Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Chapter 55 - Chapter 55

As they arrived at the seaside, a speedboat was already waiting for them at the pier. 

Wang Ze couldn't help but notice that Xuan Ji seemed off, so he kept a close eye on him and asked, "Are you okay with riding on the boat, Director Xuan? I feel like thunder-fire types have trouble on the sea. If you feel uncomfortable, just wait on the shore and don't go down."

Xuan Ji lifted his eyelids weakly and retorted, "Why are you being discriminatory?"

"Our unit has specialized physical examinations for those with special abilities. They can detect any hidden injuries, chronic illnesses, or curses...even if they can't be cured, they can still find something," Wang Ze said with concern. "You have to go, don't let a small illness turn into a big one, and a big one..."

 "Make sure you come to my funeral when I die, okay? Just kidding, but seriously, if I do pass away, I'll send you a notice in advance. I have low blood sugar and with all the chaos going on, I haven't had a decent meal since we were in Dongchuan," Xuan Ji declined the chocolate that Wind God offered him. 

 "That's enough, my friend. I don't want another nosebleed. Wait, who's playing the flute? I know this song." 

Everyone perked up their ears and listened to the chaotic sounds of the waves and the distant voices of the villagers, mixed with the sound of a flute. 

The melody was smooth and the notes were perfectly in tune, creating a harmonious tune. 

Xuan Ji listened for a moment and then hummed along, "Isn't this the song about 'marrying a chicken and following the chicken, marrying a dog and following the dog'?" 

Wang Ze chimed in, "And 'when the brother turns around, the cow is scared to death'." 

He suddenly realized something and shut his mouth. He and Xuan Ji stared at each other, both revealing their playlists. Their expressions became subtle at the same time.

"That's...there's a small park downstairs from our house," Wang Ze tried to cover up with a laugh. "A group of old men and women dance there every day. I've heard that song so many times that I can sing it now. I usually prefer classical music and I'm not very familiar with this kind of lively music."

"But I feel like I've heard it somewhere," Xuan Ji quickly followed suit, "I just can't put my finger on it. Life in Yuyang is so leisurely, there are all kinds of weirdos. There's even this one at the beach who's probably doing square dancing to this song - does anyone have a photo of Boss Yan? Give me one." 

Without waiting for Wang Ze to flip through the photos, Gu Yuexi handed him her phone album. A whole folder was filled with old photos of the former Wind God Captain. 

She quickly picked out a frontal photo of Yan Qiushan, the man in uniform, looking cold but with a gentle gaze as he looked towards the camera. There was a subtle hint of restraint in his expression. 

"Is this one okay? It's the clearest one I have," Gu Yuexi said. "This was taken by Zhi Chun when he was officially taking over the Wind God and moving into the new office." 

Wang Ze was still a bit worried. "Director Xuan, is that 'mermaid language' you mentioned for finding people reliable? Will it work no matter who says it?" 

"What if the sea creatures get angry after hearing a bird's accent?" 

"It's the language of mermaids, and the mermaid is an imported species," muttered Xuan Ji. 

He half-knelt down, struggling to maintain balance on the speedboat, and held up a photo of Yan Qiushan. He dipped his hand in the sea water and wrote the three ancient characters of "Yan Qiushan" on the boat board.

Wang Ze watched him with growing concern as he performed this seemingly superstitious ritual. It was as if he needed two incense sticks and an altar. 

"Xuan..." he began to say.

But Xuan Ji shushed him and closed his eyes, focusing his mind for a moment. 

He tried to clear his thoughts and silently repeated the mermaid language he had heard in his hallucination. 

He felt like he had learned this obscure language before, but couldn't quite remember where. It could have been from the various tattered books he had seen in the Chiyuan Canyon, or perhaps from a spirit he had studied with... 

In that brief moment of illusion, he had only heard a few sounds, but it triggered his memory. 

He had lived a hazy life in his early years, with his memories all jumbled up. 

But now, Xuan Ji suddenly realized that he had learned so many things, a mishmash of knowledge that he had forgotten over time.

With the mermaid language just spoken, his subconscious memories slowly surfaced, but they were so complex and disordered that he couldn't make sense of them. 

The Wind Gods formed a circle around him, watching him intently as Xuan Ji uttered a strange sound from his mouth. The voice seemed to roll out from the back of the nose, with a subtle, deep and gentle tone that reminded people of the waves in the deep sea. 

