IHSC Chapter 36

Chapter 36

It had all been a big lie. From the beginning, those beautiful things he heard were all made up…..

Wang Xiao Mie looked down from above with indifference at the assassins lying on the ground, and also a certain Shidi of his. The child he doted on and treated like a little brother as he watched him grow was holding a sword dripping with blood. There was extreme panic in his eyes as he looked at the frozen smile of his Shixiong who happened to pass by the scene.

That was the year Wen Feng Jin came of age. It was also then that he discovered the disappearing students were spies sent by the emperor and the filthy truth behind the happy facade of the Academy. 

Everyone was hiding secrets…

He watched as Wen Feng Jin dropped his sword and rushed to him, holding him while desperately trying to explain. The men tasked with cleaning up the bodies retreated to the shadows humbly and skillfully. Clearly, they had done this many times.

“Shixiong, I, I did not want to kill them. It’s the treacherous emperor who wants to kill me! It’s the truth, it’s the truth…. Don’t ignore me…..Shixiong.”

Looking at the fear and desperation in the teenager’s eyes and the tears that flowed from it, Wang Xiao Mie turned softhearted again. He hugged the killer and looked at the corpses on the ground in fear. Like any ordinary person after knowing their loved one was a murderer, Wang Xiao Mie was in disbelief and torment.

His mind was blank but deep down, he was telling himself: he’s a good kid, he didn’t want to do this. 

He made all kinds of excuses and forced himself to forget.

“It’s ok….. I know they are all assassins. Don’t be scared, I won’t tell.”

This is ancient times, the child was just protecting himself. He’s already terrified… I have to help him, I have to protect him…

The young Wang Xiao Mie was scared himself but he felt that as the older one, he had to be brave. He hugged the shivering youth in hope of comforting him with his warmth.

But this was where he made his mistake.

The youth hugging the past Wang Xiao Mie rested his head against his shoulder. His face was void of tears and panic. What remained was a smile and darkness deep as the abyss in those peculiar pupils.

And all this was just the beginning. The year was 1328.

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Maybe because the supreme emperor was still not satisfied with just killing Wen Feng Jin’s entire clan and sending him to the Academy to be tortured, he decided to revoke his hypocritical kindness and wipe Wen Feng Jin from this earth.

Naturally, Wen Feng Jin was not a feeble little pitiful who would tolerate this. He had gathered his father’s troops a long time ago. It was this year that Wen Feng Jin left the Academy and entered jianghu, establishing his covert military.

The two who were separated for the first exchanged letters through pigeons. The system continued urging Wang Xiao Mie to complete his task or it would kill him.

Wang Xiao Mie had always been a simpleton but he was not that stupid. He knew all along that Wen Feng Jin left to kill for revenge. On his back were more than two hundred lives that perished. The child had to watch his parents and relatives killed and then sent to be bullied by the children and teachers in the Academy. 

Why did his little Feng Jin have to endure all of these tortures and humiliation? And even so, this did not mean that he would be a mass murderer when he grows up!

At such a tender age, Wen Feng Jin had to live in hatred and nightmares…

He often dreamt of returning to that blood-drenched scene.

So until he was ten, Wang Xiao Mie would carry the skinny to the bones child with the fire in his eyes to his room and soothed him into slumber. At that time, he had learned a nursery tune of the Northern Kingdom to sing to him.

Later when Wen Feng Jin was older, he could still occasionally hear him humming the song …

So how could Wang Xiao Mie not love the little guy? His heart is made of flesh and blood after all. From the moment he started to care for the child, from the moment Wen Feng Jin looked at him with sentimental and trusting eyes…

Wang Xiao Mie’s heart was already on his side.

He would constantly persuade Wen Feng Jin not to kill and not be cruel but he knew deep down that the violent hatred in his heart had turned him into a demon.

With his father, the regent’s legacy, Wen Feng Jin quickly grew in power. In just a few years, he changed the world to his favor and killed the officials responsible for revenge. It was then that he was given the title of Dark Lord.

The ill-favored revenge was met with a formidable counterattack. Mighty as Wen Feng Jin was with his inherited legacies and world-shifting talents, the emperor and members of jianghu had their own accumulation of power.

Wang Xiao Mie who was awaiting his death back in the Academy overheard that Wen Feng Jin had been stabbed and heavily wounded. His current whereabouts were unknown.

And hence, Wang Xiao Mie left the Academy in a hurry.

For that, the dean looked at him and said: “Mian Deng, you were my favorite student but you have disappointed me. How could you even think of leaving to help that beast? If you leave now, do not ever come back! Once you stepped out of this door, you’re no longer my disciple!”

“Teacher, he’s not a beast, he’s a human being.” Wang Xiao Mie took one last look at the Academy and the angry face of his mentor then departed with resolve.

How did he manage to find Wen Feng Jin after that?

It all came down to the system which had been with him all these years, consistently imploring him to do his task. How it wished it could give him wings to get there faster.

With the guidance system, Wang Xiao Mie quickly located Wen Feng Jin at a brothel.

That year, Wang Xiao Mie stood in front of a bevy of seductive girls turning green from anger!

F**k you! Here I was worried sick while you’re having fun at a brothel?!

But when he showed his token and was brought to the basement, his anger vanished instantly after seeing Wen Feng Jin with a bandage over his chest. There was a bitter medicinal smell in the air. 

When Wen Feng Jin saw him, his eyes lit up brightly. Then his mood changed from joy to anger.

“Shixiong, what are you doing here?! Do you know how dangerous it is!”

“You still realize that I’m your Shixiong? Why didn’t you tell me that you’re badly injured?! Do you know how f**king worried I was?!”

“But I don’t want you to be in danger!”

“But I don’t want you to die somewhere without me even knowing. If so, I would rather be by your side! We’ll die together if that’s what to come!”

Wen Feng Jin and Wang Xiao Mie both refused to step back.

After some time, Wen Feng Jin softened and his eyes were filled with a gentleness which then flashed with a darkness that made Wang Xiao Mie jump.

“I’m not going to let you die.”

“En….. I know!”

This was where it started.

The two treasured each other with the budding feelings of first love. Wen Feng Jin’s crush for Wang Xiao Mie was transparent to the point that even the dull-minded Shixiong was aware of how his Shidi felt for him.

For Wang Xiao Mie who only recently discovered his sexuality, there were still reservations in his heart. While he was still going back and forth in indecisiveness, the emperor had sent his dark guards to pursue them.

Their hideout in the brothel was discovered.

What happened after was just as Wen Feng Jin had told him. They were being hunted like prey. One by one, Wen Feng Jin’s subordinates died, and eventually, only the two of them were left alive.

