Bu Tian Gang Ch102

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 102: I was bored so I dug a hole in it with my hands.

Earlier, Ming Xian said that Jian Lang’s death wasn’t his doing. Could it be that this monster did it? But what about the soul eaters?

At this time, the three of them didn’t know that Long Shen and Tang Jing were rushing to the suburbs and would be entangled in a dangerous match with Ming Xian and Cheng Yuan. During the few seconds of watching the battle unfold, Dong Zhi caught sight of something strange.

The iron chain was rusty, signaling it had been around for quite a long time. It definitely wasn’t something made in modern times, and this monster didn’t seem as if it had been locked up recently either. Last time Tang Jing said that a water monkey was exorcized under Lake Wangyue. This monster in front of him looked ferocious and had a heavy murderous aura, so it would be impossible for the Special Administration Bureau not to notice. Either it appeared in the waters of Lake Wangyue after Tang Jing had cleaned it up, or it wasn’t what killed Jiang Lang.

However, Dong Zhi quickly overturned the latter guess because as soon as the monster saw the three of them, its murderous aura was inherent in its face, treating Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie as its mortal prey. Its facial features were faintly dyed blue and black, and its entire body was covered with golden hair. He wasn’t sure if it was due to it soaking in the water for so long that it also began to turn black in large areas.

Was this… a sign of being corrupted by demonic energy?

The monster was extremely powerful. With one scratch, it left deep marks on stone, not to mention what would happen if it connected to the flesh of Liu Qingbo or Huo Jie. What was even more terrifying was that the monster had such strength, but its speed remained fast, leaving Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie stunned. They were overwhelmed, panting, and many wounds covered their bodies quickly.

He couldn’t tell whether it was sweat or water sliding down from his forehead, and his vision was starting to blur. Liu Qingbo wiped his face while the monster was in the air for half a second, but suddenly found that it had turned to Dong Zhi and was rushing towards him with a snarl!

“Dong Zhi, what the hell are you doing?!” His usual stoic face was broken as he immediately cursed.

Seeing Liu Qingbo suddenly acting abnormally and scolding him, and Huo Jie looking exhausted and having lost his fighting power, Dong Zhi felt something was wrong and immediately took out two talismans from the waterproof bag and held them in one hand. Using his other hand, he pulled Liu Qingbo’s ankle down as the monster pounced towards him and quickly sacrificed the two talismans.

One of them was the pure-heart talisman, which he directly stuffed into Liu Qingbo’s mouth while flicking the other towards the yingtang point between the monster’s brows.

“Awaken!”

The other was the sunlight talisman. The target was, naturally, the monster. He recited the mantra silently with his mouth. The monster’s brows suddenly burst into flames from the sunlight talisman, causing it to wail. It slammed its big hands towards Dong Zhi, who jumped away quickly.

In order to pull Liu Qingbo away, Dong Zhi had to take a hit. At that moment, he only felt pain coming from his arm. Most likely, it cracked his bone and caused a fracture. Dong Zhi grimaced with pain.

However, he didn’t care about anything else. He took out another pure-heart talisman and pinched it between his fingers, and then did the same thing to Huo Jie.

The two of them, whose mouths had been stuffed with talisman paper, had their cheeks bulging. Their expressions were like they were waking up from a dream.

At this time, the monster slammed into the stone wall. It still remembered that it was burned by the sacred fire from Dong Zhi and rushed over again. Its eyes were golden and fierce, and its only focus was aimed at Dong Zhi. If its anger could be turned into substance, Dong Zhi would’ve been torn to pieces by just that alone!

At that moment, Dong Zhi also discovered that the monster wasn’t without weaknesses. It was afraid of fire!

Without saying a word, he pinched one hand while holding a talisman in the other. The talisman turned into a fireball and swept towards the monster. The monster let out a scream and avoided it, looking as if it was full of fear and hatred.

Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie also recovered from their trance hallucinations. Seeing Dong Zhi’s situation, there was no need to say more as they already understood the situation and immediately split towards two ends, one left and one right, and rushed to attack the monster.

Contrary to the scene before, of being chased and beaten as if they were a punching bag, with the containment of the sunlight talisman, Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie immediately turned against the monster and started chasing it around the cave. They learned from their experience and specifically targeted the key points of the monster.

While Liu Qingbo had the magic Yinxiu Sword and Huo Jie’s fleshy palms weren’t inferior either, the monster’s body was as hard as steel. It was hit repeatedly by strikes on its chest, stomach, lower body, and back, causing it to howl in despair.

The light and shadow in the cave became chaotic as three figures flashed around like wind. Seeing that the sunlight talismans were growing fewer, Dong Zhi urged the other two to hurry things up.

The monster seemed to understand sporadic human words. Just when Dong Zhi threw the last sunlight talisman, it broke through Liu Qingbo’s sword aura and Huo Jie’s attacks. The body that was like Mount Tai fell from the sky and was crashing straight towards Dong Zhi. Unexpectedly, the enemy that it thought could only “throw fire” suddenly pulled out a long sword from behind him. His body leaped through the raised edges and corners of the stone beside him and flashed towards it. The light from the sword was so dazzling that the monster had to close its eyes, giving Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie the opportunity to fly behind it. The Yinxiu Sword pierced the monster’s ear while Huo Jie slammed his palm directly on the other side of the monster’s head.

The monster avoided Dong Zhi’s sword but couldn’t dodge Liu Qingbo’s and Huo Jie’s attack. Blood spurted out as the monster rolled frantically around the cave, setting off a monstrous wave in the deep pool.

Dong Zhi shouted “go” and then ran into the cave with Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie.

The three of them ran at full speed in the cave for half an hour before gradually leaving behind the roars of the monster.

Out of breath, they couldn’t run any longer and leaned against the wall and bent over, gasping for air.

Liu Qingbo spit out the talisman in his mouth and breathlessly said, “That thing looks like an ape. Is it a water monkey?”

Huo Jie shook his head and panted, “No. We killed a water monkey, and it didn’t look like that!”

Dong Zhi said, “I heard that the girl who witnessed Jiang Lang’s death said that she saw Jiang Lang talking and smiling into the air, calling the name of the girl he had a crush on, and holding the monster’s hand in the water. When you fought against that monster just now, you were almost hypnotized by its illusion. It seems that the murderer of Jiang Lang should be it.”

Huo Jie was puzzled. “But it doesn’t make sense. Look at this iron chain. This monster has been underwater for a long time. Why were there no accidents two years ago? Did it kill people in other waters before?”

Liu Qingbo said, “If you can’t figure it out, don’t think about it. Anyway, we have to find a way forward. Let’s see where this iron chain is connected. That thing has a special grudge. We just hurt it, so it’ll certainly bear a grudge against us. Maybe it’ll try to catch up later.”

He then asked Dong Zhi, “How many talismans are left?”

In order to make it easy to get into the water, Dong Zhi brought a portable waterproof small bag wrapped around his waist. There weren’t many things he could carry. He reached in and all he took out were a few heat pads.

Liu Qingbo, Huo Jie: ……

“You didn’t make room for a few more talismans but instead brought useless things!”

The veins in Liu Qingbo’s head were pulsating, and he couldn’t restrain his temper. He really couldn’t give his boss face in front of outsiders.

Dong Zhi said innocently, “I brought all the talismans with me. They were all used up just now. Do you want a heat pad? One for each person, just to lighten my burden.”

The corners of Huo Jie’s mouth twitched, but he still shamelessly asked for one and put it on the clothes outside his stomach. Liu Qingbo watched on in disgust.

Dong Zhi said, “That monster is extremely afraid of fire, but this is under a lake, so the environment is very humid. Even if my sunlight talismans weren’t used up, it’s pointless to rely on a little talisman fire alone. Let’s find a way while walking.”

The three of them took a break, then continued to follow the source of the chain and moved forward.

However, the longer they walked, the more they became frightened. Huo Jie was silently calculating the time and distance while they were walking. A practitioner’s feet were fast and they had walked for more than an hour, yet there was no end to the cave in sight and the iron chain was always there.

If the cave was formed naturally, such a long iron chain was completely beyond their imagination. Every step forward only led to more questions.

In order to save energy on their way, they didn’t speak. Except for footsteps and breathing, there were only occasional water droplets that sounded in the cave, so when the sound of the iron chain pulling on the ground came, everyone’s nerves became tense.

“The monster is catching up!” Liu Qingbo said.

Huo Jie’s tone was even more rushed. “Go, go!”

Needless to say, everyone accelerated their steps. As the movement of the chain became louder, they all started to run.

The strength of that monster was too great. A pair of sharp claws was enough to cut off any hard thing in the world, so it would be a cinch to kill them. Although they were lucky enough to hurt it just now, they weren’t sure if they would succeed a second time.

The monster’s figure was extremely fast. They had been advancing for more than an hour, but it had caught up to them within a few minutes. A strong wind came from behind, and with it a pungent smell and a murderous aura. It swept towards them and made a huge sound of wailing that echoed through the cave!

They were forced to turn around to meet the enemy. The three faced the monster head-on.

When Hua Jie was studying martial arts under his teacher, his palms were tempered in ice, snow, and iron sand so that they could even shatter stones, but under the fury of the monster, he actually felt great pain when his hand came into contact with the monster. He fell back and hit his head on a stone, causing it to break out and bleed. With this new injury combined with his old, he could no longer get up.

The monster roared. Its right paw grabbed the sword in Liu Qingbo’s hand directly. The sword’s light wrapped around its hairy fist, but the monster’s eyes were focused on Dong Zhi. Its left paw swiped indiscriminately while it bared its thick fangs as if it couldn’t wait to bite off Dong Zhi’s head.

It was obvious its hatred was directed towards Dong Zhi. Except for the vitals of the monster’s body, nothing could penetrate it. The Yinxiu Sword and the Changshou Sword were ineffective. The Changshou Sword was grappled by the monster’s paw, and he couldn’t escape. Dong Zhi could only watch as the other side’s huge head rushed towards him like a flash of lightning, breathing out a fishy smell and eager to swallow its prey.

At a critical moment, inspiration struck Dong Zhi. He took out a handful of things from his pocket and threw them into the monster’s wide-open mouth. The monster let out a roar and backed away. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo took the opportunity to grab Huo Jie on either side and ran.

The monster covered its mouth and wailed, then turned around and ran in the opposite direction.

The three of them were finally able to catch their breath.

Liu Qingbo couldn’t help but ask, “What did you throw into its mouth?”

Dong Zhi: “Heating pads!”

Liu Qingbo: ???

He thought Dong Zhi was pulling his leg but Dong Zhi took the initiative to solve his puzzlement.

“Aren’t the heating pads packed with materials such as iron and activated carbon? It’ll automatically oxidize when it encounters air to produce heat energy. The monster is probably afraid of fire and heat. Since you didn’t want a heat pad just now, I was bored, so I dug a hole in it with my hands. What a lucky mistake!”

When Liu Qingbo heard him say, “I was bored and dug a hole in it with my hands”, his eyes were about to roll towards the sky.

But if Dong Zhi hadn’t been bored, most likely they would’ve lost their lives just now.

“Who the hell locked this shit underwater? If they have the ability to lock it here in the first place, why not just kill it!” Liu Qingbo shouted, annoyed. “I don’t think this Ming Xian has a good heart. Otherwise, why would he speak half truths and not directly tell us how dangerous it is underwater!”

They were all injured just now. Although it wasn’t serious, they had been swimming for a long time, then they fought and ran, so their physical strength had been mostly exhausted. At that moment, they were still holding Huo Jie. Dong Zhi didn’t have the strength to talk,. He wasn’t sure where Liu Qingbo, who was scolding Ming Xian and the person who locked this monster down here, found his strength right now.

They didn’t know how long they walked. Their legs gradually became numb. Huo Jie had recovered a bit and insisted on walking on his own, but his physical strength had reached its limits, so they had to stop their advance. Even their poor phones had used up almost the last of their power and were about to declare a strike. Liu Qingbo looked at the flickering flashlight in his hand that was starting to become uncooperative. He didn’t even have the strength to complain now.

Suddenly, at that moment, the iron chain sounded again. This meant that the monster stopped for a while and began to follow their breaths again.

The three of them looked at each other in the dark. The first thought that came to their heads was that they couldn’t run away again. If they were to be bitten to death, then so be it.

However, in the end, it was still the desire for survival that prevailed. Liu Qingbo reluctantly lifted his sore arm. The Yinxiu Sword became a thousand pounds heavier in his arm, as if he had just learned how to hold a sword when he was a child. It also meant that his physical strength was like the flashlight; it had started to sound the final alarm.

The sound of the iron chain became more rapid. It was endless, which foreshadowed that the enemy was getting closer to them. The most difficult thing was the endless darkness enveloping their surroundings. They didn’t know where the danger would come from.

The hearts of the three of them were stuck in their throats.

Since joining the Special Administration Bureau, they had encountered countless dangerous situations. Fujikawa Aoi, the three-headed giant python, the Archfiend, Yamamoto Kiyoshi, and the likes. Many of them were more cunning and treacherous than this monster, but the monster in front of them now had exerted their speed and strength to the extreme. If they were at the peak of their physical strength, they may still have had the power to fight, but now they were exhausted and injured. It was difficult to compete with this monster.

Dong Zhi even suspected that this monster was of great origin. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be so difficult to deal with; that and it was chained down here.

The iron chain suddenly trembled violently, as if there was an unexpected change at the end.

However, the figure of the enemy didn’t appear. Huo Jie held his breath for a long time and couldn’t help but leak it out and coughed.

“Could it be that Shu Gou has come down?” He said in a low voice.

Liu Qingbo’s heart pounded. “Isn’t there that fire-breathing beast with Shu Gou? It fought us last time. If that thing is there, we can destroy that monster!”

Huo Jie frowned. “Then shall we go meet him? I’m afraid he’s alone and isn’t a match for that monster.”

Dong Zhi scowled and silenced them. “Listen. Stop!”

He was referring to the iron chain. The movement that had originally echoed from a distance slowly subsided and soon became calm again.

At this time, the flashlight had used up the last trace of its power and was tremblingly extinguished. The last traces of light disappeared and the world returned to darkness.

Although Liu Qingbo prided himself on not being afraid of heaven and earth, he found that he still liked light better than darkness. Perhaps it was imprinted in his human genetic code, or maybe it was a habit inherited from ancient times. In the depths of every human subconscious, darkness and danger usually go hand in hand.

More importantly, the dark environment could easily lead to feelings of fear, helplessness, and dependence.

For practitioners, these emotions were precisely taboo. Sometimes it could lead them to lose their judgement and, inevitably, death.

The Special Administration Bureau wasn’t only a job but also a spiritual practice. There would never be a shortage of accidents and danger here. Those who treaded between humans and demons and survived countless difficulties were like the gold panned beneath the waves after blowing away the yellow sand; they must be the elites of the Special Administration Bureau and would grow rapidly and move towards the peak of practitioners.

Realizing all this in an instant, Liu Qingbo calmed down. He couldn’t sense the state of mind of Dong Zhi and Huo Jie, but he felt that those two should be similar to himself. Huo Jie entered the Special Administration Bureau earlier than he and Dong Zhi did. Perhaps his psychological aspect is even better.

Then he saw a light slowly illuminated, like a flower blooming in the dark.

Liu Qingbo: ……

“Where did you get a flashlight? Didn’t it fall into the water?” Huo Jie sounded surprised.

Naturally, it was impossible for the light to illuminate the entire cave, but it was better than nothing. The most important thing was to be able to see the path under one’s feet clearly.

Dong Zhi lowered his voice. “Spare. I just saw that yours could still be used, so I didn’t take it out yet. Now it is finally useful, right? Aren’t you surprised?”

Surprise? Liu Qingbo wanted to hit something.

Why didn’t you take it out earlier!

He resisted the urge to curse and listened to the movements in the distance instead. The iron chain was no longer dragging, but with his practitioner’s keen institution, he felt that something was approaching them.

“Do you feel anything?” He couldn’t help asking.

“Did the monster break free from the chain?” Huo Jie said.

If it wasn’t the monster, it was a more powerful character than the monster. He didn’t dare imagine such things.

Just now, that joke relieved some tension. Dong Zhi turned off the flashlight and the three of them stopped talking. They were on guard. Dong Zhi held his breath, clenched his Changshou Sword, and mobilized all his remaining physical strength, ready to launch a surprise attack at any moment.

“Wait for it to come over. No matter what it is, Lao Liu and I will go first. Huo Ge, you don’t have to support us. It doesn’t matter if you see an opportunity.”

Huo Jie nodded, then realized that the other party might not be able to see him nodding in this environment, and hurriedly said, “I understand!”

He was the first to hit the ground when they fought against the monster previous and suffered the heaviest injuries. Now, if any of them suffered more, it would only drag the other two down. Dong Zhi knew he didn’t have the strength, so he said it just now. Huo Jie didn’t feel offended.

The new visitor was getting closer to them.

Dong Zhi felt that its movement wasn’t close to a monster but more like—

Walking forward quickly?

If it was a person…

“Shu Gou? Shu Ge?” He stated cautiously.

The sound hovered and echoed in the inner layers of the cave, spreading far into the distance. At this time, making any sound would undoubtedly reveal their position, but if they didn’t call out, they could easily hurt their teammate by mistake.

“It’s me.”

It wasn’t Shu Gou but another familiar voice.

Dong Zhi was stunned for a moment.

Liu Qingbo was overjoyed. “Boss Long!”

Seeing that there had been no movement for a while, Dong Zhi couldn’t help but grab the flashlight, turn it on, and shine it towards the figure.

The range of the light exposure was limited, and it took a long time for the figure to be faintly illuminated.

Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie weren’t sure yet, but Dong Zhi instantly recognized the figure.

It was indeed Long Shen.

He never expected that master and apprentice would meet again at such a time and place. His mind became blank. He had forgotten many things he had planned and prepared before this moment, until he was pushed by Liu Qingbo.

The other party whispered, “Is that really Boss Long? Why don’t you say something? This is weird.”

When Dong Zhi came back to his senses, he found that Liu Qingbo suspected that Long Shen was a fake due to his silence, and he couldn’t laugh or cry.

“It should be.”

The other party’s footsteps weren’t slow. The faint light of the flashlight that shone on him made him feel warm. Long Shen’s outline gradually became clear as both Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie breathed a sigh of relief.

Even if their will was already firm and strong among many, it was inevitable that they would still be surprised, and they were glad that surprise didn’t lead to death.

“Boss Long, why are you here?”

“Have you encountered the monster?”

Huo Jie and Liu Qingbo asked questions almost at the same time.

Long Shen, like them, was drenched all over. His clothes stuck tightly against his skin, revealing his well-proportioned figure. He probably came from underwater just now, but due to the darkness, it wasn’t obviously. It could only be seen when he approached.

“We had just solved the issue with Ming Xian and a demon. Tang Jing is cleaning up the aftermath while I rushed over. The Wuzhiqi* was injured by me and won’t be able to catch up for a while. Let’s find the source at the other end of the chain before resting.”

*Supernatural being in Chinese mythology, popularly depicted as a monkey-like aquatic demon.

Long Shen’s eyes swept across them and fell on Dong Zhi, where they lingered for a moment.

He spoke few words, and they were concise and to the point, but Liu Qingbo and the others could sense a turbulent storm from these words.


Kinky Thoughts:

Wuzhiqi

Supernatural being in Chinese mythology, popularly depicted as a monkey-like aquatic demon.The earliest description of Wuzhiqi can be found in the early 9th century collection of stories from the Tang dynasty, Guoshi bu (國史補) by Li Zhao, which briefly tells of a fisherman in Chuzhou (楚州) who encounters a monkey demon with a black body and a white head in the Huai River. Wuzhiqi is also described in the Song dynasty anthology Taiping guangji as a “monkey-like demon” residing in the Huai River; it is defeated by Yu the Great and imprisoned under Turtle Mountain (龜山) as part of his effort to control the Great Flood.


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Bu Tian Gang Ch101

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 101: Long Shen!

It seemed like Long Shen wouldn’t be able to hold on for much longer. The sword light in his hand suddenly dimmed, and the demonic energy caught a glimpse of the crack and immediately jumped into the sword light involuntarily. It quickly wrapped around the sword’s body, moving upwards until it reached his wrists, then arms, shoulders, and neck until it covered Long Shen’s entire body.

Seeing this, Cheng Yuan laughed wildly as he waved his arms. All the demonic energy gathered in an instant, trying desperately to devour his prey. As a result, the dark shadow behind Cheng Yuan’s figure sored and his face became clearer.

Just when Cheng Yuan was sure of his victory, he saw that in the black energy, a white light suddenly emerged. Although it was only a little, the brightness was almost comparable to the stars. It was so dazzling that he was unable to look at it directly.

Cheng Yuan couldn’t help but blink.

And it was in this blink of an eye that the white light skyrocketed, rapidly spreading from one point as it broke through the blanket of dense demonic energy heading straight for Cheng Yuan!

Cheng Yuan only felt the murderous aura that was like the surging tide, irresistible, and he couldn’t help but take a step back.

However, wherever the white light went, the demonic energy was crushed and scattered, turning into dust!

Within this half second, Cheng Yuan didn’t have the time to react. He suddenly understood that Long Shen had deliberately shown weakness just now to actually deceive him!

When this thought came to his mind, the white light had already reached his eyes. Cheng Yuan only felt a pain in his body. Within sight, he watched as his body was split by the white light before the demonic energy scattered into the air.

Long Shen was so powerful that he was no match for such an opponent! This was the last thought he had in the last moment of his life before his eyes went black and all his consciousness faded away.

His soul had long been swallowed and fused with the demonic energy, and now that it had been wiped out by the white light, everything had returned back to square one. Cheng Yuan’s ambitions and desires were nothing more than a dream of seeing flowers in the mist*.

*(雾里看花) Idiom originally used to refer to blurred vision and poor eyesight can also mean incomprehensible. It comes from Tandoori Fu’s poem “Small Cold Food Boat”. || In this context, it basically means Cheng Yuan’s ambitions are nothing more than a pipe dream.

However, Long Shen hadn’t stopped yet.

Crossing the ruins of chaotic time, taking advantage of the demonic energy created by the enemy to confuse him, the sword light broke through the limitations of space, then from here to there, from now to then, like a roar from the king of beasts that would make demons from the dark corners prostrate and tremble. The powerful pressure didn’t stop for anyone. It fanned out its gorgeous and brilliant tail feathers across the starry sky and annihilated the corpse mountain and the sea of blood and pounced on the ultimate initiator of darkness!

At the end of the void, the old man in the room suddenly opened his eyes. The white light suddenly came, piercing through the center of his brows with full might, forcing all the darkness back outside the realm. The shadows dispersed while the demonic energy wailed and moaned, as if the end was coming.

The old man’s face looked hideous as he forced out the white light inch by inch.

“Long Shen!” he yelled as his demonic energy condensed before bouncing the white light back fiercely!

Long Shen, on his side of time and space, took two steps back.

But the white light turned into flames for a moment before it returned and exploded, wrapping the old man in flames, like a red lotus on fire, burning all the evil in the world.

“My doppelganger!”

The wailing penetrated from the other side of the void and echoed repeatedly in the room in the lingering aftermath.

There was only a pile of ashes left where Cheng Yuan was standing. Those souls whom he had killed disappeared with him, leaving no traces behind. However, for them, this was actually a kind of liberation.

Ming Xian was the incarnation of a zither, and his weapon was also the zither’s strings. His silk string was comparable to that of a sharp knife that could cut a human as if they were a leek. Last time, he only used it to bind Dong Zhi, being merciful and gentle; but now, when using it against Tang Jing, it was ruthless and cruel, leaving no room for error.

The silk string shot into the center of Tang Jing’s forehead like a sharp arrow. Tang Jing dodged. His hand rose and fell, and the silk string was disconnected in an instant. However, in the next moment, two more silk strings arrived within the blink of an eye. One left and one right shot at his shoulders. Tang Jing raised both hands and cut them off decisively while his figure leapt up. He spread his arms like wings and pounced on Ming Xian while slashing his hand that held golden light at his opponent. He almost hit the head but missed and only cut a few strands of hair.

Almost at the same time, the silk string penetrated his shoulder blade and then quickly retracted, bringing out a string of blood beads.

Tang Jing frowned at the pain.

“This is your true strength? Tangtang, this is such a great letdown.”

Ming Xian used the gentlest tone, but his words sounded unfeeling. “If you show me any more mercy, you will have no bones left.”

As soon as his voice fell, several silk strings shot sharply from all directions, blocking Tang Jing’s room to fight back and his way to retreat. Ming Xian showed no mercy and directly hit Tang Jing’s key points.

Tang Jing’s brows sank. He didn’t retreat. His body fluttered, passing through the silk string formation, going straight for Ming Xian’s neck.

Ming Xian didn’t expect that when Tang Jing got truly serious, his attack would be useless against him. He couldn’t help frowning slightly, withdrawing the silk string, and flashing back.

However, his opponent’s speed was too fast. As soon as his hands moved, Tang Jing’s hand had already caught his neck. A sharp pain came from his neck immediately. Ming Xian flew back as Tang Jing’s five fingers fell on his shoulder instead, directly tearing off the shirt there and the flesh underneath.

The blood quickly dyed the white shirt red and dampened his entire shoulder. Rather than being angry, Ming Xian smiled. It seemed he didn’t need the silk strings anymore. The two of them could just get at it with their bare hands.

Although they were empty-handed, the two of them were human-shaped killing machines. They fought with astral energy, and the fight was naturally fierce.

Ming Xian was a bit inattentive, and his ribs were scratched. The flesh from the wound was pulled out, revealing the bones underneath.

Of course, Tang Jing didn’t fare much better. One of his arms was kicked by Ming Xian and was no longer usable, most likely broken.

He turned his head and spat out a mouthful of blood, then flew up to kick Ming Xian’s chest and abdomen. Ming Xian dodged, reached out and grabbed his ankle, then punched his chest with the other hand. Tang Jing spun around and broke away through the trees as Ming Xian’s palm connected to the tree behind him instead.

With a bang, the tree broke apart and fell before shattering into powder that fluttered everywhere.

If Tang Jing reacted a little slower, he would be like that tree at this moment.

He believed that Ming Xian was really going to kill him.

The two of them were murderous, but there was an indescribable beauty between them, as if this wasn’t a life-or-death duel, but just sparring practice.

However, only when you were in the middle of it could you feel the air currents that were circling around them. Wherever they went, the human-person-high grass was cut uniformly to the base of their roots.

The strong affection between the two of them in bed before was gone. Today, Tang Jing and Ming Xian were enemies of two different camps. They had no room for compromise or reconciliation. Even if they had an unforgettable love, the two would never be merciful to each other.

What was more, they hadn’t.

Tang Jing knew that the silly pure sweetness that Ming Xian had shown in front of him was fake. The real Ming Xian was a highly poisonous rose that killed without even blinking.

At the moment of life and death, Tang Jing couldn’t help but think, if they weren’t harboring ghosts*, didn’t meet purposefully, and went back in time and got to know each other again, would the results be different?

*Metaphor referring to two people who are together, but the relationship isn’t in harmony because they each have different plans in their hearts.

But time didn’t go back, and everything was on the established track.

Ming Xian shot fiercely, all of them aimed at Tang Jing’s vitals. His cheeks were splashed with beads of blood, which made his original beautiful features more bewitching, like the reincarnation of Asura*. In his eyes, Tang Jing was no longer a living being but something that was dead and was about to wither.

*A demigod or titan of Kamadhhatu. They are described as having three heads with three faces each and either four or six arms.

