Fragmented Memories Ch. 0-165

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  • edited February 4

    Chapter 57: The chase across the poor City

    Crap without my cultivation I don’t stand a chance against that damn man! I need to hurry and get out of here, Wáng Wèi panicked and used a movement technique she knew to speed across the city.

    As people walked by minding their own business, they were suddenly hit with waves of wind as they could see shadows in the corner of their eyes moving. Those with actual cultivation yelled in surprise as they could see that the City Lord was chasing after a mysterious figure with the two guards and the young lord behind.

    “Little girl, you have nowhere to go, I suggest giving up and accept your fate,” The lord of the city said. He did not take the chase seriously and if he seriously intended to kill he would have used his full strength to catch up to her, but right now he was only using about fifty percent of his strength to chase her despite the technique Wáng Wèi was using being superior.

    Wáng Wèi ignored his statement and continued to flee. She noticed a market and decided to head there as it was the best place to hide due to the sheer number of people. Her feet continuously launching her slightly above the ground going at fast speed launched directly into the market as she used a technique that lowered her aura to make it less likely that she would be detected.

    Some of the nearby civilians screamed due to the wind that she caused and the fact that the lord of the city was slowly arriving towards them.

    A snort could be heard from the lord and he commanded the two guards and his son to head towards the south, west, and east area of the market while he went towards the north to make sure that she would not escape.

    A heavy breathing could be heard somewhere in the market as a cloaked figure was holding on a pole attempting to get some air.

    “Uh… sir are you alright?” A nearby vendor asked the cloaked figure in concern. In the world of cultivation, it was rare to see people have concern for others unless they had ulterior motives towards that person.

    “Yes, I just need some time to breathe,” Wáng Wèi responded while keeping watch of the surrounding area.

    The vendor went back to lazing around, waiting for customers to come and buy his fruity drinks. However to his surprise, he saw the cloaked figure heading towards his direction, “Would you care to buy a Red Jelly Bat’s drink sir? It tastes like fine wine but without the effect that wine typically has on you,” he smiled hoping that he could gain a bit of profit to feed himself and his family.

    Wáng Wèi threw three out of the five silver coin she had towards the vendor, “This should be enough for the drink right?”

    The vendor stared in shock and hurriedly responded, “No- I mean yes, yes it is! But the original price is ten copper coins for a drink, instead, this is thirty times the required price, but I don’t have any change, sir.”

    “That’s fine, have it,” she grabbed one of the drinks and chugged it down quickly before throwing it away. She had not drunk anything for hours even when the trial started and she was starting to need water and food.

    After breathing for a few minutes and wandering the market she was ready to leave. She suddenly sprang towards the end of the market only to see a figure approaching behind her. The disgusting lord that she saw earlier was catching up to her with a whip ready to attack, as he was in charge with the south exit of the market.

    “Idiotic thing prepare to die,” he threw a strange cube nearby her and a small formation popped out, creating a beam of light that trapped Wáng Wèi and signaled to the others that he had captured her. Even though Wáng Wèi could’ve broken out this formation easily her cultivation was currently restricted. She would need to spend at least a minute in order to break the formation but by the time a minute passed, the others would be here.

    The market was not like the one at her kingdom, grand and big to the point of being able to contain a few villages within it, instead, the market was a pretty small one in which even mortals could walk past it without taking to much time.

    The disgusting young lord stood there, waiting for his father or the other two guards to come in order to deal with her, despite his arrogance, even he knew when to back down. As he waited, about a whole minute passed before he saw his father and the two guards rushing towards him, however, he also saw huge cracks on the formation.

    “Boom!” as soon as the three got close Wáng Wèi broke through the formation and started to run fearing the city lord the most.

    As the four chased her the city started to gossip about the most recent event that happened.

    “Little girl just give in, I am tired mentally already so let me just hurry up and behead you,” the city lord drastically sped up, getting closer and closer to Wáng Wèi.

    Seeing the speed, she had no choice but to attack as if she had continued running, in a matter of a few seconds the city lord would have caught up to her speed that didn’t seem to belong to a Qi Holder.

    A small sword qi appeared on the tip of her fingers and she quickly charged at the city lord preparing to take him down or injure him to get away. Acting swiftly, her fingers slowly slide below the city lords waist, preparing to injure him on his legs. However, despite the swiftness of her speed and the strength of the sword qi, her fingers stabbed towards his left leg only to reveal the bare legs as his pants were slightly ripped. However, despite this, no damage was dealt and she felt an intense pressure targeting her.

    “Slam!” A hand was placed on her head and she was launched into the ground, causing cracks to appear on the cement floor. But despite being slammed Wáng Wèi quickly got up and retreated a couple of meters before staring at the lord.

    Her face was revealed as the cloak she wore was torn into pieces by that slam. Even though the cloak was made by her new Old Brother Huólì, the old man had never intended for it to be a secret treasure or anything, he simply sewed the clothes together from common mortal material and that was all, allowing the cloak to break very easily.

    “What a beauty…” the young lord stared in awe and an evil smile appeared on his face, “father you have to let me have her!”

    “Sure after I cripple her, but make it discreet, we don’t want the daughter of the other city lord neighboring us to find out,” the city lord replied, not caring on what his son did.

  • Chapter 58: Kill! Kill! Kill Them!

    “Madam Leia, should we not help her?” Zhào Lǚ asked, concerned for his friend, especially since she is nearby such a despicable person.

    “Don’t worry, I won’t let anything happen to her by that pervert. The whole point of the trial for her is to let her experience how cruel it is to live as a woman in the world of cultivation, especially around these parts and how cruel it is to not be born as a noble. I will let her suffer for a bit but once a limit is reached I will annihilate them all,” Leia responded. From her voice, it was obvious that she also did not like the scene presented but for the sake of potentially shining a dirty jewel she had to let Wáng Wèi suffer.

    Back at the universe, Wáng Wèi was in, she was fighting against the city lord, however, she was clearly at a huge disadvantage.

    Shadow’s Reaping! She summoned a technique that made her appear to be darkness as if she was Yama himself. Her body slowly emerged in a dark aura causing her to disappear into the aura before her body and aura disappeared entirely.

    This technique shocked the group entirely and they prepared to start moving as they were scared that she would run away. Although the two guards and the young lord was panicking, the city lord did not move at all and instead closed his eyes.

    He spoke while closing his eyes, “An impressive technique indeed, now I truly wonder where you got these technique and resources from,” as soon as he finished speaking he suddenly grabbed in front of his face, only to see an arm surface. “A very interesting technique indeed, allowing you to blend in the surroundings, however, the major flaw is that once the enemy senses the slight ripple in the aura, the technique becomes useless and the enemy can easily detect it!”

    Wáng Wèi’s full body suddenly appeared and sweat appeared on her face as she was stuck! “Crack!” Lighting suddenly appeared on her body as the city lord’s arm started to shake spewing small specks of lightning to her.

    No, this can’t happen! She started to panic as if this continued she was going to faint. She screamed internally and tried her best to get out of his grasp, unleashing majority of the qi in her body that was not sealed away only to feel a slight budge. Happiness filled her face for a bit as she was able to flee, however, she suddenly saw what happened, turning her internal smile to panic.

    She could see that the city lord let her arm go after shocking her and time seemed as though it was slowing down as she could see her falling body about to die. She could see the city lord slowly moving his arm to punch her in the stomach and time resumed only for her to feel the punch and blackout.

    “Do what you will to her, but if she flees than the consequences are on you,” the city lord suddenly cast a technique, binding her up and sealing her from moving. He slowly left after the situation was handled not caring for what would happen to the woman.

    The young lord smiled evilly and brought her back while making sure almost no one knew about the current situation that was about to arise.

    =====

    On a small and less populated street, an old man sat on a stool sewing clothes.

    The old man sighed and stared out the window, “Little Leia is really forcing it. She knows that there is a good chance that the little girl will suffer great damage, and will possibly never cultivate again, only to live as a mortal, but she is going this far to allow her heart to grow, for her to be enriched inexperience. I just hope that that doesn't happen and she will grow tremendously,” he walked over to the window slowly before slowly muttering again, “too many of my brothers and sisters have fallen, and this doesn’t even include the ones trying to reach the apex. Too many have fallen from multiple things, the heavens, their arrogance, and even their failing heart.”

    “Little one, if we happen to meet again, then let the heavens shine down, but if not then have a happy life,” Huólì sighed, reminiscent of his past, he silently prayed that the heavens would be slightly kind to her and allow her the path to live.

    =====

    A pair of eyes slowly opened. A bright light appeared in the eyes. Darkness slowly dies, only for it to appear slowly in the surroundings. The eyes finally opened up. Darkness slowly consumes the open eyes.

    Where am I? A small voice appeared in the quiet bright room. The pair of eyes looked around the room only to notice that it was well kept and appeared as rich as it could while in a small space.

    “Great you are awake,” a voice appeared as the door opened. After hearing the voice, the person who just woke up stared in anger.

    Kill! That was all Wáng Wèi thought as she tried moving, however, she noticed that she was suspended in the air, chained up.

    “Let me go bastard!” She screamed, slightly terrified.

    The young lord chuckled, “Don’t worry I won’t touch a hair on your body, not yet at least, I want to enjoy myself a bit with some torture,” he grabbed his whip out and laughed crazily.

    While watching the view, Zhào Lǚ started to get really nervous and scared for his friend, “Madam, is the test over yet, why aren’t you bringing her back,” he said, trying to hurry the stone woman.

    Leia sighed and stared at the view seriously, “If I grab her back she won’t gain anything from this trial. As I said, as soon as he touches a single hair on her body, tries to do something perverted or anything then I will summon her back immediately and kill him and anyone related to him.”

    Screams could be heard in the room as the pain was slowly inflicted on Wáng Wèi, while Zhào Lǚ was forced to watch, powerless.

    Contrary to how Zhào Lǚ usually acts, rage could be seen slowly building up, anger appeared in his heart. At this moment he was no longer the laid back, chill, calm, and nervous man. His long black hair that reached his hips appeared as though they were ready to kill, as though they were serpents, ready to strike.

    Seeing this, Leia smiled internally but at the same time apologized, I am sorry, this will truly benefit the girl, but most importantly… this will help you recover, even if it is just the aura. She closed her eyes not daring to look up at Zhào Lǚ while she prepared to grab Wáng Wèi if it reaches the limit.
    A whole hour passed as Wáng Wèi was stuck in the room. Even though her clothes were still intact, she was bleeding all over from head to toe. This was the first time she truly felt fear.

    The young lord slowly inched closer to her, causing her to suddenly whimper. Stay away! Stay away! That was all that she could think of, her mind started to get chaotic, her eyes slowly teared up, but most importantly, her heart started to rumble, as though it could crack any moment.
    “Time for me to enjoy myself,” the young lord said while laughing like a maniac.

    “Let me see if you have the powers to touch a hair on her!” an angry voice could be heard right next to him, and all of a sudden his whole body suddenly disappeared, not a single drop of blood remained.

  • Chapter 59: Box

    Shock filled on the desperate face of Wáng Wèi. Her only goal would be to leave this hell hole, not willing to experience this anymore. After the young lord died, her face was filled with happiness, however, it was shaped in a more chaotic way.

    Leia appeared in front of Wáng Wèi, she looked at her, pity filled her eyes. As soon as she came close to Wáng Wèi, the princess decided to launch an attack out of instinct despite Leia saving her. Her eyes were filled with anger as if she were a beast that was unable to discern from ally and foe.

    However, despite this, she was restrained by the chains. Zhào Lǚ who saw this wished nothing to happen except for the whole city being destroyed.

    Even though Wáng Wèi was not touched in any shape or form physically, she was tortured, fear instilled in her, her mind was touched, and her heart damaged.

    Seeing the state that Wáng Wèi was in, Leia decider to punch her in the stomach, causing her to collapse and faint. She lifted up her body and mumbled, “Whether or not you gain anything from this, or die pitifully like a mortal is up to you. If you want to be with his sacrifices and gains must be made…”

    After punching Wáng Wèi unconscious, Leia seemingly teleported to another room where a man was cultivating. The man that she appeared in front of was the city lord! As soon as the city lord’s eye opened from cultivating, his body exploded, leaving no trace at all, as if he disappeared from the world entirely.

    A small wisp suddenly entered Leia’s hand, causing her to send multiple rays of light in seemingly random directions. While she killed the man, due to her cultivation, she was able to instantly peer into his soul, obtaining every knowledge about the city that he knew. With that, Leia sent attacks towards people she was sure who have committed horrendous deeds, wiping them out from the city.

    With them dead, the majority of the evil cultivators in the city were wiped, allowing for many civilians to finally sleep peacefully in the future.

    Having nothing to do, she left and returned back in the voided world and dropped Wáng Wèi from her body.

    Without care for his body, Zhào Lǚ jumped down the tower that he was on. “Splat!” Even though his body did not die, his body caused a huge splashing sound and the ground slightly cracked around him. Not caring about the potential pain, he ran over towards Wáng Wèi. Even though he fell out of a tower about fifty meters, his body was still fine if you minus all the dust on his body.

    Seeing this, Leia sighed, she walked away from the unconscious woman and decided to stare at the wooden chair and wooden box.

    After about a few minutes of sweating and tiring runs, Zhào Lǚ finally managed to reach the unconscious girl. He did not get close to her and instead sat down a couple meters away from her. Even though they were friends and Wáng Wèi would not mind if he was close to her, because of all the suffering she went through he did not approach closer. It was best to keep a distance from her and let her recover on her own.

    In the distance, Leia stared at the two of them and then back at the box. She slowly went towards it and stared at the wooden object for a few minutes before deciding to walk in another direction. She went towards a large stone wall the size of a skyscraper with the width of a city. The stone wall had only one thing on it, and that was a crack spanning many miles as if something many times larger than a giant came down and slashed the wall personally. However if one were to look closely at the crack, they would be able to notice a profound but dangerous aura emitting from it, one that could rival the heavens.

    “The others should just require a bit of time to stabilize their mentality and hearts, however, seems like the girl will need a day to just wake up,” Leia sat on the ground next to the wall while mumbling.

    =====

    “Hey Jīn Fèng, do you think that something major happened in the trials?” A young short woman spoke while staring at a sculpture with a broken sword.
    “I hardly doubt that something major happened, the only thing that I can assume is that the trial isn’t necessarily about fighting or the both of them would have been out in a matter of hours at most,” Jīn Fèng responded to Zhàn Méi.

    Next to the two girls, the servant, Láng Ma, and Fù Dí sat near them, meditating or staring at the void that looks as though it was the sky. The person who followed the servant in sadly got kicked out of the area entirely, going back to the world with his memories wiped from the moment he stepped in the cave to when he was teleported out.

    Gōng Xīn who was meditating the whole time when they went in and came out finally opened his eyes, “It is time for you guys to head back.”
    This shocked the group and before they had a chance to say anything they disappeared from the island.

    =====

    A medium height and normal looking man opened his eyes and sighed. He looked over to see a woman who was on the ground unconscious many meters away from him. About twenty-three hours has passed since the event and she has still not awoken. Luckily for Zhào Lǚ, he was able to meditate easily and for twenty-three hours only a small portion of his conscience stayed awake in case she woke up, however, not a single inch was moved on the lady.

    However, a few minutes after Zhào Lǚ woke up he saw the women move and was shocked. “Wáng Wèi are you okay?” he asked in a hushed but concerned voice.

    What he hoped would not happen came true. His eyes stared in shock as both of their eyes locked onto each other after she got up. Her eyes were voided of life, and she had a depressed look on her face, no longer a young and cheerful woman that she was before.

    She silently responded, “Hmm, I was awake ten hours ago, I just needed to calm down and think about everything.”

    “Whoosh,” after she finished speaking a gush of wind appeared on the voided stone island and five people appeared on the island.

    “Wáng Wèi! Zhào Lǚ!” Jīn Fèng screamed while heading towards their general direction. The others also ran over their direction heading towards them. All of them seemingly recovered even though it has not been very long since their trials happened. Luckily Gōng Xīn granted them pills that were able to heal all their wounds instantly and all they had to do was make sure their mentality and heart were in shape.

    As soon as Jīn Fèng approached, she prepared to jump on Wáng Wèi to hug her, however as soon as she did she could see that Wáng Wèi had flinched as though she was being attacked. Luckily a barrier suddenly appeared between them, tracking its source towards Leia.

    “It is best you don’t interact with her for a while, her trial wasn’t battle but the test of heart, and right now her heart is fragile as a leaf, she will need a lot of time to recover,” she said while deactivating her barrier.

    While Láng Ma and the servant gently snorted and looked away, clearly still holding hatred from the previous fight they both didn’t dare approach the princess.

  • Chapter 60: Comprehending the Wall

    “S-sorry…” Wáng Wèi replied apologetically towards Jīn Fèng and the rest as she slightly bowed towards them.

    This shocked everyone except Leia and Zhào Lǚ as they both internally sighed. After spending a few minutes to take it in, they come to accept the new Wáng Wèi and just hope that she would return to her original state sooner than expected.

    After a few minutes Zhào Lǚ finally broke the awkward silence, “Madam, may I ask why we have all been summoned here? Everyone already did their trials except me.”

    Hearing this, Leia smiled and stared at the wall behind her, “You don’t need a trial, but either way, the reason why I called you here is to comprehend this,” she pointed towards the wall with the crack and continued saying, “the other two sculptures also have the same wall but with different intent, it is purely up to you whether or not you gain something from this. But fear not if you don’t, it is alright. Even if you managed to comprehend something it wouldn’t even be considered a hundred-thousandth percent of comprehension and would be minuscule, instead it is purely to help people like you have a slightly easier time seeing the dao when you become an immortal and if you are truly blessed and lucky, to start comprehending now or later before you become an immortal.”

    Fù Dí decided to chime in to ask a question, “Miss Leia, wouldn’t comprehending the dao make it more difficult to become an immortal? Don’t the heavens bring a stronger tribulation the more powerful you get? Even geniuses have died under the tribulations.”

    “Not necessarily, they have a limit, even though the beings that the heavens hate the most are cultivators, cultivators also bring benefits to the world, besides a lot of things are out of their control. Comprehending a dao, even a hundred-thousandth of the dao could increase your chances dramatically, it is just that their powers are too limited to see it. However you are right in one thing, to never underestimate the tribulations, each one comes with the intent to completely finish you off, even gods are not willing to intervene on something like that even if it is just for a mortal becoming an immortal, they would rather let you die in sadness then sacrifice their lives.”

    The faces of the group slightly tensed up as they knew that they would have to face this tribulation in the future, and the other ones that appear if they have not yet been killed by an external factor.

    In their world, the reason why so little immortals existed was due to many reasons. Besides the fact that other areas in the vast universe have an easier time cultivating compared to them, the tribulation drastically reduces the amount of cultivators at the Rising Dragon being able to ascend.

    “Once you become stronger, there is a good chance that you may be allowed to come back here and further comprehend the wall, however until your strength has reached the god rank at the minimum, attempting to comprehend this is as if you were trying to throw an egg at a rock. I guess if you threw it indefinitely it would cause the rock to slowly break down, however, you youngsters don’t have enough time, and it would be pointless to start at the immortal rank,” as she spoke, she decided to create a chair out of stone and sat on it comfortably.

    Everyone took a gulp and tried their best to not think of the long term, what they were currently worried about was even making it past the tribulation to become an immortal. Once they passed that then they would be able to truly become an expert, someone who only had to worry about other cultivators killing them instead of dying from old age.

    Everyone sat down and stared at the wall. To anyone watching, it would seem as though the wall had no aura or intent in it, making it appear as though it was a simple wall that had a crack in it. However, if one would peer through the outside and slowly inspect it, they would discover a frightening aura that could even rival the heavens!

