The fear of intangible and invisible things can probably be traced back to the era of human origins.
Bacteria, viruses, toxins, misfortune, and later, ghosts that people imagined to scare themselves based on the above things, are all more terrifying than tangible monsters.
The very promising disciples of Master Yue De worked together to take out the mithril cannon from the trunk, and then hugged the deadly weapon, shoulder to shoulder, squeezing back and forth.
Sheng Lingyuan watched coldly, finding it quite interesting that these people were using the same "weapons" to blow up mountains and deal with ghosts.
Before he could fully examine these so-called "mithril cannons," he felt a mischievous glint in the little demon's eyes. He turned around and saw Xuan Ji make a gesture towards Luo Cuicui.
Luo Cuicui held his breath and made a strained posture, his face turning red and his neck thick.
After a moment, several green vine stems "extended" from his wrist, and the lush vines fell to the ground. Like a small green snake, they quietly approached the disciples holding the mithril, sneaking around their ankles.
Xuan Ji nodded at Luo Cuicui, then gestured towards Ping Qianru - who was likely the true lucky carp with in the aftermath department. Despite running through a perilous situation, she emerged unscathed and even had 60% of the battery power left in her phone.
Luo Cuicui suddenly pulled a vine, while at the same time, Ping Qianru played a pre-downloaded audio clip of a female ghost's piercing scream that coincided perfectly with the beat.
"Ghost! A ghost is grabbing my foot!" The crowd erupted in panic.
Then, with a loud bang, the mithril cannon misfired! Sheng Lingyuan shielded his eyes with his hand, almost feeling the heat emanating from the mithril.
On one hand, he had never seen anything like it before and was amazed by the powerful energy and simple operation of modern technology. On the other hand, he was completely lost when it came to the clichés of modern horror movies and couldn't keep up with the plot, feeling completely confused as to why these people were so scared.
The old man in a Tang suit and his disciples held the mithril like toddlers holding sharp knives. If they were to encounter danger, their weapons would not only be useless for self-defense, but also insufficient for them to commit suicide. The exploding mithril shot out a white light like a meteor, drawing a beautiful parabolic arc before crashing onto the road and splitting it in two. The panicked disciples were thrown into chaos.
Wang Ze called: "Zhang Zhao!"
With a snap, Zhang Zhao pressed the pause button, freezing the disciples of the Yue De Sect in place. Wang Ze and Xuan Ji acted simultaneously, their rhythm perfectly synchronized...perhaps a little too perfectly. Without prior discussion or coordination, their teamwork was not quite seamless.
Wang Ze's snap of his fingers caused water droplets to immediately condense in the humid air of Dongchuan, quickly forming a layer that stuck to the Tang-dressed old man and his disciples. Upon contact, the layer solidified into a transparent handcuff, firmly "shackling" them and preventing them from firing any more shots.
Meanwhile, Xuan Ji planned to directly heat up the "mithril" gun barrel, causing the disciples to release their grip on their weapons.
Their goals were similar, but their methods were opposite. The result of their simultaneous actions was a perfect "clash of water and fire" - Wang Ze's "water handcuffs" caused Xuan Ji's gun barrel to sizzle and evaporate!
What a pig teammate!
Wang Ze's veins were bulging: "Director Xuan, do you remember that you are in charge of the aftermath department?"
Xuan Ji replied, "The whole world has forgotten, only I remember. Does it matter?"
Sheng Lingyuan: ...
His migraine was still bothering him, and the two of them were shouting at the same time, making his temples throb.
A precious second of paused time was wasted, and the old man in a Tang suit immediately regained his senses and asked, "Who is it?!"
Zhang Zhao was extremely desperate.
Time waits for no one.
He used the one second he had snatched to wedge a nail into the vast net of time. The "net" around the dent would twist for a long time before returning to its smooth state. This meant that after the one-second pause, everything around them would slow down for a long time, turning them into slow-motion athletes!
As a disciple of Master Yue De, the old man in a Tang suit was quite skilled.
In the blink of an eye, he realized that he had been tricked and the ghostly audio clip that had scared the disciples earlier had just revealed their location!
"Tsk, vermin!" The old man in a Tang suit shook something out of his sleeve. It was a piece of cloth, about the size of a handkerchief, and it looked like a dirty rag.
The "rag" fell to the ground and immediately spread outwards, turning the ground beneath the feet of the members of the Bureau into a swamp.
Everyone, except for Xuan Ji who had wings, was dragged down by the swamp.
