuta Shrine was an open tourist attraction, but not every place was open. There was a hidden path between the Hakkengū and the Yaoyorozu Shrine. There was a sign indicating that visitors weren’t allowed to enter. A normal tourist would usually stop here, but the old man continued to walk forward.

There was a courtyard at the end of the path. Hidden among the sparse shadows of flowers and trees, the scene inside couldn’t be seen clearly through the fence. There was no one around, and the courtyard door was closed.

The old man didn’t approach. He just watched quietly for a while, then turned around and was about to leave, but at this time the courtyard door opened behind him, and someone stopped him.

“Guest from afar from China. My master wants to see you.”

The other party spoke in Chinese, but his accent was weird. It sounded like he was just a beginner.

The old man turned his head and saw a young boy in traditional clothes standing there.

“What are you talking about?” The old man looked confused as he spoke in a thick Chinese accent.

The boy was also a little puzzled when he heard his response, not sure if this was the person his master was looking for. The two looked at each other for a moment, and the old man waved his hands. “It’s not uncommon for someone to get lost. I’m in the wrong place!”

He raised his foot and was about to leave, but unexpectedly, another person appeared in the place where the trail led to the exit. The other person looked a little older than the boy behind him.

“Sir, since you’re here, why pretend we don’t know each other?”

This young man was much more fluent in Chinese. There was a smile on his handsome face, but there was obvious malice in his smile.

The old man’s confusion became stronger. “Know what? I came with a tour group, and I was separated. Now I’m trying to find my tour group again. Do you want to take me to find them?”

The young man snorted coldly. “Don’t pretend. You are from China’s Special Administration Bureau. Since you came to Nagoya, your every move has been under the control of Mr. Otowa. Aren’t you here to save someone? If you leave like this, are you not afraid the person you want to save will die?”

The old man looked at him for a moment and finally said, “When did you find out?”

Once he adjusted his accent, his entire person seemed to change, even in temperament.

The young man proudly said, “After you came to Nagoya, haven’t you contacted your agent, who has been lurking here? In fact, he has been under our surveillance for a long time. As soon as he met you, we knew that you must be a special agent sent by the Special Administration Bureau.”

The old man said with a smile, “It seems that Otowa tentacles are quite long. He even knows the list of our secret agents.”

Young Man: “Master’s power is greater than you imagine. Call your companions and come out together. What’s the point of hiding?”

The old man sneered. “Laozi can crush you all by myself. What kind of companions do I need?”

The young man snorted, apparently not convinced. The distance between him and the old man was originally about ten meters, but the old man saw his figure move slightly, and the distance was reduced to only a few meters in a blink of an eye and even disappeared out of thin air, as if it had evaporated in an instant.

But the old man simply snorted and suddenly grabbed somewhere in the air. After hearing a scream, the young man suddenly appeared and fell to the ground. His arms had been twisted into a weird posture, most likely broken.

“With your ninjutsu skills, you dare challenge me?! Even your ninjutsu master, Takuya Suzuki, doesn’t even dare to be so brazen in front of me!” After the old man said this, all the bones in his body clicked. In the surprised eyes of the young man, the old man’s rickety waist slowly straightened. The old man took off his glasses and tore off the wig on his head. His figure immediately grew taller, and his age and momentum also changed by 180 degrees.

The young man got up in pain but didn’t dare make any movements and respectfully said, “May I ask your excellency’s name?”

Don’t change your name when you go, don’t change your surname when you sit*. Go and tell Otowa Yasuhiko that laozi is Wu Bingtian and I’m here to smash his place!” the other party said with his hands clasped behind his back.

*(行不改名,坐不改姓) Idiom referring to not concealing one’s real name under any circumstances.

The young man hesitated, then, respectfully, while holding his arm in pain but not daring to take care of it, extended a polite invitation gesture to Wu Bingtian.

He led him to a small hut with an open door. There was no furnishing inside; only four lamps were lit by candle in the corners. There was a screen in the middle lined with gold and silver and having lacquer brushwork. The painting showed a hundred ghosts walking at night. Humans were being crushed by evil spirits, with their limbs and arms broken and their blood flowing like a river. Their wails and screams of pain were silently transmitted through the gorgeous brushstrokes, as if the pieces of the cherry blossoms depicted in the corner of the screen were stained with blood after falling, expressing the ultimate fragility and beauty of cruelty.

Wu Bingtian’s gaze stayed on the painting on the screen for a moment and soon fell on the person sitting in front of the screen.

Otowa Yasuhiko.

This was an old man with gray hair and a straight spine. Just from his appearance, no one would think he was anything special, and before Wu Bingtian knew his true identity, he only regarded him as an entrepreneur with deep ties to Japan’s political and economic circles.

Otowa was making tea.

He acted like a human and made it himself, but his movements were slow, as if he were performing a solemn and grand ceremony. Without looking up at Wu Bingtian, he said, “The famous Director Wu has arrived, but why is he alone?”

Wu Bingtian pretended to be surprised. “A demon can speak human language?”

Otowa said slowly, “Director Wu, your companion is still in my hands. Do you think it’s useful to deliberately irritate me?”

Wu Bingtian said lightly, “Since you know that I’m Wu Bingtian, you should know that even if I come alone, I can achieve my goal.”

Otowa sighed. “I’m afraid that you’ll also fall here. So, who did the Special Administration Bureau send to back you up? Long Shen? Or Song Zhicun?”

Wu Bingtian: “I don’t need it. It’s enough for me to deal with you. I’m here today, not only to ask you for someone but also to recover a blood debt from you.”

He stared at Otowa and said heavily, word by word, “The blood debt of December 13, 1937, Asaka Yasuhiko. Do you remember?”

“How can I not remember?”

Otowa paused while pouring tea and finally raised his head, as if he were looking at Wu Bingtian, but more like looking at others through Wu Bingtian. He was at ease, not at all nervous that his identity had been exposed, but instead showed a nostalgic expression.

“At the beginning of that year, I was appointed the commander of the Shanghai Dispatch Army. I later went to Nanjing to replace Matsui and become the commander-in-chief after the capture of Nanjing. At that time, Tanaka came to ask me what to do with the hundreds of thousands of soldiers and civilians in Nanjing. At that time, I was suffering from a splitting headache, and I wished to kill everyone who was an eyesore, so I told him to kill them all and leave no one behind.”

Otowa said happily, “From that day until two months later, my subordinates have been killing people for two full months. Ammunition couldn’t be wasted, so they were chopped with swords. I went to see and saw that the sabers had been cut to the point where the blade curled. Blood flowed everywhere, staining the grass at the base of the city wall red, but when I saw the blood and heard the screams, my headache got much better, so I asked them to bring prisoners to me so I can try it myself.”

Wu Bingtian clenched his fist, but he didn’t want to interrupt Otowa. He even controlled his breathing very well, letting the other party go on with interest.

Recalling the past, Otowa seemed reminiscent. Let alone regret, he looked filled with joy, as if the massacre itself would bring him endless happiness.

“Before that, I hadn’t killed anyone with my own hands. Those captives were tied up, but I didn’t have them gagged. Two of them kept scolding me while two of them cried. They beg for mercy and to let them go.”

“There was another person who was very interesting. He thought that the killings were just the rampant actions of the officers below, and he thought that I didn’t know. He kept persuading me to be noble, to be kind, to love the people, and not to be overbearing. It’s really ridiculous. These aren’t my people. Why should I love them?”

Otowa smiled slightly. “I thought he was very annoying, so I started with him first. I wanted to try your ancient forms of Chinese torture on these people, but it was too troublesome to burn them, and I wouldn’t have the pleasure of doing it myself. I still prefer lingchi. Cutting the flesh off of him one knife at a time, making him bleed, suffer, and cry but unable to die. Look, when it comes to cruelty, the ancestors of your country aren’t much crueler than me. At the very least, I can’t think of a worse way than cutting someone up with more than 3,000 cuts.”

“Why, those people invented such a cruel punishment, yet you don’t condemn it. I just killed a few people, and you chased me?”

At the end, his expression was a little surprised, as if he were discussing an extremely esoteric topic with Wu Bingtian.

Wu Bingtian was originally good at acting, but he couldn’t maintain his smile anymore, leaving only indifference. “I haven’t met such a person you mentioned, but if I run into him, I won’t let him go.”

Otowa suddenly said, “Oh, is that so? Well, let’s continue talking about that person. I started with him first, but for the first time, it was inevitable that my technique was unskilled. I only cut him more than thirty times before I accidentally killed him. But practice makes perfect. My skills greatly improved with the other three, and the last one died after being cut by more than two hundred times.”

“But the most interesting thing is their reaction before they die. I put those who cried and begged in the front and those who cursed me in the back. When it was one of the scolders’ turn, he no longer could curse me but instead kept crying and begging me to let him go. Sorry. I’m being long-winded. Does Director Wu still want to listen?”

Wu Bingtian: “Yes.”

Only by knowing more clearly could it be possible to dig out more of the inside story of that year and find out more details about the enemy.

But why was Otowa talking so much to him, whom he had just met for the first time? Wu Bingtian didn’t know. His understanding of Otowa Yasuhiko only stopped at the name that occasionally appeared in the news. Even the information in the archives of the Special Administration Bureau didn’t describe this well-known entrepreneur too much. He only knew that Otowa had no children and had a huge net worth.

Perhaps it was because Otowa had been hiding for too long and he hadn’t met someone who was evenly matched, so this aroused his desire to confide in him; maybe Wu Bingtian, as a Chinese visitor, reminded him of the past; or maybe, he already regarded him as a turtle trapped in a jar and he had nothing to fear.

Otowa nodded and said leisurely, “I have heard people say that the first time you kill someone, your hands will tremble and you can’t sleep all night. But it’s strange. Instead of feeling this way, I felt warm and comfortable all over. Since then, I have known that killing can make me happy.”

Wu Bingtian: “Just because of this, it’s impossible for you to turn into a demon.”

Otowa: “Of course, there was a lot of killing at that time. I wasn’t the one who killed the most. At most, I just realized the true meaning of killing. If you want to talk about the opportunity, we have to go back to the aftermath of Nanjing.”

Wu Bingtian couldn’t help but let out a sneer. It was the first time he had heard that a massacre still had true meaning.

Otowa said seriously, “Director Wu, you regard promotion as your life goal, and my dream is to paint the world with charcoal and turn it into hell. Is there a difference?”

Wu Bingtian said angrily, “I’m not as shameless as you, abandoning your humanity to become a beast!”

Otowa smiled. “Well, let’s not argue about this. I’m only telling you because I also have unanswered questions in my heart and need to ask you to help me solve them. Are you sure you want to end this conversation?”

Wu Bingtian remained silent.

Otowa continued, “That year, a Japanese ship sank in the Yangtze River. At that time, it was suspected that the Chinese were secretly doing something, so a large-scale search and salvage was carried out. Unexpectedly, a stone box was salvaged from the Yangtze River. The Japanese in charge of the salvage heard that I like to collect antiques, so they asked someone to send the box to me. As soon as I saw the box, I thought it was very strange because it looked like a complete stone, but there were seams on the top and bottom, and the carvings were exquisite, but there was no keyhole, let alone a lock. Tell me, can it still be opened?”

Wu Bingtian snorted coldly. “As long as you want, you can open it. You can even use explosives!”

Otowa didn’t care about his tone and just shook his head. “No, you can’t use explosives. At that time, I was afraid the contents inside would be destroyed.”

Wu Bingtian knew that he was about to hear the critical details next, perhaps related to the secret of how Otowa Yasuhiko became a demon, so he didn’t interrupt him and listened calmly.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch130

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 130

The intelligence of the third-level zombies had evolved to a certain level. They discovered that Dong Zhi and the others were wearing bells that would ring as long as they were close to a certain range, so they stalked Dong Zhi’s team just outside the safe range of the bell.

Night was the time when people’s vigilance was at its lowest, and it was also the best time for the zombies to launch an attack. Therefore, when Dong Zhi was talking to Yoshida just now, he didn’t dare relax his vigilance. Sure enough, when he turned his head inadvertently, he vaguely saw a pair of eyes in the darkness. It flashed in the light of the fire. Although it was only a second or two, it was enough for Dong Zhi to confirm their identity.

Dong Zhi didn’t want to alarm it. Otherwise, they would be more vigilant next time and would be harder to catch, but if he summoned his teammates to gather, the zombies wouldn’t easily appear and would only wait until they were alone to attack.

Their opponents didn’t need to eat or drink, so they certainly could outlast them. Instead of fighting passively, it was better to take the initiative to attack.

He whispered to Yoshida, “Don’t move. I’ll pretend to go to the bathroom and lead it away while you wake up the others.”

Yoshida was so nervous that she didn’t dare move and only exhaled from her nose, making a barely audible sound.

Dong Zhi got up and walked in the direction where the zombie was lurking.

He left the bonfire and walked a certain distance. When he suddenly heard rustling noises behind him, he subconsciously turned around and swung his sword. A black shadow rushed towards him in an instant but disappeared without a trace. The Changshou Sword swept across, slicing only air. Dong Zhi couldn’t help being taken aback.

Another dark shadow swept from behind. Dong Zhi felt a trace of coolness on his neck, causing goosebumps to appear. He stabbed his sword with his backhand but still pierced only air.

He seemed to be fighting with air. His opponent seemed to be an invisible person who couldn’t be seen or touched, instead of a hungry zombie made of flesh.

Could it be a third-level zombie that can turn invisible?

It shouldn’t be, because his bell didn’t ring twice.

With a thought in his heart, he suddenly turned his head and ran towards the fire!

The bonfire was still burning. The flames had merged violently with the wood, making crackling sounds from time to time.

However, his partners Liu Qingbo, Liu Si, Zhang Song, and the others, as well as Yoshida Noriko, all fell to the ground in disarray. Blood snaked out from under them and slowly flowed to his feet.

Dong Zhi was in disbelief. “Lao Liu! Liu Si!”

He paused, then turned to Liu Qingbo.

At this moment, danger was quietly approaching from behind him.

Ever since he came to the exchange meeting and saw Dong Zhi, Eguchi wanted to kill Dong Zhi.

He may not have been the most powerful disciple under Fujikawa Aoi, but he was the most loyal and fanatical; he even changed his original name and adopted a female name just to imitate his teacher.

When Fujikawa Aoi was exchanged back to Japan, although he survived, he was also seriously injured. Eguchi knew well that with his own abilities, even if he were to replicate ten more of himself, he wouldn’t be able to kill Long Shen and the other high-level officials of the Special Administration Bureau. But the conference was different. The teams participating were all newcomers who hadn’t had time to become famous. Even if he could kill one or two, it could be regarded as avenging his master.

So he found Watanabe and took the initiative to sign up. Watanabe was still worried about the small number of people, but seeing a disciple of Fujikawa Aoi take the initiative to volunteer, naturally he was overjoyed and added him. It wasn’t until the group came to the United States and met the other teams that Eguchi found out that Long Shen’s apprentice, Dong Zhi, was also participating in the conference.

In this way, it was more in line with Eguchi’s original intention. He directly narrowed the target from all the Chinese participants to one person. Coincidentally, the two sides drew lots and landed on the same island. This simply provided Eguchi with the right time and place to commit his crime.

Eguchi knew that it wouldn’t work if he took the direct approach, and Watanabe would stop him, so it was much more convenient if he found the chance to attack alone.

On the ship coming to the island, he originally wanted to do it, but Dong Zhi kept hiding in his room and wouldn’t come out. The only time he got his chance was when the other party finished eating and went back to his room alone. In the narrow passage, Eguchi could hardly restrain the urge to push the other party into the sea, but someone stopped him.

A Russian.

The other party claimed to have a deep hatred against Dong Zhi as well and gave him something, saying this thing was enough for Eguchi to protect himself on the island, and told him that Dong Zhi couldn’t be killed on the ship. He would have more opportunities to kill Dong Zhi and even all the Chinese without anyone noticing when they landed on the island.

Eguchi was suspicious, but the thing the Russian gave him did allow him to survive in the forest where the zombies were wandering. He took advantage of the zombies leaving him alone and found the Chinese and followed them.

He saw Yoshida Noriko, his teammate, hanging out with the Chinese without even blinking, talking and laughing without the slightest shame. Eguchi gritted his teeth and secretly vowed that when he cleaned up the Chinese, he would deal with her as well.

But along the way, Dong Zhi’s team was always alert. Not only did they rarely act alone, but even waves of zombies weren’t a match for them. Eguchi finally used the zombies to draw his opponent out and lure him directly into an enchantment. The illusion made him unable to extricate himself, and he would take the opportunity to attack.

At this time, his opponent was kneeling on the ground while shouting the names of his companions, while Eguchi held a short blade in his hand and approached silently. The sharp blade was a stone’s throw away from his opponent’s back. He was about to stab into the body of his hated enemy and put him to death. Eguchi unknowingly raised a bloodthirsty smile in the darkness.

He wanted to kill this bastard and avenge his teacher!

But at this moment, Dong Zhi suddenly turned around and looked straight at Eguchi!

Eguchi was taken aback.

He was moving so fast that it was too late to stop his momentum, so he could only continue forward and crash into Dong Zhi. His opponent didn’t dodge; his wrist moved slightly, and a sharp sword light flashed out in front of Eguchi.

The oncoming qi was so fierce that it shocked Eguchi. Instead of his knife stabbing his opponent, he felt a severe pain in his shoulder. Eguchi missed his attempt and quickly tilted to the side, but Dong Zhi had already predicted his actions. The sword light came and went in several directions, blocking all of Eguchi’s retreat routes.

Eguchi turned around and ran without saying a word. He took out a piece of white paper from his pocket, clamped it between his fingers, and threw it back.

The fluttering piece of paper became a samurai holding a katana when it landed. The samurai shouted and raised his katana, then rushed towards Dong Zhi.

“You worked so hard to draw me out and even set an enchantment to trap me. Is that all you got?” Dong Zhi laughed as he raised his sword to parry the samurai’s attack.

Although the samurai was fierce, the number of ways he could attack was limited. Dong Zhi had quickly figured out his movements. This shikigami was much inferior to the ones he encountered before. Let alone Fujikawa Aoi, Eguchi wasn’t even as good as Fujikawa’s first disciple, Kitachi Eiko.

“Are you Fujikawa’s worst student? I have never seen such a bad onmyoji like you. It’s better for you to change your career and become a fitness instructor. It’s fine to teach ordinary people your three-legged cat kung fu*!”

*Metaphor for people who have little knowledge and skills and aren’t very proficient.

While fighting with the samurai shikigami, Dong Zhi even had time to taunt Eguchi.

Though Eguchi didn’t speak Chinese, he could understand a little. He cursed back in Japanese, but Dong Zhi simply made an expression as if he didn’t understand what he was saying, which only made Eguchi even more infuriated.

He couldn’t help but pull out what the Russian gave him from his pocket.

A small box the size of a palm.

With this box on him, Eguchi was safe even if he was alone in the forest. Those zombies would retreat and turn a blind eye to him. He wanted to open it several times to see what was inside, but every time he pressed his fingers on the lock of the box, the words of the Russian name Anton would echo in his ears.

The other party said, “When you’re closest to your enemy, open it.”

Eguchi’s hand pressed on the box. He was short of breath. Seeing that his shikigami was cut in half by Dong Zhi and its figure turned back into a fluttering piece of paper, Eguchi no longer hesitated. He turned the box toward Dong Zhi and unlocked it.

The box was originally light, and the weight didn’t change after it was opened. Eguchi’s eyes widened. No imaginary hideous giant popped out of the box to kill his enemy, let alone a strange beast or monster; there was nothing.

However, Dong Zhi saw it. A cloud of seemingly endless blackness floated out of the box and immediately moved back. The sword light swept away, and the black cloud rebounded into Eguchi’s hand that was holding the box and quickly disappeared.

Eguchi’s expression changed, and he cursed loudly.

But Dong Zhi didn’t give him a chance to escape or fight back. With a shake of the Changshou Sword, the light of the sword turned into a sky full of stars, shaking off the starry rain one by one as it swept towards the enemy.

In this ten thousandth of a second, even if Eguchi suddenly grew wings to escape, it was probably too late.

But instead of running away, the other party gave a sinister grin and rushed towards Dong Zhi.

The moment the Changshou Sword pierced Eguchi’s body, a cloud of black mist rose all over him, and even his face became distorted. In a trance, it seemed like it was another face that inexplicably felt familiar and terrifying.

The Changshou Sword, which hadn’t even pierced halfway through, suddenly encountered an obstacle and could no longer move forward.

Eguchi grabbed the sword’s blade with one hand, not caring that his hand was dripping with blood, and his other hand grabbed Dong Zhi, moving swiftly and violently.

Dong Zhi gritted his teeth. He suddenly abandoned the Changshou Sword, quickly took a few steps back, and took out a sunlight talisman from his pocket.

As he recited the mantra, talisman fire hit Eguchi’s hand but was grabbed and crushed in the center of his palm.

Dong Zhi didn’t hesitate. He took out three talismans, one after another, and threw them.

The three talisman fires flew away in three directions: upper, middle, and lower. When Eguchi stretched out his hand to block, Dong Zhi stepped forward and tried to pull out the Changshou Sword, but Eguchi caught him by the chest. His down jacket was immediately scratched. The opponent’s strength was so great that it was like five iron whips sweeping across Dong Zhi’s chest, almost breaking his sternum.

Even so, Dong Zhi staggered a few times, hitting the tree trunk next to him. A searing pain rose from his chest. He didn’t need to look down to know that his skin was broken and he was bleeding, perhaps even bruised.

The opponent suddenly became extremely powerful, as if he had gone through a rebirth. Dong Zhi never believed that this was Eguchi’s true ability, because he wouldn’t have attacked if he knew his opponent would be so powerful.

All the changes came from the box just now.

A thought flashed in his mind, and a terrible conjecture appeared.

“…Mara?” Dong Zhi couldn’t help but ask tentatively.

Eguchi smiled at him.

If such a smile from a handsome man like Mara was still creepy, then Eguchi’s smile was even more terrifying.

The black qi around the other party became more intense, almost merging with the darkness. He didn’t speak, and slowly walked towards Dong Zhi, as if he was quickly gathering strength to control Eguchi’s body so he could put Dong Zhi to death.

“Your body is much better than his, so it suits me better.” Eguchi paused with every word, using English, but the tone of the pause was exactly the same as Mara’s that day.

