Chapter 46 – Commotion in the Devil’s Nest
To resolve this issue, Luo Binghe employed a method of using human vessels to draw out the demonic energy. Every month on the full moon, he would seek out someone with strong spiritual energy and transfer the excess demonic energy from his own body out to them. In exchange, he would absorb the greater part of the other’s spiritual energy. Using this method, he would naturally be able to maintain equilibrium.
However, because Luo Binghe’s demonic energy was excessively overbearing1, the human vessel would be crippled after the energy transfer. Basically, each human extraction vessel could only be used once.
Luo Binghe certainly wouldn’t do the demanding work of catching human vessels himself. Without much persuasion, Sha Hualing was, of course, willing to store people in cages for him to pick from as he pleased. On the night of the full moon, Luo Binghe would only need to use the Xin Mo sword to cleave open a passage into the Demon Realm and grab a person to use.
The sad thing was, in the original work, Luo Binghe married three of her personally selected female priests from the Tian Yi Monastery after Sha Hualing went through all that trouble. As one can well imagine, Sha Hualing went mad with anger!
Shen Qingqiu asked, “Did you see anyone else when you were caught? Where were you held?”
Yang Yixuan shook his head. “After we entered the rift between the worlds, we were in the lair of that demon woman, Chi Yun cave. I was shut in a solitary cell and didn’t see anyone else.”
Shen Qingqiu tossed Liu Mingyan’s sword tassel and said, “I think it wasn’t you alone who was captured.”
He thought a bit and decided it was best to go and take a look. In any case, tonight was not the full moon, not the time for the extraction. Luo Binghe was busy stirring up havoc and sowing dissension in the human realm, so he shouldn’t come looking to meet with Sha Hualing.
Shen Qingqiu asked, “You’re not scared she’ll take off her clothes?”
Yang Yixuan said disdainfully, “I’m by no means scared. Besides, during this whole journey, she took them off dozens of times. It’s not a rare occurrence anymore.”
Shen Qingqiu turned, speechless. Turns out she shut you in a solitary cell so she could strip for you to see—this good fortune is unbelievable. Young man, if you continue along these lines, the male protagonist will absolutely put you to death. It’s so worrying that this is indeed Liu Qingge’s sole disciple!
Passing through the rift between worlds felt like passing through a sheet of warm flowing water. After they re-emerged, they were in the territory of the Demon Realm.
On the human side, it was already past midnight, but on the demon side,
Yang Yixuan led the way. Passing through craggy stones, they quickly found the opening of Chi Yun cave. It’s an honor to see you
The demon race had an aesthetic preference for darkness. For the most part, both their permanent and temporary residences were all built underground. The entirety of the entrance appeared to be an exceptionally splendid mausoleum.
He cupped a handful of spiritual energy, ready to roast the face of any enemy who might appear at any time. Yet, descending the tomb passage—no, the entrance—he didn’t encounter any guards. Thinking over it, this seemed reasonable. It was always demons stowing away to the human realm to abuse people—what sort of human would run to this side to court death? There was simply no need to arrange a guard.
The two slinked into the depths. Passing through stone corridors, they arrived at a large hall.
Spread throughout the hall were intact skins of all kinds of strange beasts, appearing to still be alive at first glance. Sha Hualing was currently barefoot, treading on a huge tiger skin spread on the floor of the hall.
Shen Qingqiu was worried that Yang Yixuan would recklessly make a sound and alert their opponent. Just as he was about to remind him, he saw that the boy had taken the initiative to shut his mouth securely. Feeling reassured, he turned back around.
On both sides of the hall were several cages of trussed cultivators, each wearing
Sha Hualing walked over to one of the cages and said, with her arms crossed, “You Cang Qiong Mountain sect people are truly troublesome and annoying! It was hard enough to capture two of you, and one even escaped before they were put in a cage.”
She clenched her teeth and said, “If not for, if not for… I’m really itching to break all your legs!”
In this cage, Liu Mingyan sat with closed eyes and crossed legs, a veil covering her face, not reacting to outside disturbances.