    “Just a warning, do not dare force yourself to comprehend it. Doing so will just injure yourself, let it flow naturally,” Leia stated as she closed her eyes, not wanting to wait for them.

    Slightly confused, Zhào Lǚ stared at the others, trying to see what they would do, however, no one looked back at him. They all focused on the wall, most likely blocking out every sense in their body except for their eyes. He slightly pouted and looked at the wall in boredom.

    Thirty minutes passed and Zhàn Méi was the first out of the six to close her eyes. Despite there being seven people who are taking the trials, Zhào Lǚ could not comprehend anything at all, in fact, he had a feeling in his heart that even if he sat there for an indefinite time, he would achieve nothing.

    He stood up and grabbed a stone sword that was still on the battlefield and decided to start swinging it. Due to his sealed memories, he did not even know how to wield a sword, so he decided it was best to use this time wisely.

    Getting farther away from the wall, Zhào Lǚ went on the field that the others fought in and decided to start swinging the stone sword, attempting to get a feel from it. Shouts could be heard from him as he swung with ferocity, trying to attack the air. However, like a mortal, all he could do was have a slight weak gust of wind blow on the field as if he was a regular mortal.

    Fifty minutes passed, and the young man could be seen sweating ferociously. Despite knowing the specifics of his power, he was a dominating figure that was all-powerful, but due to the seal his energy was also reduced to a mortal, only the strength of his body could not be sealed causing him to feel no pain, but to feel a wave of exhaustion.

    He fell down trying to get gasps of air in, struggling to even move. Throughout the fifty minutes of his ‘practicing’, he made zero progress besides being able to hold the sword steadily. About fifty percent of his attacks ended up having the sword fall off from his hands and his hand would slip with every movement.

    Deciding to test something, after ten minutes of rest, he got up and left the stone sword, only to pick a spear and do the same procedure of ‘practicing’ for fifty minutes and resting for ten. After spending time with the spear he found out he also could not use it well, having it slip, and having the attacks being so weak, a mouse could probably survive it.

    He did the same procedure for the claws, the dagger, the saber, the bow, and many more. He even sucked at using a shield. Frustration built up in him as he couldn’t use any of the weapons. His current skills would place below even a child who started to wield a weapon.

    He decided to grab the sword once more and swung it slowly. The swing was so slow that by the time someone took a breath in and exhaled at a snail's pace, would he truly finish swinging. He did this multiple times, each slowly changing the position of his hands and feet, but still swinging in the same motion.

    Zhào Lǚ continued to do this for a whole day, before collapsing on the ground, breathing heavily. He did not sleep, eat, drink, or do any mortal actions causing him to collapse in exhaustion. He was so focused on getting better at using the sword that the concept of stopping did not exist until his stomach growled very loudly causing him to break out of the state.

  • Chapter 61: Flame?

    After the extremely long session, Zhào Lǚ ate and replenished himself. He had slept for about four hours before waking up to continue practicing. Around two days has passed since the six meditated beneath the wall, and since Zhào Lǚ started to practice.

    His grip with the sword was getting better, and he could now be considered an idiot, non-talented genius, instead of someone who was cursed in using the sword. However despite knowing this, it did not stop him, he wanted to go further in his practice.

    He took the same sword he had yesterday and began to repeat the same thing, trying to perfect a stroke instead of speeding up and potentially causing troubles in his skills. However, despite doing this, this form of practicing had a major flaw to the majority who would try this, and that is boredom and frustration.

    The feeling of swinging a sword extremely fast and causing major destruction seems fun even if the wielder makes mistakes, however, to go very slow and make fewer mistakes was more frustrating as they would have to start over and consume even more time.

    Despite going so slow, Zhào Lǚ kept making mistakes and was forced to start over. A single finger movement, a single foot movement, anything that seemed off and not ‘perfect’ in his eyes caused him to start over.

    In his head, he kept thinking and yelling, causing his mind to be misty due to the constant rage. Why is this so difficult! I just want to use this damn sword, but my talent is so shit. The sword swung down in failure. My fingers just need to stay still, but I can’t do that unless I tense my body up drastically.

    The sword swung down in a vertical manner, shaking slightly. The sword swung down in a vertical manner, decreasing in power. The sword swung down in a vertical manner, suddenly dropping. The sword swung down not in a vertical manner, slamming into the ground before suddenly missing and falling to the side.

    Breathe, breathe, breathe. He told himself, regaining his composure before he picked the sword up and tried once more.

    The sword swung down in a vertical manner, not shaking once, the body perfectly aligned and still, the grip firm, the swing crisp as a chip. A smile appeared on his face and he tried once more. The sword swung down in a vertical manner, slightly curving to the left.

    Zhào Lǚ’s face immediately dropped and he felt like quitting badly, he felt as though he should just end this session forever, not daring to touch a sword ever. For about one and a half day, he has been trying to improve his skills, leaving the other half for resting and eating. He would soon approach the second day of constant practice, excluding any breaks/stops. The amount of progress he would make would be less than the amount that the others would make by comprehending the wall, and not only that but simply trying to slice downwards with little to no mistakes was a simpler task than comprehending the dao!

    Even a small child could swing a sword down in a perfect manner if given the time. However, he, Zhào Lǚ was a full grown adult! Despite his memories being sealed, his brain worked perfectly fine and was fully developed unlike a mortal child, yet he was struggling immensely. If any of the others were to wield any weapons that they didn’t know how to use, giving them a hour of practice would lead them to use it efficiently, most likely breaching past the beginners' stage of using the weapon.

    “Since you are so eager, let us fight,” out of nowhere Leia appeared in front of him.

    “Ah!” Zhào Lǚ screamed and suddenly fell on his butt due to the fright. He quickly got up after the scare and replied, “wouldn’t that affect the others if we fought?”

    “They are to busy with comprehending the wall that they won’t wake up. Unless our auras touch them, or we physically touch them, they will not wake up until they are finished,” she replied.

    “Then I hope madam will help me,” Zhào Lǚ bowed slightly and prepared the sword. The two were in a calm stance, neither getting ready to fight each other. However, Leia was the first to strike, she ran at a mortals pace, charging at Zhào Lǚ, causing only small specks of dust to fly away unlike before when she fought the others in the trial.

    “Clash!” The arm of a woman and the sword of a man clashed against each other. However, the clear winner of the clash was the female, as the sword started to shake before the man was sent back a meter before regaining his foot.

    “Hold the sword properly, don’t put any pressure on the handle, instead let gravity push it down. Until you learn how to hold a sword properly you won’t make any progress,” she charged once more.

    Zhào Lǚ roared and charged at Leia, the dust on the field didn’t fly away from the roar, it did not bow down to the charge, instead, it laughed at it and stayed still, not fearing its strength. He ran towards her and sliced downwards, taking her advice to heart. The strength of the slice was probably enough to crush an ant, but it was still very weak.

    They continued this for thirty minutes until Leia spoke, “Now let us try a different approach, I will attack you, and you will have to defend yourself with the sword and only the sword.” Her foot stomped down, pulsating her forward towards the young man before aiming for his stomach.

    “Oof!” Zhào Lǚ was thrown a foot back and landed on the ground in pain. Despite Leia throwing a punch at the speed of a mortal, it was still to fast for him. He felt as though he wanted to throw up, but he tried his best to persist and continued defending from the brutish woman. Another punch was thrown at his face and the pain continued to grow. Due to his strong body, nothing was broken and he did not spit any blood or anything like a mortal would, but the pain he felt would increase with each punch.

    He would not be given a break and each punch caused him to slowly lose his mind. A whole hour was dedicated to being beaten up and the stone woman did not plan to stop. After every punch, Zhào Lǚ was at death’s door. He was not literally dying, but every punch was so painful, that if it wasn’t for him continuing to persist, he would’ve gone unconscious a long time ago.

    He got up once more and glared at Leia angrily, wanting to kill. Even though he would not really kill her, the amount of pain he received caused him to go into an unfitting rage, it made him build up in emotions, causing him to go insane, causing him to slowly lose their conscious temporarily.

    After being punched repeatedly, he was able to ‘block’ the attack every twenty unsuccessful attacks, but he was only able to block and the attacks still hurt. After the successful block, he stared at Leia in a slightly crazed manner and he appeared to act like a wild animal. Seeing this, Leia smiled and prepared an attack even stronger than before. “Click!” A clicking sound could be heard and an unknown black substance, flame or dust appeared on the stone sword, slowly disintegrating it, but at the same time it blocked Leia’s punch successfully, but also causing her to be thrown ten meters back before landing on her sides. The unknown black attack was the same one that appeared when Zhào Lǚ went in an uncontrollable state causing havoc to appear.

    After the block, Zhào Lǚ had realized the damage he had caused to Leia and ran towards her hoping she was okay. Even though he was frustrated at her, in reality, he did not want to hurt her and was grateful for trying to help him. He bent down as he could see that she was on the ground seemingly unconscious. However, he felt a poke on his cheek and panicked.

  • Chapter 62: Emotions to the Door

    He stumbled on the ground in shock. While he stumbled down he could hear a faint giggle to the side, he looked over to see Leia smiling gently, getting up from the floor. “Idiot, even if your attack actually did damage, keep in mind even gods won’t dare touch a hair on me, nevertheless a simple Emotust can’t do anything to me.”

    “Emotust?” he asked in confusion, was that the weird black thing that appeared on the stone sword?

    “Emotust is a special attack that you generally used in the past, and what you are generally known to use sometimes. Think of displaying your emotions, but in a realistic, lethal way. When someone is angry they charge at their enemy, attempting to kill them, but at the end of the day it just barely boosts their persistence and power and is not a real attack. However, your attack, Emotust, is an attack that utilizes your emotions and turning it into a real attack. You take them and once they appear into reality it will obliterate anyone who comes into contact, however, because your memories are sealed, you do not know how to control it, limiting its power to something insufficient, unless something triggers you to the point of insanity it will be something that will be extremely weak, working only on the weakest of things,” as she said this she pointed towards the sword that he was holding in his hand.

    When Zhào Lǚ looked at the sword he was astonished, the sword was no longer there and instead only the area where his hand was covering the handle was still there. Everything disintegrated, leaving not even dust around on the sword.

    Controlling my emotions and triggering them huh, he thought to himself. He had to agree that it could be potentially powerful, but if it wasn’t for his previous self, he would have zero idea on how to even trigger such a thing. At the very least I have a general clue on what to use as a form of attack if I ever run into a desperate situation.

    “I won’t be able to help you with recovering your mind and body to use it, no one in the world has ever been able to comprehend your skills despite it being in public display, even mortals living near the area will have the chance to view it, but no one in the world has been able to since the start. Not even your disciples have been able to comprehend a lick of it, only one-” her voice paused for a few seconds, her face turned into a frown but she quickly dismissed it, “never mind, once you remember you will understand,” she said while looking at the voided sky.

    Not wanting to peer deeper due to her reaction, he instead asked about the previous statement, “May I ask how many disciples I have?”

    Hearing this, the frown turned into a smile, Leia responded while slightly giggling, “Find out yourself, I can tell you for sure that you don’t have a hundred disciples, you have a few true disciples, one who you nurture with the best of your abilities, and some disciples in name.”

    Getting the hint that she won’t say anything and that he should figure it out himself, he did not ask further and grabbed a similar sword to the one he used before it got obliterated and started to swing it around.

    She cracked her fingers before charging at Zhào Lǚ, not hesitating to beat him. Appearing to know what she was doing, Zhào Lǚ put the sword up, getting ready to block against the attack.

    The sword was not huge and very slim, allowing his left arm to be free. His left arm quickly grabbed the stones on the bottom and threw them at Leia, attempting to blind her. Surprised by the trick, her attack slowed down slightly, allowing time for him to prepare. In the world of cultivators, a single second could be life and death, a millisecond of distraction could be the factor of the battle. This tiny time frame allowed him to adjust and prepare, not hesitating and as Leia said, to let the sword do its work.

    The sword sliced down naturally, no power was put into the slice, instead, the gravity that was on the island did it for him. The fist and sword collided, both hitting each other, both slamming into each other. Only the ants would pay attention, even a fly would not care for such a battle on a low level, but at this moment, to Zhào Lǚ, the battle felt like it was the difference than life and death. As if he was stabbed mentally, but was rebirthed, entering the gates of death, following the countless uncountable souls walking towards reincarnation, but finally finding a light, a light that belongs to him and only him.

    Draining Voided Desire! A voided aura appeared, the surrounding area appeared as though it was killing itself, as though it wanted to die immediately, as though it didn't want to exist. Whether it be rocks, weapons, dust, even the void itself suddenly collapsed, wanting to do only one thing, to disappear from the world forever. The floor beneath him was the only thing that survived, everything near him crumbled and was forever gone, never to appear again.

    Leia’s strike was completely canceled and she stood up after punching the sword only to smile. “Congratulations.” She raised her hand, causing the ground to appear once more.

    He dropped the sword and coughed up blood for the first time. He got up after calming down and cleaning himself, he asked the stone woman, “What just happened?”

    “You gained an insight towards a previous memory, especially since you used the emotust, your mind managed to clean itself instead of being in a corrupted state. One of your techniques that you used was recovered and now it is free to be used. Well, that is if you can handle it, but either way, it is called Draining Voided Desire, it is one where you manipulate things whether alive or not into dying. Things that do not have life will be granted life, only for it to want to die. The same applies to anything that is alive as well. It is a pretty morbid technique but one that isn’t considered evil nor righteous, just plain murderous.”

    “Anyway let us keep going, the others won’t wake up anytime soon,” she prepared her fist and launched her attacks.

    He nodded and also prepared the sword before he could become one with the sword, he would first need to understand it, as if it were a friend. Right now, his relationship with it were as if they were enemies that did not hate each other to death but did not cooperate properly.

    =====

    The cold, it is something that slows you down, that slowly kills off everyone. Everything that touches the cold dies, everything that touches it is given life, but does it ever just sit there? Does it ever just relaxes and lives with the heat? What is the cold, is it just our imagination, is it reality, or is it just emptiness, something we envision that spawned from our imagination turning to reality, or could it be… All of a sudden the eyes opened up, only for sweat to be pouring all over.

    She was right, I couldn’t even comprehend a tiny sliver, screw a hundred-thousandth percent, I only managed to comprehend ten times less than that! But at the very least the icy glowing orb managed to brighten up very slightly, I will be able to actually comprehend the dao when I am able to see it instead being blind. The person wiped the sweat from the body and sighed. Of course, this person was Zhàn Méi!

  • edited February 10

    Chapter 63: End of the Sword Sculpture

    Zhàn Méi got up and brushed her raggy and plain clothes and looked around. To her surprise, she was the first to rise, but that made sense in some aspects. She was the person with the lowest cultivation, causing her to not be able to comprehend the dao or the wall for a long period of time. Even though there were geniuses that the king would talk about, about them comprehending the dao at the mortal realm, they are existences that with the help of peak existences, they were able to obtain a further understanding than someone with no backing.

    Cultivation in the mortal realm was about building one’s foundation, once they finally reached immortality they would be able to cultivate for years without food, water, or even sleep, which is the main reason why so many comprehend the dao at that stage, it would be considered a waste to comprehend on the mortal stage due to many factors including age.

    She looked at the others, trying to see if they were merely meditating or if they were truly comprehending, and everyone did not budge, as if they had gained enlightenment. She knew that it would be very bad to disturb them and tried looking for Leia. However, when she looked behind her, she was shocked.

    Leia and Zhào Lǚ were fighting, clashing into each other, no, with Leia clashing into Zhào Lǚ, causing him to continuously be knocked back. They were fighting at a snail's pace, one where only true mortals would barely be interested in due to how slow they moved, even a cultivator would have probably gone to sleep by now or run away to do other things than watching such a boring battle.

    Looking into Zhào Lǚ’s eyes, she could tell that he was having the worst time ever. His clothes were tattered, ripped, and dirtied. Despite his clean body, the clothes indicated that he was losing. Even though cultivators did not care about clothes so much, they would generally cover it in qi to make sure it stayed clean so they could impress the crowd and still contain face.

    I thought she said that Zhào Lǚ did not have to participate in the trials, why is he fighting her? She watched them in a curious manner.

    The two kept slamming against each other, with Zhào Lǚ slowly being able to nullify forty percent of her attacks, after blocking them which happened every now and then and not every ten years.

    The same action happened, again and again, even Zhàn Méi started to get bored and yawned. She did not want to disturb them so all she could do was wait patiently.

    =====

    A hour had passed before another person finally awoken. The servant woke up, angrily, as if he did not gain much from comprehending the wall, but he was quiet nevertheless.

    Two hours have passed before Fù Dí and Láng Ma rose up, and another for Wáng Wèi and taking the longest with thirty minutes ahead of Wáng Wèi was Jīn Fèng.

    With her cultivation, she was the clear winner as her mind was able to last a long time and she had more experience in the world than the rest.

    They had all watched Zhào Lǚ being beaten up, watching his body being thrown to the ground, watching him be in pain for a long time. Currently, Zhào Lǚ was so focused that he did not realize that the others woke up, he just kept going and going until he was about to faint.

    An unknown amount of time passed before he collapses, breathing very loudly. Leia stopped launching attacks and lifted his body up and sighed, “Even though these improvements are very small, you improved nevertheless. Able to block my slow attacks every time I punch you five times, but nevertheless rarely is it successful and rarely does it get rid of the majority of the power. Keep working on it,” she mumbled towards him.

    He sighed while trying to rest his mind from the pain, and looked at the others, finally noticing how they have awoken. He smiled at them before closing his eyes to rest. Leia walked up to them and spoke in an emotionless tone, “One day, when you get stronger I will meet you guys again, however it is time for you guys to go. May the fate of our existences help us in the future.”

    “Senior, what about the box?” the servant said, curious on why it was in the area.

    “Something that would cause the heavens to potentially fall,” she smiled while looking at the box, one that contained evil, but good at the same time. “All right, time for you guys to go,” she rose her hand and everyone including Zhào Lǚ was transported out the island, landing back on the island they started with the three sculptures.

    =====

    A transparent man’s eye slowly opened and he stood up. He yawned before speaking to the air, “Welcome back.” All of a sudden the seven was thrown out the sculpture as if it were a mystical portal.

    “Clump!” they all landed on each other uncomfortably, not expecting for such a situation to happen.

    “You guys may stay here for two days, but after that, head over to the next one,” Gōng Xīn spoke while surrounding them in a lucid light. Everyone suddenly felt much better, as if they had been dipped in a spa that actually healed them.

    Everyone slowly got situated after being thrown out of the sculpture and slowly relaxed. Jīn Fèng was the first to break the awkward silence, “Say, Zhào Lǚ why were you fighting her in there?”

    He responded with a wryly smile, “I’m not really sure, I just picked up a sword hoping that I could be at the very least useful. However, in the end, no weapon suited me, in fact, I have almost no talent that even a baby could probably beat me,” he laughed awkwardly.

    “What is the point though? You can’t beat even a mortal with no cultivation, hell even if they have no experience in combat they could probably smack you senseless,” Láng Ma replied with his usual tone.

    Zhàn Méi quickly spoke against the archer, “Okay Mr. Lost very badly and angered a God, he is at the very least trying. When we get home you should really try and lose some of that arrogance.”

    Everyone slightly giggled, laughing at the response that the short woman gave. Láng Ma stared at her angrily, but he hmphed and did not say anything else.

    “Say, do you happen to have any food, we know you stashed a kingdom’s size in there,” Jīn Fèng spoke towards Zhào Lǚ, holding her stomach while it slightly growled.

    Zhào Lǚ looked at her and slightly looked away with sweat pouring from his face, “I-I ate it all,” he said nervously.

    Her face immediately went dark, and she had an urge to hit him on the head.