As soon as these words were spoken, Dong Zhi was sure that the other party was the ray of demonic qi that escaped that day.

At that time, Mara was only the phantom of the heavenly demon, so he could be pressed and beaten by Dong Zhi. Now, Mara couldn’t even be called a doppelganger, but was just a ray of demonic qi that the phantom was unwilling to let perish. It hid in the dark while replenishing its energy and wanted to make waves again. Still, Dong Zhi didn’t think he wouldn’t be able to beat it again.

“Then it depends on whether you have the ability to take it!” Dong Zhi laughed loudly. The Changshou Sword twisted into sword light that filled the sky, covering Eguchi’s entire body, including the black qi around him.

But Eguchi didn’t look at the dazzling sword light. He just stretched out his hand flatly, accurately grabbed the Changshou Sword from among the thousands of sword lights, and twisted his backhand.

The Changshou Sword twisted into a ball of great power, but it never cracked or broke. On the contrary, it glowed slightly in the dark, just like its owner. The more it suffered, the more it refused to succumb.

The enemy’s power was continuously transmitted through the Changshou Sword. If Dong Zhi hadn’t gritted his teeth and persisted in resisting with the Bu Tian Gang qi, he might have been eroded by the demon qi on his opponent’s body by now.

After the battle in Xianda Village, Dong Zhi also had a little understanding of the heavenly demon, who had an ultimate appearance that could charm the world, and thus he would also love all beauty, including those who looked good and were well-proportioned. When he was in Xianda, Mara thought about possessing his body as a host. Unexpectedly, despite just being a ray of demonic qi, Mara’s nature of liking beautiful appearances remained unchanged. Compared to Eguchi’s mediocrity, it was natural that Dong Zhi was more attractive to the demon.

Seeing Dong Zhi retreat step by step, Eguchi advanced slowly until Dong Zhi reached the tree trunk behind him. There was nowhere to retreat as the black qi kept getting closer. Even the Changshou Sword was mostly submerged in black qi. He raised his hand slowly and reached out to Dong Zhi’s forehead.

The black qi on his fingers lingered and churned endlessly. It would sometimes suddenly be like an evil dragon that chooses people to eat, or suddenly a raging black flame, quietly coming from the unpredictable depths of the abyss, with boundless darkness, eager to engulf its prey, turning the entire world into another hell.

“You weak mortal. Why bother to struggle in vain?” Eguchi said with a sinister smile. “Give me your body and memory completely, and I will put you above all mortals and let you stand at the pinnacle of this world!”

“You’ve already been annihilated. What kind of peak are you still delusional about? Go back to hell!” Dong Zhi gritted his teeth. His hand that had been clenched into a fist suddenly loosened, and a cloud of talisman fire flew from his hand and quickly rushed to the top of his head. At this time, there was a loud noise in the sky, and dazzling light pierced through the heavy fog, illuminating most of the forest.

At that moment, the entire island of Diana shook.

The sporadic living things wandering in the dark forest trembled under the power of heaven. The towering trees on the verge of death shook their remnant branches and leaves, and the unknown dark shadows hiding under the trees fled in a hurry. Even the ignorant zombies involuntarily wailed from the depths of their throats, knelt down on their knees, and curled into a ball, as if performing some kind of mysterious ritual.

The enchantment laid by Eguchi was completely shattered by heavenly lightning. Reality was connected again, and the illusions were destroyed.

Cut off outside the barrier, Liu Qingbo and the others, who had just fought a fierce battle with the zombies, finally saw Dong Zhi’s figure.

“Dong Zhi!” Liu Qingbo didn’t realize his voice had become high-pitched.

Just after Dong Zhi left, before Yoshida woke up the others, the zombies suddenly appeared and pounced on her, whom they determined was the weakest among them. Like all hunters at the top of the food chain, when they felt threatened, they would become impatient. They couldn’t wait to drag away their prey and go to a safe place to slowly enjoy it. Zombies had lost their human intelligence and only had an instinct for flesh and blood, so naturally this was no exception.

But at this time, Liu Qingbo and the others were already awake, and everyone launched a siege against the zombies.

Originally, even if the third-level zombies were powerful, it would be more than enough for a few people to deal with one. However, something happened, and it seemed that all the zombies in the forest were suddenly drawn over. Three third-level zombies and four second-level zombies appeared all at once. The pressure on everyone doubled in an instant, and a fierce battle for life and death commenced.

When all the zombies were wiped out, everyone discovered that Dong Zhi wasn’t there. After he told Yoshida to warn the others, he vanished without a trace.

It stood to reason that it was absolutely impossible for him to wander too far away. There was so much movement here that he should have returned a long time ago. But everyone searched the surrounding area and couldn’t find him. It was as if Dong Zhi had evaporated from the world without leaving any traces.

No one thought he would leave the team and run away. Everyone faintly felt that he might have encountered a bigger crisis.

Inevitably, everyone expected that Dong Zhi had suffered an accident.

As soon as she thought of this possibility, Li Han’er found a trace of panic in her heart.

This kind of emotion hadn’t appeared in her for a long time. She grew up in a famous sect since she was a child. She was talented and not much inferior to her brother, Li Ying. After joining the Special Administration Bureau, she had also experienced many things, and her qualifications were much deeper than those of Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo. This time, Dong Zhi was appointed captain of their group. At first, she understood that the higher-ups wanted to train newcomers, but she didn’t think he was qualified to be the captain of the team.

But along the way, unknowingly, Dong Zhi had become the cornerstone of stability in everyone’s hearts. In this boundless, dark forest, with her companions by her side, Li Han’er wasn’t afraid but felt more revolted. However, with Dong Zhi, this kind of negative emotion seemed to drop to its lowest point, and everyone was able to maintain a relaxed pace.

Li Han’er knew that Yoshida envied their harmonious atmosphere, and she knew that most of this originated from Dong Zhi. His existence maintained a delicate balance between everyone. Without him, this balance would be broken. With the tempers of Liu Qingbo and Zhang Song, those two would definitely fight; and neither Yang Shouyi, Liu Si, nor herself had the ability or the heart to subdue the two of them. The result could only be that the entire team would be torn apart, and their trip would come to a premature end.

When the enchantment was broken and everyone saw Dong Zhi again, Li Han’er couldn’t describe her mood at the time. Liu Qingbo’s excited cry appropriately expressed everyone’s mood, including hers.

At that moment, her heart almost jumped out of her chest, and she had to take a few deep breaths to calm down.

Everyone rushed over.

The sky was struck by thunder, and lightning covered Eguchi. Dong Zhi pushed the Changshou Sword forward with force while the Bu Tian Gang qi entangled the front of the sword. The subtle vibration could almost be ignored amidst the thunder, but the light on the sword was growing brighter and finally merged with the heavenly lightning.

A roar broke out of Eguchi’s mouth, but under the rolling thunder, the roar eventually turned into a wail as the black qi completely turned into dust, like stars. The aftermath of the thunder dissipated the night, and it was no longer as gloomy and terrifying as before.

At the same time as the black qi dissipated, Eguchi’s body shook slightly and then softened. Dong Zhi kicked him away, and the other party staggered back, bleeding from all seven orifices as he died, ending his short life.

Liu Qingbo and the others rushed over. “Are you okay!”

Dong Zhi had overextended himself just now and didn’t have the strength to speak at this moment, so he just shook his head.

Zhang Song and Yang Shouyi searched around and quickly found the box where Eguchi had released the demonic qi.

“What happened just now? We encountered a large wave of zombies. Was it all caused by this guy?”

Dong Zhi took the water handed over by Li Han’er and took a sip, finally recovering a little.

“It should be that Eguchi didn’t know there was demonic qi in there. It was hidden in this box. He originally wanted to use the demonic qi to deal with me. Who knew that Mara had picked a soft persimmon and attached itself to him, but I cleaned it up.”

Yoshida walked over and looked at the empty box carefully. After a while, she shook her head and said, “This isn’t an onmyoji prop or something that came from a shrine.”

Li Han’er: “The pattern on it is complicated. It looks European.”

Dong Zhi said, “If someone gave it to him, it means that the demonic qi hasn’t been completely wiped out yet. The heavenly demon is inherently volatile and can divide itself into many clones. Perhaps the person who gave it to him was on his team.”

Everyone looked at each other, and finally their eyes fell on Yoshida.

Yoshida couldn’t help but take two steps back and hurriedly say, “It’s not me. I’m normal!”

Li Han’er also said, “It’s not Yoshida. The bell is sensitive to all abnormal monsters and zombies. If it doesn’t ring, it means she’s not.”

Dong Zhi said, “Everyone stayed in the hotel for several days at that time and then came here together. It’s entirely possible for Eguchi to come into contact with anyone. The scope is too large.”

After killing the zombies, Liu Qingbo’s face didn’t look much better. He told Dong Zhi, “When we killed those zombies, we found that one of the third-level zombies showed some strength in addition to hiding its body. It seems it has undergone an evolution in strength and can also use tools.”

Dong Zhi’s face became solemn. “Use tools?”

Liu Qingbo nodded. “It had a samurai sword in its hand and was using it to attack us with it. The sword should have been left by Watanabe or another person.”

Although zombies were humans during their lifetime, after they died, the soul belonging to their humanity disappeared, and they would become a kind of low-level creature that only lived on flesh and blood. Zombies with initial intelligence appeared in the zombie simulation before, but after all, that was a simulation, and this was now real life.

The biggest difference between humans and animals was that people used tools.

If a zombie appeared in the world that not only had powerful attack power but also had an intelligence that wasn’t inferior to humans and it started eyeing the human world, what consequences would this cause?

Even if this was far from the real world, it was still a chilling thought.

Liu Si said, “The Americans are really desperate to develop such a monster. Don’t they think the world isn’t chaotic enough?”

Dong Zhi: “Humans always think they can control everything.”

Being at the top of the food chain, humans had a sense of superiority over all other beings. This sense of superiority motivated them to continue to explore, but it was also a double-edged sword.

“We should have killed all the monsters here. When we meet the Americans, we must question them carefully. Don’t let this kind of creature continue to proliferate. Who knows how they will evolve!” Liu Qingbo said.

Dong Zhi nodded.

Liu Si stretched out his hand to help him up. Dong Zhi stood up and patted the dust off his body.

“Is everyone okay?”

Everyone was more or less injured. If it were another team, they would probably be worried about the risk of contracting corpse poison. However, Mount Maoshan and Mount Longhu had been professionals at catching zombies since ancient times. The medicine Li Han’er and Zhang Song carried with them was enough to solve these hidden dangers, not to mention the various medicines the Special Administration Bureau gave to Dong Zhi.

At that moment, he distributed a Shangqing pill to everyone.

“Come, it’ll treat disease if you’re sick and strengthen your body if you’re not. Anyway, you have to pay it back when we return, so don’t waste it. Since you have it, just eat it!”

The author has something to say:

A small theater that has nothing to do with the text:

After returning from the competition, Song Zhicun brought everyone together.

Song Zhicun: Please describe the performance of your team leader during the competition.

Liu Qingbo: Did his duty and brought a lot of things…

Liu Si: Yes, was dutiful and brought many things.

Zhang Song: Yes, brought many things that I didn’t bring.

Song Zhicun: Is there anything else?

Zhang Song: He gave us all a Shangqing pill issued by the bureau so that we would have the opportunity to make up for it. We didn’t waste any of it.

Song Zhicun: (Roaring with heartache) Each of those pills is more than 100,000! Dong Zhi, you brat*!

*Bear boy (熊孩子) Slang describing someone who is young and ignorant, like a naughty child.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch129

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 129

Zhang Song let out a sigh, picked up the coins, and looked at them. “Is this what the organizing committee wants us to find?”

Li Han’er: “It seems to be. Take it over and ask the captain.”

Suddenly, Watanabe’s body twitched.

Before he could open his eyes, Zhang Song had raised his sword and lopped off Watanabe’s head.

There was no doubt that he was already dead. If there was a sudden movement, it was probably because he was infected with corpse poison, so Zhang Song wouldn’t be so merciful.

On Dong Zhi’s side, one of the invisible zombies ran away while he killed three second-level zombies. It wasn’t easy, but everyone was fine.

“This is indeed the silver coins. The rules of the competition say that if you can’t find the golden apple, the number of silver coins will be taken into account.”

He took a closer look at the silver coins in Zhang Song’s hand, which were printed with the English abbreviation of the Exchange Conference, as well as the patterns of the four islands, each with its corresponding English name under it.

“Diana Island. Look, this is where we are now.” Dong Zhi found that this silver coin could also be used as a simple orientation map; at least from the map, he could see the location of their island and the others.

“Diana Island is surrounded by three other islands. When we leave, we can head to Full Moon Island first, and then from there to Rose Island.”

Liu Qingbo couldn’t help complaining. “Why do these islands have such nice names? Are these Americans psychopaths? What Rose Island, Full Moon Island, Diana Island? There are zombies running everywhere here!”

Dong Zhi: “It’s quite romantic!”

Liu Qingbo: “Be serious!”

Yoshida looked at them with some envy. In her own team, there were always strict and distinct ranks. She was the lowest among the four, so she could only obey the captain unconditionally. It was impossible to have a joking and harmonious atmosphere like Dong Zhi’s team. If she were in such a team, even with the dangerous environment, the pressure wouldn’t be so great.

“Mr. Watanabe is our leader,” Yoshida said suddenly.

“Him?” Dong Zhi pointed to the body that had just been decapitated.

Yoshida nodded and said sadly, “After we got ashore, Mr. Watanabe wanted to enter the forest to find the golden apple, but he encountered a group of zombies, and the four of us dispersed. I was with Mr. Watanabe, but I didn’t expect…”

Dong Zhi asked, “Did you have a good relationship?”

Yoshida said, “Mr. Watanabe was the priest of the Ise Shrine. We’ve only met once, so we’re not familiar with each other. I heard that no one came forward to organize this exchange conference, so Mr. Watanabe approached my master, who recommended me. I heard that one of the requirements to participate in the conference was that each team must have four or more people. When our team reached the minimum count, Mr. Watanabe applied to the higher authorities, and then the government came forward to facilitate our trip. Among the four, my qualification is actually the lowest, so I only need to obey orders.”

Her Chinese wasn’t bad, but since she wasn’t speaking her native tongue, she spoke slowly.

Dong Zhi praised, “You speak Chinese fluently.”

Yoshida was a little embarrassed. “I studied Chinese as my foreign language in college. When I was a junior, I entered the shrine by chance and became a miko.”

Dong Zhi handed one of the silver coins over.

“Without your companion, we might not have found these silver coins so quickly. This is what he traded for his life. Take it.”

Yoshida was stunned and didn’t react for a moment.

Liu Qingbo curled his lips and thought that Dong Zhi didn’t need to be so polite to little Japan, but he also knew to give his captain face in front of outsiders. Besides, there were grievances and debts, but their feud was with Otowa Yasuhiko. It was impossible to be angry at every Japanese person, but it was inevitable that there would be some animosity.

“Are you aligned with Otowa Yasuhiko?”

Just as Yoshida stretched out her hand to take the silver coin, Dong Zhi asked coldly.

He deliberately chose to do so at such a time because, when people were caught off guard, it would be difficult for them to fake their expressions unless the other party had the psychological quality level of an actor. This was what he picked up from Long Shen.

Yoshida’s strength wasn’t top tier. Otherwise, she wouldn’t be crying for help when she was chased by the zombies. It stood to reason that her psychological quality wasn’t as good either, and that it would be hard for her to quickly calm down and lie on the spot.

“Who is this Otowa Yasuhiko you’re talking about?” Yoshida’s face showed obvious confusion. “Are you referring to the president of the Otowa Consortium?”

The Otowa Consortium was well-known in Japan, so it was impossible for Yoshida to have never heard of Otowa Yasuhiko’s name. But in the eyes of ordinary people, the president of the Otowa Consortium was just a business mogul. Adding the prefix of a profound background, at most, would not connect him with the practitioner world.

Dong Zhi: “Yes.”

Yoshida shook her head. “I don’t know him.”

Dong Zhi looked into Yoshida’s eyes. The latter didn’t avoid his gaze.

It seemed that she wasn’t aligned with Otowa Yasuhiko and had nothing to do with Fujikawa Aoi’s affairs.

Otowa Yasuhiko had hidden his identity deeply and pushed Fujikawa Aoi to the front of the stage. While it seemed that Fujikawa was capable, in reality he was just a puppet for Otowa. Although the old man was released last time, given his serious injuries and the fact that he was almost on the brink of death, it was unlikely he would have the strength to come out and cause trouble for the time being.

“Sorry, I’m just asking.” Dong Zhi apologized.

“It’s okay.” Yoshida smiled and held the silver coin in her hand.

Her appearance could be considered delicate, but she had a childish cuteness when she smiled.

“Mr. Dong…” Yoshida hesitated to speak, but before she could say anything, another voice grabbed everyone’s attention.

“There are also silver coins here.”

Li Han’er bent over and picked up a silver coin not far from Watanabe’s corpse. The ground was covered with a thick layer of dead branches and fallen leaves. The silver coin fell directly into the gaps of the debris just now. If she hadn’t been careful, they would’ve probably missed them.

With such a discovery, everyone followed the direction of the silver coins and found two more, which were scattered in different positions in the same direction.

Searching in that direction, they walked another few meters and saw a small sack the size of a palm on the ground. There was a big opening, and several coins were scattered around it. Judging from the traces, the sack was probably thrown at a high altitude.

Yoshida exhaled. “I didn’t find this sack before Mr. Watanabe and I were separated.”

In other words, this sack was discovered by Watanabe after they got separated. He was probably surprised when he picked up these silver coins and lost his vigilance to the surrounding environment. As a result, he was ambushed and killed by the zombies.

The praying mantis hunts the cicada while the oriole stalks behind*, but ultimately it was them who became the beneficiaries.

*Idiom refers to pursuing a narrow gain while neglecting the greater danger.

Yoshida was smart. Before Dong Zhi could speak, she said, “Mr. Dong, Mr. Watanabe is dead, and I don’t know where my other two companions are. I can’t go to the end alone, so these silver coins are useless to me. Since you found them, it should be yours.”

In fact, even if she hadn’t said it, Liu Qingbo and the others wouldn’t have given her those silver coins, but since she took the initiative to make a statement, it undoubtedly added a touch of goodwill.

Dong Zhi said, “What are your plans next?”

Yoshida asked cautiously, “Can I go with you first?”

With her alone, it was impossible to search for the whereabouts of her other two companions. As long as she was alone, it would be less than ten minutes before she would be besieged by zombies.

Dong Zhi: “What about your two companions?”

Yoshida said, “I want to get out of the forest and then wait for them outside. If they appear, I’ll persuade them to leave early and withdraw from the competition. After all, with the three of us alone, the possibility of getting through is almost non-existent. The other three islands are surely more dangerous.”

This was a wise choice. The girl didn’t have any kind of hostility towards them, unlike the Japanese Dong Zhi had encountered. Her temperament was calm and harmless, like Li Han’er’s. She was indeed not suitable for staying in this kind of environment.

Although Dong Zhi was the captain, it wasn’t a dictatorship. This kind of thing naturally required the opinions of his teammates. Li Han’er, who was also a woman, had a better attitude towards Yoshida and agreed to her request.

Liu Qingbo also agreed, but his motives were because, rather than leaving her behind and letting her scheme something secretly where he couldn’t see, it was better to keep her under his nose.

Since the captain and the deputy captain agreed, the others had no opinions.

Watanabe died here. Most likely, his body wouldn’t be taken back for burial. Since Yoshida was a miko, she performed a simple funeral ceremony and then burned his body to purify it with flames. Yoshida put her hands together and recited a prayer in a low voice.

After all this, Dong Zhi and the others searched around the area and picked up all the silver coins they could. They now had a total of eleven silver coins, which seemed like a lot, but at present, without knowing how much other teams would get, it was impossible to estimate their own chances of winning.

Yoshida temporarily gained everyone’s trust, but they wouldn’t completely let go of their vigilance. She was very conscious and took the initiative to walk in front of the team without waiting for others to speak.

They didn’t encounter any danger along the way.

Presumably, the ordinary zombies were wiped out, leaving sporadic second-level and third-level zombies. These zombies possessed preliminary intelligence, while the third-level zombies even had a deep understanding of cunning hunting habits. Now that it was broad daylight and this group of people was quite strong after the previous lesson, these zombies would definitely lie in ambush in the dark and wait for an opportunity to attack rather than rushing out to their deaths.

However, this didn’t relax anyone’s vigilance. After walking for most of the afternoon, the sky gradually darkened. Seeing the long road ahead, it was likely there was still a considerable distance before they reached the other end of the forest. Dong Zhi proposed to find a slightly flat and empty area to spend the night first, then hit the road in the morning.

Everyone brought enough dry food, but that wasn’t as good as eating hot rice that could warm their stomachs. Just as Liu Qingbo looked at the compressed biscuit he took out of his bag in disgust, he saw Dong Zhi take out a small bag of rice from his backpack and a jar of dried pickled radish.

“When did you put rice in? Why didn’t I know about this?” Liu Qingbo showed an incredulous look.

Dong Zhi: “Just before going abroad. Didn’t I ask if you wanted to bring rice?”

The corner of Liu Qingbo’s mouth twitched. “Didn’t I say no?!”

Dong Zhi said innocently, “But I want to eat it. Don’t you want to?”

Liu Qingbo: ……

He couldn’t say that he wanted to eat it but didn’t want to bring it.

In order to save water resources, Dong Zhi didn’t bother washing the rice. He directly added some water and cooked it over a pot on the fire. When the sky was completely darkened, the aroma of rice floated out of the pot. Accompanied by the woody fragrance of the firewood, even Yoshida Noriko couldn’t help swallowing her saliva.

White rice with pickled dried radishes was regarded as the most rudimentary and ordinary food outside, but on a deserted island like this where there were only zombies and no game, it was a rare delicacy. Everyone didn’t eat anything delicious while they were here, so at this moment, seeing the fragrant and soft rice awakened their sleeping Chinese stomachs. Even if the rice was barely enough to feed everyone and they wouldn’t get full with such an amount, it was still enough to comfort their stomachs after a long journey.

