Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Lie Huo Jiao Chou

Chapter 81 - Chapter 81

As he fell from the sky, the desolate plains of Jiangzhou stretched out before him.

The frozen earth cracked like twisted branches, pointing towards the mysterious and dangerous depths of the land. Only near the distant horizon, shadowy and indistinct mountain shapes stood like ancient weathered idols.

As soon as Xuan Ji jumped out of the plane, he felt that something was off.

It was too quiet here. The sound of the wind, people, and winter animals rustling about...everything seemed normal at first. But for some reason, there was a sense of falseness.

Xuan Ji extended his spiritual awareness to the limit and suddenly discovered the problem - the earth's veins!

"Earth Veins", according to ancient beliefs, refers to the clear and turbid qi and affects the number of calamities and fortunes between heaven and earth. According to the definition of the Bureau, it refers to the abnormal energy foundation value of a natural environment in a certain area.

Investigating energy anomalies and maintaining a stable foundation value is also one of the daily tasks of the Bureau's local branches, known as "maintaining Earth Veins".

According to some experts who can vaguely touch the rules of heaven and earth, "Earth Veins" are alive, and can be sensed, just like temperature and smell.

Generally speaking, in densely populated big cities, the abnormal energy of Earth Veins is weak and difficult to distinguish. However, in places like Jiangzhou, where the land is vast and the people are sparse, and the mountains are abundant, the abnormal energy of Earth Veins should be very abundant.

But Xuan Ji found that he couldn't feel the earth's veins, nor could he sense Sheng Lingyuan, who was only one step ahead of him.

Looking around, a terrifying sense of emptiness swept over him.

The vast plain seemed like a static oil painting!

The air was clear and the sky was cloudless.

Goosebumps appeared on Xuan Ji's arms... What was going on?

He didn't dare to land on the ground recklessly.

At this moment, his phone in his pocket began to vibrate wildly.

It was probably his colleagues in the helicopter.

Xuan Ji was on high alert, and without looking at who it was, he answered the phone and spoke first: "Listen to me first, something's not right in Jiangzhou. The energy monitoring data must be wrong. You guys need to evacuate first..."

A soft sigh came from the phone, it was Sheng Lingyuan's voice, which stirred his ear.

Xuan Ji shuddered - wait, why would the emperor be calling him? Even if he did call, this melancholic sigh was definitely not his style.

In the blink of an eye, a sudden mist appeared around him out of nowhere, and a gust of demonic wind caught Xuan Ji off guard, slamming him to the ground with what felt like a hundred times the force of gravity.

The sound of music filled the air as Xuan Ji clutched a coin in his palm and turned around...

He saw Sheng Lingyuan.

Sheng Lingyuan was dressed in full regalia, seated on the throne, and his overly ornate attire was a bit overwhelming.

Inadvertently, it revealed the youthful and inexperienced side of the young emperor's face and body... Inexperienced?

On both sides, civil and military officials stood in formation, while the mysterious imperial tutor in a mask stood by. A ceremonial official came out and announced that the envoy from the Mountain clan was here to pay his respects.

The courtiers began to murmur and whisper to each other. As the envoy's audience involved many complicated rituals and formalities, Xuan Ji listened carefully on the side and was able to roughly determine the year of the reign - it should be the 32nd year of the Ping era.

At this time, Sheng Lingyuan had already ascended the throne, but the world was still in turmoil and the people were still suffering.

The emperor had yet to decide when to retake the capital and when to adopt a new era name, so the old calendar was still in use.

That year, the old Chief and the Great Sage of the Witch Clan passed away one after another. The young Chief of the Witch Clan, who was determined to seek revenge, became a staunch supporter of the Emperor of Humanity. The various clans of the human race united and pledged their allegiance to the Central Plains.

They split into two groups, with one heading south and taking the important stronghold of "Ningzhou" in the northwest as their base, backed by the Northern Wilderness. They quickly took control of the former demon territory to the west, all the way to the Zhou Mountain Range.

The other group headed north, with the Witch Clan as the main force, and joined forces with the Gaoling clan to cut off communication between the new and old demon cities.

The demon clans that remained in the old demon city were not radicals to begin with. Many even opposed this war and were hiding countless half-demon tribes that were not accepted by the demon tribes.

As the demon territory was surrounded, countless demon tribes surrendered.

Since the start of the great battle, this was the first time the situation began to tilt towards the human race.