Sha Hualing saw that she was being ignored and, smiling coldly, said, “That thing on your face, don’t you ever take it off? Oh, I see, don’t tell me your face is just too ugly and you don’t dare take it off because you’re self-conscious?”
Shen Qingqiu: Sister… are you aware who you will be most jealous of in the future? Saying she’s ugly is indeed just hitting yourself in the face!
Her women’s intuition causing mischief, the more Sha Hualing looked at Liu Mingyan the more unpleasing she looked. Opening the cage, she dragged Liu Mingyan out and yelled, “Kneel!”
Liu Mingyan was naturally unwilling to kneel. Though she had no spiritual energy, she still stood firm. Sha Hualing pushed and shoved, but was simply unable to make her knees bend even a little. Spouting smoke through the seven orifices2, she hauled off the veil on her face.
In that instant, Sha Hualing’s snow-pale face became even more snow-pale.
Shen Qingqiu roared internally: Turn around! Turn around! I want to see! Quickly, let me see what sort of appearance the book’s most beautiful woman has!!!
These years, he was careful to maintain his dignified persona and couldn’t say, “Hi, martial niece, I heard you’re very pretty so I want to look at your face. Can I?” This sounded like sexual harassment from a vulgar man. Not being able to see Liu Mingyan’s face this whole time—he was almost stifled to death!
But before Liu Mingyan turned and before he could experience the joy of seeing her face for the first time, an ominous glint flashed through Sha Hualing’s eyes. Her five fingers forming a claw, her hand shot towards Liu Mingyan’s face.
Consequently, Sha Hualing was shocked when she found herself flying a second time this night. She finally couldn’t bear it, spitting out a sullen mouthful of blood. A reassuring thought suddenly flashed through her mind: At least this time my clothes weren’t damaged. I don’t need to change again, right….
Although Shen Qingqiu had sent her flying, she still scratched five gashes in his sleeve. Frightened, he said internally: Didn’t I cut these fingernails off an hour ago? Is it possible that even her fingernails have unlimited regeneration?
After hitting Sha Hualing, he promptly turned his head to look at Liu Mingyan, but his feet slid out from under him as soon as he saw her. In this short a time, she had unexpectedly put her veil back on right away—how about letting me take a peek?!
Yang YiXuan had found his sword sticking out of a seam in the rock and started to chop the chains on the cage doors with matchless speed. The freed cultivators huddled in a mass. Shen Qingqiu saw, out of the corner of his eye, the blue silhouettes of San Mayou and said with great alarm, “Stop, stop! Don’t do anything impulsive!”
Yang Yixuan, worried about his shout, turned back to look: “Is there some sort of problem, Elder?”
Before he finished speaking, he saw which cage he had just broken open. From within, three dainty Daoist nuns, looking like they had been cast from the same mold, rushed out of Chi Yun Cave like three whirlwinds.
Buddy, going through and randomly releasing everyone like this—you’ve released some people who really shouldn’t leave!
The three sisters responsible for absorbing Luo Binghe’s demonic energy long-term had been released!
This blunder had already been set in stone. Even if he watered his heart with his tears, he couldn’t chase them down and stuff them back in the cages. There was no other way. He could only join in releasing people.
As he started freeing people, he sighed in despair. We’re dead. He managed to spoil the ‘first meeting between the male protagonist and three members of the harem’ plot thread. A freak accident managed to disturb the ‘fooling around and cultivating’ storyline. He could only attach himself to the hope that the hardworking employee Sha Hualing could fight them by enormous force of will and recapture them to present to Luo Binghe next time. What a crime, what a crime!
Shen Qingqiu was still wallowing in remorse when, lowering his head—his heart gave a thump—he suddenly found himself looking at a familiar face.
Not good, not good. It sure is an unlucky year, meeting enemies on a narrow road.
Qiu Haitang was huddled in the cage, staring at him with a bewildered expression.
Shen Qingqiu froze for a couple of seconds and decided to feign ignorance, motioning to her to come out, then nonchalantly turned around.