Yoshida didn’t expect to get a small bowl herself. When she was holding the rice, she was so moved that she was about to cry. She thanked Dong Zhi repeatedly. It wasn’t just this bowl of rice that hurt, but also the death of her companion and the uncertainty of her own future.

The small jar of dried pickled radish was decreasing at a rate visible to the naked eye and was about to bottom out. Dong Zhi then pulled a small jar of pickled cucumbers out of his backpack.

“Come on, if you don’t have enough to eat, there’s more here.”

Everyone: ……

Everyone carried a backpack but only brought daily necessities. Naturally, water was essential. The organizers have put freshwater tanks on each island, so as long as they got out of the forest, there was no need to worry about a lack of fresh water. In addition to daily drinking water, they only packed a sleeping bag and dry food.

Who would have thought that the leader of their team would be so capable? While his backpack didn’t look big, it was stuffed full of things.

Compared to other people’s admiration, Liu Qingbo was already numb. After all, Dong Zhi brought heating pads when they went to chase the Wuzhiqi, so it was strange if he didn’t bring a jar of pickled radish.

Liu Qingbo couldn’t help but rub his forehead. “To be honest, apart from these, what else did you bring?”

Dong Zhi took out a bag of noodles. “This is our food for tomorrow.”

Liu Qingbo: You really brought it?!

Liu Si couldn’t help laughing. “Just noodles with a plain broth?”

Dong Zhi smiled. “I also brought salt, as well as dehydrated vegetable buns and a dried egg drop soup pack.”

Yang Shouyi couldn’t help but cast a respectful glance at Dong Zhi.

Looking at the captain of the team, even everyone’s eating habits had been taken into account. If it was him, would he really think of all these details? Yang Shouyi felt that he probably couldn’t, so this only made him more convinced of Dong Zhi.

Li Han’er was a little reserved and didn’t speak, but she did have a great change of outlook on Dong Zhi. From the start, she felt that he wasn’t worthy of being Long Shen’s disciple. Now, although she didn’t say it, she followed what Dong Zhi said and did without questioning it. She may still not like him, but she couldn’t deny his ability.

Dong Zhi didn’t notice Li Han’er’s subtle mood, but even if he did, he wouldn’t pay too much attention.

“There are ten more days left. According to my expectations, this forest covers almost half the island. If we want to cross over, it’ll take at least one or two days. During this time, we’ll definitely run out of drinking water, so when we get out of the forest, we’ll divide into two groups. One group will look for fresh water, while the other will look for speedboats to leave here.”

This arrangement was thorough, so everyone nodded.

Liu Qingbo said, “I don’t think the golden apple is here. It’s better to leave early. It’s quite annoying to face these zombies all day long.”

Dong Zhi nodded in agreement. “The silver coins we picked up just now; the sack was broken. Most likely, it was airdropped directly by the organizers. They probably didn’t even land on this island. Even if the golden apple is here, it’s most likely been airdropped like the silver coins. Whether we can find it will depend on fate. We can’t spend all our time on this island. If we leave the forest, we’ll go directly to the next island.” 

In this place, the usual dried pickled radishes and pickled cucumbers became rare delicacies. Everyone ate until there wasn’t a single grain of rice left. The campfire conveyed warmth, giving off a toasty and lax atmosphere. Tonight was Dong Zhi’s turn to watch the first half of the night. Liu Qingbo was responsible for the other half. Everyone took out their sleeping bags and slept in a circle around the campfire, trying not to stay too far away in case of trouble.

Yoshida brought a sleeping bag, but after she laid down, she didn’t feel sleepy. Looking at Dong Zhi’s figure sitting by the campfire, she bit her lip and struggled for a moment, but finally got up.

Dong Zhi immediately noticed and looked back at her. Yoshida was afraid of waking the others, so she gestured if she could sit down next to him, to which Dong Zhi nodded.

“Mr. Dong, there’s something that I have hesitated for a while, and I think I should tell you,” Yoshida whispered. “In addition to the head of the team, Mr. Watanabe, who came with me, there are two other onmyojis, Tomo Nakai and Tomomi Eguchi.”

When he heard the names, Dong Zhi couldn’t help being taken aback.

He remembered the four members of the Japanese team—one woman and three men. The other three must be men, but the name Tomomi Eguchi, no matter how it sounded, was a girl’s name.

But then he remembered another past event.

He Yu once told him that the Aoi in Fujikawa’s name was common for women. He was ridiculed for it before he became famous, but after he established his position in the Japanese practitioner world, this ridicule became praise, and even fanatics, in order to curry favor, changed their names to a female name.

Thinking of this, Dong Zhi blurted out, “Is that Tomomi Eguchi a disciple of Fujikawa Aoi?”

Yoshida was a little surprised. “You know?”

Dong Zhi smiled bitterly. “When you said the name, I guessed it. The Japanese team’s roster was released last. We didn’t know when we set off. Later, I saw that the surname wasn’t Fujikawa, so I didn’t pay much attention.”

Yoshida nodded. “I see. I’m not familiar with Tomomi Eguchi. I heard that his original name was Takashi Eguchi, but he changed it to a woman’s name later. It can be seen that he admires Mr. Fujikawa very much. When I was with them, I also heard Eguchi say that Mr. Fujikawa was seriously injured because of Long, and since you are Long Shen’s disciple, he wanted to seek revenge against you. An eye for an eye, was what he said.”

She looked worried. “Mr. Watanabe said before that we should focus on the overall situation and not mess around. Now that Mr. Watanabe is dead, no one will stop him, and we’re also separated. If he’s still wandering around the island, it may not be good for you. You have to be careful.”

In fact, even if Yoshida hadn’t said this, Dong Zhi wasn’t too worried. First, they had more people and weren’t afraid of a single Eguchi, and second, Dong Zhi didn’t think Eguchi was that powerful. Otherwise, he would be the captain of the Japanese team. He could tell that Yoshida struggled to tell him this for a long time.

Dong Zhi said sincerely, “Thank you. I know you must be under a lot of pressure for telling me.”

Yoshida smiled bitterly. “In fact, I hesitated for quite some time. If I told you, I would undoubtedly become a traitor, but you have treated me so well and didn’t leave me behind. If I didn’t say it, I’m afraid my conscience would be condemned.”

Dong Zhi said, “I won’t tell anyone what you told me. You don’t have to tell the others either. When you leave the forest, just take a speedboat and go back to your hometown.”

Yoshida mustered up some courage. “Then, can I come to China and find you in the future?”

Dong Zhi blinked. “If you come with a delegation for a visit, I’ll certainly entertain you.”

This wasn’t the answer Yoshida wanted. She felt a little disappointed hearing the polite response of the other party, but she still nodded with a smile. “Okay. Our shrine will be doing foreign exchange visits every year. After I go back, I’ll apply with my master. He likes me very much, so he’ll definitely agree.”

Dong Zhi said, “Won’t you be punished if you come back empty-handed?”

Yoshida sighed in a low voice. “No way. There are only four of us. Our numbers were originally small, and with Mr. Watanabe passing away, leaving only three people, we can’t possibly complete the task no matter what. In fact, this is good. I didn’t want to fight other people. If Eguchi is still here, most likely he will find a way to take revenge on you.”

Dong Zhi: “It’s fine. Since he’s brooding, even if it’s not this time, there will be another time sooner or later.”

Yoshida opened her mouth and was about to say something but found Dong Zhi getting closer. The distance between the two had exceeded the boundaries of ordinary friends.

“Dong—Mr. Dong?” She stammered. She could even feel Dong Zhi’s lips only a few feet away from her cheek, as if he wanted to kiss her.

“Don’t move.” She heard him whisper. “Don’t look back. There seems to be an invisible zombie not far behind you.”

Yoshida didn’t look back, but her hair stood on end and her body suddenly froze.

The author has something to say:

Dong*Doraemon*Zhi* makes his grand debut.

*Referencing the Doraemon 4D pocket that it uses to pull out random things.

Liu Qingbo: I still remember that day under the Huai River, the fear of being dominated by the heating pads…

Dong Zhi: Are you moved?

Liu Qingbo: (expressionless) Dare not be moved.

Kinky Thoughts:

Dong Zhi, master of deflection, breaking little girls’ hearts left and right (see arc 1).

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch128

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 128

Practitioners were light sleepers and always alert, especially in an unfamiliar environment, and especially women. Li Han’er woke up automatically without Yang Shouyi calling.

She rubbed her eyes and looked at her watch, then quietly got up and walked over.

“Go sleep. I’ll stand watch,” she said to Yang Shouyi.

Yang Shouyi nodded and was about to get up when there was some movement coming from the forest behind him. It sounded like something had stepped on a branch on the ground, making a subtle sound, but both Yang Shouyi and Li Han’er keenly caught it.

The two glanced at each other. One went to wake the others up while the other got up and walked a few steps towards where the sound came from.

The direction of the forest was dark and couldn’t be seen clearly. A flashlight flashed, but visibility was limited.

The others were awakened one after another. Everyone moved quickly. They slept with their outfits on, and all held onto their weapons as they slept. At this time, when they crawled out of the sleeping bags, they were all wide awake.

“There was a sound just now, like someone or an animal stepping on a branch. It might be a false alarm, but I think it’s better to wake you guys up,” Yang Shouyi said apologetically.

Be careful when sailing for a thousand years*. Anything can happen in this place. It’s right to be cautious.” Dong Zhi gave him a thumbs up, got up, and walked forward with his Changshou Sword. “I’ll go over and have a look. You guys wait where you are.”

*(小心駛得萬年船) Proverb referring to one can always be safe if one is careful.

“Let’s go together,” Li Han’er said. Everyone started following without saying much. Dong Zhi felt touched by the sentiment and let them do as they pleased.

Before leaving, William revealed a few important pieces of information.

First, on these islands, there were monsters from Western mythology and legends, such as harpies, female monsters that had eagle claws and wings. There were also the black roosters, Gullinkambi.

Second, William didn’t know much more. The above two were some of the monsters he knew about. There were other unknown dangers waiting for them, so they shouldn’t take things lightly.

Dong Zhi and the others had no idea about the fighting powers and true temperament of these ancient monsters. Myths were just myths after all. They would no longer be accurate after years of refinement and word-of-mouth.

Dong Zhi had personally encountered the Wuzhiqi, a legendary great demon who brought calamities and scourge, and discovered that not only was that inaccurate, but it actually kept its promise better than humans. For thousands of years, its enemies and friends had all died, but it was still guarding that stone tablet. If it hadn’t been corrupted by demonic qi, there would never have been the subsequent killings of those students at Shencheng.

But one thing was certain, these monsters were not to be underestimated.

They may often possess intelligence just as good as humans. The organizing committee thought they could control the competition within a reasonable range, but in fact, they may not. Dong Zhi had a vague premonition that the time spent on this island during the competition might slip into an uncontrollable abyss.

Just as he was thinking, several people slowly stepped forward to where Yang Shouyi heard the movement.

There was nothing, but indeed, there were branches on the ground.

Dong Zhi bent down to pick it up. The branch had been broken in half, but the bark was still stuck together.

“Be careful!” Liu Qingbo’s hand was already outstretched, grabbing Dong Zhi’s arm and pulling him towards him when he blurted out!

At the same time, just where Dong Zhi was standing, a hand popped out of the soil with sharp fingernails. It wanted to grab the back of Dong Zhi’s ankle, but Liu Qingbo interrupted, so it only grabbed air.

The reason Dong Zhi wasn’t paying attention to his feet was because he was distracted by what was at the top.

Yang Shouyi took out his sword and slashed the hand, directly cutting it off, but more hands emerged from the soil around them, trying to grab them.

“There’s something in the trees. Go back to where you were!” Dong Zhi suddenly yelled.

Right as he spoke, a dark shadow swept straight down from the trees, as fast as lightning!

Li Han’er and Zhang Song drew their swords at the same time. It was at this point that Dong Zhi witnessed Li Han’er’s dual cultivation of swordsmanship and talisman, which was indeed well-deserved. Her sword wasn’t slower than anyone else present. The light of two swords flashed, blocking the black shadow for a while, but it came too fast, blowing back Li Han’er and Zhang Song.

The dark shadow was about to pounce on them when two more swords from Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo arrived!

A shrill sound pierced the sky as Liu Si’s whip lashed at the monster’s back, causing it to roar involuntarily.

Even though the monster was extremely fast and powerful, it wasn’t a match for the siege of five people. It quickly looked around and then escaped into the deep forest with a leap.

Zhong Song subconsciously wanted to pursue, but Dong Zhi quickly pulled him back.

“Don’t chase!”

The six hurriedly left the woods and returned to their original resting place.

The campfire was almost burnt out, with only a small flame left that was still strong enough not to be extinguished by the cold wind.

Everyone looked at each other. The situation was too sudden just now. Although it wasn’t close to death, it was still a bit shocking.

“It seems that the message the trees conveyed to me was correct.” Liu Si broke the silence. “It said that the forest is a place of death, and the deeper you go in, the more dangerous it’ll be.”

Li Han’er bent over and picked up some firewood and threw it in the fire, rekindling it and bringing back warmth to everyone again.

Liu Qingbo said, “But it also means that the possibility of the golden apple appearing in the forest is the greatest.”

Yang Shouyi frowned. “Why did those things look like zombies just now?”

Zhong Song curled his lips. “Didn’t you experience the zombie simulation when you were at the Special Administration Bureau? Those things are zombies, but I guess the Americans must have an upgraded version here. The thing that jumped from the trees and attacked us just now is probably the same as last time; the advanced version we encounter with preliminary intelligence.”

Li Han’er said, “At that time, Boss Song originally agreed to let me and Yang Shouyi experience the simulation, but the system seemed to be corrupted that day. They couldn’t fix the virus, so it was delayed.”

Everyone: ……

The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “How does a high-tech product from China and US cooperation get infected by a virus?! Could it be that the person who operates the system is watching porn every day with it!”

Yang Shouyi was helpless. “So what are we going to do now?”

Dong Zhi pondered for a bit, then said, “Now that we’re on the island, we have to go to the forest, but it’s too dangerous at night. We’ll set off again during the day. Before it gets dark tomorrow evening, whether we find anything or not, we must leave the forest. I found that there seemed to be a line between here and the forest. As long as we don’t cross the line, it’s safe.”

This opinion was the safest. Although Zhang Song felt the leader of the group was being too cautious, this was for everyone’s safety, so others naturally didn’t object.

Liu Si smiled. “Aren’t the Japanese also on the same island as us? Perhaps they’re struggling now!”

Liu Qingbo: “Let me just say, the Americans love zombies so much that they would definitely free up an entire island for them. Fuck, my prophecy has come true!”

Dong Zhi: “Thank you. Now predict that things will go well for us next!”

Liu Qingbo scratched his face. “I think it’ll be difficult. Perhaps we’ll meet a terrifying zombie… Mmph!”

Dong Zhi and Liu Si, who were sitting on either side of him, quickly reached out and covered Liu Qingbo’s crow of a mouth at lightning speed.

Even with Liu Qingbo’s quick reaction, he couldn’t avoid the two hands, so he could only brush their hands fiercely away afterwards and roll his eyes.

Li Han’er couldn’t help laughing out loud.

With Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, it seemed that no matter how big the problem was, it wouldn’t be frustrating.

In the second half of the night, everyone was able to spend it peacefully. In order to ensure everything was safe, Li Han’er also set up a simple talisman array around the area where they were resting. As soon as something approached, it would react immediately.

Due to the fog, day on the island came much later, and night came much earlier, which made the daytime short. As soon as dawn arrived, everyone packed up and started to enter the forest.

Dong Zhi said, “I remember that when I participated in the zombie simulation, those zombies all had grades. The most common ones should be the ones that emerged from the ground last night. The second level is the one that ambushed us in the trees. Its mobility is quite fast, and it has low-level wisdom. There is also one, which Li Ying and the others encountered. They have higher intelligence and can pretend to be ‘invisible’ like a chameleon. I suspect that the Americans have also studied the third kind of zombie heavily, so we must be extra careful. After entering the forest, try not to get separated.”

Li Han’er thought for a while and took out a few bells from her backpack and distributed them to everyone; one for each person.

“This kind of bell can sense an enemy attack. It will ring the moment the enemy attacks you, but the time is very short, but at least it’s better than nothing.”

Even if it was only a second or half a second, it could ensure they were quickly prepared and reduce casualties.

Everyone put the bells on them and entered deeper into the forest.

Every once in a while, Liu Si would try to communicate with the trees, but according to him, this forest was covered by the aura of death, and the roots of the trees had gradually decayed. These trees couldn’t provide any useful information. They could only tell Liu Si that the Americans were likely using this island as an experimental base for cultivating zombies. Later, it was found that the situation had gotten out of control, so they decisively abandoned it, leaving all the creatures here infected with corpse poison.

When Liu Qingbo heard this, he scolded. “I knew the Americans were worse than us. They threw all their shit here and now we have to clean it up!”

Dong Zhi smiled. “Maybe the situation on William’s side is worse. At least we haven’t encountered a harpy. Our leaders didn’t send us to die. If they did, there wouldn’t be another such exchange conference in the future. Boss Wu and Boss Long wouldn’t sit idly by!”

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes and was about to say when the entire group was wiped out, the day lily would already be cold, so what was the point of revenge? After thinking about it, he felt this would destroy his prestige, so he switched topics. “By the way, Boss Long and the others, are they on another mission?”

Dong Zhi thought about it. They were on an island in the Atlantic Ocean that was 180,000 miles away. Whether they knew it or not, there was no possibility of secrets being leaked out. When they returned, Long Shen and the others should have already completed their mission, so he nodded. “Yes.”

Zhang Song suddenly asked, “Boss Wu and Boss Long went to Japan?”

Dong Zhi was shocked. “How did you know?”

Zhong Song: “Before we left, only Boss Song showed up and spoke to us. In normal times, a person who loves to perform so much, like Boss Wu, will definitely not let a chance like that go. This time it’s so abnormal that they must be on a mission.”

Dong Zhi: …That makes sense. But it still left him speechless.

Everyone couldn’t help but look at the “loves to show off” Boss Wu’s nephew.

Yang Shouyi said, “Continue. I didn’t hear anything.”

Zhang Song said, “We have been looking for the stone tablets for a long time now, but there have been no clues. Everyone is saying, rather than catch a thief, just catch the king. The leaders must have thought this too. Only by finding that motherfucker Otowa Yasuhiko can everything be settled.”

Dong Zhi gave a thumbs up. “A modern day Di Renjie*!”

*A Chinese politician of the Tang and Wu Zhou dynasties, serving as chancellor twice during Wu Zetian’ reign. He was one of the most celebrated officials during Wu Zetian’s reign. Supposedly, he’s an amazing detective and is featured as a great detective in many works of fiction, which is what Dong Zhi is referencing Zhang Song as (due to his inferences).

Liu Qingbo laughed.

Although everyone was chatting, they had been highly focused and didn’t relax for even a second.

At this moment, Liu Si’s, who was walking at the end, bell suddenly rang!

Immediately after, Dong Zhi’s, who was at the front, bell rang as well!

The enemies were attacking them in both directions!

This thought rose in Dong Zhi’s mind. In the next second, there was a noise in the air that was so subtle that if you didn’t listen carefully, you would miss it—a figure suddenly jumped out of the tree closest to Dong Zhi. Its body was like the bark of a tree and had no aura at all, so Dong Zhi passed by it unaware!

Dong Zhi quickly realized that this should be the kind of zombie that Li Ying had encountered. It was extremely intelligent and would pretend to be “invisible”. Dong Zhi didn’t expect to run into it so soon.

The opponent was extremely fast, but Dong Zhi already had his sword in hand. He drew it the moment he heard the movements. The sword pierced into the zombie’s flesh and left a gaping hole in its chest. However, the monster didn’t retreat and kept swiping its claws at Dong Zhi. The pressure of its body quickly pressed against him, forcing Dong Zhi to repeatedly back up.

At the same time, Liu Qingbo’s sword swept heavily across. With the power of the Fumo Sword, the monster’s head was directly chopped off from behind.

However, this wasn’t the end. Liu Si also encountered a high-level zombie on his side. Li Han’er was working with him to deal with it. The others had no time to rescue them as countless ghostly hands suddenly stretched out from the ground and grabbed them. The fingertips were sharp, and each claw could penetrate through their clothes, straight into the skin. On closer inspection, the nails were purplish black, indicating typical corpse poison. Once the skin was cut, it was possible to be infected and gradually become a zombie.

During the last training period, Dong Zhi had lost several teammates in the simulation environment, but that was only a simulation. Now these zombies really existed, but compared to that time, they were much stronger, so naturally it wouldn’t be easy to deal with them.

At this time, the six people spontaneously occupied a position not far from each other, so as to facilitate rescuing and being rescued at any time.

The high-level monster that attacked Liu Si was extremely difficult to deal with. It had wisdom similar to that of humans. Seeing that Liu Si and the others were prepared and strong, it quickly made a decision to retreat and disappeared within a second. With the concealment of its aura and the vast forest around them, even Liu Si couldn’t sense its existence.

Others were cleaning up the ghostly hands that came up from the ground. Zhang Song’s fire talisman had an extraordinary effect at this time. When the talisman landed, fire ignited. Those ghostly hands struggled and wailed in the fire and were quickly burned to a char.

Liu Qingbo said casually, “It’s better to set fire to this forest and let it burn quickly to destroy all those damn zombies!”

The corners of Zhang Song’s mouth twitched. “Do you want to tire laozi to death? How much talisman fire do you think it will take?!”

Dong Zhi smiled bitterly. “Brother, don’t be ridiculous. This forest won’t burn down even if we burn it for three days and nights!”

Since they still had time to chat, it could be seen that although these zombies were annoying, they didn’t pose much of a threat. This was also due to the fact that there were no weak teammates among them. Zhang Song’s talisman fire happened to be the nemesis of the zombies. If this team switched to another, things might not end up going as smoothly.

Zhang Song fired a few talismans and burned at least a hundred ghostly hands. The ghostly hands seemed to know what fear was and finally stopped appearing. Even those high-level zombies that could turn invisible didn’t come back out.

Even so, Dong Zhi still reminded everyone to be vigilant because no one knew if there were zombies watching them in secret. The bell given by Li Han’er wouldn’t ring as long as the enemy wasn’t close.