Quick to react, Ping Qianru immediately lay flat on the ground, right next to Sheng Lingyuan's feet. Ping Qianru blinked her eyes, as if trying to confirm that this person was the so-called "Sword Spirit" and not the notorious villain who was struck by lightning. With courage, Ping Qianru explained to him, "Increasing the surface area of force will decrease pressure."
Xuan Ji interrupted, "I know you got a perfect score in middle school physics, now get out of the way!"
At the same time, the old man in a Tang suit snatched a mithril cannon and aimed at the several people who were "captured" by the swamp.
Sheng Lingyuan sighed, he could probably understand why the "Qingping Division" later had to close down. He raised a hand and formed a hand seal in the air, quietly reciting a spell in the language of the witches.
Due to the difference in time flow, his movements were slowed down, but he appeared calm and composed. As soon as he finished speaking, the swamp beneath their feet obediently "rolled" up like a blanket, soaring into the air and striking back at the old man in a Tang suit and his disciples.
The old man in a Tang suit was shocked and panicked, accidentally firing his mithril cannon, which crashed into a nearby hillside, causing boulders to tumble down.
Wang Ze dodged a rolling stone and exclaimed, "Director! Could you please give us mortals a heads up before unleashing such a powerful move?"
Xuan Ji laughed bitterly and replied, "Do I look like I can control him, a mere mortal like myself?"
The field agents quickly gathered their colleague in the aftermath department and fled for cover, holding their heads in fear. Only Ping Qianru remained lying on the ground, with only Sheng Lingyuan by her side.
She was scared stiff and didn't move, and Sheng Lingyuan by her side didn't move either. He didn't try to save anyone or dodge, and even closed his eyes slightly, as if carefully listening to the whistling mountain wind passing by.
Xuan Ji lifted Yang Chao out of the landslide and pushed him to Zhang Zhao. He was about to fly over to rescue Ping Qianru, but found that the rocks seemed to have a life of their own, sliding away in unnatural trajectories and avoiding the spot where the two were.
Ping Qianru was stunned: what kind of power was this?
But Sheng Lingyuan just waved at her, and she felt light all over her body, as if she had turned into a helium balloon, gently lifted up by the air until her feet touched the ground. Ping Qianru looked at Sheng Lingyuan in surprise, only to see the usually expressionless Sheng Lingyuan smile at her and say in unskilled Mandarin, "The mountains and waters here really like you."
Ping Qianru: "...Huh?"
He spoke Mandarin like a foreigner, but could even use personification as a rhetorical device?
Xuan Ji happened to come over and pushed Ping Qianru to a safe place. He couldn't help feeling a little sour in his heart: How come the little girl gets special treatment?
Sheng Lingyuan glanced at him with a smile that wasn't really a smile.
Xuan Ji immediately regulated his thoughts and asked Sheng Lingyuan, "Was that swamp also a 'curse' of the witch race?"
Sheng Lingyuan responded with a "Mmhmm".
Xuan Ji asked again, "But how did that old man know how to use it? Did they decipher the language of the witch race?"
Sheng Lingyuan didn't answer, but Xuan Ji saw a scene in his mind - the young emperor was lying on a stone table, dipping a fish bone into a special flower juice and carefully writing down the witch language onto the non-decaying leaves stroke by stroke in ancient Chinese characters.
Ancient Chinese characters were different from the witch language, especially the characters of that era, which were mostly written on bamboo slips and stone tablets, with horizontal and vertical lines and sharp edges.
One careless stroke could easily damage the leaves, requiring careful carving like on an eggshell.
Little Aluojin propped up his head and watched on the side, but was lulled to sleep by his slow movements. His eyelids became heavier and he swayed left and right for a while before plunging into the ink used for writing, splashing it everywhere.
Sheng Lingyuan was covered in "peach blossoms" because of him, and the carefully written leaves turned into a riot of colors. So he grabbed Aluojinn and gave him a violent beating.
The scene flashed by so quickly that Xuan Ji almost thought it was just his imagination.
The Emperor himself... translating a portion of the witch people's literature?
The witch people, who had no recorded history and seemed to have never existed.
Only things like "Mirror Flower Water Moons Butterflies" were passed down.
If people found out about the butterflies' origin, the "witch people" would probably become a villainous material for novels and movies. The Yue De Sect disciples probably thought that the ancient tomb they had excavated belonged to some strange ancient tribe that liked to dabble in witchcraft and curses.