Perhaps it was the emperor’s sadistic tastes, every time they were at death’s door, those assassins would let them live.

Not a patch of skin on Wen Feng Jin that did not have a wound. The internal injuries and fractures turned his breathing laborious. Half of his arm had its flesh cut off, exposing the dense white bone. Even if it was treated, a terrible scar would still remain. The gash on his stomach was getting bigger with each step he took carrying Wang Xiao Mie on his back. No amount of cloth could block the blood gushing from it.

Wang Xiao Mie was no better. Other than its navigational function, the garbage system had only one other used which was to repeatedly threaten him with his death.

Wang Xiao Mie blocked an oncoming attack from a dark guard for Wen Feng Jin. The weapon injured his lung. With both his legs broken and his internals badly ruptured…

He did not have long to live.

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At the same time, the system also quietened down, most likely it had given up on him.

Only Wen Feng Jin endured the humiliation of being played with by the dark guards and carried him back to the Academy.

The blood dripping from their bodies were like rain droplets, staining each stone step they passed by.

The dazzling sun focused its rays on them and the condensed air was preparing for a downpour. Wen Feng Jin had long reached his limits. The will to save Wang Xiao Mie was the only thing sustaining him.

He carried Wang Xiao Mie and the two were like miserable walking corpses.

“…..Shixiong, it’ll be fine…..we’re almost at the Academy. It doesn’t matter if they don’t welcome me, as long as you are saved…..”

“Shixiong, don’t sleep….. Don’t sleep….. Fen Jin is begging you……”

Not hearing a response from him, Wen Feng Jin cried.

The prideful Wen Feng Jin who was bent on revenge and never accepted defeat no matter how the heavens and earth oppressed him, tortured him, and forced him to his death, was shedding with tears.

He said: “Please, I beg you, please don’t sleep, Shixiong…..”

The bitter drops flowed down his bloodstained face, leaving a clean trail.

Wang Xiao Mie longed to raise his hand and pat his head but he was too weak. He decided to make a joke to stop his crying and tell him that he had not closed his eyes yet.

But when he spoke, blood gushed out and sprayed on Wen Feng Jin’s shoulder.

“Shixiong?!”

“En….” 

He could only respond using a soft nasal tone but it was this sound that became all of Wen Feng Jin’s strength. He sped up his steps even with the agonizing pain that could drive a person crazy and the pouring of blood that rained on the stone floor.

Halfway through, the brewing rain finally poured down like frost added to the snow and fuel to the fire. It was as though even the heavens wanted them dead.

Wang Xiao Mie’s eyelids were drooping due to the cold rain, his pupils were losing focus.

He couldn’t hold on much longer…..

Wen Feng Jin could also feel his lifeforce waning. He wanted to put Wang Xiao Mie down and hold him in his arms but his hands were injured to the point his bones were visible as the blood was being washed by the rain.

Wen Feng Jin dared not stop. Now he only depended on his own perseverance to go on, stopping here would mean that he may never stand up again.

Against the imposing mountain rain piercing through them, Wen Feng Jin finally carried him to the Academy on the mountain top.

“Shixiong, we made it! You’re saved. Don’t be afraid, you’ll be saved soon!”

Wen Feng Jin carefully placed him on the ground and struggled to stand up. He pounded desperately on the door.

IHSC Chapter 35

Chapter 35

“Looks like you’re afraid I’ll reveal something. Ha ha. Let me guess why.” Under the strike from the sword filled with murderous intent, the man dodged an attack meant to cut his head off. In a malicious voice so loud everyone present could hear, he said: “Because he doesn’t have his memories, isn’t it? Ha ha, I’m too familiar with the power of the elixir. You used blood and the concoction to sustain him and at the same time, gained control over him. Otherwise, how could the man who hated you to the bones back then have such a submissive attitude towards you?”

Control? Hate? Weren’t they a harmonious pair of Shixiong and Shidi? 

Wang Xiao Mie felt a loss for words looking at Wen Feng Jin.

And Wen Feng Jin kept up with his attacks calmly as though the small talk did not affect him.

Seeing his words were ignored, the man endured several blows to his body and retaliated with a barrage of relentless sword dance and was finally able to immobilize Liao Yue sword. Were Wen Feng Jin a second later to dodge, his fingers holding the sword would have been cut off!

“Haha! Wen Feng Jin, you pitiful man! I stole the concoction that should have belonged to your beloved Shixiong! You want it back? Alright! Kill me and take my heart, then you’ll have the other half of the concoction!”

“But… If I killed you instead, I can get rid of this ugly appearance and restore my looks.”

“You need my heart to fully revive your Shixiong and I need your heart to be normal again.”

The two men once again distanced themselves from each other.

Because both had accelerated healing, the damage sustained could only be judged through their clothes. The man’s attire was now tattered all over while Wen Feng Jin had cuts on his right arm, shoulder, and waist.

“Feng Jing!” Wang Xiao Mie anxiously took out his Kai Ming.

“Don’t worry.” Wen Feng Jin looked at him and comforted. He then turned to the man in front: “You won’t be able to defeat me. Yan Chun, you came here for me to kill you!”

“Ha ha. You think so? Wen Feng Jin, back then you deceived me and gave away the immortality elixir. These thousand years, do you know what I had to go through before I could endure the power of the concoction and stay alive? What kind of monster have I turned into?”

Tut tut tut, you finally remember my name.” Yan Chun touched his disfigured face and sneered: “How could you be so cold to your former ‘wife’? Oh? Did you not tell your Shixiong what our relationship was?”

“…..”

Wang Xiao Mie’s eyes were wide apart: “What wife?! Ha?”

He took a closer look at the facial features of the man named Yan Chun: a square shaped face, the stiff corpse-like expression, the lines of wrinkles that appeared along with the years, the little mustache…..

“Shixiong, I can explain, I…..” Wen Feng Jin frantically turned back to appease Wang Xiao Mie but he found that Wang Xiao Mie did not have the look of jealousy, anger, or even a trace of disappointment that he had expected. 

Instead, in a tone filled with disgust, he said: “Woah, you have weird tastes….”

Even the mentor and her apprentice watching by the sidelines showed the same icky expression.

“Yii.”

“Bleh.”

Wen Feng Jin: “…..”

Wen Feng Jin remained speechless. He then rushed straight at Yan Chun with a savage look in his eyes: “I will kill you!”

After that, they continued the sword fight.

This time round, Wen Feng Jin was mercilessly aggressive, very soon, the man would not be able to withstand any more of his attacks.

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As the deadly duel was being played out, Lei Jie had a secret discussion with Xiao Luo.

The details are as follows:

“Wow! Liao Yue sword!!! Liao Yue sword!!! Oh f**k! Kai Ming!!! Kai Ming!!! Divine weapon Kai Ming! F**k! F**k! F**k!”