Because some of these zombies possessed intelligence, they became tricky to deal with. They had enough patience to lurk and wait in the dark until the humans relaxed their vigilance. That was the moment when they would succeed. They were destined to outlast the will and endurance of ordinary people, which would naturally grow tired over time. The invisible zombie just now was quite strong. The sword Dong Zhi pierced into it didn’t hurt its key points, and since zombies felt no pain, it kept attacking him. In just a brief moment, their explosive power was barely manageable for someone like Dong Zhi, let alone an ordinary person.

Calm returned to the surroundings. Li Han’er found that there wasn’t even the sound of birds in the forest, as if everything had lost its vitality. It wasn’t so much calm but more so like dead silence.

She was about to express her feelings when she realized her companions had already noticed. Liu Si said, “When those trees couldn’t provide me with information, I felt that besides us and the Japanese, there were no other living things.”

Perhaps there used to be, but they were all wiped out by the zombies. The Americans had fenced off the forest, so the zombies couldn’t leave, which meant that if other living things entered the forest and were infected by corpse poison, they too wouldn’t be able to leave.

The inside of the forest and the outside were like two worlds.

Not long after everyone walked forward, they heard a woman’s panicked voice.

Li Han’er said, “It seems that the Japanese are shouting for help!”

Liu Qingbo said slowly, “Move slowly. Let them fend for themselves. It’s best to wait for them to die before we pass.”

Because of Otowa Yasuhiko’s affair, everyone had no affection for the Japanese. Although the others didn’t speak, they all had the same thoughts. After pondering for a while, Dong Zhi decided to go and have a look. He blocked the other people’s opinions with one sentence.

“What if they have the golden apple?”

The call wasn’t far from them. Everyone hurried over, and after a few minutes, they saw a young woman trapped between two second-level zombies. She was holding a long stick with a rope wrapped around it and struggling to fight them.

The second-level zombies were agile. Although they weren’t “invisible”, they moved quickly and had strong attack power. It was difficult for her to defend herself against the two zombies, but the zombies also seemed to be afraid of the long stick in her hands and dared not come closer. When the woman’s physical strength was exhausted, that would be when she became their prey.

Her skills were actually quite good, but ultimately, she was outnumbered. One of the zombies rushed up, was smacked in the head, and was instantly decapitated. Unfortunately, the other zombie took the opportunity and jumped from behind her. When the woman heard the movement, she hadn’t had time to recover from her attack and felt despair as she thought she couldn’t escape this onslaught.

In fact, she had already caught a glimpse of Dong Zhi and the others not far away, but she didn’t think the Chinese would be willing to save her. Perhaps they were just waiting for her to be killed by the zombies before they took action to resolve the zombies themselves. Thinking of this, Yoshida Noriko didn’t ask for help. She closed her eyes and waited for death to come.

But it didn’t arrive as scheduled, and her neck wasn’t bitten off by the zombie.

A talisman fire swept from the other direction and landed directly on the head of the zombie, who was pouncing on her. Together with its upper body, the zombie instantly caught fire. The monster fell heavily to the ground as Yoshida Noriko opened her eyes and watched it burn as it crawled towards her. As she yanked her stick over, she couldn’t help but take a few steps back. The burning zombie was instantly smacked away, while the other zombie’s head that was decapitated was pulled away by Liu Si’s whip.

The feeling of escaping death made Yoshida Noriko’s face blank for a moment before her palpitations quickly calmed down.

“Thank you very much. My name is Noriko Yoshida.” She bowed to Dong Zhi and them as she spoke in rigid Chinese to thank them.

Zhang Song curled his lips. If it weren’t for Dong Zhi’s request just now, he would never have done it.

“You’re welcome,” Dong Zhi said.

Of course, he didn’t have much affection for the Japanese, but between humans and zombies, only humans could be allies. If those zombies killed Yoshida, they would be next. For zombies, the killing would never stop unless there were no more living things in the world. Their arrival undoubtedly smelled delicious to the long-hungry zombies on this island.

“Where are your companions?”

Yoshida’s face changed and hurriedly said, “We got separated. I still have a companion who was overtaken by zombies not far ahead. Can you come with me to save him?”

Liu Qingbo sneered. “If your companion was overtaken by zombies, why are you here, leaving him to fend for his life alone?”

Yoshida hurriedly explained, “No, we were running for our lives and got separated accidentally. There were two other people, but we had a disagreement, and I left with another person…”

She was being vague, which only made Dong Zhi more wary of her, so he didn’t agree to her request to save her companion and instead said, “We have to move on. If you want to come with us, you can, but I’m not guaranteeing we’ll save your companion.”

Yoshida was a little disappointed, but she knew that she was incapable of forcing them. Now she was alone. Naturally, it was safer to follow a larger group, so she immediately agreed.

She seemed to sense that the others didn’t like her very much, so she only followed Dong Zhi.

Dong Zhi saw her stick tied to a rope wrapped around her hand and asked, “Are you a miko*?”

*Shrine maiden. A young priestess who basically are like shamans, performing tasks ranging from sacred cleansing to sacred dances.

Yoshida nodded. “Yes, I’m a miko of the Meiji Shrine.”

Dong Zhi gave a wry smile. “Then you should know who Fujikawa Aoi is, right? I heard that he’s a famous priest* and onmyoji among you Japanese practitioners.”

*Shinkan. A government official in Japan, who worked at a shakaku ranked Shinto shrine, and had been appointed an official position. Commonly, shinkan were officially appointed kannushi.

Yoshida whispered, “Since ancient times, priests and onmyoji have been two distinct occupations. Mr. Fujikawa is a master that can practice both, so he is a model in the Japanese practitioner world.”

From these words, Dong Zhi couldn’t tell whether her allegiance was with Fujikawa Aoi or not, so he didn’t inquire further.

“Mr. Dong…” Yoshida wanted to say something, but as soon as she opened her mouth, she was interrupted by a movement not far away.

Before she could react, Liu Qingbo, Zhang Song, and the others had already taken out their swords and collided with the second-level zombies who were rushing towards them. The two sides quickly fought as a group. Just as they were dealing with the zombies, two more third-level zombies were hidden in the dark. Taking advantage of Liu Qingbo and Zhang Song’s distraction, they set their sights on Dong Zhi and sneaked around, attacking unexpectedly from behind.

Their movements were extremely fast, but since Dong Zhi was wearing Li Han’er’s bell, he was already prepared. He turned around and swung his sword. The sword’s energy directly pushed the zombies away, but they were much stronger than ordinary zombies. After half a second, they grabbed his sword with one hand and tried to aim for his head with the other. Dong Zhi bent over to avoid it and was about to slash one of the zombies when the end of Yoshida Noriko’s stick swung over and directly hit its side. This further enraged it, causing it to switch targets and pounce on her.

Li Han’er was facing a second-level zombie. It was fast, but it couldn’t hide itself. Her opponent not only had sharp claws but also fangs that could cut through gold and jade. From time to time, it would open its bloody mouth, spewing saliva everywhere. It looked disgusting, and Li Han’er didn’t want to be splashed by its spit. At the beginning, she was more defensive. The monster thought she had figured out its attack pattern and decided to rush in the direction she habitually didn’t avoid. Unexpectedly, Li Han’er slashed her sword at this moment as Zhang Song’s sword light came from behind. Li Han’er made one cut after another, finishing off the zombie.

“There’s someone there!” Li Han’er gasped.

Zhang Song looked in the direction she pointed out and saw a piece of cloth protruding out from the corner behind a tree, as if someone was leaning against it.

The two walked over and saw that it was one of the Japanese who was with Noriko Yoshida.

“Mr. Watanabe!”

Yoshida ran over with a pale face.

The other’s chest had a bowl-sized hole open, revealing dense white bones inside. The flesh appeared to have been ripped off directly by the monster. Judging from the painful and frozen expression on his face, it was conceivable what kind of torture he had experienced before his death.

Zhang Song bent down and found Watanabe’s right hand was clenched into a fist, as if he were holding something. He stretched out his hand to break it, but the other party’s grip was so tight that he couldn’t open it. Zhang Song had to put in some effort before finally pulling out two silver coins from the man’s palm.

The author has something to say:

Boss Long’s part won’t be skipped. There’s also an important battlefield over there~

P.S. In case anyone forgot, the golden apple is the prop to win the competition, and the silver coins are the second prop that determines the ranking. If no one finds the golden apple, whoever has the most silver coins will determine the victor. If the golden apple is found, whoever has it will be in first place.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch127

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 127

Anna waited outside the door for a long time before it opened.

“Anton, what are you doing in there? Why are you taking so long to open the door?”

There were a total of seven people on the Russian team, five of whom were from the special agencies under national security, which was somewhat similar to the Special Administration Bureau that Dong Zhi’s team worked for—such agencies were often unknown to outsiders, but they did exist. The other two, including Anton, were selected through civilian recruitment.

However, Anna and the others didn’t like Anton very much, not only because he was often taciturn and had barely a presence, but also because he seemed out of place on the team. He didn’t look like a well-trained practitioner at all. At best, he was thought to be mediocre.

Hearing Anna’s complaint, Anton blinked slowly, showed a naïve smile, and said embarrassedly, “I may have dozed off just now.”

“Come out quickly. It’s dinner time!”

Anna didn’t say much more before tossing her sentence and turning around to leave.

Naturally, she didn’t notice that Anton’s smile became weird at some point and the corner of his mouth seemed to slightly tilt upwards then curled down again. It was eerie to the degree of terrifying that could make people’s hearts tremble.

When the passenger ship arrived at its destination in the vast sea, many people were so energized to see dry land that their tiredness from the journey was forgotten. It also meant that the harmony between teams easily disappeared, and the mood became nothing short of a competitive relationship.

Although under normal circumstances, there would be no malicious killings, Dong Zhi knew that in this archipelago, there was no supervision or restraint by external forces. Even if there was a man-made accident, the murderer could easily get away with it. This was why Grace had been pursuing Dong Zhi and them, adamant that the Chinese had murdered her sister on purpose. However, the environment and conditions at that time showed no evidence of this, so in the end, it could only be dismissed, and she chose to take her revenge in her own way.

This logic was reasonable, but unfortunately, she chose the wrong target. Dong Zhi wasn’t interested in harming others, but no one was allowed to plot against his teammates.

The organizing committee would drop each team off at their designated location in turn, based on the pre-calculated latitude and longitude, and then let them take a speed boat to their island. The passenger ship traveled forward a bit, then started lowering other teams to their speedboat.

In this way, even if two teams had the same island, the two sides would have different settlements, which was equivalent to being in different locations on the island. That meant it would be difficult for them to encounter each other at first.

The organizers also equipped everyone with a watch that had a 20-day countdown. The time started from now and 20 days later would mark the end of the competition.

Before the separation, William found Dong Zhi privately and gave him a cellphone. There was no signal on the island, so texting wasn’t available, which was tantamount to being isolated from the world. However, the phone given by William was an exception. Although they were unable to communicate with the outside world, they could still get in touch with the one in William’s hand.

“I believe that the Japanese won’t be your opponents, so if there’s no golden apple on the island  you’re staying on, just let me know so we don’t have to go there and search again. Likewise, I’ll tell you about the situation on my side as well,” William said.

Dong Zhi asked rhetorically, “What if you find the golden apple first? Will you also tell us?”

The rules of the competition stipulated that when one team got the key prop, the other teams weren’t allowed to snatch it unless they encountered unpredictable dangers. However, Dong Zhi was doubtful this rule would be effectively implemented. Once they arrived on the island, it was equivalent to losing the power of supervision. If a person were to take advantage of that and kill someone, as long as they didn’t leave any traces behind, no one would notice.

William gave a playful smile. “Yes, why not? When we leave the island by boat, I’ll definitely tell you so you won’t continue to sweat mercilessly!”

Dong Zhi looked indifferent. “Then we’ll do the same.”

William: “Don’t be like this, Dong. I worked hard to get these two phones. They are very useful. First, we can eliminate all the islands without the golden apple, which saves us a lot of time and avoid letting other teams take the lead. I believe we’ll be the strongest of all teams here, no? Also, trust is mutual. I swear I won’t lie to you, but everyone wants the golden apple. The deal is, if we get the golden apple, we’ll leave the silver coins to you, allowing you to get second place. Well?”

Dong Zhi thought for a while. “Okay, deal.”

William thought to himself, ‘Dong can vye for first place, but that’s pointless. They can rack their brains, but no one knows where the golden apple is. First place is destined to be ours.’

Dong Zhi thought to himself, ‘Who wants second place? That’s reserved for the Americans and will be like that for the next competition and the next one after that as well.’

The two shook hands, indicating their alliance had been reached, and they both smiled tacitly.

There were four big islands that made up the Senluo Islands and a few small islands and reefs that could be seen at a glance. Those weren’t part of the competition. Lisa had clearly told them that the competition would only be on the four main islands.

The island where Dong Zhi landed was called Diana Island. Diana* was the goddess of the moon in Roman mythology, but she had also a lesser-known counterpart. Diana was also the goddess of the forest, so as the name suggests, the island was densely wooded and full of tall trees. Coupled with the surrounding white mist on the canopy, it was enough to become the background of a horror movie.

*Goddess of the countryside, hunters, crossroads, and the Moon. She’s equated with the Greek Goddess Artemis.

All six people in Dong Zhi’s group weren’t scared, but they were vigilant. They found the island to be much larger than they thought, and the large forest that wasn’t far away made it easy to hide, making ambushes more deadly. Inside, anything could happen.

Liu Qingbo looked up. He originally wanted to see when it would get dark, but instead of the clouds and sun, he only saw white mist.

“Damn, this fog is endless. You can’t even see the sun!”

Dong Zhi looked at his watch. “It should be almost dusk. The light is darker than when we were on the boat. No matter what kind of creatures there are, they most likely attack in the dark. This island is definitely not as calm as it seems. Let’s find a relatively safe place to settle down and spend the night and make plans for tomorrow.”

Liu Si said, “Let me ask.”

As Liu Si walked towards the trees, Zhang Song felt inexplicable. “Who are you going to ask?”

Liu Si looked back and smiled. “Have you forgotten my original form?”

Only then did Zhang Song remember that Liu Si’s was originally a willow, so naturally he could communicate with trees.

Neither Yang Shouyi nor Li Han’er expected that Liu Si wasn’t actually human, but they didn’t want to pry too much into that kind of thing. They both chose to remain silent, but their faces showed interest.

Liu Si walked over, put one hand on the trunk of the tree, stood still for a moment, and then walked back.

“These trees are a bit strange.” When he came back, his expression was a little confused. “They have lived for a long time, but they can only communicate very little information. I’ve tried a few of them. They only know that the edge of the forest is safe, but there will be danger when we go in. As for what the danger is, they can’t tell. They can only convey vague messages.”

Liu Si suddenly paused. “Based on this information, it can only mean endless death.”

Everyone was silent for a while.

It was Dong Zhi who spoke first. “Then let’s spend the night outside the forest.”

Fire starting tools and drinking water were readily available. Practitioners like Dong Zhi hadn’t yet reached the realm of abstinence*, but they ate less than ordinary people and had longer endurance. Li Han’er took out some compressed biscuits and shared them. After eating two pieces, everyone was full. They started a fire and sat around it for warmth.

*Realm of Bigu. Abstinence from eating. In terms of cultivation, basically, if you reach this realm, you no longer need to eat.

Liu Qingbo frowned and said, “It’s strange that this is a competitive venue and a research base for Group 51. Even if it’s dangerous, it’s impossible for it to be linked with endless death. What the hell is the organizing committee thinking?”

Li Han’er said softly, “Maybe they’re not up to something, but something uncontrollable happened.”

Through the thick fog, the sky gradually darkened; the speed of which seemed to be faster than normal. After a while, everything sank into darkness.

With the bonfire at the center, the fire blazed within a radius of three to five meters, but after this range, it was only darkness, the woods, and the fog. The sea and the island seemed to merge as unpredictable dangers quietly bred in the darkness. It was as if, at any moment, something would jump out and swallow life itself.

The minds of everyone were already much stronger than ordinary people, but in this atmosphere, only by seeing the faces of their companions around the burning bonfire could they feel a trace of their own breath in the world rather than being swallowed by the overwhelming fog.

Sitting idly without anything to do, Yang Shouyi pondered the riddle Lisa had told them that was related to the whereabouts of the prop.

“The beauty shrouded in the clouds will eventually take off her mysterious veil… Isn’t Diana a goddess? Does the riddle refer to our current island?”

Li Han’er shook her head. “I don’t think it’s that simple. Beauty could refer to something specific, such as a mountain peak or a specific place. If the meaning of the riddle is so broad and general, then we have to search every corner of the island. This possibility feels unlikely.”

Dong Zhi asked Liu Si, “Lao Liu, what do you think?”

Liu Si didn’t say much, but generally the things he said were quite informative.

Liu Si thought for a while, then said, “Could it be that the riddle is just deliberately confusing and misleading us?”

Zhang Song frowned and said, “But this isn’t in line with the rules, right? Is there precedent for the organizing committee deliberately spreading false information?”

Liu Qingbo smiled. “Haven’t you taken a closer look at the information distributed in past competitions? Of course they have! When the last session was in the Valley of the Emperor, the organizing committee announced five clues, but in the end, it was confirmed that three of them were fake. Many people mistakenly took the fake clues as real clues and were misled from the start. One team also suffered two deaths and four were injured as a result. I really doubt what you’ve been doing when the information was handed to you.”

His tone was particularly flat, which made Zhang Song’s hand itchy. He couldn’t help but want to stage a wonderful beating of the deputy captain.

Before the infighting started, Dong Zhi forcibly rounded things up and changed the subject. “Anyway, we’re here now. Tomorrow, we’ll go into the woods and investigate. Tonight, make sure to get enough energy. I’ll stand watch for the first half of the night. Lao Liu will guard the second half, and Xiao Zhang tomorrow—”

Seeing Zhang Song roll his eyes, Dong Zhi quickly changed his words. “Lao Zhang and Lao Liu will be on duty.”

Yang Shouyi took the initiative to say, “Let me stand watch tonight. I’m in a good state, and I’m not tired. You’ll definitely be exhausted tomorrow, Dong Zhi, so don’t keep vigil tonight.”

Li Han’er said, “Then I’ll do the second half of the night. The others can discuss it tomorrow.”

On Rose Island, Anton, the Russian, was walking in a valley with his companions.

Rose Island, as the name would suggest, should be romantic, but in fact, there wasn’t a single rose on the island. Rather, it was full of mountains and valleys. Unfortunately, the height of these mountains was quite inadequate, and added to that were the silent inhabitants, which only gave the contestants a headache.

The Russians went to the same island as the British and Southern Europe, but the three parties had different landing points. The island was also quite large, so at present, the teams hadn’t yet met.

Anton didn’t actually want to participate. His profession was called a psychic in Russia, but he only did this job purely to make a living. There were no ideals of exploring the unknown and advancing to a higher realm. Signing up this time was also because he would get a generous bonus.

After the ship sailed into the fog, he felt groggy all over. Sometimes it seemed that he didn’t speak and would do things beyond his will, and even his memories were becoming foggy.

However, as a psychic, his physique was far more sensitive than others. He could easily perceive magnetic field fluctuations that others couldn’t detect, which allowed him to sense the aura of death in the mist. This aura was many times stronger than what he had experienced before, and it surrounded him overwhelmingly from all sides, which frightened him to the point where he couldn’t wait to turn around and run. Before disembarking, he even told the team leader that he was unwell and hoped to withdraw from the competition and go home.

Naturally, he was denied. They had come all the way here, so how could they give up halfway? The leader, Alexander, taught him a hard lesson and told him not to affect other people’s emotions. Anton had no choice but to keep his muttering and dissatisfaction to himself. The fear in his heart grew stronger as the team traveled deeper into the island. As a psychic, such a premonition was extremely abnormal.

“Captain, let’s not go further!” He couldn’t help shouting.

“What are you spouting off again!” Alexander was annoyed. “I warned you. We’re here to compete, so of course there’s danger. Since you chose to sign up, you should have expected this!”

The others laughed.

“Come on, Anton. Your mouth has been complaining since we landed. Are you really a psychic? How did you pass the screening?”

“Look at this coward. Are you an ordinary person who snuck in?”

Anton roared, “Enough! Can’t I regret it now? I want to leave. I don’t want to stay in this shithole anymore!”

Alexander suddenly stopped and turned around abruptly. He grabbed Anton by the collar and slammed him against the mountain wall.

“Do you not understand my warning? No one can leave before the game is over! Either you stay well and do things honestly, or just leave by yourself. If you want to die, no one will stop you!”

Alexander felt that this kind of competition shouldn’t have recruited practitioners from the private sector to participate. Looking at their quality, they had no team spirit. How could they expect to find the golden apple?

Anton collapsed and yelled, “But I sense the aura of death! It’s all death! We’re all going to die here—”

His voice abruptly stopped. The back of his neck was pinched by Anna, and he rolled his eyes and fell softly to the ground.

Anna said calmly, “His mood isn’t right. Let’s take a break right now. It’s dark now anyway. Let’s see if Anton will get better when he wakes up.”

There happened to be a cave nearby, which could keep them from the cold and rain. Anna proposed to spend the night in it, and everyone agreed.

Alexander took the initiative to explore the cave and found it wasn’t very deep and there weren’t any animals, such as bats. It was dry and clean, as if it were a natural habitat provided to passersby on a special trip.

They lit a fire in the cave and looked at Anton, who had fallen unconscious. It was inevitable that they would pick up the topic and tease him again.

Another practitioner who was selected from the private sector felt embarrassed. Everyone was wondering where they would find the golden apple while Anton kept dragging his legs, so he proposed they wait for Anton to wake up and send him to the beach so he could leave by himself.

“No!” Anna instantly rejected this proposal. “Did you forget the rules? If someone leaves first during the competition, the entire team will be disqualified. Not only can we not leave Anton behind, we have to keep an eye on him lest he find a chance to escape. Then this trip will all be in vain!”

Alexander tossed the lighter to the ground carelessly. “This bastard ruined all our plans!”

Anna said, “When he wakes up, let me have a good talk with him. As long as he doesn’t do anything bad, he can do what he wants.”

It seemed that this was the only way. Alexander couldn’t help but glare at Anton again and begin to arrange for his teammates to take turns resting.

It was Anna’s turn to take vigil for the second half of the night. When she woke up, the mist in the sky was blown away by the wind, revealing a crescent moon. The bright moonlight spread down, making the island look peaceful. Compared to a competitive game, it was more like a romantic place for a date.

