Nine Heavens

Nine Heavens

Chapter 13 - Chapter 13

Among the people who massacred Zhou family's village, there was a key figure, the Lord Yao mentioned by Ding Da.

There was only one road to the Zhou family's village, and that was from Fulin County. Even if those cultivators could use flying magic treasures, Lord Yao and those people disguised as Pingnan Army soldiers would have to pass through Fulin County. They might have even stayed here before, which was why Zhou Yin wanted to go to Fulin County.

He just didn't expect to also encounter the Ji family's misfortune, which made things a bit more troublesome.

If Zhou Yin still had his cultivation level from his previous life, he would have gone straight to the Pingnan Army's main camp without a second thought and captured their commander. He wouldn't have to worry about them not releasing the person.

But now that wouldn't work. General Hui, as the commander of the Pingnan Army, held a high position with great authority. He was bound to have a few experts by his side to protect him. Zhou Yin wasn't arrogant enough to think that with his current early Foundation Establishment cultivation and lack of powerful magic treasures, he could sweep through the entire Pingnan Army.

So for now, he could only stay at the Ji family, rescue Ji Rong, and then find a way to investigate the Zhou family's village matter.

The Ji family was a small household. They valued the whole family sitting together for lively meals. Although Ji Rong was not present and the whole family was worried, Madam Cao still had people prepare many dishes to entertain this nephew she was meeting for the first time in over a decade.

The three of them sat around a table, two with furrowed brows, while the equally worried old butler and maid stood beside them.

"Life must have been hard cultivating in the mountains. You probably haven't had a good meal in a while. Here, try this." Madam Cao forced herself to be in good spirits as she picked up some food for Zhou Yin with her chopsticks.

"Thank you, Aunt." Whether he ate or not didn't really matter to Zhou Yin now, but faced with her hospitality, he didn't want to put on airs.

"Second Cousin, do you think Father is in danger?"

Zhou Yin said, "I went to the county yamen's prison earlier. He wasn't there."

Hearing this, Madam Cao and her daughter were quite shocked.

"Ah Yin, you went to the county prison?"

"How do you know Father is not in danger?" Ji Zhenlian spoke, then felt it was a bit inappropriate. "Cousin, don't misunderstand, I didn't mean it that way, I just..."

Zhou Yin said calmly, "I casually grabbed someone to ask. They said he and a few others involved with the former dynasty's wanted criminals have already been sent to the Pingnan Army camp for centralized detention. He should be safe for now. I'll go check in the next few days."

Ji Zhenlian cried out, "Father is at the Pingnan Army camp?"

That egg seemed to be startled by her and wriggled a bit in Zhou Yin's arms.

Madam Cao asked with concern, "You grabbed someone to ask, won't you be discovered?"

"I used a little technique. He won't remember that I questioned him." Zhou Yin was not good at dealing with womenfolk and was getting a bit impatient, though it didn't show on his face. He just said, "Since they captured him, they probably want to interrogate him. There won't be any danger for a while. I'll go rescue him soon."

Hearing him say this, Madam Cao felt a bit relieved and nodded repeatedly, "It's fortunate you are here, otherwise Zhenlian and I wouldn't know what to do." She sighed, "It's a pity your older brother was sent to a different place to study immortal arts back then. Now there's no news of him at all. If he knew about what happened to your parents, who knows how heartbroken he would be."

The image of that figure always following behind him calling "Bao'er" flashed through Zhou Yin's mind. He didn't say anything.

The eldest Zhou hadn't sent word for over a decade. Perhaps he had been diligently cultivating at his sect and unable to return home. Or maybe he had come back before but just never ran into them. More likely, he had already met with misfortune.

Since ancient times, the path of cultivation was as difficult as ascending to the heavens. Besides the many obstacles in cultivation, one also had to face the schemes of fellow cultivators and the danger of the strong preying on the weak. Mortals could only see their splendor, but could never imagine the cruelty beneath that glamor.

That night, Zhou Yin once again meditated in place of sleep, but for some reason, there was a faint restlessness in his heart, completely lacking his usual tranquility.

He opened his eyes. The demon beast beast egg was also rolling back and forth beside him, but unlike the usual coquettish act of trying to get his attention, it seemed very uncomfortable.

Zhou Yin placed his hand on it.

The surface of the egg was more scorching than usual. Zhou Yin's slightly cool hand seemed to make it feel exceptionally comfortable. The heat receded a little, but only a little. By late night, the temperature rose higher and higher, almost as if it was about to catch fire.

