Xuan Ji rushed forward and called out, "Hey, you..."
Gu Yuexi looked over and saw something through Sheng Lingyuan's body, her face showing extreme shock.
"Don't touch me," Sheng Lingyuan's meridians were all broken, his breath trembling, but he blocked Xuan Ji's hand, "There's...cough, there's blood."
Xuan Ji choked and withdrew the hand that had already touched his shoulder, then turned and shouted, "Old Wang, come help!"
But before he could finish his sentence, Sheng Lingyuan completely lost consciousness and fell into his arms.
Xuan Ji should have dodged, but his hand betrayed his will and instinctively reached out to catch Sheng Lingyuan.
It was so hot.
"What do you need me to do? Should we take him to the hospital? But I don't think they specialize in treating sword spirits," Wang Ze leaned in and ran his hand through his hair, his thoughts jumbled. "Um...for someone in his condition, can he even have an MRI?"
"He can't even go in a microwave," Xuan Ji snapped back, annoyed. "Quick, help me open the car door."
Without waiting for Wang Ze to reach out, Xuan Ji carefully checked for any exposed bleeding on Sheng Lingyuan's body, then bent down and lifted him up, placing him in the van.
Wang Ze withdrew his outstretched hand, muttering to himself in confusion, "When you called me, didn't you say you needed me to lend a hand?"
Who knew which restaurant the van was delivering seafood to, but the inside didn't smell too good.
Luckily, even the faux leather seats were soft enough for ancient people's standards.
When Sheng Lingyuan was being moved, he unconsciously opened his eyes and his body instinctively tensed up. However, through the narrow opening of his vision, he happened to see the dawn of Dongchuan. For a moment, he was dazed and suddenly forgot where and when he was, and then fell into a deeper coma.
The semi-reclined car seat gently enveloped him, and his thoughts followed the ashes blown away by the wind, returning to the distant and unreachable witch people.
Childhood memories splashed up like the cold winter sea water with the waves.
He remembered the time when he was also injured, but not like this time. His five organs were burned, and his whole body was on fire. That time, he felt very cold, as if his blood was about to dry up.
The old chief of the Witch Clan covered him with a cloak and carefully carried him up the mountain. The little wooden house of the Great Sage was warm and dry, filled with the scent of licorice... It was too warm, and it suddenly broke the tense string in his heart.
After what felt like an eternity, he was awakened by the sweet sound of a child's voice. A little one was pretending to be nonchalant as they walked back and forth beneath his window, humming a tune he couldn't quite make out, trying to catch his attention.
It was dawn, and as soon as he opened his eyes, he saw the brilliant sun peeking over the mountaintop, casting a golden glow across half the hillside. Behind the small wooden house was a sturdy pear tree that thrived regardless of the season, half of it in bloom and the other half bearing fruit. Soon, people began coming in and out of the outer room, the wooden door creaking with each opening.
Every time it opened, the tantalizing scent of fruit wafted in, just like the singing child, eager to show off their loveliness to anyone who would listen. The pear tree from the Great Sage's seed bore fruits as big as fists. Half of them were given to the clan, while the other half was stolen by Aluojin.
That kid climbed the tree like a monkey, eating and taking at the same time. When he was full, he stripped off his clothes, revealing his sun-tanned back, and walked around with his bare arms, drying the pears outside the small cave near the altar. He thought no one knew about it.
Under the altar was a cold pool, where Lingyuan liked to hang out. When he got tired of reading, he would sneak into Aluojin's "treasure trove" and grab a handful of dried pears.
Lingyuan didn't bother hiding his actions, as he didn't consider it stealing. Unfortunately, Aluojin was always never on alert and never noticed his dwindling stash.
"Lingyuan, come and see! I stole the Great Sage's human-faced butterfly!"
"What...how did you manage to find this again? Quickly return it and avoid getting beaten up," he said.
"Hey, don't tell dad, I just wanted to take a look and not release it. Do you think this thing can really summon ghosts and bring the dead back to life?" asked Aluojin.
"When someone dies, they're gone for good. Death is like a light that goes out, and ghosts and spirits are just made up to deceive people," he replied.
"So...when someone dies, they just disappear and there's nothing left? Can't they avoid death?" asked Aluojin.
"What are you talking about? Everyone has to die, unless..." trailed off Sheng Lingyuan.
"Unless what?" asked the curious Aluojin.
"Unless they turn into a heavenly demon," he answered.
"Really?" exclaimed little Aluojin, surprised. "Isn't that really powerful?"