That year, the King Wei Yu, who was nestled in the high mountains, saw the direction the wind was blowing in and steered his course, wagging his tail towards the human race, and sent envoys to deliver gifts for the first time.

It was the year when the emperor was nineteen years old.

At that time, Sheng Lingyuan was already mature beyond his years, with the contours of a man's face already visible.

But as soon as he put on the cumbersome imperial robe, the remaining traces of his childishness were fully exposed. He probably knew it himself, standing upright like a delicate puppet.

Xuan Ji became alert and didn't know what was going on in Jiangzhou. He reached into his pocket to feel for the needle he used to resist the influence of the inheritance, but found it was missing.

His needle... no, his pocket?

Xuan Ji was shocked and looked down, only to find that his specially made T-shirt and jeans had turned into a long robe.

He was fidgeting around when the composed young emperor suddenly glanced at him with a helpless expression.

Without saying a word, the emperor's voice rang in Xuan Ji's ear, "What are you looking for? Don't be mischievous."

Xuan Ji was taken aback, "You can see me?"

"Don't be silly. If only you could stop using your vision to cause trouble for me," Sheng Lingyuan sighed, "Come sit next to me, the guests have arrived."

As soon as Xuan Ji started talking to Sheng Lingyuan, he felt like he was caught in something and forgot all about finding the needle.

He obediently sat down next to the throne as instructed.

The Mountain envoy, tears and snot streaming down his face as he recounted the years of oppression his people had suffered at the hands of the demons.

It was as if he were a victim in a war-torn area finally seeing the arrival of liberating troops - the envoy's passion was so real that it almost made Xuan Ji yawn out of boredom.

Thankfully, after the envoy finished his mournful tale, he moved on to the gift-giving ceremony, which was much more interesting.

As a slave owner of his time, King Wei Yu's thoughts were backward, but his wealth was impressive. He flattered the envoy with great enthusiasm, presenting him with all sorts of treasures such as coral beads, bronze cauldrons, and jade stones. Box after box was carried in, and Xuan Ji was dazzled by the glittering jewels.

Among them was a huge gemstone ship, about two meters square. As soon as it was brought in, the entire tent was illuminated, and everyone's mouths watered at the sight of it.

Xuan Ji couldn't help but think to himself: if only he could sneak away with a couple of pieces...

As soon as the thought crossed his mind, Sheng Lingyuan beside him raised an eyebrow.

The envoy, observing their expressions and words, thought that the Emperor was interested in the gemstone boat and immediately began to enthusiastically introduce the craftsmanship and the number of precious stones used on it.

Sheng Lingyuan listened with indifference on his face, but in his mind, he asked Xuan Ji, "Which piece do you want to pick?"

Xuan Ji felt something was off, but he couldn't quite put his finger on it.

He wondered, 'How does he know what I'm thinking?'

However, a certain force quickly suppressed his rationality, and the doubt flashed by.

He returned to his 'role' without any hesitation and said, "I want the chicken-blood red in the middle, the jade at the stern, and the pile of broken purple crystals..."

Sheng Lingyuan's voice carried a hint of amusement, "They're all yours. We'll have someone bring them over later."

"This huge gemstone ship, is it really just a toy to play with? What a waste, what a foolish ruler. Our military funds are tight as it is," Xuan Ji spoke without restraint, "Just give me some leftover scraps to decorate my sword handle. When you draw the sword, it will be colorful and magnificent, like a rainbow pheasant! How impressive will that be?"

He truly believed that the long-tailed pheasant was a rare and exquisite beauty that surpassed all others, and he sincerely praised Sheng Lingyuan.

However, the "exquisite beauty" who was compared to a "wild chicken" did not appreciate it at all.

The emperor scolded him without hesitation, "Get out of here."

Xuan Ji once again felt that something was not right in his heart: 'Have I been too casual with Sheng Lingyuan? It feels like we've known each other for half a lifetime... And why is the long-tailed wild chicken considered a beauty? Haven't flamingos been popular for years now?'

At this moment, the envoy from the High Mountains spoke up, "Lastly, I have brought a treasure specially selected by my king for Your Majesty."

Xuan Ji and Sheng Lingyuan looked over and saw several Mountain slaves carrying a huge clamshell. It was pure white and shimmered with a dreamlike glow, almost like pearls. The clamshell slowly opened, revealing fist-sized precious pearls that reflected a dazzling array of colors.