“Shibo, calm down! Stop staring at the weapons. Look at how powerful that big dumpling is. Let’s not watch anymore and quickly get out of here!”

“No way! You can leave without me. Even if I die, I have to at least touch Kai Ming’s face~~tut tut tut, I have to touch it!”

“…..Shibo, we could lose our lives at any minute. Let’s run while they are still fighting…”

“Yes yes yes! While they are still fighting let’s go around to the back. I sensed a clean aura from the zombie in the coffin. I don’t think he’s sick in the head like the other two! Let’s go grope!!!”

“Even if I die I have to die under Kai Ming!”

“…..”

You’re just saying that because that zombie looks like a pushover.

My Shibo’s obsession with legendary weapons is incurable.

Back to the other side, everything seemed to have been settled.

Yan Chung fell to the ground with Liao Yue deep in his chest and a red liquid stained his lips. His sword was also cut in half. As though he could not feel the pain and his impending death, he stared repulsively at Wen Feng Jin who was looking down at him.

His hand reached for something but because he was nailed to the ground and the man standing over him showed a complete lack of compassion, the hand was cut and fell motionlessly.

“Ha, hahaha.”

“Wen Feng Jin, when I was young, I was ordered to search for the elixir. And you, for your Shixiong, you baited me. You gave me the right to stay with you… because there were too many who worshipped you, do crazy things for you, so I thought I was the special one. I thought disobeying the emperor’s order and joining you was the best way to make you like me. I thought I made the right choice.”

“But you took the elixir from me and gave it to your dying Shixiong. When I knew the truth the hatred almost killed me! But who knew, after that day, he still died…”

Cough!

Yan Chun coughed violently as blood spilled from his mouth. The heart was the lifeblood for those who took the concoction. Being wounded in the chest, his strength was long gone and he was approaching his death.

Wen Feng Jin lowered his head.

“Such beautiful eyes, like looking at ants from above.” Yan Chun laughed: “But I don’t want to be an ant, I want to be just like your Shixiong, someone who can stand beside you.”

“…. when he died that year, I was overjoyed he passed the elixir to you. He must’ve wanted to punish you. After all, you not only imprisoned him but you also killed everyone he cared about.”

“Seeing you go crazy in self-punishment, my heart ached but I was also happy.”

“You finally get to taste the pain of yearning for a love you can’t have! To him, you’re even worse than me!”

He made several waves of maniacal laughter. At the same time, Wen Feng Jin had already kneeled down. He removed the sword and opened up the wound on Yan Chun’s chest. Yan Chun’s throat was making gasping noises but he used the last of his strength to convey a millennium of obsession and madness…

“…..then you found the old man and a way to preserve the body. Nothing changed, your eyes, your heart, your feelings, your everything was poured into resurrecting your Shixiong.”

“But I heard his word….. Ha ha ha! I heard it all! The old man’s words.”

The old man said before: “a corpse without a soul is fragile and cannot be cultivated. Even if it can move, it will still rot. It’s possible if you simply want to keep the body from decaying, but the Corpse Beads and Sacred Tree can only maintain his appearance, once he leaves…. If the tree managed to call back his soul and placed it in this body, with luck, he might be able to wake up but won’t be able to move, but if luck forbids, his body and the Corpse Bead will turn into ashes along with his soul…”

“How to make this body ‘alive’ again?”

“You need a certain medicine.”

“Tell me.”

“It’s…”

“It’s your heart!” Yan Chun used the last of his strength to clutch Wen Feng Jin’s hand which was now at his chest, breaking off the veins to his heart in order to retrieve it. 

“That concoction requires half of your heart which was fused with the immortal elixir! And yet you were willing to give it without hesitation!”

“What is so good about him? Why could you go to such lengths for him? Why?!”

“Ha ha ha, but so what if you’re willing to give, I still stole half of it. After taking it I turned into half a corpse, neither am I a man nor a monster! I was buried in the earth like a dead body and when I lost my appearance, I swore that I would make you and your Shixiong pay!”

“I can’t make you love me, I won’t allow anyone else to have you!”

“How can I let you guys off so easily? I’ve been searching for you all these years. Wen Feng Jin, I have to witness you losing the only thing you ever love once again!”

Wen Feng Jin frowned and shook off Yan Chun’s hand. After he finally had the complete heart in his hand, he heard Yan Chun shouting towards a certain place: “What are you waiting for?! Kill them! Kill them all!”

Two ear-piercing sounds broke the air!

Wen Feng Jin’s eyes widened in panic as he quickly looked back. Under Yan Chun’s triumphant laughter, he screamed: “Shixiong—”

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A minute prior.

Wang Xiao Mie was holding on to Kai Ming while Yan Chun’s words echoed in his head. The story he told was completely different from what Wen Feng Jin said.

Head… too painful.

Wang Xiao Mie grabbed his head and gave it a shake. As his head turned, behind him were two shady figures about to sneak up on him.

The three of them locked eyes!

“What are you doing?!” The scared Wang Little Puppy shivered as he pointed Kai Ming at the tomb robbers, shouting: “Honey! Our coffin is being hijacked!”

But at this time, Wen Feng Jin was separated too far from him by Yan Chun. Wang Xiao Mie picked up his courage and raised the weapon in his hand. He tried to toughen up with the hooligan-like speech he learned from TV: “Don’t come any closer or I won’t be polite with you!”

The delicate face in the cumbersome costume only made his movement seemed all the less threatening. 

Xiao Luo: “….” Not only was he not scared but also felt humorous.

As for Lei Jie, her eyes were fixed on the dagger, almost drooling over it.

“Hey Hey ~ Little precious ~ Let me touch you ~~” She rushed over with her large sword in hand!

Wang Xiao Mie: “…..” 

…… Xiao Wenzi! There’s a pervert here! Ya Mie Die—! (TN: It’s to replicate the Japanese word yamete which means stop it)

It was then that two gunshots erupted in the circular space which amplified the explosive sounds like that of thunder.

At that moment, he heard Wen Feng Jin’s panicked call!

“Shixiong—”

That howl was the very picture of someone crying tears of blood. Before this, Wang Xiao Mie could never imagine someone with so much arrogance and pride like Wen Feng Jin could make this desperate trembling voice filled with despair…

Wang Xiao Mie looked at him in a daze. As though time had stood still, all he could focus on were the two bullets riveting through the air and Wen Feng Jin’s face…

Lei Jie who was closest to him reacted immediately. She rushed over and raised her sword over Wang Xiao Mie’s forehead.

Bang! 

Clang!