Was it going to hatch?

Zhou Yin furrowed his brows slightly, not moving his hand away.

Even though the temperature on the surface was already quite alarming.

As the night deepened, the sound of the night watch being struck could be heard from afar.

The color of the eggshell was also gradually changing.

The original dark gray, as if being scorched, was fading bit by bit, turning lighter.

The life inside seemed to be on its last breath from being roasted by this high heat, completely lacking its usual liveliness, not moving at all.

This was the most arduous time, but also the critical moment before hatching. Many demon beast beasts couldn't endure this torment and perished inside before even hatching, completely losing the chance to see this world.

But Zhou Yin did not comfort it.

"If you can't make it through this, you might as well perish early. Otherwise, you'll only become one of the weak in the future."

Once, a lonely and helpless youth had also stepped into the world of cultivation like this, hovering between life and death countless times, schemed against and being schemed against countless times, facing desperate situations with almost no chance of victory countless times. If his heart wasn't as solid as rock, he would have long been smashed to pieces, perishing unknown in some corner, much less preserving a wisp of his soul to say these words.

Whether it was humans or demon beast beasts that he valued, they could only be the strong. It wasn't about being born to defy the heavens, but about being able to find a way to survive no matter what situation they faced.

The demon beast beast egg wriggled, as if hearing his words. Slowly, the temperature receded.

Zhou Yin's brows relaxed. Just as he was about to reach out and pick it up, he heard an extremely faint sound outside the room, as if something had sliced through the night sky.

"Be good and stay put." He stuffed the egg under the covers, laid down a layer of barrier, got up and opened the window.

A flash of cyan light streaked across from the east, followed by the sound of a bell, melodious and exquisite.

Zhou Yin's heart trembled. He hurriedly sealed off his hearing, but the bell still seeped in through his other five senses.

To ordinary people, this kind of bell sound was nothing special, but to cultivators, it was no different from a demonic tune.

The source of the bell sound was definitely a high-grade magic treasure that could bewitch the mind and make one lose reason. The effect also varied from person to person. If it was a Nascent Soul expert using this bell, probably all the cultivators with lower cultivation than him within a few miles would bleed from their seven apertures.

But now, that person's cultivation was obviously not at that level yet.

Right at this moment, another peal of a bell sounded.

Unlike the languid tunes from before, this music was like the solemn and graceful sound of the great bells, instantly suppressing the demonic tunes and clearing one's ears and eyes.

The two sides were engaged in a battle of magic.

"A mere Foundation Establishment cultivator dares to come alone to chase after me? What courage!" A sinister voice rang out from the neighboring rooftop of the Ji residence.

All around was silent. Ordinary households, upon hearing this commotion, knew the speaker was no common person and had long shut their doors, not daring to come out and watch the excitement.

"You're quite bold yourself, daring to launch a sneak attack on the main camp of the Pingnan Army. Could it be that you're acting on the orders of your Lord Yao? Hmph, I didn't expect the lofty Wanshan Sect to be so sneaky, not daring to show their true face!"

Hearing the mentions of Lord Yao and the Pingnan Army, a vague clue surfaced in Zhou Yin's mind.

The sinister voice from before laughed coldly, "I do as I please. A mere mortal is unworthy of pointing fingers at me. If you don't make it back alive today, remember to confess properly to King Yama in the Nine Springs below. Without sufficient skill, don't come out playing hero!"

As soon as he finished speaking, a thunderous boom was heard, indicating he had made his move.

Zhou Yin leaped out the window, made a hand seal, and rose into the air, appearing not too far from the two combatants.

The battle between the two sides was at its most intense point.

The one who clearly had the upper hand was the man who had just uttered the vicious words. His talismans and techniques flowed continuously, demonstrating masterful control over lightning magic. Coupled with the lightning magic treasure in his hand, his power was multiplied, instantly putting his opponent in a difficult position.

Zhou Yin's appearance, with unclear allegiance, originally made both sides somewhat wary. But seeing his low cultivation, and that he didn't side with either party, merely standing there spectating, they paid him no further heed.

The gloomy-looking middle-aged man, taking advantage of his opponent's struggle, smiled coldly and made another hand seal.

"Gods of heaven and earth, celestial soldiers of the Three and Five, I command thee. The deed is done, wind and thunder surge forth. Shout!"