They were both instrumental spirits, and each knew each other’s weaknesses best. They were far stronger than ordinary people, but their bodies weren’t invincible. Tang Jing was transformed from a mirror that had gold and stone for his body, but since he had become human, naturally he obtained the characteristics of a human, like internal organs, a head, and a neck; these were all fatal.

A starless and moonless night.

Inside the house, Long Shen was passing through Cheng Yuan and was fighting with Otowa Hatsuhiko thousands of miles away.

Outside the house, wherever Ming Xian and Tang Jing went, grass flew everywhere, getting caught in a cyclone that was spinning madly.

The wind was fluttering, dark clouds covered the sky, and the streetlights not far away flickered a few times, one after another, announcing the end of life.

Once Tang Jing was focused and left no room for errors, Ming Xian began to feel the strain. He was punched several times in the chest. Most likely, the impact had broken a few of his ribs and caused internal injuries to his organs, but these injuries weren’t fatal. The most terrible thing was that he was just kicked in the head by Tang Jing. An ordinary person would’ve died a long time ago, but Ming Xian was still able to jump up and ignore the dizziness as he continued to attack Tang Jing like a storm.

Tang Jing wasn’t in better shape either. One of his arms was dislocated and broken, but he continued to fight Ming Xian in an awkward posture. His neck, which once laid on the bed as they were tossing in the rain, was now being crushed by Ming Xian. A large piece of flesh was torn off that revealed the white bones underneath. Blood gushed out, covering his clothes that no longer looked like their original color. He looked just as wretched as Ming Xian.

But even with just one hand, it was comparable to that of a sword. If not stopped, he could cut gold and jade with just one shot. As a result, the ground around them had countless holes and was a complete mess.

However, this fierce battle would eventually come to an end.

Ming Xian’s long legs flew up, right in the middle of Tang Jing’s abdomen causing him to instantly spat out a mouthful of blood. He turned around and fell to the ground.

However, just the second before he was kicked, he plunged his hand through Ming Xian’s chest, leaving five blood holes.

Instead of pausing, Ming Xian took advantage of Tang Jing’s fall and flew up. Then, with all the silk strings in his hand, he directly pointed them at his opponent’s head.

The transparent and colorless silk string was cut off by a golden light halfway. Before Ming Xian had time to react, the golden light had already reached his eyes. He only felt a dull pain in his chest. A fishy sweetness surged in his throat, and he couldn’t help but spit it out.

The soil next to him was stained with blood, flowing along the veins of the land, deep into the roots of the grass. Ming Xian touched his heart, which was now a big hole, from the front to the back. An ordinary human would’ve died by now, but he was still breathing weakly as he lay on the ground.

Once, when he was just transformed, he thought he wouldn’t die, but it turned out that he was wrong. He could still feel pain and was on the verge of death due to excessive blood loss and heavy injuries.

There was a large swath of darkness in front of him as blood flowed from his forehead, slid across the corners of his eyes, and blurred his vision. Ming Xian didn’t even have the strength to wipe it away.

A figure seemed to be stumbling towards him. Ming Xian had completely lost his strength and fighting spirit and no longer wanted to move.

He heard that humans always saw a flash of their deepest memory of their life before passing, but Ming Xian found that his mind was now blank. He didn’t even think about anything. On the contrary, he felt that it was good to be able to lie down quietly like this all the time.

It was just like before he had yet to cultivate his body. As a zither, he stayed in one place quietly, with no one to disturb him, and allowed the time to leisurely fly by.

He couldn’t help sighing softly. He wasn’t sad, but relieved.

Holding up the back of his head with one hand, Ming Xian actually couldn’t see much anymore, but still smiled at the other slightly.

“Will you be sad when I die?”

“Yes.” He heard Tang Jing reply like this.

“Because I am your kind?” Ming Xian asked again.

Tang Jing swallowed the blood churning in his throat and gently wiped the blood from the corners of his eyes for the other party. “No, because I found out that I seem to like you a little.”

Ming Xian laughed. “You already said this sentence in the park last time. Has Mr. Tang lost his memory?”

Tang Jing: “My liking is a little deeper than at that time.”

Ming Xian: “Only a little?”

Tang Jing: “More than a little.”

Ming Xian smiled.

“There is one more thing.”

He couldn’t see, so he simply closed his eyes to save some effort.

“The stone tablet is part of an ancient demon suppression array. It’s suppressing a great demon from ancient times. Its power is far above that of all other demons. Once the array is broken, the great demon will be resurrected. It’ll reverse yin and yang, overturn the rivers and seas, plunge the stars into disarray, and bring disaster upon the entire world. Regarding the array, when the Tang envoys were sent back to the country, they also took away some files that recorded the matter. Later, China went through many dynasty changes and most of the classics were damaged and scattered, but no matter how the war broke out in Japan, the royal family had always been the same for all ages, so those classics collected in the palace have been preserved. Otowa is doing everything possible to send people to China to destroy the stone tablets that originated from this.”

Ming Xian spoke lightly in a whisper. If it weren’t for the situation between the two of them now, it was like he was telling a tale or legend to a classroom in a pleasant and soothing voice.

In fact, there had been much speculation about this matter within the Special Administration Bureau, which was roughly the same as what Ming Xian said, but Tang Jing didn’t interrupt the other party. He just held him in his arms and listened to him quietly.

Ming Xian continued, “I know that you are also looking for the stone tablets now, racing against time against Otowa’s men, but you’re going in the wrong direction.”

He coughed a few times as blood foam overflowed from his mouth. Tang Jing raised him a little higher so the other party could be more comfortable, and tried to inject his own vitality into Ming Xian, hoping to save his life, but the other party stopped him.

Tang Jing’s actions were to no avail, and Ming Xian didn’t need it either.

He said slowly, “The stone tablet is on the dragon vein.”

Tang Jing was slightly shocked.

The dragon veins were not feng shui specially designed to produce the emperor’s geomantic omen. In the vast land of China, mountains and rivers were everywhere, and naturally, there were countless dragon veins that hid wind and gathered water. For example, the Kunlun Mountains were considered by all feng shui masters from ancient times to the present as the ancestors of all mountains and the source of the dragon veins.

In addition to the Kunlun Mountains, there were numerous large and small dragon vein branches. The recognized ancient capital of the ten dynasties was also where the dragon veins were located. Changbai Mountain was also a dragon vein in the northeast, and Mount Helan was also considered a small dragon vein, nourished by dragon energy from the Western Xia dynasty.

Ming Xian said, “Not all dragon veins will have stone tablets. I heard Otowa say that there are only eight of them.”

Previously, based on the stone tablets that had been unearthed, the Special Administration Bureau speculated that the stone tablets might be located on famous monuments. Now it seemed that this kind of speculation wasn’t even close but was a thousand miles away.

Tang Jing immediately thought of one thing. “Is there a stone tablet in Shencheng?”

Otherwise, Otowa Hatsuhiko wouldn’t go to great lengths here.

Ming Xian: “Yes, under Lake Wangyue. There’s a tunnel leading to Lake Dianshan, and under that there’s a water channel leading to a river. The stone tablet is there. It’s guarded by a strange beast. Cheng Yuan… Wanted to break the seal and let the beast destroy the stone tablet.”

Tang Jing frowned tightly. “Do you know the specific location of the remaining stone tablets?”

Ming Xian shook his head with difficulty. “Otowa is also vigilant against me. He doesn’t trust anyone, so that’s all I know, but I suspect he may not know where they are. Otherwise, the array would’ve been broken a long time ago.”

Otowa Hatsuhiko. This person had frequently appeared in their sights since the beginning of the bone dragon incident on Changbai Mountain.

In front of the public, he was a successful entrepreneur. The Otowa Consortium was very important to the Japanese industry and had deep connections in both their political and economic circles. After the Changbai Mountain incident, Otowa Hatsuhiko entered the sights of the Special Administration Bureau. It wasn’t that they hadn’t investigated him, but Otowa had taken precautions. Not only was their investigation blocked, but the Special Administration Bureau also found that the power of this person was beyond their original imagination.

Tang Jing frowned. “Otowa Hatsuhiko is a demon?”

Ming Xian smiled mockingly. “He’s different from an Archfiend. An Archfiend is originally a demon that only disguises itself in human skin, while Otowa was originally human, but because of desire, he willingly turned himself into a demon. His current identity is a disguise after changing his name…”

He lost too much blood, and his body was gradually dissipating heat, causing his words to be broken. Tang Jing found that the vitality he had injected into the other party’s body had fallen into the sea and was completely ineffective. He couldn’t help but feel heavy in his heart.

Ming Xian gasped for a while and barely managed to say, “His original name… is… Asaka Hatsuhiko.”

At the end, it was difficult to continue. He coughed violently, spilling blood from his mouth, nose, eyes, and ears, then his eyes began to relax.

Tang Jing tightened his arms, put Ming Xian in place, and closed his eyes. For the first time, he felt he wanted to work hard to do one thing, but there was nothing he could do.

“If artifact spirits also have a next life, I hope to be like you. Not to travel far away, not to be refined into a killing tool. I hope if we can meet again, we will have a good start, not like now…”

There was a faint smile floating on Ming Xian’s face, and he looked a little dazed. His consciousness had gradually separated from his body and flowed into an unknown distance.

“Goodbye, Tangtang.”

His hand slowly drooped, falling to the ground that had been discolored with blood.

Tang Jing watched the person in his arms gradually become transparent, turning into a spot of light for a moment, then scattering in the air like a stream of fireflies… Leaving no traces behind.

Just like between them.

It was over before it even began.

Tang Jing didn’t move for a while. He thought it was blood, but when he reached out and touched it, it was a transparent wet mark.

Thousands of miles away, within the Ise Shrine, an old man suddenly turned pale and vomited a large mouthful of blood.

“Mr. Otowa, are you okay?”

The boy serving beside him was so panicked that he quickly reached out to help him, but immediately, the boy’s eyes widened, and his life ended in a moment of disbelief.

The old man drew his five fingers from the boy’s chest and held a beating heart in his hand. He swallowed the heart in a few bites and then rang the bell to call for someone to drag the boy’s body away.

The black-clothed attendants had long been accustomed to seeing this, as they showed no surprise or change in their faces. They came in silence and left in silence.

There was a trail of blood on the floor, but someone would soon come clean up and restore everything to its original state.

The old man, who had eaten a fresh heart, seemed to feel better, but it was only for a little while. His heart was still restless, and he felt unbearable, surging with the desire to kill and see blood.

His manic mood forced him to get up and walk back and forth, but he still had the urge to destroy everyone and everything that was in front of him.

“Your Excellency, Your Excellency!”

Another boy ran in from the outside, looking dazed, but when he saw blood on the ground, his voice stopped abruptly.

The old man wasn’t tall, he even looked a bit rickety and thin, but he was full of oppression. Under the forced gaze and his bloodshot eyes, the boy’s legs went soft, and he fell to his knees.

“…Your Excellency, something has happened to the gold and silver pingwen zither.”

“What happened?”

The boy trembled and couldn’t speak.

Otowa Hatsuhiko originally wanted to eat his heart to replenish his vitality, but when he heard his report, he changed his mind. “Take me to see it.”

He followed the boy through the ancient corridors and courtyards and came to a room.

The view suddenly darkened. In modern society, it was almost like traveling through time and space. There were no electric lights, and only a few candles were faintly shining in the corners.

The boy knelt down at the door and didn’t dare to come in and said, in a trembling voice, “I came to clean just now. As usual, I wanted to wipe the zither, but I found that it had already…”

The zither that was originally placed on the long table had all its strings broken, and its body was cracked by a deep mark from the eye of the string to the dragon pond. It was split in half and was broken beyond repair.

Otowa Hatsuhiko never lets anyone into this room. Only a boy with his permission could come in every day to clean the area and wipe down the zither. He knew what a cruel and bloodthirsty person his master was, so he was too scared to say a word.

He couldn’t figure out why a good zither, which no one had touched, suddenly broke.

Otowa Hatsuhiko walked over and stroked the scarred zither with his wrinkled hand. The haze in his eyes was so strong that it almost overflowed.

“Do you think you can escape the palm of my hand by destroying yourself like this?”

A cold laugh echoed lowly in the room. The swaying candles seemed to be infected as they became fainter and dimmer.

“Prepare the car, I’m going out,” he whispered.

No one responded.

Otowa Hatsuhiko turned his head and found the boy kneeling on the ground motionless. He walked over, raised his foot, and pushed the boy over.

The boy had fallen down in response; his pupils dilating and his mouth slightly agape. He was actually scared to death.

Otowa Hatsuhiko glanced at him in disgust, walked out, and asked someone to drag the dead away.

An attendant stepped forward and said, respectfully and carefully, “What are your orders?”

Otowa Hatsuhiko: “Prepare the car and private jet. I’m going to Nara.”

The attendant responded and asked again, “What can I prepare for you here?”

Otowa Hatsuhiko glanced back.

“Take the zither and have Shōsō-in prepare it. I want a replica of the gold and silver pingwen zither.”

In a humid cave, Dong Zhi and his companions were faced with a dilemma of advancing or retreating. A monster suddenly jumped out of the water, dragging the clanging chain, and suddenly rushed towards Dong Zhi!

It suddenly flashed into view that was a stone’s throw away that Dong Zhi was able to finally see the appearance of the behemoth.

An ape-like creature with eyes that shined like gold and its body was covered with fur that opened like a halberd. It was clearly big, but it moved swifter than any animal.

Dong Zhi was about to draw out his talisman when his back collar was pulled fiercely back by Huo Jie.

The distance between Dong Zhi and the monster was too close just now. Huo Jie thought he was frightened and unprepared, so he pulled him away.

In a flash, Liu Qingbo came to his senses and raised his sword to greet it. Huo Jie followed closely behind. The two fought against the monster as a pair. They flew about for some time, hitting against the wall and sometimes in the water, stirring up unrest and ripples that pattered against the stone wall above the top of their heads. Within a few seconds, the scene devolved into chaos as the stone wall above their heads was slashed by sword energy. Debris fell one after another while the monster slapped its hands on the ground, causing the cave to shake.

Dong Zhi took a closer look, only to find that the other end of the chain turned out to be locked on the monster. It passed through one side of its lute bone and out the other, firmly tying the monster to it. The other end of the chain extended directly into the cave behind them, into an unknown darkness.


Kinky Thoughts:

The side CP already went offline?! So fast. Is this the end of Ming Xian?


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch100

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 100: Master!

Cheng Yuan couldn’t help cowering when he heard these words. He had a kind of bone-deep awe for Long Shen, which came from his experience in the Special Administration Bureau. At first glance, when he saw Long Shen, he was greatly disoriented.

But he soon remembered that he was no longer the newcomer who needed to tremble before the Special Administration Bureau. Those high and mighty practitioners didn’t look up to him, but he was no longer what he used to be. He had the power now to make the people of the Special Administration Bureau prostrate themselves at his feet and tremble for mercy.

With judgement returned back to his head, he looked at Ming Xian and angrily said, “You brought them here!”

Ming Xian ignored him and said to Tang Jing and Long Shen, “Don’t you want to find the real culprit who manipulated the soul-eaters? He’s inside. Recent events are indeed not at my hands. If it were me, I would have done it without leaving any traces.”

Tang Jing asked rhetorically, “Do you feel guilty?”

Ming Xian smiled at his mockery. “Consider it as a reward for your dewy love and the end of the obsession in my heart.

Cheng Yuan snapped, “Shut up! Ming Xian, you dare disobey Mr. Otowa’s intentions?!”

Long Shen no longer wanted to listen to his nonsense, so he stretched out his hand and grabbed him. Who knew that Cheng Yuan reacted extremely quickly. His body shrank and moved back. He suddenly stood up and reached out with both hands, which had long and sharp nails. Long Shen dodged, grasped his wrist with a slight force, and the sound of broken bones clicking could be heard, but Cheng Yuan smiled strangely. His chest suddenly burst open, and two withered claws sprang out towards Long Shen’s chest as fast as lightning. It pierced through Long Shen’s windbreaker, looking as if it was about to puncture his chest and abdomen!

This forced Long Shen to let go, which Cheng Yuan took advantage of to twist and run away. He leapt forward, trying to escape through the window, but his back was violently pulled back. In the blink of an eye, Long Shen grabbed his long sword with his backhand and inserted it into Cheng Yuan’s heart. The entire process flowed smoothly and neatly. Suddenly, Cheng Yuan’s eyes were wide open, full of resentment.

The look became more intense, causing the green and black veins on his face to seemingly come alive as they began to slowly flow.

Long Shen noticed something was wrong. Cheng Yuan suddenly grabbed his sword with both hands as a cackle came out of his throat, as if the bones were being pinched off one by one.

The blood flowed out of his hands, but it wasn’t the normal human dark red, but a green-black color. However, within a few seconds, his body turned into black air and flew away, then condensed back into human form again behind Long Shen.

“The Special Administration Bureau is nothing more than that! Long Shen, why do you look down on me? Why didn’t you let me into the Special Administration Bureau? Today, I want you to have a taste of life that’s not as good as death!”

The black air suddenly turned into a gale and swept towards Long Shen.

Ming Xian was obviously in the same camp as Cheng Yuan, but he watched coldly, as if he had no interest in intervening. Tang Jing didn’t move in order to keep an eye on him.

Although the opponent didn’t make a move, Tang Jing intuitively felt that this person’s ability was very strong, even comparable to his own.

“I think the battlefield between us should be broader.”

Ming Xian suddenly smiled, turned around, and ran out. Tang Jing chased him without a second thought.

The two landed in the middle of the wilderness full of wild grass as they stared at each other.

It wasn’t the kind between two enemies that were about to fight to the death, but rather a pair of friends who hadn’t yet finished or a couple after breaking up.

Tang Jing laughed slightly in his heart because of his rich imagination.

They were never officially together, so what was he even thinking about?

Ming Xian’s eyes were soft and harmless, like the little writer who talked a lot but wasn’t annoying when he first met him on the plane.

But Tang Jing knew that it was just one side of Ming Xian, a mask that he used to hide the true Ming Xian.

He wasn’t a writer, and the author of those books wasn’t him at all. He just took advantage of the fact that the writer never showed his face and got close to him under false pretenses.

As if guessing what Tang Jing was thinking, Ming Xian suddenly said, “When I was on the plane, I didn’t know your identity yet.”

Tang Jing said lightly, “I have an innate sense of closeness to you, and you took advantage of this to let me lower my guard against you.”

Ming Xian shrugged and spread his hands. “But you didn’t. Didn’t you put a tracker on me and send someone to check on my background? Moreover, you should know why you feel so close to me.”

Tang Jing said, “Because you and I are the same.”

Min Xian smiled, magnanimously, without concealment. “My body is a zither.”

The night was late and moonless. The distant streetlamp shone on the side of Ming Xian’s face. There was a different kind of softness to it.

Even if the enemy was clear and irrevocable, Tang Jing still saw the rippling waves and the stars and moon in those eyes.

When he suspected that the other party was an artifact, Tang Jing also guessed his original shape. He thought that with Ming Xian looking so beautiful, his true form must be elegant and lovely.

It took at least thousands of years of elegance to give birth to such gracefulness.

Tang Jing said, “I am a mirror.”

Ming Xian quickly guessed his origin, “A mirror from the Tang Dynasty?”

Tang Jing nodded. “Thousand Autumn Coiled Dragon Mirror*.”

*Qianqiu Panlong Mirror (千秋蟠龙镜) I believe the author is referencing the Sunflower-shaped Thousand Autumn Dragon Mirror (葵形千秋龙纹镜) or something of that nature. It’s a bronze mirror with a dragon on it from the Tang Dynasty that has the inscription of “Thousand [Qian]” and “Autumn [Qiu]” on it, which should be related to the Qianqiu Festival celebrated during the Tang Dynasty. Also, as a reminder, the Tang in his name is the Tang in Tang Dynasty.

Going back thousands of years, he was once a Tibetan mirror in the Tang Palace, created by a famous craftsman and later given by Emperor Xuanzong* to his sister Princess Yuzhen. Under pure chance and coincidence, the princess never married and became a monk who loved to travel around the world, searching for immortals and visiting hermitages. By coincidence, Tang Jing also encountered mountains and rivers, the essence of the sun and moon, and finally cultivated into a human body after being refined by the wind and frost.

*Seventh emperor of the Tang Dynasty, he’s credited with bringing Tang China to a pinnacle of culture and power.

Ming Xian smiled and said, “No wonder I feel close to you when I see you. In terms of age, you and I are not far apart. It’s a pity that I don’t have as good of luck as you.”

Tang Jing: “Are you a Chinese artifact spirit?”

Ming Xian shook his head. “I don’t know if I was made by the Tang people or by Easterners early on. I have no roots, no name. I only know that when I was first formed, there were several inscriptions under the zither, and the sound of my strings can cleanse an evil heart. Although positive, the feeling is also deep. Elegant and solemn, yet no forbidden extravagance. Smooth and upright, joyful but not obscene.*”

*This is the actual inscription under the zither (虽有正性,其感亦深。存雅却郑,浮侈是禁。条畅和正,乐而不淫.) I tried my best with the translation, but I really can’t make it poetic.

Tang Jing was startled and blurted out, “The Gold and Silver Pingwen Zither*?!”

*Jinyin Pingwen Qin (金银平文琴) It’s an artifact collected to the treasure house of the Shōsō-in (an imperial treasure house belonging to Japan) around 814 AD to Emperor Saga.

The gold and silver pingwen zither was a national treasure of Japan and was now part of the collection of the Shōsō-in*.

*Treasure house of Tōdai-ji Temple in Nara, Japan that houses artifacts connected to Emperor Shomu and Empress Komoyo.

The reason why it was called the gold and silver pingwen zither was because it had gold and silver plain decoration on its body, so it was name after its characteristic, not after the timbre or the marker, as in the case with Chinese zithers.

The name Ming Xian* was also given to him after he first gained sentience.

*Translated means bright strings/chords.

“Then the one in Shōsō-in…?” Tang Jing couldn’t help but say.

Ming Xian gently spat out, “Imitation.”

Tang Jing understood.

The gold and silver pingwen zither was created in the Heian Period of Japan, which was the same period as Emperor Tang Xianzong* in China. It was no wonder Ming Xian would say those two were similar in age.

*14th Tang Emperor formerly known as Li Chun. He reigned from 805-820.

“Japan’s land is limited, so the spiritual energy is thin. Even with the power of the entire country, there are very few artifacts that could be spiritually refined. Originally, my spiritual wisdom was first developed, but it would take at least a few more decades to cultivate into human form. However, at that time, Otowa Hatsuhiko got a Chinese practitioner and injected his soul into my body, forcibly helping me take shape in advance.”

Ming Xian’s tone was leisurely, as if he was talking about other people’s affairs.

Tang Jing’s heart tightened as he had already developed a guess. He would rather have this guess be wrong.

However, the other party still slowly said the answer he didn’t want to hear the most, “That person, his name is Dong Jilan.”

Of course, Tang Jing knew who this was.

A few years ago, he was a carefree, rambunctious wanderer who didn’t care about the affairs of the world. At that time, he was still laughing at Long Shen, Zong Ling, and others who had bound themselves. They had an endless life span and the ability to ascend to heaven, but they would rather put themselves in a cage and obey human law and be governed by humans. How suffocating.

Later, he inadvertently encountered a big problem and ran into an extremely tricky enemy and almost lost his life. He didn’t even manage to protect his original form. Fortunately, a man named Dong Jilan passed by and helped him. Tang Jing was grateful and didn’t want to owe any favors, so he offered to repay him. Dong Jilan told him that he was about to leave the Special Administration Bureau to perform a secret mission. At that time, the Special Administration Bureau was short of manpower, so he wanted Tang Jing to help them instead of him. After five years, whether he returned or not, Tang Jing could leave on his own.

Five years passed, then another five, year after year, but Dong Jilan never came back. Tang Jing got used to life at the Special Administration Bureau and gradually became accustomed to living under their rules, but he had never heard about Dong Jilan again. Many people who knew of him felt that this brisk and spontaneous man was probably sacrificed in a foreign country. Even last time, Long Shen and Song Zhicun wanted to exchange Fujikawa Aoi for hostages with Japan, they failed to get him back.

But now, what Ming Xian said, there was a wisp of Dong Jilan’s soul in his body.

Tang Jing was silent for a long time, as if mourning a friend who could not return to his homeland.

“So, Dong Jilan is completely dead?”

“Yes. He is, after all, only human. I watched Otowa pour hot molten iron on him with my own eyes, torture him with all kinds of methods, just to stimulate his power to the extreme, then extract his soul. But he never begged for mercy from beginning to end.”

“In my spiritual wisdom, there are Japanese mountains and water, flowers and birds, and—”

He pointed to his heart, “The soul of a Chinese.”

Ming Xian smiled slightly, but there was a line of pain and helplessness at the corner of his mouth.

“I envy you very much, Tang Jing. You have the purity and freedom that I don’t have. If I could, I don’t want to be your enemy.”

Tang Jing couldn’t help but take a step forward.

Ming Xian took a step back.

“You can change all this.” Tang Jing looked at him.

“It can’t be changed,” Ming Xian said lightly. “From the moment I took shape, everything has been predetermined and irreversible.”

Tang Jing said, “I’ll help you. If I can’t, Long Shen can. If Long Shen can’t do it, there are many capable people in the Special Administration Bureau and even in China as a whole.”

“It’s too late.”

Ming Xian looked far away, with sorrow in his eyes.

“When I was about to take shape, in order to control me, Otowa Hatsuhiko incorporated his own blood into my body, refined me again, and took out a part that he kept with him. It’s impossible for me to break away from his control.”

That touch of sorrow passed extremely quickly, so quickly that Tang Jing thought it was just his own illusion.

“I approach you, but I remind you everywhere, providing you with clues. This is my gratitude to Dong Jilan. Without him, there would be no me today. I know that he never forgot his motherland and had a passion for the people here. I couldn’t save him back then, and now I can only help you here. Otowa has also manipulated Cheng Yuan, but I think Director Long should have a way to deal with him.”

Ming Xian finished speaking slowly, took off his suit jacket, rolled up his sleeves one by one, and exposed his slender, fair arms.

He stared at Tang Jing and said, softly yet cruelly, “Now, it’s time for us to fight to the death.”

Long Shen quickly discovered that there was something else wrong with Cheng Yuan.

It hadn’t even been two years since Cheng Yuan was rejected from the Special Administration Bureau. Even if he made rapid progress during this time, he wouldn’t be as strong to the point where he could match Long Shen—even if Long Shen hadn’t used his best effort.

His body had merged with demonic energy, and he could change his form as he pleased between fantasy and reality at will. Whenever Long Shen’s sword was about to cut him, he would turn into demonic energy and dissipate, then regroup behind Long Shen. Taking advantage of his unpreparedness, he would counter-attack.

With Cheng Yuan as the center of the circle, the surrounding air flow got bigger, surging like the gale before the tide. It was raging, wanting to completely destroy everything in the world. The debris in the house was swept up by the air flow and was swirling around him. From time to time, under Cheng Yuan’s command, it would smash into Long Shen.

Long Shen didn’t parry it back. Using his sword, he cut the old refrigerator that was flying towards him in half. The refrigerator suddenly broke in half and fell to the side with a loud crash. If it weren’t for the desolate surroundings, they would’ve been discovered by others from the sound.

“I can’t believe it. I’m not a newcomer who can be flattened and rolled around by you anymore!”

Cheng Yuan smiled grimly at Long Shen. His whole body was overflowing with black energy. The demonic energy suddenly soared several times, almost reaching the roof, then it surged towards Long Shen, trying to swallow him up.

As far as he could see, all the light bulbs shattered with a bang, and the whole room was instantly surrounded by black air, as if the sun was covered and no light could pierce through.