As soon as the words were spoken, Wang Ze, who was a water-based creature, felt something first, and his whole body was covered in goosebumps.

At the same time, the joyful music in the distance stopped abruptly.

Sheng Lingyuan put down his flute and suddenly raised his head: "Who is meddling in my affairs?"

Xuan Ji spoke in the language of the mermaids and called out the name of Yan Qiushan.

At first, the sea remained silent, but Xuan Ji was not in a hurry. 

After dozens of repetitions, the most sensitive Gu Yuexi suddenly widened her eyes - in the perspective of her vision, she saw the sound waves of the waves and Xuan Ji's mermaid language subtly overlapping, forming a kind of mysterious resonance. 

Underwater, Yan Qiushan and his fishing boat had already been swallowed up by the crystal wall, while Snake Skin, who was looking at the map, had followed it into the stone wall without realizing it. 

Suddenly, the water around them began to churn and form countless small whirlpools, slamming against the boat with great force.

The blind man had the keenest ears and his ears twitched, "Wait, what's that sound? 'Yan'?"

"Yan..." The man's voice was wrapped in the waves, spreading in all directions. 

At the moment it hit the boat, it suddenly amplified countless times, as if it had found its target.

"Yan Qiushan!" Upon hearing his long-abandoned real name, Yan Qiushan shuddered. 

At the same time, a huge wave hit the boat, causing it to shake violently but not capsize. 

The front of the boat seemed to be fixed in place, while the back was about to fall apart. 

Something's not right! 

With a loud bang, the small boat was almost snapped in half. The impregnable illusion of the maze was finally broken, and everyone could see the crystal wall that almost sucked them in. 

They all retreated to the back of the boat. Snake Skin let out a scream and violently pulled himself out of the transparent stone wall, tearing off a piece of his scalp and hair, leaving a bloody mess on his forehead.

Yan Qiushan's first reaction was that the guide was the problem. He grabbed the puppet girl by the neck and quickly broke several of her major joints, "Did you betray us?"

"Yan Qiushan, have you gone mad?" The puppet girl screamed. She didn't have a trachea, so being choked didn't affect her ability to speak. "I am the most capable person by the Old Lady Yu's side. If she traps you all and drag me into it, what benefit would she have from that?" 

"Don't argue! Let's not fight amongst ourselves. Our boat is still being sucked in by that wall!" shouted the blind man. "There are diving suits on board. Let's split up and grab things. Abandon ship!"

"There's a reaction! Look!" On the speedboat, Wang Ze noticed that the seawater beneath them split apart, forming a groove on the surface. "It seems to be working! Director Xuan, remember to teach me mermaid language when we get back. Knowing a foreign language really comes in handy!"

"Leave a few people to watch the boat," Xuan Ji stood up. "The rest of us will go down. Old Wang..."

Before he could finish speaking, Wang Ze reached out and several bubbles emerged from the seawater, just big enough to encase a person. 

Wang Ze jumped in first, the bubble sealing tightly around him, allowing him to move freely and breathe. 

"One person per bubble. Air is limited, so breathe slowly and conserve it." 

A few Wind Gods jumped into the sea, and the ocean welcomed them like an old friend, patiently accepting their presence. Xuan Ji continued to quietly recite the language of the mermaids, and the water immediately churned, forming an underwater passage that pointed in the direction of Yan Qiushan.

Sheng Lingyuan furrowed his brow and resumed his puppetry technique. A group of once carefree sea fish immediately stiffened and changed direction, following his will.

"Mermaid language...someone still knows it?" Mermaids had long been extinct, and even the knowledgeable Dan Li only knew a few phrases.

At that moment, the fish swimming at the front made eye contact with Xuan Ji's bubble.

Sheng Lingyuan's heart skipped a beat. "Is it him?"

Xuan Ji's gaze swept over the fish's eyes, and an inexplicable thought popped into his mind: "Puppetry technique!" 

Before he could even react, he grabbed the fish that swam in front of him. 

Behind the puppetry technique, Sheng Lingyuan felt an intense heat following the fish's senses, almost scorching him. He immediately withdrew the puppetry technique, and the faint energy flowed out of the fish's body. 

The school of fish, which had gathered together, looked at each other inexplicably and dispersed on the spot. 

Fortunately, it is said that these fish only have a memory of seven seconds and are used to this "who am I, where am I" state, so they drifted away happily.

