Sheng Lingyuan's gaze passed over him and after a long pause, he replied, "No, I’m not."
They were now on a small hillside, the grass and trees were lush, and rows of small dwellings were nestled between the mountain roads, barely visible in the woods. They were not tall but round and stumpy, and from a distance, they looked like clusters of hidden mushrooms. This night was a new moon, and the stars were like waves, making their hearts involuntarily calm down.
Xuan Ji didn't know if the other party understood what he had just asked, and he was thinking about changing his words and asking again when Sheng Lingyuan slowly said, "This place... this is not... 'Illusion Realm'."
When Sheng Lingyuan first arrived in this world, his head was empty. He was full of enthusiasm and curiosity about everything around him. He could imitate the accent and pauses of what others said after hearing it once, and he would try to understand its principle and use whenever he saw something new.
But... memories came back, almost like an unwelcome guest.
The recovered burdens from his past life were extremely heavy, weighing down his heart so much that he had no strength to look around. Sheng Lingyuan was like an ancient sword just unearthed, and the cold sword body touched the air and soon oxidized with rust spots, and even the blade was dull.
He spoke the common language awkwardly, which was worse than how he had spoken at the Chiyuan Hospital.
"This is a curse, one of the seven evil curses of the Witch Clan, called... 'Retracing'." Sheng Lingyuan slowed down his speech, and in the dim environment, he couldn't see his face, which made him sound almost gloomy. His tone was like an old man, which inexplicably made Xuan Ji think of the rusty artifacts in his home. "My... I think the one I nailed on the wall is a substitute, and the curse... is in the blood of the substitute... He probably knew that I was in a hurry to nail him back in the coffin, and I was careless."
"What is 'Retracing'?"
"It's... " Sheng Lingyuan opened his mouth, but he forgot how to say the word for a moment. His voice was like a dry and broken stream, and after a long time, he continued, "When I see him, my memories will come up, and whatever I remember will be experienced again. If there is a past that can't be resolved, I will keep going around in it until I die in it."
That is to say, "Retracing" is a memory that may be infinitely cycled!
"Wait, let me think," Xuan Ji turned his head and saw the "witch" who had just passed through his body and smashed open the door of the wooden house at the end of the small road. He was still speaking the witches’ language and Xuan Ji didn't know what he was saying.
He couldn't help but sigh, "Today is really long day."
Originally, he just wanted to fish for a group of Jianghu swindlers, but he didn't expect to catch a shark, and the shark dragged him into the water with him.
The connection between Ji Qingchen and Bi Chunsheng was not clear. First, he was inexplicably dragged into a pit of ten thousand people, and before he could understand what was going on with this crazy unlucky place, a dead person came out of the coffin. The two heavenly demons whispered in the witches’ language for a long time, and Xuan Ji didn't understand what kind of things they had shared. Now he was dragged into a strange curse.
Xuan Ji inexplicably thought: "And what does the feud between these two heavenly demons have to do with me?"
He was just a poor civil servant who had nowhere to claim his broken clothes. Why did those two have to fight first, killing his suspect, and then dragging him into the water?
What did he do wrong? Is there a nickname called "Pond Fish" that he doesn't even know?
"Also, elder, I'm actually quite embarrassed to say this, but, 'returning what is borrowed, and borrowing again becomes possible’, right? Can you return my original sword to me first? It's not that I'm stingy, I'll definitely give you this one if I have two, but the truth is... I really don't have another one."
"I'm sorry," Sheng Lingyuan said, trying to explain, but due to his limited vocabulary of modern Chinese, he was unable to organize his words. After a while, he could only apologize with a hint of embarrassment, "That's mine."
Xuan Ji was shocked. Some people actually had the audacity to be so blunt and shameless!
"I'm sorry," he said, "Whose is it? Did I hear something wrong?"
"That is my..." Sheng Lingyuan opened his mouth, but forgot the words, so he gave up and returned to his own accent, "Skeleton."
Xuan Ji: "..."
The language barrier was really a big problem. He felt he might have heard something wrong again.
"No, I probably really didn't understand. You said earlier, my sword," Xuan Ji stretched out his arms to gesture, "That wide,one used for cutting people–the sword, is your 'skeleton'? That is... what's left after death..."
Sheng Lingyuan nodded faintly: "Corpse."
"Then what am I?" Xuan Ji's voice was a little off-key, "A handsome limited edition urn for ashes?"
Sheng Lingyuan's expression was faint and he didn't pay attention, not even understanding.
