The next day, Qi Shu descended Kunlun mountain. The Misty Shadow Mountain and Kunlun Mountain were thousands of miles apart. Qi Shu traveled with his sword without resting, but by the time he reached Misty Shadow Mountain, the sky was already dark.
The Misty Shadow Mountain was named after the clouds that did not disperse all year round. They were especially thick at night when the light of the setting sun was shrouded by the fog so that only half of it could get through the mist.
This time, Qi Shu was already familiar with the environment, so he went straight to the mountain stream where he killed the demon. Half a month later, there was no blood left in the pool fed by a mountain stream. All that could be seen were a few broken stones next to the pool and the sword marks left on the stone wall, which showed how fierce the battle had been.
At that time, he had personally ground the demon’s bones to ashes and scattered them1. Even if there had been any remnants left of its corpse, they would have been washed away by the water.
Of course, even the so-called “scattering of the ashes” might have been just a diversionary tactic.
Qi Shu squatted down at the edge of the water pool, twisted a stone at his feet, and gently flicked it. A cloud of green smoke lifted the rock to the surface of the water, then slowly fell into the pool.
The surface of the water rippled, then revealed a familiar scene. It was a full view of the mountain stream.
The light-return technique can briefly reflect the “memory” of certain things. Qi Shu squatted by the pool and quickly watched the alternation of day and night in the mountain stream for half a month.
“Tsk.” Good, there was nothing to see.
Frankly speaking, Qi Shu didn’t believe that the demon could slip from Qi Shu’s hands when it was seriously injured.
But it’s true that the initial demon elimination was not without suspicion.
That day, he received a letter from Immortal Venerable Qing Lan and immediately went to Misty Shadow Mountain. There, he coincidentally came across a battle between the demon and a person from another immortal sect. Qi Shu saved that person and then fought the demon for three days until he finally forced it into the mountain stream where he killed it.
Now that he thought about it, since that demon had been cultivating here, its cultivation cave dwelling should also be at the Misty Shadow Mountain. The demon shouldn’t have been so easily cornered by Qi Shu.
Besides, neither the other immortal sects nor the Kunlun Sword Sect had found the demon’s cave.
As for why this suspicion was not raised at that time, it was because Qi Shu rushed back home to pick up his Shizun from his seclusion.
As the saying goes, he must have been “thinking with your lower half2.” Truly, the people from ancient times were wise and their words did not deceive.
Qi Shu stood up and was about to check elsewhere, but as soon as he left the vicinity of the mountain stream, he heard the strange sound of a woman weeping somewhere nearby.
How could anyone be here?
The Misty Shadow Mountain was surrounded by clouds and fog all year round, so it was very easy to get lost in this place. Even the people who lived around here rarely ventured to the mountain.
Not to mention that it was late at night.
Qi Shu followed the sound of weeping, his eyebrows slightly raised.
He didn’t need to walk a great distance before he saw a woman.
The woman’s figure was exquisite. She was plainly dressed, but her clothes were covered in dust and her hair was loose. She looked rather wretched.
Hearing the sound of footsteps, she turned around, showing eyes that were red from crying.
“Ah -” the woman screamed and tried to run away, but she tripped over something.
“Calm down,” said Qi Shu, for lack of a better option. “Do I look that scary?”
The woman cried even harder, curling up into a ball and trembling with fear.
Qi Shu didn’t come closer. From a distance, he said, “Are you one of the mortal folk who live nearby?”
Seeing that he meant no harm, the woman finally summoned up the courage to look up and saw how Qi Shu was dressed. She said, “You, you’re wearing the clothes of an immortal. Are you here to save me?”
“Yes,” Qi Shu said. “But first you have to tell me why you’re here.”
The woman said that her family lives in Lingshang City, close to Misty Shadow Mountain. They had a medicine shop at home. Yesterday evening when she went out to deliver medicine, she was suddenly enveloped by a cloud of mist and lost consciousness. When she woke up, she was here. She was lost in the mountain all day and, exhausted and hungry, she collapsed here and started crying.
“… You didn’t see the person who brought you here?”Qi Shu asked.
“No, I was alone here when I woke up…” The woman started crying again. Her tear-stained face3 was so beautiful that if another person had been present, Qi Shu feared they wouldn’t have been able to resist feeling pity for her.
But not Qi Shu.
Except for his Shizun, all people look the same in his eyes. Therefore, he just coldly interrupted her, saying, “Don’t cry. Take me to the place where you woke up.”
The woman nodded, then accidentally stumbled when she tried to get up. She glanced at Qi Shu as though asking him for help.
But Qi Shu, who was standing a short distance away, simply stood there holding onto his sword, unmoved4.
From the start, she had never been in his eyes5.
The woman silently wiped away her tears and got up from the ground.
They walked into the dark forest, one following the other. The forest was quieter than before and not a sound could be heard except for Qi Shu’s footsteps on the fallen leaves.
They walked for an interminable time until Qi Shu finally spoke up, “Hey you, how many times do you intend to make me walk in circles in this rotten forest?”