This tribe had no cultural heritage and appeared silently, perhaps disappearing before they could evolve from a primitive slave society to a feudal one, lost in the waves of history. Even if their scheme was exposed, people would only care about how the Yue De Sect deceived the world and endangered public safety. No one would know what kind of cultural relic they had destroyed.
These thoughts flashed through Xuan Ji's mind, but he didn't have time to think them through before he saw Sheng Lingyuan's face suddenly turn cold.
The curse of backlash hit the old man and his gang of disciples. Before they could recover and get up, the old man felt a "crack" in his wrist, where he held the mithril.
He was stunned for a moment, then the pain struck and he screamed.
As the white light dissipated, the disciples were shocked to see their master kneeling on the ground, his broken wrist tied behind his back with a green vine, his neck unnaturally tilted and his eyes rolled back.
The man who did this wore a tattered robe, with wet and messy hair, and his eyes were as cold as stars, like a mountain spirit or water ghost.
Xuan Ji felt his murderous intent again and quickly called out in his heart, "Your Majesty, spare him!"
At the same time, he shouted at the stunned disciples, "Drop your weapons! Otherwise, I'll twist your master's head off!"
The old man in a Tang suit responded with a swift strike, causing the "mithril" in the hands of his disciples to scatter all over the ground.
Despite the late hour, the commotion caused by the collapse of the Dongchuan mountains had awakened half the city, immediately becoming a hot topic among night owls. The reinforcements from the Bureau, gathered from the surrounding provinces of Dongchuan, had finally arrived and apprehended several of Master Yue De's top disciples, while simultaneously notifying the police authorities.
For nearly a century, Master Yue De has been ruling over Dongchuan with countless descendants and an unshakable power. Evidence of various transactions and spells were found, leaving all the big shots in the Penglai Conference Room speechless and afraid to challenge the Bureau, for they lacked the advantageous conditions that the Yue De Sect possessed. They didn't have the ancient curses of the witch people, nor did they have such a crazy "profit model". However, if investigated thoroughly, no one could guarantee that their own disciples had never done anything similar.
Xiao Zheng obtained direct evidence and immediately tore off the mask, calling in the nearby field agents to capture Master Yue De and protect Chief Huang before leaving triumphantly.
Afterwards, he personally dispatched two special and capable teams from "Thunder" and "Storm" to fly overnight from the Yong'an headquarters to Dongchuan. As dawn broke the next day, Xuan Ji and the others finally finished their tasks and were sent to a hotel in the city.
At the end of Dongchuan, mist rose from the mountains, and the mountain road was torn apart by mithril, exposing the bones.
The bronze coffin also sank into the deep pool with the rolling rocks. Aluojin had a dark red steel nail in the center of his eyebrows, which made his originally elegant and delicate features look a bit cramped, adding a strange and eerie temperament to him.
It was like he was trapped in a nightmare that he would never wake up from.
A string of bubbles rose from the water and slipped into the weak morning light.
Rolling dark clouds gathered from all directions towards the mountain cliff.
From the moment Xuan Ji received this unlucky task, he realized that his sword was no longer his own. Then he was dragged into the grudges and conflicts between the emperor and the witch people. He felt like his entire worldview had been overturned several times, and he was exhausted.
He fell asleep on the road.
A white light flew from the west, as fast as the passing headlights on the road, and flashed over Xuan Ji.
Sheng Lingyuan, who had been meditating with his eyes closed, was suddenly disturbed by something.
He opened his eyes and looked around, but there was nothing except for the snoring descendants of the "Qingping Division" in the car. He furrowed his brows in confusion, feeling like he had caught a familiar scent in the air.
What was it?
Sheng Lingyuan tentatively released his divine sense, but all he could sense was the unfamiliar and murky wind of Dongchuan. Then, he noticed that the little demon connected to his mind had been dragged into a dream.
Despite being far from the realm of "sages and gentlemen" and not adhering to the principle of "not looking at impropriety," Sheng Lingyuan knew that the human heart was most vulnerable in dreams. He couldn't miss this opportunity.
After all, he was also curious about what kind of clan would dare to keep a corpse like his.
Sheng Lingyuan withdrew his divine sense from Dongchuan and followed the murmurs overflowing from Xuan Ji's dream, diving into the depths of his consciousness.
However, before he could break in, he sensed something and quickly retreated. He saw a towering wall of fire rising up in Xuan Ji's consciousness, with snow-white flames that turned out to be the Nanming Fire.
Legend has it that Nanming Fire is the true fire of the divine Vermilion Bird, capable of burning everything and is the bane of all demons.