In his current body, no one (should) recognize him. In addition, five years ago countless pairs of eyes had witnessed the scene of Shen Qingqiu’s self-destruction. There was no good reason to have a guilty conscience.
After spitting out blood, Sha Hualing dizzily lay on the floor for a while before finally struggling to a seated position with great difficulty. Staring at Shen Qingqiu, she said in a stern voice, “It’s you? Who the hell are you? You even dare to chase me over here—you really have some guts!”
Yang Yixuan looked like he had suddenly thought of this question as well, blurting out a sentence while setting people free: “Oh right, Elder, who are you?”
‘Oh, right’—you’re kidding me. Young man, this reaction time really is too long!
Also, what’s with you carelessly asking this in passing!
Shen Qingqiu was considering whether to announce himself with the title of Peerless Cucumber again, when Sha Hualing humphed, “
She clapped her hands, bells jingling around her wrists. After a moment, Chi Yun Cave’s guard regiment finally flooded into the hall.
Chi Yun Cave was Sha Hualing’s official private residence so her standard underlings weren’t here. The shrimp soldiers and crab generals3 were nothing to be afraid of. Those minor demons circled around them as they raised and lowered their arms, looking exactly like they were doing a sorcerer’s dance. Shen Qingqiu was mystified by this sight. In a twitchy state of mind, he prepared to send them flying with his fan when suddenly he felt like his body was bound with countless strands of hair.
Even though those mixed troops didn’t have much fighting strength, they were clearly well-trained. Holding a strip of hair-thin Immortal-Binding Cable, they around circled him non-stop, winding him into a giant ball of string, fully wrapped with Immortal-Binding Cables.
Sha Hualing hadn’t managed to cheer in victory before Shen Qingqiu laughed, then violently stomped on the floor. The air filled with the sound of snapping strings.
They burst. The Immortal-Binding Cables had indeed been filled to bursting by this person’s spiritual energy!
Almost everyone on the scene was so terrified that they completely forgot the task at hand. This was truly the first time they had seen someone who could use spiritual energy to simply burst the Immortal-Binding Cables.
What a simple and brutal method of freeing oneself!
Shen Qingqiu yelled, “Run first!”
The freed cultivators didn’t need any more encouragement—most of them were already long gone. Yang Yixuan and Liu Mingyan had struggled free of the Immortal-Binding Cables not long ago, but the circulation of their spiritual energy was still unstable. Knowing they would only get in the way if they stayed and seeing that they shouldn’t inconvenience Shen Qingqiu with a reply, they crisply retreated, leaving only a “take care of yourself.” Seeing this, Sha Hualing’s underlings didn’t know whether or not to chase them and stood stricken in their original places, waiting for their superior’s orders. Sha Hualing’s eyes lit up. She pointed at Shen Qingqiu and shouted, “Catch him! Don’t worry about the others! Just him—get him even if you have to die first!”
Shen Qingqiu sent the few mixed soldiers who threw themselves at him flying with his fan when suddenly something heavy pushed down on the top of his head.
A giant net!
Countless strands of Immortal-Binding Cable that were as thick a pinky finger were woven into a giant net, pelting down onto his head. When it fell onto his body, the weight of the net alone made Shen Qingqiu soft in the knees, nearly tossing him to the ground.
So it’s this sort of unnatural prop. For every strand of cable to be this thick—are you trying to use it to bind ‘immortals’ or elephants?!
Sha Hualing waited a while, and, after confirming that Shen Qingqiu couldn’t struggle free this time, slowly approached.
The difficult situation freshly swept away, Sha Hualing felt that she had performed a great service. Perfectly contented, her reprimands took on a coquettish tone. She said, chuckling, “If a hundred Immortal-Binding Cables can’t tie you up, then why wouldn’t I use a thousand, or ten thousand? This Immortal-Binding Net originally wasn’t prepared for you, so you should feel extremely honored that it was used on you. Don’t flail about! I’ll go easier on you if you’re well-behaved.