In the darkness, the wind howled as the black demonic energy swept towards Long Shen from all directions. Even the air couldn’t help but moan and wail, and the dead trembled beneath the ground, unable to resist the powerful and demonic invasion.

However, around Long Shen’s body, a faint white light formed a layer of astral energy that the demonic energy couldn’t penetrate. No matter what Cheng Yuan did, he couldn’t break through.

His bright red eyes narrowed. His five fingers, which were thin like withered claws, opened and closed as they released a few souls.

These were objects that he once took their life and used to refine his soul. There were handsome boys, young girls with sad expressions, ignorant children, middle-aged women with angry faces, and a weasel whose fur was faintly visible.

They were manipulated by Cheng Yuan and rushed towards Long Shen from all directions. They had already been refined and merged into part of the demonic energy. Now the remnant souls were just residues of demonic energy after being corrupted, but they still carry the grievances of their unjust death during their lifetime.

The fierce and vicious spirit of resentment surrounded Long Shen, gnawing away at his astral energy. These resentful souls and demonic energy rushed up without hesitation, trying to bite off his flesh and eat his body.

Long Shen stood still.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to move, but that his whole body was so tightly pressed by the demonic energy that he couldn’t even take a step.

However, even under such an overwhelming attack, the demonic energy couldn’t advance. The two sides maintained a delicate and dangerous balance.

Long Shen’s gaze fell on the gray weasel.

“You were in Lucheng, colluding with Yamamoto Kiyoshi to kill people?”

Cheng Yuan: “I am one of Mr. Otowa’s men. How could I cooperate with him! That idiot boasts that he has the support of Mara, so he was unscrupulous, treating Lucheng as his own territory and even almost exposed me! As everyone knows, his master is nothing more than an unformed demonic energy until now. How can he be comparable to Mr. Otowa!”

Long Shen said, “Your qualifications are good. Even if you can’t pass the interview this year, you still have a chance next year. Even if you don’t enter the Special Administration Bureau, it doesn’t mean you have to cooperate with demons.”

Cheng Yuan said angrily, “You were born high and mighty, so of course you would say this kind of thing. Do you know how hard it is for me to live? I don’t have a sect with a strong background or a master with deep connections. Even if I join the Special Administration Bureau, how many years will it take to sit in your position? It’ll never be possible! But Li Ying, Liu Qingbo, and your apprentice—how long did it take them? I heard that Dong Zhi has already become the leader of the Lucheng office. It’s no wonder it’s easy to lean on the back of a big tree, while I, who’s obviously more capable than Dong Zhi, can’t even enter the entrance of the Special Administration Bureau just because I don’t have a good master!”

Long Shen’s expression was faint in the dense demonic aura.

“Your dismissal has nothing to do with whether you have a good master or not. It’s because you, as a psychic, walk between yin and yang, and those with uncertain minds are more likely to be affected and go astray. We originally planned not to let you pass the interview this time and observe you for a year. If you are good enough and willing to take the exam again, we would have admitted you next year and put you directly in charge of an office.”

But obviously, Cheng Yuan didn’t pass the test. Because he got rejected, he resented the Special Administration Bureau and turned to the demon camp.

Greed, anger, madness, ignorance, and doubt, the five poisons of Buddhism were inherent in human nature. They were buried deep in the bones and blood and were difficult to eradicate, but some people could restrain and resolve them, while others let them spread and eventually become like Cheng Yuan.

Cheng Yuan’s expression changed. The greenish-black demonic energy corrupted his entire face hideously, but when he heard Long Shen’s words, his complexion twitched slightly. The demonic energy subsided for a bit, and his normal complexion gradually surfaced. Regret and shock flashed across his face, but soon, the demonic energy that quickly extended from his neck to both cheeks occupied his face again, and the demonic energy became even denser than before.

“Why are you observing me! Why not observe the Dong Zhi and Li Ying?! Why do you have to treat me differently? Where can I not compare to them?! In the end, it’s because you guys are biased!”

Under his fury, the demonic energy rushed over, forming a high pressure on Long Shen, tightly oppressing his astral energy that covered his body. As long as his astral energy showed a little weakness, the demonic energy would immediately take advantage of the gap and enter, completely crushing his body!

Long Shen said nothing more.

In fact, he didn’t even want to say what he just said, but he always saw things through. Since he didn’t let Cheng Yuan pass the interview in the beginning, he should give the other party an answer today.

He had been in the world for thousands of years, and he had also seen human nature for these thousands of years.

Mortals rolled around the world and persisted for daily necessities, fame, and fortune all their lives. Human nature always showed a very different polarization in darkness and light.

Just as in times of crisis, there were heroes who stood up and sacrificed themselves for others. There were also villains who were greedy for life and feared death and stabbed others in the back. They were also humans, and after death, their bodies turned into dust, and only their souls remained in the world. The souls of some were like the brilliance of stars. Although sometimes hidden, they never go out, shining in the long night with their faint light.

Most of human nature in the mundane world was like time frozen at the moment before sunrise. The darkness was constant, and many people were like Cheng Yuan, thinking that the day was dark, so the world must be too. But there were also some people, even if the number was small, who were still willing to shine by themselves and become the enlightenment that led to the sunrise. They bravely step forward in order for others to see the magnificent mountains and rivers, dyeing the world with a touch of their warm light.

Long Shen had been disappointed by the thinness of human nature only because he had seen too many betrayals and killings.

But he had also seen those souls who weren’t afraid of danger and walked in the wind and snow. All things under the heavens and the earth were born to be human, not to experience misery and pain but to use human spiritual wisdom to listen to the wind and rain, sing and write poems, feel joy and wonder, the pleasure of the world, and feel the emotions that only humans would have and pursue for life.

And now, there was another person who called him Master; who was willing to work hard for him and be a better person. Even if Long Shen felt that he couldn’t give what the other wanted, the other would never give up on himself as a result.

The magic pressure increased a little, but the aura around Long Shen compressed a bit. Soon, there was only a thin layer left, which could be crushed at any time, making Long Shen not look as powerful and invincible as before.

Cheng Yuan’s fear of him gradually disappeared, replaced by contempt and ridicule.

“Now I don’t need you to look at me differently! As long as Mr. Otowa is around, I’ll have endless power to sway the rivers and seas around the world! Look at you, Long Shen. I can’t forget the way you looked at me at that time. It was like looking at an ant that could be crushed at any time. But what about now? You’re now at my mercy!”

With Cheng Yuan’s crazy words, the demon pressure on Long Shen’s body became heavier. Long Shen could almost hear the arrogant and crazy clamor of the demonic energy. If there was even a single break, the demonic energy would get in immediately…

A demon-surging shadow loomed behind Cheng Yuan. Through the heavy darkness and mist, Long Shen confronted those eyes.

He saw an old man sitting in a room surrounded by an endless void. After the void, after the galaxy, there was an endless sea of blood.

As far as he could see, the thick blood spread out, and the sickening smell of rust lingered. There was killing, hatred, and betrayal everywhere. Humans use the most cruel and vicious methods to kill each other. Heads and limbs were floating in the sea of blood as a demon hid at the edge of the darkness with a hideous smile.

A round red full moon slowly rose at the end of the darkness. The abyss was connected to the sea of blood. The demon opened its bloody mouth and devoured the limbs in the sea of blood one by one.

The wailing and crying were endless, and the voices were full of despair, sharp and tragic, piercing through the heavy void, through the chaotic time, straight into the heart.

Long Shen!

The old man opened his mouth slightly. His voice was like a mosquito, but it was like a heavy hammer, hitting Long Shen’s eardrum heavily.

Boss Long!

That may be from Song Zhicun, or perhaps from someone in the Special Administration Bureau. It overlapped heavily, making it sound familiar yet unfamiliar.

Boss!

That was He Yu’s voice, and also Kan Chaosheng’s and Zhong Yuyi’s.

Long Shen once led them through life and death countless times, turning danger into safety, but now they were also sinking into the sea of blood, unable to save themselves and could only look at him from afar, full of pain and despair.

Master!

There was another person whose face was blurred, and he couldn’t see clearly, but he would never forget that voice.

Only that voice passed through the layers of demonic barriers, mountains of corpses and the sea of blood, out from the red moon that covered the world, and from the wreckage everywhere, so that he would never mistake it. But it was like the top of Mount Tai was pressing directly on his heart and crushing it, along with his last layer of astral energy.

Long Shen shook slightly, and the corners of his mouth overflowed with bright red.


The author has something to say:

Dong Zhi said, “You’re the flower in my heart. You show me the wings of the sun and lead me to a magnificent world. You are the guide in the dark, and you’re the most respected Master and my favorite person.”

P.S. The word “Qianqiu” in the Qianqiu Panlong Mirror refers to the mirror given by the emperor. During the first year of Emperor Xuanzong’s reign, the Tang Dynasty ushered in the peak of prosperity in the world. The ministers proposed that Tang Xuanzong’s birthday be used as the Qianqiu festival. During the festival, the mirror will be given to Princess Yuzhen by Tang Xuanzong. I hereby explain it so that everyone won’t misunderstand that Qianqiu is the name of the mirror.


Kinky Thoughts:

To answers some questions since there hasn’t been a release in a while, I have not dropped Bu Tian Gang. I’ve been fixing my translations in previous chapters before I planned to release more, which took some time to do. Unfortunately, I recently contracted COVID, so I’ve been recovering from that. Thankfully I am on the mend, but releases will be slower until I fully recover.

Speaking of Thousand Autumns, congratulations to Meng Xi Shi. Her novel has been licensed by Seven Seas. I’ve heard good things about this novel so do support her and buy it when it’s released.


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch99

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 99: You have fallen so far.

Although this mountain wasn’t high, this jump… Even the enemy may die, and the person surname Dong didn’t bring a parachute!

Is he crazy?!

Afterwards, Dong Zhi faced Liu Qingbo’s incessant scolding, saying that he didn’t think too much at the time, but since Ming Xian dared to jump, then he would definitely not die. He had already failed to catch him once in Yinchuan, so this time he mustn’t let him get away again.

Time returned to the present. Liu Qingbo blurted out, “Are you crazy?” Before he had time to think about it, he also raised his sword and jumped down.

But with this jump, he realized that the cliff wasn’t as steep as he thought.

Firstly, this is just the mountainside, not at the peak of the mountain. Secondly, the forest in the mountains was rich and lush. In the cold winter of the south, there was still no desolation, which gave the descending body a good buffer. After all, they were practitioners and had vigorous qi to protect their bodies. Although they may not be able to fly ten meters and directly ignore gravity like in martial arts novels, they were naturally still lighter and in better physical fitness.

From a glance, Ming Xian shot out silk strings from his hand and wrapped them around branches one by one, then swung quickly through the trees. He looked like a light swallow with his quick movements.

On the other hand, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, although their posture wasn’t as graceful as Ming Xian’s, still tightly followed behind. They grabbed onto branches to stabilize their figures and leaped forward. Dong Zhi used his Changshou Sword to open the way, and Ming Xian was unable to shake them off.

Seeing that he was about to reach the foot of the mountain, Ming Xian suddenly turned around and shot silk threads towards Dong Zhi. Dong Zhi thought he was going to attack and was about to dodge, but instead the branch at his feet was directly cut by the silk thread and it started to topple. Dong Zhi had no balance to stand on and he could only try to save himself. He reacted slightly slower for a few seconds, which gave Ming Xian the chance to run off.

Dong Zhi grabbed a tree next to him as a buffer and jumped off the tree again.

Liu Qingbo quickly caught up.

“Still lost him?”

Dong Zhi hummed. “But just before he left, he told me saying that the answer we seek is under Lake Wangyue.”

Liu Qingbo frowned. “You mean, he’s indeed not the murderer.”

Dong Zhi took out a band aid and affixed it to the small cut on his palm made by the branches.

“I don’t know. You can report to Boss Tang first. He’s still waiting for our news.”

Tang Jing didn’t expect their news to come so soon.

After learning that they had lost Ming Xian, Tang Jing didn’t react too unexpectedly, let alone blame them.

After listening to Liu Qingbo’s paraphrase of Yin Xiangxue’s insights, he was silent for a moment and said, “Okay, you go to Lake Wangyue and investigate first. I’ll ask Shu He and Huo Jie to bring diving equipment to assist you. I’ll take care of Ming Xian.”

Liu Qingbo: “He returned the tracker to us. Do you still need it?”

Tang Jing said, “No need.”

He ended the call and looked up at Long Shen on the opposite side.

The conversation was on speakerphone just now, so naturally, Long Shen heard everything.

Long Shen said, “Ming Xian knew you put a tracker on him a long time ago.”

This sentence wasn’t a doubt but an affirmation.

Tang Jing nodded. “So what we know is what he wanted us to know.”

Long Shen looked at him and suddenly smiled. “Do you feel like you’re playing chess with an opponent?”

Tang Jing didn’t know how Long Shen could still laugh. In the past, Long Shen was always the most serious one when encountering this kind of thing, but now the other party was cracking jokes. He suspected that he had become more relaxed because he was about to meet his apprentice, but now Tang Jing wasn’t in the mood for jokes.

“It was my fault. I misjudged my opponent. Right now, he doesn’t have enough time to leave Shencheng. I’ll contact the police and wait for them to make a full arrest. I hope to delay him before he leaves Shencheng.”

They met through a chance encounter and tested each other. Tang Jing boasted that he wouldn’t touch his body, but in the end, he still missed his move and lost this game of chess.

“Wait.” Long Shen stopped him from trying to pick up the phone.

Tang Jing didn’t know why.

Long Shen said, “You have lost your sense of proportion now, meaning you have lost your usual standard level.”

Tang Jing was silent, neither admitting nor denying.

Long Shen didn’t pursue the subject but asked, “Is the tracker remotely connected to the internet?”

Tang Jing: “Yes, the places he has been to are all synchronized here.”

Long Shen: “Then you don’t need to issue a warrant. Take a look at the place where he appeared on the tracker.”

Tang Jing had momentarily lost his judgement, but when he was reminded of this, he reacted immediately.

“Boss Long, do you mean he’s waiting for us on purpose?”

Long Shen nodded: “Since he discovered the tracker a long time ago, he didn’t tell us until now, indicating that there must be things we need to know in the places he has been before. Find them and investigate them one by one.”

Tang Jing didn’t talk nonsense. “I’ll do it right away.”

Shu He and Huo Jie moved quickly. Dong Zhi had just evacuated the crowd around Laken Wangyue with the police and barred the area when they arrived, bringing the diving equipment.

“This is a scuba. I know that practitioners can hold their breath underwater for a long time and while this is Lake Wangyue, an artificial lake, it draws water from Lake Dianshan. I heard Lake Dianshan is very deep, so I can’t guarantee there’s something under there, but you might stumble over it, so it’s more convenient to have a scuba.” Shu He handed them the equipment and taught them how to use it.

Dong Zhi said, “Let’s go directly from Lake Wangyue. The underwater situation is unknown, so let’s not try to be too far apart.”

The orders for Shu He and Huo Jie were to assist; that was to say, they were auxiliaries for Dong Zhi while he led. Technically, regardless of administration level or position, Shu He was above Dong Zhi, and he should’ve been humble and let him take the lead in this matter, but when things were urgent, he didn’t think much about it. Shu He felt a little uncomfortable, but he didn’t show it, so he only nodded.

Without any more delays, the four of them took off their down jackets and coats, put the scuba tank on their backs, and went directly into the water.

Although it was an artificial lake, the depth was still considerable, especially given that it was winter. When they got in the water, they felt a biting chill directly through their soaked clothes, pouring in from all directions. Dong Zhi shuddered involuntarily as Shu He swam in front of him. He had already been surpassed by everyone by a figure, so he had to speed up so as not to be dragged down so far.

Time was of the essence, so they didn’t have time to find an underwater searchlight. Only the most ordinary waterproof flashlight was used. The range was limited, and the water was muddy. Various algae floated in front of them from time to time, creating very low visibility. After looping a circle, they slowly moved closer to the center of the lake.

The closer they got to the center, the deeper and muddier the water became. It was almost impossible for the flashlight to illuminate too far away. There were occasionally aquatic plants swaying at the bottom of the lake, floating in the water, gently brushing their bodies, as if it was a gentle girl wanting her lover to stay.

Although Shu He and Huo Jie didn’t see Jiang Lang’s death with their own eyes, they had killed a water monkey here two years ago and knew that Lake Wangyue wasn’t a safe artificial lake.

Suddenly, Huo Jie’s figure sank, as if he was being pulled down by something, and his whole body dropped sharply.

Shu He was in front of him and didn’t notice, but Liu Qingbo and Dong Zhi were behind him and could clearly see. Liu Qingbo stretched out his hand and grabbed Huo Jie’s shoulder in time, but because the force was so strong, his whole body also sank with him.

Dong Zhi hurriedly grabbed the clothes on Liu Qingbo’s shoulders.

With this catch, he knew how strong the force holding Huo Jie was. It wasn’t a force that humans could resist at all. He refused to let go of Liu Qingbo and was also dragged down. The three of them were involuntarily swept down, and the lower they went, the more rapid the surrounding water flow became, eventually forming a whirlpool that sucked everything inwards. Not only them, but also passing fish and all aquatic creatures were sucked in without exception as soon as they entered the scope of the whirlpool.

It was only then that Dong Zhi suddenly realized that when they came to this area, the reason why all the surrounding fish had disappeared all at once was because they were instinctively avoiding danger.

But why did such a whirlpool appear in an artificial lake? Was it related to Jiang Lang’s death?

His eyes were cloudy due to the turbid water, and his flashlight had been swept away. His hand was still holding onto Liu Qingbo’s clothes tightly as they drifted with the current, circling in the water, unable to distinguish between north and south or east and west. Dong Zhi felt as if he had become dirty laundry that was loaded in a front-load washing machine that was kept running with no pause, spinning until all the clothes were completely dehydrated.

Time had become a useless foil. Dong Zhi didn’t know how long he had been rolling in this “washing machine”. When he realized that he had surfaced, his whole body was still light, and his head was spinning frantically like a disco ball. He had to close his eyes and wait for the dizziness to completely pass.

“This is… Where?” Huo Jie’s voice also seemed like he had been floating in outer space and hadn’t returned to earth yet.

“Didn’t you go under the water two years ago? You didn’t find it here at that time?” Liu Qingbo covered his head and groaned.

Huo Jie leaned back on the stone and panted. “No, where’s Shu He?”

When he said this, the others discovered that Shu He was gone.

Dong Zhi said, “He was in front just now, and I guess he didn’t see us being dragged in by the whirlpool.”

Liu Qingbo took a look at it with his flashlight and found that it was a concave cave. It seemed this was formed a long time ago when water was used to fill it, but when the water level dropped, a hollow area was created. There was also a small place to rest on the side, and you could breathe even if you took off the scuba equipment.

The three of them were drenched. Although they were practitioners, no one liked the feeling of being sticky, wet, and cold and unable to change clothes.

Dong Zhi opened a small waterproof bag, reached in and took out a few things for a while, then threw them away separately.

“What are you doing bringing a heat pad* when we’re going into water?!”

*It’s a heat pad that becomes warm through a chemical reaction in the pad (no electricity or other things required).

Liu Qingbo took a look at his hand, showing an expression of whether he was crazy.

Dong Zhi said innocently, “Such a bag can’t fit in a pocket. I just bought it when I bought water in the school store. It only takes a moment to stick to my stomach and it’s better than nothing.”

The corners of Liu Qingbo’s mouth twitched. He wanted to smear this heat pad all over Dong Zhi’s face, but in the end, he resignedly tore off the package and stuck it on himself.

Huo Jie could barely contain his praise. “Man, it feels really nice, like qi is being delivered to your dantian except it’s on your stomach!”

Dong Zhi happily said, “Right? Next time you need to go into the water, take it with you!”

Liu Qingbo: …Why are you taking it so seriously when people are casually complimenting you?

He felt that his cultivation was really getting better. In order to save some face for his leader, Dong Zhi, he actually had to endure and hold back this sentence abruptly.

The three of them breathed a sigh of relief and began to discuss countermeasures.

The oxygen in this cave was very thin, so it was impossible to stay for a long time, and they would eventually have to go back into the water.

Liu Qingbo thought it was odd. “Lake Wangyue is an artificial lake, and you can see the opposite side from a glance. Where did this kind of cave come from?”

Huo Jie said, “The water from Lake Wangyue is drawn from Lake Dianshan, but the pipeline shouldn’t be here.”

It was most definitely not here. This cave wasn’t artificially carved out.

“It’s said that there was a big puddle at the time and it would get muddy everywhere when it rained. The water in the puddle wouldn’t dry all year round, which had a great impact on the surrounding residents. Later, the pit was simply transformed into the current artificial lake. Now it has become part of the landscape, but I’ve never heard of whirlpools in puddles before.”

Liu Qingbo: “Where did you catch the water monkey?”

Huo Jie: “I saw it soon after I went into the water. It was easy to find it, but it took some effort to catch it. Later, we looked at the lake again, but we didn’t find any.”

Liu Qingbo shrugged. “It looks like we’re going to return in vain today.”

Dong Zhi suddenly shh.

He lowered his voice. “Look… On the opposite side.”

Liu Huo and Huo Jie looked in the direction he was saying.

The cave wasn’t big, so the flashlight could barely reach the opposite side. In the faint light, only wet stones being slapped by the lake water and the slightly rippling water surface were visible.

“Yes—” Liu Qingbo wanted to say something, until he saw it. A hoop was hooked on a rock with sharp edges and corners protruding forward from the lake. On a closer look, it seemed to be a link from a chain.

The three of them were silent, but many questions popped up in their hearts. This chain link looked very thick, and they didn’t know what it was connected to, but Huo Jie could be sure that there was no such thing in Lake Wangyue.

Since it wasn’t from Lake Wangyue, where did it come from?

Lake Dianshan?

Dong Zhi said, “I’ll go and have a look.”

Before anyone else could speak, his body sank and he had already entered the water again. He swam over with both hands, grabbed the chain, and plunged his head in again.

Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie also got back into the water. They quickly found that the iron chain was very long; so long that it was dragged down for several meters. They tried pulling it for a few meters before they gave up.

Dong Zhi proposed, “How about Lao Liu and I follow the iron chain and have a look. Huo Ge, will you go back and report this first?”

Of course, Huo Jie vetoed it: “I’ll join you.”

The three of them reached an agreement and decided to swim along one end of the chain to find out what it was attached to.

The chain was almost as thick as an adult man’s arm. It was freezing cold to the touch, but at least with this chain as a guide, they would have a sense of direction when they swam, and they wouldn’t get lost again. It was about half an hour later when the doubts in all three of them not only didn’t diminish but grew stronger.

Huo Jie suspected that they had already passed through the bottom of Lake Wangyue and came to another lake because there was no iron chain in Lake Wangyue and it was impossible for them to swim for so long without losing sight of their heads.

The chain gradually extended upward, as if directly connected to the surface of the lake. A faint light slowly swayed across the lake.

The oxygen in their scuba tank was getting low, so the three of them immediately accelerated upwards.

Water splashed everywhere when Dong Zhi surfaced. He wiped the water away from his face and opened his eyes and looked around. He was dumbfounded.

Not only him, but Liu Qingbo and Huo Jie were also a little dazed.

Why was it another hole?

The iron chain was connected from underwater to the water, and then extended deep into a cave in front, with no end in sight.

The luminous object they originally saw underwater that they originally thought might be a light emitted by a fishing boat or something similar, was actually a light source that was on a stone in the cave, blue and faint. It wasn’t the same as the flowers that Dong Zhi saw in the underground cave of Yinchuan.

“It seems to be phosphorescent.” Huo Jie said after taking a look.

Dong Zhi said, “We just went into the water at Lake Wangyue. Will we have reached Lake Dianshan by now?”

Huo Jie said, “It’s possible, but it’s not clear where Lake Dianshan is. Let’s go ahead and have a look.”

As soon as his voice fell, the chain moved. None of the three of them touched the iron chain, but it suddenly slid down, like…

Like something on the other end was pulling it.

Liu Qingbo had a strange feeling in his heart. He bent over and grabbed the iron chain in his hand and began to drag it in the opposite direction. Huo Jie and Dong Zhi saw and helped. They quickly found that there was also a force in the opposite direction to contend with them. The force was so great that the three of them were caught off guard and almost all of them were dragged back into the water.

They glanced at each other. Their hearts became more horrified, and they accelerated their speed and pulled the chain to their side.

One meter, ten meters, twenty meters; more and more of the iron chain pile under their feet. The force that was pulling against them was also increasing in strength. The three of them had to use dark force*. Huo Jie shouted and sat down crossed-legged while holding the iron chain firmly in his hand, like a fixed mountain stone. Dong Zhi suddenly found that the pressure was a lot less.

*I don’t really get it, but apparently, it’s a training method for kung fu and stuff (like boxing), but like an extreme method when releasing a type of force.

“Are you practicing a 1,000-pound drop?” Liu Qingbo glanced at him curiously.

Huo Jie shrugged. “I don’t know if it’s true. I’ve been practicing with Master in the mountains since I was a child, and Master didn’t give it a name. After going down the mountain, for the sake of prestige, I gave it a name myself. It’s called Dinghai Shenzhen.”

While speaking, the power on the other end of the chain seemed to have suddenly disappeared, causing Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo to lose their balance and stagger forward.

At this moment, Huo Jie suddenly frowned and said loudly, “There is something underwater; step back!”

Before the words were finished, a behemoth jumped out of the water, and its sturdy body rushed straight towards Dong Zhi’s head.

“Here?”

Tang Jing looked up at the surrounding environment and the rusty tin house that had been abandoned for a long time and couldn’t help frowning.

Ming Xian’s tracker showed the three places he had been to during this time, Yasheng High School, Garden Community, and here.

Yasheng High School was where he worked, and Garden Community was the teacher’s dorm. Only here, far from the city, wasn’t like a place that a high school teacher would go. It was the most conspicuous.

In his impression, Ming Xian wasn’t a person who would come to such a place. Even if he was hiding from eyes and ears, he would definitely choose a clean and beautiful setting.

Even if they didn’t know each other well enough, he had an inadvertent attention to Ming Xian that he himself didn’t notice but would unexpectedly pop up from the corner of his heart.

Tang Jing still remembered the two of them were kissing in the park, and Ming Xian was pressed against the tree trunk as he muttered dissatisfiedly. Tang Jing didn’t care at that time, but in hindsight, the other party said that his clothes were going to be soiled.

This person was a bit of a neat freak.

So if Ming Xian deliberately exposed this location to them, what was his intention?

Half an hour ago, Long Shen and Tang Jing had already gotten out of the car, and they walked this section on foot.

Song Zhicun also came to Shencheng with Long Shen this time. The summit of various countries was approaching. They didn’t come here specifically for this case, but since they happened to hit it, they couldn’t stay out of it. With Song Zhicun sitting in the branch office, Long Shen and Tang Jing could do whatever they wanted.

It was getting late, and few people passed by this section of the road. The front has been closed due to the renovation, but the sparse streetlights were still on. A lonely tin house stood there, which made the scene look even more desolated.

“Someone’s coming,” Tang Jing whispered.

They stood in the weeds on the side of the road and saw a car driving to the side and parked in front of the tin house.

The lights went out and a person stepped out.

It was Ming Xian.

The weeds were only half a person tall and not enough to cover their stature. What’s more, Ming Xian was also a practitioner, and he soon saw Long Shen and Tang Jing.

“Tangtang,” he greeted Tang Jing as usual, with a relaxed tone, as if they were still in that café next to the park.

Tang Jing’s eyes narrowed as he stared at him.