Xuan Ji held the floundering sea fish, and his first reaction was that the person behind the fish's eyes was Sheng Lingyuan. 

But then he was stunned. How did he know that? 

Xuan Ji first encountered the so-called 'puppetry technique' in the Retracing curse of the witch people's tomb. 

At that time, he felt that it was 'amazingly skilled, with doubts about its authenticity.' As for the principle, he completely did not understand it, and no one had told him that similar puppetry techniques could be used on other animals.

But just now, the idea of 'someone using puppetry to manipulate schools of fish' appeared reflexively in his mind, as if it were common knowledge that he had always known.

"This fish is not delicious. I am a water-based cultivator, trust me! I'll take you to eat the best seafood when we get back." Wang Ze leaned over, gesturing wildly and pointing to the Mountain prince's tomb beneath their feet. "Don't just stand there, hurry up and see what path this is pointing to!" 

In the sea, the magical language of the merfolk created a slender vortex with a diameter of about twenty centimeters. The water within that range spun rapidly in a clockwise direction, with bubbles sticking to the outside, as if a "rope" had formed out of thin air in the sea. 

At this moment, one end of this "sea rope" was tied to Xuan Ji's wrist, while the other end disappeared into the tomb passage.

"This looks like an ancient tomb..." Wang Ze's scalp tingled. 

This was a well-preserved underwater tomb, unlike the chaotic burial mounds that were burned by the fire of the witch people's tomb. There might be a great secret buried underneath. 

Moreover, during the incident at the witch people's tomb, the tomb owner personally 'invited' Xuan Ji and him in. 

The owner of this place clearly wasn't as hospitable as the young clan leader. One hundred and eighty formations at the entrance clearly expressed the words 'not welcome.' 

Without special approval, Wang Ze and his team couldn't just barge into the ancient tomb, especially a non-human's tomb. 

Even someone as shrewd and smooth-talking as Wang Ze was feeling a bit hesitant. He pulled Xuan Ji aside, intending to explain the situation to the new director of the aftermath department. 

But Xuan Ji was staring at the underwater tomb, and suddenly blurted out, as if in a trance, "This is the the tomb of Wei Yun, of the Mountain clan." 

After he spoke, Xuan Ji snapped out of it and was stunned. 

Who was Wei Yun and the Mountain clan? 

Why did he say that name? 

It's unclear whether it was Wang Ze's unreliable water system or the bubbles surrounding them failing to block the water pressure, but Xuan Ji's heart began to race again, as if on a vibrating setting. He glanced at his sports watch and saw that his heart rate was approaching 160 beats per minute. 

"What's this 'Mountain'?" Wang Ze asked. "It sounds like a foreign name. Why would they bury themselves so far away from home?" 

At that moment, the other Wind God members caught up. 

Gu Yuexi glanced at the entrance to the tomb and her bubble suddenly shook. Second Team Leader's face, which usually showed no emotion, revealed a look of shock and horror. 

"What did you see?" 

"Bodies," she said, using her X-ray vision to peer into the tomb's entrance. "There are corpses all over the place down there." 

Wang Ze immediately asked, "What kind of bodies? How many? Are there any survivors?" 

"All kinds," Gu Yuexi paused before adding, "It's like a collection of specimens. There are too many to count, and I can't see the end of it." 

As someone with X-ray vision, Gu Yuexi's naked eye vision is 5.3 - no higher, because the vision chart only goes up to that point. During her missions, her highest record was being able to see through a mountain nearly 800 meters away.

Wang Ze was stunned. He had known Gu Yuexi for so many years, but had never heard her say something like "I can't see the end of it."

Just then, the sea rope on Xuan Ji's wrist suddenly tightened. This eerie Prince's tomb may have been thoroughly angered by one group of intruders after another, causing the sea to shake and the entrance to the tomb to slowly close.

"Wait!" Wang Ze exclaimed in shock. "Zhang Zhao, stop the..."

But before Zhang Zhao could even press the stopwatch, Xuan Ji's body moved before his brain could even process it. Several coins were flicked out from his fingertips. 

Wang Ze was taken aback. 

"Hold on, Director Xuan, there are regulations in the bureau..." 

"If a suspected ancient relic is discovered, it must be reported and reviewed. We cannot recklessly enter and destroy the site," Xuan Ji interrupted without looking back. "Two special circumstances can be exempted - when human lives are at stake, or..." 