As the residual heat of the flames washed over him, Sheng Lingyuan felt a hint of a fishy smell in his throat. He forced himself to swallow a mouthful of blood and hesitantly stared at the little demon's sea of consciousness, which was engulfed by the raging fire.
"Vermilion Bird..." Sheng Lingyuan couldn't help but reach out and press his chest, which was throbbing with pain. "The Vermilion Bird clan has long since perished, so where did this descendant come from?"
Moreover, even if the Vermilion Bird was a demon, Sheng Lingyuan had to admit that it was the most divine clan among all demons. Although this little demon looked carefree and bold, with true fire to ward off evil and protect the home, there was always a faint lingering aura of evil around him.
With the fierce fire protecting his sea of consciousness and the attribute of his body seeming to be "gold"... but gold and fire are mutually exclusive, so what exactly is this?
Sheng Lingyuan frowned as he was uncomfortably scorched by the flames. Just as he was about to step back, he heard fragments of words leaking from the dream of a little demon.
People have no rationality in chaotic dreams, so dream talk is often nonsense and of little value.
But Sheng Lingyuan suddenly paused - because the broken and incomplete dream talk was not spoken by anyone here... That language was the elegant one of the Great Qi country!
With an evil demon lurking nearby, Xuan Ji was originally refusing to fall asleep.
But before he could struggle, he suddenly heard a hallucination that sounded like the shattering of stones in his ear. He was knocked out like he had been hit by a flower.
In his dream, he seemed to have returned to the era of chaos during the Nine Provinces War, his perspective constantly changing from being a person to being something else. He was either running for his life or fighting. Sometimes he felt like he was immersed in a sea of blood, with the pungent smell of death clinging to him. Other times, he was filled with a murderous rage, roaring as he chopped off head after head of strangers.
In the midst of flames and slaughter, he shivered with cold and instinctively moved towards the only source of warmth - a pair of hands. At first, they were small and delicate, belonging to a child covered in wounds. But over time, the fingers grew longer and calluses formed on the palms. It was as if he had relied on those hands for many years, never once separating from them.
Suddenly, the hand was struck with a heavy blow and the strong fingers loosened their grip on him.
Despite struggling to reach him, the hand slowly slipped away, leaving him feeling helpless and increasingly distant. A wave of indescribable sadness washed over him, and the excruciating pain spread throughout his body.
Xuan Ji woke up in a cold sweat, and the car that was sent to pick them up had already stopped at the hotel entrance.
The excruciating pain still lingered in his chest, and his gaze blankly met with Sheng Lingyuan, who was leaning against the car window. Perhaps just having escaped from a nightmare, Xuan Ji felt an extreme sense of relief and almost wanted to cry upon seeing Sheng Lingyuan.
Then he heard Sheng Lingyuan say with a smirk, "Your dream was quite interesting."
Xuan Ji: ...
Oh my goodness, his mind was currently like an open-top convertible with a malicious villain sitting next to him!
Xuan Ji regained his senses and forced all his thoughts down, focusing on listing all the dishes he wanted to eat to satisfy his hunger. He was a glutton who never refused any food, and in his ten years on earth, he saved up money just to indulge in eating, drinking, and having fun. He had tasted every dish, from "sauce chicken, waxed meat, shredded pork with dried tofu, and pork tripe" and could vividly imagine the taste, aroma, and appearance of each dish as he listed them.
Sheng Lingyuan: ...
Their car quickly arrived at the hotel reception, where the receptionist was already waiting at the door.
Sheng Lingyuan had intended to tease Xuan Ji, but he was momentarily stunned by the magnificent lobby of the hotel, and forgot what he wanted to say.
It turned out that even an ancient person, even the emperor, when faced with the abundance of modern material wealth, would become a country bumpkin who had never seen or tasted anything before.
Sheng Lingyuan got off the car and, despite his shock, still remembered to thank the doorman with a hint of dignity: "Thank you... What kind of palace is this?"
"It's a hotel," said Wang Ze, yawning as he crawled out of the car.
Finally thinking he understood a word coming from Sheng Lingyuan's mouth, he struck up a conversation, "Brother Sword... Ah, what a terrible nickname, it sounds like an insult. Welcome to the 21st century!"
Sheng Lingyuan had been here for a while, but first he was quarantined in a county hospital, and then he became a sword.
Although everything looked new and exciting, it was only limited to "looking."
It wasn't until now that he truly "descended to earth" and was engulfed in the reality of the world.
His face was covered in the dust of the mortal realm.
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