Mingxian laughed out loud. “Do you need to look at me like this? Anyway, I have provided you with a lot of clues.”

Tang Jing said, “Then do you want to abandon the dark and turn to the light? Care to trade a name?”

Ming Xian shrugged. “Even if I say yes, you won’t believe it.”

“If…” As soon as Tang Jing said those words, Ming Xian raised his hand to stop him.

“I think with Boss Long out here in person, even if I didn’t take the initiative to provide you with clues, you will be able to find it here soon. Why don’t we just be straightforward so as not to waste each other’s time.”

Ming Xian stretched out his hand and knocked on the door a few times.

The sound came far away in the quiet night.

A vigilant voice came from the room. “Who did you bring here?!”

Tang Jing’s response was to kick the door open directly.

Behind the door, a man covered with black cloth all over his body seemed to be choking himself. Looking at Ming Xian, Tang Jing, and Long Shen behind him, he suddenly turned around and ran, but Tang Jing was faster. He jumped in with a sweep of his figure, grabbed the opponent’s black robe and tore it off.

In the dim light, the man turned around and tried to grab back the black robe, but failed, and his panicked face caught everyone’s eyes.

Long Shen’s calm expression moved slightly.

“…Cheng Yuan?”

The man staggered and fell, holding himself with his hands around his shoulders, as if it was very cold, but he kept backing away. He stared at Long Shen, showing a look of fear and terror.

Long Shen’s face showed coldness.

“You have fallen so far.”

Cheng Yuan, a person who had also applied to the Special Administrative Bureau, also participated in Hui Yiguang’s case with Dong Zhi, Liu Qingbo, and the others, but later didn’t stay to the end. At that time, Dong Zhi had a good friendship with him and asked Long Shen about him. Long Shen didn’t say much, and only said succinctly that Cheng Yuan didn’t meet the standard.

In fact, Cheng Yuan’s unqualified performance wasn’t because of his lack of ability or poor grades, but because Long Shen and others saw, based on the questions he answered in the interview, that this person’s personality was too utilitarian and planned to observe him for a while, so he was unexpectedly rejected.

It was just that Long Shen didn’t expect that Cheng Yuan would appear here after failing his application.

He was covered with green and black veins, which seemed to be poisoned at first glance, but Long Shen knew that this was the manifestation of the long-term corruption of demonic energy. Ordinary people who were courted by demonic energy would over time become demonic corpses that were neither human nor ghosts, just like those ordinary people who were eroded by demonic energy on the train to Changchun. However, practitioners like Cheng Yuan could still retain their own sanity, and even their abilities would become stronger and more difficult to deal with because of the fusion between their qi and the demonic energy.


Kinky Thoughts:

For those who forgot, Cheng Yuan is the psychic during the Special Administration test arc.


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Bu Tian Gang Ch98

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 98

After hanging up the phone, Ming Xian hailed a taxi and took it to another district, then transferred to the subway before finally coming to an abandoned factory on the outskirts of town.

It was at least a two-hour drive from the city center. For many people who had just arrived in Shencheng, they may find it difficult to imagine that the prosperous international city in their impressions would have such a desolate place.

Ming Xian walked to the tin house next to the factory, raised his hand, and knocked on it a few times.

The door opened quickly, and a tone of dissatisfaction came from the darkness.

“Don’t knock so loudly. I can hear it!”

The voice wasn’t old, young even, but it was gloomy, like a dark cloud that covered the skies in June and was about to herald in a violent storm at any moment.

However, Ming Xian was indifferent to this. He followed the other party into the dimly lit room and took a brief panoramic glance at the harsh environment.

“Why don’t you change to a better place?” He didn’t think the other party lacked money to this extent.

The man said gloomily, “Do you think I don’t want to? However, my soul refining practice creates too many movements. There are too many old women in the city and any little trouble would make them run to the police. To avoid making any mistakes, I can only help Mr. Otowa here. Stop talking nonsense. What the hell are you doing?”

“It’s just soul refining,” Ming Xian said lightly. “I don’t care how many people you want to kill, but you were almost discovered at the Anime Convention, and now you’re doing it at Lake Wangyue. Do you know that those places are being targeted by the Special Administration Bureau? They already suspect me.”

The man sneered, “Isn’t that good? You’re responsible for diverting their target while I carry out the plans.”

Ming Xian still looked indifferent. “I won’t help you clean up your mess. You have to do it somewhere else.”

The man categorically refused. “Impossible! Shencheng has a large population and a lot of vitality. It just happens that the veins of the earth flow there, and there’s a killer weapon that I have prepared for a long time. Now only two lives are needed, and the seal can be broken. At that time, Mr. Otowa’s goal will be one step closer. Going a step further, since you know that the Special Administration Bureau is eyeing us, you should come forward and help me lead them away!”

Ming Xian: “Do you think the people in the Special Administration Bureau are fools? Sooner or later, they will find out about you.”

The man raised his eyes and stared at him. His eyes were bloodshot, and his face was covered with blue veins, which looked especially terrifying.

“All you have to do is help me delay them through this time period. When the seal is broken, we can leave!”

Ming Xian: “I can’t guarantee this.”

The man sneered. “Ming Xian, don’t forget who your master is, and don’t forget who made you into a human from a zither. If you refuse to cooperate, you’ll end up ruining Mr. Otowa’s big plans. Can you afford the consequences!”

Ming Xian remained cold and indifferent, refusing to budge an inch. “My master is Mr. Otowa, not you. It’s not up to you to decide what the consequences will be. You just need to do your own part well. That’s enough.”

The man was furious. He grabbed an evocation flag and drew it directly towards him. Ming Xian stepped back and a silk thread in his hand shot out, firmly entangling the opponent’s hand. With a little force, the man screamed and was pushed forward involuntarily and staggered to the ground.

Ming Xian didn’t have any interest in beating a drowning dog*, so he just said, “Be a lackey and don’t cause me any trouble.”

*Idiom referring to hitting someone while they are down.

“Yes?”

The man’s voice suddenly changed its tone, vaguely echoing. Strands of black air rose behind him, gradually forming a vague black shadow.

Ming Xian frowned slightly.

“Ming Xian, Otowa Ming Xian.” The young voice gradually became old, and Ming Xian was startled by the familiar tone of voice.

“Otowa… sir? How are you?”

The man’s mouth opened and closed; his eyes were godless, like a puppet.

“He has a trace of my magic on him, and I can use him to monitor the progress of my plans.”

Ming Xian lowered his eyes to cover his emotions. “I see.”

The man smiled gloomily. “The destruction of the stone tablet is very important to us. Although Long Shen and the others tried their best to stop it, the fact remains that fate cannot be transferred to anyone’s will. Our Demon Lord is destined to resurrect and rise again, and the gates of hell will open, returning the world into the abyss. Ming Xian, my dear child. Shencheng is very critical. No matter what he wants you to do, you must cooperate, understand?”

Ming Xian was silent for a moment. “I understand.”

“I believe you can do it. Don’t let me down.”

After saying these words, the black energy suddenly retracted into his body and the man’s body softened. He knelt down on the ground and coughed violently, choking on his tears.

Ming Xian looked at the other party’s embarrassed appearance coldly and had no interest in coming forward to help.

The man held his grudge when he saw this, but since a good man didn’t suffer from immediate loss*, he gloomily said, “Now it’s clear. I have the demonic aura of Mr. Otowa in me. You’d better not fight me!”

*Colloquialism referring to a wise person’s ability to understand the current affair and temporarily avoid unfavorable situations so as not to suffer losses and humiliation. || Basically, he knows he can’t fight Ming Xian, and so to avoid further humiliation, he relents on trying to repay his grudge.

Ming Xian condescendingly looked at him with his hand clasped behind his back, just like he was looking at a vicious dog that was all bark but no bite.

“You’re just a microphone for Mr. Otowa. Play your part well so as not to be abandoned when you’re useless.”

“You!” The man was furious, but he didn’t dare act up again. He knew he wasn’t Ming Xian’s opponent. “I heard that you still have a part of a Chinese soul in you. When Mr. Otowa promoted your transformation, he also integrated a person named Dong Jilan into your body. Are you still thinking about taking the opportunity to seek refuge with the Special Administration Bureau?”

Ming Xian had no interest in bickering with him, so he turned and left.

The man sneered behind him.

“I advise you not to be delusional. If you have Chinese blood on your hands, the Special Administration Bureau won’t want you! According to Mr. Otowa’s instructions, you’d better remember that there are still two lives left, and I will be done soon!”

Ming Xian’s footsteps didn’t waver even for half a second.

The progress on Dong Zhi’s side wasn’t going well.

The boy, named Jiang Lang, had stopped breathing when he was taken to the hospital. At the strong request of his parents, the medical staff tried their best to rescue him, but the rescue was ineffective, and the boy was sent to the morgue. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo then rushed over and intervened in the investigation in an official capacity. However, after an hour at the hospital, the two of them found no traces of foul play on the body.

In other words, the other party did indeed die by drowning.

The two of them were a little disappointed by this result, but they soon received word from the police that Jiang Lang’s parents, due to excessive sadness, were angry at the girl who rejected Jiang Lang’s confession. The two sides were now quarrelling on campus. This kind of dispute had nothing to do with them, but the two of them wanted to look for clues at the school, so they rushed over again.

As for the other party, An’an, this was a complete disaster.

She had no relationship with Jiang Lang, and she simply refused the other party’s confession. Who would have thought that Jiang Lang couldn’t bear it and ran into the lake to commit suicide? It couldn’t be any more wrong to put the blame on Fang An’an.

However, for parents who had just lost their child, they had also lost their reason. They ran directly to Fang An’an’s dorm and found her locked in her room. They yelled at her to come out. Jiang Lang’s mother even made gestures with her hand that scared a little sophomore girl, making her face turn pale with fright. The teachers hurried over, and the scene delved into chaos.

When Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo passed by, Jiang Lang’s parents had already been taken away by school security. Fang An’an was crying silently in the dorm while her roommates and classmates were all comforting her. The dorm administrator brought Dong Zhi and them in, and the group of little girls stared at them. With the presence of two strange men, their originally panicked expression became even more uneasy.

“Hello, students. We are the police. I want to come over and ask Fang An’an a few questions. Would you please go out for a while? Just for a few minutes.”

Seeing Fang An’an’s face showing fear, the dormitory administrator hurriedly said, “Don’t be afraid. I will be here too.”

Dong Zhi bent over and looked at Fang An’an and said warmly, “Don’t be afraid. I heard from your teacher just now that Jiang Lang’s parents were beating people and it was caught on surveillance. I can help you get justice.”

Perhaps it was his approachable tone or his gentle and harmless appearance, but it made Fang An’an gradually lower her guard.

After everyone went out, Fang An’an, accompanied by a teacher, told the story about last night.

The matter was very simple. Jiang Lang called her to the lake, confessed, and then was rejected. She left quickly and didn’t stay long at all. Moreover, it was too dark at the time. Fang An’an didn’t even see Jiang Lang’s expression clearly.

Lake Wangyue had surveillance, but the trouble was that the place they were in that night happened to be a blind spot.

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo failed to gather any clues from Fang An’an’s testimony. Since Jiang Lang’s death happened after she left, Fang An’an didn’t witness the scene at all.

After comforting the little girl with a few words, they got up and left the girls’ dormitory.

When passing by one of the dorms on the same floor, a little girl poked out her head and asked timidly, “Excuse me, are you a policeman?”

Dong Zhi turned his head and smiled at her. “Yes, is there anything wrong?”

The chubby girl looked around, took another step forward, and lowered her voice. “Do you believe there are demons in this world?”

If this was someone else, one would think that the girl was joking and would just turn around and leave, but Dong Zhi was taken aback and nodded. “I do.”

Yin Xiangxue got excited. She thought she would be scolded, but she didn’t expect the other party to respond positively.

“I—I saw how Jiang Lang died!”

Dong Zhi’s expression became serious. “Did you really see it?”

Yin Xiangxue: “Yes, I saw Jiang Lang go to the lake at that time. I was curious, so I followed him. I didn’t expect him to make an appointment with Fang An’an. Later, when Fang An’an left, and I saw…”

Thinking back to what she saw that night, she still couldn’t help shuddering, and she couldn’t spit out the words to her mouth.

“Don’t be nervous.” Dong Zhi patted her shoulder, seemingly to encourage her, but in fact, with a casual stroke he raised the yang fire on her shoulder with his Bu Tian Gang.

Everyone was born with yang fire on their heads and shoulders, which could exorcise evil spirits and reduce yin. If the yang fire was extinguished, their luck would decline.

Yin Xiangxue didn’t know why, but she suddenly felt her body becoming warmer and her courage was suddenly lifted up as she loudly spoke up with great triumph.

“Then I saw Jiang Lang standing there muttering to himself, not knowing who he was talking to. There seemed to be questions and answers, and he was talking and laughing. I was so scared that I didn’t dare run over and look. As a result, Jiang Lang climbed onto the rocks by the lake himself and then slowly went into the water…” She swallowed. “Then drowned.”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other, and both of them were silent. Liu Qingbo said, “Then did you see anything strange?”

Yin Xiangxue thought for a while, then suddenly said, “That’s right! I also saw a dark thing floating in the water. I don’t know what it was. Jiang Lang stretched out his hand to pull it, as if calling Fang An’an’s name!”

This matter was too strange. Yin Xiangxue didn’t dare tell anyone, for fear that others would think she was making up nonsense, or that she had pushed Jiang Lang into the water herself, so she kept holding it in her heart and became even more scared. When she saw Dong Zhi just now coming to question Fang An’an, and heard that they were from the police, she couldn’t help but call out to them.

At that moment, the phone rang.

Dong Zhi picked it up. “Boss Tang?”

Tang Jing didn’t say any superfluous greetings and went straight to the point. “Where are you now?”

Dong Zhi looked up. “The second floor of the girls’ dormitory of the high school of Yasheng Private School.”

Tang Jing said, “Just right. I want you to go to the high school department and check on someone. His name is Ming Xian. If there are no issues, he should be a Chinese teacher in the high school department there.”

Dong Zhi keenly knew the meaning of his words. “What do you mean if there are no issues? Is his identity fake?”

Tang Jing said lightly, “I hope not, but my hope may be in vain. I suspect that this person has something to do with the recent soul eaters at the Anime Convention as well as the cases involving Yasheng High School. After you meet him, be sure he’s brought back into the bureau for questioning.”

After Dong Zhi agreed, he heard that there seemed to be someone talking on the other end of the line, and the sound was quite familiar, so he didn’t hang up.

“Boss Tang, your side…”

Tang Jing then casually said, “Oh, by the way, your master is here too.”

Dong Zhi: ??!

At that moment, his hair almost exploded all over his body, and even his expression became extremely weird.

Liu Qingbo didn’t know what Tang Jing said. Seeing him like this, he made a questioning gesture.

Dong Zhi really didn’t know how to describe his mood at the moment, so he waved his hand at him to indicate that he was okay.

He couldn’t help but touch his heart, which was beating a little too fast. For fear that his voice would tremble, he could only use a few seconds to calm himself down quickly.

Tang Jing said hello twice, then said to Long Shen, “The kid hung up the phone without even saying a word.”

Then he disconnected the call.

Dong Zhi had done a good job of mental construction and was about to answer when he heard the dial tone on the other end. He couldn’t laugh or cry.

Liu Qingbo urged impatiently: “What did he say?”

Dong Zhi settled down, put away the phone, and decided to get down to business first.

The two went to the high school, found the person in charge of the personnel department, and asked for a person named Ming Xian.

The person in charge said, “Teacher Ming is our new teacher who just came this semester, but something seems to have happened to his family, and he said he wanted to resign. The resignation report had been handed in. Today’s the school festival, so he was still saying his goodbyes to his students on the playground just now.”

Dong Zhi said strangely, “As soon as the semester had just started, he resigned?”

The person in charge smiled bitterly. “Yes. I’m a bit surprised too, but if someone wants to leave, it’s not like we can stop them! If you want to find him, you may still be able to see him if you go to the playground now.”

Dong Zhi asked, “Are there any photos?”

The person in charge said yes, found the high school teacher profile files and flipped through them before he presented them with a photo.

“Here.”

Liu Qingbo glanced at it, only to feel inexplicably familiar, but he couldn’t remember it for a while, and said casually, “If you recruit such a good-looking teacher, aren’t you afraid that it will distract the female students from their studies?”

The person in charge laughed. “You don’t have to tell me. This teacher Ming has become the most popular male teacher in our school not long after he came. Those sloppy teachers have stepped aside. I heard that Teacher Ming’s is very good that even the principal felt sorry for his departure!”

Dong Zhi didn’t say a word, and suddenly turn his head and ran out. Liu Qingbo was inexplicable and hurried to follow.

“What’s wrong with you!”

Dong Zhi said with a calm face: “I have seen this person in Liang Weiqi’s tomb. He was with Fujikawa Aoi and the others!”

Liu Qingbo wrinkled his brows and thought for a moment, then suddenly realized. “Is that the one who escaped after being injured by you?”

Dong Zhi: “Yes!”

When he was underground under Mount Helan, next to the alter, at that time, Dong Zhi didn’t know Ming Xian’s name. He thought the man looked very beautiful, but his behavior was quite strange. He obviously had multiple opportunities to kill him, but he didn’t do it. He was with Fujikawa Aoi and wanted to destroy the stone tablet, which obviously wasn’t a good thing, but at that time, everyone was busy dealing with demons and Fujikawa’s men, such as Liu Qingbo, that they didn’t have time to pay attention to Ming Xian’s appearance.

After returning from Yinchuan, Dong Zhi painted a portrait according to his memories. The Special Administration Bureau had searched for this person’s whereabouts, but unexpectedly, with their opponent’s ability, it wasn’t difficult to avoid the eyes and ears of the Special Administration Bureau. If he ran back to Japan, it would be even more impossible to find him.

Who would have thought that after wearing out iron shoes*, Ming Xian would be found in a high school in Shengcheng.

*(踏破铁鞋) Metaphor for sparing no effort in searching for something.

Did the other party want to hide in the world or, like Yamamoto Kiyoshi, feel that with so many people in Shencheng, it was a convenient place for hiding?

While talking, the two of them had already arrived at the playground. The school festival here was nearing its end. People were in groups of three or five, talking, laughing, and exchanging pleasantries. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo split up to find their target, but looking through a crowded playground, it was difficult to find Ming Xian in it.

The two of them were like swimming against the current of the crowd, sweeping their eyes from one face to another until eventually they started developing a faint cognitive discrimination disorder where they started confusing the faces of men and women together.

Dong Zhi finally found a student who helped maintain order and asked him if he had seen Ming Xian or if he knew a student that had seen him.

Who knew that the student pointed somewhere and said, “Teacher Ming is there. I just came from there!”

Dong Zhi: “You take me there; I urgently need to find him!”

“Okay!” The student happily agreed, leading Dong Zhi as they swam left and right through the crowd and finally stumbled upon a large group.

He glanced around, grabbed his classmate, and asked, “Where’s Teacher Ming?”

The classmate said, “Teacher Ming went to the back mountain of the school and said he wanted to go there to take some photos as a souvenir.”

Dong Zhi’s heart sank. He felt that with Ming Xian’s ability, it was impossible that he hadn’t found out that he was being followed until now. The only possibility was that he had already known and was deliberately leading them there.

Even if he knew that it was likely to be a trap, he had to get past it.

Dong Zhi took out his phone and called Liu Qingbo.

“Lao Liu, don’t look for him. I know where he is. Come and meet up first.”

Yasheng High School was located in the suburbs, surrounded by mountains and rivers. The water of Lake Wangyue came from Mount Yuzan.

Just like Lake Wangyue was an artificial lake, the altitude of Mount Yuzan was less than 500 meters. Originally, it didn’t even have a name. The locals called it Mount Tuwei, which was renamed later to Mount Yuzan by the school as they felt Mount Tuwei was too unpleasant sounding and would make people think such a name was too tasteless and they wouldn’t come. As soon as the name was changed, it became much more elegant*.

*Original name Mount Tuwei = Bald-Tailed Mountain it was renamed to Mount Yuzan = Jade Hairpin Mountain.

But this mountain really wasn’t that big. It was quite small but was unique and exquisite. Usually in spring and autumn, the schoolteachers would occasionally take their students to do outdoor activities and they often would come to Mount Yuzan. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo rang quickly, following the guide signs, and reached halfway up the mountain.

Since it was winter now, no one was climbing up the mountain. When Dong Zhi saw a figure in the pavilion halfway up, he subconsciously paused.

“Ming Xian?!”

The other party was unhurried, as if he had expected it, and turned around and smiled at them.

Sure enough, it was him. Dong Zhi’s heart sank, and he clenched the Changshou Sword in his hand.

“We meet again.” Ming Xian obviously remembered him as well. “I’m sorry about the last time. I didn’t mean to kill you.”

The other party talked like they were old friends, relaxed and natural, while, on the contrary, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were quite nervous.

Dong Zhi didn’t let down his guard. “We have our own positions, so I’m afraid I can’t apologize. This time, you’re alone?”

“I know what you want to ask.” Ming Xian smiled slightly, took out a black gadget from his pocket, and threw it to Dong Zhi.

When Dong Zhi picked it up, he was a little cautious for fear that the other party would make a small move, only to find out that it seemed to be an… electronic device?

“A tracker.” Ming Xian solved his doubts.

Dong Zhi: “Whose?”

Ming Xian: “Tang Jing is one of you, right? He put it on me. Just ask him, but this time, you have found the wrong person. It’s not me who created the soul eaters, and it wasn’t me who killed Jiang Lang.”

Liu Qingbo snorted coldly. “Whether it is or not, you have to go back with us to assist in the investigation first!”

He didn’t have a good impression of the person in front of him. Last time, he was the one who threw the explosives into the alter. If it weren’t for his quick reaction in the end, they all would’ve been sleeping underground with the stone tablet by now. How would they even be here to arrest such a person?

Ming Xian shook his head and jumped up suddenly, but instead of running down the mountain, he turned and leaped towards the outside of the pavilion off a cliff.

It was too late to act as he was too fast. Dong Zhi, who had been staring at his every move, also rushed out and chased him closely, and jumped off the cliff as well.

Liu Qingbo: What the fuck?! Look where you’re jumping. There’s a fucking cliff behind this thing!

He was bewildered.


The author has something to say:

Dong Jilan is mentioned in chapters 63 and 64.


Kinky Thoughts:

For those who forgot, Dong Jilan is an agent from the Special Administration Bureau sent to Japan to thwart some evil thing. His body was never found, and Long Shen wanted to use Fujikawa Aoi’s release as a bargaining chip to get him back or at least determine if he’s dead. Also note that Dong Jilan and Dong Zhi are not related (the Dong are different Chinese characters).


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Bu Tian Gang Ch97

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 97: The truth wasn’t like that.

She ran back to the dorms like this. While climbing the stairs, Yin Xiangyue looked at Fang An’an, who was coming downstairs, and she suddenly screamed. She quickly turned around and ran away, leaving Fang An’an with an explicable expression on her face as she turned and asked her classmate, “What’s wrong with her?”

The classmate shrugged. “Who knows? Hasn’t Yin Xiangxue always been neurotic?”

Fang An’an thought about it and didn’t take it to heart.

Yin Xiangxue took a different staircase and returned to her dorm. She was in shock. She sat on the bed most of the night while ignoring anyone that spoke to her.

Although her popularity wasn’t particularly high, her roommate was afraid something was off with her and asked her what was wrong.

Yin Xiangxue raised her head and glanced at her roommate. Her face was pale and full of fear, but she didn’t say anything. When her roommate saw that she couldn’t get a response from Yin Xiangxue, she simply ignored her.

Yin Xiangxue usually slept pretty well. As soon as her head touched a pillow, she could drift off into slumber, but tonight, she had unprecedented insomnia. She kept her eyes open in a daze until it was almost dawn.

Early the next morning, someone from the well-informed dormitory next door ran over and yelled, “Something’s wrong!”

Yin Xiangxue’s body trembled. As if she had a premonition, her whole body that wanted to get up shrank back into the blanket.

Sure enough, she heard her classmates stammering, “I heard that Jiang Lang didn’t come back at all last night. Then his roommate went to tell the teacher that the teacher and the school staff were looking for him all night. Guess what?”

Jiang Lang was the focus of everyone’s attention at school. Her roommate urged the speaker not to be coy and to tell the story quickly.

Yin Xiangxue’s heart sank a little bit.

The classmate said, with a ghastly face, “Jiang Lang jumped into the lake and died. They fished up his body last night. I heard… I heard that he asked Fang An’an to go to the lake last night so he could confess. Fang An’an rejected him, and he must’ve lost his mind for a bit, so…”

A girl screamed. “It’s impossible! How can he like Fang An’an!”

Someone asked again, “Is he really dead?”

The classmate who came to deliver the news cried out, “I, I didn’t see it, but I saw him covered with a white cloth, and the police are here!”

Her crying infected other girls, and soon the entire girl’s dormitory was filled with crying.

Yin Xiangxue shrank into the quilt, covering her head and face.

She was trembling. Rather than crying, she was afraid.

Soon, the news that Fang An’an rejected Jiang Lang, causing him to jump into the lake to commit suicide, spread around campus.

All the girls who liked Jiang Lang felt a dark cloud in their hearts and were deeply saddened by his death. Many were jealous of Fang An’an because of this and thought she had indirectly killed him.

Today was originally supposed to be a big day for the school festival; with such big news, the school struggled to finish it.

Everyone felt that Jiang Liang’s life was smooth sailing, and he wouldn’t accept a small setback like this and embarked on a road of no return.

Only Yin Xiangxue knew the truth wasn’t like that.

The high price of the Shangqing pills fetch on the black market showed that they were indeed worth the money in some ways.

At least after he took the medicine and after a day of rest, Dong Zhi felt a lot better. The symptoms of faint chest pains that appeared from time to time have also disappeared. He even felt that he could immediately wave his sword in the sky and attract up to ten heavenly lightnings. Of course, in order to avoid hitting Liu Qingbo, he dismissed this idea.

Early the next morning, the two set off for Lake Wangyue, as written in the file. Although there was a direct subway station near their destination, with both of them being armed, it was more convenient to take a taxi.

Seeing his appearance in good spirits, Liu Qingbo couldn’t help but wonder. “Is your injury really healed? No nightmares again?”

Dong Zhi shook his head.

Liu Qingbo frowned. “Then did you ask Boss Tang in private?”

Dong Zhi said helplessly, “I asked.”

After he used Shangqing pill yesterday, although he felt pretty good, he went to Tang Jing just to be extra cautious.

“He said that I don’t have magic energy on my body, and he couldn’t figure out the specific situation currently. He told me to use the Shangqing pill first to recuperate and then look into my issue in more detail when the soul eater matter comes to an end.”

Liu Qingbo didn’t believe it: “There is no magic energy? Then why did you get hurt in your dream?”

Dong Zhi shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know either.

It was also strange to say that since he fought the weird man in his dream on the plane that day, the choke marks on his neck had gradually faded and he hadn’t seen the culprit in his dreams or in reality.

Afterwards, he drew a picture of the culprit’s appearance and showed it to Tang Jing and passed it on to Long Shen, but no matter who saw it, they had never seen such a person.

There was a weird and terrifying guess in his heart.

Naturally, Liu Qingbo had also seen the portrait.

“Could the man you saw in your dream be Songen, who placed witchcraft on Han Qi?”

Dong Zhi said, “Songen should have a typical Southeast Asian look. You haven’t seen the man with your own eyes. He was too domineering and evil. I don’t feel like it’s Songen, but more like…”

He didn’t say any more as Liu Qingbo replied softly, “Mara.”