A bullet that should have shattered his skull was embedded into the sword Lei Jie used to block him with while another bullet went to his chest, leaving behind an irregularly shaped hole.

The tremendous impact caused him to stagger back where he was supported by someone behind.

Time seemed to flow again. The bleeding that was delayed now had blood gushing out from the wound on his chest as the pain entailed.

He fell into the arms of the person behind who was shouting something he could not make out. There was a deafening ringing in his ears. 

As he was losing consciousness, he could clearly feel being pulled frenziedly into someone’s embrace, and a series of heart-wrenching cries followed.

“No, nooo—!”

“Please don’t — Shixiong—!”

IHSC Chapter 34

Chapter 34

“That’s impossible… Impossible! I took half of it, why are you still alive? How could you wake up—Mian Deng—!”

The man shook his head in disbelief. When he called out this name, Wang Xiao Mie was a little surprised. He looked at the man then back at Wen Feng Jin.

“You there, do you know me?” Wang Xiao Mie pointed to himself. The name he called belonged to his previous life, were they connected somehow?

“Feng Jin, do you know him?”

Wen Feng Jin shifted his sight from Wang Xiao Mie to the man. There was a trace of expectation in the man’s eyes but Wen Feng Jin only gave him a cold passing glance.

“No.” Wen Feng Jin said: “I do not know this man.”

Upon hearing this, the man’s features twitched wildly as he looked at Wen Feng Jin with maddening eyes.

“You don’t know me…..” He burst into laughter and pointed at Wen Feng Jin: “You don’t know me? Liar! You must’ve remembered me!”

Seeing his eyes that resembled that of a malevolent ghost’s, Wang Xiao Mie swallowed his saliva. 

“Xiao Wenzi, if you really know him, just admit it. I get the feeling he’s going to come for us at any minute now.”

Those bulging eyeballs were staring at them like they had killed his entire family.

But Wen Feng Jin only shook his head without even giving the man a second glance. He went to the coffin and gently caressed Wang Xiao Mie’s cheek.

“Shixiong, you’re awake. I’m going to have to deal with some noisy mice. Why don’t you sleep a little longer? Don’t worry, it’ll be over soon.”

….. Hey hey, people are listening.

Wang Xiao Mie then took another look at the man… Oh f**k! Don’t your eyes hurt opening them that big?!

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But Wang Xiao Mie noticed something.

The way the man looked at him: Jealousy and resentment!

The way the man looked at Wen Feng Jin: Love and hate…..

The man looked at him again: Jealousy and resentment!

The man looked at Wen Feng Jin once more: Love and hate…..

My lord! How is it possible that one could have such differing emotions in his eyes by just changing targets!

Wang Xiao Mie had a feeling this was how the wife would look at the mistress and her husband after they ditched her. He could even hear the line “you green tea bitch! I’m gonna kill you!”

Wang Xiao Mie: …. too much drama.

Even Lei Jie and Xiao Luo who had tried to reduce their presence felt like they had come to thrash the adultery couple with their good sister.

“……you should give it some more thought. I think he really knows us. But we’ve lived for so long, how could we be acquainted?” Wang Xiao Mie brushed Wen Feng Jin’s hand away and whispered to him.

The man kept his glare on him, making him feel increasingly uncomfortable.

Wen Feng Jin responded with a noncommittal um. He rubbed his thumb on Wang Xiao Mie’s cheek one last time before standing up straight to face the man: “Are you the ones who want my heart?”

“No. Not them. Only me.” Mr. Yan gave Wen Feng Jin a piercing look and spoke in a sarcastic tone: “Wen Feng Jin, you’re just as they say, cold and heartless. Back then, all you ever cared for was your useless Shixiong. And when he died, all you think of is that rotting corpse. I’ve done so much for you and yet you don’t even recognize me.”

There was a slight change in Wen Feng Jin’s expression.

“Oh? Did you finally remember?”

Under the man’s eyes filled with a renewed expectation, Wen Feng Jin half-closed his pitch-black ones. The scarlet mark between his brows glowed red as blood. He looked down to his shoulder and gently flicked several petals off.

The gesture was an implementation that the man’s words and his existence were like dust on his shoulder, not worthy of his nostalgia.

Finally, he picked up the last petal and dropped it to the ground. The pink and seductive lips opened and said the words: “What are you to deserve this lord’s attention?”

“……”

That pretentious attitude is so cool~ Wang Xiao Mie, sitting in the coffin, took out his small notebook and jotted down. I learned something new today.

The man clenched his fists. He gritted his teeth so strong that veins emerged from his cheeks. But soon after, he relaxed his nerves and even under that much facial paralysis, pulled up a smile again.

“It doesn’t matter if you don’t remember me, it’s good enough that I remember you, Feng Jin.” There was a horror in his laughter and perversion in his voice: “You wouldn’t have gotten the elixir if it weren’t for me. But then again, if it weren’t for me, you wouldn’t have to stay underground even after he was awake.”

“Let me guess the reason why you both did not go back to the surface. Ha ha. Because when he leaves this tree, leaves your blood, he will die, isn’t it?! Ha hah ha.”

The man turned and pointed at Wang Xiao Mie who was poking his head out of the coffin to watch the excitement, “Mian Deng, you’re just a living corpse. It must be pretty painful to smell the rot on your body every day, isn’t it? Hmph! That is because years ago, I took half of the concoction that was meant for you. Look at me, I’ve also lived for so many years. Do you know what that concoction was made of? It’s …..”

A strong gust of wind rose and Wen Feng Jin appeared right opposite of the man with his palm squeezing his neck, cutting him off mid-sentence.

“It’s you! You still have the guts to appear in front of me!” Wen Feng Jin’s crow-black pupils turned red instantly. He brutally exerted more force until a crack, the sound of bones breaking, was heard.

When Wen Feng Jin let go of his hand, the man fell lightly to the ground. Without even looking at the corpse, he turned to the coffin and said to the wide-eyed and gaped-mouth Wang Xiao Mie: “Xiao Mie, give me my sword.”

Wang Xiao Mie was a little confused looking at the lifeless body of the man who just seconds ago was still talking like a maniac. 

This was somewhat unreal. He was expecting something more. The man was spouting incomprehensive words but he gave off a vibe that he was not easy to defeat. And then just like that, he was killed…

It was quite anti-climatic.

Wang Xiao Mie’s disappointment was also felt by Lei Jie and Xiao Luo. Their lower jaws almost touched the ground. 

“…..Shibo, didn’t you say he had something up his sleeve?” Xiao Luo pouted.

“…..Maybe that something was the bunch of rubbish he was babbling about.” It’s just a pity that his opponent was the ‘piss off, I don’t give a hoot’ type. Lei Jie covered her face.