"When I jumped into the Chiyuan Sea of Fire," Sheng Lingyuan said softly, "After death, my bones were not completely burned, and my remains were scattered."
Xuan Ji: "..."
Jumping into the Chiyuan Sea of Fire... He really was... but how could it be possible?
When Aluojin said "Your Majesty" and "Emperor", Xuan Ji still suspected he had heard it wrong. Since ancient times, apart from the legendary ancient gods, the only one who could be called "Emperor" by the foreign tribes was the Great Qi Emperor Sheng Xiao.
Because he had set things right, he had achieved the impossible with a mortal body, and was respected and feared like a descending god.
No... The Emperor Sheng Xiao in the history books was a fierce-looking iron-faced man! He was big and burly, with a figure similar to the four great heavenly kings, which was very in line with the character of the Emperor of Martial Arts.
How could he be a little white-faced flirt?
Xuan Ji opened his mouth, too many questions swirling in his mind, and he was suddenly at a loss for words.
"The corpse was probably picked up by your ancestors," Sheng Lingyuan didn't pay attention to him, and then continued, "Using the ancient method of 'nourishing the corpse with life force'."
Xuan Ji lost most of his thinking ability and repeated the phrase he had never heard of in a daze: "Nourishing... what ancient method?"
Sheng Lingyuan treated him like a little demon who had grown up amongst humans–that is, like a wolf child, not lacking in soul and wisdom, but definitely lacking in much common sense.
So he patiently explained: "It is to infuse the life force into the corpse, nourishing it with the body. After many years, an intact corpse can be preserved without decay, and an incomplete corpse can be nourished by vitality. Sometimes, enough spiritual energy can be accumulated to repair broken limbs and wounds. You may have received the inheritance of the clan when you were too young to remember–as for why it was a sword, because your life force belongs to the metal-type. 'Nourishing the corpse' requires infusing the life force, and when the corpse is not separated from the living body, it often appears in the form of the life force."
Sheng Lingyuan paused here and said faintly: "But I'm also curious. I thought your life force belonged to the fire-type, but I turned out to be wrong. I guess the various tribes have been mixed up these years."
Xuan Ji stumbled to find his tongue: "Then you... you have been in my back, so the one at the Chiyuan Hospital before was..."
Or something pretending to be a demon, using the Yin Sacrifice ritual to call out the Emperor, what's the point?
How could the Emperor be a demon!
Sheng Lingyuan: "That is a 'Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet'... You should know what that is, right?"
This had been mentioned by the "Thousand Demon Bestiary". However, a nerve on his eyelid suddenly twitched, and a shadow suddenly flashed through his mind–the "Thousand Demon Bestiary" had said at the beginning that the man was a jade-carved "Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet puppet". He had not made a mistake!
But if a jade-carved Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet puppet could be at a "heavenly demon’s" level, then what about the original body?
"That Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet was something I had been with since before I died. It often acted as my eyes and ears, and could understand my spirit. When I left, I left one guard behind. It must have been him who buried it. The Yin Sacrifice ritual woke me up, and before my real body woke up, I borrowed the Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet body to answer the ritual.
“I received the backlash of the Yin Sacrifice ritual, and it was only because you were carrying my real body nearby that I was able to return to my body when the lightning struck. It was just that my soul was shaken for a moment, and I didn't remember anything."
Sheng Lingyuan stretched out his fingers and said, at this moment, he vaguely remembered that he didn't want to answer the ritual at all, and he wanted to kill the person who disturbed his long sleep.
Right, why did he open his eyes and come back to the world at that time?
He was about to recall, but suddenly there was a sharp pain around his temples. Sheng Lingyuan frowned slightly.
This corpse was cultivated too “well”, and even his headache before he died was preserved.
Xuan Ji's heart slowly sank–this "Emperor" was definitely not a human.
The Emperor Sheng Xiao had been dead for three thousand years. Even if the so-called "ancient corpse preservation" could make him as alive as before, it was still just an animated corpse. When people die, their souls and spirits scatter, and ghosts and monsters have always been illusions of self-deception. The body is not a shell that can be put on and taken off at will.
He first entered the jade-carved puppet body, and then was hit by thunderbolts back into his own corpse, like flowing clouds... This was written in the "Dongchuan Witches Book", only immortal creatures have such a form of life.
But the Emperor, why did he become a demon?
What did the history books miss?