For a while, both of them were silent.

Although Dong Zhi survived in his dream, he had to invite God to counterattack with his Changshou Sword to repel his opponent, but the sense of oppression and deterrence of his opponent was so great that he still had lingering fears in retrospect, as if there was a hand that was still wrapped around his neck, ready to choke him to death at any moment.

Is this the power of a heavenly demon that could summon wind and rain and shake the world?

Even if he didn’t know any techniques at first, before he stepped into the cultivation world with half a foot, he had never felt such an aura even when facing Xu Wan, the Archfiend.

If this was the case, a heavenly demon was already difficult to deal with, and this was only a wisp of demonic energy. If its real body really did appear, could the combination of him, Liu Qingbo, and even Tang Jing, Wu Bingtian, and Long Shen be able to deal with it?

Rather, was there any power in this word that could stop a heavenly demon?

The two of them were lost in their own thoughts and said nothing all the way until they arrived at their destination.

Although Lake Wangyue was an artificial lake and covered a small area, it drew water from Lake Dianshan and was surrounded by green trees, which provided a lot of shade during the summer and a place to sunbathe on the benches in the winter. Thus, all year round, there were many people there, making the area quite lively.

When Dong Zhi got out of the car, he saw the conspicuous warning sign erected at the lake from a glance.

[The water here is deep. Swimming is not allowed.]

The black characters on a yellow background couldn’t be any clearer, yet accidents still occurred every year, which also added to the gossip of nearby residents.

Liu Qingbo looked around and saw that on the other side of the bridge, in the area separated by barbed wire, there were obviously many more people than here, and most of them were standing by the lake, including police officers.

“Man, is it such a coincidence that we stumble upon trouble the minute we arrive?”

Dong Zhi said, “The information seems to say that there’s a school over there. Let’s go and have a look.”

It was indeed a coincidence. When they passed by, Jiang Lang had already been transported away by ambulance. His parents, who were still crying and still held onto a glimmer of hope left with him, but everyone knew that Jiang Lang would probably never come back.

The police were exploring the surrounding environment to determine whether he had committed suicide. The area was fenced off, and others stood outside the restricted area to watch the excitement. There were many guests today due to the school festival. Unexpectedly, they became bystanders in the case. Everyone talked about Jiang Liang, a promising student, and they all couldn’t help but sigh.

Dong Zhi flashed his credentials and was able to enter. Although the Special Administration Bureau was mysterious, the departments were in frequent contact with each other due to the nature of their work, so when the policeman saw them, he became relieved.

“Brothers, you are too timely. I was just about to ask someone to invite you over!”

Dong Zhi walked with him to the lake. “Is there anything wrong? Isn’t it suicide?”

The other party said, “It’s not that there’s anything wrong. There were no traces of fighting or struggling, so it should be chalked up to suicide, but aren’t there incidents in Lake Wangyue in the past two years? I heard that you caught something in the lake last time… So… Your head had specifically talked with our head, saying that if we encounter anything relating to suicide again, we have to notify you guys.”

Liu Qingbo stepped on the stone and looked down. The lake was glistening. It wasn’t crystal clear, but compared to the ones in the cities, this was relatively clean. A few fallen leaves floated on it, but it only added a bit of melancholy to the scene. It was no wonder why nearby residents liked to linger here. Even the half of the lake that was owned by Yasheng High School was also featured in their pamphlet.

The sun was shining and warm. The lake was rippling, and occasionally fish would spew out bubbles. It was hard to imagine what would appear here, but Liu Qingbo wasn’t an ordinary resident. He knew that even if something happened underwater, the surface would appear calm.

He bent down, as if inadvertently sweeping the water with his hand.

The water was biting cold during the winter, but this cold wasn’t enough to make Liu Qingbo pull his hand away. He rolled up his sleeves and stirred the water several times. The water spread over his lower arms and slid between his fingers. Nothing.

Just as he was about to withdraw his hand, something seemed to pass through the back of his fingers at a very fast speed. Liu Qingbo grabbed it with his back hand but came up empty. Due to the speed, he leaned forward and almost fell into the water.

A hand suddenly grabbed his back collar.

Dong Zhi grabbed the person back and joked, “How old are you that you’re still playing with water?”

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes back. He raised the back of his hand and stuck out his middle finger. The fingernail was bent a bit and there was a shallow red mark, but he wasn’t sure if it was because of a fish or something else just now.

“What? Is there really something?” Dong Zhi asked.

“Nothing.”

Dong Zhi said, “I want to go to the hospital to see that boy first. He had just recently died, so maybe we can find some clues.”

“Alright.”

Liu Qingbo had no opinion. Although he usually quarreled with the other party, he also understood that when it comes to doing things, Dong Zhi was actually better than him in terms of carefulness and assessing the overall situation, so the two of them were able to cooperate tacitly as partners so far.

“Captain Long, I have already given the Shangqing pill to your little apprentice. Dare I ask when you will be here? The meeting will start next month.”

In front of the floor-to-ceiling windows with an excellent view, Tang Jing called Long Shen.

Looking for the stone tablet, the soul eater incident at the Anime Convention, and the upcoming international conference, all these things added up were making Tang Jing, the director of the side branch, overwhelmed.

To outsiders, they saw East China Branch as having deep pockets. Even their office was located in the most prosperous central area of a first-tier city. The conditions were comfortable and enough that they were miles ahead of any other branches. However, the more you get, the more you pay. This was also the busiest branch of them all. Without being capable, it was impossible to sit in Tang Jing’s position. Even the directors of other branches were among the best in the Special Administration Bureau.

Shu He knocked on the door twice and got a prompt to enter. He opened the door and saw Tang Jing had his two legs resting on the table, holding a phone in one hand and an unfinished cigarette in the other. He looked like an unprofessional yuppie.

He automatically and consciously lightened his steps, closed his mouth, sat at his desk, and waited for his leader to finish the call.

There was no long talk as imagined. This time, Tang Jing hung up the phone without saying much. Perhaps it was because the person on the other end of the phone didn’t like talking nonsense either.

“How is the inspection of the venue?” Tang Jing put out his cigarette, which he hadn’t smoked yet, in the ashtray.

Shu He said, “Everything is normal. This time we have strengthened our manpower and reorganized the venue again. From top to bottom, east to west, not a spot was missed and there will be no more mistakes.”

Tang Jing said, “Representatives from all over the world will be coming in a few days. This time, the specifications are high. Just in case, Boss Long and Boss Song will come over in person. You should do things well so as not to be picked on by these two and disgrace our branch.”

Shu He smiled in horror. “The two deputies of the General Administration coming out in person? This battle is too big!”

“It’s not big. After all, it’s a summit where leaders from all over the world gather. I don’t know how many pairs of eyes are staring secretly. It’s better to be safe than sorry.”

Tang Jing spoke slowly. Shu He found that he was holding a book in his arms. He seemed to be reading it as it was opened halfway.

“Yo, I didn’t expect that our Boss Tang also has the heart of a little girl!” Shu He’s eyes were sharp, and he found that it seemed to be a romance novel.

“It’s mainly for the plot, supplemented by romance.” Tang Jing corrected him.

Shu He shrugged. “Well, I don’t normally read novels, but if you strongly recommend it, I’ll definitely read it. Is the author a friend of yours?”

“I want you to help me find someone.” He raised the book in his hand. “This author.”

Shu He was puzzled. “What is the situation?”

Tang Jing said, “I checked on the internet. This author is very low-key. The real person never shows up and there’s no photo of him circulating online. The publishing house should have his ID information. Check it as soon as possible.”

Shu He seemed to understand something, but he pretended that he didn’t as he tentatively asked, “business or private?”

It was rare for Tang Jing to show a trace of hesitation. He paused for a while before replying, “It’s a private matter.”

“Oh—” Shu He stretched his tone, showing an unspoken smile.

Speaking of Cao Cao, Cao Cao arrived*. As soon as Shu He left, a call came from Ming Xian.

*Metaphor that refers to talking about someone who has arrived after is/just being discussed (AKA speak of the devil and he’ll appear).

Tang Jing smiled unconsciously. “I thought you wouldn’t call again.”

Ming Xian’s voice sounded a little embarrassed. “I was assigned to go abroad for training. Before I left, I thought about saying goodbye to you.”

Tang Jing was surprised. “I remember you just started your job, didn’t you?”

Ming Xian laughed. “It’s a long story. Why don’t we talk about it when we meet?”

Tang Jing naturally agreed.

The two of them made an appointment in a cafe next to a park. It was still daytime on a weekday, so there weren’t any guests besides them. As soon as Tang Jing and Ming Xian entered, it was equivalent to a private meeting.

“In fact, the training quota was originally not up to me. It just happened that a female teacher was pregnant, and it had to be pushed. After a comprehensive evaluation of various indicators, I was actually chosen.”

“Where and for how long?” Tang Jing put two sugar cubes into the other party’s coffee.

This was the habit that he had learned from Ming Xian when he took him home after the Anime Convention and made him coffee.

“Japan. It may be a year. The good news is that this should be a boost to my professional title after I come back.” Ming Xian gave me a helpless smile.

Tang Jing smiled back. “Then congratulations. “

Ming Xian laid down on the table, groaning. “I don’t want to leave my hometown. A year is too long.”

Tang Jing said, “Then you can also reject the quota.”

Ming Xian tilted his head to look at him: “Are you going to keep me?”

Tang Jing smiled charmingly at him. “What do you think?”

Ming Xian seemed to be encouraged, and he laughed. “I think you will.”

Tang Jing consciously teased enough. He lowered his head, took a sip of coffee, and then slowly said, “It’s only a year. It’ll pass by in the blink of an eye.”

Ming Xian said, unsure whether it was intentional, “One year is enough for many things to change, including fragile feelings.”

Tang Jing raised his eyebrows. “So, if I ask, will you stay?”

When Ming Xian heard this, his shoulders half collapsed, and he said weakly, “I just entered the school not long ago. After all, it was the leaders who wanted me to focus on my training, so they gave me such a place. If I don’t know what’s good from bad, my career will probably be frozen in the future.”

Tang Jing smiled. “Then, I wish you a safe journey.”

Ming Xian returned with a slightly astringent smile.

Tang Jing knew very well that the other party had a good impression of him, but this trace of a good impression wasn’t enough for him to keep him, nor was it enough for the other party to stay.

Their contact was too short, and it was only sex, which had aroused some confusion. But after that night, everything should be back on track.

Ming Xian said, “I don’t know if you have heard. There was an incident in our school. A boy committed suicide by jumping into the lake because of his lovelornness.”

Tang Jing stirred the coffee with his hand. “Jump into the lake? Lake Wangyue?”

Ming Xian nodded. With a sneaky expression, he lowered his voice and said mysteriously, “You’re a powerful person, right? What with your abilities to breathe fire and fly over walls, you probably work for the government, right? Will you accept my interview? Don’t worry, I won’t reveal any secrets. At most, I’ll use you as a prototype for the protagonist in my novels…”

Tang Jing pushed his face away. “You read too many comics. Have a cup of coffee and calm down.”

Ming Xian complained of a grievance. “We have even slept in the same bed, but you’re being so ruthless!”

Tang Jing raised his chin. “Then do you want me to pay you? I’ll do it, but I’m afraid it’ll be an insult to you.”

Ming Xian slapped his hand angrily.

Tang Jing: “Having said that, is your school by Lake Wangyue? Why haven’t I heard of it?”

Ming Xian said strangely: “Yasheng High School, a private high school. It’s quite famous. I teach Chinese in the high school department.”

Seeing that the other party had already finished his coffee, Tang Jing signaled the waiter so he could pay.

Ming Xian complained, “I still want to eat cake.”

Tang Jing laughed. “Aren’t you leaving? I happen to be free today to accompany you for a walk, or are you going to waste your time eating cakes here?”

Ming Xian: ……

“Congratulations, Mr. Tang. Your beauty trick has worked.” He solemnly stretched out his hand to Tang Jing.

Tang Jing grabbed his hand and shook it. “I’m flattered, but when it comes to beauty tricks, you’re better than me.”

The cold winter months in the south were gorgeous with the fallen leaves on the ground, yet there was no sense of desolation on the empty branches.

After leaving the café and walking to the area around the park, Ming Xian suddenly laughed out loud, causing Tang Jing to turn his head and look at him.

“I didn’t expect that I would come to the park with a man. I had the impression that this should be a place for the elderly or children.”

Tang Jing spread his hands. “I didn’t expect that I would sneak out to play with you during work hours. Fortunately, our boss isn’t here today; otherwise I will be scolded.”

Ming Xian blinked. “I thought you were the boss.”

Tang Jing: “What gave you that idea?”

Ming Xian laughed. “Although you try your best to be approachable, it’s inevitable that you’re still a bit domineering. It’s estimated that you’re used to being a leader. Have I ever told you that the intuition of an author is very sensitive?”

Someone was taking photos of two girls in ancient costumes not far away. They were posing under the guidance of the photographer.

Tang Jing glanced at it and then looked away.

“I heard that it’s popular for people who write novels to promote them with beautiful titles and author pictures. If you’re willing to expose your appearance, your fame will definitely be much greater than now.”

Ming Xian pursed his lips and wryly laughed. “I write novels as a hobby, and I have never thought about using this to gain popularity.”

Tang Jing was surprised. “I didn’t expect you to be someone with such advanced taste.”

Ming Xian smiled. “Did this deepen the degree of how much you like me by a bit?”

Tang Jing nodded. “Maybe more than a bit.”

He was being truthful.

Ming Xian’s heart moved slightly, and his face slowly turned red.

The way the two tall, handsome guys stood and talked together was very pleasing to the eye, and occasionally passersby couldn’t help but look over a few times.

Tang Jing leaned against the trunk of the tree and pulled out a cigarette to light it. Seeing that he was suddenly cramped, he couldn’t help but tease. “What kind of content were you thinking that isn’t suitable for children?”

Ming Xian coughed softly, refusing to admit it and casually finding a different topic. “I’m just looking at the girls over there. None of them are as good-looking as you.”

Then he heard Tang Jing approach his ear and whisper something extremely inappropriate for children.

Ming Xian almost choked to death on his own saliva.

What Tang Jing said was, “Are you thinking about me wearing women’s clothing while I fuck you?”

Ming Xian’s face flushed, and he didn’t know if it was because he was coughing so much or because he was embarrassed and ashamed.

Then Tang Jing kissed him.

The tobacco-flavored lips made Ming Xian subconsciously resist. He raised his hand to push his shoulder, but his wrist was caught and pressed against the trunk of the tree.

The stout tree trunks barely covered the stature of the two of them. Passersby quickly walked by them, not realizing that they were two men, but even if they knew, they were too embarrassed to stop and watch.

However, in broad daylight, the sense of shame in public still made Ming Xian’s hands and feet soft, and he could only slowly raise his slender neck and let the other party plunder his mouth.

“Your place or mine?”

The breath blew on his face and the smell of tobacco was faintly cold, making Ming Xian dizzy for a while.

He raised his other uncontrolled hand to cover his eyes, as if he couldn’t stand the dazzling sunlight, and murmured, “No, I really have to go back and pack my things…”

“Really?” Tang Jing raised his knees and pushed them against a place where there was already a reaction.

“Really!” Ming Xian took a deep breath, used some strength, pushed the other party away a few steps, and groaned, “I really have something to do—”

Tang Jing raised his brows.

Ming Xian changed his words spinelessly. “Tomorrow!”

Tang Jing burst out laughing very shamelessly.

Ming Xian: ……

His hand that was covering his eyes was raised to support his forehead.

The two left the park and parted at the entrance of the café. Tang Jing offered to give Ming Xian a ride, but he refused, saying that he was going to see a relative and didn’t want to be a bother. Tang Jing didn’t force the issue and just left by car.

Ming Xian stood on the side of the street, watching the vehicle pass through the traffic light intersection and drift away, before picking up his phone.

When the phone connected, he said to the person on the other line, “I want to see you.”

When he faced Tang Jing just now, that carefree smile completely disappeared. Coldness and indifference replaced the former, completely the opposite of how he was.

“I’m going to look for you.”


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch96

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 96: The prosperity and peace that these eyes can see need someone to guard them.

Liu Qingbo looked at Dong Zhi.

The other party, like him, was moving slowly along the wall, coping with the attacks of two strange beasts from time to time.

Despite suffering internal injuries that hadn’t recovered yet, the other party had still persisted until now and hadn’t unloaded all the burden onto him. When he first entered the Special Administration Bureau, Liu Qingbo looked at this soft, cute, and good-tempered appearance and couldn’t believe that such a person could join. It must be that the examiner was blind, but then he recognized the strength and perseverance of the other party. Until now, he couldn’t help but admit that the persistence and pride of the other person weren’t less than his own.

A name given because he was born on the Winter Solstice. It was an ordinary name that heralded the day of ice and snow and the return of all things but had a temperament that could withstand the tempering fire that could forge gold and stone.

This was his partner.

With this partner, he could be rest assured and have confidence that he had his back.

His thoughts passed in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, Liu Qingbo felt a sudden chill down his back.

This was it!

Without the slightest hesitation, he turned around, raised his sword, and slashed.

For a moment, like a groundbreaking work of art, the boundless sea of fire became clear. The sword light tore a crack in the smoke-filled space!

But the moment he turned around, the two strange beasts of fire and wind also looked at this empty space and rushed up at the same time.

It was too late. They moved too fast and simultaneously. Almost at the same time, Dong Zhi approached and used his sword to slash at both wind and fire. The two strange beasts instantly turned into sparks of flame, then suddenly dissipated!

The two of them tumbled out of the rift that was torn open from the enchantment; their faces were covered in dust and embarrassment.

Tang Jing clapped a few times and said in appreciation, “Your tacit understanding is very good. How did you find out the eyes of the array?”

Dong Zhi had seen Tang Jing as early as the time when they fought the Archfiend in Yangcheng. Although Liu Qingbo had never met him, it didn’t prevent him from guessing the identity of the other party. Regardless of whether he was a team leader or director, Liu Qingbo still rolled his eyes.

They were here to report on their work, not to be tested.

Shu He stepped forward and helped them up, then apologized, “I was ordered by him. Please forgive me!”

The corners of Dong Zhi’s mouth twitched. It was difficult for him to maintain a peaceful attitude. “Tang Ge, your way of welcoming is truly ingenious!”

Tang Jing smiled and said, “How can I show that I value you if I don’t make it special? But don’t be angry. I have something good for you later. Answer me first, how did you find out?”

Dong Zhi glanced at Liu Qingbo and saw that the latter had no interest in speaking, so he had to accept his fate. “The space is sealed by an enchantment, but no enchantment is perfect. Wind and fire are different beasts that are born together. You can’t kill them. Even if there’s water, it won’t help. Thus, you have to find another way. The only exit from an enchantment must be connected to the outside world. In this case, it won’t be affected by the fire. The surrounding walls were all charred and the temperature had increased everywhere except for one area where it was normal. Naturally, this had to be the weak point.”

Shu He was slightly moved, and his eyes couldn’t help showing surprise and admiration.

Tang Jing nodded. “Very good. Let Shu He take you to clean up and give you a change of clothes first. I’ll see you in the conference room in half an hour.”

Shu He smiled at them and said, “Follow me.”

On the way to clean up, Liu Qingbo couldn’t help but ask him, “Are those two strange beasts real or hallucinations?”

Shu He smiled. “Of course they’re real. They are more special, but not invincible. The reason why you think they can’t be defeated is just because you haven’t touched on their weaknesses yet. But then again, there have been many small pranks like this from Boss Tang on many colleagues who came from local offices before to debrief. However, the number of them who could break out within an hour could be counted on one hand.”

Liu Qingbo curled his lips. Feeling upset, he deliberately acted thorny. “How can you make sure that the clothes will fit us? I don’t wear what others have worn.”

Shu He turned his head and said, “Don’t worry, they are all new, and they’re available in all sizes, but the styles are relatively simple. They are all casual pants and t-shirts. In the past, we often came back from missions in a mess, so Boss Tang asked people to buy enough clothes for people to change into. With that, we didn’t have to run back home, so it saved us a lot of time.”

But such a method could only be thought of by the head of the East China Branch who wasn’t short of money. Switch this with the Northwest or Northeast Branch and this would be impossible.

Dong Zhi was very curious. “Isn’t the funds allocated to the branch office the same every year? Does the branch office also generate its own income?”

Shu He let out a sigh. “You don’t know anything. A long time ago, we had a popular saying here that we would rather have a bed in Puxi than a room in Pudong. At that time, the land price in Pudong was so cheap that no one wanted it. Our former director was extremely discerning and used the funds to buy it as training land. Later, the land price in Pudong soared, and he sold it. He also contracted some land in the suburbs to sublease to others. We don’t have to worry about our annual funding, and we even have places to practice.”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other, thinking that compared with this, they were selling snacks and milk tea like they were playing house.

An hour later, after cleaning up, they returned to the conference room.

Large tracts of sunlight poured in from floor-to-ceiling windows, with panoramic views of the nearby high-rise buildings and the Huangpu River in the distance. Not only were the magnificent mountains and rivers breathtaking, but in the face of such an urban jungle, it could easily awe the viewer’s emotions, giving thought that such ingenuity that transformed the world was through human hands.

Tang Jing had long been accustomed to everyone who entered the conference room subconsciously looking out of the floor-to-ceiling window. After a few seconds, he knocked on the conference table.

“Let’s have a meeting.”

In addition to Dong Zhi and the others, there was also another young man with a fresh face in the conference room.

Tang Jing said, “Introduce yourself.”

The man grinned, revealing white teeth. “My name is Huo Jie, the Huo from fearless1, the Jie from admonish2. I’m from Zhennan Mountain with no sect.”

1Huo () from fearless (霍元甲).
2Jie (
) from admonish (训诫).

There were many hermits on Zhennan Mountain. It was said that until the rapid development of modern science and technology, there were still thousands of people practicing in the mountains. Many of them were experts in low-key seclusion. Dong Zhi didn’t expect to see one in the flesh today.

“Hello, I’m Dong Zhi.”

Liu Qingbo also nodded. “Liu Qingbo.”

Tang Jing got to the point. “Have you all heard about what happened at the Anime Convention yesterday?”

Dong Zhi said, “Shu He gave us a debriefing about it just now.”

Tang Jing said, “We’re now investigating the source of the demon energy. Basically, all our manpower has been sent out, and some are working to find the stone tablet. You should also know about this. Thus, there are not many people left in the branch right now. If something is wrong, and I’m not here, you can find Shu He to warn them.”

Dong Zhi said, “Boss Tang, yesterday we went to see a cultural exhibition and found a painting.”

He took the painting out of the painting tube and spread it out on the wide conference table, then gave a general description of what happened yesterday.

Tang Jing didn’t expect them to go to an exhibition and have such an adventure, so they all gathered around and took a closer look at the painting. Of course, the focus was on the stone tablet that was half-exposed on the ground by the river.

“Have you reported to the General Administration?”

Dong Zhi was a bit at a loss for words. He didn’t know whether he should say yes or no. After all, this kind of thing would be considered leapfrogging over your superior at work, but from a personal point of view, he would definitely seek his master’s opinion as soon as possible.

Tang Jing didn’t get an answer, so he raised his head and glanced at him with a half-smile. “I won’t find fault with you. Don’t worry.”

Dong Zhi coughed softly. “Well, Boss Long wants us to send the painting to the General Administration and then they will transfer it to the Northwest Branch for processing. After all, Shaohua Mountain is in the northwest, and this painting was made during the Ming Dynasty. With hundreds of years already passed, I’m afraid we have to be prepared that the stone tablet is probably damaged.”

Tang Jing nodded and expressed his appreciation for their performance in dealing with Xiang Mu.

“In today’s meeting, I will mainly tell you a few things.”

Tang Jing said, “Last time you encountered two cases in Lucheng, one after another. One was the internationally wanted criminal, Yamamoto Kiyoshi, who snuck into Lucheng and created a murderous scene of dismemberment. This person had committed a lot of crimes in Southeast Asia. There’s an association of white-robed witches from several countries, such as Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, and Malaysia, that have issued warrants for Yamamoto.”

Seeing that they didn’t know much about the concept of the white-robed witches, Shu He added, “Witchcraft is popular in Southeast Asia. There are those that are white-robed and black-robed witches. Generally speaking, white-robed witches tend to observe secular laws, live among ordinary people, and are healers. Black-robed witches are secretive and have a mix of good and bad. Most of them are mavericks and don’t participate in any official organizations.”

Tang Jing continued, “We have been in contact with the head of the White Robe Witches Association. We now have evidence that the puppet swap technique that was used by Yamamoto may have come from a certain black-robed witch doctor. However, most of these people live in seclusion in the jungle and mountains, so it’s difficult to find their traces. Regarding the case of Han Qi that you encountered later, according to the feedback from the White Robe Association, she was obviously bewitched and deceived by a black-robed witch. There are many examples of this kind of deception for those who blindly chase fame and fortune, and, in the end, losing their lives is pretty common in Southeast Asia.”

“Thus, we have reason to suspect that there may be a certain connection between the two cases. It’s very likely that the same gang is associated with Yamamoto and Han Qi.”

When Dong Zhi and the others destroyed the parasitic wisp of demonic energy in Han Qi’s abdomen, they heard it say something in Sanskrit. Afterwards, they confirmed that it was the name of a legendary demon in India. Therefore, the matter was immediately reported to the branch and the General Administration.

Dong Zhi’s thoughts immediately jumped quickly as he thought about the energy, they found at the bottom of Fuxian Lake in Yunnan province. Yunnan was very close to Southeast Asia, so perhaps it had something to do with the heavenly demon*.

*This is referring to Mara.

He raised this question, and Tang Jing responded. “Yes, I have also thought of this, but the biggest problem now is that the other party has hidden their identity, so it’s impossible to prevent their actions. Of course, we also can’t close our borders, so international cooperation is extremely important.”

Liu Qingbo also raised a question. “According to this, is there a connection between the heavenly demon and the Archfiend?”

Tang Jing shook his head. “The heavenly demon and the Archfiend are just the names given to them by the ancients to facilitate their distinction. In the West, the names are different. What can be learned at present is that the Archfiend was in close contact with the Japanese side. It had cooperated with Onmyojis several times to attack the stone tablet. It can be seen that there’s a greater force on the Japanese side that’s manipulating things behind the scenes. Their purpose is the stone tablet. For the Southeast end, we found no connection between the heavenly demon and the stone tablet for the time being, so it can be regarded as two different forces.”

He continued, “The international situation is becoming increasingly serious, not only in Japan but also in Southeast Asia. According to the feedback we have received, the probability of strange and intractable events in many countries and regions has increased significantly, especially south China in the future, which has a large population and a mix of fish and dragons and is the window that connects all over the world. Practitioners like Yamamoto who fake their identities to sneak into the country are difficult to detect in the early stages. I hope that you’ll all remain vigilant.”

After looking around for a while and seeing that everyone had nothing to add and no objections, Tang Jing said, “Alright, then meeting adjourned. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo stay back.”

When Shu He and Huo Jie left, Tang Jing took out a box and pushed it towards Dong Zhi.

“These are Shangqing pills from Mount Longhu. You fought against Yamamoto last time, and your injuries haven’t healed yet. Take it with you and be sure to take them to treat your internal injuries.”

Dong Zhi hurriedly thanked him and opened the box. There were three pills inside. Mu Duo had also suffered internal injuries last time, so he would bring one back to her.

Tang Jing finally showed a familiar smile. “Just call me Tang Ge in private. What do you think of the environment here?”

Dong Zhi also smiled. “It has the configuration of a local tyrant. To be honest, although the location of the General Administration is quite expensive, it looks nothing like this!”