Xuan Ji asked, "What is this?"

As he spoke, a slender figure gracefully swam out from the pearls, like a cloud of mist, and flew towards the Emperor.

It suddenly knelt down in front of him, reverently bowing at his feet. Then, it burst into flames, and a figure emerged from within, stretching and twisting like a ribbon of fire.

The Mountain envoy announced loudly, "This is a one-of-a-kind Shadow Slave!"

Sheng Lingyuan, who had just been slacking off, suddenly changed his expression.

Before the Shadow person could even take shape, he and Dan Li almost simultaneously made their move.

With a wave of his black sleeve, Dan Li cast several spells that broke the Shadow person's transformation.

Sheng Lingyuan wordlessly drew his sword and directly chopped the pearl clam, shattering it along with three pieces of the ground tiles, all the way to the feet of the Mountain Envoy.

The Mountain Envoy collapsed on the spot, his pants soaked through.

Sheng Lingyuan slowly lifted the tip of his sword from the ground, and the tendons on the back of his hand bulged as his hand trembled slightly.

He looked down at the Mountain Envoy with a palpable killing intent.

The soldiers on both sides simultaneously drew their weapons and surrounded the Mountain Envoy.

"How dare you, barbarian!"

The envoy finally found his tongue: "Y-y-your Majesty... spare... spare me..."

Xuan Ji was startled by his intense reaction, but he saw Sheng Lingyuan quietly gesturing to her with one hand behind his back.

Xuan Ji: "..."

Oh, he's pretending.

"Your Majesty, calm down. Generals, please don't be impatient. Even in times of war, envoys are not to be killed," Dan Li said indifferently, then gave a cold glance at the envoy from Mountain.

"Your people were ambiguous and indecisive between the human and demon tribes before, but now you come to surrender and insult my lord in public... Ha! Since that's the case, please return to the White Jade Palace in Gaoling quickly and deliver a message to King Wei Yu. Our army will come to your city for a lesson soon. I hope your envoy can move faster and not be too late to report, otherwise it will appear that our noble human race has lost its manners."

The people of Mountain were from a society lacking in civilization and education. Legend has it that the Mountain king himself was promiscuous and kept countless beauties in his palace.

He even regarded the untouched Shadow people as rare treasures and offered them up as gifts, not realizing that the human race had many rules.

The envoy was pale and trembling as he swore and kowtowed, tears and blood streaming down his face.

Sheng Lingyuan and Dan Li exchanged a glance, sheathed their swords, and completed the entire set of "The Wrath of the King" from beginning to end before leaving in a huff.

Xuan Ji hurried to catch up with them and asked, "Lingyuan, what happened just now?"

Sheng Lingyuan made his way back to his inner chamber.

Perhaps feeling uncomfortable in his formal attire, he quickly called for someone to help him change.

As he turned around, the Emperor, who had just been "furious and trembling with anger," now had a smile on his face as if he had never been angry before. He perfectly embodied the saying "changing faces like flipping through a book."

"It's nothing. Wei Yu is just a small person, and this surrender was also a test. Didn't you see? The envoy brought a bunch of useless gold, silver, and jewels, and the weapons of the Mountain people were not even taken. They really think I'm a poor, ignorant country bumpkin who has never seen money before. If we don't teach them a lesson, it won't do.

"Originally, the teacher didn't even plan on giving them anything good, but these absurd Mountain people even offered an improper Shadow person, so we might as well take advantage of the situation."

Sheng Lingyuan put on casual clothes and left the task of dealing with the bullying envoy to Dan Li, feeling at ease.

He snuck out to take a break, even letting his hair down, looking lazy like a college boy skipping class. As he chatted with Xuan Ji, he casually took out a leaf commonly used by witchers and quickly drew a symbol on it.

Then he poured a bowl of tea onto the symbol, instantly freezing the hot tea and trapping the symbol within it.

Xuan Ji leaned in and asked, "What is that?"

"It's a seal-breaking spell. I've taught it to you at least three times, why are you already giving back the knowledge to me?" Sheng Lingyuan gave him a disdainful look. "Between you and me, there's no need to be so polite."

After teasing Xuan Ji, the emperor called for a guard and instructed him to secretly stick the frozen symbol onto the envoy's carriage.

They walked onto the road and the ice melted, revealing the runes on the leaves that could remove the seal on the little Shadow person.