Shen Qingqiu said, “If you’re talking about going easy on me, can I trouble you to withdraw this net?”
The demon race’s star employee Sha Hualing started her grand missionary speech. Crouching down, she said as if talking to herself, “It looks like you were endowed with extraordinary innate skill. If you were to pledge allegiance to my banner, you could easily obtain splendid power and influence. Of course, it doesn’t really matter if you’re not willing to pledge allegiance. What has to be done has to be done, and suffering for your actions is unavoidable. You should carefully consider your options.”
No wonder Sha Hualing had ignored the others just now and concentrated all her firepower on him. Luo Binghe needed human vessels with rich and powerful spiritual energy. Of all the cultivators she had captured, none could compare to his current level of spiritual power. It seems like this girl was planning on offering him to Luo Binghe as a human vessel!
Releasing the three beautiful flowers was a thoughtless mistake, pure and simple. But Shen Qingqiu certainly never planned on making up for the shortfall himself. This feeling of accidentally picking up the wrong script made him vaguely wish that fraudulent System was still there. While he was still pondering plans to escape, Sha Hualing suddenly neatened her slightly messy hair, and, with a swing of her hips, forged ahead out of the hall.
Far away, Shen Qingqiu heard the sound of her docile laughter. “My lord, today isn’t the night of the full moon. Why did you think to visit this subordinate? But you came at just the right time. As it turns out, I’ve prepared a special gift for you—it’s already here.”
In a split second, a flood of hot blood surged to Shen Qingqiu’s head even as he broke out into a cold sweat.
Not knowing where he got the burst of explosive energy, he grabbed the side of the net, willing the bottomless pools of spiritual energy in his body to emerge as explosive power.
A giant sound boomed. Sha Hualing’s smile suddenly froze stiff on her face. She hurried back into the inner hall in a panic, immediately staring tongue-tied at the sight.
In the middle of the hall, Chi Yun Cave’s minor demons all swayed unsteadily, laid out on the floor in disorder. There was an immense hole in the center of the Immortal-Binding Net, edges still sizzling with flashing sparks, wisps of white smoke drifting through the air.
This person is truly too formidable. He even blew a hole in this Immortal-Binding Net with brute force. He’s gone!
The person behind gained on her, unhurriedly stepping into the hall. Chi Yun Cave was lightless and dim, and one could only see a straight and slender silhouette dressed in black robes faintly patterned with reflective silver thread.
After a moment, Luo Binghe spoke in a tone that was neither pleased nor angered.
“This is your special gift?”
Sha Hualing said hatefully, “… A momentary miscalculation, he got away!”
Her distressed heart was dripping blood. When used against Cang Qiong Mountain sect’s loathsome cultivators, an Immortal-Binding Net woven from over a thousand Immortal-Binding Cables got blown a giant hole just like that. This isn’t the sort of thing that could be sewn up by a needle and thread and be reused!
Luo Binghe, with his back facing her, lowered his head and looked over the wreckage. He said, coldly, “I seem to have told you Cang Qiong Mountain sect’s people were off-limits?”
Drops of cold sweat dripped down Sha Hualing’s forehead. Luo Binghe had indeed told her such, but the spiritual energy of Cang Qiong Mountain sect’s disciples was universally stronger than the spiritual energy of the disciples of other sects by a chunk—they made the best human extraction vessels. Holding on to wishful thinking, she had still captured a few, thinking that maybe she could switch their clothes and slip them through undetected. She didn’t expect that through some unknown method, Luo Binghe would still be able to tell what sort of people she had captured even after they had all escaped. Internally, she couldn’t help but feel her blood run cold, and said hurriedly, “Don’t be angry, my lord, I had accidentally captured two of them, but I soon let them go. This time, this subordinate found an exceptional individual. I had never before seen a cultivator with more abundant spiritual energy. With that one person, you’ll never need to switch to a new human vessel every month.”
She bit her lip and continued, “As long as you’ll give me… a certain thing.”
After waiting for a moment, she suddenly extended her hand to catch