“Actually, there is a reason why it’s here.” Tang Jing got up and walked to the window, condescendingly, looking at the ships coming and going on the river in the distance, “Look at the high-rise buildings and heavy traffic outside. Isn’t it like seeing the blood flow of a city center?”

Both Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo nodded.

Tang Jing said, “We have a special identity and special responsibilities. We chose this place not to let you overlook the scenery of Shencheng but to let everyone see that everything we do allows Shencheng to continue to maintain such vitality. The prosperity and peace that these eyes can see need someone to guard them.”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were suddenly in awe.

Presumably everyone who was a newcomer would sigh at the lavishness of the East China Branch, and then they would be shocked and convinced by such an idea.

Tang Jing recovered and laughed lightly. “Well, you don’t have to thank me for the Shangqin pills. Your master specially prompted me to give you them. Otherwise, how would I know that you have suffered from internal injuries?”

Dong Zhi was startled. “I didn’t tell him either.”

Tang Jing raised his eyebrows. “Did you two not talk on the phone? He can tell even if you don’t tell him? If you ask me, Boss Long is uniquely good to his one and only apprentice. He originally told me to give you two but given how much danger you had faced and how well you performed, the extra one is a gift from me at my own expense.”

The physical fitness of practitioners was much better than that of ordinary people. In the same way, if they were injured, ordinary medicine wouldn’t be effective on them. Injury medicines from places like Mount Longhu and Yuanming Palace have been sold on the black market for over 100,000. Often times, there wouldn’t even be a market for them as one may not be able to buy them even if they wanted to.

Such medicine was quite rare. Dong Zhi frowned and accepted it while thanking Tang Jing.

Tang Jing changed his words. “You were injured on duty. No matter how rare the medicine is, it’s not as important as your life. Learn from this for the future. After you’re injured on duty, you must take the initiative to apply for medicine. Also, since you’re here, don’t return in a hurry. We have a case now and the branch is short of manpower, so go and have a look.”

Dong Zhi’s good impression was instantly shattered. It turned out that they came here to be coolies*.

*Term for low-wage laborer, typically of South Asian or East Asian descent.

The two of them took the document and flipped through it speechlessly while listening to Tang Jing. “It’s an artificial lake that used to be a reservoir. Until now, people often used it to go swimming in the summer. The water is very deep. It’s said that it’s connected to Dianshan Lake. Every year we would always have a few cases of people drowning.”

Liu Qingbo frowned. “Aren’t there warning signs against swimming?”

Tang Jing asked rhetorically, “Do you think that it’s useful?”

Liu Qingbo: ……

Even with a sign erected that said “The water here is deep. There have been many cases of drowning. It is forbidden to enter the water”, it was useless. People who wanted to seek death couldn’t be stopped no matter what. To put it bluntly, such is fate.

Tang Jing: “In the past, I had asked people to go there to see and clear up a few things. Later, we had fewer incidents, but this year it has increased. From summer to now, there have been a total of five deaths. I suspect that there are still things in the water that haven’t been taken care of. I originally wanted to wait for a while before sending someone to take a look, and now that you’re here, I’ll leave this case to you. Mu Duo and Zhang Chong are in Lucheng still, so if anything happens, you can rush back at any time.”

Since their leader had spoken, how could they not agree?

Thus, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at the information with resignation.

The file said that the artificial lake was called Lake Wangyue. Since ten years ago, there had been drowning incidents every year. The death toll seemed to be normal, seven people. Later, this incident was reported and attracted the attention of the branch. Tang Jing sent someone to check and found that there were water monkeys* under the lake.

*Reminder: Legendary creature that lives in the water and looks like an ape. They are commonly known as water ghosts/water lion ghost/water corpses in folklore. You can check the lore glossary chapter 1 for its lore.

Water monkeys were known as water ghosts among the common folk. It was said that they were people who couldn’t reincarnate after drowning. In order to find a scapegoat, they continued to harm people, but in fact, practitioners knew that the water monkeys were just a type of demon that were good at using illusions to confuse people before they dragged them into the depths of the water to drown them, then they absorbed their souls for food. It also ate livestock, but for water monkeys, humans were more delicious.

Tang Jing said, “At that time, Shu He and Huo Jie went there, and they eliminated a water monkey. After that, Lake Wangyue was calm for two years. Although there were occasional drownings, it had nothing to do with demons. Until this year, it was said that someone saw the heads of strange beasts infesting the lake. A couple was walking by the lake and accidentally fell in. The surveillance showed that the two people were originally some distance away from it. Later, only one was rescued. The man said that his girlfriend somehow had to go into the water. In addition to this, there were four other cases, two of which are students from a nearby private high school. You can drop by when you have time.”

Dong Zhi closed the file.

“I see. We’ll go take a look.”

Yin Xiangxue* was a sophomore at Yasheng Private High School. In stark contrast to her imaginative and wonderful name, she was morbidly obese. She was a typical adolescent girl that was prone to weight gain and had an uncontrolled diet. For this reason, she usually encountered strange gazes at school. Her popularity and grades were very average. All this combined, gave her quite a low self-esteem that she wouldn’t even dare tell her friends who her crush was let alone run to the other to confess her feelings.

*Xiangxue (香雪) translates to fragrant snow.

Tomorrow was the school festival; therefore, school was let out early so everyone could help their respective classes prepare for the festivities. This kind of activity required one to show up and was always a great opportunity for the active girls in glass. Yin Xiangxue didn’t participate. She didn’t want to stand in the spotlight and be ridiculed, so she simply left class and wandered around the school to relax.

Before she knew it, she had come to Lake Wangyue, which was north of the school.

Lake Wangyue covered a large area. There was a bridge in the middle that divided the lake into two halves. On one side of the bridge belonged to Yasheng High School, while the other side was public land for the public to enjoy. For safety reasons, the school had closed all roads leading to the bridge. In other words, students could only walk on one side of the lake but couldn’t go to the other side. Not only that, calf-high stones were built around the lake, which were of different heights and had ornamental value, and at the same time, they were also there to prevent students from stumbling into the water.

Yin Xiangxue had no interest in swimming, let alone taking a dip in the water during the cold winter of December, so she turned around and prepared to turn back.

Who knew that at this time, she saw someone?

The school grass* and male god of their school and also the object of her crush, Jiang Lang.

*Term used to describe the handsomest boy in the school.

In addition to him, there was another girl that Yin Xiangxue vaguely recognized. It seemed to be Fang An’an, the class flower* was next to him.

*Term used to describe the most beautiful girl in the class.

Out of some inexplicable thinking at that moment, she didn’t leave, nor did she step forward to disturb the two of them but chose to hide in a corner and observe them.

At this time, the sky had gradually darkened, and the streetlights by the lake were on. Even so, it wasn’t as bright as during the day. The lake was dark and sparkling, and the shadows of trees hung down heavily, covering the two figures in their shadows.

Yin Xiangxue heard Fang An’an say to Jiang Lang, “Jiang Lang, it’s too dark here. Let’s talk about it tomorrow!”

Jiang Lang hurriedly said, “An’an, I have something important to say to you! I—I like you very much. Will you be my girlfriend?”

Yin Xiangxue had heard countless rumors about Jiang Lang in school. All in all, he was a tall, rich, and handsome star pupil*, but she didn’t expect the male god to be so innocent that he brought the girl he liked here to confess.

*The term is [xueba] (学霸) which refers to someone who’s good at learning and thus easily gets high grades. This is not a derogatory term like “nerd”.

She felt a little sour in her heart. On the one hand, she knew that she would never be like Fang An’an and enter Jiang Lang’s sight, and on the other hand, she strangely hoped that Fang An’an would reject him.

The God of Hope seemed to hear her prayer as Fang An’an responded, “In fact, I also have something to say to you. Your attention to me in school has caused me trouble. Those girls who like you think I’m pestering you. I hope it won’t be like this in the future. I’m very sorry. I can’t accept your feelings. I hope you will find someone you like better soon. Goodbye!”

After that, Fang An’an turned around and left. Not only did Jiang Lang not have time to stop her, but even Yin Xiangxue, who was hiding in the corner, was stunned.

The school grass that was chased by countless girls in the school was just rejected by Fang An’an?

Yin Xiangxue looked at Fang An’an’s back, a little confused for a while.

She envied the other party’s chicness and once again felt deeply inferior.

If she had been Fang An’an, when she heard Jiang Lang’s confession, she would have been dizzy with joy. Why would she care about other girls’ unhappiness with his confession?

After thinking about it for a while, Yin Xiangxue’s legs became sore from standing for so long, and she couldn’t help but move.

She found that Jiang Lang was still standing there motionless. He must be sad because of his rejection just now.

Should she come forward and comfort him?

Naturally, Yin Xiangxue knew that Jiang Lang wouldn’t like someone like herself, but she was a young girl who still had adolescent dreams. Perhaps if she were to comfort him gently in his moment of sadness, she might be able to move him a little.

Before she could finish her entanglement, Yin Xiangxue saw Jiang Lang take a step forward in the direction of the lake.

He’s not committing suicide, right? She groaned inwardly.

Just as she was about to go up to stop him, she heard Jiang Lang say with joy, “An’an!”

Where?

Yin Xiangxue looked around. Where was Fang An’an? The other party had already left.

But Jiang Lang was still talking.

“An’an, during the last debate competition, you performed so well on stage. At that time, I probably fell for you.”

“It doesn’t matter. We can keep our relationship private for now. After graduating next year, we’ll make it public, okay?”

“No, it won’t affect my studies!”

Yin Xiangxue watched Jiang Lang step on the stone by the lake, step by step, and a chill rose from the bottom of her heart.

She wanted to shout out, but for some reason, maybe it was due to fear in her heart, she couldn’t, or perhaps reason told her that things weren’t so simple. Yin Xiangxue watched Jiang Lang bend over and sit on the stone. Half his body was already submerged in the lake and was slowly sinking.

On the surface of the lake, the swarthy monster that she couldn’t see clearly was pulling the happy Jiang Lang along as it was slowly sinking into the lake!

Yin Xiangxue covered her mouth tightly. Her body was so stiff that she could no longer feel her existence. Her face was pale, her eyes stared ahead, and she didn’t dare to blink.

“An’an, where are you taking me?”

Jiang Lang’s happy voice came, but the second half of the sentence was gradually submerged in water and turned into gurgling bubbles.

Yin Xiangxue watched Jiang Lang disappear into the lake. She trembled all over as she shrank back into the corner and burst into tears.

She was wearing a down jacket that was tightly wrapped around her, but she clearly felt the chilly wind constantly drilling into her clothes.

Yin Xingxue’s legs softened, and she fell directly to the ground. She didn’t know how long it took before she suddenly jumped up, staggering on the ground. She didn’t even dare turn her head back as she ran in the opposite direction of Lake Wangyue.


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch95

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 95: Either get roasted or get pissed off to death by Dong Zhi.

After parting with Xiang Mu, Chen Guoliang smiled and said to Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, “Masters, I won’t bother you so late. Please come to Hong Kong when you have time. I’ll definitely greet you both!”

He had seen the two of them subdue demons and monsters twice now and knew that they were from the Special Administration Bureau, so he naturally wanted to be chummy with them.

Dong Zhi said lightly, “Master Chen, we know that you have a high reputation in Hong Kong, but for things like fame, you are only worthy of your fame as much as the ability you have. If your virtue doesn’t match, sooner or later, you’ll suffer the consequences yourself. Do you understand what I mean?”

Chen Guoliang said with shame, “I understand. I’ve learned a lot during this time. I’ll keep your words in my mind. I’ll try to keep a low profile and won’t talk nonsense anymore!”

He knew very well how much weight he pulled, and it was fine to cheat the rich, but if he really ran into a situation like Han Qi’s demon fetus, he would have no one to blame when he died. How could he not dare learn his lesson? What’s more, being able to get to know Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo was a great opportunity for him. He still wanted to make friends with them, and this was simply another way for him in the future.

Dong Zhi eased his tone and said, “Regarding Han Qi’s case, we want you to do us a favor.”

Chen Guoliang hurriedly said, “Please speak!”

Dong Zhi: “Hong Rui and Dong Qiaolan disappeared strangely after traveling to Thailand and have not returned yet. We guess that these two people will very likely never return.”

Thinking of the bloody scene he saw in the hotel room that day, Chen Guoliang couldn’t help but shudder secretly, feeling that he didn’t want to experience it again in this life.

He heard Dong Zhi say, “But Dong Qiaolan has a best friend named Qi Rui who has a good relationship with her. The police speculate that Dong Qiaolan may have told her something. She may know more than we thought, and she’s likely to be in Hong Kong to avoid the limelight because she owes a high amount of debt on the mainland. It is said that this person likes to go in and out of high-class social occasions and famous brand stores in Hong Kong. The police are already in contact with them to find out, but Master Chen, you have frequent contact with the wealthy in Hong Kong. We would like to ask you to help pay attention to it. If you catch wind of Qi Rui’s whereabouts, please contact us immediately.”

Chen Guoliang agreed immediately. “Don’t worry, Mr. Dong. I will find someone to inquire when I go back, and I will notify you as soon as there is news!”

Dong Zhi sent him his contact and Qi Rui’s photo.

Seeing Chen Guoliang get in the car and leave, Liu Qingbo said, “What are you going to do with this painting?”

Dong Zhi said, “Looking for the stone tablet is an instruction from the General Administration. I will ask the Boss Long first, and then see his decision.”

Liu Qingbo sneered, “He’s your master. What kind of boss are you talking about!”

Dong Zhi was speechless. “Are you offended?”

Liu Qingbo said sharply, “I’m as broad-minded as the vast sea, and I don’t have the same view as you. That’s on you. If I let you act like this, can you still even face Boss Long?”

He first stepped into the hotel.

Dong Zhi touched his nose and followed.

Well, Liu Qingbo wasn’t able to become an apprentice in the end, so he could only let him take advantage of him now.

Xiang Mu really kept his promise. When they returned to the hotel, the painting came back with them.

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo spread out “The Travel Map of Shaohua”.

Seeing this painting up close again, the two of them saw at a glance the stone tablet by the stream at the foot of the mountain that most people wouldn’t notice at first glance.

Dong Zhi had to buy a magnifying glass.

Under the action of a magnifying glass, the inscription of the exposed part of the stone tablet was exactly the same as what they had seen before.

The two of them looked at each other at the same time, first with a sigh of relief and then with a heavy feeling, since the appearance of the stone tablet meant most likely a storm was brewing again.

“You can report to the Boss Long,” Liu Qingbo said.

“Wait, let’s sort out our thoughts first,” Dong Zhi said. “During the Yongle Period of the Ming Dynasty, a painter was playing at the foot of Shaohua Mountain and painted the surrounding scenery. He accidentally included this stone tablet in the painting. In the painting, the stone tablet is already half exposed to the soil. It may be that after being dug up, but since it seemed useless, it was ignored. From Ming Yongle to present, at least 600 years have passed. I think that even if we find a place corresponding to the scenery in the painting, the stone tablet is probably no longer there.”

Liu Qingbo impatiently reasoned, “Let’s not worry about this kind of thing. We are now 180,000 miles away from Shaohua Mountain. The General Administration will definitely send people from the Northwest Branch to be responsible for this matter. We can take this picture and compare its position on the map. Shaohua Mountain is so big that, honestly, I’m not very optimistic, but it’s still a clue.”

Dong Zhi rolled up the painting and then dialed Long Shen’s number.

Tang Jing came out of the bathroom and saw the person sitting on his sofa reading comics with relish and couldn’t help rubbing his forehead.

“I haven’t figured it out yet. Why did I take you home with me?”

Ming Xian raised his head with an innocent expression on his face.

“Because I said I was scared, and the stalker insisted on coming back with you. By the way, Tangtang Ge, I also want to do an interview with you for material for the male protagonist of my new novel.”

“You will go back tomorrow, and don’t call me Tangtang Ge. I won’t do any interviews, and you’re not allowed to write about me in that book!” Tang Jing took out a set of clean pajamas and bath towels from the bathroom and threw them on Ming Xian’s head. “Go take a shower!”

Ming Xian let out a sigh and raised the book in his hand. “I also bought this comic. The author’s drawing is very interesting. Don’t you think that the story in the comic seems a bit similar to your job?”

Tang Jing glanced at the “The Incident Book of the Relevant Department for Subduing and Eliminating Demons” in his hand, and said casually, “It’s similar to so many comics out there. This is an autographed book given to me by a friend. I don’t read domestic comics, but he forced me to accept it. If you like it, take it back and read it!”

Ming Xian frowned, then smiled. “Thank you, Tangtang!”

With Ge being omitted, it made it even more tiring to hear just the rest of his name.

Tang Jing moved his mouth and endured the urge to correct him.

With outsiders present, he couldn’t do any business. Anyway, he didn’t usually come back to this room, and there would basically be nothing related to the Special Administration Bureau here.

Picking up the comic that Ming Xian was reading, Tang Jing lowered his head and turned a few pages before he heard Ming Xian shouting from the bathroom, “Tangtang, you forgot to give me underwear!”

Tang Jing: ……

He accepted his fate and got up and went to the bedroom to get a pair of underwear and delivered it. Ming Xian shyly opened the door of the room and stretched out a hand.

Tang Jing said, annoyed, “Is it possible that you’re still a woman dressed as a man?”

He pushed the door open and walked in.

Ming Xian didn’t move an inch. With drops of water and heat on his body, he watched in a daze as Tang Jing walked towards him and his face flushed red.

Tang Jing walked towards him step by step. The other party had already removed Yu Ji’s makeup and outfit at the venue and had put on casual clothes. Under the disguise of the female dress, that figure that seemed slender was actually pretty sturdy and well-built.

There was nowhere to escape.

Ming Xian was a little nervous. Swallowing his saliva subconsciously, his eyelashes trembled slightly, and finally lowered his eyes, almost closing them to compromise.

Then a huff came into his ear.

Ming Xian raised his eyes again, watching in surprise as the other party’s hand passed through his ears, grabbing the toothbrush and water cup behind him.

“Do you have any bad intentions towards me?” Tang Jing seemed to be smiling.

“You’re teasing me!” Ming Xian’s ears were red, and he grabbed the underwear in his hand and was about to leave, but he was stopped by the other party first.

Tang Jing pinched the other party’s chin and leaned over to kiss him.

“Satisfied?”

Seeing Ming Xian’s stunned stupidity, he couldn’t help but tease him and kiss him again, but his neck was hooked by the other party and he was suddenly pulled closer.

Their lips collided with each other, which was the way people would think of expressing their love, though it was too early for them to talk about love, as Tang Jing felt he was just attracted to the face.

It was actually a wonderful experience to be able to celebrate a Spring Festival in the evening with the owner of such a face.

It was just…

“Are you sure?” Tang Jing asked, leaving the other party’s red and swollen lips that he had sucked on.

Ming Xian answered him by directly pulling his neck down. His eyes were beautiful and docile, with a bit of expectancy behind those timid eyes.

It was like waiting for someone to go in for a kiss, or rather, to ravage.

If a beauty took the initiative and didn’t cater, it would be extremely harmful to reason and nature… and Tang Jing never did anything that would hurt reason and nature.

After a night of love making, even for Tang Jing, it was inevitable that he slept a few minutes longer than his usual biological clock before slowly getting up from bed.

The sheets and pillows were a mess, showing how fierce last night’s battle was. There was no one next to him, and even Ming Xian’s backpack wasn’t there.

When Ming Xian left, Tang Jing knew, but he didn’t stop him. It was originally a chance encounter, and they both wanted it, so there was no need to talk about regrets.

There was a text message Ming Xian had left him: [I have to go back to class. See you later.]

There were also some cute emojis at the end.

Tang Jing glanced at it but didn’t reply. He scratched his hair, remembering that Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo might have already reported to work at the branch. He got up and walked to the bathroom, ready to take a shower before setting off.

On the other side, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo got out of the car and looked at the building in front of them for a few seconds.

Although the two of them didn’t communicate, they invariably had the same thoughts in their minds.

Really rich!

Although the situation was different from place to place. For example, the appearance of the General Administration was dilapidated, but in fact there was a universe inside. Or for example, the Lucheng office was underfunded, so it was originally rented in a dilapidated community. There wasn’t even a serious office space, but they didn’t expect…

The East China Branch was actually very dignified. It was located in the center of Shencheng’s most prosperous business district, in a high-rise building in Lujiazui. The signboard of the South China Branch of a certain environmental management company was hung outside. It was a bit similar to Master Chen Guoliang, who had walked rivers and lakes under the guise of feng shui.

Not only was the rent here expensive, but even the facade decoration revealed a fashion-forward style. At first glance, that was what it really looked like.

The receptionist at the front desk saw someone coming in and got up to greet them. “Hello. Do the two of you have an appointment?”

Dong Zhi went through the address in his mind and confirmed that he had not gone to the wrong place.

“Hello, we have an appointment with President Tang. His name is Tang Jing.”

“Dong Zhi, Liu Qingbo?” The beautiful young girl lowered her head and checked her notepad to confirm it with them.

Dong Zhi: “Yes.”

The receptionist said, “Please show me your work permit.”

After receiving the documents handed over by the two of them, the front desk took them to the machine to scan and verify. When the green light lit up, she nodded calmly. Her face remained the same as she led the way in front with her hand.

“Mr. Tang hasn’t arrived yet. Please follow me.”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other and had to keep up with the receptionist’s footsteps.

Passing through the spacious office space, they saw many people sitting at their desks, tapping on computers, or lying on the desks for a nap. There were also many empty seats, which was no different from white-collar workers in an ordinary office building.

As if noticing their gaze, the receptionist turned her head and whispered to them, “There was a small incident at the Anime Convention yesterday. They all just came back from working overtime last night.”

“What’s the incident?” Liu Qingbo asked.

The receptionist said, “Two soul-eaters took advantage of the crowd to mix into the venue, sucked a lot of anger, and caused two deaths. Mr. Tang, ah, Boss Tang, wiped them out, but he suspects that there’s someone behind it. Recently, Shencheng has frequently held international events. Boss Tang is worried that the mastermind behind it will use the same technique again, so it’s necessary to strengthen security.”

With an urban beauty dressed in a glamorous suit telling them about soul eaters; it created quite an absurd scene.

The receptionist took them to the conference room.

“Sit for a bit. I’ll inform Assistant Shu first.”

She smiled and closed the door before Dong Zhi had the chance to refute her.

The conference room was also composed of glass doors and windows, which were transparent inside and out, seemingly making the sense of space more vast.

Even a young master like Liu Qingbo couldn’t help being speechless.

“You said that if we were transferred to a branch, our treatment would increase several times?”

Dong Zhi grinned. “I didn’t expect that the dignified Young Master Liu would bend his waist for five buckets of rice*?”

*Reminder: Metaphor for flattery. Basically, losing one’s backbone for profit.

Liu Qingbo curled his lips. “I’m just speaking aloud. What is a soul eater?”

Dong Zhi said, “I heard Chaosheng say that that thing only eats dead souls, and it generally doesn’t hurt the living. It’s not as terrifying as it sounds. I don’t know what’s going on this time…”

The door of the conference room was pushed open and a man walked in.

“Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, right? Welcome, I’m Shu He!” The other party smiled kindly, and before anyone arrived, he stretched out his hand towards Dong Zhi.

“Hello, Shu Ge. We have already spoken on the phone—” Dong Zhi was about to shake hands with him, but suddenly his face changed, and he backed away quickly.

Liu Qingbo was inexplicable. Before he had time to ask, he saw two colors of red and gold flying out of Shu He’s cuffed, turning into two monsters with sharp horns and long hair, landing steadily and staring at him and Dong Zhi.

“Your response is very fast!” Shu He smiled at Dong Zhi. “Boss Tang hasn’t come yet. Let Fengsheng and Huosheng play with you for a while!”

With a snap of his fingers, his figure disappeared instantly.

The two monsters roared in a low voice and opened their mouths to spit out white energy at them. One was wind and the other was fire.

The wind amplified the fire, causing a raging inferno that ignited the conference room. The heat wave swept across their faces. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo flashed quickly, and one drew out his sword while the other turned over and jumped two corners.

“What the hell! Are we in the wrong place?!” Liu Qingbo wiped his face. He was almost disfigured just now.

Dong Zhi didn’t have time to answer him, and he couldn’t come up with a suitable answer within a few seconds. The two strange beasts had turned their heads and rushed towards them again. With a kick of their hind feet, the beasts made wind and fire, causing another wave to sweep through the air. Even the conference room table was burning, and the entire room was filled with fireworks, almost suffocating the two of them.

Liu Qingbo had a lot of hidden swords in his family. After the Feijing Sword was lost, he changed to the Yinxiu Sword1. The name didn’t sound as majestic as the Feijing Sword, but the Yinxiu Sword was bigger than the Feijing Sword—it was said to be the sword used by Zhao Kuangyi2, Emperor Taizong of the Song Dynasty.

1Yinxiu means hidden. Lit. translation is Hidden Sword.
2Second emperor of the Song Dynasty. He succeeded to the throne in what was rumored to be a fratricide. You can read more about him on Wikipedia.

Although the Feijing Sword was stained with Cao Pi’s1 imperial luck, after all, Wei had three kingdoms and didn’t unify into one country. Compared with that, the dynastic luck of the Song Dynasty was naturally even more extraordinary2. Although Zhao Kuangyi was not the founding emperor, he was also the emperor who had followed his brother to the east and fought in the west. The emperor who started with martial arts, coupled with Liu Qingbo’s increasingly refined understanding of swordsmanship, the Yinxiu Sword was extraordinary in his hands. The white aura lingered, as if there was a “hidden world refined by hundreds of rivers into the sea”.

1First emperor of Cao Wei in the Three Kingdoms period. He was the second son of Cao Cao. He’s also an accomplished poet and scholar. You can read more about him in the Wikipedia.
2Basically, it’s saying that the Feijing Sword was under Cao Pi, who hadn’t had a unified country yet because it was during the Three Kingdoms period, where essentially (ancient China) was split. During the Song Dynasty, the country was mainly united, so the power/luck behind the Yinxiu Sword is greater because of the era.

The wind was extremely fierce, but when it encountered Liu Qingbo, it found that the violent wind it was spewing couldn’t stop its opponent. Instead, Liu Qingbo took advantage of the wind and used the sword qi to cut countless scars on it.

The temperature in the room was getting higher; the two of them were sweating profusely. Their vision was blurred by sweat, causing their eyes to sting from saltiness, and their clothes were soaked.

“Hurry up and put down that fire-breathing one! Destroy it, no matter how strong the wind is, it’s useless without it!” Liu Qingbo roared.

Huosheng needed to take a break every time it finished spraying fire. Dong Zhi took the opportunity to approach and wanted to jump on its body to control it. Who knew that as soon as his hand touched the long hair of the strange beast, he retracted it in an instant.

“It’s so hot!”

This place was obviously sealed by an enchantment, and the glass doors and windows were blurred for some time. The outside scene couldn’t be viewed at all. Otherwise, with such a big movement here, the outside world would’ve known about it a long time ago.

During this time, Dong Zhi’s two fingers pinched a sunlight talisman and threw it at the strange beast. The talisman turned into a little light rain of fire in the air and fell.

But for Huosheng, fire was equivalent to playing with a feather. The strange beast raised its head and opened its mouth wide to eat it. Most likely, it was still playing around with Dong Zhi.

All it took was for this moment!

A figure leaped high from behind it. The Changshou Sword was slashed into the back of the beast from top to bottom!

The expression of Dong Zhi’s ambition stagnated.

In the brilliance of the sword, the strange beast shattered into fragments, like phantom bubbles, looking like flowers in the fog.