  • Chapter 64: Meditating World

    A happy sigh could be heard from a tall woman, “Ah, I’m so glad little Méi brought snacks,” Jīn Fèng layed on the grass, rubbing her stomach as she finally ate after the long period. Even though the higher in cultivation a mortal gets the less they need to do human activities, they would have the urge to eat whenever they can like a mortal if possible. In fact, at Jīn Fèng’s level, she could have gone about two months without any water or food, only needing qi to supply her body.

    “Still it is suspicious that you have a special ring full of food specifically for Zhào Lǚ,” Jīn Fèng smirked, staring at Zhàn Méi suspiciously.
    Zhàn Méi’s face immediately turned red as she blushed and she tried to make an excuse for herself whilst stuttering, “Its because he said he liked my cooking! I just wanted to give him a present for joining us.”
    Everyone laughed, while Zhào Lǚ stared at her unsure of what to say. Nevertheless, he continued eating the food that she made for him.

    =====

    Two days quickly passed, the group decided to simply chill out and talk with each other, even though they need to cultivate continuously, no matter who it was they would always find it taxing to cultivate for the whole day, even some genesis would fall on the path of cultivation, not by an enemy, but instead they either found that the path of cultivation wasn’t for them, or their heart gave in.

    They all got up and decided to head to the sculpture in the middle, the one with the meditating man.

    “Whoosh!” They all disappeared, closing their eyes due to the intense light, only to have them awaken to a kingdom. However, they were not in the kingdom, instead, they were floating on top of it.

    “Woah!” Jīn Fèng screamed, surprised that they were floating. After calming herself down she touched the ‘floor’, only to find that it was some sort of clear see-through material.

    “Welcome, welcome, this is the second sculpture, I hope we can enjoy each other's presences,” a kind gentle female’s voice could be heard near them.

    They were shocked to see a young woman wearing a black-dress stand in front of them. She looked like a regular human as she had slightly curly yet straight hair, and was tan skinned. If it were not for the trials, if anyone else saw her, they would immediately think she was a goddess descending from the heavens.

    “I am master’s second golem, the world’s butcher. But you can just call me Kazuki” she said as she sat down on a chair to sip the cup of tea on her hand. The chair she was sitting on was the exact same chair that Leia had! The box was also there, however, it was on the see-through floor instead of actually being on the chair. The wall was also there, however, it was made out of very dense string, containing a huge crack, exactly the same as the one on Leia’s island. However, this one had a different intent, one that seemingly healed them but injured them on the look.

    “Your trial will be to do something extremely difficult...” she stared at everyone smiling, however, everyone gulped and prepared for whatever the incoming task was, “the trial’s task will be for all of you to live a mortals life!”

    Everyone almost dropped on the ground, they could not believe what the black-robed woman just said as they expected her to give them a challenge along the likes of killing all the citizens, surviving attacks from the kingdom, or some cruel/tiring task.

    “Do not underestimate this challenge,” she said while giggling gently, “this is to temper your experience and emotions of the world. Too many people chicken out, have damaged hearts, or fall into Yama’s arm, never to be seen again because of their lack of experience. Every trial could be said to temper your heart, but it also focuses on a different aspect, the first one that you went to was based on persistence and weakness, while this one is based on experience. You will find it very hard to come out of here alive.”

    Everyone's body shivered if it were not for the fact that the tanned woman in front of them looked very peaceful, as if she were the kindest goddess to exist they would drastically fear her as her gentle voice contained extremely strong killing intent.

    “The only requirement as I said is to live a mortal’s life. You are not allowed to use your cultivation, and instead are only allowed to act like someone who has never cultivated.”

    Kazuki smiled at everyone and stared, as if her eyes pierced through the world, telling them all of their secrets. “We shall start the trials now,” she snapped her fingers and in the span of a second, everyone was transported somewhere in the kingdom. However, one person was not sent, instead, that person stayed on the starting point, wondering why he’s still up here. This person was none other than Zhào Lǚ!

    He started to sweat as he was confused and nervous, he asked Kazuki in a shaking manner, “M-madam, why am I still here.”

    Two chairs suddenly popped out of existence along with a table that was relatively short. The tanned, black-robed woman sat on one of the chairs and waved her hand gently, “Please, come and sit with me.”

    Zhào Lǚ sat on the chair and they both sat there awkwardly. Kazuki’s eyes were currently closed as if she had no intent to open them.
    Trying to get away from the awkward situation, he stared down at the kingdom. With his eyesight being better than a mortal and questionably better than an immortal, he was able to see everyone on the floor carrying out their daily life.

    He could see a man carrying boxes, young in appearance, he had a small cloth hat that covered his whole head, his body wasn’t bad, he could be seen with some muscle, and he was at an average height for the males in the kingdom. Nevertheless, he ran around delivering different boxes to different people before running back to a shop and repeating the same process.

    He looked to the other side of the kingdom, glaring down at a woman who was cooking at an open-door restaurant. She was also young, if not younger than the delivery guy. However, unlike the delivery guy, her face did not contain one that a youth would make. It was purely saddened as if she was going through constant stress, problems, and many more.

    He peered his ears as best as he can, ignoring the sounds of every other chattering to listen to what was happening. What he heard shocked him as he could hear that a few men at the restaurant were actually trying to flirt with her.

    The young girl appeared to be only seventeen, while the other men appeared to be in their forties, if not older. While cooking, she ignored anything that they said, clearly aware that if she said anything it would trigger further discussion. She chopped up the vegetables on her cutting board, her dark skin shone on the open light, appearing as if it were a beautiful glittering jade. Her right arm slowly went up and quickly went down, creating minor sounds on the board, but each chop contained the power of a bull, not hesitating to kill, not hesitating to taste the blood of the raw material before cooking it to its perfect state.

    “Hey, are you listening to us damn girl?!” A voice sounded behind the counter, one of the three men yelled at her, while the other two grinned in a devilish manner. All three of their cheeks were bright red while the man’s speech was slightly slurred, indicating that they were most likely drunk. Despite this, the young girl ignored him, and she continued to chop and chop, as if she were a robot, not having a sense of her surrounding.

  • edited February 12

    Chapter 65: Chat with Kazuki

    The wind gently blew on the kingdom, heading towards the open restaurant, slowly cooling down every mortal in the kingdom who were eating, giving them a pleasant feeling of bliss. The wind slowly blew over to the dark-skinned female, causing her red qípáo (Chinese dress) to slightly flutter. Her long straight hair that reached to her waist blew, causing her to appear more beautiful than before.

    The three men stared at her angrily and one of them decided to talk to her in a calm, yet drunk voice, ”Hey girl, if you come with us home we’ll make sure that you will get shelter and some food, go with us instead of being in such a damped place.”

    The bystanders who were eating their food looked at the man in disgust. Even though she was already in the range of dating, marrying, and the like, they were disgusted at their behaviors and felt bad for the poor girl, a few people even wanted to stand up for the girl, however it was best not to cause a scene unless they touched her.

    “Taken your interest?” a voice could be heard right next to Zhào Lǚ’s ear. His body shivered and he jumped, almost falling off his chair. He heard a slight giggle and looked over, to see Kazuki giggling, staring at him with a devious yet charming face.

    “I saw your staring at her for quite a while, have you possibly taken interest in her?” Her charming face smiled at Zhào Lǚ, wondering at what his response would be.

    He waved both of his hands in a hurried fashion, trying to dismiss that idea while having a sweat drop off his face, “I simply watched the ‘drama’ that unfolded there, I was more curious on what the citizens of the kingdom were like and what they were doing.”

    She giggled once more, as if she was unintentionally showcasing her beauty, the sun shined its rays on her straight yet curly hair. Out of nowhere, one cup of water appeared on the table along with two large similar dishes that contained a large wooden bowl that was layered with rice on the inside, with some sort of delicious meat fortifying the rice. On the inside of the bowl, a strange dark-brown yet golden liquid laid in the middle, covering the bowl with an amount that was deemed to be not too little, but not to much. All sorts of vegetables, and fruits laid in seemingly random spots of the bowl, picking no biased sides. They all compliment each other, causing a rich aroma to appear, one that was just right, not to strong yet not the weak, one that allowed the person to smell the surrounding fresh air whilst also smelling the aroma of the food. The food could be said to be just right for anything, nutrition, smell, feeling, anyone could list words infinitely before they could even describe how perfect it was.

    Drool came out of his mouth as he was prepared to eat already, stars appeared on his eyes as they shined brightly. He realized that drool was coming out of his mouth and he quickly wiped it off, blushing from this embarrassing situation.

    Kazuki smiled at him and two fancy looking spoons appeared on the table. “I expected for such a cute reaction to come out of you, let us eat.”

    Zhào Lǚ nodded and picked up the spoon before gouging down on the bowl, consuming everything in it, as if it was the best thing he ate ever. Kazuki picked up her spoon slowly and started to eat as well, not minding for how the young man in front of her was acting.

    They both ate, and it took about a hour for Zhào Lǚ to finally finish eating the whole bowl! He clumped down on the chair, as if he was ready to pass out. Even the chef at his mansion’s cooking could not compare to the meal he just ate. If the heavens so desired to make a earth-shattering meal, even that would at most barely be able to compete with the food he just had.

    Despite having a flat muscular body, Zhào Lǚ patted his stomach as if the void could even be filled. Nevertheless, the feeling and taste of the food was so great that he had a hard time getting up. When his mind finally calmed down he asked Kazuki, “Madam, may I ask who made this dish? This is so wonderful!”

    Kazuki smiled and stared in the skies, letting the bright sun fall down on her face. After the time it took for a incense to burn, she finally spoke, “It was a treasure from a senior’s cooking. Sadly he is not alive anymore or else I would have asked him to make them for me forever, hell even the heavens might get a sniff or two. But those two bowls we ate were the last meal that I had in my possession that he gave me.”

    Hearing this, Zhào Lǚ slightly panicked, such a great treasure was wasted on an useless being like him! “Madam, then why did you give it to me!? You could have saved it for someone special, a future disciple, or for anything else. I do not deserve such a wonderful thing!” sweat was pouring from his face as he seriously felt apologetic for eating a treasure.

    Hearing this, she got up and putted a finger on Zhào Lǚ’s lips. This happened so fast that he did not get the chance to move before realizing what happened. His face turned bright red and his face started to warm up, if this were a cartoon smoke would have since long ago flew out of his ears, creating a storm of smoke on the kingdom.

    After Kazuki putted a finger on his lip he went silent, not daring to even breath loudly. Many seconds passed before she sat down and smiled at him while her chin rested on her hands. “To clear some confusion, even if I somehow managed to gain a disciple, for sure they would not get this treasure. In fact even gods have to stay away from the food in order to not be tempted to eat it, as if they do, then they would explode to death.”

    Sweat was dripping off of Zhào Lǚ’s face right now. If it were not for my body I would’ve died!? Well, I am glad that she doesn’t look as though she wants to harm me.

    She continued to explain the reason to him, “Besides you deserve it more than anyone. If I were to put it up for auction the price of the meal would skyrocket so much it would be so unbelievable you might not witness ever in your life.”

    A kettle appeared in thin air and it poured into Kazuki’s own cup, refilling her tea. It also refilled Zhào Lǚ’s cup before disappearing. They both drank in silence not saying a word to each other, especially Zhào Lǚ as he was trying to comprehend what she said.

    The wind came once more and he stared in the distance, enjoying the wind blowing against his body, ruffling his hair that reached to his waist, slowly swaying his silky robe.

    After the wind finally stopped did he asked the tanned woman in front of him, “May I ask if the kingdom is real? Or is it in another universe?”

    She responded in a gentle voice, “It is not real, it is merely an illusion. But the others in your group will learn that the hard way, right now they most likely thinking that everything is real. Even if they do something like kill someone, make someone warm their bed, or anything along the lines the citizens will still display real emotions and traits. This place is a formation that I made a long time ago, however I let whatever happens in the kingdom happen, I don’t control anything, in fact even religion, advancement in art, advancement in science and many more happened in the kingdom which was surprising to see how much they developed in such a short time span.”

    “Anyways you seem as though you want to experience the place so I'll teleport you there,” with only a snap of a finger, Zhào Lǚ was transported to the kingdom.

    Kazuki smiled and stared at the young man somewhere in the kingdom. After a while she took a large scythe and slowly caressed the blade. She mumbled in a low voice that not even the wind could hear, “Let the fun begin.”

  • Announcement: There will be a 2-3 day hiatus due to college auditions that I have. (I had a huge stockpile but the auditions drained them all  :s :'( Anyways, the chapters WILL be made up, I just gotta get my bearings on Friday or Saturday and chapters will continue stockpiling (and more 2 chapters per day will roll out~!)
  • Chapter 66: The Young Girl from the Restaurant

    Darkness surrounded the sight. Clamor could be heard banging on the ground, the constant clamor that could be heard on the right, the left, ahead, you name it. A young man’s eyes slowly opened up, finally seeing the world up close.

    W-where am I? Huh, is this the kingdom? Ahead of him, he could see a bright light, appearing as if it was a somewhat thin straight pillar made of light.

    After a few seconds, his head cleared and he saw the light clearly. Ahead of the light, a bunch of people was walking across the streets, some wearing rich, fancy outfits, some wearing just rags. Lucky of me to land here, it would be really awkward for me if I landed out on the streets. Let’s just hope that my clothes don’t confuse some people and it is decently similar to this world.

    He wiped any dust on his clothes off and proceeded to walk out of the presumed alleyway, pretending as if he was taking a shortcut and not doing anything shady.

    As soon as he got out, Zhào Lǚ was finally able to take a good look at the city. The buildings were made out of cement, and despite it being a generally common material, the architects of the kingdom were surprisingly able to make them look fabulous and rich. However considering some of the people here were dressed in rags, poor robes or cloaks, it did not seem like the richest area here, instead, the kingdom seemed as though it had a lot of resources to expend on everyone including possibly the poor.

    The roads were basic and were made of flattened stone, containing almost no bumps when one touched it. However, something that stuck out to Zhào Lǚ appeared in the middle of the road. What is this? Why are there these black roads in the middle with yellow stripes?

    He decided to walk on them, curious about why they were there as it did not really match the stone paths. Even though he did view the kingdom, he mostly focused on important aspects instead of the kingdom itself. His mind was not like a cultivator where it had more energy to process things in the world.

    “Oi! Boy, get out of the way!” A shout could be heard and Zhào Lǚ looked to the back of him and started to panic. He saw some sort of ‘carriage’ heading towards his way. Steam was coming out of it while the circular things on the bottom spun really fast, allowing it to move at a speed that probably even a cultivator who just entered the early second stage, Qi Holder, would not be able to catch up to.

    Luckily Qi Holders moved faster than a mortal but not so fast that they would appear as though they teleported. At most they ran more than two times than a mortal could, and the contraption was the same. Due to this Zhào Lǚ was able to dodge out of the way as the thing went zooming by, causing him to shiver in fear.

    Every pedestrian in the surrounding area giggled and mocked Zhào Lǚ as if he was stupid for doing such a thing. He got up and dusted himself off, attempting to walk away from the embarrassment. He stayed on the right stone road walking along the crowd. He knew that the black roads were most likely there for some reason, and was the reason why there were two stone roads, one on the left and one on the right.

    As he was walking, still hearing the mocking and gossip, he heard a voice in front of him, “Why did you walk on the road like that?”

    He looked up and saw the young girl that he saw before when he was up in the skies. Her red qípáo blew in the wind, with her hair slightly fluttering. He couldn’t tell if these coincidental meetings were fate or some typical meetup between characters.

    “Hello?” she looked at him confused. Zhào Lǚ was staring at her as if she was some sort of goddess. Her body tensed up as if she was going to have to deal with another creepy pervert.

    Realizing on what’s happening, Zhào Lǚ slightly panicked and spoke, “Oh, sorry, I am new around here and I don’t know what’s going on.”

    Her face looked as though it had multiple feelings. She did not know if she was being insulted or if the man in front of him really was stupid. Technology in the world has advanced so much that almost every civilization should at the very least heard of an automobile and the like. Seems like he must either come from a really poor place or lived in an old remote village

    To make sure that he was someone who came from such a place she asked him a question, “Do you know what an automobile is?”

    “A-a what? What is an automobile?” he asked hesitating. There might be a chance that she was testing him, and he could possibly get into severe trouble if she came to him with hostile intent or had a hostile motive.

    She sighed, He must really come from such places. Either way, besides dealing with creeps, I guess I could help him a bit.

    Speaking with a calm tone she explained to him with ease, “An automobile is that vehicle that you saw. Think of it like a carriage, but instead of horses or whatever, you rely on what's called an engine, a piece of technology that when supplied will run and drive you places without needing real beings pushing it, though that is the very simplest explanation, it gets more complicated when actually putting it into effect.”

    Listening to her explanation, Zhào Lǚ immediately linked it back towards his magical treasures, however, magic treasures require the essence of the heavens to make it run, yet these mortals have managed to make such a contraption despite having no access to qi.

    Hoping to learn more and sharing this information with the others, Zhào Lǚ asked her an important question, “May I ask what is supplied to run these ‘automobiles’?”

    “Well the most basic answer is fuel and energy, even though I can’t really go into specifics because it's really complicated and we are continuing to find new discoveries as time passes, a few basic ones are coal, water, and biomass, aka using plants,” she explained.

    The girl started to walk down the road slowly entering the mob of people. Zhào Lǚ quickly followed along, as he had no idea what to do in this city, strolling ahead towards her. Without looking back she spoke, “By the way, my name’s Carla.”

    =====

    The two continued to talk for a while, with Zhào Lǚ mostly taking the lead to ask questions while Carla answered the barrage of questions.

    She turns around to ask him, “By the way, do you happen to have found a job? Or are you simply chilling out for some reason then heading back to wherever you come from?”

    Shivers went down his spine as he did not think of coming up with a lie for this. He slightly panicked, trying to think of some lame excuse or at the very least one that could work. But in the end, the only excuse he could think that was right was that he was looking for a job to support his family.

    Having taken an interest, she smiled before speaking, “Then how about you come work for me? My dad owns a restaurant, but it is only me and him, however, we do need a bit of extra help around the place. I cook everything, and my dad manages the business, but he is getting old and sickened in health yet despite this he keeps overworking. I can’t promise the pay will be good, but I can guarantee that you will at least get a decent amount. Besides we tend to have some leftovers that we eat to save ourselves from spending too much.”

    Not expecting such a situation to occur, he hurriedly agreed. He had a feeling that he would have to wait a very long time before the trial would be over. He nodded and agreed to the request. Both of them headed towards the restaurant that she worked at.
  • Chapter 67: At the Restaurant

    In a house somewhere in the kingdom, a group of three lived in a decently large house.

    “Child where are you going?” an old voice sounded out. An old man was yelling despite looking shriveled and weak on his rocking chair.

    Another old voice sounded out, however, this time it was a female’s voice, “Honey, stop yelling. You know you are getting too old to be doing this every time.”

    “Pah! She is still a little kid, these automobiles are starting to get more advanced, it is gonna be the end of our kingdom if this keeps going. Besides that, tell me where you are going before you head out, we still have a lot of cruel and corrupt people in this world young girl. Who knows what could be lurking in the shadows,” the old man yelled once more.

    The old lady stared at him angrily. She had an old dress on while carrying a knife, cooking some sort of stew. She suddenly chopped on the chopping board before talking in a low voice, “Listen here old man, I may be a few years older than you but don’t forget that I am the one standing. I’ll come over there and throw this at your dumb head before you know it!”

    The old man immediately hushed, not daring to look at his wife nor speak a single word. Whenever any guests would come into their household they would think that the husband takes charge of the family, however little did they know the wife was the most ferocious and anything that she disagreed with had to change.