"That's just childish talk, what's so powerful about it?" scoffed the mature human prince.
However, Aluojin refused to give up on the topic and continued to pester him, distracting him from reading his book.
"Why not? Brother Lingyuan, if someone can live a long time, isn't that impressive?"
"Because there are no good things in the world that can last forever. The most beautiful flowers take a long time to bloom, only once in a lifetime, and wither in an instant. Even the longest-lived person, when facing death, can only recall a few happy moments in their life, like a flash in the pan. My teacher said that only those who cannot seek life or death will not age or die. Enough with the nonsense, quickly return the butterfly to the Great Sage. Children should not talk about life and death recklessly, don't you know it's taboo? You still have a long way to go before facing death."
"Brother Lingyuan, why do we have to avoid talking about life and death? Why can't things last forever? Oh, you've confused me. Can you explain what 'turning into a heavenly demon' means? Don't leave, brother!"
But that was a long, long time ago.
Who knew that this life could be so short and yet so long?
Xuan Ji put down Sheng Lingyuan and noticed that when the man had just opened his eyes, his gaze was confused for a moment. Then his eyelashes slowly lowered, his features relaxed, and a faint smile appeared at the corner of his mouth.
Xuan Ji was taken aback, but before he could see clearly, the smile disappeared like a flower that blooms once in a lifetime and withers in the blink of an eye.
His hearing was very sensitive, and he leaned in to hear the strange sound coming from Sheng Lingyuan's body. It sounded like the last layer of thin ice melting and breaking on the surface of a river in the warm spring.
Xuan Ji reached out to find the source of the sound, but was stopped by Gu Yuexi's voice: "Wait, Director Xuan, don't touch it!"
Gu Yuexi stepped onto the car and, standing half a step away, looked at Sheng Lingyuan curled up quietly in the back seat with some awe.
"What's wrong?" Wang Ze heard the sound and immediately stuck his head in through the car window. "Yue'er, did you see something?"
"His bones and organs were all burned by lightning," Gu Yuexi half-knelt down, her voice lowered as if afraid of disturbing something. "Now he's rapidly repairing himself, his meridians are being reshaped... It's so amazing, shouldn't the body of a weapon spirit be different from that of a human?"
Xuan Ji's heart skipped a beat. "You know a lot about weapon spirits?"
The ancient method of refining tools into spirits had been lost for thousands of years.
He thought no one understood it now and was just casually making things up.
Hopefully, he wouldn't be found out.
"No, there is very little existing information. I just knew a sword spirit before... It turns out that there is a difference between each sword spirit," Gu Yuexi stared intently at Sheng Lingyuan. "My eyes can see the abnormal energy on special people, different spectra have different colors and textures. I have never seen this pure black kind of ability."
Xuan Ji had excellent mental resilience and managed to maintain a smile - pure black ability... wasn't that the demonic energy on the heavenly demon's body?
Before Xuan Ji could adjust his mental state, Zhang Zhao beside her asked carelessly, "Sister, didn't you say that the energy of the demon summoned by the Yin Sacrifice ritual in the Chiyuan Hospital was also black?"
"There's something different about him, his ability is like a hollow black mist, just like the demon who was chasing us earlier, but he..." Gu Yuexi looked at Sheng Lingyuan and murmured, "His ability is even darker and more concentrated, made up of many small black characters, densely packed, I can't see clearly... Hmm? What is this..."
In the blink of an eye, Sheng Lingyuan's body, which had been completely destroyed by lightning, had already begun to repair itself.
As Gu Yuexi watched, she could see the clear flow of blood and the gradually forming heart. Suddenly, a flame-colored spot appeared on the heart, and she didn't know what it was. As if under a spell, her X-ray vision was drawn to the intense light.
Before she could even make out what it was, Gu Yuexi suddenly felt a sharp pain in her eyes, as if steel needles had pierced straight into her eyeballs.
Despite her usual composure and high pain tolerance, she couldn't help but let out a short scream and cover her eyes.
Tears welled up in Gu Yuexi's eyes, and the sharp pain subsided slightly as she blinked a few times and opened her eyes. However, her expression turned to one of shock - all she could see was the man's body, seemingly unharmed, and her X-ray vision was no longer able to see anything.
No peeping allowed.
Gu Yuexi tried to explain to her concerned colleagues, but found that she had lost her voice.
No speaking allowed.
If even demons couldn't stop her from peeping, what kind of sword was this?
Xuan Ji looked at her with confusion. "Second Team Leader?"