In another corner of the conference room, fireworks condensed in the air, and little golden lights flew from all directions. The golden wheel was spinning like a sun and was dazzling and brilliant until a fire-born beast was reborn in an instant from it. It shook its head and roared into the sky, rushing towards Dong Zhi again!

“What the fuck is going on!”

Looking at Liu Qingbo’s side, it was almost the same situation. His Yinxiu Sword had obviously been inserted into the body of the strange beast, but it was empty.

If the strange beasts were just illusions, the wind and fire they brought couldn’t be more real!

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were sweating wildly. They suspected that if they went on like this, they would have to be roasted alive before they were burned to death!

Liu Qingbo roared, “Hurry up and get some heavy rain to extinguish the fire!”

Dong Zhi panted, “I’m not a dragon!”

Liu Qingbo said angrily, “Water talisman! Use a rain talisman! The sea talisman! Don’t you have any of those? Hurry up and get one out!”

Dong Zhi was speechless for a moment, and he joked casually, “Your name is Qing and Bo*. There’s enough water there, so this heavy responsibility will be handed over to you!”

*Qing () = clear. Bo () = wave. Combined together becomes clear wave. || The joke here is that his name is related to water, so he should handle the responsibility of finding said water.

Liu Qingbo: …

He felt that he was about to die, either by being roasted or being pissed off to death by Dong Zhi.

Neither of them expected that someone was monitoring their every move in the conference room next door.

The other side of the glass wall was simultaneously transmitting what was happening inside the conference room.

Shu He glanced at his watch and said calmly, “It’s been an hour, Boss Tang. Let me remind you that if you don’t let them out, you will be charged with mutilating the newcomers of the Special Administration Bureau. Especially when one of them is a disciple of your immediate boss, Boss Long.”

“Wait a bit longer.” Director Tang Jing of the South China Branch sat lazily in his director’s chair with his legs crossed as if he was watching an American blockbuster. “If Long Shen’s disciples have such little potential, then I would be quite disappointed.”

Shu He rolled his eyes secretly. “If you want to test them, don’t let me do it. They will now have a bad impression of me when they see me in the future!”

Tang Jing glanced at him. “Don’t tell me you don’t want to see what kind of apprentice Long Shen has accepted.”

Shu He’s legs were sore from standing, so he sat down.

“I am curious as he was just an ordinary person before he became an apprentice. You asked me to set up this test, but you didn’t even leave them a way out. If it’s one of our people, most likely only a few would be able to break through. In all fairness, he was able to reach this level in such a short time, which is beyond my expectations. It’s not incomprehensible that Boss Long accepted him as a disciple.”

Tang Jing shook his head and looked at Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, who were jumping around in the sea of fire, and suddenly said something that was seemingly irrelevant. “There has been a gap in the world, and demons are coming from all directions, and the crisis is imminent.”

Shu Gou nodded. “Yes, not only in our country, but the whole world has been troubled in recent years.”

Desire gave birth to demonic energy which flowed in the world and amplified the desires deep within the hearts of others. Disasters were always reincarnated with time. Light and hope were the most precious virtues in human nature, but darkness and destruction always accompanied growth and survival, never to disappear.

It was rare for Tang Jing to say just serious words. “There is too little time left for us, and this group of people must grow up quickly.”

Just as Tang Jing was talking to Shu He, Liu Qingbo was about to be driven crazy.

The phantom beasts that couldn’t be killed kept coming back to life, and there were no weapons that could restrain them. If this continued, they could only be consumed alive here. Even if this could be a test, Liu Qingbo was absolutely unwilling to fail.

He leaned against the wall and gasped, and the flame-scorched wall transmitted an unbearable high temperature.

Liu Qingbo suddenly remembered the unforgettable zombie city test that they experienced when they were training in the General Administration.

At that time, he boasted of his extraordinary abilities and didn’t want to be held back. He simply ran back to the General Administration alone, but he was surrounded by zombies and didn’t have the imagined killing spree. If he hadn’t been lucky enough to find a hiding place, he alone wouldn’t be able to survive until the end of the trial. At that time, alone, hiding in a corner, he silently counted his heartbeats and refused to bow his head due to his pride and stubbornness.

Now, even though he had learned to cooperate with his companions and give trust to his partners, his pride and obsession had never changed. He was Liu Qingbo, and he would definitely be able to get out of trouble.


Kinky Thoughts:

So the side CP, which was just established a few chapters ago, has already rolled around in the bedsheets, but the main CP still hasn’t even gone up to bat yet, let alone cross first base? I mean, I’m all for more gay stuff, but common!

Seeing as how it developed, I’m assuming Tang Jing is the gong and Ming Xian is the shou, which is surprising since usually danmei sets up the shou to be the girly(ish) one. I’m all for it though. Or their vers (that’s even better). What would actually be better if I could read what happened in that room…


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch94

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 94: Love is companionship and restraint.

Xiang Mu was afraid that Dong Zhi and others would be hungry, so he asked the chef to cook their dishes personally. They ate in the VIP room. Xiang Mu had a lot of worries, and it was rare that he didn’t use his exquisite strengths to chat with everyone. Chen Guoliang breathed a sigh of relief. In front of experts, he was afraid to crack jokes and cause more blunders.

After the reception, there was an hour and a half lecture on feng shui. Chen Guoliang was the keynote speaker. Liu Qingbo was very interested. He dragged Dong Zhi to listen to it. Originally, this occasion was Chen Guoliang’s specialty, and he could talk for hours without any problems. Now, with Liu Qingbo staring him down, he had broken out in a cold sweat and had stumbled several times before finishing his lecture. Fortunately, it had little impact, and he still won a full round of applause.

In fact, although Chen Guoliang had no real ability, his eloquence was indeed good, and it was estimated that he had read a lot of feng shui books. The theories were already set, so it was really easy to fool the laymen. Liu Qingbo saw that he was being honest and couldn’t help feeling bored and didn’t bother to find faults any longer.

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo didn’t participate in the auction. Although Xiang Mu was the organizer, he didn’t need to be there personally, so he invited the three of them to his house, took out the box from the bedroom, and opened it in front of them.

A green bracelet caught everyone’s eyes.

Chen Guoliang had seen a lot of good imperial green, so he recognized it at a glance.

On the market, such water could be sold for at least millions. Of course, for Xiang Mu, it was only a drop in a bucket.

“You said before, this bracelet was passed down from your wife’s family? Is there any origin?” Dong Zhi picked it up and held it to the sun and found that the jade quality was almost perfect. It was crystal clear and had a thrilling green.

Xiang Mu said, “I don’t know the origin, but in their family, it should have been passed down for more than four generations. I have asked someone to identify it, and they all said that this is Laokeng Emperor green*, the best variety in jade. “

*According to basic research, to determine the jade value, one looks at the condition of its texture and color. It is believed that the greener the color, the more expensive it is. Laokeng Emperor green is considered one of the top colors in jade, and sometimes the color can also be called emerald.

Dong Zhi handed the bracelet to Liu Qingbo. “It feels a bit strange. “

Liu Qingbo took the bracelet and nodded. “There seems to be an aura around it.”

He handed the bracelet to Chen Guoliang again.

Chen Guoliang had to bite the bullet and take it and look at it seriously for a while.

“My opinion is the same as the two of them.”

In fact, he didn’t notice any aura, but he couldn’t say that he didn’t feel anything. Chen Guoliang’s heart was about to collapse when he looked at Liu Qingbo’s teasing eyes, thinking that he would not come to the mainland again lest he would be killed.

Dong Zhi said, “Well, Mr. Xiang, if you don’t mind, we will stay here for one night, and I will set up an array in your bedroom. If there’s anything at night, we’ll find out as soon as possible.”

Xiang Mu said anxiously, “Then will my wife lose her soul?”

Dong Zhi: “Assuming it’s your wife, of course we’ll be polite and then fight.”

Xiang Mu breathed a sigh of relief and said gratefully, “Then thank you so much. When we left the venue, I had already refunded the deposit. I will also have the “The Travel Map of Shaohua” packed and delivered soon.”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other. The other party’s direct and refreshing attitude made them feel very good.

Xiang Mu was well versed in business rules and such things usually didn’t proceed so smoothly. However, since he was so happy about the bracelet matter, they naturally dealt with this issue solemnly and helped Xiang Mu resolve his problem.

Dong Zhi had never deployed a soul-summoning array, but he had heard He Yu talk about it. He still understood the general rules and taboos, but the soul summoning talisman had to be written now. When he came over, he only carried his sword but didn’t bring anything else. However, these materials were a cinch for someone as rich as Xiang Mu. As long as a call was made, someone would deliver it within half an hour.

When drawing talismans, concentration was needed. Dong Zhi didn’t intend to avoid the eyes of others, as what he was doing wasn’t an unspoken secret that was passed down.

He washed his hands and face, then stood still for a moment with his sleeves rolled up. The tip of his brush rolled on the adjusted cinnabar a few times before he dipped it in ink and began copying the strokes of the soul summoning talisman in his mind. He exhaled and concentrated as the brush began to move.

Chen Guoliang and Xiang Mu held their breath and stood far away, not daring to disturb him. Even Liu Qingbo, who usually liked to quarrel with Dong Zhi, sat quietly drinking tea and looking at his phone without making a sound.

Xiang Mu witnessed how skillful Dong Zhi was as several pieces of talisman paper were drawn one after another. He couldn’t help but feel a little puzzled. Chen Guoliang whispered to him, “Painting talisman is not a matter of painting successfully in one go. It depends on each person’s skill. Those with deep skill have a high success rate, like Mr. Dong. It’s already pretty amazing that he’s able to succeed with five or six out of ten.”

Chen Guoliang had been an “entertainer” for many years, so he knew a little bit about the way of doing things. Otherwise those rich people who weren’t complete fools couldn’t be easily coaxed by him.

As if separated by a mountain, Xiang Mu suddenly realized that he had added a layer of awe for Dong Zhi.

The young man stared at the talisman paper in front of him. With his pen-like movements, Chen Guoliang and Xiang Mu vaguely felt that there seemed to be an invisible air flowing slowly all over him, but in Liu Qingbo’s eyes, this air flow had turned into substance, and the mist-like white air circled around Dong Zhi and gradually spread away.

In the beginning of the universe, the great ultimate of yin and yang tai chi, with the three powers*, creation was infinite and life was endless.

*Refers to heaven, earth, and man. Note: this whole sentence is basically like a chant so that’s why it’s like broken with incomplete sentences.

Liu Qingbo still remembered that during the training period, he was particularly uncomfortable watching Dong Zhi. He wanted to cause some trouble for the other party quite a few times. At that point, he saw that this guy had no foundation at all. Everything he learned was a half-way monk. He felt embarrassed when he lost and didn’t look glorious when he won, so he never used his true style.

After Dong Zhi became Long Shen’s apprentice, he thought about it for several days but couldn’t figure it out. Now it seems that the other party’s qualifications may rival even his.

As soon as he got into the water, he turned into a dragon. With the training and teaching of a famous teacher, the strength of Dong Zhi had gradually emerged, and now he could partner with him without holding him back. Although Liu Qingbo couldn’t draw talismans, he knew very well that although painting talismans required talent, it was more important to practice hundreds of times in repeated cycles. It could be seen that Dong Zhi put a lot of sweat and tears into it.

If a person had talent and was willing to work hard, his future wouldn’t be too bad. Liu Qingbo himself was such a person. While his impression of Dong Zhi had greatly improved, he also became more sympathetic towards him.

Suddenly, Liu Qingbo frowned and almost made a sound.

He must’ve seen it wrong just now, but he saw a wisp of black air mixed with the white air, but it disappeared in the blink of an eye, as if he was hallucinating.

A few talismans had been painted, and more than an hour had passed, but this was already much faster than when Dong Zhi first learned to draw talismans. His spirit was completely relaxed when his eyes suddenly darkened. If he hadn’t held onto the edge of the table, it was very likely he would have fallen to his feet.

“Okay,” Dong Zhi said to the client. “I will arrange these talismans in your bedroom. You will put the bracelet in the place I designated later. Don’t move it. Go to bed at night. Don’t worry. We will guard in the living room and go in as soon as there’s a situation.”

Xiang Mu naturally agreed to everything, and it was up to him to arrange it.

Dong Zhi raised his chin slightly and nodded to Chen Guoliang: “Master Chen, come and help me set up the formation.”

Chen Guoliang pointed to himself. “Me?”

Dong Zhi: “Is it inconvenient?”

Chen Guoliang didn’t dare to respond and said hurriedly. “It’s very convenient, very convenient!”

His attitude towards Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo was unconsciously a little flattering and fearful, and Xiang Mu naturally saw it.

Although Xiang Mu felt strange, he didn’t ask much. His experience in the business world over the years told him that the less he knew about these things that had nothing to do with him, the better.

Painting talismans was a very energy-consuming thing. Dong Zhi originally felt that he was easily tired recently. After more than an hour, he was dizzy, and his hands and feet were soft. He simply found a chair to sit on and instructed Chen Guoliang to set up in the bedroom.

Poor Chen Guoliang, a famous master of feng shui, had been held high by the rich people of Hong Kong over the years, but when Dong Zhi arrived, he was commanded like he was his grandchild, but he didn’t dare resist.

He glanced at Dong Zhi plaintively, wiped a handful of sweat, and accepted his fate and got busy.

Liu Qingbo also followed, but he wasn’t interested in arranging the array and instead only stared at Dong Zhi.

Seeing this, Dong Zhi felt inexplicable. “Is my face blushing?”

Unusually, Liu Qingbo didn’t quip back but said solemnly, “Have you felt uncomfortable recently?”

Dong Zhi thought for a while. “After the last fight with Yamamoto, my injuries haven’t healed, but I didn’t get hurt much fighting with the demonic energy at Han Qi’s place… If it had to be said, the moment the demonic energy was eliminated, I felt a cold feeling between my brows, as if something had entered my body, but afterwards, except for being tired easily, there was no other discomfort, and my injuries are slowly healing.”

Liu Qingbo told him about the black wisp he had just seen.

“It’s definitely not that I’m seeing things this time. When you see Boss Tang, you’d better tell him the situation and have him take a look.”

Dong Zhi nodded. “Actually, now that you mention it, I also think it’s a bit strange. Do you remember the nightmare I had on the plane? I suspect someone may have marked me so they could track me at any time.”

“I don’t know much about the technique. If Boss Tang can’t solve it, you can find Boss Long. Anyway, you must solve the matter. I don’t want to take an oath in front of your tombstone when the newcomers come to the Special Administrative Bureau in the future!” In the end, his tone wasn’t very good.

Dong Zhi joked. “Then you have to burn me more money. I heard that if you don’t have enough money, you will be bullied if you are poor!”

Seeing Liu Qingbo’s face getting uglier, he hurriedly raised his hand in surrender. “Okay, I’ll stop talking!”

Chen Guoliang interjected at the right time and said weakly, “Master Dong, I have arranged it according to the direction you said. What do you think I should do next?”

Next, Dong Zhi placed a bagua mirror in the array, and small bells were tied with red ropes around it. One by one, they were hung on the surrounding walls, and the box containing the jade bracelet was taken out and placed at the end of the bed.

After arranging all this, Xiang Mu was finally allowed to enter the bedroom.

He looked at the talisman and the bells with a wry smile. “I’m afraid I won’t be able to sleep.”

Dong Zhi comforted him. “Don’t be afraid, I will give you two drops of lavender essential oil on your pillow to make sure you sleep well tonight.”

As night fell, Dong Zhi looked at his watch.

“It’s cloudy at eight today, which is suitable for evoking spirits. There are still a few minutes left. Go to bed quickly, boss.”

Xiang Mu went to bed while they waited outside.

Chen Guoliang was a little restless. The current scene could only be regarded as a small case compared to the horror of bloodshed last time, but he didn’t know what would happen, and the feeling of unpredictable good or bad was simply nerve-wracking.

Upon seeing this, Dong Zhi took the initiative to start a conversation. “Chen Guoliang, in fact, you know quite a lot. Why don’t you go to a teacher to learn rather than rely on your mouth to deceive people?”

Chen Guoliang smiled bitterly. “It’s easy for you to say, but it’s not that easy to worship a teacher. I met a Taoist master many years ago. It’s a pity that people think I have no talent and refuse to accept it. This time… You saved me face, thank you.”

He arched his hands at the two of them.

In the bedroom, Xiang Mu didn’t say anything, but he was still a little nervous. He felt that it was impossible to sleep, but within a few minutes, he didn’t know if the essential oil worked or the effect of the array. As soon as he touched the pillow, he closed his eyes, and after a while, he really fell asleep.

Xiang Mu had already given leave to all the servants in the household. Except for the bodyguards outside the villa, only the three of them were guarding him in the living room.

The bell rang suddenly, and the three of them subconsciously shuddered, then got up and rushed to the bedroom.

Xiang Mu lay on the bed with his eyes closed tightly.

Unlike ordinary people who are trapped by nightmares, he looked relaxed and had a smile at the corner of his mouth, as if immersed in a wonderful dream.

The jade bracelet at the end of the bed was quietly placed in the box, no different from before.

But both Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo frowned.

Because in their eyes, the jade bracelet had changed, and the color had become more intense. Against the background of the dim table lamp, a ray of black air curled up from the jade bracelet, and then slowly floated towards the door. Beside his bedside pillow, faintly, there was a thick green mist.

In the mist, a human form was looming, and it could almost be seen that it was a woman.

Chen Guoliang took in a deep breath.

Dong Zhi no longer hesitated, and the long-prepared sunlight talisman in his hand was thrown directly at the green mist.

The talisman came into contact with the green mist, and suddenly a female scream resounded in the air, causing Xiang Mu to wake up and sit up abruptly!

The green mist moved back quickly, as if to float back into the jade bracelet, but it was Liu Qingbo who was faster than it. He quickly picked up the jade bracelet and retreated directly to the outside of the array. The green mist was bounced by the red line in the array and fell back. It then actually split into two and turned into the figure of two women.

Xiang Mu lost his voice. “Xiao Jun!”

The two women were translucent. The green light was floating, trembling constantly, as if they would dissipate at any moment, but their figures and appearance could be seen.

The strange thing was that both of them looked exactly the same.

Dong Zhi didn’t expect that by waiting for a rabbit, they would catch two souls and couldn’t help but look at Xiang Mu.

“Which one is your wife?”

Xiang Mu was also dumbfounded.

“Husband, I miss you so much!” The young woman looked at Xiang Mu with tears in her eyes.

The other one didn’t speak, frowning tightly, even more sad.

Chen Guoliang was speechless and couldn’t help but say, “Could it be that your wife’s soul was divided into two halves?”

Xiang Mu murmured, “I don’t know…”

The sad one said, “After I died, I saw you sad every day, and I didn’t know what to do, so I went into the jade bracelet. In fact, I was with you every night. It was not my will. It was the spirit in the jade bracelet that coerced me!”

The other woman shook her head, tears streaming across her cheeks: “This jade bracelet was passed down by my grandmother. When I was a child, I heard my elders say that this jade bracelet has a spirit. I didn’t believe it before. Until I died, my soul was trapped in the jade bracelet. I watched this woman grow into me day by day, until she looked like before I died. Then she forced me to go into your dreams… and sucked out all the yang energy from you… Husband, I’m sorry. I wanted to tell you for a long time but she placed a restraint on me that wouldn’t allow me to speak about it in your dreams!”

One was Mrs. Xiang, and the other was the jade bracelet that had become an essence. The jade bracelet had been soaked in popularity for a long time and now had a soul with its own consciousness. It also envied the love of Xiang Mu and his wife, so it took on the appearance of Mrs. Xiang and seduced her husband in his dreams all night long, sucking his energy and making it difficult for him to extricate himself.

Of course, this was all inferred by Dong Zhi based on the dialogue between the two of them.

Being born human was blessed by nature. He didn’t know how much effort other species needed to make if they wanted to cultivate into a human body. The soul of this jade bracelet could be transformed into a human form, so it could be seen that it had reached the last step in its cultivation. As long as it cultivated for a few more years, it may be able to stand under the sun, just like Long Shen, like Liu Si, and the others, and walk among the world of humans.

But this step may be a few years, decades, or even hundreds of years, depending on the individual’s cultivation and fortune, but this jade bracelet obviously didn’t want to wait that long, so it chose a shortcut.

Liu Qingbo sneered, “Although you can be transformed into a human form now, you can only appear in the dead of night. When you truly become a human, you have to experience a calamity. Do you think you can survive a calamity safely like this?”

Two identical women spoke at the same time.

One said, “Husband, break the jade bracelet so that the monster has no place to go. I would rather lose my soul than harm you!”

The other said, “Husband, let the master take care of this evil. If you continue like this, your spirit will be sucked dry by it!”

Listening to their tone, they both thought of Xiang Mu more than themselves, so he couldn’t tell which one was his real wife.

“Xiao Yun, if I tell these two masters to exorcise the monster in the jade bracelet, will it affect you?”

Dong Zhi answered on his behalf, “Mr. Xiang, in this situation, your wife’s soul is probably already integrated with the jade bracelet. No matter what you do to the jade bracelet, it will hurt your wife. The best way is to distinguish them. I will send your wife away, and then subdue the monster.”

Xiang Mu understood Dong Zhi’s meaning. He gazed back and forth between the two women, thought for a moment, then asked, “When is our wedding anniversary?”

“June 16th!”

“June 16th!”

The two women spoke almost in unison.

Xiang Mu: “Do you remember what I said? When our daughter gets married, what will I give her?”

One of them spoke first, “You said that you would give her the villa on the other side of Dongjiang to let her use as a wedding room, and you also said you hoped that she would find someone who’s Chinese so as not be separated between mountains and rivers in the future.”

The other also said, “This jade bracelet was originally planned to be given to her. You also said that you have taken a lot of jewelry over the years, as you have to use it as her dowry to let her marry in a beautiful way.”

Xiang Mu was troubled and said to Dong Zhi, “They are both right.”

Liu Qingbo said impatiently, “Can’t you ask something more difficult?”

The two women looked at Xiang Mu with the same eager and expectant eyes, as if they also hoped that he would ask more difficult questions.

Xiang Mu sighed: “Xiao Yun, in fact, after you passed away, I found it boring to do anything. Although business is getting better, no matter how much money I make, without you, my life will be like this. Others have persuaded me to remarry. Even our daughter is also very open-minded. It’s me who can’t get through the difficulties in my heart. Sometimes, I really hope that like other men, where I see the one I like, marry her, and keep others outside, so that you won’t have to worry about me after you die. But I miss you and want you to stay here.”

“Do you remember, when we were young, we had no money. When you gave birth to our daughter, we couldn’t afford to buy even a can of milk powder. I begged my grandfather to ask my grandmother, and finally begged your parent’s house. Your father finally lent me the money, but he also spoke out and told me that a daughter who is married is water that has been spilled*, so I can’t go back to them even if anything happens in the future. I was afraid to make you feel uncomfortable so I have never told you about it, but since then, I swore to myself that I must let you live a good life so that your family will never dare to look down on you again.”

*(你是嫁出去的女儿泼出去的水) Proverb that means as soon as a girl gets married, she is like water that’s already been spilled, and her parents aren’t allowed to intervene.

“Later, in order to do business, I often went out to socialize. Everything at home was left to you to take care of. Thanks to your care, my parents were able to live so long. I also know that some people talk nonsense in front of you, saying that I have a lover outside, and that I go out to socialize so much that I must be messing around, but you have never questioned me. I took the initiative to ask, and you said that if you hadn’t believed in my character, you wouldn’t have married me. For this, I will never do anything to wrong you in my life.”

His two “wives” blushed when they heard the words.

One stared at him in a daze, speechless.

One said, “Thank you, husband.”

Xiang Mu shook his head. “I should thank you.”

Dong Zhi looked closely at them, but their expression towards Xiang Mu seemed to come from the heart, without revealing the slightest flaw.

Not only him, but Liu Qingbo and Chen Guoliang didn’t see anything either.

In the past, they disagreed over a single word, and they fought each other at every turn. This was the first time they had encountered a situation where they both agreed with each other. It was more of a test of decision than force.

Xiang Mu looked at Dong Zhi for help, “Master, I can’t tell which one is the real and which is the fake.”

Dong Zhi thought for a moment, “Then there is only one way now. Just break the jade bracelet.”

The jade bracelet was the original body of the spirit. As long as it was broken, it would be greatly affected. At that time, Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo would be able to quickly distinguish them and subdue the jade bracelet spirit. The disadvantage was that Mrs. Xiang’s soul may also have been damaged as a result.

Xiang Mu said without thinking, “No, don’t break the jade bracelet. I’m afraid I’ll hurt my wife!”

Hearing these words, both women’s expressions changed.

One was moved.

The other was mostly happy.

Although the difference between the two emotions was not as great as between joy and anger, there were always subtle differences.

It was fast and fleeting, but they quickly moved. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo shot out separately. One drew his sword out of its sheath and stabbed one of them, and the other threw out a talisman.

The talisman fell onto the green mist and fixed on one of the women.

At this time, Liu Qingbo’s sword had already pierced into the body of the other woman. The woman screamed fiercely, and the sword light completely shattered the green mist, turning it into green stars and scattering it all over the room. That little soul that had cultivated this far for so long was reduced to this fleeting moment in the end.

Liu Qingbo was a little dazed when he saw Dong Zhi, thinking that he felt that his hands were hot, and he said angrily, “It was self-inflicted. There’s no good end to abusing compassion!”

Dong Zhi recovered and shook his head.

He just suddenly remembered Long Shen, and it hurt him.

In the process of deepening his dragon form, he must’ve experienced unimaginable difficulties and temptations. The top of the snow-capped mountains, the far reaches of the polar regions, and under the stars were all past experiences that he had not participated in. No one knew how much a sword needed to go through from its birth to its rebirth and whether it was more difficult than the things refined by Taishang Laojun’s1 Liuding Shenhuo2.

1Also known as Daode Tianzun, he’s a high Taoist god and one of the Three Pure Ones.
2This is the divine fire of the gossip furnace owned by Taishang Laojun in “Journey to the West”. Magic weapons such as the golden hoop rods, the nine-tooth nail rake, and the purple gold bells were all forged using the gossip furnace with the divine fire. || The context here is that these weapons were extremely powerful, forged by divine fire, while compared to them, Long Shen was much more ordinary, so the amount of effort it took to cultivate to where he is today must be incredible.

But despite such a thorny cliff road, Long Shen walked step by step. The jade essence in front of him had only got a chance, but it wanted to achieve its goal through harmful shortcuts. How could it compare with Long Shen?

It was precisely because he had met Long Shen, Liu Si, and others that he believed this jade essence had only itself to blame.

After seeing Long Shen’s past in the illusion, he always wanted to call the other party and say, ‘Master, no matter how difficult the road is in the future, I am willing to walk with you. Even if I can’t keep up with you and fall far behind, I’m willing to keep going. At least when you look back, you can always see someone there, proving that you’re not alone.’

But how many times, after he opened the phone’s address book, he didn’t have the courage to follow through.

Long Shen’s previous words were still ringing in his ears, repeatedly, so that he could no longer add more trouble to the other party in the name of love. If he were to walk to his door, he would raise his hand to knock, but would freeze and stand there for a long time before leaving silently.

Love was companionship, restraint, willingness not to regard the other’s time as your own, and the willingness to dedicate the best of your life to each other.

But he didn’t want to make the other party unhappy and awkward.

When he was a child, he liked flowers, so he always picked them and took them home to raise, but then he learned that after the flowers were picked, life would only pass faster, so when he grew up, even if he liked those numerous branches, he would restrain his desire to pick them and not interfere with their life trajectory. He would let the flowers continue to bloom on their own branches.