The woman also stopped, a look of confusion on her face. “But I remember that it’s in this direction.”
“Is that so?” Qi Shu’s lips were smiling, but his eyes were high school.
The woman’s eyes darted around for a moment, then she raised her hand to point in the direction in front of them. “It’s just ahead, really.”
The moment she finished speaking, the fog ahead of them suddenly dispersed, revealing the ridge of a roof underneath the dense shadow of the trees.
“Look, I didn’t lie to you!” The woman’s eyes lit up.
“I see it,” Qi Shu said, “Thanks a lot, you can go now.”
“Go?” The woman looked back at Qi Shu, as if she didn’t understand why he said that. “Where should I go?”
Qi Shu did not answer.
Instead, he walked up to the woman, put two fingers together and pressed them on the woman’s brow. A small amount of spiritual power poured in between her eyebrows.
The woman opened her eyes wide and said in a daze, “I… I have…”
“You are dead,” whispered Qi Shu. “Don’t be used by ‘it.’ Go.”
Two lines of clear tears fell from the woman’s eyes. Her body shriveled rapidly until it turned into a shriveled and charred corpse that fell to the ground and was covered with black smoke.
“Take me home.” The woman’s choked voice came from the black smoke. “Please…”
After saying these words, the corpse disappeared, along with the black smoke.
Qi Shu closed his eyes and breathed a soft sigh of relief.
When he passed through the dense trees, a long-abandoned courtyard appeared in front of Qi Shu. The brook in front of the courtyard had dried up, and the walls were stained and peeling. It was totally silent, both inside and out. The place looked quite eerie and decrepit, lacking even the slightest trace of charm6.
The gate was ajar, and Qi Shu only had to push it to enter the courtyard.
The moment he opened the gate, the scene in front of him suddenly changed.
The broken bricks and tiles looked new, the withered grass grew green, and the faint scent of peach blossoms could even be smelled in the air.
This was what Bai Zhang Peak looked like.
“A minor illusion…” Qi Shu paid no attention to this transformation as he stepped onto the stone bridge. Now that the place had transformed into Bai Zhang Peak, Qi Shu was familiar with the layout. He quickly searched the water pavilion before finally stepping in front of his room. There were no lights inside the house, but he could hear some strange noises coming from it.
In this vast mansion, there was only one sound coming from the inside.
Qi Shu walked forward, then the hand that he had raised to push the door open stopped abruptly.
“Shizun, you’re finally willing to meet me. I knew you wouldn’t leave me alone.”
That was his voice.
But he couldn’t remember when he had said such a thing.
Qi Shu’s brow furrowed slightly, and he silently circled around the window, pushing open a gap with the hilt of his sword.
The room was dimly lit, but cultivators had very good eyesight.
Qi Shu looked inside and saw his illusionary self boldly propping up his upper body and giving Shizun a kiss on the cheek.
Qi Shu: “…”
The one in the illusion was really brave and dared to passionately kiss.
But who would’ve thought that the Qi Shu in the illusion world not only took liberties with Shizun but also fell back to the bed, tugging Shizun’s sleeve and mumbling who knows what.
Qi Shu was a little embarrassed.
Ordinarily, he would never be so clingy.
Just as he was thinking that, he moved closer to what “he” was saying so shamelessly, only to see his Shizun suddenly lower his head and kiss those noisy lips hard.
Qi Shu: “… F***.”
The Heavenly Venerable Immortal in the illusionary world was not the reserved and self-possessed Shizun of old. Instead, he pressed the person beneath him into the bed fiercely and kissed him deeply again.
The only sound that could be heard in the room was the rubbing of clothes and the slightly hesitant7murmur of “Qi Shu.”
What kind of subpar illusion was this? The characters were too out of character!
Qi Shu blushed at the sounds he heard until, finally, he couldn’t bear it anymore and pulled out his sword.
—Only to be stopped by hand.
Qi Shu turned his head and his eyes met the familiar, always calm eyes.
It’s over, Qi Shu thought to himself.
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- This chapter is by Reika (me).
- I think this author is really good at cliffhanger chapter endings.
- RIP, that one poor female victim who appeared and was laid to rest by Qi Shu.
- What do you think of the story so far?
- Thanks for reading!
- 挫骨扬灰 – crush/grind the bones and scatter the ashes. It’s typically used metaphorically to express a deep hatred of someone. However, in this case, it seems Qi Shu literally did it.
- 色令智昏 – to lose one’s head over lust; sex-crazy. I substituted an English idiom for it that has a similar meaning.
- 梨花带雨 -Literally “like raindrops on a pear blossom.” This is an idiom referring to a tear-stained face of a beauty.
- Literally, “his eyelids didn’t move.” 眼皮都没动一下
- 压根没看见 – from the start he never saw her, But obviously this is what is meant metaphorically.
- 察觉不到一点人气 – It actually says “popularity” but I think “charm” is the better word to use.
- The word used here was 不适 bù shì “unwell,” but I thought that “hesitant” was more appropriate.