“Wait, that’s it? And what was he talking about? What concoction? What body odor? Why don’t I know anything?” Wang Xiao Mie eyed at Wen Feng Jin suspiciously.

He had a hunch that the man was about to say something that would rebuke his previous understanding and Wen Feng Jin had deliberately shut him up.

As the thought occupied his mind, the man on the ground suddenly moved!

“Sh*t! The corpse is moving!” Xiao Luo shouted out his inner dialogue.

He watched in horror as the corpse on the ground twisted and turned. Briefly after, the man rose up like zombies in the movies.

The man held his neck and gave it a tweak. With a crisp bone cracking sound, he adjusted his neck back in place.

Wen Feng Jin tapped lightly on Wang Xiao Mie’s forehead: “Xiao Mie, snap out of it. Pass me my Liao Yue sword.”

“Ah? Oh ok ok!” Wang Xiao Mie quickly reached for the Liao Yue sword inside the coffin and handed it to Wen Feng Jin, “How is he alive?!”

“He can’t be killed by regular methods. This is a little troublesome, you should hide in the coffin. That man is crazy. When this is over, I will answer all your questions.”

Wen Feng Jin was very gentle with his words. He did not give the newly reborn monster any attention. His eyes only reflected Wang Xiao Mie’s restless expression and there was an excitement in him that Wang Xiao Mie could not understand. Slowly, he unsheathed his Liao Yue sword and said softly: “It seems that Zhen Bei was not lying. Soon, I can truly revive you, Xiao Mie.”

Wang Xiao Mie was taken aback: “What does that mean…What do you mean by truly revive? Ain’t I a zombie now? Ain’t I already revived?”

However, Wen Feng Jin did not answer him. He raised his sword and let the scabbard fall to the ground. His long dark hair fluttered as a red murderous aura emanated. When it appeared, the powerful force field was like an invisible fist pressing on one’s chest and creating a sharp boom in one’s brain!

Behind him, even Wang Xiao Mie was feeling the pressure, not to mention the man at whom the force was targeted at. He stumbled and almost fell to his knees. Lei Jie and Xiao Luo at the rear were not spared either. They grabbed at their chest and knelt on the ground with bleeding noses.

But the man was only taken by surprise. He gradually became accustomed to the pressure and finally, sent out his own energy that was similar to Wen Feng Jin’s!

“….. you say that I’m crazy?” The man’s clothes were blown rumpled by the intense force. He sneered as his face and skin turned bluish-gray at the speed visible to the naked eyes! Veins and muscles were vividly shown coursing through this skin. The pair of regular black eyes had also turned blood-red like Wen Feng Jin’s.

“Wen Feng Jin, tell me, who is the crazier one, you or me? Did you forget all the killings that you orchestrated? Have you also forgotten the slaughter you did on your own sect?”

“Shut up.”

Wen Feng Jin held his sword in one hand and drew the bright blade into a crescent. He slashed forward mercilessly!

The man was unable to dodge in time and so he used both hands to catch the blade!

“Woah! Empty-handed sword block?!”

“Woah! You think you’re Guo Jing?!” (TN: protagonist of the renowned novel Legend of the Condor Heroes)

The two exclamations were shouted at the same time. Wang Xiao Mie and Xiao Luo looked at each other from a distance. 

Fellow readers!

Wait a minute. Xiao Luo was stunned. Isn’t he a thousand-year dumpling? How does he know this reference?

But before he had time to ponder over this, the fight was getting so intense that it grabbed everyone’s attention.

After the initial attack, the man’s arm was almost cut off. However, it healed immediately. He then proceeded to pull out a soft sword from his belt.

Wen Feng Jin continued his duel with him. Light beams were reflected from the swords as sharp clinking sounds were heard as the swords clashed. To a mortal like Wang Xiao Mie, this was like witnessing a fantastical fight. 

He was dazzled by the body movements and the afterimage. If he were in this fight, he probably would not last long.

Wen Feng Jin was especially ruthless with his attacks, each strike harbored a tenacious killing intent. On the other hand, his opponent relied on his powerful healing ability, dodging what he could and taking in the damage when he failed to avoid it.

It was strange that every time Wen Feng Jin made a big wound, there was not much blood surging out. It’s almost like…..Wang Xiao Mie held Kai Ming against his chest…. It’s just like Wen Feng Jin.

Once again, the stabbed man ignored his wounds and relentlessly tried to inflict damage on Wen Feng Jin. It was an all-out battle.

IHSC Chapter 33

Chapter 33

The door to the main chamber closed again.

Mu Yi, the head of the monsters grinned with a bloody smile. The ten tomb guardians already had their bellies filled. They surrounded Zhen Bei only to sniff and gawk at him as though they were watching a movie.

After all, he emitted quite a similarly vicious smell as themselves~

Zhen Bei threw Zhen Mu to one side. He then skillfully flicked the butterfly knife in his hand and squatted down to observe Zhen Hao. The man’s face was now painted with blood from the beatings he received. Zhen Bei smiled at him warmly like a gentleman, almost as if he was pulling out a handkerchief for Zhen Hao.

But what he pulled out was another knife…

Zhen Hao finally felt the imminent danger and ceased his swearing. He dragged himself backward in fear while Zhen Bei followed him slowly, step by step, with his head tilted and a smile that never left his face.

The exact image of a psychopathic killer.

“Big ~ Brother~~~ Let’s have some fun~ Ha ha ha ha.”

Zhen Hao bumped into a monster but now that he looked back, the brother who he had been calling an idiot was more terrifying!

The beautiful butterfly knife was raised and lowered.

“Ah—!”

Zhen Bei squatted down and rested his chin on his right hand: “It’s only one hand and brother, your scream was so loud! But….. that makes me so happy!”

“Let me go…..Zhen Bei…. Please let me go, when we get out….” Zhen Hao was in so much pain that tears and snot were pouring out of his eyes and nose. He forced himself to negotiate with Zhen Bei under intense fear.

“There’s no need.” Zhen Bei interrupted him: “You’re not getting out of here~ Big, brother.”

“You!” Zhen Hao’s face was distorted as he vented through a torrent of abuse: “You’re just a dog! You’re all my dogs! I — hmm!”

“You seem to not want your tongue anymore.”

Shaking off the blood on the knife, Zhen Bei’s three fingers swung the butterfly knife nimbly. “Oh right, we have to straighten out our differences. I still remember that you spent a lot of hard work honing your appraisal skills but one year, you failed to identify a replica Zhen Mu made. Ha ha ha! That was the first time you made such a big fool out of yourself.”

Zhen Bei was laughing out loud one second and the next, his face turned murderously cold. He patted the knife on Zhen Hao’s face: “But that was because you were blind. And yet you called Zhen Mu to your room and gave him countless slashes on both his hands. Big brother, do you think I should just cut your hands off right now?”