    A middle-aged yet young woman had sweat drop down from her face as if this was still a brand new sight. She hurriedly answered the old man to not anger him further, “Father I am heading out to go eat at a restaurant, don’t worry I won’t go eat with any boys, I just heard of a good restaurant and I want to try their food.”

    “If you dare bring any boy in here we will kick you immediately!” the old man yelled. However, little did he expect, a bang could be heard as he was smacked on the head with a rolling pin. The attacker was his wife, glaring at him as if she was the devil, screeching with her silent glare as if she was about to send him to hell.

    She looked over to the young woman and smiled, “Make sure to come home early dear, don’t eat too much, I’m making my special stew for us.”
    “I will mom! It is still noon, there is plenty of time left before dinner,” the young woman headed out while stretching, showing her fit physique. This woman was actually someone who if Zhào Lǚ saw would be surprised, this woman was Jīn Fèng!

    =====

    Inside a room, three people sat down drinking tea. Two were young while another was middle-aged, however, he was coughing as if he was punched a billion times.

    These three were Zhào Lǚ, Carla, and Carla’s Father. Carla had already introduced Zhào Lǚ to her father and explained how they met. Her father looked at him in surprise, his daughter was always someone quiet, rarely talking to anyone, and usually, she would have a keen sense on people, knowing who was good or evil, or had the potential to do so. He trusted her instinct a lot and decided to trust her once more, hoping that this man will bring prosperity to the restaurant, or at the very least help it strive.

    “Alright lad, let us go run down some basics. The restaurant opens in an hour so we need to hurry up, I will be near you to assure that nothing goes wrong and to correct any mistakes. You will be helping out with orders and delivering the plates and drinks,” Carla’s father started coughing more after he finished his sentence. He got up and signaled for Zhào Lǚ to come and follow him. Despite his sickness, he acted as if he was still in his youth as if he was full of vitality, but in reality, his sickness became worse and worse.

    Carla followed the two of them, sighing, hoping that her father could get better faster. Even though she bought medicine for him he still hasn’t recovered and due to overworking he has been getting worse. Even though she was able to afford medicine, she was simply not rich enough to afford proper care that would definitely help him.

    The two males worked and worked for a whole hour, one being the instructor, while the other was the student. The father continued to teach him what he would need to know and made sure he remembered some specific knowledge, ranging from certain customers that the restaurant valued, how to deal with specific people, etc.

    While they were talking Carla had already gotten everything that she needed to prepare done, only to wait for the hour to past to finally open the restaurant.

    As if seconds went by, a whole hour passed and they were ready to finally open. Zhào Lǚ who was nervous went up to the windows and opened them all, before finally opening the main entrance, a door below a huge sign saying ‘Nexatash’, the restaurant's name.

    A few customers were slightly shocked as the restaurant has never hired anyone, it was only the father and daughter running the business. Nevertheless, some of them were regulars so they went in and had a few small talks with the owner.

    “A new person I see, haha, it seems as though Nexatash if finally evolving, young owner, I hope you succeed!”

    “Did the young miss finally get a lover? Who is this man, he has a bit of charm to him.”

    “The ice queen has a lover? Haha, he must be made of steel and someone who is good. Those bastards yesterday got a beaten and the miss didn’t even have to lift a finger, the patrolling guards took care of them.”

    The regulars spoke up, gossiping while congratulating the owner. They were thinking that due to the new hiring, the restaurant finally decided to up its ante, to finally start expanding the business.

    Zhào Lǚ quickly ran back to the counter before grabbing a notebook and pen. He charged up to the customers and took their orders before relaying them to Carla.

    While he was working, Carla’s father was talking with a few customers, telling them of the new hiring and the events surrounding it. He then yelled at Zhào Lǚ in a voice that was not too loud but not too soft, “Boy, Carla already finished some dishes, you need to learn how to balance between taking orders and giving them their food!”

    “Yes sir!” without any delay Zhào Lǚ sped up his pace slightly, attempting to do a mix of both, serving those who already ordered and those who didn’t. Even though he was not perfect as he had many flaws and even misplaced a plate to a table, he was doing decently well.

    The owner sighed and decided to relax on a chair, telling Zhào Lǚ what to do every now and then. Before he had to work constantly, putting him in pain, but now he could actually take a deep breath without almost collapsing.

  • edited February 17

    Chapter 68: Fake Reality

    Breathing heavily, Zhào Lǚ collapsed on the table. He had sweat coming down from his face as he worked continuously the whole day with only a bit of break.

    The restaurant, Nexatash, was now closed and everyone heaved a sigh of relief. The only person who was chilling was the owner, Carla’s father, as he finally had the chance to actually relax. All he had to do was yell at the young man for any mistakes he did.

    “Haha, good job my boy, you didn’t do bad, in fact, we raised a bit more money than usual,” the owner laughed while drinking wine. He realized something and quickly asked Zhào Lǚ, “Boy, you don’t seem to have a place to stay right? You can stay on the couch for tonight, I will give you your payment tomorrow so you can go and do things that youths do.”

    “Carla, go and help pack the things,” the old man stared out the window, enjoying the view as the sun slowly started to set.

    When Zhào Lǚ was teleported here he did not see the lamp posts out in the streets, causing him to be surprised with how bright the streets were. “Clang!” the restaurant that was slowly starting to become dark suddenly lit brightly, as if the sun came and gave its blessings.

    “Oh sorry, I forgot you aren't used to this, this is a light switch and those things on the ceilings are light bulbs, the switch turns on the bulbs. How it works will take time to explain, you can research that in a library, but either way come and help me bring out food,” Carla explained the sudden appearance of light and started to bring food out to a cart.

    Already knowing that the young man was dazed by the sudden situation she explained to him once more, “Any food that is left over, specifically large quantity of food that people will leave on their plates and goes to people who are homeless, disabled and the like as they have a hard time supporting themselves. Of course, we take a few to enjoy ourselves as it is going to cost more but I already save those portion for us.”

    The old man also joined in with a slightly fumed voice, “Some people just waste food a lot, and after talking to other restaurant owners, many expressed the fact that they have lots of food wasted. Not everyone takes their bowls and treat it as a golden spoon, some just treat it as a toy. Besides, the king has also granted us some protection from any gangs, and allowed us to ask him any request that isn’t too huge, as the other restaurants are too greedy or lazy to even share leftovers with people who are suffering!”

    Having understood their feelings, Zhào Lǚ took some plates with lots of food still on the plate and quickly dragged it on the cart, helping Carla as the owner sat there relaxing.

    After dragging out any plates that had a lot of food on it, they pushed the cart towards an open field in the distance. The bright lights that were emitted from the lamp posts caused Zhào Lǚ to slightly close his eyes as he was not used to such a thing. The sun was almost drowning into the world below and the night skies slowly took its place as the moon rose in the distance, showing its small yet bright reflection.

    These people don’t seem bad, in fact, they are pretty much the nicest people I have met. Everyone in the real world desired something from me. Even Wáng Wèi desired something from me, she most likely desired the fact that I am someone who used to be very powerful. However, even I have desires, so I can’t blame them, but to meet two people who are truly kind are rare. Zhào Lǚ sighed internally and stared at the approaching night sky.

    He slowly closed his mind and heart, solidifying it as if something were to attack. His eyes showed signs of determination and resilience. No, I can’t. He sighed internally once more. To feel connected to them is great and all, but once I get attached it won’t be good. They are not real and won’t ever be real. I’ll enjoy my time here but at the end of the day, Carla, the owner, everyone I met during work, they aren’t real and I have to face this fact one day or another. I just hope that everyone else won’t suffer from a huge backlash.

    A gust of wind went and softly blew at his ears, however, something else was there as well, “What are you thinking of?”

    He looked over to see Carla staring at him curiously. If it were not for the fact that it was approaching night time they would have since long ago hit someone. Luckily only a few people were walking in the streets.

    “I was just thinking of others I guess. I met a few people along the way that I knew previously but I have no idea where they went, I was hoping that some of them would be safe and we could meet sooner than later,” he said, telling a white lie. He could obviously not tell Carla that he and the others came from a world where people could fly, fight against the heavens, run at speeds that appeared as though they teleported.

    Believing in what he said, she reassured him, “Don’t worry, you will meet with them soon! Hell, you might even meet them tomorrow, we did have some people meet long lost friends here, and this place attracts a lot of tourists from other kingdoms.”

    The both of them continued to talk about life for a bit before that could see a huge grassy field with lots of trees, lakes, and lights. If something could be said about the kingdom that it lacked was the fact that nature was not really common here. A lot of buildings occupied everything and the only place that even had lots of flowers, trees, and the like were this area.

    With the grassy field approaching into view, Zhào Lǚ with his eyesight could see a group of people in rags, dresses, and other tattered clothes sitting there smiling while talking with the others. They were still a bit away from it but nevertheless, the people sitting on the field waved towards them, however considering the distance, they probably looked like blurs or small dots.

    Besides, the group of people about two carts were stationed on the fields handing out bowls of food. Presumably, they were also other restaurants who spent time off from relaxing to help out the poor and people in need.

    A few minutes passed and they finally reached the field with a bunch of people waving at them and greeting them.

    “Ah, Carla, did you happen to finally find a husband? How fast the youth grow, it felt like yesterday when I held you as a baby and took care of you!” an old lady said while laughing. While reminiscent of the past, she stared at Zhào Lǚ, judging him from head to toe.

    “Auntie! He is just a new worker that we hired because father is starting to become ill and weak! Nothing more than that,” Carla blushed, as she looked away from Zhào Lǚ.

    A drop of sweat fell off of Zhào Lǚ’s face as he was in an awkward situation. Everyone laughed at the scene and Carla and Zhào Lǚ began unpacking everything before starting to prepare to give out food.

    The night was calm and everyone was happy even in rough times. Even though they were not very loud, lots of giggles could be heard and a few children played around the field while sometimes chatting with the servers.

    As if it took time for an incense to burn, all the food was gone and everyone thanked the servers before heading home to the streets, the dump, or a small home. Carla and Zhào Lǚ who were slightly exhausted headed back home to the restaurant as each had a smile on their faces.

  • Chapter 69: Rise of the Red Blood

    “Bang!” a loud sound could be heard causing Zhào Lǚ to suddenly rise up in sweat. He was prepared to fight even if he sucked at it and his hand was prepared to dig into his storage ring for the treasures. However, he quickly putted it away after he realized that someone was making a ruckus in the restaurant.

    After he got home with Carla, the two of them and Carla’s father ate before they headed to bed. But as her father said, if he wanted to stay then he would have to sleep on the couch as there was only space there as there were only three rooms besides the restaurant and the storage for things related to it. Two being the bedroom of Carla and her father and one being the bathroom.

    He did not necessarily have a comfortable sleep like when he was at his mansion, but he was glad he did not have to sleep in the streets.
    He got up and started walking towards the main room. The house was splitted into an actual house for the family to live and a main area where the restaurant was at as they did not want to spend money to afford a seperate building dedicated towards the restaurant. To them, having a mini kitchen was good enough for them, as long as things could be done efficiently.

    When he got to the restaurant section of the house he noticed a dark-skinned girl chopping vegetables. The windows to the restaurant were open, allowing the light to peer in and show off her beautiful skin. Even though Carla was not really beautiful to the point of crumbling kingdoms, she was pretty than the majority. It was to the point that if the king of the kingdom wanted to, he would have to kindly ask her for her hand in marriage towards his sons.

    Zhào Lǚ stared at her, watching her chop vegetables, as her wrist slowly cutted things into slender and small pieces before storing them for later use during the day. As if she could sense him staring, she turned around, showcasing her long dress.

    “Do I have something on my face?” she asked slightly hesitant. Her face had a slight dash of red on it, as she was not expecting for her to be stared at. She was used to creeps and perverts staring at her, however, Zhào Lǚ was a coworker, someone who was different and had earned some of her trust.
    Zhào Lǚ also blushed slightly and tried to clear the awkward situation, “N-no, it’s just I heard a bang and I wanted to make sure nothing drastic happened.”

    Carla giggled at the way the young man tried to answer her question, “Sorry, a pan dropped while I was cooking. We don’t open for another hour so take time to get prepared. Even though we started late yesterday that was because we take a few hours off on that day to do stuff, however, expect to wake up this early!”

    “Yes, mam!” hearing this, he went and started to get prepared, dressing properly, washing his face, and many more. However, while he was doing this he kept thinking to himself. What is senior thinking? I have a bad feeling about everything, however, I can’t put my hands on it.

    ”It is not real, it is merely an illusion. But the others in your group will learn that the hard way,” what did she mean by that exactly? Death? Murder? Heart break? There is to many possibilities that could happen. Forget it, I will just deal with it when it comes, let’s just hope it isn’t the worst of the worst.

    The old man walked down the hallway before looking at Zhào Lǚ who was washing his hands at the moment. He smiled and said good morning to the young man before heading towards the restaurant.

    He could hear a voice down the hall yelling, “We are opening in a few minutes, hurry up!”

    Slightly rushing, he cleaned his hands before heading towards the main entrance, opening the door for customers to walk in.

    Small clamors started to appear as people walked in, saying their orders, chatting with the owner, talking with their friends, and the like.

    =====

    “Jīn Fèng are you heading out again?” a somewhat old voice could be heard. The voice was from the lady who was taking care of Jīn Fèng.

    “I have a damn feeling she really is going to see a boy! The youths know nothing except to find romance or to sleep with another,” the old man said angrily while he ate porridge.

    “Old geezer you did that to me when we were younger. All you did was confessed your love for me constantly till I married you due to pity!” the old lady turned to Jīn Fèng and talked to her in a gentle voice, “Sweetie, remember work starts tomorrow! Don’t go drinking to much!”

    “I won’t mom,” Jīn Fèng said while smiling towards her direction before heading off. After coming into existence in the world it seemed as though she stole someone's identity. The old lady and man thought that she was their child, and anyone her ‘previous’ self knew acted if Jīn Fèng existed since eternity.

    She sighed as she walked down the streets, I guess I should enjoy myself while I am here. I heard there was a good restaurant near the south. Mind as well check it out, maybe I will find the others there!

    =====

    At a distant place, outside of the kingdom and in a forest a quiet yet beautiful woman sat on a tree, staring into the skies. She had tan skin and had a beautiful long dress that complimented her very well. If anyone saw her they would instantly think that she was a goddess that descended from the heavens. However, if they were not blind and not focused on her appearance, they could see a huge and long scythe dangling from her right hand.

    Her gentle hands caressed the scythe as if it were apart of her, something that was attached to her.

    She looked towards the kingdom that was about a mile away from where she was and licked her lips as if she was about to do something.

    “Just give it time and I will ruin everything,” she said in a soft voice. Even the grass and trees did not hear what she said as they swayed silently under the soft gentle wind.

    The scythe in her hand slowly swayed as if she was taking her time to swing it. Yet despite this, a thump could be heard as a bird fell down from a tree nearby. It did not chirp, nor did any slashing occur, it just fell to the ground, as if it lost all conscious.

    A few seconds later and a reaction came from the bird, however, it was not a pleasant one. The bird instantly exploded into nothing but blood, leaving no traces of organs or even a feather.

    She repeated the same exact action of slowly swinging the scythe at a snail’s pace, and the same thing repeated. However, instead of a thump or something falling, the nearby tree slowly rotted, aging faster than the rest, growing old and weak before everyone else, not having enough time to even have make new offspring. The tree slowly grew thin before finally turning into nothing but dust.

    The goddess smiled as if nothing happened. If one did not see what had just happened they would think that she was a true goddess, but in reality, it could be said to be the opposite. But nevertheless, this person was someone who Zhào Lǚ knew. It was Kazuki!

  • Chapter 70: Time Quickens

    “Zhào Lǚ my boy, speed it up slightly, we got Lizard Rice for table nine and a Five Element dish with herbal wine at table five!” the old man sat on his chair while conversing with some customers. The restaurant was really busy at this hour to the point that the old man had to help despite trying to recover from his illness.

    “Yes, sir!” Zhào Lǚ said, quickly wiping off a table before rushing over to deliver the two orders to the table. His robed swayed as he ran across the room multiple times, allowing everyone to see the elegance of his robe, the beauty of it that traversed from his knees to his neck. As he ran, sweat dripped from his head, swaying down on the warm floor as he delivered plate by plate to different tables while wiping off them after the customers finish only to take the orders of the other customers that just came in.

    Zhào Lǚ was not the only one sweating, even Carla had to take a quick breather as her body slightly shook from the fatigue before her hands continued to touch the board, the pots, and pans, grasping on the essence of the food before allowing the heavens to bless it.

    The family of three continued to work and work for about two hours, only being able to breathe before running again. After those two hours were up, customers came rolling in but the pressure was drastically lessened, allowing Zhào Lǚ and Carla to finally take it slow and the old man finally sat on his chair, handling the money due to boredom.

    As every customer was finally settled, with a few waiting for Carla to finish cooking, and the rest simply enjoying their food, Zhào Lǚ laid his back on a wall, finally taking a relaxing breath to soothe his nerves.

    “Ring!” the bell on the entrance rang, signifying that a customer had entered. Hearing this, Zhào Lǚ quickly got up before walking towards the entrance and bowing, “Dear customer, may I ask if you would like a table for one or if there is anyone else coming?”

    Zhào Lǚ looked up to smile at the customer, however, he was stunned as he did not expect this person to show up at the restaurant.

    “Zhào Lǚ!” A tall woman came and hugged the young man, surprising him, almost causing him to fall down. Her simple clothes fluttered as she almost jumped on him, yet despite all this, she could be said to be as beautiful as a diamond, even Carla would have slight trouble beating her.

    Hearing the commotion, everyone in the restaurant stared at the two in confusion. Carla especially stared at the two, having slightly mixed feelings about the scenario.

    “Oh, sorry,” the woman spoke in an apologetic tone. Staring into the distance as she was embarrassed by the situation that she was in. Of course, this person was Jīn Fèng!

    “I am assuming it is one of your friends that you mentioned? Boy take a bit of a break and take your time reuniting. You youths should cherish times like these, though anything you order is on your paycheck!” the old man slapped a fan down as if he was warning him that despite being lenient to Zhào Lǚ, he would still be strict. Nevertheless, he stood up and got a few plates and delivered it to the tables before taking orders of some of the other customers.

    Getting the hint, he dragged Jīn Fèng towards a table, settling her down before asking her what she would want. Taking a look at the menu, she told him what she wanted and Zhào Lǚ quickly walked and whispered towards Carla the order before heading back to the table.

    Carla complied, however, her face showed an unusual emotion as she was not too happy nor sad. She was clearly distressed, but Zhào Lǚ did not take note as he was already chatting with Jīn Fèng.

    The two started to chat about life and how everything went, starting to understand the life of the other. It turns out that Jīn Fèng was raised by two old couples who adopted Jīn Fèng’s ‘previous self’ from an orphanage.

    Her ‘previous self’ worked as an assistant technician, however, she only started working a month ago, allowing Jīn Fèng to not worry about any stress of not knowing what to do and allowing her to learn about the technology of the world.

    They both laughed and giggle, enjoying each others company as they ate their food.

    “You are jealous aren’t you,” an old man slowly walked towards a young girl who was currently making food.

    “Father don’t tease me like that, they could be friends,” the young girl smiled, trying to ignore everything and only focusing on her cooking.

    “Ah, I remember when I met your mother, we used to fight a lot, in fact, it wasn’t until she accepted my request to take her on a date did we finally settle down. She was about to date my rival at that time and I almost gave up, but then we learned that he was a despicable cheating bastard. Haha, I am not saying that she is but there is always a chance, it really depends on you whether you do or not,” the old man smiled as he thought about his wife. He became slightly teary but he patted Carla on the shoulder before smiling and heading out, greeting the customers and delivering dishes.