She even wondered if there were any so-called obstacles on this island, but if not, where would they go to find the golden apple? Did they have to dig into every piece of suspicious land they found?

The campfire was still burning, but it was much weaker. Several people were sleeping on their sides, except for Anton.

Anna was startled and quickly walked outside, only to secretly breathe a sigh of relief when she saw Anton sitting outside with the night watch.

“Hey, Lev, go get some rest. I’ll stay here!” She greeted her companion, who was at the vigil.

Her companion got up and patted her, yawned, and walked into the cave.

During this process, Anton was silent before Anna sat down.

“Anton, it seems I haven’t asked you. Where are you from?”

“…A rural area in Siberia. You haven’t heard of it,” Anton said weakly.

Anna tried to soften her voice. “Listen to me Anton, if you go back now, that means we all will fail before the competition even starts. This is a cowardly act that will ruin your reputation if you go back. Everyone will know that you’re a coward who wanted to escape because he got cold feet. No one will believe you anymore, and your career will be greatly affected.”

“That’s better than losing your life,” Anton murmured. “If you stay here any longer, it’s not only me and you, but everyone will die!”

Anna said solemnly, “What did you see? Tell me!”

Anton said in a daze, “I can’t say it, but I can feel the sickle of death hanging above our heads.”

Ordinary people would be fooled by such exaggerated words, but Anna, as a practitioner, couldn’t help but become enraged and wanted to reprimand him.

However, at this moment, a scream suddenly came from inside the cave!

Anna didn’t even think. She turned around and ran towards the cave.

Lev, who had just changed shifts with Anna, was leaning against the stone wall and was immersed in his sleep, was being choked tightly by claws sticking out of the stones. He rolled his eyes and couldn’t break free. The sharp claws pierced his neck, splattering blood instantly. Lev subconsciously wanted to scream, but the next moment, his trachea was cut off, and the last sound of his life disappeared.

Everyone was instantly awakened. Alexander immediately drew out his gun and fired about five rounds at the unknown creature attacking them within two seconds. The shots all hit, and the screams of those creatures echoed in the cave. They fluttered their wings and attacked all the humans more frantically, filling the entire cave with a strong smell of blood.

Although the Russians were at odds with the Americans, there were always many coincidences in their lives. For example, the bullets they used were specially made materials that could not only kill people but were also lethal to strange beasts and demons. This was a finished product that had been tested many times, but the unknown creatures in front of them were too big. Not only did they have limbs similar to humans’, but they also had a pair of huge wings on their backs. A closer look showed that the ends of those limbs weren’t normal human fingers but were similar to an eagle’s claws. The monster was covered with long hair that covered its head, revealing only its face. The green and faint eyes were particularly creepy in the dark.

The practitioners, who were far more agile than ordinary people, flew all over the walls of the cave, but these monsters were quicker than them. In just ten minutes, everyone had wounds on their bodies.

“God, what the hell are these things? What monsters did the damn Americans put in!” During the struggle, someone couldn’t help but curse.

“Run! Run!” Alexander roared as he threw the guns that were empty of bullets away. He pulled out a katana and slashed at the incoming monsters head on!

The monster wailed, and most of its wings were cut off by him, but Alexander also recoiled from shock.

At this time, several of his companions had already escaped, but they didn’t notice that in the midst of the chaos, Anton wasn’t there.

At this time, Dong Zhi was taking a break during the long night.

The winter night was bitingly cold. As the wind blew through the forest, it brought not only the rustling of the branches and leaves, but also a trembling chill.

Dong Zhi’s team had all brought sleeping bags and found a relatively clean place. They lit a campfire and spread out the sleeping bags around it before burrowing into it, which made things much warmer.

Yang Shouyi was responsible for the first half of the night, while Li Han’er would take the second shift. Seeing that the time had passed the agreed 2 o’clock, Yang Shouyi felt that he wasn’t sleepy yet and decided to let his companion sleep a little longer, so he didn’t wake up Li Han’er.

Although he didn’t really understand why Dong Zhi was captain at first, Yang Shouyi now knew why the top had appointed him as leader of their team. On their team, they weren’t weak in terms of combat ability, but when they were abroad, they couldn’t convince the public by just fighting. Whether they were being pranked when they first arrived at the hotel or when they fought with the French, with Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo around, they wouldn’t suffer any losses and instead would just piss off their opponents.

Dong Zhi used his own unique humor to reconcile and resolve everyone’s discomfort in an unfamiliar environment. Facing the barriers of different cultures and people, he gradually brought a few arrogant people together. This was indeed quite remarkable. Yang Shouyi thought he couldn’t do it if it was himself.

As he looked at the six of them, the younger practitioners certainly couldn’t do it. After figuring this out, Yang Shouyi’s dissatisfaction towards Dong Zhi gradually dissipated.

He could see that Li Han’er and Zhang Song’s views had also changed, similar to his own.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch126

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 126

After they finished eating, Ivan was already waiting for them outside.

As soon as everyone got in the car, he couldn’t wait to show an exaggerated, gossipy expression. “I heard you fought with the British and French?”

It was obvious he had his own news channel as he already knew all the ins and outs. Seeing that Dong Zhi and the others were too lazy to speak, he happily talked on his own.

“To be honest, we sometimes hate the British. They like to put on airs and look down on us. They always try to look superior, but I really don’t know what they can be proud of. They haven’t been to the competition for many years. Do they still have any decent demon hunters left?! Last time, a practitioner wanted to immigrate to the United States, but he was detained by them. How ridiculous!”

Seeing Dong Zhi and the others’ lack of interest, Ivan finally stopped and scratched his nose. “Is what I said not funny?”

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “Do you think we still have the spirit to listen to you after a night of staying in that damn hotel?”

Ivan smiled dryly. “Sorry, but that wasn’t arranged by me. If I had the right to arrange accommodation, I wouldn’t let you stay there! However, in previous years, the exchange accommodations for the exchange conference were never good. It’s as if to test the practitioners in a harsh environment.”

The car quickly arrived at the venue.

Everyone was staying in the same hotel, so the time that people would arrive wasn’t too different. When Dong Zhi and them entered the venue, the Americans and Russians had already arrived, and the other teams slowly trickled in after Dong Zhi.

After the meeting started, according to the process, each team would take turns making a regular speech and reporting to each other on some situation in various countries over the past two years. As countries opened their borders, the world gradually became one. It wasn’t uncommon for monsters to occasionally run from one country to another. It was under this premise that the exchange conference was established.

Dong Zhi glanced around and found that George, the Frenchman whom he injured yesterday, and Grace, the British redhead who had just provoked them, weren’t present. The former was most likely recovering from his injuries. If there was no accident, he probably wouldn’t be participating in the competition. The latter was probably forced to stay at the hotel.

This was actually for the best. They were here to participate in the exchange and competition and didn’t want to waste their time on unrelated matters.

The speeches were all written in advance. When it was their turn, Dong Zhi read directly from the script, and the others that followed were no exception.

In previous years, there wasn’t anything unexpected about the meeting and exchange. It was nothing more than everyone chatting and arguing. Some became friends during the exchange, and some clamored to draw their swords against each other in the competition. The ability of a practitioner was stronger than that of ordinary people, but they may not necessarily have the mind that surpasses ordinary people. The strong desire to win was instilled in most laymen and was perhaps even stronger in a practitioner.

On the Chinese side, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were the main speakers. They were already prepared to have a big fight with the British. After all, Grace, who hated them to the bone, was from the British team, so most likely the people on her team also disliked them.

Unexpectedly, with White present, the British team was calm and showed no visible hatred similar to that which Grace had for the Chinese. On the contrary, the French team, led by Galan, looked like they were cockfighting. Whenever Dong Zhi or Liu Qingbo would say something, they would always jump out and object or sneer, making their disdain for Dong Zhi and the others clear.

Just when Dong Zhi mentioned the heavenly demon’s doppelganger, a person from the French team questioned, “Since it’s the legendary demon king Mara, even if it’s a doppelganger, how can it be so easily eradicated? I seriously suspect that you’re exaggerating!”

Liu Qingbo refused to bite the bait and directly replied, “Believe it if you want, or don’t! Besides, your leader is a person who relies on his elder brother, who’s the deputy director of the Guardianship Bureau, to become leader of your exchange group. With a group led by such a person, what reliable information can everyone expect from you?”

This information was provided by Ivan. It could be seen that the desire to stir up trouble was truly common in all humans, regardless of race.

The leader of the French team, Galan, angrily replied, “Watch your words! I was able to become captain because of my outstanding abilities, and it has nothing to do with my family’s position!”

Liu Qingbo raised a brow. “Really? Then why don’t you ask your team if they truly believe that? Even if they believe it, do you think the people here really believe it?”

Dong Zhi said, “Why don’t we discuss yesterday’s prank? I heard that in addition to us, there are two other teams who were also victimized.”

“Every exchange conference has a welcome ceremony. This kind of joke is very common. It’s rare for country bumpkins like you to see it. Besides, you have seriously hurt our companion. What else do you want!” someone on the French team said.

Dong Zhi got up and pretended to stop Liu Qingbo. “Forget it. We’re all civilized people. Don’t quarrel with barbarians like them.”

France had long been the center of European culture, and its people were usually the ones who discriminated against others. Having never been called barbarians before, Galan and the others became infuriated.

The teams they teased yesterday, as well as some Americans who were watching the excitement, also followed suit. The topic was successfully transferred from Mara to the French. For a while, Galan and the others became the target of the crowd. They were besieged by various languages and started sweating profusely. In the end, they had to bow their heads and apologize, explaining that it was just a joke made by some in their team and didn’t represent the team as a whole.

However, it was too late. Everyone was so enraged by their alleged “joke” that they continued to mock them. The Russians directly turned yesterday’s suffocation into actual actions as they started a fight with the French. The free discussion then turned into a brawl. Liu Qingbo was afraid there wasn’t enough fuel to the fire and began egging them on, adding more chaos to the scene.

With Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo around, Li Han’er, Liu Si, and the others were happy to watch the show. They didn’t need to lift a finger, but their opponents were already furious. Even Zhang Song felt that Liu Qingbo’s mouth was perfect to use in dealing with outsiders. There was also Dong Zhi, who tried to “make peace”, which simply angered the French even more.

However, this exchange wasn’t all bad. At least Dong Zhi met an old acquaintance, Kenta.

After the death of Master Xinchai, his disciple naturally inherited the mantle and attended the meeting with the witchdoctors from Southeast Asia. However, with his qualifications, he was unable to serve as the leader of the team. The leader of the team was an old man, who was probably the oldest of all the practitioners there, but no one dared underestimate him because this old man was said to be the most famous white-robed witchdoctor in Malaysia. Naturally, he wasn’t here to participate in the competition.

When old friends met, it was inevitable that they would chat. Kenta told Dong Zhi that as vice captain of the team, he would lead the team in the competition, but most of the witchdoctors who came this time were fledglings and didn’t have rich practical experience, so their goal wasn’t to win the competition, but to increase their knowledge and gain more experience. He also hoped that Dong Zhi and the others would successfully defeat the other teams and take the championship.

“I think of the people here, you’re the strongest, so naturally the people you lead are strong as well. No one can beat you,” Kenta said sincerely.

Dong Zhi had spent some time with him and knew that this person was straightforward in the things that he said, and wasn’t just blowing air. Dong Zhi gave a wry smile. “Although I’m happy you look up to me so much, the other teams are very strong this time. It’s unknown whether we can actually win or not.”

Kenta patted Dong Zhi on the shoulder and bluntly said, “If I say you can, you can!”

The three-day meeting and exchange kicked off in a chaotic atmosphere. The Americans complained that this was the most chaotic exchange conference in history, while Dong Zhi thought it was pretty good. After all, they could argue with the French, and the other party couldn’t fight back. It was interesting to watch them suffocate, especially at night when it became more lively.

Ever since Li Han’er took care of the perverted evil spirit, other ghosts didn’t dare harass her anymore. The exorcism talismans from Mount Longhu were affixed to all their doors so they could get a good night’s sleep. It was unknown what method the witchdoctors who were staying on the second floor used, but the evil spirits didn’t dare go to that floor. On the fourth floor, since the Japanese were used to dealing with spirits, they had no issues either. The Americans also seemed to have used some kind of shielding device.

But other teams weren’t so lucky. For the next two days, they spent every night constantly dealing with exorcism. Eventually, an Italian said that for the next event that would be held in southern Europe, he would suggest to the organizing committee to find a cemetery with the most evil spirits in all of Italy and pack the Americans there and let them experience the excitement.

Three days quickly passed in these small episodes. The Japanese were surprisingly low-key this time. They didn’t take the initiative to find fault with the French, and they didn’t put on a high-profile performance. For three days, it was like they were invisible. If people weren’t paying close attention, it was like the team didn’t even exist. However, Dong Zhi didn’t think they were friendly. After all, it was a competition, so every team was a potential opponent, even their allied Americans.

On the last night of the meeting, everyone was called to the hotel conference room, where a middle-aged woman with blond hair wearing black-rimmed glasses was waiting for them.

“Good evening, everyone. I’m Lisa. I’m part of the organizing committee and have been appointed to explain to you the competitive session that’s starting tomorrow.”

Lisa didn’t look young anymore, but she had a unique affinity when she smiled, which made people want to involuntarily listen carefully to what she was saying.

The organizing committee of the Exchange Conference was a cultural institution affiliated with the United Nations, and Lisa was part of this organization.

Unlike other international events, the Exchange Conference had no spectators. There were only practitioners from all over the world. Although it was a competition, it was different from ordinary competitions, because what they were about to face was a world of fantasy on the other side.

“Compared to all of you who are extraordinary, I’m just a normal civil servant, so please be gentle. Even if you like me or want to applaud, don’t suddenly throw a fireball, or conjure a lion. That’ll frighten me.”

Everyone laughed when they heard her opening remarks, which deliberately reconciled the atmosphere.

Lisa thoughtfully slowed down her talking so that the interpreters could pass her words through the headset in everyone’s ears.

“Tomorrow, you’ll be sent to an archipelago in the north of the Atlantic Ocean. That archipelago is called the Senluo Islands. It’s shrouded in fog all year round so it’s difficult for outsiders to find it. The Senluo Islands have a very wonderful landscape and many creatures, so you won’t regret going there.”

“However, since it’s also the research base of Group 51, this time, in order to perfectly reflect the theme of the competition, the organizers have placed various things on the islands. Perhaps you’ll be surprised or frightened.”

“There are four islands in the Senluo Islands. Two to three teams will be arranged on each island. The landing locations are scattered, but for the sake of fairness, the islands are determined by lottery. Now, please come up and draw lots.”

Lisa picked up a box next to her and motioned for everyone to reach in and draw a ticket out.

The order of the lottery was sorted alphabetically by countries. Even if it wasn’t arranged, since the Americans were the hosts, they were eligible to draw first.

Their group leader was a woman named Lilith. As she drew from the box, a golden ball emerged. When it was unscrewed, there was a note inside.

“I got Full Moon Island.”

Lisa smiled and said, “Congratulations. It’s an island with a beautiful name.”

Lilith shrugged. “I hope our luck is as beautiful as it.”

The French drew Princess Island, while Dong Zhi’s team drew Diana Island—the names of these islands were becoming dreamier one after another that Dong Zhi started to suspect a 17-year-old girl had named them.

Coincidentally, they didn’t share an island with the French or the Americans, but in the end got the Japanese.

Dong Zhi glanced at the leader of the Japanese team, who was staring at him. They were both probably in the same mood at the moment. The path of enemies was indeed narrow.

Lisa said, “In this competition, you’ll need to get one prop, the golden apple. It could be hidden in any corner of the island, including underground and in the sky. After 20 days, the team that gets the golden apple will win. In addition, some creatures and specific places will have special silver coins. If no one can find the golden apple after 20 days, then the top three teams will be decided based on the number of silver coins each team has. Does everyone get this?”

Someone asked, “The archipelago is so big. How can we find a small golden apple? Are there any clues?”

Lisa shook her head. “There are no clues, but I promise, it’s definitely something you’ve experienced. It will depend on whether or not you’re paying attention.”

Liu Qingbo said, “If the golden apple is hidden in the stomach of monsters, we can’t just cut open their stomachs every time we kill them, right? Isn’t that such a huge waste of time?”

His words aroused the echoes of others.

Lisa thought for a while and said, “Okay, then let me give you a hint. The beauty shrouded in the clouds will eventually take off her mysterious veil.”

Everyone: …What the hell kind of hint is this?

Seeing everyone’s confused faces, Lisa couldn’t help but laugh. “Don’t worry if you don’t understand the hint. Since the golden apple is the key to winning the competition, it must be in a conspicuous place where everyone will notice. Rest assured, we didn’t throw the prop into the sea and have you go diving for it.”

“What about silver coins? Shouldn’t you give some clues for them?” Some people weren’t satisfied.

Lisa refused to reveal more. “There is a large amount of silver coins. Don’t worry. You will find some.”

“What kinds of monsters or difficulties are on the islands? This you can tell us, right?” Everyone was paying full attention, not letting go of any hints.

Lisa smiled awkwardly. “Sorry, I really want to tell you, but I don’t know. I’ve heard that this year’s difficulty is the toughest in history. In other words, this competition is likely to be extremely dangerous.”

Everyone’s expression was calm, and there wasn’t any unexpected reaction to this.

Originally, there would be some people who would die in every competition. The difference was just the numbers. The appalling rules of the game to the mundane world were nothing to practitioners. Those who fear danger and wouldn’t go all out wouldn’t bother signing up. While teams composed of strong individuals naturally had a higher chance of winning, as long as weak teams united and cooperated, they still had a chance to win.

The winner not only received prestige for their country or region, but everyone in the team would also become famous in one fell swoop. For example, since Kenta was acquainted with Dong Zhi, if they could win the competition this time after returning, Kenta would become a well-known witchdoctor and would no longer need to be officially bestowed the title of Master Xinchai’s successor in order to be recognized.

Fame and profit were intuitive benefits that the Exchange Conference could bring. Practitioners were also humans. While their areas of pursuit were different from ordinary people’s, it didn’t mean that they didn’t have the desires and goals of ordinary people. Their human nature was, in essence, still the same.

“There will be a considerable number of speedboats on the shores of each island. If it gets to a point where it’s really unbearable, you can take the nearest speedboat to leave. There’s an automatic navigation system on the speedboat. You don’t need to operate it. It will take you out of the island area and back to the ship that’s staying on the high seas to pick you up. It’s safe there. However, I want to remind you that as long as one person chooses to leave halfway, then that person’s team will automatically be disqualified. No matter what the results or achievements the team has reached, they will all be counted as invalid.”

Lisa looked around for a while, then solemnly said, “I hope you will all be safe and sound, and I hope you will give full consideration to your teammates. This competition is not only your personal show but also represents the honor of your team. Finally, good luck to you all!”

On the last night of staying at the Franklin Hotel, those troublemakers were finally wiped out. Everyone had a quiet night, but on the eve of the competition, many had trouble sleeping.

Dong Zhi picked up his phone before going to bed and opened up a chat window with Long Shen. After looking at it for a few seconds, he turned off his phone.

Long Shen and the others should have arrived in Japan by now if there were no problems. He didn’t know if they had found Otowa Yasuhiko’s lair and slain him, but they were probably in disguise. Most likely, this number was disconnected, and no one would reply to his message.

However, Dong Zhi still sent a text: [Master, everything is going well. I’ll work hard.]

After sending the message, he smiled slightly, with inner strength.

Early the next morning, the organizer sent someone to pick everyone up at the airport. They took a flight to the east coast and then took a boat to their destination.

The person in charge of picking Dong Zhi and the others up was still their old buddy Ivan. He seemed worried that Dong Zhi and the others wouldn’t return, so he kept urging Dong Zhi to fulfill his promise and write the letter of recommendation for him. Dong Zhi found it funny and had to send a short email to Carlos while in the car.

“Honestly, Ivan, do you really think we won’t return?”

Ivan smiled and said, “How could you say that? In my mind, you’re the strongest. Dong, you must get the golden apple. If I can be interviewed by Carlos, I’ll treat you to dinner to celebrate.”

Dong Zhi: “You’re American, but you actually want us to win?”

Ivan winked at him. “Of course. They didn’t write me a letter of recommendation!”

Dong Zhi was speechless. He thought, ‘Buddy, you’re really sincere.’

The plane ride to the east coast took nearly 10 hours. They arrived in Norfolk from Los Angeles and then took a passenger ship from Norfolk to the legendary Senluo Islands.

The teams didn’t bother with any tit-for-tat or pretenses. They quickly found their cabin on the ship and prepared for the competition.

As if to carry the narrow path to its end, Dong Zhi’s cabin happened to be adjacent to the Japanese. This time, the Japanese only came with four people—three men and a woman. They were the least numerous and the most low-key of all the teams. Though they stayed in the same hotel for several days, they didn’t even meet face-to-face with Dong Zhi until now.

The ordinary-looking young man who came face-to-face with him seemed surprised that Dong Zhi was next door. The two nodded to each other as a greeting but didn’t say a word.

After the young man entered his room, Liu Qingbo also came to Dong Zhi’s room.

“They sent so few people this time. It doesn’t look like they’re trying to win the competition. It’s strange. Are they targeting us?”

Dong Zhi said, “There’s no evidence now, and it’ll be too late for the country to check their identities. However, Fujikawa Aoi plays an important role in the onmyoji world in Japan, and we have forged such a deep relationship with him. It’s normal that he would send a few disciples to trip us up.”

Liu Qingbo curled his lips. “There are also the British and the Americans. I’m sure they’re scheming. The Americans say they are allies with us, but they probably know more than they let on!”

Dong Zhi spread his hands. “We cover ourselves to them so how can we expect them to be whole-hearted to us? No one is a fool. We can just take what we need from each other. I think the French are acting dumb this time. Everyone else is quite shrewd. Yang Shouyi and the others have started focusing on the competition, so start paying more attention to it.”