“Wu wu—!”

“And also, Zhen Mu is so much more talented than you and so you ordered him to risk his life in the tombs instead. As for me, I only showed a little knowledge in antiques and immediately you told everyone to cast me aside and called me an idiot.”

“Hai~~ ai! The more I think about it, the angrier I am…. Hah!”

“Wooo—!!”

The red liquid spurt over and over again. Mu Yi and the others whispered and laughed amongst themselves. A group of monsters encompassed a human and yet, the man in the center was more terrifying than any of the monsters….

Like a show, they stood and watched the man’s ‘performance’ and listened to the screams of his ‘co-actor’.

After a long, long time.

Zhen Bei, drenched in blood, stood up with a big smile. His peach blossom eyes blinked as red droplets dripped along his cheek to his chin, like tears of blood.

“I’ve had enough fun.” He threw away the butterfly knives stained with the sticky red substance, then took out a handkerchief and wiped his hands gracefully.

He lifted his sight and looked at the monsters: “Oh that’s right, send my thanks to your master. He kept to his word, and so will I. This guy…” He nudged Zhen Mu’s back with his feet, “I still have to send him out.”

Mu Yi and the others took one last glance at the man then turned around and disappeared out of sight.

Zhen Bei ignored them. He removed the grey sachet tied to Zhen Mu. The sachet was made with his clothes, it contained his scent. This was the agreement he made with the tomb master: do not attack anyone who carried his scent. 

After tossing the item, he put Zhen Mu on his back and bumped him up.

“But… I’m gonna come back~”

A glint of malice filled his drooping eyes as he looked at the direction the tomb guardians disappeared into.

“….. after all, as the mantis stalks the cicada, the yellow finch lurks in the shadow~”

Meanwhile.

Coursing through the magnificent tomb, one would feel as though he had traversed back to the glorious imperial palace of ancient times. Stone railings sculpted into dragons pathed the way and polished marble shiny as a mirror lined the ground they walked on. To the sides were rows of giant vermillion pillars etched with carvings of rising dragons. 

It was hard for a regular joe to fathom this majestic architecture.

Whenever they thought that had reached their destination, a light source would ignite as guidance, telling them that they still had a long road ahead.

“This underground palace is as big as ten imperial palaces! Who exactly is this Wen Feng Jin?” Xiao Luo was gawking obsessively at a vase that was bound to cost a fortune.

Even the roof beams were inlaid with jewels.

Before Lei Jie could say anything, Mr. Yan cut in: “Hmph, these are just the tip of the iceberg. Back then, the man could even cover the sky with his hand. That was how he ruled over the Northern Kingdom and areas further out. From the moment he came into power, whether it was the common people or powerful magistrates, everyone was thrown into the chaos. It took him only five years to reach the position of the ruler without even needing the crown! With a wave of his sleeve, no one dared to oppose him. He was practically worshipped as a god. The number of people willing to do crazy things for him was countless.”

“…..”

And how did you know so much…. was what Xiao Luo wanted to ask but he kept it to himself in the end. Ever since the man fed his subordinate to the monsters, Xiao Luo only felt his hair tingling whenever he looked at him.

But very soon, his thoughts would be occupied by something else.

Because they had exited the final hall and came to a large stretch of the terrace. The dim guiding light indoors was replaced with a bright array illumination. 

The moment he cast eyes on the scenery ahead, he was speechless. And he knew his mentor and the man were having the same shock.

…..

In front of them was a vast space as large as the Olympic stadium. Along the walls were numerous protruding platforms with pavilion palaces constructed on them, just like scenic spots of cliffside temples.

And the three were standing on one of those red pavilions with a bottomless chasm under their feet.

In the center of this colossal crater was a massive pillar of towering heights with chains as thick as a man’s waist connecting it to the walls. At the top of the pillar was a platform where a giant ancient tree stood. A mystical tree with no leaves and only flowers. What was more intriguing was the crimson blooms that crowned the tree like a scarlet fire.

The glow emitted from the tree kindled a sense of divinity.

And their final goal, the coffin they came here for, was under the burning blossom tree.

“…..”

“…..”

“Looks like it’s time to go up.” Lei Jie licked her dried lips. She turned and looked at her apprentice: “After this point, things will only get worse. It’ll be hard to stay alive. You’re my apprentice and yet I’ve led you to your death, do you hate me?”

“No.” Xiao Luo shook his head and said resolutely: “Without you, I would’ve been a gangster my whole life…. But Shibo, we really can’t turn back now?”

“Turn back? What kind of situation do you think we’re in? Do you think those things will let us out? Our skills are not even worth mentioning in the face of such absolute power. I can deal with one or two of those monsters, but a group, that’s not possible.”

Lei Jie observed the man who had stepped onto the chain without hesitation. She whispered: “Ever since he got here, it’s like he’s been possessed. He must have something up his sleeves. Xiao Luo, remember this, when we get up there, we must not initiate anything, just stay behind him.”

“Yes! Shibo!”

The way up was the path of no return and below her feet was an abyss of definite death. Looking at the thick chains that linked the decisive platform, Lei Jie hooked her lips and took a leap…

The man surnamed Yan twitched his face into a strange expression as his eyes sparkled with incitement!

A millennium! It’s been a millennium!

He was finally able to see that man again!

Wen Feng Jin…..

With that in mind, he could not help but hastened his footsteps. Even if the chain shook turbulently, even if a misstep could send him down a bottomless pit, he still treaded on fearlessly.

Following closely behind him were a master and her apprentice.

The moment they set foot on the platform, winds raged from the abyss, beating against their sight and ruffling the branches of the burning tree, bringing it to life. Brittle petals floated off their branch and rose into the air like stars rising in the night sky! The scene was sacred and magical!

Under the sacred tree where swirling petals gradually drifted towards gravity, laid a coffin large enough for two. Next to it was a man admiring the tree with his hands linked behind his back. The petals danced around him as the wind rustled through his extravagant red and black robe fitted with a girdle that outlined his fine waist. His black hair was adorned with a red crown and only a patch of white skin from his neck could be seen….

….the image of an immortal.

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The silence that followed gave birth to a strange sense of oppression so strong that none of them dared to breathe.

Lei Jie and Xiao Luo were dumbfounded.

Having laid eyes on this man, they no longer had any doubt about the elixir and what was written on the inscription. Only the thought ‘oh, so this is an immortal’ remained.

On the other hand, the man surnamed Yan had his sight locked on to the man’s back. His eyelids and muscles twitched as he bit down his lips. Even his fingers were clenched into a fist.