    Carla sat there and thought about it for a few seconds before putting on a war face, cooking slightly faster than the speed she normally took.

    Heading on back to the other two, Jīn Fèng finished her meal and drink and had a couple of words with Zhào Lǚ before paying for both of their meals and saying goodbye. Even though they did not spend to much time together, it felt as if they spent a whole day chatting.

    Zhào Lǚ got up and cleaned the table before putting the plates and cups away. He signaled to the old man that he could take a break and silently apologized for making him work.

    The bright sky slowly dimmed before turning into the night sky. The action of yesterday repeated, and the same actions that occurred today and yesterday repeated in the future. Day by day passed as Zhào Lǚ repeated what he usually did with a mix every now and then as Carla would invite him on strolls to stores, to go eat somewhere or some other event.

    Jīn Fèng would also come and visit him every now and then, hanging out when he was not busy and they both continued to enjoy a mortals life as if cultivation did not exist. Even though they had no clue where the others were at, they had a feeling that they were also enjoying the mortal life as well.

    The plants and trees slowly withered, and the cold slowly blew in. The cold hastened before white dots slowly descended from the heavens, invading the world. The white dots slowly died one by one, and the sun shined its bright lights, granting the plants and trees the ability to live and head on out.
    The sun shined brightly, killing a few in the process, but still granting warmth to everyone. The process repeated and repeated a couple of times, and everyone giggled and laughed, smiling to their heart’s content.

  • Chapter 71: Blood Arises

    A couple of years has passed since Zhào Lǚ and the rest have been stuck in this world, enjoying a mortals life. Each and every one of them enjoyed it and did not complain in the slightest, in fact, they would even consider some people around them to be a close family, closer than some people in the real world.

    However, everyone besides Zhào Lǚ did not know that everyone here was fake, and only an illusion. Even though every living human had their own train of thought, at the end of the day they were not real people.

    The heavens would never allow a large number of people to suddenly spawn from nothing and gain sentience. The most that the heavens would allow were golems, however, the more powerful the golem, the more intense tribulations were when it came to the creation. The idea of simply creating life from nothing but scratch was a dream that one could only imagine and not execute.

    Despite knowing that everyone were illusions, Zhào Lǚ had decided to enjoy life and the people surrounding it, not worrying that they will suddenly disappear like that.

    “Zhào Lǚ, let’s go to the park!” a young and cheerful woman came up to the young man and hugged his hand. Her dark-skin shone under the light that managed to pierce into the window, showing off her beautiful looks.

    “Hmm, sure. What do you want to do? Just chill out there or?” he asked, agreeing to her request immediately.

    She nodded her head and smiled, “Ya, I guess. I just wanted to hang out and do something there, even if it is just simply talking.”

    The two of them headed out on a sunny day, allowing the sun to crush on them and everyone else walking, however, that did not stop the two from heading to the park.

    When the two of them finally arrived, they settled down on a grassy field, away from the pedestrians, automobile, and other sources of noise. The bustling and loud city finally became quiet as they were finally in a spot that was quiet enough to hear themselves breathe.

    Both of them sat down on the grassy field, next to each other, arm in arm. Anyone that passed by looked at them and instantly smiled, especially the older folks as they were happy for them. Seeing this, Carla would slightly blush at the thought of it and looked towards the blue skies, not saying a word.

    A similar reaction would come out of Zhào Lǚ, however, he sighed internally. Even though his face did not show any signs of change or sadness, he was gently smiling and enjoying the scenery. Though what caused him to sigh was not the two of them hanging out at the park, instead it was the person right next to him.

    Carla was not a bad person in his eyes, but the main problem that he had was her feelings, specifically for him. He was not a typical character who was completely blind when it came to love, but he wasn’t some genius that dabbled in love, acting as Cupid. He was just a regular person who despite not having experienced love in his current self, at least knows that the person next to him was in love with him.

    Even though he admitted to himself that he had slight feelings, the thing that stopped everything was the fact that she was merely an illusion. Once the trial was over many things could happen, she could disappear entirely, she would still be there, he would be forgotten. The list kept going on and on.

    If she was somehow able to turn into someone who was real, someone who was living, and maintained their memories, then he most likely would accept her love for him, but he knew that in reality, it was impossible.

    Carla finally broke the silence that prevailed the grassy field, “Hey, Zhào Lǚ, can I tell you something?”

    Zhào Lǚ’s face turned towards her in a confused manner. He had a guess towards what she wanted to tell him, but he did not want to rest entirely on that chance.

    The young woman’s face turned red as she was about to speak, stuttering multiple times before saying a single word. She looked down and spoke in a very hushed tone, “I-I love-”

    “Boom!” all of a sudden the entire kingdom shook, causing a few automobiles to crash into buildings, causing many people to fall down onto their knees.

    A very loud siren screeched out towards the kingdom, echoing towards everyone’s ears whether they liked it or not. “Emergency Announcement: There is a ravaging monster that resembles a humanoid figure outside the gates, I repeat there is a ravaging monster that resembles a humanoid figure outside the gates, please stay indoors and do not leave your houses until a further announcement is made.”

    At the south entrance of the kingdom, a tanned woman stood there, not moving at all. She was wearing a black dress that covered her entire body. On her right hand a large five-meter scythe remained in her arms as if it were hugging her, but staring at the civilians in lust.

    “How is she able to hold such a weapon?” A guard patrolling the walls asked. Even though he was cautious of the woman, he took glances at the woman multiple time, as if he could not help but admire her beauty.

    “Soldiers focus! I know a lot of you are admiring her beauty, but remember, two of our soldiers died to that witch!” a man with a large built body spoke loudly, his mustache standing strong, as his body did too.

    “Yes sir!” the soldiers yelled, preparing their weapons. Even though they had knives in their pockets, that was not their main weapons, instead, a long stick like weapon was on their back, one that was stench with gunpowder. This weapon was what the people living on earth would call a gun!

    The built man with the mustache looked down at the female and yelled, “Miss, please surrender and let us have a chat inside. We will ensure that you will be safe and not touched, we just want to have a nice and peaceful chat about the situatio-”

    A few soldiers screamed as their faces were drenched in blood. They stared at a horrifying sight, one they have almost never seen. The person that was in charge of the unit of soldiers was suddenly chopped in half!

    “I only want to kill, no need for negotiation,” the tanned woman spoke in an oddly kind manner.

    “Shoot her! Shoot her! We must not let her live any longer,” one of the soldiers called out, taking command for their lost commander.
    About fifty soldiers that were on that section of the wall suddenly fired at the woman after hearing the command. For the commander to die in an instant scared them immensely, but despite not ever seeing blood they stood still and calmly fired.

    About fifty of the shots that were heard, forty managed to land on her. Clearly, the soldiers were people who had immense training to deal with matters like this. However, when they were about to celebrate, their faces dropped, and a few even dropped on the ground, with some having a disgusting smell appearing around them.

    “I-impossible is this damn woman even human!” one of the soldiers screamed, as if they saw the devil in front of their eyes, ready to reap them from existence.

    The person that the fifty of them had shot did not collapse, spilled blood, or do anything that a normal mortal would, instead the bullets just dropped to the ground after hitting her, as if her body was the strongest thing in the world.

    The woman slowly clapped with the scythe still in her hand. “All right, boys and girls, let us start. I hope you all have a wonderful time!” she smiled, as if everything that was happening was perfectly normal, and that everything was sunshine and rainbow. Her scythe slowly started to move, as did her feet, slowly inching towards the gate.

    The soldiers shrieked as they ran away, heading towards their families to take them away. They did not want to enter Yama’s river, they did not want to head towards reincarnation yet, they simply wanted to die of old age then to be slaughtered!

  • Chapter 72: Death Lurks the Shadow

    “Zhào Lǚ the situation looks bad, let’s head back!” Carla dragged his arms as she started running with him, ignoring the events that transpired beforehand.

    Both of them started to run along the crowded streets, following many people as everyone else ran towards their respective homes, attempting to make sure that their families are alright.

    “Boom!” A huge explosion came from the south entrance, causing many people to scream. Some people who were old or had weak ears quickly dropped on the ground as the explosion, despite being far away, was so loud that they thought it was occurring close to them.

    The siren that appeared before came back to life to give another message, “The monster has entered from the south gate. I repeat the monster has entered from the south gate. If you see a tanned woman with a black dress carrying a scythe, do not, I repeat, do not approach her. For everyone’s safety please hurry towards the capital where the guards will shield everyone.”

    Almost half of the people that were previously running towards their homes instantly changed towards the direction of the capital. Only those who truly cared for their families or had people who were elders or sick kept running towards their houses.

    “Zhào Lǚ we need to hurry! Father is still in the restaurant and even though his sickness was better than years ago, his old age is starting to take a huge toll on his body.

    He nodded and ran faster, going slightly ahead of Carla. While he was running his face contained a very sad yet worried expression, Is this why Kazuki said the trial would be difficult? Is she planning to annihilate everyone in the kingdom? That has to be a reason why she did not do anything for the past few years, to cause everyone’s guard to lower and their love for others to rise drastically! 

    Since I have grown attached to this place, I mind as well help these two. Every single second that I can save will be precious to me. It is a shame that I have grown too attached, whether this is a blessing or not is up to fate to decide!

    After about seven minutes of running, they finally arrived at the restaurant. They charged in, to find an old man preparing bags of items.

    “Father let’s go!” Carla let her father to get on her back before picking a few bags and running off. Zhào Lǚ tagged along after picking a few bags and the three of them started to head towards the capital.

    “Aah!” many frightening screams could be heard towards the south as it resonated everywhere. Everyone’s spine shook as they could hear the screams despite being so far away. People started to panic more and started to charge even faster than before.

    “Crash!” a huge explosion and crash occurred to the south of the kingdom as a fire started to slowly rage, appearing as if it were a giant god that had descended from the heavens. The bright and beautiful sky slowly dimmed as the smoke started to increase as if the winds of the world did not dare to touch it. Since the siren rang, it did not take long for about one-tenth of the area in the south to be blazed in flames.

    “We are only about ten minutes away from the capital. Come, we are going to take a quick shortcut to the other side!” Carla started to run into small cramped alleyways instead of the main street where others were running on.

    After traversing many cramped paths, they got out and headed on the main street again before they ran once more. Looking behind him, Zhào Lǚ was able to see some people they saw ahead of them now behind them.

    You guys have to stay safe and hurry. Even though it won’t end well, it will be better than having them die miserable deaths, Zhào Lǚ thought to himself, praying for the others.

    “Boom!” All of a sudden the whole southern section of the kingdom suddenly collapsed, causing fires to rage, even more, turning the sky slightly orange as the fire rose to the skies. Everyone who was able to see the scene almost collapsed on the spot as all the buildings dropped down into dust, leaving only rubble behind.

    Even though Zhào Lǚ could not see the collapse due to him being on somewhat equal ground, he still had an idea of what Kazuki did. Dammit is this her way of doing it? First, she caused a ruckus, and one second later she is already causing a whole section to collapse!

    After running constantly for about thirty minutes, they finally were able to see a group of guards guarding an entrance. The three faces were ecstatic as they finally reached the capital. The guards saw them and continued to remain still. Many people have evacuated towards the capital already but there were still some left, causing them to remain on top alert.

    After they entered through the gates they slowed their pace down before breathing heavily, especially Carla as she had to carry her father on her back. The old man situated everything and helped the two of them find a spot to rest.

    Slowly breathing, he regained his composure as he was too mentally tired from the running. He looked around, trying to find the others, however, they were nowhere to be seen. Zhào Lǚ and the other two have entered from the west gate, and most likely the others came in from the north and east gate. As for Jīn Fèng, she was most likely still running or had already entered the west gate long ago.

    He sighed and closed his eyes, trying to rest his mind temporarily. While he was trying to rest he heard a slight whisper. When he looked to see where it was coming from he instead noticed that it was from one of the guards a bit away from them.

    “The woman is getting close to the south gate, the king has already required about three-fourths of the soldiers in each gate to head to the south.”
    “Dammit what is that damn king doing? He ordered for a few soldiers to head to each outer gate to kill anyone in secret who dare leaves and now he wants to trap us all here?! That bastard most likely has a secret tunnel outside yet he wants us to stay trapped in this hellhole.”

    “Shut up! Do you want to let the leader hear? You know he will kill us for saying such things,” three guards were gossiping about recent orders and the like. Luckily Zhào Lǚ had great senses and was able to hear them or else he wouldn’t have understood the current situation.

    So it seems that we have a despicable person. It is a shame, truly a shame. A great community, a great kingdom, yet it is currently ruled by a shameless person.

    “Boom!” a large explosion occurred to the south-west, causing everyone to panic. Zhào Lǚ could see one of the guards talking on a strange device, “The woman is here on the west! I repeat she is on the west!” A response came out of the device causing the guard to sweat bullets, “Impossible! She is here in the east! Are you dreaming or something?” Another response came out, “N-north as well…” “I don’t think I have to say this, but the south as well…” a final voice came out before all the guards at the west gate started to panic.

  • Chapter 73: Tears Rolling Down

    Every single guard started to panic, and even the commanders did not know what to do, they stood there almost paralyze, attempting to think while their minds were filled with confusion, anxiety and many more thoughts.

    The commander on the west had decided to go on a whole frontal attack, not caring for tactic or strategy, but deciding to just bombard the woman with bullets. At this moment he had no choice but to do so as there was no way anyone was getting out as she was getting closer to the gate and soldiers were at the entrances of the kingdom, ready to kill.

    Understanding the fact that Kazuki was about to enter, he hurriedly spoke to Carla, getting prepared to leave, “Carla we need to leave, the woman is getting closer to the gate.”

    Carla and her father were confused as no warning or signs was given that showed that she was, however, after knowing him for a couple of years they trusted him as if he was an actual blood relative. They packed their things and decided to hurry along, following the young man. Even though they did not run, they most certainly sped the pace up.

    When the gate appeared to look as if it were a small door, they suddenly heard shouting and screaming. “Shoot her! Shoot her! We must not let her get through the gate!”

    Loud bangs could be heard, the noise repeated as if it didn’t want to stop. Yet after ten seconds the bangs finally stopped and no more gunshots were fired, instead, it was filled with absolute silence.

    Yet that silence was quickly diminished as screams of terror were head throughout the area. All the soldiers that were shooting at the woman were suddenly chopped in half, and those who did not shoot started to run for their lives. The civilians did the same, as some disregarded their own family, some simply laid on the floor paralyzed with fear.

    Seeing this, the three that were speed walking started to run, not caring about the heavy items on their body, they instantly booked for it and decided to run as far as they can. The best course of action for the three would be to somehow get past the woman and run out through one of the gates.

    Screams could be heard behind them, however, despite wanting to drop down and cover their ears, they were forced to ignore it with all their might. They kept running on the main road along with many others who ran for it and did not die.

    “Boom!” a building suddenly collapsed, causing the surrounding area to crumble. A few people were caught in the rubble, some alive and some most likely dead, however, one of those people stood out the most.

    “Father!” Carla screamed, she quickly dropped everything and ran over to her father who was now under the debris. He was lucky enough to be caught slightly under the buildings collapse as his upper body and a leg managed to not be caught, however, his right leg was not lucky at all and was mushed to paste.

    The old man did not say anything along the lines of ‘leave without me’ as he did not want to be seen as a hero in this scenario and instead tried to endure all the pain. Even if he was crippled for the rest of his life he wanted to die seeing his daughter living a happy and healthy life. He had already lost his wife and the only thing that supported him in life was a few friends and his daughter, he had to endure for now until the chaos settled down.

    Zhào Lǚ dropped everything in his possessions and ran towards the old man, assessing the situation before deciding to grab his arm, seeing if he could be pulled out. Luckily his right leg was completely gone, it was not attached to his body in any shape or form, allowing him to be pulled out with ease before landing on Zhào Lǚ’s back.

    Carla quickly bandaged her father’s wound with a cloth that she had in one of the bags. Even though the bleeding did not stop, it most certainly eased her father a bit.

    The two quickly ran, Carla had decided it would be best to run at full speed so she dropped all the belongings and quickly ran, trying to scope the situation for Zhào Lǚ as he had to hold her father on his back.

    =====

    A barking noise could be heard in the East section of the kingdom. A fire started to burn in this area causing an irresistible heat to slowly arise. A small dog could be heard barking constantly as if it was screeching for help, for someone to help its owner.

    Zhàn Méi was currently laying on the ground. She was just blown away as two buildings collapsed simultaneously, causing the wind to fuel the fire and blow everything away. Her body got up eventually after an unknown amount of time passed and when she looked around she could see multiple dead bodies lying on the ground.

    Only a few who haven’t run deeper into the capital still remained alive. Some were heavily injured and couldn’t move, some were crying due to the death of their loved ones, and some had simply lost their hopes of living.

    However, they could all hear loud footsteps inching closer as if a giant had entered the mortal realm. Yet, when they looked all they could see was a tanned woman with a black-dress walking towards them. She wielded a five-meter that had blood dripping from it, however, the blade remained perfectly clean, as if the blood could only stay on the scythe, and its impurities could never do anything to the weapon.

    Crap! Zhàn Méi quickly grabbed the small dog and booked it, running away as quickly as she can. The small dog barked at the tanned woman but did it in a low voice as if it were scared to raise its voice at her.

    “Shh, Datza, be quiet, we need to go,” she whispered into its ear, keeping the small dog close to her as possible. Having understood her comment, the dog cuddled into Zhàn Méi’s arms and stayed quiet.

    “Ah!” screams could be heard behind her as everyone who was alive previously were suddenly dead as their head disappeared from the planet leaving only a headless body.

    “Whoosh!” all of a sudden Kazuki appeared behind Zhàn Méi and knocked her onto the ground with her scythe.

    The female and dog both dropped onto the floor, with Zhàn Méi being the most in pain as the scythe slightly pierced her skin. Kazuki slowly walked over and threw a dagger at her, however, it did not land on her specifically, but on the floor next to her.

    “Kill the one closest to your heart, and then it shall all be over. If not then I will do it myself but in a more torturous way,” she spoke in a calm yet frightening voice as if she was a mix of a goddess and the devil.

    Zhàn Méi slowly grabbed the dagger and looked at her hands that wielded it. At this point, she truly had to choice but to pick one or the other. She was not gonna be saved by some magical hero or a person of power, she knew that she had to face reality and pick a choice.

    For the past few years, the small dog has been a part of her life, as if it was one of the closest things in her life. Yet at this very moment, she had to choose, to either kill or let it suffer before being killed.

    She knew this was a trial, before she went in her heart went in as if it were a wall of steel, yet right now she did not know how she felt. She wanted to run and leave everything behind, yet she did not want to give up yet.

    After staring at the dagger for some time she finally got up.

  • Chapter 74: Goodbye, The Restaurant Crumbles Forever

    The same process repeated and repeated. Each person would have to pick the same exact choice, to kill their loved ones, or let them be tortured in an extremely miserable state before finally dying. Each choice was only known to them and Kazuki, the others did not have the option to know as they were instantly teleported back to the main island before they could even take a glance at the skies.

    Zhàn Méi had to choose for her dog, when she came into the world she had found him left in a dumpster and took care of it ever since. Jīn Fèng has been under the care of an old man and woman who loved her very dearly, making it as if she truly had a family. Láng Ma lived in a poor family where even though his relationship with his parents wasn’t the best, he had to choose for his sister, someone who he grew attached to in this world.

    Fù Dí had to kill future fiance who he grew attached to as they were supposed to marry next month, their relationship with each other grew exponentially. Wáng Wèi had to choose for her mother, someone who was bedridden ever since Wáng Wèi came into the world and ever since she has been trying her best to help her mother. As for the servant, despite his rude and arrogant nature, he took care of an orphanage and like everyone else, he grew very attached to them. He was giving the choice to kill every one of them or let them die to Kazuki’s hand.