The usual playful smile on Xuan Ji's face disappeared. He subconsciously held his breath and asked, "My...ancestor, how were they related to you?"
Was he a relative? Why did they take such care to cultivate a corpse.
The pain around Sheng Lingyuan's temples began to spread, and his head was about to burst. However, there was a smile on his face, and he answered slowly: "My corpse is immune to water and fire, and can be used for many purposes. Your ancestor was very talented and brave. It was really impressive."
Xuan Ji was inexplicably stabbed by the hidden malice in the words. In the darkness, his eyes dimmed for a moment. At the same time, he felt that the malice was unreasonable–the Emperor of Martial Arts was a famous lone star in history, and it was said that he killed his master and relatives. It is estimated that his relatives and friends are all gone. Even if there is some malice, it should not be directed at him personally, but at his ancestor three thousand years ago.
Nowadays, young people have no concept of clans, and ancestors before the eighteenth generation will be ignored even if they are scolded on the street.
But Xuan Ji's heart was so uncomfortable that he couldn't breathe for a moment, as if the inexpressible deep affection had been betrayed.
At this time, a loud noise interrupted his musing. There was a commotion at the foot of the mountain, and someone shouted in the witches’ language.
Xuan Ji quickly collected his inexplicable emotions, poked his head down the mountain, and saw a group of people holding torches, surrounding a man and quickly climbing the mountain. The big man was carrying someone and shouting from a distance. Although Xuan Ji couldn't understand, he guessed from the scene that he was asking someone to help.
The whole clan was alarmed, and the lights were lit in houses on both sides of the mountain road. The drowsy witchpeople put on their clothes and came out to take a look.
The quiet night was broken, like a metaphor.
Xuan Ji: "That is..."
"It's me," Sheng Lingyuan said softly, "The one leading is the old clan leader from back then, and the one he's carrying is me."
At this moment, rustling noises arose from the bushes nearby. Xuan Ji lowered his head and saw a small head popping out from the bushes. It was a seven or eight year old boy, at an age that even dogs would despise. He had round grape eyes, a small braid, and his hair was all messed up.
Xuan Ji stepped back half a step: "You scared me, this brat looks too much like the corpse from just now."
"Mm," Sheng Lingyuan's gaze fell on the boy, and after a while he said, "This is Aluojin."
At this moment, the man carrying the person passed by them. Xuan Ji could clearly see the teenager he was carrying.
The teenager had long hands and legs, but his body seemed to have not caught up yet. He was thin, and wrapped in a big cloak, only revealing a pale small face, and blood continuously flowed down from his fingertips.
At the highest point of the hill, an old man welcomed them from the wooden house. He was dressed very formally. Xuan Ji guessed that he was the spiritual leader of the Witch Clan, and seemed to be called "Great Sage" or something.
The firelight illuminated the small wooden house, and only then did Xuan Ji realize that there was no door ring on the door of the wooden house. Instead, two special knock stones were inlaid on it, which was exactly the same as the door Sheng Lingyuan had erected in his sea of knowledge.
So it turned out that this was the building of the Witch Clan, no wonder it was full of a sense of foreignness.
The old man who walked out of the wooden house took over the injured teenager, and the witches who were watching whispered to each other. Little Aluojin, who had a bunch of small braids on his head, curiously crawled in from under the adults' feet, tiptoed to look around, chattering: "Is that the little prince? Is it him? Let me see, let me see!"
Xuan Ji couldn't help but ask: "Was your Majesty injured?"
"Just a common occurrence," Sheng Lingyuan stood outside the crowd, not approaching, and looked far away at his own tattered self. After a few moments of confusion, he said, "My father died in the Chiyuan, the country collapsed, the imperial city turned into a monster city, the human race declined, and people wanted hope, so a prophecy came out... I guess it was fabricated by the capable courtiers around my mother, saying 'The emperor's son born from a million resentful souls will carry his father's blood and personally destroy the monsters'.
"Yes, me. Such a baseless rumor can only deceive the unenlightened people and monsters. Surprisingly, they really believe it. I was a thorn in the eyes of the monster king since I was born, and he has been chasing me since I was a child. When I was ten years old, I got separated from my teacher and was betrayed by my own clan. Three big monsters chased me all the way to Dongchuan. All twelve of my guards died, and when I reached a dead end, I was saved by the witches. "
Sheng Lingyuan said this and looked back at the mountain with a few dim lights. His voice was slightly vague, "The witch's hometown is a Paradise. I hid in this Paradise for six years."
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