Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Chapter 72 - Chapter 72

"I'm afraid we're done for," said the human flashlight with a laugh.

From the context, it seemed like a bitter laugh, but his laughter sounded like a duck, with a strange mix of bitterness and humor.

"You know, the Bureau was originally formed by a group of people, thinking that unity is strength and that we needed a place to reason with each other. But now, I'm afraid the Bureau is becoming a tool for ordinary folks to persecute us. If this continues, will there still be a place for us special individuals to stand a hundred years from now? Even the old lady worries about the future of our younger generations."

"Old lady" and "wealthy background"...

Sheng Lingyuan narrowed his eyes, remembering the puppet made of Heart-Piercing Grass that had accompanied Silver Shadow and the others. That puppet was also knowledgeable about the history of the merfolk...

The agents of the Wind God exchanged a glance, clearly thinking the same thing as the Emperor.

The Penglai Conference had five permanent seats, with one belonging to the chief from the Bureau of Paranormal Control. The others were held by the Northeast's Old Lady Yu, the Southeast's Master Yue De, the Southwest's Minority Supernatural Alliance (abbreviated as the "Minority Alliance"), and the Northwest's Taoist Research Society.

The Minority Alliance and the Research Society were both relatively loose civilian organizations made up of many small supernatural families. There were no particularly powerful figures within them. And Master Yue De was an old man.  

The only one in the country who dared to call herself an "Old Lady" and was the only one in the country who could do so, was only that person from the old 'Qingping Division'.

"I was just thinking," Du Ruo said, "that this companion of Silver Shadow, this particularly bright one, doesn't look like a real person."

The figure was oddly thin, with a rigid body and subtle inconsistencies, lacking any signs of femininity - the human flashlight seemed like a puppet.

"Call Director Xiao at the General Bureau and tell him about this. Keep it quiet and keep an eye on Old Lady Yu," Wang Ze turned his head to give instructions before turning to Sheng Lingyuan.

"Big shot, can you find a way to ask them how they got in touch? This evidence isn't strong enough...meaning we really can't afford to offend this Old Lady Yu. The old lady has lived for over 700 years, with a face that's so well-known that we can't even imagine. She can talk to anyone in any field. If we confront her head-on, we need something that can convince the public."

Upon hearing this, Sheng Lingyuan's face lit up with a smile as refreshing as a spring breeze.

Xuan Ji had a hunch that the old demon was about to make a dangerous statement, so he quickly interrupted, "You can try asking directly in the spiritual realm. The memories may not be very accurate, but if you ask multiple times, you'll eventually get something... Your Majesty... Sheng... that... ancestor! Please don't keep implanting curses in his mind. We finally caught him, and if you make him go insane, who will we interrogate? Mortals are fragile, so save your powers for dealing with demons!"

The "ancestor" withdrew his smile and leaned against the wall with a cold expression, remaining silent.

Several spiritual-type elites took turns using various interrogation techniques.

The blind man, trapped in his own memories, was like a ping-pong ball bouncing around.

Scenes appeared on the screen of him making phone calls and sending voice messages to different people, using a special phone for the blind to access the internet, and engaging in underground black market transactions. Xuan Ji was sweating profusely, fearing that Sheng Lingyuan would lose patience and curse the blind man's brain open.

Just as he was starting to feel uneasy, the screen changed again.

This time, it showed Silver Shadow kneeling alone in a small room with no living creatures around. His "vision" was pitch black, and he was chanting something towards an object.

Wang Ze leaned in closer, listening intently but unable to make sense of the blind man's mumbling. It sounded like he was cursing under his breath.

"Who is he cursing?" Wang Ze wondered.

Sheng Lingyuan endured the worsening ringing in his ears as he forced himself to listen. He realized that the old man was speaking in the ancient language of the demon clan.

Perhaps Wang Ze thought of him as a search engine, because every time he didn't understand something, he would ask him for help.

"Master, can you understand what he's saying?" he asked.

Sheng Lingyuan furrowed his brow slightly, stumped for the first time.

After the demon clan's defeat, no one dared to speak their language in front of him.

Over time, he had become unfamiliar with it, and the blind man's pronunciation was far from standard.