"It's nothing," Gu Yuexi suddenly dared not look at Sheng Lingyuan anymore. "I used my X-ray vision too much today and it's a bit overdrawn - his self-repair is almost complete, so he should be fine. Director, don't worry... let's focus on fixing the car first."
When Xuan Ji set up his formation, he evaporated an entire box of mineral water and the water tank of a van, causing warm water vapor to fill the air like a steamer. Wang Ze gathered the water vapor together and suspended it on top of the van, waiting for it to cool down before pouring it back into the car's water tank.
Although the van looked a bit old on the outside, it unexpectedly proved to be "stronger with age" and ran all the way, bouncing and jumping. Despite being cut open and repaired by Gu Yuexi, it still ran smoothly on the return journey.
"I heard Director Xiao got struck by lightning," Wang Ze finished his call with the colleagues cleaning up the scene and turned to the others. Seeing their eerie expressions, he quickly pointed to his own face, "No, comrades, please look at my serious expression. I meant it literally, not as an insult."
Xuan Ji's hand holding the cigarette paused.
Zhang Zhao flipped through his phone in confusion, "I've been meaning to say, it's been sunny in Dongchuan these past few days. Where did the lightning come from? Besides, isn't Director Xiao a lightning type himself? How could he get struck by lightning?"
"That's not the point," Gu Yuexi frowned, "How is he doing?"
"Thank goodness he's a lightning user, otherwise we'd have to hold a memorial for him tomorrow," sighed Wang Ze. "He's been taken to the hospital now, but a colleague who went with him earlier said the situation is stable and there shouldn't be any major problems."
Hearing this, everyone breathed a collective sigh of relief. Xuan Ji looked at them and thought to himself, 'At least the special forces still have some camaraderie.'
Then Zhang Zhao patted his chest and exclaimed, "You scared me! If something really happened to Director Xiao, how are we going to handle our budget for future operations? Who will we turn to?"
Xuan Ji: ...
Wang Ze briefly recounted what had happened at the witches' tomb and then turned to Xuan Ji. "By the way, Director Xuan, did your sword spirit mention something about a thunder talisman he used earlier? I didn't mishear, did I?"
Xuan Ji rubbed his forehead. "Hmm, he must have tampered with Aluojin's body, deliberately leaving something there to lure the person behind the Yin Sacrifiec ritual. But it seems like he only caught a decoy, which was struck by lightning. The real body could still call and trick us again. When we go back, we should investigate where that call came from."
Gu Yuexi noticed his troubled expression and asked sensitively, "What's wrong?"
"Aluojin - the villain we just encountered - mentioned that the person who set up the Yin Sacrifice ritual wants to reignite the Chiyuan fire. He mentioned a lot of terms that I didn't quite understand, but they sounded like 'demon clan,' 'shadow clan,' and 'Mountain clan'... Don't ask me what they are, I have no idea," Xuan Ji shook his head heavily with a heavy heart. "I suspect this matter is far from over."
Will the Chiyuan Fire really reignite and bring back the chaos of the Nine Provinces War as Aluojin predicted? He couldn't help but glance at Sheng Lingyuan, who was quietly curled up in a half-tilted chair with his eyes closed and his head turned towards the window, as if longing for something.
The day had already begun in Dongchuan, with smoke rising from various breakfast stalls and the early morning rush hour slowing down their return speed.
As they approached the hotel, they could see a large group of people gathered in the mall downstairs, apparently discussing a "collapsed" floor.
These experienced field agents pretended not to see and quietly returned the car, slipping away unnoticed.
As the head of the aftermath department, Xuan Ji felt that he had taken on responsibilities that were not his own, and if he continued to neglect his duties, he would be playing with fire.
So, he slipped away with the Wind God agents. He took Sheng Lingyuan back to the hotel and checked his temperature, which had already returned to normal.
'Thank goodness,' Xuan Ji thought, 'otherwise I wouldn't know what to do.'
Sheng Lingyuan's body was both strong and weak. Compared to the jade puppet in Chiyuan, he could bleed, get injured, and even get sick. He couldn't escape the suffering of being in a mortal body.
However, the flames of Chiyuan couldn't burn him, and even the lightning from the heavens didn't hurt him. In an unconscious state, it could even defend against Gu Yuexi's X-ray vision. When Gu Yuexi used her X-ray vision, her pupils would become vertical, but when she stared at Sheng Lingyuan halfway through, her eyes suddenly stung, and then her pupils returned to normal. Xuan Ji guessed that her X-ray vision was forcibly blocked.