A moment later, he abruptly opened his mouth and breathed out three words: “Wen , Feng, Jin.”

The words were like mosquitoes buzzing but it got the man’s attention.

The man turned to look at them callously. He had a graciously beautiful visage but it bore an aggressive expression. And the eyes with the large obsidian pupils showed a lack of emotions as he looked at the ants in front of him.

The man surnamed Yan took a breath and they locked eyes.

Out of the blue, he laughed hysterically.

“It’s really you! It’s really you—”

His eyes then landed on the coffin next to Wen Feng Jin and his laughter got louder. 

In a crazy tone, he said: “Ha ha ha. You’re still watching over a dead man after so many years! What sacred tree? What resurrection? It’s all a hoax! Ha ha ha! This is retribution — Your retribution for abandoning me—!”

“Who are you?” Wen Feng Jin frowned at the man. Why is this face quite familiar?

Mr. Yan did not answer. He pointed at the coffin with hatred in his eyes!

“What is inside that coffin? A corpse? Or a handful of ashes? Ha ha ha. I’ve won after all! I won!”

As soon as these words came out, a figure suddenly popped up from the coffin.

They stared at each other awkwardly.

Mr. Yan: “…..”

Wang Xiao Mie: “…..”

The man’s boisterous laughter stopped midway! His eyes were opened so wide the eyeballs could fall out!

Wang Xiao Mie had goosebumps the longer he was stared at by him.

“Errr…” 

“Why don’t… I just lie back down???”

IHSC Chapter 32

Chapter 32

What’s it like being watched by a group of drooling monsters as one marched towards someone else’s tomb?

It’s like a student sitting in the last row being called to the podium for a speech. 

The bitterness in their heart was hard to put into words. After all, no tomb master would let just about anyone enter his tomb freely.

They had planned for heavy casualties but never thought it would end like this.

If it weren’t for the row of monsters to the sides eyeing them hungrily, they might actually feel like standing on the red carpet.

The man surnamed Yan strode forward. Xiao Li was turning pale right behind him. He used his peripheral vision to stay on guard.

Xiao Luo was sweating bullets as he tightened his grip on the item in his hand. He finally pulled out the secret weapon from his backpack and muttered: “I currently have the urge to turn tail and run.”

Zhen Bei was walking behind him and looked up when he heard his words. But the second he saw the weapon Xiao Luo was cradling like a baby in his arms, he pointed at it with a stiff expression.

“What is that?”

Xiao Luo gave the slender weapon a wave: “Oh this? It’s my Physical Holy Sword!”

Zhen Bei: “…..” Physical Holy Sword?

“Isn’t it just a crowbar…..”

Xiao Luo’s expression changed and in a serious tone, he said: “No, its name is Physical Holy Sword. It’d been blessed by the temple.”

“…..” Even the double-faced Zhen Bei was at a loss for words.

Right behind them, a boney and cocooned palm slapped on Xiao Luo’s head with a pa! Lei Jie moved in between them and said to Zhen Bei: “Don’t pay attention to this chuuni. This thing can even get drunk with fake wine.”

“Shibo! That’s not true!”

“Huh? How dare you yell at me? Want me to use the physical sword to separate you and your genitalia?”

“…..”

“…..”

Zhen Bei discreetly hastened his steps towards Zhen Mu, hiding his disdain from Lei Jie.

“Please, wait, a moment.”

A shrill voice echoed from the group of motionless monsters, sending a chill in everyone’s spine. A long-haired female ghost was staring at them with her gruesome eyes wide open. She dragged her feet and stood in front of the group.

The frosty air and moldy scent were giving the man surnamed Yan extreme discomfort.

Xiao Li’s pupils shrank and the fickle brain that was already in chaos ordered for an attack!

Spat!

“Ahhhh! My hand! Ah! Boss!” Xiao Li clutched his right hand which was corroding into his wrist. He knelt down and howled in agony. In a flash, his right hand was completely dissolved and melted onto the ground.

And the perpetrator behind this was one of the monsters that had now gathered around them: a giant mushroom-like creature that disintegrated Xiao Li’s hand with its spit!

The group quickly had their backs against each other in a small circular formation. The hands holding on to their weapons were clamming wet. No one could afford to avert their attention to Xiao Li who was squirming on the floor and whose scream was overshadowed by the fear that was causing their hearts to beat like thunder!

This is it. Is this going to be where they die? Was all that before just a trap so they could be killed here?!

So many monsters… why did we come here?! This is not a place for the living!

“You people, so rude…. Hi hi hi…Our master said only four can enter. Decide amongst yourself, who can enter, who is to stay…” The female ghost gave a screeching laugh and announced: “But those who stay will become our food.”

“Food~ Food~ ha ha ha~” The two jellyfish monsters which left them with only the skin of their companions were cheering like children: “The ten of us will eat you first~ We want the viscera! Internal organs are delicious!”

“Then I’ll have the head…”

“Gu gu…..” I want the hands.

“I… want… eyeballs.”

“Click click click!” Don’t have to argue, everyone will get a share!

The group of monsters now had a distorted look on their faces. Their scarlet eyes depicted a thirst for blood like a famished predator.

Even without understanding their language, one could tell the excitement in their tone and the longing to tear up the ones chosen to stay behind.

“Only four?” Mr. Yan looked at Xiao Li curled up on the ground without a hint of emotion. In a swift motion, he kicked Xiao Li into the monsters’ reach and said gently: “You can have that one first.”

His tone and attitude were like talking about an object rather than a human being, furthermore, that man was his subordinate!

Zhen Mu and Lei Jie were flushed of color. They shifted their guard towards the man behind them instead of the monsters. Although Xiao Luo was young and green, he still felt the irony looking at Xiao Li’s angry and frightened expression.

The man surnamed Yan and his men were birds of a feather, stone-cold and notorious. Any one of them could betray everyone else in the blink of an eye. It’s better that they die off, saving him the trouble of having to look over his shoulder.

As for Zhen Bei, he grabbed on to Zhen Mu’s coat in horror as a guise to prevent Zhen Mu from getting in the way.

“What are you doing?! Yan, you animal! I’m going to kill you!”

Xiao Li helped himself up. Rage filled his face as he swore like a ferocious beast. He picked up the dagger with his good hand and rushed at Mr. Yan with every intention to share his peril!

But before his attack could land on Mr. Yan, his entire body was pulled back by the tomb keepers…

The sounds of chewing and screaming were intermittent and only lasted for a minute but it could never be unheard. 

Even the silence from the aftermath chilled them to the bones.

Zhen Mu’s Adam’s apple kept sliding as the smell of blood filled the air. Lei Jie and Xiao Luo had their eyes shut and Mr. Yan was keeping a straight face with a tint of smug. 