It was like trying to understand someone with poor spoken language skills while suffering from hearing loss.

In a sentence, the emperor could only guess at one or two words.

Suddenly, Xuan Ji interjected, "He's saying 'Nine nines return to one, our lord is the true god'."

Wang Ze and Du Ruo were surprised to find such a talented linguist in their team, and they all looked up at him.

"This sentence is similar to 'long live the king'," Xuan Ji explained as he walked through the crowd, his gaze suddenly filled with doubt as he looked at Sheng Lingyuan.

"As for 'my lord', I'm not sure who it refers to. Oh, this is just something passed down in my family. I know a few phrases related to ordering food and performing rituals, but I'm not good at everyday conversation. My family has a deep background in learning."

Sheng Lingyuan's vision was a bit blurry, and he didn't notice Xuan Ji's gaze or find it strange.

The language of the demon race is different from human language and is not learned after birth. It is innate to the demon race.

Xuan Ji, as the spirit of the Vermilion Bird bone seal, was born with the ability to understand ancient demon language, so it was normal.

The emperor pressed hard on his temple and said, "'My lord' refers to the demon king."

"The demon king Jiu Xun?" Xuan Ji whispered, asking how he knew.

Sheng Lingyuan remained silent, nodding his chin towards the screen.

After Silver Shadow recited the spell several times, a strange creature gradually took shape in his once pitch-black vision - a dragon head, bird wings, snake body, and tiger tail, the very "four-type beast" worshipped by the True Nature Sect.

This thing was vivid and brightly colored, standing out in the blind man's "sight" and appearing suddenly like a miracle, as if it had descended upon the faithful's prayers.

Kneeling down, trembling with fear, Silver Shadow knocked his head on the ground without any hesitation. He might have knocked his head a little too hard, as his memories of the past became blurry for a moment.

Then, he was given a string of numbers.

The members of the Bureau were all stunned - what was this?

Did the Demon King reveal himself and give his follower a string of numbers?

Was he telling him to buy a lottery ticket?

The blind man remained devoutly on his knees until the Demon King and the numbers disappeared completely.

Then, he reached into his pocket and pulled out his phone.

His fingers moved quickly and lightly as he scrolled through the apps on his screen.

Finally, he stopped at one with a name that sounded like "Nirvana" and clicked on it.

The sound effects of the app were reminiscent of some poorly made gambling games, with a chaotic and noisy jumble that seemed to lag a bit before prompting for login.

To log in, a "captcha" was required, and Silver Shadow quickly entered the string of numbers from before.

Du Ruo was shocked and stuttered, "T-t-this is... bowing to get a captcha? No, this cult is actually connected to the internet? They have an app?"

Wang Ze's sense of collective pride burst forth, "We have one too."

"I don't see anything worth being proud of," Du Ruo dryly remarked, "And besides, our intranet, that app...ugh!"

Xuan Ji immediately remembered his frustrating full liability agreement, "Don't even mention it."

"Shh..." Wang Ze made a gesture, signaling everyone to listen carefully while quickly pulling out a piece of paper.

Unable to see the screen, Silver Shadow had to use the blind interaction mode on his smartphone.

Wang Ze, like he was taking a Chinese listening test, was lying on the table, following the voice from the phone and writing down the functions on the app.

This thing sounded a bit like an old forum where users could leave messages. There were sections for trading items, bounties for killing people, as well as some idle chatter and gossip.

Silver Shadow was following the recent news and rising stars in the special ability world.

It seemed that Silver Shadow had just completed a transaction with someone and was confirming the receipt on the app when his phone rang.

He casually picked it up and heard a voice reading out a private message from the "Heavenly Administrator."

Silver Shadow was stunned for a moment, then his breathing became rapid as he brought his phone to his ear and opened the private message: "Brother Silver Shadow, the master has ordered me to select members above level ten to do a great task that is crucial to our lives. Are you willing?"

In the interrogation room, everyone took a deep breath.

If they weren't still nervous, they would have cheered - they had found a way to contact the True Nature Sect!

"The blind man's communication device was washed away in the sea... Oh, and there's also Captain Yan! He's been undercover for three years, he must know. Has Captain Yan not woken up yet?"