    And finally, the person with the final choice was Zhào Lǚ, whether to kill both Carla and her father or let them be tortured before dying to Kazuki. Time was not on his hands as he would have to choose one or the other. Everyone else started to choose the way that their loved ones were going to die, and soon he was going to be the only one.

    “I may not know what the story behind this is, but boy, if you have to then do so and live on,” the old man said as the nearby buildings crumbled in due time. He looked at Kazuki before asking in a raspy voice, “Does it have to be both of us? Can it not just be me?”

    She responded nonchalant, as if this was nothing to her, “Both of you must die. The man will continue to live, however, you and your daughter can not escape from death. It is up to him how your deaths will be by.”

    The old man sighed, despite being in such a situation he was calm like a lake instead of a river. His mind was like the end of the waterfall, after the huge excitement that happened before everything remained calm and quiet. “If that is the case, then a young boy, do it and save yourself. I may not know the reason why she so desires our death, but you have helped us a lot so you are the one I trust the most. I don’t have much to live for so I will be the first.”

    Carla who was on the ground near them almost yelled out when she heard this. Unlike her father, she did not want any of them to die, she knew she had to accept the fact that everything had to die one day and that included them, yet she struggled as she still had a flame running in her heart.
    The old man sat up straight as he ignored the pain on his right leg and prepared himself. He smiled at Zhào Lǚ, not caring for the fact that the person who was about to murder him was a stranger he only met a few years ago.

    Seeing this, Zhào Lǚ looked towards Carla only to see tears falling off of her face. “Just do it, I will be brave, I will,” she said as she whimpered, trying to calm herself down. Her body kept shaking as she was not able to handle the situation unlike her father, she desperately wanted to live yet she was not given a chance to.

    Zhào Lǚ looked towards the old man and closed his eyes. He decided to make it swift and painless. A deep sadness rose up from his heart and he grabbed the dagger and allowed it to glow with a strange grayish aura before attacking. Draining Voided Desire! The dagger on his hand went down as he sliced at the old man, causing his body to slowly disappear, only leaving behind his ashes.

    He went and grabbed a bowl before putting the ashes in it and closing the bowl tightly. He then dug into the ground before placing the bowl and covering the ground once more. Sitting in silence, Zhào Lǚ’s body did not move for a few minutes before he finally got up and went over to Carla.

    Carla was crying ferociously, as if the ocean lived in her, pouring out water for eternity, never giving up. Hearing her cries, Zhào Lǚ sat next to her, close enough to be almost touching arms, but far enough to not touch her. Even though he would not be able to do anything to save her, he had to accept the fact that this was happening, and the same for Carla.

    After twenty minutes, she finally stopped crying and laid her head on Zhào Lǚ’s shoulders, not caring for the fact that he had just killed her father. Her arms wrapped around his chest, holding on as if he was about to disappear any moment.

    “I am ready,” she said in a quiet voice. The surrounding fire did not approach them, appearing as if they were heavenly beings, never to be approached. The orange sky appeared as if it was clearing up and above them, the sky slowly turned into its original form.

    The two cuddled for a few minutes before they looked at each other. Each embracing the other company, wishing that this could last for eternity. However, they knew that they had to end it. The two of them inched closer, and in little time the both of them kissed.

    A few chirps could be heard as the bird flew around them. The fire that was blazing around had already moved towards the east and north gates, no longer caring about the west.

    The two kissed for a long time before Carla landed on his shoulder, closing her eyes, acting as if her body was already dead. Knowing what he had to do, the dagger glowed once more and he stabbed it into her heart.

    A small cough could be heard as she could feel the pain seeping into her. She let the pain consume her as the area around her heart was already slowly disintegrating, disappearing from the world. This continued for a bit until the attack was about to reach her head. He could hear a slight whisper to his left ear, “Zhào Lǚ, I love you.”

    Hearing this, his heart slightly shook. He holds her tighter despite having almost no body mass left and whisper to her as she disappeared, “I love you too Carla.” As soon as he finished speaking he could see light hitting his eyes as the blue sky finally showed itself. However, he did not open them, he knew that she was gone yet he didn’t want to believe it at all.

    After an hour passed he finally opened his eyes, only to not see a woman in his arms. No old man to berate him, nobody was around him currently except for Kazuki. Tears finally started to run down from his face and he finally screamed. He screamed louder and louder, yet no matter what no one could hear him, as they have all died under the attack. “Carla! Carla!” He continued and continued, as tears did not stop rolling down, as if it would never stop. Zhào Lǚ laid helpless, and Kazuki did not dare disturb him, she waited until he finally finished mourning.

  • Chapter 75: The End of the Kingdom

    Kazuki was sitting on a wooden chair eating noodles in a weird cup as if she had no care in the world. She looked at the weird cup in amazement and started reading some writings that had been inscribed on the cup.

    She sighed in amazement, %Humans, what weird inventions they have made. I should really visit earth again, these instant noodles are the best when I start getting tired of eating something. Sometimes the simplest and common things are the most delicious.%

    While she ate her noodles, she looked in front of her to see six people meditating before a large string wall. Even when a strong wind blew by, they stood still as though they were statues, as if nothing could move them.

    Another person was sitting near the group, however, this person was not meditating or comprehending the world. Instead, this person was simply sleeping, as if this area was his house.

    In the surrounding area, all one could see were burnt buildings, crumbled debris, and every now and then, people walking around. This was the kingdom that the group had stayed in to take their trials.

    The surrounding kingdoms were in absolute shock at the state of the collapsed kingdom and tried to do research, however, they came up with nothing as there was no clear hint that told them that a tanned woman in a black-dress annihilated every citizen except seven.

    Some people have said that it was the work of God and that he was cleansing the kingdom of its wicked sins and impurities. Some have said that they saw the devil come out of the ground, below the kingdom and tore everything apart to do his evil doings. Others have stated that it could have been an extreme natural disaster.

    Each and every guess was shut down, and the only explanation was that something caused the destruction, and it might be best to not delve too deep into it.

    Kazuki stood on the invisible material and walked towards the group after putting the cup of noodles on the chair. Her feet touched the ground gently, making almost no noise besides her dress fluttering in the wind. She took a slight turn and skipped over the six that were meditating and went towards Zhào Lǚ.

    She sat down on her knees and stared at him. He was sleeping on the floor with no blankets or pillow, allowing the wind to invade his body and for the floor to exert normal force on him. “You aren’t asleep, just mourning right?” she asked in a calm tone.

    Hearing this rhetorical question, Zhào Lǚ did not answer and sat there quietly. Kazuki came closer and raised his head up and placed it on her lap. Her smooth tan like hands ran through his long hair and she smiled, “We are all doing this for your friends, but also for you. If you can’t remember, then I will teach you. If you are powerless, then I will protect you. But at the end of the day, you will either have to painfully remember or painfully learn. In this case, you need to learn how cruel the world is, how often this occurs, that a man loses his lover, a woman loses her lover how frequent death is, and how easy it is to lose it all.”

    Knowing that she would not get a response, she decided to sing a small tune, “Promise me, that you will never look back. Promise me, that you will always go ahead without looking back again. Promise me, that even if I die that you will go on. Promise me, that you will continue to keep going without me. How many memories that we spent together. How pitiful that our time is running out for now. So let's make this charge out of this hell hole so I can see you leave. So let's make this charge out of this hell hole so I can see you leave. So promise me, that you will never look back. Promise me, that you will live on without looking back to try and get me please.”

    The surrounding winds blew gently as she sang the tune, causing the surrounding area to be filled with peace, and any negative emotions to slowly go down in the depths of the person's heart.

    After she finished singing, she smiled at Zhào Lǚ and continued rubbing his head, seeming as if she would not stop any time soon.

    =====

    An unknown time passed before everyone finally woke up, feeling proud that their insight to the dao have increased even if it was extremely puny. But when they woke up, their faces were extremely shocked as they saw Zhào Lǚ’s head on Kazuki’s lap. If it were not for the fact that they knew the two, they would immediately think that they were lovers.

    The three girls looked at Zhào Lǚ as if they wanted to murder him, and Fù Dí became filled with envy, wishing that that was him. The other two just sighed and ignored everything.

    “It seems like you all finished, since this is the case, you guys should start moving ahead to the final person. Since I feel slightly apologetic, I will tell you what you need to do for the next one. The previous with Leia was a test of weakness, this was a test of experience, and the next will be a test of knowledge. This may seem easy, yet it will be extremely challenging.”

    “Also it would be good to tell you that all those years that you spent weren’t really years. I manipulated time so in your world, it would feel as though only a few months had passed instead of a few years. This also affected your body so you really only grew up by a few months,” she said while still patting Zhào Lǚ head.

    “Anyways, I shall see you all later,” Kazuki snapped her fingers, causing the group to be teleported back to the main island. She didn’t teleport Zhào Lǚ out and poked his cheeks before saying goodbye.

    Hearing this, Zhào Lǚ saw a bright light and when everything cleared he saw Gōng Xīn still meditating completely still. He looked around and saw everyone stretching and preparing for the next statue.

    After having the event happen, everyone did not waste time with simple words and just continued on after everyone was prepared as if they weren’t friends but strangers.

    Having the death of a loved one pained every single person, causing them to still have a disgusting taste in their mouths that they weren’t able to get rid of. Even the people who were generally talkative were absolutely silent with only responding when required.

    Each of them walked towards the statue with the book. The statue with the broken sword and the meditating being were completed, with only the book left. Once they completed this statue, they would finally be able to move on to the final trial and get out of here. Even though in the outside world not much time has passed compared to here, they had still been here for years and wanted to get it over with.

    With that being said, they all went into the statue with the book, teleporting to another region.

    (Interested in the song that Kazuki sang? Listen to Promise Me with the link provided!)
  • Chapter 76: The Final Statue

    Everyone was transported into a luscious world, one filled with the color green all around. Trees towered up to the skies as if it were supporting the heaven, slowly shaking from the sweet gentle breath of the beings above. They stood there mighty and tall, not budging for a single moment, and while they did a sweet aura came off of them that caused everyone to slowly relax as qi poured into their meridians, allowing their dantians to be filled up than before.

    Even though they knew that the trees meant no harm and only lived to live instead of living to murder if they were not careful they would be tempted by greed and sit here to cultivate. Normally this would be a blessing, but to cultivate in an unknown place, especially one where people are tempted to was a bad sign that could be a potential danger.

    If their hearts gave in so quickly it would be very troublesome. Even typical geniuses would be tempted to cultivate here and if weren’t for the group having each other back, they would’ve most likely long since fallen for the trap.

    They hastened their speed, following a conveniently placed road that they landed on, pinching and distracting each other if one seemed to appear to fall under the influence. Even though they were under pressure, it was not enough to cause them to focus on running constantly. Even though they did have to run, with Zhào Lǚ on Fù Dí’s back, it was not at full speed.

    The group was able to look at their surroundings, and they were able to see that besides the road that they were treading along, everything felt as if it were a fantasy like forest, nothing but nature that was raised by the heavens, the nearby lakes caused the surrounding area to be filled with almost completely purified qi, sparkling the area with bright lights, flying through the area as if it were letting the wave move it.

    To find qi as pure as the one near the lake was almost extremely rare. Qi in their world was always in some sense ‘tainted’ when a cultivator allows the qi to enter their meridians, the taint of the environment and some other factors can affect the cultivator’s future as it would hinder them. Due to this many when cultivating would have to allow the qi into their body and slowly purify it from any taint that could affect them, but doing this would cause them to waste a lot of time.

    Some rich nobles who had grand background would find treasures, pavilions, or some other way to cheat the system as they would have to spend less time getting rid of the impurities. Even though they still had to be careful, this is generally the reason why so many clans and sects are able to last a long time without dying.

    The group quickly ran down the road, sighing at the fact that they would not be able to cultivate here. Fù Dí looked back at the lake, with a bit of greed climbing onto his face. However, he felt a stick enter his mouth, causing him to slightly panic.

    “Brother Lǚ, knock it off!” Fù Dí shouted at the man on his back. He tried to reach his back but his arm would not reach him as Zhào Lǚ would slowly inch to the right or left evading his arm like a slippery spider. “Oof!” His head was launched forward as he was poked once more by the stick, but this time his hair was struck by the stick that was just in his mouth.

    Zhào Lǚ continued to stay on his back as he continued poking him with a poker face. He said in a calm tone, “You were getting distracted, so I poked you.”

    “Doesn’t mean you need to poke me like that!” Fù Dí yelled at him. He was about to pull a sword talisman and throw it on his back.

    ‘Poke’, Fù Dí was poked once more and he looked back only to have steam coming out of his head like a typical character. However, the steam disappeared all of a sudden as he felt something.

    A stick was once again stabbed into Fù Dí’s mouth, causing him to almost stop and he wanted to attempt to slam Zhào Lǚ to the ground. Fù Dí bit down to try and break the stick, only to feel his lips starting to bleed as he noticed that the stick was gone from his mouth. He knew that the man on his back quickly pulled the stick away, causing him to be furious.

    “You two are fools, hurry the hell up before we leave you!” the green-robed servant said in a demeaning tone. He was almost tempted to smack the two and glared at them with a bit of killing intent surging out.

    Everyone else giggled slightly and even Zhào Lǚ, despite not laughing out loud, smiled in his heart. He has been so distracted since the last area that he had essentially acted the same way that Wáng Wèi had acted earlier. Even though Wáng Wèi recovered and is pretty much back to her old self she still needed some time to breathe and recover.

    The two were people who despite their status or relation with the world, were extremely inexperienced. Wáng Wèi was always shielded from the cruelties of the world, and despite being an adult who knew how the world revolved, never got the chance to experience how typical females on the street would feel or be treated. There was a valid and simple reason that females were treated like trash, being at the level of being concubines, working at brothels, as servants, and many other lower task while only a few were able to prosper in the world of cultivation, and this is not even mentioning the world of geniuses.

    Zhào Lǚ was somewhat in the same boat of understanding but have not experienced. Causing him and the princess to have a hammer hit their heart, not enough to break it into pieces, but enough to shake it.

    As the group ran, they were finally able to see a man-made structure. An extremely large yet small mansion covered the area in front of them and despite being in the forest, the mansion appeared as if it fitted the area. Its walls were brown yet a hint of gold and azure shined in some spots, making the place look as if the forest itself personally made the place.

    Even though the mansion was ‘big’, it was mostly big to mortals with low cultivation or those with none at all. Even Wáng Wèi’s father, Wáng Shui had a mansion that was the size of many cities, probably enough to contain half a million. This mansion, however, appeared as if it could contain only a few tens of thousands of people at most.

    When the group descended from a hill they appeared at a large bamboo double door. Appearing slightly confused on how to get in, and whether they should barge in, they tried to knock on the door.

    “Creak!” the double doors opened before the group got the chance to even knock. They then heard a mellow yet monotone voice sound out, “Welcome to the final statue of the second trial, this trial will be quick and easy so let us make haste so you can move on and so that junior can conduct the third trial.”

  • Chapter 77: Mary and the Books

    They looked in front of them only to see a woman with a red scaly wing and a tail coming out of her body. Monsters transforming into humans are normal, however, the scales on her wings and tail were so beautiful that words would not be able to describe it, only the memories of the brain were barely able to handle such a thing.

    “A-a true dragon!” Láng Ma said in surprise. His words shocked everyone surrounding him, causing everyone to be extremely wary of the female in front of them, but they also bowed towards the figure, showing respect for the person in front of them.

    “A true dragon? I know what a dragon is but what’s special about the true part?” asked in a confused tone, Zhào Lǚ stared at everyone, wondering why they were backing away.

    “Idiot bow! A true dragon is an existence that we can’t dare to offend. If one of the strongest creatures in the world were to be named than a true dragon would be placed amongst the top along with the Phoenix, white tiger, and tortoise! They are existences that are so powerful that even though there are so few, each one that is born is bound to be blessed and if they are not killed will grow up to be an extremely dominating figure!” Láng Ma shouted at the young man via a transmission. With such a mighty figure in front of them, not speaking of even them, probably even immortals would kill all their lovers, family, and friends for the sake of befriending them.

    “No need to, I am assuming you already know that I am merely a golem. I was blessed to be in such a body. Birthed from the essence of many true dragons, the purist of the purist. That is also one of the reasons why my scales are red instead of azure, it is because master chose it this way. At the end of the day, I could only be considered a ‘fake’ true dragon,” as if hearing everything that Láng Ma had said to Zhào Lǚ, the woman spoke.

    This was not a surprise as many cultivators that were higher than another by mountains were able to peer into conversations via transmission if they wished. However, what surprised them the most was when she said that she had the essence of many true dragons. Even though the exact amount was not clear, just hearing this would cause any cultivators, including even kings to start trembling.

    Even to regular magical beasts, the essence in their bodies was so precious, they would rather die than give it to anyone. Even though the essence did not really benefit the beasts themselves, it was as if they were giving their body to people, which would cause them to either lose all face or feel highly disrespected. Only to extremely close peers, or to people who have done insanely great deeds would they dare to give out their blood essence.

    True dragons were one of the most powerful magical beasts in the world, with a single drop of their blood essence being able to turn a talentless mortal with a horrible foundation and the like to suddenly rise in the skies. Even though it isn’t a miracle treasure, it certainly is close to that. Yet the woman in front of them gained the blood essence of many true dragons!

    The woman turned around and started to walk towards the mansion, “Please follow me, we will begin the trial immediately. I fear that the only thing that can happen that would be bad is that you have bad memorization. Even a worthless frog can benefit so much from reading, but so many believe that it is a waste of time. So cherish this moment with the best ability that you can.”

    She did not display any emotions, nor was her tone aggressive or nice, but everyone could tell that she had hatred for people who were against reading and people who considered it to be something worthless.

    As they walked along a stone road, they could see the area was not filled with nature, but instead, very little pebbles flourished along the ground, allowing only the roads to be clean. The group was currently heading into a large wooden building that could be the size of a village, big but not big as a castle.

    When they went in they could see nothing inside of the building beside a few weird floating voided portals.

    The woman snapped her fingers, causing a jade slip to appear on everyone's hand. “Put your spiritual sense into them, you will be able to identify the things in the portal, and what it is about. Pick a portal after learning about it and head in to choose your books. We have many different kinds, cultivation methods, techniques, history, and many more. I would not recommend becoming blind by choosing the typical just because it sounds cool or you will gain a lot from it. Trust me when I say this, pick one that your heart desires. Now go, if you need help feel free to send your spiritual sense in it and call out.”

    She waved her hands signaling everyone to go but she stopped them for a quick second, “Oh, by the way, my name is Mary.”

    Everyone bowed before quickly putting their senses into the jade and after about five seconds they headed into different portals.

    However, the only person who did not go was Zhào Lǚ. He could not summon this ‘spiritual sense’ that he heard Mary say and looked around in confusion. If this were an animation, his head would have been spewing out sweat as he was panicking.

    “Come, let us go and have a drink,” Mary walked out the building and walked down the road before heading towards a building that was only the size of a regular house.

    It was not impressive in any way, but it was still a house nevertheless. Even though nature was great, having a mix of nature and civilization was even better.

    Mary had started to boil water and rearranged the nearby plates, tidying them up. It was clear that not many people came here, and even if they did it would be in many many years. Enough for the dust to accumulate, and enough for it to be called abandoned.

    After finally boiling water, she poured it into a teapot before pouring into her and Zhào Lǚ’s cup. Drinking the tea, he realizes that the tea was very common, enough for it to be considered a mortal tea, one that mortals with no cultivation could harvest. He did not mind the lack of quality and drank the tea happily.