Although the room was small, based on the details, it could be seen that they tried to provide the most comfortable environment possible for the guests. However, given the space, they could at most read a book or sleep. It was impossible to practice swordmanship in it. Dong Zhi didn’t want to go on deck to practice and be watched by others, so he had nothing to do. He decided to sit cross-legged on the bed and practice his breathing technique. Liu Qingbo and the others were also in a similar situation. Everyone tried to reduce the number of times they went out to eat. Since he didn’t have any other friends besides Kenta, it was better to not waste time with fake pleasantries and not say anything at all. Since they were staying on a ship, no matter how big it was, it wasn’t as comfortable as being on land, and the scenery was just the ocean.

The ship traveled through the vast sea, undulating on the waves. After a few hours, it finally sailed into the white fog ahead.

As soon as it entered the foggy sea, the surrounding line of sight was immediately white, and nothing could be seen. Dong Zhi heard from William that the fog that enveloped the islands seemed to have magical properties. It lasted all year and enclosed the islands tightly, like an enchantment. Because the magnetic field was strong, radar was prone to failure. In an era where there was no radar, countless ships that were blinded by the fog would stray into this area and as a result hit the rocks and sank.

After Group 51 discovered this place, they used it as a test base. However, William had only heard about it from his predecessors and had never actually been here before.

Looking around, all the dangerous and unpredictable unknown mysteries seemed to be hidden behind the white mist, waiting for them to be uncovered.

The Changshou Sword beside him vibrated slightly and made a buzzing sound. Dong Zhi noticed it and held it in his hand.

This wasn’t the first time the Changshou Sword reacted like this. There were only two times in Dong Zhi’s impression. The first was when he was facing the Wuzhiqi under the Huai River. The other was when he went to Xianda Village to find the heavenly demon. Both times were extremely dangerous experiences. Now that the Changshou Sword was vibrating again, this meant it sensed tricky and powerful enemies ahead.

Dong Zhi held the sword tightly and whispered, “Don’t worry. If there are any difficulties, we’ll face them together.”

It seemed that, feeling its master’s heat and comfort, the Changshou Sword gradually calmed down and returned to normal.

Anton, a Russian who was in his room, looked up at the vast fog outside the window. Suddenly, his eyes widened.

In the gray-white fog, there seemed to be a few strands of black qi. The black qi slowly drifted away and started to coalesce together, finally turning into a black cloud the size of a human head, which stood out conspicuously in the white fog.

Anton stared blankly. He didn’t feel anything strange from the black qi, but the sweet smell made him involuntarily relax his spirit and body. He stared at the black qi, unable to look away.

The black qi wasn’t blocked by the porthole. It seemed to have noticed Anton and gradually approached him. It penetrated through the porthole and entered his room, smelling like a plate of freshly baked strawberry muffins, exuding a sweet aroma in front of him.

Anton’s eyes became a little blurred. He heard another voice in his head trying to stop him from reaching out to the black mist.

“What are you?” he heard himself ask.

“I am you,” the black mist replied. “I am part of you. I am what you want, and I am what you’re afraid of.”

Anton frowned. His face tensed as he muttered to himself. “No, I don’t need it. I smell death on you. Quickly leave or I will expel you…”

The struggle became more intense. Sweat dripped from his forehead, and his chest was undulating. He was gasping for air as his fists clenched and loosened several times. Finally, he raised his hand, stretched out a finger, and pointed towards the black mist hovering in the air.

“You need me. You need me to overcome your timidity. I can satisfy all your desires and make you the most powerful person in the world. Everyone will kneel down and surrender at your feet. You’ll no longer be a despised psychic but a god that others will worship!”

The bewitching voice echoed in his ears as Anton’s finger finally connected to the black mist!

In an instant, he seemed to see fireworks exploding in his mind, directly stunning him. Various scenes passed before his eyes, and he felt as if hundreds of people were talking into his ears at the same time. The noise of various languages made him involuntarily cover his ears and roll on the bed.

“I like your physique, and I like your weak willpower even more. I especially like people like you who are always complaining and dissatisfied!”

He heard a voice that didn’t belong to him say, but that voice was indeed coming out of his own mouth.

Anton opened his eyes wide in horror, as if he were sober but being involuntarily manipulated like a marionette.

“This body is a bit weak, but whatever. It’s only temporary.”

Anton had typical Eastern Slavic characteristics. He was tall and had a pale complexion. Though he was in his mid-thirties, he had properly maintained his figure and wasn’t balding, which was rare. His appearance was decent and could even be considered handsome. This was the first time someone had commented on how poor his health was, but he couldn’t refute, seeing as how it was his own voice that was saying it.

“Our new journey has just begun, Anton. From now on, I am you.”


Anton struggled desperately. He wanted to resist and even used his remaining consciousness to curse the most unpleasant thing he could say so that this lone evil spirit that came from nowhere would leave his body. As a psychic, he knew hundreds of ways to exorcize an evil spirit, but that didn’t include the situation where one possessed his own body.

Tap, tap, tap.

There was a knock on the door.

In just a moment of distraction, all of Anton’s consciousness was swallowed up by a bloody mouth.

My… body…

The author has something to say:

[Unrelated to the main text] Small theater:

Under the tossing of all the practitioners day and night, the hotel was finally cleared.

Evil Spirit A was biting a handkerchief at a corner not far from the hotel: Wuwuwu, I dare not go back.

Evil Spirit B: Forget it, forget it. They’re all leaving. I heard they will go to a very dangerous place this time, and there will be something more powerful than us to deal with them.

Evil Spirit C: I checked the internet just now. There’s a not too shabby hotel nearby. Do you want to go there?

Evil Spirit A: No, I like my bed. Forget it. I’ll bear it a little longer. These people are leaving today.

Evil Spirit D came to report: They’re leaving! Those scourges are finally all gone!

All the evil spirits cheered: To celebrate, let’s go to the bar and drink all night. We’ll possess a few more people so we can drink more!

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch125

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 125

This time, they finally arrived on the 9th floor safely. Li Han’er’s group suitcases were still at the entrance to the stairs. The six of them found their own rooms. Dong Zhi laid down on the big bed lazily, not wanting to move.

However, he was the leader of the team and had things to do. After thinking about it, Dong Zhi picked up his phone and called Zhong Zhicun to tell him what had happened just now.

When Song Zhicun heard that they beat up people from the British and French teams, he didn’t reprimand him but instead said, “I’ll let someone deal with the appeal. You can just continue the meeting and don’t worry about it.”

“Boss Song, it was our impulsiveness that caused you trouble.” Dong Zhi didn’t think beating someone wasn’t that bad, but he still had to pretend to be good in front of their leader.

Song Zhicun laughed. “If they attack, you can only respond. I’ve been to the exchange conference before. I know what their faces are like right now without you telling me. This is a world that respects the strong. We have only participated in five sessions, so our foundations with them aren’t deep. They don’t understand our strength, which comes with some benefits, but they will also underestimate you. This requires you to give full play. However, because you’ve offended some people, you’ll definitely be targeted, so be careful.”

Dong Zhi smiled wryly. “If you have too many debts, you’ll stop worrying about it. We’ll focus on one thing at a time first.”

After hanging up, Dong Zhi slept for a while, then got up and took a shower. When he changed clothes, there was a knock at the door.

Outside the door stood William, the deputy head of the United States, whom they had just met.

William smiled and said, “I didn’t bother you, did I?”

Dong Zhi: “I’m just about to go eat.”

William: “Just in time. I haven’t eaten either. Shall we?”

Dong Zhi said, “Sorry, I need to be with my team members.”

William’s face was probably thicker than the walls of this hotel. When he heard Dong Zhi’s response, he still smiled and said, “Dong, don’t do this. What happened just now really has nothing to do with us. As the organizer, it’s impossible for us to use such childish methods to tease other teams. Otherwise, what kind of prestige will there be in the future? You can’t vent your anger on them at me!”

Dong Zhi curled his lips. “What’s the point of saying this now?”

William laughed. “Indeed, we can only move forward, but regarding this exchange competition, you must have learned more news in advance than the other countries. How about we exchange information? Our leader asked me to come over, hoping that we would have a chance to cooperate with each other.”

Dong Zhi glanced at him. “Then shall we eat together?”

William’s smile immediately brightened several folds. “Yes!”

Dong Zhi called Liu Qingbo and the others. He asked William to take everyone downstairs for dinner and give them a list of good restaurants nearby, then asked about the situation of the other teams—since the grunt came to deliver goods, it was best not to waste it.

He had to admit that it was good to have thick skin. It was difficult to smack someone with such a smiling face. After their meal, William gave them quite a bit of news, and everyone’s impression of him had reversed, so much so that they couldn’t put back on their cold faces.

As the organizer and deputy leader, William knew a lot of gossip.

For example, there were two powerful new members on the French team this year. One of them also assisted Group 51 in eliminating the plague demon. The other was said to have an aristocratic background. The family had been demon hunters for generations. They even had several archbishops in their lineage and had close ties to the Vatican.

Putting it in Chinese words: the French were feeling snarky this year, and they walked with wind*. They were the second group to arrive at the hotel. After that, they launched two pranks on the Russian and Nordic cultivators, picking on the soft persimmons. The French had heard about the mystery and horror of the dark arts masters of Southeast Asia, so they didn’t dare provoke them.

*Describing walking with gusto and giving off an elite, powerful vibe. || In this context, it’s basically saying the French, having two elites in their group this year, is quite arrogant and was putting on quite a bravado.

Dong Zhi found that the French leader didn’t instruct his members to prank them. It was George on their team who was pursuing Grace from the British team. Hearing that Grace hated the Chinese, he called a few friends and wanted to teach them a “lesson”. Who knew they would get beat up instead.

“That guy George lost too much blood, so he was sent to the hospital for treatment. Although his life can be saved, it’s estimated he won’t be able to participate in the competition!” William showed a bit of gloating. “But this matter is all their own initiative. Their leader, Galan, the person you met just now—he regretted it a bit. He asked me to tell you that both parties should go through the appeal channel so that the competition remains fair and competitive.”

Liu Qingbo sneered. “They started things, and now they want to cry to their parents after getting beat up? Nice try!”

William shrugged. “I’m just the messenger. It’s up to you whether you want to do this or not. However, those ghosts weren’t created out of thin air. There are more evil spirits on the third floor, which is why the entire floor is empty. They just happened to use it. Speaking of which, I have to thank you on behalf of the hotel for helping solve a big problem. It seems we can spend the next year in peace again.”

These were just trivial matters. Dong Zhi was more concerned about the competitive segment.

“William, how much do you know about the competition?”

“Not much, but maybe a little more than you. After all, we are the organizers, so it’s impossible to keep it completely confidential.”

William thought he was being cute as he gave a wink, but no one was buying it. Liu Qingbo waited impatiently for him to continue. It looked like he would be beaten if he didn’t elaborate, so William could only continue. “There will only be one winner in the competition, but the process has a variety of challenges. It will be difficult to complete with just one team. We hope to form an alliance with you guys. What do you think?”

Dong Zhi questioned, “Alliance?”

William smiled slyly. “It’ll be a limited alliance. In the process, if we need to cooperate, we can’t take action against each other until the difficulties are resolved. How about it?”

Dong Zhi: “Why us?”

William smiled and said, “Because your team has the most potential out of all the teams at the moment. The others are too weak. Though the group of dark arts masters is very powerful, they’re not good when it comes to fierce battles. It’s hard to imagine they can curse powerful monsters.”

Dong Zhi suddenly showed the same cunning smile. “So, you must know what the content of the competition is?”

William said, “I don’t know much. I only know that the venue will be on an island in the Atlantic Ocean.”

Dong Zhi: “We already know this. It can’t be considered a secret, nor can it be included in your agreement.”

William: “…Dong, you’re quite shrewd. You should be a businessman. What a waste to go into this profession.”

Flattery had no effect on Dong Zhi. “Continue.”

William: “Then the theme may be related to a golden apple.”

Dong Zhi: “What golden apple?”

William: “In Greek mythology, Gaia, the Goddess of the Earth, gave it to Zeus and Hera as a wedding gift. Later, Eris took the golden apple to instigate discord between Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite, the Goddess of Love*.”

*Clarity: The mythology behind the golden apple is that Eris (the Goddess of Discord) inscribed “to the fairest/most beautiful” on the golden apple and tossed it during the feast of the gods at the wedding of Peleus and Thetis as a prize, thus sparking a vanity-fuel dispute among Hera, Athena, and Aphrodite that eventually led to the Trojan War.

Dong Zhi suddenly realized. “I remember a very famous story. You mean, the golden apple may be the last prop we’re looking for?”

William snapped his fingers. “Smart!”

Dong Zhi: “This information is useless to us. Props are originally what we are looking for. Even if you don’t say it, the organizing committee will announce it before the start of the competition.”

William: “Well, the Senluo Islands are composed of four uninhabited islands in the Atlantic Ocean. They are shrouded in fog year-round. There’s a research base from Group 51 there. It’s difficult for ordinary ships to enter, but it’s not a problem for us. Have you heard of Gullinkambi*?”

*From Norse mythology. It is a rooster who lives in Valhalla. Apparently, it is one of three roosters whose crowing is foretold to signify the beginning of Ragnarök

He dipped his fingers in water and wrote it in English on one of the tables. Liu Qingbo and the others searched the internet and immediately found it.

This thing was a creature in Norse mythology. It was a big black rooster and was said that its cry meant the final battle was coming, so it was regarded as awakening the “twilight of the gods”.

William said, “Rumor has it that the person in charge of planning this year is a lover of Western mythology, so the competition process will incorporate many elements of Greek and Norse mythology, such as this ancient Gullinkambi and the harpies*.”

*A half-human and half-bird personification of storm winds.

Dong Zhi was shocked. “Where can they find so many ancient monsters?”

Even in China, it wasn’t easy to find a Wuzhiqi for a test. Not only that, a Wuzhiqi’s intelligence was equal to that of humans, so getting them to cooperate was also a different matter.

William shrugged. “As long as you find them, give them satisfactory conditions, make a deal with them, and then let them stay on that island for a while, you can reap the benefits. This is easy to understand, no? Just like your Chinese dragon, it’s a legend to ordinary people, but you know it must be real, right?”

Dong Zhi was speechless.

William said, “But the unpredictable factors are also there! Although the monsters have spiritual wisdom, they don’t cherish human life, so they don’t know how to do things in moderation. Once there’s a battle, your lives will easily be in danger. I bet the number of deaths this year will be higher than ever before. I suspect the organizing committee’s brains were kicked by donkeys. Why did it happen during our turn!”

He complained angrily. Seeing that Dong Zhi looked calm, he couldn’t help but suspect they didn’t know anything about the origin of these monsters.

“You have heard of a harpy before, right?”

Dong Zhi shook his phone. “I do. The internet is well developed now. Legends say that it’s afraid of the sound made from beating bronze. At that time, just have a few bronze objects on you.”

William: “Please. Legends are just legends. Who knows if that’s true or not! Well, what do you think about the alliance I mentioned?”

Dong Zhi said, “I’ll discuss it with my teammates first and give you a reply later.”

William: “Then answer me before you go to bed tonight.”

Dong Zhi was puzzled. “Do you need to be so anxious? Isn’t there still a few days left before the competition?”

William said, “You don’t understand. The signal on that island isn’t good. Basically, you can’t use your phone to contact others. If you agree, we will provide a special communication method at that time, only between our teams.”

Dong Zhi: “Okay then.”

After sending William away, Dong Zhi asked his teammates who had been silent.

“What do you think? Xiao Zhang, say something.”

Zhang Song: …… He had the urge to murder the captain of the team.

“The British and French are unreliable, and the Americans are not much better. In case they have an accident, we have to rush over to save them. When we have an accident, they will pretend they’re dead, and we can’t do anything about it!” Zhang Song answered in a deep voice.

Liu Qingbo liked to disagree with Zhang Song the most. When he heard this, he said, “But even if we agree, it won’t be a loss for us. The Americans must know more than we do, so there must be information that hasn’t been said. If we meet, we can cooperate with them all the way to the end and eliminate all the obstacles, then fight again to get the prop. Isn’t it better than being headless flies trying to break in?”

Dong Zhi set his sights on Li Han’er and the others.

Li Han’er thought for a while and said, “There’s some truth in what Daoist Liu said.”

Liu Qingbo became smug. “See, I’m right!”

Yang Shouyi and Liu Si then said, “We have no opinions and will leave it up to the captain to decide.”

In the end, Dong Zhi patted the table. He would first agree with William, and then wait for them to arrive on the island to see what happens.

Just as they were eating, other teams also came over.

The news of the French prank failing and getting beaten up had already spread. When most people passed by Dong Zhi’s table, they looked at them strangely. Many others took the initiative to come forward to greet them. The Russian girl, Anna, brought her friends, and the Nordic team that had been maliciously pranked also gave them a warm greeting.

Dong Zhi felt as if they were like rare animals on display at a zoo. They didn’t get to eat much as they were constantly patronized and greeted. They had to deal with the strange questions of these people from time to time. For example: Do Easterners know how to use magic? Are you the top group of spellcasters? Do all Eastern practitioners fly on dragons? and so on that made Dong Zhi and the others dumbfounded.

It could only be said that these people’s understanding of the East was quite shallow.

However, it seemed that they knew Dong Zhi’s group prestige well as the next few days when they stayed in the hotel, no one dared to provoke them.

But naturally, this didn’t apply to creatures other than humans.

Late at night was the time to “party” at the hotel.

Both Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo chose rooms with balconies by the swimming pool. As a result, they heard laughter and splashing from it in the middle of the night. It was so noisy that Liu Qingbo ran to the balcony and shouted, “Shut up”. It did stop for a while, but just as he was about to lie down, the sound of laughter rang out again. The hotel had been chartered off by the organizers, and he didn’t see any figures around the pool. It was so late that there couldn’t possibly be anyone having a party there.

If this was an ordinary person, most likely they would have been scared to death and perhaps it would even leave a psychological shadow on the city of Los Angeles on them.

However, this time it was the turn of those unlucky unknown creatures.

The British, who were staying on the 7th floor, threw a few crosses down, which quieted the pool for half an hour before it resumed back to its old state.

The Japanese onmyouji, who stayed on the 4th floor, released several shikigamis, who ran all over the pool and fought against those unknown creatures. The results were even more noise, which attracted the dissatisfaction of all the guests, forcing the onmyoujis to retract their shikigamis.

Finally, the Americans who stayed on the 10th floor fired a few shots into the pool. After some screams, most of the night resumed its peacefulness.

Dong Zhi heard that their bullets were special. It had some exorcism materials added to it, but the formula was confidential. The Americans had never disclosed it to the public, but they had been at the forefront of the world in research on the combination of high-tech and spiritual magic.

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo had no intention of being in the limelight. Thanks to the Americans, they had a good night’s sleep. Early the next morning, Yang Shouyi, Li Han’er, and the others looked a bit weak. After asking, they found that they had spent the night feeling like they were inside an American blockbuster.

While the swimming pool stopped, other places didn’t.

When Yang Shouyi took a bath, he released a tank full of blood. He let the water drain without any change in his expression and decided to take a shower instead. When he was halfway through the shower, the water in the shower head started to turn into sticky blood. A woman appeared in the mirror with a hideous face and wanted to pounce on him. As a result, Yang Shouyi had put his sword by the sink. The murderous aura from the ancient sword suppressed the evil spirit in the mirror, so it didn’t make a move.

“After washing for half a day, I still feel the bloody smell on my body!” During breakfast, when everyone was talking about last night’s experience, Yang Shouyi couldn’t help but complain. He was a bit of a clean freak. Later, he had to light sandalwood in the room to suppress the smell of blood.

Dong Zhi asked, “Then how did you solve it later? Did you just kill her?”

Yang Shouyi: “No, she found she couldn’t do anything to me, so she changed from being fierce to sobbing. She told me a lot of things, like how she died tragically and wanted to find vengeance. You know my English isn’t good. After listening for a long time, I couldn’t understand, so I told her to go to the 7th floor to find the British. I told her they would understand her, so she happily left.”


Zhang Song spurted out a mouthful of coffee.

Liu Qingbo, who was sitting opposite him: ……

Although Zhang Song lowered his head in time, the coffee still splashed on the cup and plate in front of Liu Qingbo.

“Zhang Song, are you crazy?! How can people eat this!” Liu Qingbo said angrily.

“Calm down, calm down. The image of our country!” Dong Zhi suppressed his smile, but his shoulders kept shaking. It wasn’t because Zhang Song sprayed coffee, but rather because of what Yang Shouyi just said. “Lao Yang, you’re quite good. It seems those British people didn’t get a good night’s sleep. Liu Si, Daoist Li, did you guys encounter anything?”

Liu Si smiled and said, “Those things probably sensed that I’m not human, so they didn’t bother me.”

Li Han’er said lightly, “I seemed to have encountered a pervert who was peeping at me while I was taking a bath and changing clothes. I directly sent them to see their God with a talisman.”

Zhang Song yawned. He didn’t get much sleep last night. The main reason was because there was a ping-pong noise coming from upstairs. He didn’t know if the Americans were fighting evil spirits or if the evil spirits were having a party.

While they were chatting, a group of people came up to them. Grace, the familiar red-haired woman, was part of the group.

They looked at Dong Zhi. The British all looked tired, with dark circles under their eyes. Dong Zhi’s group didn’t have to think about it. They knew that the British had encountered much more noise and trouble last night than them.

Just as Grace and the others passed by, Liu Qingbo suddenly sneered. “Some people didn’t sleep well last night. Don’t worry, they will definitely sleep worse in the next few days!”

Grace stopped suddenly. Her hand suddenly grabbed the back of Liu Qingbo’s neck. She moved so fast that almost no one could see clearly. Only Dong Zhi, who was closest, saw that her nails were long, like a sharp blade. Because of the speed, the air around it ignited traces of white smoke.

However, since Liu Qingbo dared to curse, naturally he was prepared. He dodged to the side abruptly, casually pulled off the tablecloth, and shook his wrist. All the cups and plates on the table were lifted up and dumped towards Grace!

Dong Zhi’s sunlight talisman and Li Han’er’s talisman shot almost at the same time. The two talisman fires pounced on Grace head-on. While she kept attacking Liu Qingbo, she stretched out her hand to wave away the two talisman fires. Who knew that there was something hidden in the talisman fire? The moment she touched it, it exploded with a bang. Grace screamed in pain as the cups and plates immediately smashed into her face, causing her to fall to the floor.

Grace’s companions were about to take action when they saw this, but the man who looked like their captain of their group acted.


In the restaurant, the other teams came around.