Wang Ze threw down his pen and paper, jumped up as if his butt was on fire, "You guys continue the interrogation, I'm going to the hospital. Thank you, brothers, for your hard work. Whether we can avenge Zhi Chun depends on how much you can dig out of the blind man's brain!"

After finishing his sentence, Wang Ze grabbed his coat and ran out to the hospital to check on Yan Qiushan.

Xuan Ji was a second too slow to stop him and when he turned around, he realized that Sheng Lingyuan had disappeared without a trace.

Yan Qiushan was still unconscious and the hospital had issued three critical condition notices. Gu Yuexi and Zhang Zhao had played rock-paper-scissors to take turns signing in to visit him.

At the moment, his condition had stabilized slightly and he had been transferred to the intensive care unit.

When Wang Ze arrived, the visiting hours for the day had already ended and he was at a loss.

He could only cause a scene and chase away the little brothers who were gathered outside the ward. He sat there, anxiously waiting for any news.

The architecture of the hospital for special ability-users boasted top-notch soundproofing, and even in the intensive care unit, there was little movement from medical staff, driving away any lingering visitors.

For a moment, the surroundings were so quiet that time and space seemed to stand still. Wang Ze could even hear the faint ticking of his mechanical watch, and his breathing and heartbeat gradually slowed down.

His mind raced like a movie, recalling many things.

He thought of memories with Silver Shadow, of Yan Qiushan, and of his own early days after graduating, when he first joined Captain Yan's team to attend the Penglai Conference.

Old Lady Yu was also a water-type ability user.

She had heard that the Wind God had recently recruited a particularly talented water-type user, so she went out of her way to talk to him.

He remembered that the old lady had a warm scent about her, a mixture of scented candles, soap, old-fashioned snow cream, and pastries.

She didn't seem like a big shot who dominated the scene, but rather reminded him of his grandmother back home.

At the time, Old Lady Yu even gave him a small water-based technique as a gift... it was the bubble shield he used in the sea, very practical.

The old lady said that water-type abilities were divided into sea-based and land-based types. Varieties like him, who leaned towards the land, would be at a disadvantage in the sea and needed to prepare a few life-saving cards.

She was deliberately trying to pass on something to her descendants, considering all aspects, not just casually selling useless tricks based on her seniority.

She had been in the mortal world for seven hundred years, witnessing the changes of the world as time passed. She had experienced the rise and fall of Qingping Division, and watched as the towering building of Bureau of Paranormal Control was built in the distance...

Was she always waiting for the so-called "seal" of Chiyuan to loosen, so she could "rise up" again?

If that was the case, then in the eyes of this elderly woman, the younger generation were nothing but "lapdogs" of ordinary people, and rebels of the talented, right?

If only everything in the world could be black or white, with clear boundaries for everyone.

Friends and family would be pure and righteous, towering and magnificent, and we could love them without any worries or doubts. Enemies would be purely evil, with festering sores on their heads and oozing wounds on their feet, with no redeeming qualities whatsoever, fitting the mold of a villain with shifty eyes and a sneaky demeanor.

One could hate them with all their hearts and minds, without any second thoughts.

Wang Ze looked blankly at the tightly closed door of the intensive care unit once again. He had shouted at Yan Qiushan with all his might when they were in the sea, mainly because the situation was urgent and he was trying to stop him.

But deep down, he knew that if he were in Captain Yan's shoes, his own courage would probably not have been enough to survive.

Once again, it's only natural for people to follow the crowd, change their minds easily, or even become cynical and join the ranks of anti-social behavior.

Wang Ze couldn't imagine how Yan Qiushan could remain steadfast year after year, like a rock.

After saying goodbye to Zhi Chun, experiencing the same disappointment again...will that stone break?

Wang Ze couldn't figure it out.

He had been the acting head of Wind God for three years, and before that, he had been a team leader for five years, with countless battles under his belt. He was even considered a big shot by others, as Du Ruo, the director of Yuyang, had even wanted to take a photo with him and get his autograph.

However, in front of Yan Qiushan, he always felt weak, like a young boy just starting out.