The coins that flew out of his hand ignored resistance and cut through the water like bullets, fitting perfectly into the corners of the tomb. A sigh-like sound was heard, and a faint light flowed through the intricate patterns at the entrance of the tomb. The shaking tomb was solidified once again. 

"...if there are high-risk items within the site that cannot be ruled out as having mass destruction capabilities." Wang 

Ze looked at Xuan Ji in surprise, separated by bubbles. Their faces were made pale by the seawater and the lighting devices in their hands, and only their silhouette was visible.

Xuan Ji's profile was sharp and clear, but Wang Ze couldn't help but feel that he was very distant, like a statue left in the shadows of time.

"Both of these match. Someone has entered, and it's possible that it's related to the Yin Sacrifice ritual. There may be a demon sealed in this underwater tomb," Xuan Ji gestured to them. 

"Before entering a new organisation, we need to familiarize ourselves with the employee management manual. It's common sense. What are you looking at...follow me."

"Director Xuan," Wang Ze couldn't help but stop him. "If there's anything wrong with Boss Yan, it's understandable. Can you give him some leeway?" 

Xuan Ji clenched his fist and pressed it against his chest, trying to calm his racing heart. 

"What do you mean by giving him leeway? You guys have me working as a field agent every day, and now you want me to be a judge too?" he said helplessly.

Wang Ze was a sharp person and immediately understood the hidden meaning behind Xuan Ji's words. His eyes lit up. 

"We're here to save someone," Xuan Ji sighed. "As long as he hasn't done something irreparable."

As long as he hasn't ended up like Bi Chunsheng... It's ironic, really. 

Bricklayers get paid by the job, accountants and lawyers get paid by the hour, and even if they quit halfway through, their previous work still counts and the employer has to pay. 

But the profession of "hero" is different. 

You can't change course halfway through, you have to see it through to the end. 

Otherwise, everything you've done before becomes a mistake and will be counted against you. 

Why would anyone choose this path? Is being a hero really something that humans should do? 

Xuan Ji sighed inwardly and walked down the path to the tomb. 

Behind them, in the coral reef, a small fish with bubbles coming out of its mouth peeked out and watched them go.

On the shore, Sheng Lingyuan furrowed his brow, his relaxed expression gone. He strolled slowly along the beach, careful not to let the fish get too close. 

He couldn't see clearly, but he could sense that Xuan Ji had easily broken the formation at the entrance to the Mountain prince's tomb.

But that formation was known only to Sheng Lingyuan himself. 

He had sealed the tomb alone, so who else could know the location of the formation's eye? 

Did Xuan Ji break it himself? 


The last time he saw the little demon, he knew nothing and had no knowledge or common sense. 

He carried a comprehensive "Thousand Demon Bestiary" in his eyes, but couldn't even cheat properly. 

How could he possibly break a formation of this level? It's like a primary school dropout who can't even do basic addition and subtraction suddenly solving the trajectory of the stars with his bare hands. 

Moreover, when Xuan Ji caught the puppet fish earlier, Sheng Lingyuan actually felt a sense of backlash - the little demon was clearly not as powerful during their last encounter. 

Could there really be a prodigy in the world who can make a remarkable difference in just three days? 

Although Xuan Ji unintentionally intervened, Yan Qiushan and the others still faced constant danger underwater. 

After jumping off the boat, they couldn't shake off the man-eating "crystal wall". 

The underwater tomb passage seemed alive, constantly changing direction. No matter how far or fast they swam, the crystal wall that swallowed their small boat always blocked their way, waiting for them to fall into its trap. 

The blind man braked too late and scraped against the wall, getting his hand stuck in it.

Suddenly, Snake Skin, the wooden puppet's leg, the flippers on Yan Qiushan's diving suit...all got sucked into the crystal wall. The blind man yelled in horror, causing Snake Skin to jump back and collide with the unbalanced wooden puppet, and the two of them bounced out together.

Suddenly, a deep sigh came from deep within the tomb passage, and the blind man was stunned - the force that had been pulling him towards the wall had stopped. 

Snake Skin murmured, "W-what's wrong?"

"It's not moving." The blind man hesitated, trying to pull his hand out, " me." 

Snake Skin and puppet girl responded and rushed forward like pulling out carrots, trying to pull out the blind man. 