This emperor was neither a god nor a human, neither alive nor dead.
He was simply indescribable.
Xuan Ji brewed himself a cup of tea and took a quick shower in the early hours of the morning. He leaned back on the other bed, intending to rest his eyes for a moment, but every time he closed them, the figure that stood in front of him would appear in his mind and refuse to leave.
Why did he have to block his way?
Unable to sleep, Xuan Ji reached for his phone and searched for a book on a reading app.
He found "The Chronicles of Emperor Wu" and paid for it.
It is said that although this is a popular book, it was written by an expert in ancient history with solid research and credibility. As soon as the book was opened, the portrait of Emperor Wu, with his imposing figure, jumped out from the pages of history.
Xuan Ji couldn't help but glance at Sheng Lingyuan, then he tucked his phone under the blanket and secretly held it in his hand to read... Although it was a serious popular science book, his reading posture was like someone sneaking a peek at a pornographic book on the subway.
"Emperor Sheng Xiao was born during the first Battle of Yuan, and some say he was 'born under a bad sign'. That brutal battle marked the beginning of twenty years of chaos, with Emperor Ping dying in battle, the dynasty declining, and the young prince lost in the chaos of fleeing officials. It took two years for the ministers to find him and bring him back."
"It is unknown what kind of process was involved in determining the true identity of the young prince, and there are no relevant historical records of how the court officials at that time confirmed it. In academic circles, there has always been a theory that Emperor Wu was not the legitimate son of Empress Chen, otherwise his later act of matricide would be too much against human nature.
"Personally, I believe that this kind of speculation lacks evidence.
"First of all, there is indeed a record in the 'Book of Qi' that says 'Empress Chen is pregnant.' Based on the timing of the birth, it matches with the record of Sheng Xiao's birth. Furthermore, the claim of 'a fox spirit replacing the prince' is hard to believe because before Sheng Xiao, Empress Chen had another son named Sheng Wei.
Emperor Wu, his biological older brother, was three years older than him and had many health problems, but luckily survived through the chaotic times and was later titled the Prince of Ning. Empress Chen had no reason to take someone else's child to solidify her position. It is even more unreasonable to abandon her own child and pass the throne to a child she took in.
"In summary, although some 'fans' may not emotionally accept Shen Xiao's act of killing his mother and propose various hypotheses to try to rationalize it, there is not enough evidence to support them. Throughout Emperor Wu's life, there were moments of glory, such as using himself as bait to save the lives of the people in a city besieged by enemy forces, as well as a dark side of brutality, bloodlust, and disowning his own family. We should view historical figures from a more objective and fair perspective..."
Skipping over the author's extensive historical viewpoint, Xuan Ji quickly flipped to the next chapter and saw the author quoting a personality psychologist's evaluation:
"Legend has it that although Sheng Xiao was born and raised in the chaos of war, he had very refined personal habits and a strong sense of control. In the 'Book of Qi - Emperor Wu's Biography', it is mentioned that Sheng Xiao extremely detested untidy clothing and appearance. Even when his own mother came to see him, he would make her wait until he had bathed, changed clothes, and tidied up before he would show himself. Once, when he was seriously ill and unconscious for three days, the first thing he did upon waking up was to dismiss his attendants and attend to his personal appearance. This seems to be a compensation for his early years of instability and lack of control in his environment..."
As Xuan Ji's gaze lingered on the words "extremely detested untidy clothes and appearance," it drifted over to Sheng Lingyuan's frayed hemmed robe and disheveled hair.
Suddenly, he inexplicably got up and headed to the bathroom, grabbing a wet towel and adjusting the water temperature as he thought to himself, "What am I doing? Do I have a problem...no, this is just about repaying kindness and enmity."
Director Xuan, who believed in 'clearly distinguishing between gratitude and grudges,' solemnly pondered as he held the damp towel and carefully studied how the 'ancients' tied their grass-woven robes.
Finally, he found the complex belt buckle.
"I'm not being a pervert," Xuan Ji thought as he untied the belt, 'I just want to take a look at the wound he got from the backlash of the formation earlier...'
Suddenly, a pale hand reached out and grabbed his pulse.
Xuan Ji: ...
Can this emperor ever pick a good timing? It seemed like everything always happened at the wrong time - he fainted at the wrong time, his blood flowed at the wrong time, and even his 'Bluetooth' broke at the wrong time.
And now, he couldn't even wake up at the right time!
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