    “I am assuming that you will not tell me who I am?” Zhào Lǚ headed right into the conversation before it even started and pulled on one of the important subjects. He knew that the two golems he had met and the one in front of him knew who he was and did not want to tell. The three golems and Gōng Xīn were his only hope, yet they remained quiet, as giving a simple hint will cause the heavens to charge after them.

    “Even if I say it you wouldn’t understand as the seal in your body would immediately cancel it out. It is not that we wish to hide things from you, but it is merely the fact that it would not be beneficial. If you could gain an understanding and breakthrough on your own accord with little help then it will be a huge help to you, past and present,” she responded without hesitation.

    He knew she would not speak further and sighed, all he could do was wait for the others to finally come back.

  • Chapter 78: End of the Second Trial

    “Rip!” a ripping sound could be heard as a bunch of people appeared in a room with floating voided portals.

    “Dammit, I wish we could stay there longer, I finished reading and memorizing like five jade slips. If I knew I had little time I would’ve memorized the minor slips!” Wáng Wèi yelled as she was frustrated as she was almost close to memorizing her sixth slip that contained very important information, enough to cause the immortals in her world to fight over it.

    Everyone sighed as they were also frustrated as they were not able to fully finish the ones they were working on in the world inside the portals. If Mary had given them a warning then they would have rushed to memorize a lot of things that seemed to be extremely important to them.

    Being so consumed by the jade slips, they did not know the exact time that they were in the portals and only had a general idea that they have spent weeks there. Whether it was a few weeks, a month, or few, they did not know. Nevertheless, they went outside to try and find Mary and Zhào Lǚ as they did not appear in the room with the portals.

    Looking to their left they could see two people walking down, presumably over to them. Zhào Lǚ was yawning as if he had just woken up from a nap and smiled at them in a tired and lazy manner.

    After the two have gone closer to speaking distance, Zhàn Méi asked Mary in confusion, “Senior, I was wondering where the box and wall are in this place? The other two islands with Senior Leia and Senior Kazuki contained it but what about here?”

    “The wall here is instead condensed into a question, as for the box, it is somewhere hidden in this courtyard, but only I can get it. For the question, I shall tell you it,” she coughed gently, preparing to speak further.

    “Would you rather be given the powers of a god, power beyond even the famed gods that many of you speak of? Being able to continue cultivating normally, having already know the dao, and so many more in the snap of a finger, with zero consequences, wasting absolutely no time, or would you rather cultivate, reaching immortality before you in two thousand years, and attaining almost no dao insights? And when you do reach that level, do you want to reach god rank in many cycles? Keep in mind that these cycles are over a course of time that is about five hundred trillion years, enough to ensure that you have a high chance of death, and will make sure that all your friends, family, lovers are dead due to many causes, disease, tiredness of life, enemies?”

    “Do not answer that question, but instead tell yourself this question over and over again. People forget to realize that knowledge can be the greatest thing in the world. It would be possible for someone attaining the third rank, Void Foundation, to kill off someone at Rising Dragon only by using tactic and strategy. It would be very hard and nearly impossible, but very few cases have happened.”

    After finishing, Mary walked to the front entrance and snapped her finger causing a portal to open, one where they could see Gōng Xīn sitting, meditating as if he was able to still breathe in this world.

    She looked back at them and pointed towards the portal, “Go, your third and final trial shall start.”

    Everyone nodded and started to head out. This statue was extremely short compared to the first two, but they knew it was because of its subject. The first was to find one’s weakness, which would’ve taken a long time due to the actual fighting and comprehension, while the second was the longest due to the time needed to experience life.

    They walked through the portal to find that they landed on the grassy island.

    “I would have to congratulate you for being able to persist for this long and even gaining some improvement towards your cultivation in the dao. You only have one more trial left, and if you pass the third trial, I will grant you rewards. However, I am surprised that you all even got here, besides that one person who came here through luck, you all can be considered somewhat of a genius in some immortal worlds if so desired.”

    Looking ahead of them, a transparent man with short hair, stared at them, slowly clapping and smiling at the group. Gōng Xīn walked towards them and with each step he took, the ground shook ferociously.

    “Boom!” parts of the island shook as the grass fields were blown apart, with only the statues remaining perfectly still. While the island shook, the three statues, the broken sword, the meditating being, and the book, all lit up, causing a vast mighty aura to appear in the surrounding. Each and every inch of the island was filled with an overpowering aura, causing it to suddenly crack.

    Even though everything started to crack on the island, stone started to appear on the group's feet, shocking them while causing them mass confusion.
    A forest suddenly grew out of the ground in front of them, and the skies started to darken, appearing as if it was the evilest thing in the world. If the void could be considered to be empty, dark, scary, then the forest in front of them was even in a worse case.

    Words could not describe it, instead, the only thing that people could say was that the trees appeared as if it reached Yama’s river instead of the heavens.

    A mortal would even say that they could see it going to the six paths as if they were almost ready to drink the soup and head into one of the paths.
    After Gōng Xīn was a few meters away from the group, the island stopped shaking, and the statues aura disappeared, finally allowing the group to relax. The surrounding areas changed drastically, as the path in front of them were dark and gloomy. The bright and grassy island now looked like a horror fanatics dream, one where even cultivators would be scared to venture in.

    Being silent for a while, Gōng Xīn finally spoke to the group, “Here, you will be going through the forest. Your goal? Come out of the forest, that's it. Though the only difference between the other trials is that you will be given a reward at the end, an actual reward for your hard work. These rewards will vary as it mainly depends on your heart, the harder you resist and advance, the bigger the reward.”

    He turned around and walked towards the forest, “However, how much you advance depends on you, I will be slowly increasing the power of the forest on each one of you, and until you drop, I won’t stop. To be fair this wouldn’t necessarily be difficult as you can't really fail, but keep in mind that there is a good chance for you to forever become crippled due to your heart, or receive no rewards at all, it really just depends on you.”

    When he finished speaking, his body quickly disappeared as he touched the outer edge of the forest, seemingly disappearing from the world. With this happening, everyone felt a suction force and they were blown into the dark and eerie forest.

  • Chapter 79: So I am…?

    Even though everyone was suddenly blown into the forest, only one person remained.

    Zhào Lǚ started to sweat as he was panicking due to everyone’s disappearance. He looked all over, into the empty void, to the forest, to the ground, he was panicking so much he slightly lost his sense of reasoning.

    He decided to go start running towards the forest to try and catch up to them, however, he was sucked up by a suction force.

    “Ahhh!” he screamed, scared out of his mind as everything that happened was way too unexpected. Unlike the others who have had experienced surviving in the wild, dealing with difficult situations, and the like, Zhào Lǚ was still inexperienced like a mortal and did not know what to do.

    When the suction force finally calmed down, Zhào Lǚ opened his eyes to see a quite interesting sight. At this moment his head was laying on someone’s neck, as his body managed to land on someone. However, what surprised him was that the body was made out of stone!

    He could hear an emotionless voice near his ears ringing, “Sometimes a breath can feel as though an infinite amount of years has passed.”

    Zhào Lǚ panicked before landing his body on the ground to reveal the thing he landed on. He looked up to see a gorgeous woman made of stone looking at him with no expression.

    Before he could say anything, he felt a finger wrapped around his lips as he saw the stone woman suddenly bent down, silencing him. “Just call me Leia, and do the same for everyone else, no need to be formal to any of us.”

    He hurriedly nodded, and got up, dusting off the debris on his clothes. However, just after getting situated, he felt two hands wrap around his body, and his face turned bright red. Looking at the hands, he immediately knew who it was, “Kazuki, what are you doing!”

    Having spoken these lines, he could hear a laugh behind him and could confirm that it was the tanned skin, black-dressed woman.

    He looked to his left, and almost collapsed from shock as he saw a light-skinned female with a red scaly dragon wing and tail standing there nonchalant.

    What is happening, why are they all here? Is this some sort of typical romance novel that I keep hearing about?

    To his internal comment, after he sighed he felt something on his chest, only to see Leia also holding him but this time from the front. Having had little contact with females, his face blushed deeply. Despite losing his memories, he still had a general idea about love, and the things between a man and a woman, causing his mind to go crazy.

    “Don’t cuddle around master so much, you know he is still trying to recover,” Mary said while looking away.

    “Master?” Zhào Lǚ said.

    “You really need to get that skull of yours checked. Knowing you, you most likely had a general idea that we were connected to you in some sort of way, so yea, you are our masters, the person who created us,” Leia said in a demeaning tone.

    A drop fell off of Zhào Lǚ’s face as he tried looking away from the woman on his chest, “Well I had some clues and connected some dots, but there was no way of absolutely confirming that at all. At the very least I thought I could have just been someone related to your ‘master’.”

    “Fufu, you are the one who created us, all from scratch, that's all we can tell you for now,” Kazuki backed away from Zhào Lǚ as she could tell that he was about to die from blushing too hard.

    After Leia got off of him, he calmed down before finally looking around him. He could see that the flooring below him was of stone and grass, which created a weird but interestingly beautiful pattern, while the walls were made of logs, and the roof made with a mix of stone and wood.

    They seemed to be in a strange yet oddly beautiful house that was considerably large. Even though it could barely be considered a mansion, it was large enough to run around easily and without any tight spaces.

    The furniture was made of mostly wood and some plant life managed to appear inside, but it was placed so nicely that it did not look like vegetation was growing due to no one being here for ages, instead it looked like if nature and the owner of the house cooperated, forming the house together.

    After settling down on a couch, Kazuki decided to cook in the kitchen, and Leia went off to who knows where. The only person left was Mary, however, an unexpected turn occurred, causing Zhào Lǚ to appear extremely clueless and confused. The humanoid woman with the dragon wings and tail was sitting next to him, while her head rested on his shoulders.

    He wanted to move but he did not want to suddenly push her off or be disrespectful. Being entirely clueless and scared of the close touching, he suddenly thought of something. “Mary, I am your master right?”

    “Yes, you are,” Mary responded with a monotone voice.

    “Then I command you to tell me ways to unlock the seal!” Zhào Lǚ raised his voice slightly, trying to appear tough, however, while saying that he kept stuttering and sounded puny and weak.

    Mary stared at him for the time it takes for incense to burn before shaking her head and saying “No.”  

    Hearing this, Zhào Lǚ felt like collapsing and allowed the woman to continue to lay on him.

    Seemingly having no control over Mary, he just sat there and patiently waited for a few minutes until he heard footsteps approaching. Leia had come back from who knows where and when she did she was holding a stone box.

    Understanding his confusion, she hurriedly replied while opening the stone box, “I prepared a few things for your journey. Until you can utilize qi, you can’t really summon us and only we can pass through, but we can not pay attention to your surroundings due to a task you assigned us before the seal was placed. So while we prepared the treasure to summon us, we prepared a talisman to summon us as well, however, it can only be used in emergency cases.”

    After saying that, she glared at him heavily, “But keep in mind, you must not call on us unless it is extremely important, and by that, I mean that if something happens that is so drastic that even your companions can’t handle it, you should just barely consider summoning us. Every single millisecond is extremely important to you, relying on us for any situation can severely destroy any potential positive outcomes.”

    Zhào Lǚ nodded repeatedly, making sure not to anger the stone woman. He took the talisman and treasure away from her and inspected it carefully. The talisman seemed very ordinary, and had four circles in each corner, with a triangle in the middle. If any talisman experts were to see this they would throw up blood as it would be almost impossible to write a talisman with just five shapes.

    As for the treasure, it was a hair clipping that was very dark, with a crimson tint on one end with a dark grey shadow on the other. He decided to put it on the left side of his hair to make things easy and so he would not have to put it in his storage ring.

    After he finished inspecting the treasures, he heard a yell a bit away, “Dinner is ready!”

  • Chapter 80: Coming To An End

    Munching could be heard in a room with four people. Especially one person who kept eating plate after plate. Luckily there were over fifty plates spread across, containing different food all over.

    “Kazuki, this is just too amazing! Even my chef in the other world didn’t have such good food!” Zhào Lǚ yelled. Even though it could not match up with the dish that Kazuki gave him during the trial, it was still exquisite.

    A gently snort could be heard from Leia as she felt slightly offended to that comment, “Of course Kazuki’s dish will be better. Even if she can’t compete with some really old scary chefs, she is naturally regarded highly. Hell, you made her always cook for you and rarely ever ate anything that was not her food excluding any special events.”

    Sweat dropped off of Zhào Lǚ’s face and he smiled wryly. Everyone continued eating for a while, with Zhào Lǚ consuming over thirty plates in a matter of half an hour. If any bystanders were to look they would heavily wonder whether or not he actually savored anything.

    =====

    A mouthful of blood was spat on the ground as a somewhat tall man almost collapsed on the ground. His hand was digging into the soil as if he was trying to take in the pain from something.

    Sweat poured off of his face, while his eyes were absolute bloodshot. Large dark bags appeared under his eyes, showing off the little time that he was able to sleep.

    The man’s breathing staggered constantly, causing him to breathe slowly at some points, but when he tried to calm down his breathing would accelerate, and the process would repeat over time.

    “N-not real. You aren’t real! Die! Die! Die! Why won’t you just die,” the man screamed, getting up to throw two talismans at a glowing figure in front of him, only to have the talisman activate yet only hit the air.

    “But my love, I repented for my sins, I could see Yama’s eyes looking at me from below when you left! When I looked above the house, I could see Yue Lao sitting on the roof under the bright light of the moon! He said you were my love, he said that if I met you, you would come back and we could finally live together, no lies, no betrayals, just the truth, just come back to me… please,” the figure in front of the man said.

    Hearing this, the man grew more angry, but sad at the same time, “Die! Die! Die! Get out of my life! I killed you! I killed you, so why are you still here! You shouldn’t even be Yama’s river! I made sure that you were gone forever, never to reincarnate, so why are you still here!”

    The figure responded with a monotone voice, “Because I got a glimpse of life, and was brought back to life by a kind senior. He saved me and showed me the way, helped me come all the way here, just to see you! Please, I love you, I really do.”

    A wave of shock hit the man's face, and he hesitated a lot. Yet, despite wanting to go in anger, leave, severing the ties of fate, he instead walked towards the figure. %No, I can’t do it. I don’t want to be betrayed once again, hurt once more!%

    As he got closer to the glowing figure, the glow slowly dimmed down, revealing a young and beautiful woman, enough to cause men to kill each other to simply see her. She opened her arms and allowed the man to hug her, to feel her warmth, to finally be with her.

    “Splash!” Blood dripped down from the man’s back, and his eyes widened once more, but this time the bloodshot eyes went more red as if the veins in his eyes were about to pop.

    “You bitch! I’ll kill you! I knew that after you met that noble you were no good! I should’ve killed you before that! I was right, females are no good, just when I was about to open up, people like you always show up. Always wanting money, always wanting fame, but when it comes to the person itself you treat them like trash!” the man shouted to the point blood was pouring out more, however, he did not care, he would rather die than be calm in a situation like this!

    The woman laughed like a maniac and spoke next to his ear, “Ah, Fù Dí, what do you have that was better than him? He gave me more treasures, gave me money, helped me! All you did was give me resources for cultivation and fed my family. I could’ve gone up and warmed other people's bed yet I saw you. You seemed rich, a proper noble, but no, instead you were just some kind bastard that wanted to truly love me. Pitiful, pitiful indeed.”

    Fù Dí grabbed his book and screamed to the top of his lung, “Jīliè!” The character, 激烈, appeared in the air and a howl could be heard, appearing in the dark forest.

    A beast resembling a Taotie appeared, one with what appears to be some sort of ‘mask’ that is stuck to its head as the eyes were on its side, on the level of the jaw, while at the bottom of its mouth, there appears to be no lower jaw, causing it to have a horrifying yet fierce look. If one were to look at its aura, it did not feel grand and almighty, showing the fact that despite looking somewhat like a Taotie, it was not a real one, instead, it was probably one with some traces of the Taotie or had mixed blood essence.

    The beast named Jīliè quickly ran at the woman only to bite her head off, causing her to collapse. After eating the body, the beast that resembled a Taotie quickly disappeared, presumably back to wherever Fù Dí went.

    After the whole messy event, Fù Dí’s body collapse on the ground as blood poured all over the ground. It would be surprising if he did not from the blood loss, however, something unexpected happened that if Fù Dí was still conscious would be shocked yet angry.

    All the blood disappeared, along with his wound, his body appeared to recover to its perfect state with only the eyes staying bloodshot and dead.
    A bright light elapsed him, revealing five other people, sitting there, as if they were extremely tired and dead. One person stood there, smiling at Fù Dí’s unconscious body. He snapped his finger to cause a ray of light to completely cover his body. He wasn’t the only to have this happened, instead everyone here had also received the same treatment, however, nothing on their body was injured.

    The bright light that covered them suddenly disappeared and everyone, including the recently collapsed Fù Dí, awoken, having surprised looks appear one after another.

    “Congratulations, you guys really are interesting. You aren’t like some typical nobles who all they do is brag about their clan when facing someone stronger than them, instead, you have rights to actually be called geniuses!” Gōng Xīn who was currently standing before all of them laughed and clapped his hands as if he was still completely alive.

    “This concludes the end of all the trials! But for right now, let me tell each and everyone’s score,” he said while looking off to the distance.

  • edited March 6

  • edited March 6
    Chapter 81: Who Is The Strongest?

    “Senior, may I ask where we are?” Wáng Wèi asked kindly, as she knew that the reason they woke up instead of staying unconscious for a few days due to the fatigue of their mentality was due to Gōng Xīn.

    Instead of answering, Gōng Xīn ignored her and continued staring at the distance. There, he could see four people walking towards them. Three were humanoid females, while a man walked in front. Everyone was shocked to see the females especially.

    While they were shocked, Zhào Lǚ had sweat dripping from his face as he was placed in an awkward situation. Leia and Kazuki were walking beside him which was fine as he didn’t mind them walking with him. As for Mary, her hand was holding his hands, and when he tried to remove his hand from hers, he could not feel his hand at all.

    Mary did not let him move a single bit and instead forced him to hold her hand. Seeing the two, the group's eyes stared at each other with great suspicion. They had clearly met only recently yet they were so close. Even Fù Dí who was filled with envy had to admit that his senior brother was a player. Luckily Zhào Lǚ could not read their thoughts or else he would’ve started to panic long ago.

    After the four arrived closer, Gōng Xīn clapped his hand and started to speak, “I shall announce the results of the third trial, however, I would like to ask first. Who do you think is the person with the strongest dao heart, and had the most will power?”

    Obviously confused, everyone looks at the other five in the group and started to ponder who was the strongest. They all started to doubt one another and even started to doubt themselves. When they started to compare with each other, they realize how weak they were and started to hesitate.

    “Interesting, you all are very interesting indeed!” Gōng Xīn laughed with joy as he found the decision of the group interesting. Even though no one said anything, even the slightest movement, shake, and hesitation told him everything.

    “It is probably because all of you are friends with each other, but none of you showed arrogance. Instead, all of you were cowards! Impressive indeed!” he laughed once more after he finished speaking.

    However, everyone was confused. He did not speak with an arrogant or demeaning tone, so they did not know why he called them ‘cowards’ if he did not really mean it as an insult.

    Zhàn Méi spoke up to speak for everyone, “Senior, may I ask why being a coward is a good thing then?”

    Gōng Xīn smiled after hearing this and responded in a kind tone, “Being cowardly does not mean that you are bad or weak. Sometimes it is best to be a coward, just like how awful it can be to be too arrogant. What matters best is that you know how to control your arrogance but control your cowardness. Remember, the dao heart can easily allow one to turn to a Buddha, but also to the devil.

    For the actual scores, I shall tell you. Due to your age and experience, the scores are pretty close, so the person who got first is only slightly better. 
    What matters the most is that you understand your flaws and that you understand that no matter how much of a genius you are, if you do not persist then you will fall like dust.