Instantly, fierce winds arose and several thunderclouds gathered in his palm, engulfing his opponent.

The other man's expression changed drastically.

This was just a mid-level technique. Although it looked impressive, it wasn't difficult to dispel. On any other day it would be no problem, but right now both his hands were busy dealing with the previous attacks. How could he find an opening to block this strike?

In the blink of an eye, a water mirror appeared just inches from the nose of the man under attack. The flashing lightning and rumbling thunder, upon hitting the water mirror, seemed to be absorbed into it, instantly dissipating without a trace, resolving the man's crisis.

At this point, the man had freed up his hands. Summoning his magic treasure, the Mind-Clearing Bell, he assumed a defensive stance and said to Zhou Yin, "Many thanks to this fellow Daoist for the assistance."

The middle-aged man looked at Zhou Yin, his gaze sinister. "Which sect are you from? State your name."

Unexpectedly, Zhou Yin was even more aloof than him. Without even glancing at the man, he instead spoke to the one he saved, "I saved your life."

The man readily nodded, "I owe this fellow Daoist a favor. As long as it doesn't violate the principles of heaven or human sentiment, I, Yu Nuo, will not decline."

Reporting his name to Zhou Yin was a show of sincerity.

Seeing how sensible he was, Zhou Yin was very satisfied.

The middle-aged man, seeing the two pay him no heed, had a face full of changing expressions. But he was also very clear that he currently had a cultivation advantage over Yu Nuo. Now with one more person involved, although only at Foundation Establishment, he couldn't fathom what formidable background or magic treasures this person might have. He had no choice but to think twice.

"Fellow Daoist, by meddling in this matter today, you've just made yourself a powerful enemy. Have you considered the consequences?"

Zhou Yin stood with hands behind his back, his expression unperturbed.

He was so exceedingly calm that others doubted whether he truly was just at Foundation Establishment.

Zhou Yin said, "Although you are at Core Formation stage, you've only just formed your core and your dao heart is unstable. You can't withstand the two of us joining forces. You have the Demon Suppressing Bell while he has the Mind-Clearing Bell - that magic treasure is your bane. Besides, do you know who my master is?"

The middle-aged man was inherently suspicious. Upon hearing this, he grew even more doubtful, sizing Zhou Yin up and down. He increasingly felt this bearing wasn't something a minor sect could cultivate.

If his master truly was some preeminent figure from a top sect, then even with his own formidable backing, he would have to be somewhat cautious. Besides, he had only come to probe the situation. If things escalated, he would have a hard time avoiding blame.

Although the cultivation world valued strength, when the difference in power wasn't too great, it was more important to know when to advance and when to retreat, to understand propriety, and to use one's brain. Otherwise, if a battle broke out, injury would be a small matter - having one's cultivation destroyed would be utter devastation.

The middle-aged man was extremely careful. How could he risk throwing away all his prior efforts to fight these two to the death? Upon hearing this, he laughed coldly, "So be it. Today, for the sake of this fellow Daoist, I'll spare your life."

As soon as he finished speaking, without pause, his body rose into the air and abruptly vanished into the darkness. Ripples appeared before their eyes and he was gone without a trace.

Even Zhou Yin couldn't help but be slightly moved.

That move by the middle-aged man was exceedingly exquisite.

Generally speaking, high-grade flying magic treasures could allow one to traverse tens of thousands of miles in an instant. But even with Zhou Yin's vast knowledge, he had never heard of one that could conceal the user's form while doing so. This was clearly a treasure capable of warping space, sharing ingenious similarities with teleportation formations, but without all the tediousness of formations.

Yu Nuo sat down, exhausted.

"Luckily this fellow Daoist appeared in time, and luckily he was suspicious by nature, fearing your fellow disciples might have come with you but not shown themselves. Otherwise, he wouldn't have been so easily sent away. I am Yu Nuo, disciple of Jinting Sect. May I ask for your esteemed name and the master you follow?"

Jinting Sect?

Come to think of it, back in the day, before Zhou Yin left home to embark on the path of cultivation, wasn't it precisely the Jinting Sect that accepted his brother Zhou Zhang as a disciple?


Hello! I'm Echo, and I've always been fascinated by how stories can connect us across different worlds. When I'm not translating, I'm probably playing guitar or experimenting in the kitchen. I hope my translations resonate with you, just like a good melody

Give me feedback at moc.ebircssutol@ohce.