He was filled with doubts and uncertainties.

Wang Ze had driven away Gu Yuexi and was now squatting at the door, lost in thought.

Little did he know that just a wall away, in the intensive care unit, a black mist suddenly appeared on one of the walls.

The mist grew thicker and thicker until a figure emerged from it.

Sheng Lingyuan walked through the wall, surrounded by a veil of black mist that made his face look as pale as a snow sculpture. The protective talismans on the wall and the surveillance cameras in the room were all as useless on him as deaf and blind men.

Sheng Lingyuan took a step towards Yan Qiushan's bed.

The pain from a normal wound can eventually become numb and tolerable, but his migraines came in waves, layer upon layer, making it impossible for him to sit still.

In the interrogation room, everyone was making a fuss and creating noise.

Sheng Lingyuan couldn't take it anymore and left in frustration. As he emerged from the basement, he was hit by the scorching summer sun. His migraines were already sensitive to light, and it felt like he was thrown into a blazing inferno.

The pain pierced through his temples, and he couldn't see clearly.

He was so angry that he wanted to kill someone.

In a daze, he found himself in Yan Qiushan's hospital room, driven by some unknown force.

Yan Qiushan had no grudges or grievances with anyone, and his actions were beyond reproach.

However, it was His Majesty who had personally "frozen" his life.

Despite this, Sheng Lingyuan had taken a dislike to him for no reason and had been thinking of killing him. As a true ancient tyrant, he did not care about morals or principles.

Anyone who rubbed him the wrong way would end up with a luxurious package at the mass grave...

Fortunately, he rarely looked at people directly, so those who bothered him were few and far between.

At this moment, Sheng Lingyuan's pupils were as black as a bottomless dungeon, but his eyes were bloodshot.

Black mist rose and fell around him as he walked to the bedside, staring expressionlessly at Yan Qiushan before slowly reaching out his hand.

Just as the black mist at his fingertips touched Yan Qiushan's throat, a layer of golden light suddenly flew up from Yan Qiushan's body.

A thin protective film nervously enveloped the owner from head to toe, breaking through that strand of evil black mist.

Sheng Lingyuan sneered: "A mere trick."

That was a trick of the weapon spirit, forging a layer of protection from a part of its own essence and applying it to the owner, called the "weapon spirit armor".

In this way, even if the weapon spirit was not by the owner's side due to some reason, if the owner encountered any danger, a part of the damage could be transferred to the weapon body.

Given that Yan Qiushan's weapon spirit had already died, this protection had long become an empty shell.

Even if the weapon spirit was still alive, it was just a half-hearted attempt, not as good as his naive sword spirit was when he was young...

Something flew by quickly, and Sheng Lingyuan's hand trembled slightly.

Was it... his sword spirit?

Sheng Lingyuan was a walking corpse, his memories like a broken coffin.

Inside the coffin was only a bare skeleton, engraved with the major events of his life. The bloodstains on the bones were the names of his enemies.

As for the details, they had all rotted away and were afraid to see the light, so no one mentioned them and he couldn't remember them on his own.

He only had a tiny bit of vitality borrowed from a little demon, and his memories had stopped working.

However, at this moment, Sheng Lingyuan stood in front of Yan Qiushan's sickbed, staring blankly through the protective film left behind by Zhi Chun.

A trivial matter that seemed like a small matter suddenly surfaced in his mind.

It seemed to be something that happened before the big battle.

The Sword Spirit had just gained the ability to move around outside of his sword body, and he couldn't get enough of the human scenery. He spent all day wandering around outside, and somehow came across a secret technique that said a spirit could sacrifice a portion of its essence to forge a layer of "armor" for its master.

He secretly practiced it without his master's knowledge.

But he was eventually caught, and after understanding the principle behind it, his master placed a seal on him to prevent him from using forbidden techniques and causing trouble.

That little rascal couldn't even break the seal his master casually placed, and yet he still wanted to protect others?

He had so many ideas, but he should have focused on his cultivation instead.

This might seem like a funny story, but Sheng Lingyuan couldn't laugh.

He thought for just one more second, and the cover on his memories seemed like it was about to crack, quickly blowing away those memories like smoke from his mind.