The pearl oyster that the Shadow person inhabited was shattered by Sheng Lingyuan's sword, and once unsealed, the little Shadow person could escape freely.

"Otherwise, it would have to go back to Gaoling and endure Wei Yu's scolding. With things turning out like this, that old scoundrel Wei Yu will definitely blame it. What good will come out of going back?" Sheng Lingyuan said.

"Shadow people are naturally spiritual beings. They are limited by their nature and have no control over their own bodies. It's already pitiful enough for them to be treated like objects and passed around. There's no need to exterminate them all."

Xuan Ji let out an "oh" and only then, following the Emperor's words, did he slowly remember the characteristics of the Shadow person.

Suddenly, a string tightened in his mind.

Wait a minute!

Once a Shadow person recognizes its master, it will transform into the appearance that the master desires the most.

Some people are either very loving or confused about what they like.

Their shadows may take a long time to take shape even if they have recognized their masters. But the little shadow in the clamshell, upon seeing Sheng Lingyuan, immediately wanted to become human without any hesitation.

What does this mean?

It means that Your Majesty's preferences are crystal clear...

Maybe there is even a flesh-and-blood lover!

And he has been with that person day and night, yet he doesn't even know!

Xuan Ji's hands turned cold and his heart was about to jump out of his throat.

Instinctively, he cut off his mental connection with Sheng Lingyuan.

Sheng Lingyuan paused and frowned, "Why did you suddenly block me again? What are you thinking about?"

"Who is it?" Xuan Ji stared at him without blinking, and an unnamed anger suddenly burned in his heart.

"Who is it?"

Are they the flatterers of the witch clan who like to surround the emperor?

Or the closed-door disciple of the North Plains High Priest who blushes at the sight of him?

Is it the shameless female demon, or the one who looks like a maid, or Aluojin?

There are quite a few suspects!

The anger burned in his throat, and Xuan Ji blurted out, "The Imperial Teacher was watching nearby. Are you regretting not being able to capture that Shadow Clan member?"

"What?" Sheng Lingyuan was first stunned, then found it absurd and casually said, "Why do I need a Shadow Slave? What is my position now, do I still lack that one weakling?"

Weakling?

Xuan Ji almost couldn't hold back his anger.

His rationality was lost in a moment of impulse as he blurted out, "I don't think you should be giving out unsealing symbols privately. Why not send someone to intercept the Shadow person instead? After all, Wei Yu won't report to the Imperial Teacher, and once the Shadow person transforms, it's hard to tell if they're human or shadow."

Sheng Lingyuan asked, "What's gotten into you?"

"If you don't want him to transform now, I heard that shadow smugglers have a special seal that can put a Shadow person to sleep for many years. They often use it when transporting goods to prevent the Shadow people from being taken by unrelated people on the road."

The temperature in Xuan Ji's mind continued to rise, and his chest felt increasingly suffocated.

Unable to bear it any longer, he turned and walked out, saying, "You do your thing, I'll go find it for you."

Sheng Lingyuan said, "You..."

They had just won a great battle, recapturing three cities.

The demon clan that had occupied this place had self-immolated, leaving the inner city in ruins. They took refuge in the occupied palace, slowly cleaning up the mess.

The palace was once a finely crafted royal garden, but in recent years, it had been destroyed by the demon clan. It was burned down, with ruins and debris everywhere, a desolate sight.

However, the spring sunshine paid no attention to the destruction, shining as usual. The plants and trees were still lush and vibrant, and birds built their nests.

All living things were awakening. A pair of chasing rabbits ran past the window, making people's hearts skip a beat.

Xuan Ji jumped out of the window and flew into the distance.

He remembered how Sheng Lingyuan could see things through his eyes, and angrily closed his eyes, blocking his vision.

He only used his divine sense to avoid obstacles.

In the pitch-black darkness, he was tossed around by the spring wind, feeling restless and agitated.

Your Majesty had ascended to the throne, and the position of the heir was still vacant. It is inevitable that one day he would have to take a wife and have children.

Lingyuan is actually a reserved and slow person.

Although he is usually very close to his subordinates and can shed tears at the drop of a hat, Xuan Ji knows that it's all an act.

This is because Dan Li taught him from a young age that as the emperor, relying solely on "reason" is not enough to command obedience. To win people's hearts, one must also rely on "emotion".

How to skillfully and accurately evoke empathy is a "technique" that Your Majesty has known since childhood.