The Russians were the first to speak up. “We all saw it. That British woman moved first!”

“Yes, that British woman!”

Dong Zhi jumped ahead and said, “Did you hear that? It was your companion who attacked mine first. If he hadn’t reacted quickly, he would have been injured just now! First the incident from yesterday, and now this? Are you guys trying to finish us off early to win the competition? Sorry, you might lose a couple of your team members to achieve your goal!”

The captain of the other party’s face turned blue for a while. Yesterday there were a few witnesses, and most of them were French. They still had room to clear suspicion. Today, they did it in full view of the public. In any case, their actions couldn’t be justified. He knew Grace despised the Chinese because of her sister’s death, but he also warned her not to act on personal matters; he didn’t expect that she couldn’t restrain herself.

“Grace, apologize!”

Hearing her captain say this, Grace still had a cold face. “I won’t! I wish I could send all these yellow-skinned pigs to hell! They shouldn’t exist on this earth!”

Liu Qingbo sneered. “How terrible. Not only is she a racist, but she also wants to commit genocide!”

The captain of the British team took a deep breath and asked his companions to forcibly pull Grace away. He then said to Dong Zhi’s group, “Sorry. Our teammate is too impulsive and can’t control her emotions. We will reconsider letting her continue to participate in the competition!”

Liu Qingbo sneered. “You must let her continue. Otherwise, we won’t have a chance to teach her another lesson!”

The other party was obviously much calmer and smarter than Grace. He still apologized politely, expressed his willingness to compensate for all the losses caused in the restaurant, and asked people to bring injury medication to Dong Zhi. In fact, no one was injured on Dong Zhi’s side, while Grace was burned by two talismans just now. Her arm was still bleeding when she was pulled away.

Seeing as there was no more excitement to watch, the people around dispersed one after another. Dong Zhi couldn’t continue to be aggressive. Otherwise, public opinion on them would reverse.

“After all, this is a personal vendetta. We understand it, but we also hope that this kind of personal behavior ends with her. This is an exchange conference to foster friendship, so there should be fair competition in the arena, don’t you think?” Dong Zhi said.

The other party smiled and took the initiative to extend his hand. “Of course. We’re determined to stop Grace’s behavior. My name is White. It’s nice to meet you.”

Dong Zhi shook hands with him. “I’m Dong. This is twice now that Grace has crossed with us. I hope you understand that there won’t be a third time. My companion has a bad temper. Grace might die next time. As captain of your team, I don’t think you want this to happen.”

“You’re right. Leave it to me to solve the matter with Grace. I hope this will not affect the friendship between our two countries or teams.” White was cultured. He didn’t get angry when he heard this kind of provocation. It could be seen that he was quite shrewd.

Dong Zhi smiled at him. “Of course!”

Onlookers expressed disappointment that the opening scene of guns and fires ended peacefully. Many of them wished that the two sides would fight and directly eliminate each other from the competition so there would be fewer competitors.

Everyone had just eaten half their breakfast, so they had to change tables after the mess. Liu Qingbo said in a bad tone, “Captain, who did you say has a bad temper?”

Isn’t it you? Dong Zhi thought to himself but said, “Naturally, it’s me!”

Young Master Liu couldn’t respond to such an answer.

Looking at the hot quiche and milk that were remade and served, Dong Zhi smiled and said, “I can finally have a healthy meal!”

The author has something to say:

A small theater that has nothing to do with the text:

The complaints of the Evil Spirits of the hotel.

Evil Spirit A: Yesterday, I met a group of people who came to stay at the hotel. Oh, I have never seen anything so terrifying. My buddy just peeked at an Eastern woman taking a bath and he was beaten and sent directly to hell!

Evil Spirit B: Who asked you to provoke the Easterners? They don’t understand English, so I went to play with the British last night, hehehe.

Kinky Thoughts:

For all you interested in Greek mythology. What sparked the Trojan War was the golden apple. As the three goddesses fought for the golden apple, Zeus delegated it to Paris to judge who among the three was the fairest/most beautiful. Each goddess tried to bribe Paris by giving him a gift in exchange for awarding it to them. Hera offered to make him king of Europe and Asia Minor, Athena offered him wisdom and skill in battle, and Aphrodite offered the love of the most beautiful woman, Helen of Sparta, who was already married to King Menelaus.

Paris chose Aphrodite, a decision that sparked the Trojan War and eventually led to the destruction of Troy and Paris.

Man, this makes me want to reread the Iliad again.

Given that the golden apple often represents discord, there’s a lot of symbolism here if this is truly the prop the teams are fighting for.It seems to me like they’re staying at the hotel in The Shining.

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch124

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 124

After everyone heard this, their foreheads twitched. They didn’t know what kind of expression to use to respond. The Americans dared treat them as demon slayers to be hired for free?!

Liu Qingbo: “Since there are so many things going on in this hotel, why don’t you just close it down?!”

Ivan spread his hands. “This isn’t Group 51’s property. Besides, the hotel has grown with Hollywood, attracting countless visitors every year where it’s now a huge selling point. Since the business is good, how can we close it down?”

Liu Qingbo sneered. “Then if someone is killed, who will be responsible?”

Ivan smiled and shrugged. “Liu, don’t be angry. Anyway, it’s not you and I that are responsible. What I want to tell you is that in the next three days, the organizing committee has chartered the entire hotel, so only the national teams are staying there. Don’t worry about ordinary people getting injured if an accident happens. Your room is on the 9th floor. All the rooms on the 9th floor are reserved for your team. You can stay in any room you want. When you get to the hotel, I’ll help you get your keys, and then you can assign them yourself.”

Dong Zhi patted him. “Thank you, Ivan. Are there any reminders or warnings?”

Ivan: “No, since you’re the ones staying this year, even if there’s a demon, I’ll be wishing it good luck. This is my number. I’ll be responsible for your daily travel for the next three days. You can contact me at any time if you need anything. Oh, by the way, when I came out, I met an English woman. She specifically asked me if the Chinese were here yet. Her expression wasn’t friendly, so I think you need to pay attention.”

Everyone looked at each other and immediately realized that this woman might be the Grace mentioned in the information.

Speaking of which, the accident was truly an accident. At the time, monsters snuck into the ghost ship and attacked the teams from all fronts. After the monsters had killed some contestants, they directly controlled them using their tentacles, manipulating the dead to kill others. Grace’s sister was killed by one of the monsters. When she was being controlled, she was still breathing when she happened to encounter He Yu’s team. They thought she was dead, so everyone took action to destroy the tentacles and accidentally killed Grace’s sister. As a result, disputes formed on both sides.

It was understandable that she would harbor grudges against them, but Dong Zhi and the others didn’t believe they had done anything wrong. They wouldn’t go out of their way to provoke, but if someone came to their door, they’d fight it out.

Ivan was a talkative person. Dong Zhi chatted with him all the way to the hotel. By the end, he even knew the name of the godfather and his sister’s newborn child.

“Rest early tonight. Tomorrow morning, there will be a meeting and exchange. I’ll come pick you guys up. Just call me if you need anything.”

He sent everyone to the hotel and handed the keys to Dong Zhi, then waved his hand and left.

Perhaps it was because the hotel was booked out that the lobby was much quieter, without the hustle and bustle of people. They didn’t see teams from the other countries, but they would definitely encounter them at the meeting tomorrow, so they weren’t in a rush.

Li Han’er looked around and suddenly said, “The feng shui in this place is a bit strange.”

Zhang Song: “What’s so strange?”

Li Han’er: “As the saying goes, to store wind and gather qi, water is best*. There’s water and wind, but the wind is too strong here, so you can’t gather qi. When there’s too much wind, it’s easy to produce evil spirits and invert the yin and yang. Therefore, there are often monsters and demons in places like this because of the environment. The builder should know such things. Otherwise, if they had built a house here instead of a hotel, more people would die. Since there are many guests coming and going in a hotel, they bring in yang energy that’s barely able to maintain the balance of the yin and yang here.”

*Basically, according to feng shui standards, a place must be auspicious, and to do that, it should have water, which allows you to catch wind and gather qi. 

After all, she was born on Maoshan, so even if she didn’t practice feng shui, she was still privy to it on the surface.

This may be the reason why the hotel always had accidents every few years, and every time, someone would take action to settle it, but after a while, trouble would arise again. The hotel wasn’t closed, so this situation would continue.

While she was talking, Dong Zhi had already completed the check-in procedures. He came over and asked everyone to choose their room.

There was only one girl in the entire team, so naturally everyone gave Li Han’er the first choice. Li Han’er humbly said, “Captain can pick first. Both men and women are equal.”

Dong Zhi said, “I’m not picky. There’s so many rooms that everyone will find something they like.”

Li Han’er didn’t continue the polite pleasantries and asked for a suite.

Dong Zhi: “Xiao Zhang, Lao Yang, Lao Liu, how about you guys?”

Zhang Song: ……

The others each picked the room type they wanted, but Zhang Song couldn’t help but say, “Don’t call me Xiao Zhang anymore!”

“If neither Lao Zhang nor Xiao Zhang work, then how do you want me to address you?” Dong Zhi gave him an innocent expression that was saying “You’re so hard to please”.

Zhang Song angrily replied, “Don’t I have a name?!”

Dong Zhi was amiable and said, “Xiao Song, calm down. Your image is important. Don’t let outsiders see you like this.”

Zhang Song took a deep breath. Seeing Liu Qingbo’s gloating face, he became even angrier.

Everyone dragged their luggage towards the elevator.

There was a floor-to-ceiling-length mirror in the lobby of the magnificent hotel, which was placed next to the elevator. When everyone passed by, they glanced at it from the corner of their eyes and saw a white shadow floating past the mirror in the lobby. The white shadow seemed to have spotted them and stopped. It turned its head and showed them a charming smile.

If they were ordinary people, they probably would have run away screaming or made a fuss and given it a closer look, but this time, they weren’t ordinary. Dong Zhi swept his gaze across it expressionlessly, turned his head, and entered the elevator, as if he didn’t see anything.

The six people split up between two elevators. Li Han’er, Yang Shouyi, and Zhang Song went up first, while the rest entered the second elevator.

As soon as Dong Zhi was about to close the elevator, he heard a “wait” outside. He reopened the elevator and saw a young man with curly hair walk in.

He glanced at Dong Zhi and them curiously. Dong Zhi smiled at him gently, and the other party gave him a nod.

“Hi, my name is George. I’m from France.”

“Dong, China.”

The two shook hands. George smiled and said, “I can see it, since the Japanese team have already checked in, and your clothes aren’t obviously the attire of a black magic master, so you must be the China team.”

He carried a long stick on his back and a short dagger around his waist. This kind of attire wasn’t conspicuous here, especially since the other people in the elevator also carried long boxes on their backs.

George pressed the button for the fifth floor, and the elevator closed.

“We’re on the fifth floor. After you’re settled, you can come and hang out with me. This is my first year participating in the exchange conference, so I can’t wait to see how good you guys are!”

Dong Zhi laughed and said, “I’m afraid it’s the first time for all of us participants.”

George let out a sigh. “My mistake. I’m just so excited!”

While chatting, Dong Zhi and the others suddenly felt a slight tremor under their feet. The elevator had stopped. When they looked up, the elevator had stopped on the third floor.

This meant someone was pressing the elevator on the outside. Normally no one would mind, but when the elevator door opened, they didn’t find anyone outside, and there was no light in the entire walkway, making it pitch black.

Dong Zhi pressed the closed button on the elevator, but the door didn’t move. When he pressed the call button, there was no response.

George walked out of the elevator first and pressed the button to call another elevator. That one was parked on the ninth floor and didn’t seem to change.

“It seems like it malfunctioned,” he said helplessly.

Dong Zhi: “Is anyone staying on the third floor?”

George said, “I don’t know. I only know that the Russians are one floor above us.”

Dong Zhi said to Liu Qingbo and the others, “Then we’ll take the stairs.”

The others had no opinions. They were all practitioners, and a mere suitcase wasn’t much trouble for them.

There weren’t any traces of light on the entire floor. Even the signs and lights for the emergency passage were off. Although the elevator door wasn’t closed, the light that came from inside barely allowed them to see the direction clearly, which made it even more weird.

When they stepped on the floor, the movement of their suitcase dragging along was almost silent. Liu Si suddenly said, “The Frenchman is gone.”

The three of them turned their heads, and sure enough, George, who was walking behind them, had disappeared.

A stern cry sounded from the other end of the corridor, and a white, translucent ghost rushed towards everyone at lightning speed!

It was too late to say anything. But soon, a sunlight talisman was thrown by Dong Zhi. In the rapid chanting of the mantra, the talisman ignited and directly collided with the ghost shadow, bursting into an explosion. Dazzling sparks erupted as the ghost was burnt to a crisp, leaving ashes that shortly disappeared after.

However, this wasn’t over yet. Ghosts started flashing out from the ceiling, the corridor carpet, and even the rooms with their doors closed on both sides of the corridor. Their figures were blurred, and they had hideous faces and sharp fangs.

Liu Si whipped the carpet. Not only did the ghosts scream and dissipate, but even the carpet instantly showed scorch marks.

Liu Qingbo sneered: “Trying to play tricks!”

He didn’t even make preparations but instead actively moved. He kicked open the room nearest to him, jumped in, and used his long sword to pierce the ceiling.

In the darkness, a dark shadow was exposed under the light of his sword. Seeing that Liu Qingbo’s sword was unstoppable, the opponent had to dodge the blade, but this dodge left him in a passive position. Liu Qingbo slashed his Fumo Sword all the way, causing his opponent to directly flee the room and into the corridor as he shouted, “I’m a competitor too. I’m just playing a prank on you!”

Liu Qingbo replied in Chinese, “Fuck you, I don’t understand English!”

Regardless of whether he really understood or pretended not to, the other party was chased to the end of the corridor. He finally found a gap and took out a pistol. He unlocked the safety and pulled the trigger within half a second.


A gunshot echoed in the hallway.

Everyone’s expression changed.

Liu Qingbo turned his head to avoid it at the critical moment, causing the bullet to graze his ear. However, his sword was already in motion and had directly pierced the clothing of his target, stabbing into flesh.

The smell of blood drifted faintly, and the dark shadows fell to the ground, wailing.

On the other end, Dong Zhi had already chased the ghost in the direction of the emergency access stairway. With the Changshou Sword, he directly split the hidden door and used the sword’s qi to sweep across it, knocking down the dark shadow behind it. Before the opponent could take out his weapon, the Changshou Sword had become like a winding hand and was already wrapped around his opponent’s neck.

“Turn on the lights! Turn on the lights!” The man shouted hysterically.

The dark environment suddenly brightened.

The person who Dong Zhi was stepping on was George, the Frenchman who was with them in the elevator just now.

“Let him go!” A red-haired woman shouted. The gun in her hand was aimed directly at Dong Zhi.

Dong Zhi said coldly, “You can try to see if your gun is faster than I can kill him.”

George grasped the sword that was wrapped around his neck as blood kept oozing from the edge, quickly dyeing his collar red.

“Don’t shoot! Put it down! Put the gun down! Fuck, can’t you see I’m about to die! If you don’t drop it, how will he let me go!”

The red-haired woman glanced at the other young man, reluctantly lowered her arm, and threw the gun away.

“We just wanted to play a prank on you. Just a prank. Can you let me go now?” George barely managed to muster a smile that was worse than crying.

Dong Zhi finally let him go. The Changshou Sword made a loud sound and popped itself straight again. He put the sword back in its sheath and didn’t forget to kick his opponent in the chest when George was trying to support himself.

“You yellow-skinned pig!” The red-haired woman wanted to rush up but was held back by her companion.


Li Han’er and the others rushed from another emergency passage. All three of them were carrying their swords in a menacing posture to help out.

Unfortunately, the fight was already over, but with their addition, the numbers of their own camp instantly overwhelmed the other side.

Though they all had internal discord, they by no means showed it to outsiders. Facing the hostile red-haired woman, Li Han’er and the other two jumped to action and decisively stood behind Dong Zhi. Without saying a word, they were ready to strike at any moment.

“Please watch your language. Otherwise, if you curse again, I’ll kick him again. Even if he loses blood here and dies, it is your responsibility.” Though Dong Zhi said this with a smile, it made the other party shudder.

He often looked well-behaved like a cute, obedient baby in front of Long Shen, and would play dumb and make cute jokes in front of his teammates, but they had never seen the face Dong Zhi made when facing the red-haired woman. In their eyes, this young man from the East was like the devil incarnate.

“We’ll kill you!” The red-haired woman shouted.

“Look at who’s killing who!” Liu Si appeared. The whip in his hand was slightly raised, and his murderous aura was revealed.

He usually didn’t talk much, but that didn’t mean the enemy could just ignore his existence.

The scene was deadlocked for a while, until someone called from the corner of the stairs.

“Oh my god, what happened here?!”

A tall, young man with brown hair walked down from above, followed by two people.

George clutched his neck and cried weakly, “Help me stop the bleeding!”

No one paid attention to him. A man behind the brown-haired young man walked out.

“I’m the leader of the French team, Galan. You have seriously injured members of my team. I want to appeal to the organizing committee to disqualify you from the competition!” He wasn’t bluffing or speaking rudely like the red-haired woman, but his tone was obviously more threatening.

The other party stared at Dong Zhi with a pair of light-colored eyes, almost with the sharpness of a hunter locking on his prey, which could make someone feel a sense of awe.

Unfortunately, he was facing a practitioner like himself.

“Sorry, but we’ll also appeal too. We came to participate in the exchange but were insulted and attacked by your team for no reason. If this kind of despicable behavior is how you welcome competitors, then we’ll never participate in this kind of exchange in the future!”

Dong Zhi didn’t know if the Special Administration Bureau would support him on this, but it was always right to put harsh words out first.

Dong Zhi pointed to the red-haired woman who was making an unflattering expression. “Aren’t you more politically correct? What this woman said is considered a racial slur, so I’ll be filing a complaint against her directly.”

Then he pointed to the wailing George. “And this person, in the future, he best not let us see him again, or we’ll beat him to a pulp!”

His tone was surprisingly upbeat, even playful.

“There’s still one lying in the corridor!” Liu Qingbo walked over, shook off the blood beads on his sword, and smiled contemptuously at Galan and the others.

“Well done!”

Applause rang out as a young girl with blond hair and snow-white skin appeared out of nowhere. She was applauding Dong Zhi while taunting George’s side.

“They played this disgusting trick on us when we first checked in, but we didn’t catch the bastard last time!”

The girl finished speaking and stretched out her hand toward Dong Zhi. “You’re Dong, right? I’m Anna, from Russia.”

The brown-haired young man scratched his head and glanced at Galan and the others. He raised his hands and walked toward Dong Zhi. “Don’t get me wrong. I’m not with them. I’m the deputy captain of the American team, William. We have no issue if you want to appeal or fight, but this hotel is innocent. For God’s sake, can you please change the place and time? Also, for the loss of the carpet and door just now, I think it should be compensated by the people who initiated the prank first, right?”

George gasped again, unable to speak. The red-haired woman helped him leave while Galan said with a grim face, “Wait until I address George’s injury first.”

After that, he hurriedly left.

William shrugged and said to Dong Zhi, “They have done this to two teams before, ah, including Anna’s and yours, but I didn’t expect them to be so hard this time. I heard the commotion and rushed over too late. Sorry!”

Did the other party really come too late, or did they come early and were just hiding by the side to watch the show? Dong Zhi thought it was the latter, but he had no intention of exposing William. He decided to take a lesson from the other party’s indifferent tone and replied, “It’s fine. Besides, it’s not us who were taught a painful lesson.”

William laughed. “That’s right! The strong are always fearless. Good luck to you!”

He stretched out his hand and patted Dong Zhi on the shoulder. Dong Zhi took a step back, causing him to miss. With some embarrassment, he smiled at them and waved goodbye, then climbed back up the stairs.

Only then did Dong Zhi have time to talk to Anna.

Anna said, “I have heard that something will happen during the exchange. I didn’t expect it to be true. It seems that person just now won’t be able to participate in the competition. However, you should be careful. That Grace seems to hate you very much. Now you have a grudge against two teams.”

It turned out that the red-haired girl was Grace, the one who lost her sister in a previous exchange. Dong Zhi and the others suddenly realized, but they found it strange.

“Isn’t Grace from England? George clearly said he was from France.”

Anna: “Oh, I came two days earlier than you. I saw George courting Grace every morning, so he’s probably pursuing her.”

So that’s why. Dong Zhi spread his hands. “Thank you for your advice, but we may already have a grudge with more than just two teams.”

If the people from Japan were Otowa Yasuhiko’s men, then they already had enemies everywhere.

Anna wasn’t privy to this and thought he was just joking.

Dong Zhi said, “We need to check into our rooms and settle down first. We’ll contact you later.”

Anna replied, “No problem. My room is 625. You’re welcome to hang out with me!”

After they exchanged contact information with Anna and waved goodbye, the three of them dragged their suitcase that had been left in the corner for a while and, together with Li Han’er and the others, went back into the elevator.

This time, the elevator returned to normal, and they smoothly went to the ninth floor.

Liu Qingbo snorted coldly when he saw this. “This hotel belongs to the Americans. To say they have no knowledge of this whole scheme—I don’t believe it!”

Dong Zhi smiled and said, “It’s better than him telling you he knew everything and was just watching on the sidelines, right? At least people are still willing to give you face!”

Liu Qingbo curled his lips. “That’s not a good thing!”

Dong Zhi: “Of course, everyone has their own positions. Only the people in our team are real, such as your invincible and lovely leader, handsome Liu Si, and the beautiful Daoist Li, and there’s also Lao Yang and Xiao Zhang!”

Liu Si and Yang Shouyi laughed while Li Han’er slightly raised her lips.

Xiao Zhang: ……

Liu Qingbo: “Barf!”

<<< || Table of Contents || Lore Glossary || >>>

Bu Tian Gang Ch123

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/

Chapter 123

Early the next morning, before dawn, Long Shen had already woken up, while Dong Zhi was still sound asleep.

Long Shen hugged Dong Zhi and touched his forehead, which roused him. Dong Zhi opened his eyes in a daze and saw Long Shen standing neatly dressed by the bed. The last bit of his drowsiness immediately dissipated.

“Are you leaving now?”

Long Shen hummed. “You should go back to sleep. It’s not even 5 yet.”