However, Sheng Lingyuan's murderous intent dissipated suddenly, just like when he arrived.

He curled his fingers and stared at the fragile spirit armor with an inscrutable gaze.

A wisp of black mist turned into a thin line and flowed out of his sleeve, entering Yan Qiushan's ear.

This Yan Qiushan... for some reason, had a familiar aura that always reminded him of his past.

It was strange for someone so young to have such cultivation, unless they were born with a pile of elixirs and had been in seclusion for a long time, or had received some kind of inheritance.

Yan Qiushan was being kept alive by modern medical methods, relying on a ventilator to breathe, but his consciousness was still active.

His mind was filled with countless fragments of the past...

The Sword Spirit Zhi Chun had just awakened and was fumbling around in the mortal world. It accidentally sat on the remote control and was startled by the sudden appearance of people on the TV, jumping onto the back of the sofa in fright.

During Zhi Chun's first photo with Yan Qiushan, it saw others linking arms and wanted to join in.

But halfway through reaching out, it hesitated and felt it was inappropriate. Just as it was hovering in mid-air, the impatient photographer snapped the picture.

Zhi Chun was old-fashioned in its ways and couldn't keep up with the trendy humor of the younger team members.

They didn't know much about its background and would occasionally try to get closer by cracking a joke. But they would always retreat in defeat when faced with its refined and dignified face.

Zhi Chun would have to go back and ponder for a while before finally understanding the punchline, then laughing to itself for the rest of the day.

Zhi Chun was sensitive to the seven emotions and could truly feel the essence of any story.

When Yan Qiushan had time off, he would accompany him to the movies. He always pretended to casually choose a film, but in reality, he had secretly searched online for reviews for a long time.

He would specifically take Zhi Chun to see the one that would make her cry the most. Zhi Chun firmly believed that "real men don't shed tears easily" and refused to cry in public.

Even in the dimly lit theater, he would hold back her tears. But once they got home, he would become very clingy.

On Yan Qiushan's thirtieth birthday, Zhi Chun believed that reaching the age of "standing on one's own feet" was a big day. He learned some foreign customs and put candles on a cake for him to blow out, forcing him to close his eyes and make a wish.

Yan Qiushan thought he was not young nor old, and it was ridiculous to act like a child and believe in superstitions. He refused to do it and blew out all the candles in one breath, causing a big chunk of cream to fly off and stuffing it into his mouth before running away.

Hearing Zhi Chun chasing after him, he closed his eyes and laughed, silently wishing, "Let's be together for one second longer than forever."

Amidst all the trivial matters... There was a moment when Sheng Lingyuan's bloodless lips lifted slightly, but then he saw the delusion of "forever and ever" and his smile froze again.

"Useless," he thought, "utterly foolish."

He was too lazy to check again, as if he never wanted to look at Yan Qiushan again, and disappeared into the ward.

In the sub-bureau, as soon as Sheng Lingyuan left, Xuan Ji's soul seemed to float away too, but the interrogation couldn't proceed without him.

He cooperated with the interrogator to turn the blind man's mind upside down until the wanted criminal began to show signs of foaming at the mouth under the curse, and the interrogation came to an end.

Xuan Ji dismantled Retracing and didn't have time to bid farewell to his colleagues before he ran off like he was being chased by urgent matters.

No, that's not right——Xuan Ji knew a lot from the memories of the Heavenly Demon Sword Spirit. The language of the demon race was not learned, but rather innate in their bloodline.

In the present day, people with special abilities have bloodlines that are so diluted that they might as well not have any. It's understandable if they can't understand the language of the demon race, but Sheng Lingyuan's mother is a demon race princess, so she has at least half demon blood in her.

In the memories of the Heavenly Demon Sword Spirit, Dan Li only taught the little prince the language of the merfolk, and definitely did not teach him how to speak the language of the demon race, because Sheng Lingyuan must have been born with it!

Since it's not a learned foreign language, how could he be unfamiliar with it?

How could he be stumped by Wang Ze's question?

For some reason, Xuan Ji had a strong intuition that this doubt was very important, and he almost immediately wanted to ask Sheng Lingyuan to clarify.