Perhaps due to his tumultuous childhood, he rarely shows emotion, but his feelings are like a gentle stream. They may not be passionate at first glance, but once they are stirred, they can last for a long time.

Lingyuan is persistent and focused. He cherishes old things, even the tiniest bit of old emotions, and he always takes good care of them.

Even after many years, when he takes them out again, they are still as clear as new.

If he had a beloved...

If he had a beloved, he would be the kind of person who would be devoted to her for life, with no distractions.

Would Lingyuan also be enchanted by someone else?

As soon as this thought arose, Xuan Ji felt as if a blade had sliced through his heart, tearing him apart.

How could Lingyuan look at anyone else?

He had always been connected to Xuan Ji's heart and soul, how could he be moved by someone else?

Lingyuan...

Suddenly, Xuan Ji had an impulse and swiftly rushed back to the small building where Lingyuan was resting like a bolt of lightning.

Lingyuan is...

When he ran up to the second floor, Sheng Lingyuan was standing by the window with the Heavenly Demon Sword in his hand, his back facing Xuan Ji.

As he approached, he forgot to close his eyes, and Sheng Lingyuan knew his location from their shared vision.

The young emperor didn't turn around, he just sighed and said, "You're back. What were you up to just now?"

"Lingyuan belongs to me." Xuan Ji didn't answer the question.

He fell just a few feet away from His Majesty and in that moment, he clearly saw through his own heart.

With a loud roar, his suppressed desires burst forth and he swaggered over to stand in front of the Emperor.

He wanted to seal off all doors and windows, isolating himself from any "real or imaginary" beings, even blocking out the spring scenery. He urgently wanted to materialize and grasp that person in his hand.

If that wasn't possible, he was willing to turn into a cloud of smoke and mist, occupying every sense and orifice of Lingyuan, making him only able to see himself, hear himself, and touch only himself -

"Wake up!"

A thunderous voice suddenly roared in his ear, nearly giving Xuan Ji a concussion.

He opened his eyes and found himself falling from mid-air, with the white mist, small buildings, and the young emperor all disappeared.

His handsome face was about to meet the ground.

Meanwhile, the old demon who woke him up stood by with his arms crossed, watching him fall without any intention of helping him.

Xuan Ji cursed and flapped his wings, desperately trying to fly forward and stop his free fall. He managed to slide forward for more than ten meters before finally stopping himself.

He rolled onto the ground in embarrassment but at least he didn't ruin his face.

Suddenly, the black mist dispersed and turned into a flight of stairs, catching Sheng Lingyuan and allowing him to leisurely walk down.

With a disdainful glance at Xuan Ji, Sheng Lingyuan said bluntly, "You were able to fall for such a half-hearted demonic energy attack? Didn't I just teach you how to clear your mind a few days ago? You've given back the lesson to me so quickly, why so polite?"

Xuan Ji was half-kneeling on the ground, with a piece of dry grass stuck on his head. He was nailed to the spot by the familiar tone.

Sheng Lingyuan looked at him inexplicably, stunned by the complex look in the little demon's eyes.

"What's wrong? Did the demonic energy stir up some sad memories?"

Xuan Ji greedily took him in with his eyes and said in a hoarse voice, "I..."

Before he could vent, Sheng Lingyuan interrupted him again, "Hold on for a moment, be good. I don't have time to deal with your crying."

Xuan Ji: "..."

That bastard, again.

In the palm of Sheng Lingyuan's hand, the black mist turned into a long knife and he fiercely stabbed it into the frozen ground, cutting a deep trench into the hard surface. With a sharp cry of "wu", after the smoke and dust cleared, a witch's curse was revealed on the ground.

It looked like it was painted with black ash, but as soon as a northwest wind blew by, it immediately dissipated.

Xuan Ji's pupils suddenly shrank - he recognized that curse.

He had just used it to show off not long ago, and even played around with it.

It was the Retracing curse!

So, the curse he had just been hit with was the Retracing curse?

But the Retracing curse...traces the memories of the cursed person themselves, their personal experiences and pains.

It doesn't trace stories heard or emotions felt in plays.

Of course, it also doesn't trace ancestral legacies - even a wordless book won't work.

In other words, what he had just relived...was not the inheritance of some demonic sword spirit that had been following Sheng Lingyuan and sharing the emperor's senses.

That was his own memory.


Skye
Skye

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