    Wáng Wèi, last place, survived for five minutes. Fù Dí, fifth place, survived for five minutes and ten seconds. Láng Ma, fourth place, survived for five and a half minutes. Servant, third place, survived for five minutes and forty seconds. Jīn Fèng, second place, survived for six minutes and twenty seconds. And finally, Zhàn Méi, first place, survived for seven minutes.”

    Some were shocked by the outcome, while others were not surprised at all. Especially the group from Liokal, they all grew up together and had an understanding of each other's strengths and weaknesses.

    Leia slowly walked forward and spoke after everyone inhaled the information, concerned that a few would have shadows in their heart or start to have doubt, “Keep in mind that each trial had some correlation to one’s dao heart, and some of you were heavily affected. If we were to give you a few months of time then we would have no clue on who would be placed where, only general assumptions, but not precise enough to know where everyone’s place would be.”

    Clapping his hands to catch everyone's attention, Gōng Xīn spoke after Leia finished, “I shall hand everyone’s reward based on their ranking and time. These rewards will have almost no effect on your powers as they will simply be items that help with your cultivation. If you don’t want to rely on them or want to give them to anyone else feel free to do so, but keep in mind that even other worlds with a handful of immortals can be better or worse than your planet. Some planets don’t even have immortals, but even those with a handful or few can also be might powerful than you guys. This is also not even mentioning about stronger worlds.”

    With a snap of his finger, six boxes appeared in everyone’s hand, each made of some hard but shiny material. With a swipe, the boxes all went towards the individual’s storage treasure and they all bowed towards Gōng Xīn with great respect and thanks.

    “Let us head out now, everything has been completed and it is time for you to go home,” the transparent figure waved his hand, causing a massive portal to arise that glow with a dark yet warm feel. If one were to stare from afar then they would think that the four evil beasts were being set loose, yet once they got closer, they could feel that the portal emitted an oddly warm aura. If they were to close their eyes, they would think that the warmth was from the arms of a mother, but they sadly knew that that wasn’t the case.

    When Gōng Xīn was about to head into the portal he stopped suddenly, causing everyone to halt while looking at each other. “I almost forgot!” he snapped his finger, causing Zhào Lǚ’s appearance to change to how he looked like when he was unconscious. His height changed, causing him to appear taller, his face turned more masculine as a beard was grown and his muscles showed more. Along with other slight changes, if no one saw him before, no one could guess that the tall muscular figure was Zhào Lǚ!

    Gōng Xīn spoke to reassure the young man of what was happening, “The place we are about to go to has some people who might recognize you, however, not everyone likes you, some with nothing more than to kill you, and if they do recognize you, even if they can’t do anything they will certainly notify others.”

    After hearing this, Zhào Lǚ mentally prepared himself and made sure he would not act like a child and act professionally. He desperately wanted to recover his memories and if he wanted to do so then he would have to put in some effort.

    The three ladies that were behind Zhào Lǚ suddenly waved their hands and disappeared into the abyss. Everyone wondered where they went but no one dared to ask. Only Zhào Lǚ knew where they went as they told him due to giving him a way to summon them.

    The group walked into the portal and after a few seconds of walking blindly in a pitch black room with only two light sources, they made it out to see that they were in the tower once more.

    “Rumble!” the ground shook as if everything was about to collapse. They could hear some shouts around them despite the library being so huge and heavily protected. “Quick activate the formation! This strike is oddly stronger than the last!”


  • Chapter 82: The Temple of Damnation

    “What’s happening!” Jīn Fèng and the others started to panic as the rumbling was so strong they had to use their cultivation to stand somewhat still. Amongst the group, the only person who was not shaken by the event was Gōng Xīn.

    He sighed and started talking out the huge space, most likely heading outside the library. “Do you remember the lightning from outside? That is from the heavens. The heavens will continue launching attacks after attacks, shooting an endless amount for eternity.”

    The servant chimed in a respectful manner, “Why is it constantly targeting this place? Is it that special?”

    Gōng Xīn smiled and did not give him a straightforward answer, “For the reason, learn it after you become powerful gods or gain a huge backer. All you need to know is that the place is called the ‘Temple of Damnation.’”

    No one else dared to ask anything and continued walking. While the rumbling happened, the group decided to glance at the scrolls and books to take their mind off of it. Zhào Lǚ, in particular, was entranced as he was very tempted to pull them out and start reading. But he knew that that would most likely cause him to get him and the others in trouble so he refrained.

    After about ten minutes of walking, they finally made it out of the library and their eyes opened wide. Besides the previous Buddhist who were guarding the entrance of the library, there were so many people who were wearing a yellow robe wandering around the place. If briefly estimated, the number of Buddhists in the floor they were on would go over the millions!

    The number of people here were only the amount that they could see with their eyesight, and there were for sure many more, if not, then over billions of Buddhist just on this floor.

    The enormous gargantuan sized tortoise appeared in front of them this time and after taking a glance he went back to his position, “If you want, feel free to stay for a day or two. The storm is still kicking and for some odd reason it is even more powerful than before, leaving most likely won’t be possible.”

    “Thank you, senior, we’ll be staying at the courtyard I usually go to then,” Gōng Xīn waved his hand and carried the others with the remaining aura he had on his transparent figure, speeding through the area quickly.

    After speeding through many figures, and rushing all over the place, the group finally managed to find a run-down mansion that was small in size and looked dusty. If any outsider were to pass by they would be extremely perplexed on why such an ugly estate resided in the temple.

    However, if they looked again, they would be able to see four Buddhist standing at each corner, acting as if they were statues, not daring to move.

    Clearly, they were guarding this area, which further confused anyone who has no knowledge of why they were doing so in the first place.

    When Gōng Xīn got closer to the estate, one of the Buddhist quickly ran up to him. To the others, it appeared as if he teleported, as the speed was so quick their eyes filled with a mortal cultivation could not comprehend the person's movement.

    The Buddhist claps his fist and bowed, “Senior, it has been a long time since you have come back. I am assuming that you are going to take shelter here due to the storm. Let me summon some fellow brothers and sister to clean up the place and prepare food.”

    With that being said, the Buddhist quickly disappeared, gathering others to help fix the area.

    While Gōng Xīn waited for the others, he took out a key and opened the fenced gates, allowing everyone to have a full glimpse of the outside.

    One word could be used to describe it; hideous. Due to it not being properly cleaned, the plant life almost seemed withered, and if it were not for the temple being a holy place, weeds and other disastrous things would have grown. It is a shock that the outer court looked prettier than the mansion itself.

    A breath could be heard as Gōng Xīn smelled the surrounding air. The air around them was not bad but it was not good at the same time, it could be said to smell a bit worse than the poor areas of a kingdom or nation, but at the very least it was bearable.

    Even though the others weren’t too fond of the place, Gōng Xīn smiled after smelling the area. “The smell of this place always brings back memories, haha, I suddenly feel as if I have grown a billion years old.

    This place is not really wonderous or amazing like how you or other nobles live, but it is certainly a way to live. Take some time to wander around the mansion and courtyard. No matter how one trains, they will need a break in some shape or form, no one can truly cultivate for every second of their life, they will have to entertain themselves one day.”

    Everyone nodded and decided to check out the area. They all decided on where their rooms should be and despite the horrendous sight of the mansion, they acted like little spoiled brats as they ran and walked around doing who knows what.

    The ravaging rumble from outside simmered down as it was enough for them to not have any of their cultivation out as they could walk like mortals again. The rumbling still occurred but it only felt like a tickle under one's feet.

    While everyone was doing their own thing, Zhào Lǚ wandered around the kitchen and touched some of the knives and other kitchen tools. He couldn’t cultivate or meditate like the others, so he did what he would usually do, toy with things until he could finally do something else.

    However, before he could do anything else, he heard a voice down the hall, “Brat how dare you to touch anything! You should feel blessed to even see this place, yet here you are dirtying the area with your presence!”

    “Brother calm down, you know whose he’s with, he is fine. Come let us go somewhere else,” another voice resounded as the previous Buddhist who was out at one of the corners appeared. He was wandering around with the person who just yelled at him.

    “Hmph, damn bastards,” the angry man said as he restrained himself.

    Zhào Lǚ wanted to slightly collapse as he hasn’t really been yelled at in such a way. Even though he retained some knowledge of things, it was the basics, how to walk, the things that males and females have, and other things. But one of the things that he was lacking was experience. He was like a little baby that had finally crawled into the real world, but instead of being a blessing and joyful, it was painful and scary.

    He knew to not be a brat and ‘manned’ up, taking in the fear and storing it, not letting it out. He decided to wander around again as he wanted to find somewhere peaceful to chill out at.

    He managed to find a small courtyard that revealed the temples bright roof, allowing him to rest as he did not want to deal with the angry Buddhist. He laid down on the grass and stared up at the ceiling, thinking about everything that happened, since he awakened, all the way to this very point.

    Suddenly, a gentle male voice appeared next to him as he thought to himself, “It is not good to lay here you know, we still haven’t cleaned up anything and we need to trim the plants while making sure it looks beautiful.”

  • Chapter 83: Gōng Xīn’s Curse

    “Ah, sorry, I was just bored,” Zhào Lǚ laughed and smiled wryly. He got up and swept his clothes. Despite Gōng Xīn casting a technique to make him look muscular and different from his usual self, he still maintained his attitude. This caused the male that spoke to him to be confused, but he didn’t be rude.

    “My name is Shū, it is already quite impressive that you lot have been able to enter the tower, nevertheless receives nephew’s inheritance,” the male Buddhist spoke to him while sweeping the pathways in the courtyard.

    “Nephew?” Zhào Lǚ asked in confusion.

    “Ah, my bad. Some of refer to him as nephew due to his master. Someone who was destined to be great. Even if he did not reach the apex, there would not be too many people who could rival him, and all he needed was time, at least that was what the ancestor said. Yet sadly we were forbidden to help,” the young yellow-robed bald man sighed.

    “Why can’t you help? I’m assuming with your temple’s power it would not be too hard to help him recover unless the process to help him is really costly?” confused, Zhào Lǚ spoke out as someone of Gōng Xīn’s status should have gotten help.

    Shū sighed before speaking, “Because his master forbids anyone from helping. His master said that if anyone who had close relations to Gōng Xīn, helped him it would be very detrimental to his cultivation and future path. He said it would be best for him to die than to receive help.”

    Stunned, Zhào Lǚ barked back at that comment, “But why? Is it not cruel for someone to suddenly banish their own family to death?” He felt a slight burst of anger as what the Buddhist in front of him said, sounded ridiculous. He would rather sacrifice almost everything to keep his new friends safe, and even cruel monsters who have committed horrendous deeds would still have something that they cherish and love.

    Realizing that he went out of turn, he apologized to Shū. The bald man waved his hand, telling him that he should not worry. “What happened to Nephew Xīn was fate. It can not be said to be his master’s fault as he instead tried to save him. You may not understand this in your lifetime, but his master was someone so powerful that he only needed a thought to calculate nephew’s future. Even though concrete predictions were not accurate as it could be decided by a factor that the person who did the divination did not calculate, his master was already someone who could calculate it to the best of his abilities.

    He said that if someone related to nephew helped, or the person connected to that person tried to help then it would only bring disaster. Even though his master did not say what would happen if he truly died, he said that death would be a better solution to the problem that could arise from helping. I don’t agree with anything that his master says, but you have to acknowledge that his master had some points and that his strength did not lie to anyone at all.

    As a child, Gōng Xīn was our little brat, annoying at times, but we loved him. But at the end of the day, everything must die. One day we will all pass away, it is just a matter of time. Even though I would love to say hello to him and have a nice chat, we will just have to leave him.”

    Having finished, Shū kept sweeping the area. He did not display a single trace of emotions, a tear did not fall out, a smile did not bloom, instead, the void appeared, as if it was the embodiment of the young Buddhist.

    Zhào Lǚ bowed towards the Buddhist and said a few goodbyes before finally leaving towards his room. Despite being still angered at what happened to Gōng Xīn, he kept it in and started to practice the sword to vent his frustration.

    Luckily his friends kept a small stash of really weak weapon, or else he would have been forced to simply hang out in his room, bored out of his mind.
    Due to there being no sun or moon inside the temple, there was no sense of time. One could only guess. A few days passed since the group had stayed here, eating, meditating, chatting, the process repeated every day.

    The time spent in this mansion felt so quick that Zhào Lǚ had to remember what he even did throughout the time here. Slightly saddened to leave, he went to the entrance and prepared to finally head off to the world that he woke up in.

    “Let us go, this may not be your final time in the temple, but it will certainly take an extremely large amount of time. See what you want but we should probably hurry up,” Gōng Xīn walked presumably towards the entrance of the temple, not looking back to see if the others followed.

    Everyone rushed to catch up with Gōng Xīn, and in due time there were at the entrance. The enormously large amount of Buddhists were still at the door, however, they could see a few people wandering around, going to many different places, and focusing on the formations that existed around the gargantuan door.

    One thing that stood out from the rest was that there was a beautiful woman standing in the middle of the door. Seemingly blocking the path, yet, no matter what she did she did not seem to be threatening or harbored ill intent.

    Her yellow robe was plain as the others, and even though her hair was not cut off, it only reached her shoulders. Yet despite this, her beauty, her body, and everything about her that would cause a man to go crazy still shined like a beacon, even Wáng Wèi, and the others couldn’t beat her.

    The door to the temple suddenly opened, shaking the surrounding the area. Weird and complex formations slowly unwind itself, unsealing its powers to allow the door to budge. After finally budging, the group went on and strived towards the outer court of the temple.

    Zhào Lǚ walked with the group and was finally relieved to know that they were leaving. But before they finally left, he took a glance at the beautiful woman wearing a yellow robe. Death appeared in front of his face as he looked away. Even though the woman did not look at him and instead had her eyes closed, he felt as if taking another glance instantly granted death to him.

    He hurried along and was tempted to run out of the temple, but he walked at a steady pace and before he knew it, he and the others finally left.

    The door to the temple slowly closed as the area rumbled once more. Yet the major difference was that the woman slightly shook her arms. A tear ran down her face, and when the door finally closed, another tear dropped down. She began to fly towards somewhere unknown and while she did she mumbled, “Goodbye.”

  • edited March 12

    Chapter 84: Memories of an Immortal

    “Rip!” a portal was ripped open, expanding a mile long. On the other side of the portal, one could see a huge marble room. This was the world that the others lived in! To be even more specific, this was where the trials even started.

    A group of people walked out of the portal, into the marble room. Each and every one of them expressed signs of relief and relaxation. They were all tired from the trials and wanted to go home to their friends and family. In fact, it could be said that they spent an unknown amount of time there, but they knew that a year at the very least has passed. Whether it was just one, a few, or even over a decade, they had no idea and could only approximate.

    Gōng Xīn stood in front of them, and within due time, the portal completely closed, shutting the entrance from their world to the temple. When the portal finally closed, the transparent finally spoke, “With everything over, I shall give each and every one of you a gift. This gift shall be the memories of my younger self.”

    Having said this, shock appeared in front of everyone’s eyes. They thought everything was going to be over and that they would leave, but instead, they were going to receive another gift. But the gift that was stated was what confused them but shocked them.

    To allow someone to view their memories was invading on their personal secrets, space, and everything. Even grand characters would only allow extremely small memories to be passed on, rarely would it ever contain anything about them but merely a display of information, how to execute a skill, and many other things.

    To many, passing on memories of their past was in some situation even more sacred than passing on blood essence from a magical beast. Even though blood essence could be recovered if given an extremely long time and an extremely large amount of treasures it was one of the most sacred things for a beast, but for something to be even more valuable than blood essence could easily tell its importance in the world.

    Gōng Xīn began to speak after the crowd finally calmed down, “This memory will show you how I met master, and how I died. It will also show you my ascension, which will be extremely beneficial to you. My ascension specifically is something that you guys will only see probably never see, even some geniuses will not be able to execute a tribulation like mine, so watch closely.”

    Everyone nodded quickly and prepared for the gift. However, even though they were prepared, they suddenly fell to the ground unconscious, unable to even know that they couldn’t resist.

    A white light suddenly flashed, and a man’s eyes slowly opened. He was in a grassy forest, laying next to a gushing waterfall, one that was stabbing into the rocks like a sword but caressing the grass like a baby. The man that was on the ground was none other than Zhào Lǚ.

    “Honey, you know I am not as fast as you! Stop running so fast dammit!” a female’s voice yelled throughout the forest. The voice contained a mix of love but also anger as if she wanted to beat whoever she was talking to a pulp.

    “Haha, Bǐshǒu, you are supposed to be fast and swift as a dagger, like your name implies, yet you are to slow,” a young man soared through the forest before landing near the waterfall where Zhào Lǚ was at.

    When Zhào Lǚ took a closer look at the man, he was suddenly shocked. This man looked almost exactly like Gōng Xīn but was just slightly younger!

    “Damn bastard! I will beat you later if you keep insulting me! You know that even though my cultivation is at the third rank, Void Foundation, it is still unstabilized! Your stupid self at the Qi Holder rank is inferior to me but if it were not for me you would not have gained that movement technique!” the woman shouted at him before landing next to him, sweat dripping from her face

    After the woman berated the younger version of Gōng Xīn, the man took out a large blanket inscribed with phoenix's, appearing as if they were flying around. He then took out trays of food and placed them on the large blanket, before sitting down on it.

    The woman named Bǐshǒu sat next to him and laid her head on his shoulder. Despite yelling at him earlier, she was completely calm and even gently smiled while the two were together.

    They must be lovers. I didn’t know senior had a dao partner, I wondered what happened to his dao partner when senior died? Zhào Lǚ
    contemplated. After studying the scene for a bit, he was completely sure that the two could not see him and were most definitely just a fragment of memories.

    Even though he wondered where the others were at, he took a guess that the others were in separate ‘dreams’. When he looked up he was slightly shocked as the sun appeared to move slightly faster than usual, and when he looked back at the couple, he saw their mouths, their speech, everything about their bodies and their surroundings moving incredibly fast.

    This must be senior simply skipping time, showing us some of the details before skipping to other major events.

    After the sun slowly settled down the two finally left and Zhào Lǚ was teleported to a small village. He was floating in a place that allowed him to see almost every inch of the village.

    While he looked around the village, he heard a loud voice blasting through the somewhat small area, “Bastard! I told you to stay away from her! Even the grand elders are getting pissed off and are ready to send hundreds of assassins to your sorry behind. Look at us, we small outer disciples are being lenient on you by warning you. Looks like you really need to be punished.”

    Three people were shouting at a young man, with one of them kicking him into the ground, causing debris and blood to fly around. When Zhào Lǚ looked closely, he could see Gōng Xīn being beaten to a pulp by those three men.

    All three of them were laughing as they watched him get beat and did not appear as though they were going to stop. Each one of them wore robes that were decorated with blue waves, green plants, and purple lightning inscribed onto it.

    “Our Tree Lightning Sect do not want trash like you! If you could make it to even the fourth rank, Pillar Descent, then we might have considered you to be a bit of a threat, but you are already approaching forty years of age and you are still so weak! Your talents are so trash you will never be worthy to even look at Senior Sister Bǐshǒu!” the other man amongst the three stomped Gōng Xīn’s head, causing even more blood to spurt out.

    The men were clearly toying with him and had no intention of killing him due to fearing their senior sister’s wrath. However, that did not stop them from crushing him so bad that he would be severely injured for a while.

    “Hey stop bullying him!” a child’s voice came behind them, causing them to stop before looking at the child with angry eyes.

    “What did you say brat!” one of the men suddenly charged forward with little strength, kicking the mortal child into the nearby wall, causing it to cough up blood. The man that kicked the child started to prepare for another attack.

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