After returning to the hospital, Xuan Ji found that his belongings were still there.

He scanned the entire hospital with his divine sense, but there was no sign of Sheng Lingyuan.

So he went to the hotel where his uninjured colleagues were staying and learned that Sheng Lingyuan had never stayed there. He even went to the internet-famous shop where Sheng Lingyuan became popular, but found nothing.

Xuan Ji, relying on his wings, searched the entire Yuyang city from afternoon until midnight, turning everything upside down.

Sheng Lingyuan seemed to be like the wind and dew, appearing everywhere when he needed to be seen, but disappearing at will when he didn't want to be found.

Xuan Ji searched high and low, but still couldn't find him.

Xuan Ji found the tallest building and perched on the rooftop. As he sat on the railing, he thought of Sheng Lingyuan's face in the interrogation room, hiding something behind his stoic expression.

Xuan Ji guessed that he might be suffering from a migraine.

The Emperor's incredible patience, never once wrinkling his brow, made Xuan Ji wonder how much pain he could endure.

It was enough to make Xuan Ji lose his usual composure.

Putting himself in Sheng Lingyuan's shoes, Xuan Ji wondered where he would go if he were in unbearable pain.

For minor injuries, he would go home to his rented room in Yong'an and wrap himself in a blanket that smelled like him.

But for major injuries, he would return to his birthplace, the bottom of Chiyuan Valley. It was his hometown and final resting place, where he felt safe.

"So... where will His Majesty go to avoid the public eye?"

In a state of desperation, Xuan Ji opened his phone and hastily purchased an account for a research paper database.

He scrolled through various documents about Emperor Wu, reading at lightning speed. However, he soon realized that he had been reading in vain.

According to the literature, after unifying the country, Emperor Wu never left the Du Ling Palace except for a few hurried inspections.

The ancient palace had been destroyed by war over two thousand years ago, and the current site was merely a tourist attraction built by later generations based on their imagination.

Dongchuan was his second hometown, but it had undergone drastic changes over the years. The graves of the witch people had disappeared, swallowed up by the silver mines and floods. He had no descendants, and all his relatives had passed away.

Xuan Ji suddenly realized that in this world, besides the restless Chiyuan, there was no place that had any connection to him. Sheng Lingyuan like a drifting passerby with no purpose.

An indescribable sadness suddenly overwhelmed Xuan Ji, causing his heart to skip a beat.

Suddenly, the distant sound of thunder echoed through the air.

Xuan Ji looked up and saw a thundercloud gathering over the sea, with faint lightning flashing within. It seemed to be hesitating whether or not to strike... and it was in the direction of the destroyed tomb of the Mountain prince.

Xuan Ji quickly pulled out his phone and checked the weather forecast - it predicted sunny weather for the next three days in Yuyang.

Strange weather could only mean one thing...

Xuan Ji spread his wings and swiftly soared into the clouds, flying towards the sea.

As it was near the sea, fishing boats and cargo ships came and went frequently. The local police station handled the situation efficiently, sealing off the body and evidence, and cleaning up the area.

Now, the sea was "clean" and the majority of the troops had withdrawn. The sea water lazily rose and fell with the gentle breeze, and it seemed as if nothing had ever happened, except for the intimidating thunderclouds above.

This time, Xuan Ji didn't bring any water-type ability users with him, so he had to resort to using a few broken phrases of mermaid language that he knew, while calling out the emperor's name, in an attempt to locate him.

"Sheng Xiao."

The sea remained unresponsive, as the sound of the waves easily drowned out his voice.

How strange.

Xuan Ji furrowed his brow and spoke in the language of the merfolk.

He had successfully used it to find someone before, proving that his pronunciation was not the issue.

However, when searching for someone, the target must be addressed by their formal name as recognized by themselves.

Did the emperor's name require a title because of his status?

"Sheng Xiao... Your Majesty? Emperor Wu??"

Still no response.

The merfolk language fell into the sea, seemingly echoing and spreading with the ripples before disappearing.