However, Yan Qiushan looked up and gazed deep into the tomb - the pale and eerie mermaid lamps illuminated the variously shaped corpses like models in a showcase. 

It was unclear who designed it, but at first glance, it exuded a strange and cruel beauty.

The entire tomb was like a transparent specimen exhibition, displaying the greed of three thousand years of past and present. But in the deeper part of the tomb passage, there were no mermaid lamps, only pitch-black darkness that exuded a sinister and ominous feeling. 

Yan Qiushan hesitated for a moment, then carefully took the mermaid lamp he had broken off from the wall and ventured into the darkness.

After swimming for less than five hundred meters, he arrived at the end of the mermaid lamp line, where there was no light. 

However, there was still something in the stone wall, arranged even more neatly. Yan Qiushan lifted the lantern and shrank back in horror, drifting several meters backwards. 

Inside the unlit stone wall, there were no longer any invaders with terrified expressions, but instead, there were children! 

The oldest of these children was no more than twelve or thirteen years old, while the youngest were likely just learning to walk. The boys were on the left, bare-chested and barefoot, while the girls wore small jackets that were very different from the clothing worn by the ancient Central Plains ancestors. 

They seemed to belong to some kind of ethnic minority, with tattoos on their wrists and ankles. The child corpses had peaceful expressions, with their hands folded over their stomachs, arranged in two rows like a row of lifelike dolls.

From inside his diving suit hood, the voice of the puppet girl came through. She said, "These children may be from the Mountain clan."


"Look at those tattoos," said the puppet girl as she and Snake Skin man rescued the blind man from danger. 

The three of them followed along, and the puppet girl pulled out a map of the Mountain prince's tomb. The map was protected by a half-piece of water pearl that the blind man had cut off, and it was not wet at all. 

In addition to ancient Chinese characters, there were also patterns that looked like decorations on the map, which were very similar to the "patterns" on the small corpse's tattoos. 

"These tattoos are likely the writing of the Mountain people."

"So what does this mean? Are they the descendants of the prince? Did they not spare even such young children?" 

Snake Skin was a water-type ability user and did not need to wear diving equipment underwater. 

He approached the corpse of a child who was almost still a baby and was amazed. 

"Didn't they say that the Mountain prince was killed by Emperor Sheng Xiao? This old ancestor is amazing. Look at his style of cutting the grass and eliminating the roots!"

(Translator's Note: The translation of "斩草除根" literally means "cutting the grass and eliminating the roots," but it is a Chinese idiom that means to completely eradicate a problem or issue.) 

A tiny octopus had hidden in his clothes, conveying the compliment to Sheng Lingyuan in full. 

Sheng Lingyuan's eyebrows twitched slightly - he quite appreciated the compliment, but such achievements were not easy to claim. 

The puppet girl continued, "These children were probably not killed by the Emperor of Humanity. According to the records of the Qingping Division, the Mountain nobles, like the human race, would prepare their tombs before they died. Although the Emperor of Humanity killed the Mountain prince Wei Yun, he still left his whole body intact out of respect for his many years of loyalty and buried him in the tomb that the Mountain prince had prepared long ago. 

"This is a tradition of the high mountain people. It is said that after they finish building their tombs, they first fill them with accompanying people to 'warm them up'." 

Yan Qiushan interjected, "So you're saying that the Mountain prince we're summoning is someone who sacrifices children for burial?" 

On the shore, Sheng Lingyuan suddenly froze upon hearing this. 

Wait, are these people trying to descend into the tomb to get Wei Yun? But... Wei Yun is not a demon. He's just an unlucky guy who was neglected by his parents. 

He was given the title of "Prince" simply because the Mountain people's skill in crafting weapons has been declining generation after generation, and they finally found a talented person. 

The Mountain king gave him this "adopted son" status to control him. 

Later, in order to express their sincerity in surrendering, they sent him as a hostage to the human race. Wei Yun lived a miserable life, enduring humiliation and carrying heavy burdens, but he didn't achieve anything. 

Wei Yun was a man of few words, introverted, and spent his days forging iron... and he didn't die from being hunted down. 

Sheng Lingyuan reminisced for a moment. 

He remembered ordering a chase after him, but he never ordered anyone to kill him. It was actually Wei Yun who took his own life. 

As for the Mountain demon sealed beneath the tomb, that was certainly someone else.


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