Dong Zhi rubbed his eyes, got up, and gave Long Shen a hug, then quickly let go.

“Master, come back soon. Everything will go well.”

“Okay.” After taking a deep look at Dong Zhi, Long Shen turned and left without looking back.

As soon as he left, he was the armored and invulnerable Long Shen again.

Leaving the Special Administration Bureau, Long Shen took a taxi to an ordinary residential area in the city. In that area, which was comparable to a maze, he made many twists and turns before arriving at his destination. He swiped his card and entered the elevator, which went straight to the 9th floor. When he stepped out, he knocked on the door of one of the two households.

A few moments later, Tang Jing opened the door, and behind him was Wu Bingtian.

A map was spread out in the living room, which showed the internal structure of Atsuta Shrine.

“News just came from Maoshan,” Wu Bingtian said. “They said that Li Ying’s soul lamp hasn’t been extinguished, but it may not last long. We need to hurry.”

Ding Lan’s soul lamp had already been extinguished, while Yu Buhui didn’t have a soul lamp, so his status was unknown. All that was left was Li Ying.

Tang Jing said, “Otowa may have deliberately killed Ding Lan, leaving Li Ying as bait.”

Still, knowing the other party’s intentions, they couldn’t help but take the bait.

In order to rescue Li Ying and Yu Buhui and bring back Ding Lan, two of the three deputy directors of the Special Administration Bureau were personally dispatched. Although Tang Jing was a branch director, he was also extremely capable. This time, it was equivalent to sending the elites of the bureau.

Wu Bingtian gave a bitter smile. “Maoshan attaches great importance to Li Ying. If we don’t make a move, they will. I have temporarily stabilized them for now.”

If Li Ying hadn’t entered the Special Administration Bureau, he would probably have been designated as a candidate for the next sect leader. This showed that the elders of Maoshan attached great importance to him. Even though Maoshan was powerful, they couldn’t compete with the Special Administration Bureau in terms of organization and resources. Li Ying’s master even offered to come with them to rescue him, but Wu Bingtian refused. This time, the more people didn’t mean it was better.

Tang Jing said, “Since Boss Wu is going in person, they should be relieved.”

“To be honest, it’s been a few years since I’ve been out, so I’m a little weak.” In front of Long Shen and Tang Jing, Wu Bingtian admitted truthfully.

While they knew that Otowa Yasuhiko would definitely set a trap for them, they didn’t know what methods he would use. Although the Special Administration Bureau used various channels to inquire, if the other party wanted to hide it, how could any news leak? Just like how an outsider would have no way of knowing the inner workings of the Special Administration Bureau.

At this time, Long Shen put the box he was holding on the table and opened it using the key in his pocket. Wu Bingtian saw that there was a special restriction spell placed on it so that even if someone had the key, they wouldn’t be able to open it.

Just as he was about to inquire, he saw light leaking from the box. When the box was fully opened, the entire room was filled with such dazzling light that even the headlights in the room were eclipsed by it. Wu Bingtian and Tang Jing had to turn away to avoid the brightness.

Long Shen stretched out his hand and wiped it, causing all the light to instantly disappear. The object itself, which had just been obscured by the light, finally revealed itself.

Tang Jing was shocked, while Wu Bingtian hitched his breath.

“This is—the Four-Elements Star Lamp?!”

“Zong Lao gave it to me,” Long Shen said, as he let Tang Jing and Wu Bingtian take a closer look.

“But isn’t this lamp useless?” Wu Bingtian muttered.

The lamp was small and delicate enough to hold in one’s hand. The place where a candle was originally lit was empty. The lamp was square in shape, with lifelike divine beasts wrapped around it. The entire lamp was dark green, carved from jade.

However, what shocked Wu Bingtian and Tang Jing wasn’t its age or carvings that were ingenious enough to become a national treasure, but the mysterious origins that had always surrounded it, as well as its top-secret status in the Special Administration Bureau.

Tang Jing took a closer look for a while, then suddenly raised his head and looked at Long Shen. “Is it this, Zong Lao…?!”

Long Shen nodded.

Wu Bingtian looked back, saw their expression, and quickly understood.

“Zong Lao’s sacrifice is too great.” He sighed, but there was no doubt that with this lamp, they had a much better chance of winning against Otowa Yasuhiko.

Long Shen: “This is just in case. It’s best if we don’t need to use it.”

He closed the box again.

“Have our new identities been created?”

“Here.” As Tang Jing spoke, he took out three sets of documents from a suitcase. IDs, passports, and various forms were all readily available.

“Going forward, after entering the country, we’ll be a newlywed couple traveling with our old father to Japan. When we arrive near Atsuta Shrine, someone will pick us up. At that time, I’ll have a new identity, and you’ll each have to act separately. In this way, even if Otowa expects us to come to his door, he won’t know when we’ll show up. If we find that the situation is wrong, we can always escape and try again another day.”

Wu Bingtian casually said, “Who’s playing the old father?”

As soon as his voice fell, he found that Tang Jing and Long Shen were both looking at him.

Wu Bingtian: ……

“How am I old? Can’t you let Boss Long pretend to be the old father?” He was unconvinced and protested.

Tang Jing smoothly said, “Then it’ll be like some bigshot traveling with his mistress and bodyguard.”

Wu Bingtian’s eyes lit up. “That’s also good!”

It seemed quite refreshing to have Long Shen call him boss with a flat face.

Tang Jing immediately vetoed it. “No, the vehicle and accommodations that are picking us up in Nagoya have already been arranged. It doesn’t fit the identity of some rich elite at all. We’ll be exposed with just one glance. Besides, this helps save us some money!”

Wu Bingtian: …… This sentence sounded familiar. When the East China Branch asked the General Administration to increase the budget last year, he had blocked it saying such a line.

It was true that fortune does turn, and retribution comes quickly.

Tang Jing saw that neither of them had any opinions, so he handed them the information.

“Your hairstyle and face must change, as well as your expression and tone of speech. I’ll do the makeup while you practice your expression and tone. This is the script.”

There’s a script? Wu Bingtian was beginning to get a headache, but when he saw that Long Shen had no opinion, he could only swallow back his muttering.

When he picked up the script, Wu Bingtian was elated.

“It seems that my role isn’t such a big deal. Have you played this kind of role before, Boss Long?”

Long Shen shook his head. “Let me try.”

He picked up the script and began to memorize it seriously.


A day later, two men and a woman walked out of the building.

The woman was very young, with bangs draped down on her forehead and long hair. She was dressed in a fashionable dress that had a nondescript taste. The other old man was similar. He wore plain trousers and a shirt, but the shirt was loose but he wore a belt, making the size look a bit inconsistent at first glance. He was bald on top of his head, which was commonly known as the “Mediterranean Sea*”.

*Basically, referring to baldness where it starts at the top of your head, but the surrounding side still has hair (similar to that of the Mediterranean sea, where it’s the sea that’s surrounded by land). Like this.

The young man, who looked like the woman’s husband, was a little better, but not by much. His hair was messy, as if he hadn’t combed it, and the back of it was cocked. He was carrying a backpack and dragging a suitcase, revealing a kind of anxiety that was more like being late for work than going on a trip.

“The subway station has a direct route to the airport. Let’s take the subway!” The young man said to the other two.

The woman glared at him. “You really want to save such little money? Can’t we just call a taxi?”

The young man didn’t respond as the woman stomped on her high heels and went to hail a cab.

The old man rambled in the back, “What does it matter, ah. It’s just the subway!”

The young man smiled bitterly. “Dad, forget it. Let’s just take a taxi. It’s a bit troublesome to go to the subway with so much luggage!”

As soon as others listened to the conversation between these people, they could immediately guess the relationship between them.

The young man and woman were a couple. They probably had just gotten married but had no children, while the old man was probably the woman’s father, because the man was polite when speaking to him, and wasn’t as casual as he would be to his biological parents.

This was probably a family that was going out on a trip, and it seemed like it was their first time going somewhere far away, so their rush had unintentionally or not shown off a bit.

Passersby who surmised all this information would probably praise themselves for their Sherlock Holmes-like deduction skills, but they would never have guessed that these three people were just following a script.

If Dong Zhi was present, he would award all three with an Oscar.

Acting required a full set. Thus, Long Shen, Tang Jing, and Wu Bingtian, dressed as a family of three, embarked on their journey to Japan with large luggage. Their first stop wasn’t Nagoya but Tokyo, where normal tourists would go.

On the other side, Dong Zhi, who stayed in the capital, began to prepare for various matters to go to the exchange conference.

Time flew quietly amidst such chores. After New Year’s, the new year had officially arrived, and the day of their departure was getting closer.

He made a few copies of information from the previous year’s exchange conference and distributed it to the other five members. He was also busy making reports to apply for various injury medicines that might be used. The competitive process was cruel and intense, and the imagination of the Americans was endless, so it was hard to predict what tricks they would play this year. Dong Zhi had followed Long Shen when he talked with Carlos a while back, so he felt that this time it could be the most difficult test in history. Naturally, life was more important, but team honor was just as important. If one of them were to lose their life and they didn’t even get a good ranking, it would be losing one’s wife as well as one’s soldiers*.

*(赔了夫人又折兵) Idiom referring to suffering a double loss.

Both Long Shen and Wu Bingtian had gone out for official duties, and Director Jiang didn’t care about specific matters. The remaining deputy director, Song Zhicun, was quite amicable. When he saw the report, he agreed with a wave of his hand and directly approved them for a double dose of Shangqing Pills. The number of other injury medicines was also considerable. If Wu Bingtian were here to look at this, he would certainly faint on the spot.

However, Deputy Director Wu wasn’t privy to such information, and Dong Zhi happily tucked away the approval paperwork and went with Liu Qingbo to meet with the others.

“The last session was held within the valley of an Egyptian Pharaoh. The theme was to get rid of a curse. The one before that was on a ghost ship. You have all the information you need in your hands regarding previous competitions. You’re free to speculate on what the organizer may hold this time in order to prepare. Also, please tell me about your respective areas of expertise. I mainly use swords with talismans, so I can be regarded as a dual user.”

Dong Zhi didn’t include his ability to invite gods. After all, Long Shen had forbidden him to use this method again.

Liu Qingbo said, “I use a sword. The sword I’m using is Zhong Kui’s Fumo Sword*.”

*Demon sword.

As he spoke, he took out his sword from its sheath and spun it into a sword flower. The sword’s light flashed in everyone’s eyes, blinding them.

Dong Zhi was speechless at this ostentatious behavior, but it could also be seen that Liu Qingbo was happy about getting this sword. He had never seen him show off his Feijing or Yinxiu sword before. Thinking of this, Dong Zhi couldn’t help but shed tears for those stepmothers swords.

Since most of them were experts in sword use, they were interested in this sword that had a simple and crude name but an extraordinary origin. Li Han’er even asked Liu Qingbo if she could take a look, but it seemed that the Fumo Sword was quite spiritual. When it arrived in Li Han’er’s hands, it began to vibrate and tremble. When it was returned to Liu Qingbo’s hand, it returned to normal.

Liu Si didn’t have any particular thoughts. He was in the same training group as Liu Qingbo and Dong Zhi and later joined Group 2. Although he didn’t particularly have close interaction with them, he was undoubtedly closer to them than the others.

After hearing Liu Qingbo’s introduction, Liu Si took initiative to say, “I use a whip made of willow wood. It’s useful for dealing with ghosts, but not effective against demons.”

Since three people have gone, the others started to chime in.

Li Han’er said, “I’m from Mount Maoshan and have learned some swordsmanship, but I’m better at talisman.”

Having said that, she glanced at Dong Zhi before continuing, “But I can’t summon thunder.”

Dong Zhi gave her a puzzled look. When he heard her say she couldn’t summon thunder, he quickly added, “It doesn’t matter if you can summon thunder or not. Last time when we dealt with the doppelganger of the heavenly demon, heavenly thunder didn’t do much.”

His reassuring words didn’t have much effect, as Li Han’er simply nodded and said nothing else.

Yang Shouyi: “I can only use swords and am almost at the state of human-sword unity*.”

*Clarity: It’s a term used (usually in martial arts novel) to describe one’s masterfulness at using a sword, as if it was your hand.

He said it lightly, as if it were an understatement, which made Liu Qingbo itchy, as he considered finding someone to discuss this with after their meeting.

What state of human-sword unity? Liu Qingbo was almost there as well but being almost there and being there were still ultimately different.

Yang Shouyi was worthy of being the leader of the new generation of Yuanming Palace. If it hadn’t been for Dong Zhi’s trick last time, it might not be so easily decided who was the victor.

The advantage Dong Zhi had was that he knew complicated techniques and could integrate them. Yang Shouyi specialized in swordsmanship. His depth and comprehension of the sword were not something others could just catch up with after a few years of practice. It could be seen that everyone in this six-person group was indeed capable, but whether Dong Zhi could hold these people down would be entirely dependent on his own abilities.

Though there was a ton of pressure on Dong Zhi, it also acted as motivation. Long Shen had high hopes for him. Naturally, he didn’t want the other party to hear the news of their defeat when he returned.

Zhang Song finally spoke up. “I’m a dual cultivator of talismans and swords. I mainly focus on fire talismans.”

Dong Zhi kept their specialties in mind. He nodded and said, “This time when we go out, if you have any opinions, you can tell them to me privately. Don’t be too impulsive when you encounter anything. Remember, we’re representing more than just ourselves.”

This sounded harsh but wasn’t something everyone could refute. After all, this was a fact. There could be no infighting. If they were to leave and fight again, it would only make them look like a laughingstock.

“Do you have other needs or suggestions? While we’re still in China, I can do what I can.” Dong Zhi picked up a pen and paper and began to prepare to take notes.

Liu Qingbo had long felt that this mother-in-law Dong Zhi was quite long-winded. As soon as the other party’s voice fell, he spoke enthusiastically. “I think since this year is hosted by the Americans, according to their style, it’s very likely we will be directly given a hodgepodge of zombies. Maybe the key props are hidden inside the zombies. Not only do we need to defeat them, but we also have to cut open every zombie and dig through their heart and liver!”

Everyone: ……

The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. “Your taste is really heavy!”

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “It’s not my taste that’s heavy, but the Americans’. Haven’t you watched horror movies? They are always bloody and gory. It seems they have some kind of special complex for zombies. According to the information, there haven’t been any zombies that have appeared yet. Doesn’t that mean the possibility is quite high? If you ask me, there are only a few days left. We can borrow the zombie simulation system from the bureau and go in and practice. That’ll get us to first place!”

Li Han’er said slowly, “The simulation system has been purchased by many countries now. It’s precisely because everyone thinks zombies are most likely to appear that I think the organizers won’t choose it.”

Liu Qingbo, who had been completely overturned, made a snide remark. “Then what’s your opinion?”

Li Han’er said, “Since it’s known that it’s being held on an island in the Atlantic Ocean, I think the content may be related to Atlantis. We may need to go deep into the ocean to find props requested by the organizer, so the enemies we face may also be related to strange beasts at the bottom of the ocean.”

Although it was all conjecture, this one was so well-founded that Liu Qingbo couldn’t really think of a rebuttal for it.

Dong Zhi said, “Is everyone good in the water?”

He got an affirmative answer, so he asked Li Han’er, “Does Fellow Daoist Li have anything to add?”

Li Han’er shook her head. “We don’t have much information now, so we can only adapt to the changes.”

Dong Zhi said, “I got two pieces of information from Boss Song. One is that Japan will send their onmyouji to participate this time. You must also know that because of the stone tablet, we’re at odds with Japan. Although Otowa Yasuhiko can’t control the entire Japanese onmyoji world, there are many who have malicious intentions against us. Please be careful. Boss Song stresses that if the other party stays calm and doesn’t cause trouble, there’s no need for us to take the initiative to provoke.”

After a pause, he continued, “The second piece is from the last session that He Yu’s team participated in and took first place. At that time, they had an accident with a practitioner from England during the competition, and one person died. The United Kingdom didn’t participate in the last session. This year, they have signed up. There is a participant on the list that’s the sister of the deceased, named Grace Smith. She may be targeting us, so we should also pay attention.”

Liu Qingbo curled his lips. “In other words, we’re facing internal and external troubles this time, and enemies are coming in from all sides. It’s like swaying in the midst of a raging storm*!”

*(风雨飘摇呗) Idiom referring to a precarious situation.

Dong Zhi smiled brightly at him. “Classmate, you learn idioms so well, so wish us some good luck!”

It didn’t take long for half a month to pass. When Dong Zhi removed the bandages from his hands, they finally got on a special plane that was flying to Los Angeles and officially embarked on their journey.

The reason the organizers chose Los Angeles as the base was out of consideration for the practitioners from all over the world. Among them, there were those that were unique. With a world-famous movie theater set nearby, no matter how weird someone dressed, it could be chalked up to blending in with the atmosphere. When others saw it, they would only think it’s a staff member or a tourist and wouldn’t make much of a fuss.

When Dong Zhi and his group of six got off the plane, a special car was waiting outside to pick them up. There was a driver and a young man in the car.

“Hello, welcome to Los Angeles. This is a very vibrant city. You’ll fall in love with it after only staying for a day! Oh, my name is Ivan. Who is the leader of your team?”

“Me, Dong Zhi.” Dong Zhi stretched out his hand as he answered. He couldn’t help laughing when he found the young man couldn’t quite pronounce the “Zhi” and could only call him Dong Chi*. “Just call me Dong. Are you a member of Group 51?”

*Clarity: Zhi () vs Chi ().

Ivan was enthusiastic and outgoing. He winked at him and shook his hand. “To be precise, I’m a logistic staff member from Group 51. I’m just an ordinary person, but I really wanted to join, so I’ve been working hard on my marksmanship recently!”

Including Dong Zhi’s team, there were ten participating teams this time. Including China, the United States, Britain, France, Russia, and Japan had formed separate teams. The other teams were all regional teams, such as Southeast Asia was considered a team, as well as Africa, Northern Europe, and Southern Europe. India originally wanted to form a separate team but later canceled for some reason and incorporated with the Southeast Asia region.

In fact, situations like this weren’t uncommon. After all, practitioners weren’t just casually grabbed, and those who disdain integrating with the world, like those black magic masters, would not come to participate in this kind of exchange.

Ivan said that they were the second last team to have arrived. All the other teams except for Africa were already staying at their hotel. Starting tomorrow, there would be three consecutive meetings and exchanges. Ivan, who really wanted to be the frontline member of Group 51, was excited that he was given the opportunity to observe the exchange.

Liu Si and Yang Shouyi weren’t fluent in English, so they didn’t speak much, while Li Han’er and Zhong Song weren’t the talking types. Since Dong Zhi was the team leader, he mainly talked with Ivan while the others listened along the way. Young Master Liu Qingbo had a bad temper and at most would only say a few words occasionally; he didn’t bother dragging in a logistical staff to inquire endlessly.

In fact, what everyone wanted to know, Dong Zhi had already asked.

Ivan told them that they were staying at the Franklin Hotel. When he said this, Ivan’s face was a little weird. Dong Zhi gave Liu Qingbo a wink. The latter immediately went online on his phone to look up the relevant information about the hotel. In less than a few minutes, Dong Zhi knew all about it. This hotel was very famous not only because it was located near the theater for the Hollywood awards ceremonies but also because of its reputation for various supernatural events. It was said that many people would come stay at the hotel every year just to see celebrity ghosts.

But if that were the case, Ivan wouldn’t give such a strange look and instead would talk about the various supernatural events in the hotel. Since he worked in logistics for Group 51, he must have heard many anecdotes and strange rumors.

Dong Zhi asked him, “Is there a purpose to this arrangement?”

Ivan blinked. His tone slowed. “I think so, maybe?”

From a glance, it seemed he wasn’t good at lying. If he met a veteran, Dong Zhi would’ve had to find another way to deal with it, but the task now was simple. He picked up his phone and said with a smile, “If you don’t tell me, I’ll directly ask Carlos. I know he’s not leading the team this time, but as deputy director of Group 51, Carlos should have no reason not to know, right?”

Ivan was taken aback. “You know Carlos?”

Dong Zhi: “He’s familiar with my master. My master’s name is Long. Maybe you have heard of him.”

Ivan suddenly said, “Director Long? Oh my god, it turns out you’re Director Long’s apprentice.”

He suddenly became excited. “They didn’t tell me that Director Long’s apprentice would be leading the team this time! Of course I have heard of him. Carlos told us about Long’s deeds. They once cooperated to capture a blood demon!”

This was something of Long Shen’s past that Dong Zhi didn’t know, but then again, his master had pretty much experienced anything that others have in half their lifetime. Long Shen didn’t think he needed to say anything, but in others’ eyes, it was no different from a legend.

“Ivan, what’s the reason why you’ve arranged for us to stay at this hotel? Tell me. If you want to enter Group 51, how about I recommend you to Carlos later?”

Ivan’s eyes lit up. “Really?”

Dong Zhi shrugged. “But I can’t make any guarantee that he will admit you. It’s just a simple letter of recommendation. Whether you can be admitted or not will still entirely depend on yourself.”

Ivan was so happy that he started to speak incoherently. “Thank you, thank you! As long as there’s a letter of recommendation, that’s enough. I’ll try my best to let him discover my highlights!”

Based on what Ivan said, the hotel was a bit evil. From time to time, strange things would happen. After every accident, it would be calm for a while, but the accidents would continue. Ordinary people would think it was just a hotel that spawned supernatural rumors as an attraction. They regarded it as fresh and exciting but didn’t really know the hidden dangers behind it. The time of the accidents was usually regular—once every one to two years—and it would happen at the beginning of New Year’s, after Christmas.

There were monsters that appeared in the hotel the year before last. Fortunately, they were discovered and dealt with by Group 51 in time, so they didn’t cause a big stir. No major events happened last year, so they speculate that the hotel might be noisy again this year. Coinciding with the exchange conference, the Americans discussed it and decided to let teams from all over the world stay in this hotel as a way to help them exorcize the evil, killing two birds with one stone.

The author has something to say:

The hotel is just a prototype, but because the content had some empty spaces, the name had to be changed. Otherwise, I could have used the original name~

Kinky Thoughts:

I’m not actually sure what hotel the author is referring to, but my guess would be the Cecil Hotel. Funny enough, the hotel was loosely used for American Horror Story: Hotel, so it’s probably that.

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