It was as if the ghost of a giant fish that had disappeared into the depths of the ocean thousands of years ago still lingered, having been deceived a thousand times but still believing in the existence of true love in the world and responding to people's prayers.

After waiting for a while, Xuan Ji heard no response from the mermaid language that fell into the sea. He frowned and took out his phone, trying all sorts of titles and names for the Emperor Wu, but the sea remained silent.

The mermaid language seemed to be accompanied by a sigh of frustration.

It was said that the mermaid language could only be heard if the other party acknowledged their name.

Xuan Ji hesitated on the surface of the sea for a moment, then suddenly had a stroke of luck and tentatively muttered, "Sheng...Lingyuan."

As soon as his voice fell, there was a faint buzzing sound from the depths of the sea, and a vortex slowly formed.

Xuan Ji suddenly understood something and simply omitted the "Sheng" and called out, "Lingyuan!"

The sea surface rippled with a sound, and a school of silver fish slowly swam by, forming a huge fish tail shape that stretched straight towards the bottom of the sea.

Xuan Ji quickly took a deep breath and followed the fishes, diving into the sea. Although he didn't have any water-type abilities, he was still a powerful demon with exceptional lung capacity.

As long as he didn't engage in a fierce battle with anyone in the sea, he could hold his breath for a couple of hours.

Surprisingly, the school of fish remained intact, as if they had rehearsed their movements beforehand. Their position changes were smooth and natural, and in the starless and moonless night, the leader looked like the phantom of a deep-sea mermaid from afar.

It is said that divers who dive into the deep sea may experience hallucinations due to changes in the gas they breathe.

Xuan Ji didn't take a breath, nor was he human, so he shouldn't be affected.

However, perhaps the seawater blurred his vision, or perhaps the mermaid language echoing around him through the water was too elusive.

Suddenly, he felt a little dazed.

It was as if someone whispered in his ear, "Your sword spirit has finally emerged, and you are a little freer now. But don't get too proud and lose yourself in worldly pleasures. If you practice diligently, you may be able to achieve your true form within fifty years. Then you can go wherever you want and do whatever you want. The fun days are yet to come. When you feel lazy, why not plan for the future - what are your wishes for the future?"

"I want to become a mermaid," he heard himself say.

"Become what?" The other person was momentarily stunned, then laughed and said, "You'd probably have to be reincarnated. Do you think you're a Kunpeng, turning from a bird into a fish? If you just want to go out to sea, why become a mermaid?"

But it wasn't just about going out to sea, it was because of the deep feelings that mermaids had. He hesitated and trembled, too afraid to confess to his beloved who knew nothing about it.

So he casually changed the subject, "I just want to go out to sea. I heard there's a crab over a foot long in the ocean... Hey, why do you have to nitpick and make me look foolish? Can't you just understand what I mean?"

The man suddenly stopped and, as if sensing something, didn't engage in their usual banter.

With calloused hands, he gently stroked the sword's blade and fell silent for a moment before saying, "You were originally the offspring of the Vermilion Bird, king of all birds. When you cultivate your true form, you will have two wings on your back and soar freely without hindrance. Forget about being a mermaid, it's not auspicious. Don't speak so recklessly in the future and learn a thing or two, little chicken."

The words "little chicken" exploded in Xuan Ji's ears, causing his mind to tremble.

He accidentally exhaled and almost choked on water.

Xuan Ji used all four limbs to steady himself and regain his breath.

When he came to his senses, he realized that the school of fish had led him to the ruins of Prince Wei Yun's tomb.

The tomb mechanism had been broken, and the main structure had been blown to pieces, but due to its massive size, there were still some remaining structures in the distance.

Suddenly, the school of fish scattered, and the mermaid's illusion disappeared. Xuan Ji saw that there was black mist lingering in the tomb.

He swam forward for a while, and his face suddenly felt cold as the temperature of the seawater dropped rapidly.

Xuan Ji shivered and brushed aside the seaweed blocking his vision, finally seeing that the tomb had been completely frozen.

Someone familiar was lying inside.

With nowhere to go in the familiar yet unfamiliar world, he had frozen himself a coffin in the deepest, darkest part of the ancient tomb.

It seemed that only in the coffin could he sleep soundly.


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