Long Shen wasn’t a flower. He was more precious than any flower in the world.

Thinking of this, Dong Zhi sighed softly in his heart as he watched Xiang Mu walk towards the remaining woman and told her his long-lost affection.

The slender figure wrapped in the green mist trembled, but brilliance continued to flow. It was dazzling and graceful, as if the jade beads were glowing, adding a bit of amazement to the woman, but both Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo knew that this kind of beauty was short-lived and dangerous. Now that the jade essence was gone, the aura of the jade bracelet had disappeared, and it had become a dead object. He still didn’t know if there was an opportunity to continue to cultivate into a human form, but the jade bracelet was no longer suitable for the other woman to stay in. There was only one way left, and that was for ashes to return to ashes and dust to return to dust.

“Mr. Xiang, I’m afraid you have to hurry up. The time limit for the talisman is only two hours. After the time has passed, your wife must go back to the jade bracelet,” he reminded.

Xiang Mu’s eyes reddened. “Then will she go to the underworld to reincarnate?”

Dong Zhi said, “As I said, it doesn’t matter whether she’s reincarnated or not, but everyone has their own places to go after death. Your wife has already passed. She should have a place that she needs to return to. If she continues to stay, even if she could live in the jade bracelet, her soul will gradually decline, so she must be sent away as soon as possible.”

In the language of science, the soul was a kind of magnetic field that existed in a space that was a different dimension from them. That space also had its own rules and laws, as well as its own law enforcers, whether it was the underworld or the afterlife. They were all just different names for another world.

Xiang Mu nodded, expressing understanding.

Dong Zhi said, “Neither Lao Liu nor I are good at sending souls to the beyond, but don’t worry. After I go back, I’ll find the right master to come and help, and I’ll help you get it done.”

Xiang Mu could now also see that Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were the ones with real abilities. As for Chen Guoliang, he may have had some ability, but definitely not as much as the other two, so he was completely inclined to listen to Dong Zhi’s words.

“Then please, master.”

He removed the talisman, causing the woman to turn into a cloud of green mist and slowly return to the jade bracelet. Xiang Mu carefully closed the box and held it in his arms like a treasure.

There were many rich and powerful people in this world, but few were as deeply in love as they were. Xiang Mu was an exception, and even Liu Qingbo felt a little moved.

Dong Zhi promised Xiang Mu to help him with this matter within a week. The three of them politely declined Xiang Mu’s invitation to stay the night, so Xiang Mu could only present them with the “Travel Map of Shaohua” and give Chen Gualiang a big red envelope and send them on their way.


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

Bu Tian Gang Ch93

Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi

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


Chapter 93: Dong-Tchaikovsky-Zhi

The mood of Dong Zhi was actually similar to his. The two of them were relatively speechless, and it took a long time for them to recover.

“Is this painting an auction item?” Liu Qingbo asked calmly.

Dong Zhi flipped through the auction catalog. “It’s not in the auction catalog.”

Liu Qingbo said without hesitation, “Find the owner of the painting and buy it!”

As long as the bid was high enough, he didn’t believe that there wasn’t anything in the world that couldn’t be bought.

Dong Zhi: “We don’t know the seller’s situation yet. Let’s inquire about it first. There will be an auction in the afternoon. Don’t worry.”

Liu Qingbo read the introduction next to the painting again and confirmed that the owner of the collection was not written on it.

He found the security personnel patrolling on the floor to ask, but the other party didn’t know either.

Dong Zhi grabbed him. “Don’t be impatient. It’s not good to let others see that we care too much about this painting. Someone might know.”

For example, the young lady who entertained them just now.

Although the other party was only responsible for the hospitality of guests, she must have had a certain understanding of this exhibition, so it was suitable to ask her questions first.

Dong Zhi smiled and said, “Lao Liu, here’s your chance to perform.”

Liu Qingbo: “…Why me?”

Dong Zhi looked innocent. “You look more rich and handsome than me!”

Liu Qingbo would never admit that he was flattered by this sentence, so he said reluctantly, “I’m here for work under the Special Administration Bureau.”

Dong Zhi buttered him up without hesitation. “That’s right. There’s no doubt about your ideological enlightenment as you’re the top in our class!”

Liu Qingbo went valiantly but came back with a bad face in less than ten minutes.

“No way, you can’t even handle such a trivial matter?” Dong Zhi felt incredulous.

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. “That woman is too difficult to talk to.”

Dong Zhi asked, “What did she say?”

Liu Qingbo said in an annoyed tone, “I asked her who the owner of this painting is. She said that anything that’s not signed is something that the owner doesn’t want to disclose, and she couldn’t disclose it. I just said that if she told me, I would invite her to dinner and give her two thousand dollars. Who knew this woman would pull down her face and give me a scowl?”

Dong Zhi smacked his forehead. “If you say that how would anyone tell you anything!”

Liu Qingbo sneered: “I say this woman is too hypocritical. When she heard I was going to invite her to dinner, she obviously smiled. I was just trying to show her that I’m wealthy, not that I’m promiscuous!”

Dong Zhi sighed. “If you hadn’t invited her to dinner, it might’ve been better. She thought you were trying to pursue her. Who knew you just wanted to make a deal with her. Although love is a deal, it also has a romantic element. Some people can equate romance with money, but others are unwilling to compromise. Let me try!”

Liu Qingbo was taken aback. “Who told you this stuff?”

Dong Zhi waved his hand, with a gesture that looked ethereal, and then brushed his clothes, “Dong-Tchaikovsky*-Zhi.”

*Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky was a Russian composer of the Romantic Period. He wrote some of the most popular concert and theatrical music in the current classical repertoire, including the ballets Swan Lake and The Nutcracker, the 1812 Overture, his First Piano ConcertoViolin Concerto, the Romeo and Juliet Overture-Fantasy, several symphonies, and the opera Eugene Onegin. || The context here is that Dong Zhi is making the joke, basically saying let me, the master of romanticism (by referencing Tchaikovsky) work my magic.

Liu Qingbo: ……

He originally thought that Dong Zhi would fail, but he didn’t expect the other party to come back soon, with a spring breeze on his face.

“It’s done?”

Dong Zhi smiled and said, “It’s a veteran of this place, one of the top two people. The owner of this painting is one of the organizers of this event, Xiang Mu.”

Liu Qingbo was in disbelief. “What did you say to move her?”

Dong Zhi patted him. “Thanks to your support, I said that you have never chased a girl and you regretted what you did until your stomach was blue, so you asked me to go over and apologize. I also booked a place at a nearby Michelin three-star restaurant for you two. Please be sure to go.”

Liu Qingbo: …

He simply had the urge to unscrew the head of the person in front of him and kick it like a ball.

Dong Zhi smiled at him. “Calm down, calm down. Think of it as a sacrifice of your appearance for our country. Don’t you suddenly feel proud when you think about it like this?”

Liu Qingbo bit his cheek and smiled. “Not at all!”

Dong Zhi broke it down for him. “If I’d gone first, there wouldn’t be a need to do it a second time. Since you went first, I could only make up for it on your behalf. Alright, let’s not worry about this kind of trivial matter. All in all, Xiang Mu, as the organizer, should also be present at the reception later. Let’s find him first and set up a meeting with him to see if we can buy this painting directly from him. If we can, great. If not, we’ll have to reassess then.”

Liu Qingbo gave him a sideways glance. “I don’t want to eat with that woman. You can do it yourself!”

Dong Zhi said, “Alright how about this? You go to order and pay, and then I’ll call you halfway to get you out of there early…”

With such a discovery, neither of them had the mind to watch the exhibition again, so they walked around at will. They stayed there until noon. The tourists who came to see the exhibition for free gradually left, while Dong Zhi and those who had paid the deposit were invited upstairs to the cocktail party.

The food at the cocktail party was excellent, and there were a lot of good wines. This was a glamorous social occasion. Many people’s minds weren’t on eating. They gathered in groups of three to five as they chatted and laughed. Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo separated to look for signs of Xiang Mu. Dong Zhi soon saw a middle-aged man surrounded by several men and women, who looked a lot like the Xiang Mu he searched for on the internet.

He walked over with a wine glass nonchalantly, pretending to be attracted by the content of their conversation and stopping to listen.

A few people were talking about the recent antique market situation and future prospects, which went way over his head. Dong Zhi got bored just listening to their chatter, but they wouldn’t leave, so he could only continue to listen with a thick face.

Suddenly, Xiang Mu suddenly said, “Sir, you just entered this circle, right?”

Dong Zhi blinked and realized that the other party was talking to him, so he smiled and said, “Yes, but in fact, I am just a fan of art and calligraphy. I have heard of Mr. Xiang’s name for a long time and found that you were holding an exhibition here today, so I had to rush over and see it for myself so I could learn your teachings!”

Xiang Mu also smiled. He had read countless people, and he could see at a glance that the other party wasn’t part of the antique circle, but he didn’t call him out on it.

“What’s your name?”

“Dong, Dong Zhi.”

“Mr. Dong, the visitor is a guest. I wonder what it is that you wish to inquire?”

Dong Zhi smiled and said, “To be honest, it’s not me who likes art and calligraphy, but actually my grandfather. However, he’s too old to move around, so he could only let me run errands in his place. After I came here today, I saw a painting that was very much in line with that old man’s taste. I heard that the owner of that painting is you, so I took the liberty to come over and ask if you would be willing to give up your love?”

Xiang Mu raised his eyebrows. He thought that the other party was a business rival who came to inquire about news, but he didn’t expect that he actually wanted to buy a painting.

“Which one are you talking about?”

Dong Zhi: “‘The Travel Map of Shaohua’.”

The painting must not have made much impression on Xiang Mu, or it may be that he had too much in his collection, as it took him quite a while to remember it. Then he shook his head.

“Sorry, I won’t sell that painting.”

Dong Zhi’s heart sank. The last thing he wanted to hear was such an answer.

“May I know the reason? If it is a matter of money, I believe that, in the end, I can give a satisfactory figure to Mr. Xiang.”

Using the identity of the Special Administration Bureau would only be a last resort. Now that so many things had happened recently, Dong Zhi had become more cautious. He wasn’t sure if there were traces of enemies hidden among ordinary people and he didn’t want to scare the snake as a possible consequence and lose the game.

Xiang Mu smiled apologetically. “It’s not about money. That painting is a relic passed down from my wife’s family, so I don’t want to sell it.”

He was obviously not interested in continuing the conversation with Dong Zhi, as after he replied, he turned around and walked away, but his expression suddenly changed from calmness to surprise.

No longer interacting with Dong Zhi, Xiang Mu enthusiastically walked over and greeted a person who had come in from the other end.

“Master Chen, it’s been a long time since I saw you. I was waiting for you!”

When Dong Zhi saw who it was, he almost couldn’t control his facial expression and almost laughed out loud on the spot.

Who else but it was none other than Chen Guoliang who Liu Qingbo had been “longing for”.

This Master Chen was still dressed in a black jacket with an extraordinary style. With an assistant bodyguard by his side, he magnanimously made his entrance. From a glance, his posture looked as if he was the protagonist of a novel, which attracted a lot of attention.

After Chen Guoliang was let go, he didn’t have the face to stay in Lucheng for long. He wanted to go back to Hong Kong, and he wouldn’t come back to the mainland for a few years.

Coincidentally, at that moment, he received an invitation to attend a cocktail party and auction to lecture distinguished guests about feng shui metaphysics. It also came with a private commission and a high appearance fee. Chen Guoliang’s conscience was moved, and he felt that it was a blessing from God to give him this chance to make money. He had no reason to doubt this, and it wasn’t too late to eat one last meal before he left, so he decided to come.

He didn’t think that the enemy’s path was so narrow and that the world would be so coincidental.

His smile completely froze when he saw the person next to Xiang Mu.

Seeing Liu Qingbo coming from the other end again, his smile could no longer be maintained, and he collapsed instantly.

Liu Qingbo also chuckled. “Master Chen, what a coincidence. Truly a coincidence that we meet again. This must be fate at work for us to meet thousands of miles away!”

Chen Guoliang reluctantly pulled out a smile that he thought was very calm and took the initiative to stretch out his hand. “It turns out to be Mr. Liu and Mr. Dong. Indeed, how fateful this is!”

‘A truly evil fate,’ he added in his heart.

Liu Qingbo looked at him with a smile for a long time, and when Chen Guoliang looked uneasy, he finally stretched out his hand.

Chen Guoliang breathed a sigh of relief, hurriedly held his hand and shook it twice, and greeted Dong Zhi enthusiastically.

Xiang Mu was surprised. “It turns out that Master Chen knows these two gentlemen?”

“I know, I know!” Chen Guoliang’s face twitched, revealing the half-truths and half-lies. “With these two masters here, why bother to invite me. Honestly!”

Xiang Muguo was really surprised. He knew Chen Guoliang’s reputation in Hong Kong. Last time he went to Hong Kong on business, he got to know this Master Chen thanks to the introduction of a rich man named Li. This time, he was invited to come over for a feng shui lecture. Secondly, more importantly, he encountered a difficult problem that Chen Guoliang urgently needed to solve.

“This meeting must be destiny. Three masters, I have prepared a VIP room for you. Why don’t you come inside, and we can have a detailed discussion? The lecture hasn’t started yet, and I happen to have a little personal question I want to ask the three of you.”

He may have felt he had embarrassed Dong Zhi before, so he added, “If Mr. Dong wants that painting, in fact, it’s not that I can’t give it away.”

Dong Zhi said, “You don’t have to give it away. As long as you give us a price, we’ll try our best to raise the funds.”

Xiang Mu smiled. “I am not short of money.”

The implication was that he didn’t need to make money by selling paintings. Thinking about most of the collections in the exhibition hall, Dong Zhi became speechless.

Xiang Mu led them into the VIP reception room. It was much more gorgeous than outside, and there were many more personal decorations. Dong Zhi guessed that this place, including the exhibition hall downstairs, should be his property.

It was no wonder why he didn’t put a price on that painting. For a wealthy man like Xiang Mu, even if the paintings were sold for hundreds of millions, it would just be another number added to his property.

However, his problems were often unsolvable by money. Therefore, ordinary people look at many rich people and laugh at them. After they became prosperous, many would pray to Buddha or God, but as a result, they would worship the wrong door and encounter too many gods. In fact, it was because they asked for too much and it was often too complicated. The method was no longer suitable for them, and the gods were too elusive, and it was impossible to give them a quick solution. In the end, they could only turn to so-called experts and masters. If they encountered someone like Chen Guoliang, they would be fooled at most, but for those that stumbled upon Songen or Yamamoto, it was most likely they wouldn’t be able to save their own lives.

Xiang Mu didn’t have the habit of disclosing his private affairs to strangers. He waited for Chen Guoliang to introduce Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo’s origin, but it seemed that Chen Guoliang behaved quite cramped. He would look at Dong Zhi from time to time, as if he was waiting for him to issue orders.

The other party’s abnormality made Xiang Mu feel even more confused. He originally thought that even if Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo were a bit capable, it was only Chen Guoliang’s modesty, but now this didn’t seem to be the case.

“Master Chen, would you like to introduce me?” He finally broke the awkward atmosphere.

“The title master is truly unworthy. These two are the real masters and experts. Uh, Mr. Dong and Mr. Liu, I have already introduced them just now. Let’s focus on them today. I’ll just listen on the side!”

Chen Guoliang’s complexion twitched slightly. He didn’t dare reveal the identity of Dong Zhi. He wanted to prevent any trouble and didn’t want to make the other party unhappy. He could only hope that they would spare him the humiliation of exposing himself in front of Xiang Mu.

As soon as the voice fell, Liu Qingbo showed him a smirk, which made Chen Guoliang shudder in fear. His heart was divided between being exposed or not, and he was entangled and uneasy that it felt like he was wandering on the edge of death.

Compared to Liu Qingbo, Dong Zhi still gave Chen Guoliang a little face, or rather, he had no intention of teasing Chen Guoliang now.

“My name is Dong Zhi. This is Liu Qingbo. We have our own practices, but it’s not the same as Master Chen’s way. If you have any problems, Mr. Xiang, you can tell us. Let’s discuss it in detail together.”

Hearing him call him Master Chen, Chen Guoliang breathed a sigh of relief. In addition to being grateful, he quickly followed up. “Yes, tell them. Mr. Dong and Mr. Liu must have a way!”

As soon as he finished speaking, Liu Qingbo glanced at him again, which stunned Chen Guoliang. Could it be that these two people didn’t intend to show their true identity, but he had inadvertently exposed them? He couldn’t help but become more nervous.

In fact, with his reputation among the rich and powerful of Hong Kong, he wouldn’t have fallen so far. It was just that last time, he was shell-shocked by how Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo had subdued the demonic energy, and he later received several days of ideological education. It was truly eye-opening and awe-inspiring that it led him to be more respectful and also fear the profession. It was the last thing on his list to see Dong Zhi again, yet who knew that the enemy’s path would be so narrow? When he ran to Shencheng, they also followed him here.

When Chen Guoliang returned to Hong Kong, he would change the name of his feng shui master and, going forward, would keep a low profile so as to not run into experts like them. He really couldn’t eat and walk away*.

*(吃不了兜着走) Metaphor referring to ignoring the situation and causing trouble or adverse consequences and you have to bear it yourself. || It’s basically saying, he can’t escape the consequences of his previous action (being a fraud) because he has once again run into Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo.

Xiang Mu greeted them with a few pleasantries, then talked about calligraphy, paintings, and writings, down to the feng shui furnishings in the room here. He refused to get to the point. Dong Zhi knew that such a successful businessman was usually suspicious. If he didn’t disperse his doubts, it was estimated the other party wouldn’t be able to communicate at all with them, so he said, “Mr. Xiang, my friend here is a descendant of Liu Yongjia, a well-known swordsmaster of the Republic of China. Maybe you have heard of him. On the other hand, I am a named disciple of the Hezao Sect. I studied under Taoist Master Fang Yangfang. I also have another master, but he’s not a member of the Hezao Sect, so I won’t mention him.”

Chen Guoliang said hurriedly, “In the past, the Hezao Sect was on par and ranked third among Mount Longhu and Mount Maoshan, but in modern times they’ve been much lower-key. I have seen these two slay demons with my very own eyes, and I have great respect for them in my heart!”

Compared with Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo, whom he had just met for the first time, Xiang Mu was, of course, more inclined to believe in Chen Guoliang, who had already had a great reputation in Hong Kong.

Dong Zhi didn’t expect that they would have to rely on Chen Guoliang to prove their identity in turn and felt the situation was quite ridiculous.

Sure enough, Xiang Mu suddenly became a lot more solemn when he heard this introduction.

“Just now, I have eyes but failed to see Mount Taishan*. I didn’t expect to bump into such great people by mistake. I’m very sorry!” Xiang Mu apologized to them.

*(有眼不识泰山) Metaphor for having eyes too narrow thus failing to recognize someone of excellent skill/status.

Liu Qingbo became impatient. “Mr. Xiang, let’s get to your situation.”

Xiang Mu smiled bitterly. “In fact, this matter is really weird, and it has something to do with my wife.”

It had been almost five years since Xiang Mu’s wife passed away. They also had a daughter who was now studying abroad. It stood to reason that Xiang Mu had a good appearance and was wealthy. As a middle-aged and widowed man with no son, there were no problems with women clamoring for him, but Xiang Mu was an exception. He had a good relationship with his wife, and he hadn’t remarried in the past five years, despite the persuasion of his friends.

His wife had a bracelet that was passed down from her mother’s family. After her death, Xiang Mu kept this bracelet and was prepared to give it to his daughter when she got married, but the problem lay in this bracelet.

Starting about a year ago, Xiang Mu began to frequently have a recurring dream. In the dream, he was reunited with his late wife. His wife was still in the prime of her appearance. Xiang Mu was naturally extremely happy. After a long parting, the old relationship was rekindled. The whispering between the two quickly turned into a love affair. When he woke up, the pillow was still cold, and the whereabouts of his wife were gone. He was quite saddened by it. However, after that, Xiang Mu began to meet his wife in his dreams again, and every time it would end with a spring dream. Over time, Xiang Mu stumbled upon the jade bracelet he kept in the bedroom safe. It seemed that it had become smoother and more lustrous.

“This bracelet was originally worn by my wife for decades during her lifetime. She never took it off. I originally wanted to put it in the bank with other things, but every time I saw the bracelet, I couldn’t help but look at it and think about it. I can’t help leaving it so far away from me, so I put it in the bedroom.”

Having said that, there was a trace of an unspeakable expression on Xiang Mu’s face. “I’m not afraid of your jokes, telling you this. I’m not old in age and I usually exercise. I’m a man with normal needs, but I haven’t had this kind of dream before. I once doubted if there were any physical or psychological problems, but the test results were all normal. It was no wonder that my dreams were so beautiful. I seemed to have returned to the days I spent with my wife when I was young. As time goes by, it’s inevitable that I will be indulgent.”

All the people present were men, and they were not ordinary people. Not only did no one express the meaning of ridicule, but they all nodded in understanding. Xiang Mu was encouraged, relaxed a little, and continued.

Despite that, having a spring dream so often, no matter how healthy or strong Xiang Mu was, it was inevitable that it would take a mental toll. What was even more strange was that later, he occasionally had an extended version of the dream. After his wife said she was happy with him, she began to cry silently. No matter what he asked, she would refuse to speak and kept crying until Xiang Mu woke up.

Since then, Xiang Mu’s night had basically been trapped in such a dream, unable to extricate himself.

“You keep leaving the bracelet in the bedroom?” Liu Qingbo couldn’t help asking.

Xiang Mu: “Yes.”

Liu Qingbo frowned. “So many things have happened. Why don’t you throw away the bracelet or destroy it? Are you waiting to be sucked dry?”

This was so straightforward that it made Xiang Mu a little embarrassed.

“In fact, since my wife passed away, I have always missed her very much, and for this reason, I have never remarried…”

He didn’t go on, but the implication was already obvious.

Xiang Mu meant that he enjoyed his spring dreams and didn’t mention that the object in his spring dreams was his wife. On the one hand, he could see his dead lover in his dream, and on the other hand, he could relive his youth with his lover. He couldn’t help but indulge in it, knowing that something was wrong, but he couldn’t bear to leave.

Liu Qingbo rolled his eyes. As soon as he heard this, he knew that Xiang Mu was not willing to destroy the bracelet or stay away from it. The other party had to go around in a big circle looking for things that could be solved simply.

Dong Zhi asked bluntly, “Mr. Xiang, there must be a problem with your bracelet, but we can’t give you an answer before we see the real thing. I want to ask you first, how do you want us to help you?”

Xiang Mu pondered for a moment, and said, “I want to know, is my wife’s soul trapped in that bracelet to support my dreams?”

Dong Zhi: “What if it is?”

Xiang Mu hesitated, and he hadn’t figured out what to do.

Dong Zhi said, “Even if it is really your wife’s soul, it’s not good for you or her to go on like this. She is sucking your essence night by night, nourishing her ghostly bodily and, overtime, she won’t be willing to be trapped in the bracelet and perhaps she may even possess your body!”

Xiang Mu laughed. “This is impossible. She was very kind during her lifetime!”

Liu Qingbo said, “There is nothing impossible. After a person dies, everything will disappear. If she misses the world and refuses to die, her temperament will definitely change. If she is really dedicated to your sake, how can she be willing to suck your energy every night?”

Chen Guoliang also said, “Mr. Xiang, people cannot come back from the dead. Humans have human ways and ghosts have their own. The three realms and six paths* has their own rules. If those rules are broken, you may also delay your wife’s end.”

*Reference to Samsara. The three realms refer to the realm of desire, the realm of form, and the realm of immateriality, while the six paths are typically divided into three higher realms (good) and three lower realms (evil). You can read my Kinky Thoughts for more details on this, but it’s basically a belief in what happens after one dies and goes through reincarnation/rebirth.

Xiang Mu sighed. “Can you do this? After the auction, I will take you to my house first to see the bracelet. If you can, please help persuade my wife so that she can go to reincarnation with peace of mind as soon as possible!”

Dong Zhi and Liu Qingbo looked at each other. The purpose of their trip was the painting, so naturally they had to help Xiang Mu solve his troubles first.

“Yes.”

“Then I’ll have to trouble you!” Xiang Mu was very grateful.


Kinky Thoughts:

Three Realms and Six Paths.

The three realms referred to:

  1. The Realm of Desire: From hell to heaven, there’s a mixture of good and evil and men and women live together, tainted by desire
  2. The Realm of Form: From the first to the fourth meditation heaven, there is no female form and thus no desire are tainted, and everything is incarnated by pure colors
  3. The Realm of Immateriality: From the heavens to the void, there is but colorless emptiness.

The six paths refer to Samsara. Each path (realms) is split into 3 higher realms (representing good, fortunate) and 3 lower realms (representing evil, unfortunate). Below is a description of each realm courtesy of Wikipedia:

  1. Gods realm: the gods (devas) is the most pleasure-filled among the six realms, and typically subdivided into twenty six sub-realms. A rebirth in this heavenly realm is believed to be from very good karma accumulation. A Deva does not need to work, and is able to enjoy in the heavenly realm all pleasures found on earth. However, the pleasures of this realm lead to attachment (Upādāna), lack of spiritual pursuits and therefore no nirvana. The vast majority of Buddhist lay people, states Kevin Trainor, have historically pursued Buddhist rituals and practices motivated with rebirth into Deva realm. The Deva realm in Buddhist practice in southeast and east Asia, states Keown, include gods found in Hindu traditions such as Indra and Brahma, and concepts in Hindu cosmology such as Mount Meru.
  2. Human realm: called the manuṣya realm. Buddhism asserts that one is reborn in this realm with vastly different physical endowments and moral natures because of a being’s past karma. A rebirth in this realm is considered as fortunate because it offers an opportunity to attain nirvana and end the Saṃsāra cycle.
  3. Demi-god realm (Asura): the demi-gods (asuras) is the third realm of existence in Buddhism. Asura are notable for their anger and some supernatural powers. They fight with the Devas (gods), or trouble the Manusya (humans) through illnesses and natural disasters. They accumulate karma, and are reborn. Demi-god is sometimes ranked as one of the evil realms as there are stories of them fighting against the Gods.
  4. Animal realm: is state of existence of a being as an animal (tiryag). This realm is traditionally thought to be similar to a hellish realm, because animals are believed in Buddhist texts to be driven by impulse and instinct, they prey on each other and suffer. Some Buddhist texts assert that plants belong to this realm, with primitive consciousness.
  5. Hungry ghost realm: hungry ghosts and other restless spirits (preta) are rebirths caused by karma of excessive craving and attachments. They do not have a body, are invisible and constitute only “subtle matter” of a being. Buddhist texts describe them as beings who are extremely thirsty and hungry, very small mouths but very large stomachs. Buddhist traditions in Asia attempt to care for them on ritual days every year, by leaving food and drinks in open, to feed any hungry ghosts nearby. When their bad karma demerit runs out, these beings are reborn into another realm. According to McClelland, this realm is the mildest of the three evil realms. According to Yangsi Rinpoche, in contrast, the suffering of the beings born in the realm of the hungry ghosts is far more intense than those born in the animal realm.
  6. Hell realm: beings in hell (naraka) enter this realm for evil karma such as theft, lying, adultery and others. The texts vary in their details, but typically describe numerous hellish regions each with different forms of intense suffering, such as eight extremely hot hellish realms, eight extremely cold, being partially eaten alive, beating and other forms of torture in proportion to the evil karma accumulated. These beings are reborn in another realm after their evil karma has run its course, they die, and they get another chance. This realm is not similar to afterlife hell in Christianity, states Damien Keown, because in Buddhism there is no realm of final damnation and existence in this realm is also a temporary state.

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