“Ou…” Zhen Bei squatted down retching. 

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Maybe the noises from before had woken Zhen Hao up. And the moment he took in his surroundings, he let out another barrage of deafening screams!

“AHHHHH!!!”

It had to be said that the scream was too sudden that even Mr. Yan was slightly startled.

Xiao Luo’s reaction after the shock was to give Zhen Hao a kick, “The hell are you screaming for?!”

“You dare to kick me?!” With his initial panic subsided, Zhao Hao got up from the ground to settle the scores with Xiao Luo. His hand was almost to Xiao Luo’s neck when the crowbar got in his way.

Xiao Luo flashed him a sarcastic smile as he raised his weapon. He had long been dreading this fool’s presence and since only four could live, he could not wait to throw him to the monsters!

Lei Jie smacked her forehead and cursed: “Does that thing have any brains? Does he still think that he is in charge?”

“Big brother, what are you doing…” Zhen Mu’s sharp brows were kneaded together. He came between them and tried to stop Xiao Luo from hurting Zhen Hao.

Pa!

A merciless slap whipped across Zhen Mu’s face!

Zhen Mu was dumbfounded and Zhen Bei’s eyes narrowed as he clenched his fist.

Zhen Hao sneered at him: “You traitorous dog. How dare you try to stop me instead of helping me deal with him? You’re supposed to protect me and now look at this. Zhen Mu you better get me out of here safely!”

“…..”

The satiated monsters stood and watched like they were some kind of show.

Mr. Yan, Lei Jie, and Xiao Luo fell silent after he was done talking. After a while, they couldn’t help but laughed. Lei Jie looked at Zhen Mu: “Tell me why are you still tolerating him? Let’s just decide on him.”

“… No.” No matter how outrageous and stupid Zhen Hao was, he was still his brother. They had a blood bond. And despite the urge to give him a beating, he was still unable to watch him torn up by the group of monsters.

“Tsk! This personality of yours… But let me be blunt.” Lei Jie chuckled: “If we can’t meet the monsters’ demand, we’ll all die. We have to choose two more from the six of us… Zhen Mu, who do you think should stay behind?”

“You couldn’t possibly think to pick from the three of us, do you? Haha.”

Of the six, only the two Zhen sons, Zhen Hao and Zhen Bei, were the most powerless. It was an obvious choice to leave them behind.

Zhen Mu’s frown deepened. He looked at Zhen Bei and quickly pointed his Chang Feng at the others, fending Zhen Bei behind him.

“No one is allowed to touch my younger brother! Or else… or else you’ll have to stay behind with me!”

Zhen Bei cringed and looked at everyone in bewilderment: “Brother…”

Zhen Hao was getting agitated: “What are you talking about? Why aren’t you all worried about the monsters? Zhen Mu, Zhen Bei, answer me.”

At this point, no one paid him any heed. After all, Zhen Mu had made his choice very clear through his actions…

Zhen Hao was destined to die.

“Second brother…” While Zhen Mu was keeping guard against the others, Zhen Bei suddenly called out to him.

“What is it…”

Without warning, Zhen Mu crouched down in astonishment and coughed. He saw a fist pummeled into his chest as his breathing strained and his eyes began to blur. Just before his consciousness faded, he was staring at Zhen Bei in disbelief.

“You…”

“Second brother, you’re such a nuisance~”

Zhen Bei had a broad smile across his face: “You better keep your eyes shut or I’ll have to hurt you even more…”

“Zhen Mu…”

The skittish tone that called out his name was followed by devilish laughter.

With a thunk, Zhen Mu fell to the ground. Zhen Bei smirked and with little effort, he put the man over his shoulder. He turned to grin at the Lei Jie who was also smiling sarcastically.

“You already knew, didn’t you? I hate smart women the most. Disgusting.”

Lei Jie patted her stunned disciple to comfort him and responded to Zhen Bei: “A twisted monster wearing human skin like you is even more disgusting. Your entire body reeked!”

“Haha haha ha!” Zhen Bei’s bright face was splashed with a sunny smile as if it was basked in sunlight, making the man appear kind and warm but when he glared at them with his peach blossom eyes, the words he said were disturbingly heinous.

“You three should go ahead. We brothers are going to have to settle the scores. Especially with my big brother. I just can’t wait to see him torn into chunks of meat. Ahh ha ha.”

“…..”

“…..”

“Let’s go.” Mr. Yan turned around and left indifferently. Lei Jie did the same.

“Where are you going?! Wait!! Zhen Bei you dumbass, don’t you dare touch me! What are you doing?! —Ah!”

Zhen Bei spread his palm and grabbed Zhen Hao by the hair. Under Zhen Hao’s ear-piercing screams and desperate struggle was Zhen Bei’s sweet and gentle smile.

He slammed Zhen Hao’s head into the ground and took out a butterfly knife…

Xiao Luo curiously looked back at the scene and witnessed Zhen Bei’s sadistic smile widening the more Zhen Hao screamed. He even licked his lips in excitement…

The Zhens are such a twisted family!

Xiao Luo shook off the numbness in his scalp and hurried after his mentor.

IHSC Chapter 31

Chapter 31

Someone died right before their eyes. With a face depicting terrifying agony and fingers scraping into his throat, the light in his eyes disappeared as he stared at them with despair. Mirroring a deflated balloon, a body that had lost its flesh and bones would lose its shape, leaving behind a bag of skin and clothes that laid flat on the ground.

Those who were still alive looked on with horror. Whether or not one was a veteran tomb robber who had raided several tombs, no one had truly witnessed such a gruesome scene!

The most they had seen were simple trick candles, rising corpses, fire ceiling, and door-sealing quicksand. The top of the list would be traps and ghostly activities. However, all of them were merely fooleries, parlor tricks hoaxing the faint-hearted to leave the tombs.

And these were only seen in tombs of emperors, the ones belonging to first-rate generals or anyone lower would not even have the luxury of those traps. At most, it would take them three hours to empty the place and leave.

But this time, this time they were not even at the palace gate yet and the tomb master had already sent them such a big gift!

Behind Mr. Yan, Zhen Mu and Lei Jie exchanged glances. 

Mr. Yan looked at the two sets of skin in silence. 

The booming sound was still ringing all around them when suddenly, a bulge formed in the skin and started circling them!

Have you ever seen little children putting adults’ clothing and running about?

This was it! The two unknown objects were moving around in their comrades’ skin. They were even making eerily cackling sounds of children playing!

It was at this moment that everyone’s hair shot up!

“Zhen Bei!” Zhen Mu unsheathed his Chang Feng as he rushed for Zhen Bei, guarding him behind himself. His sharp eyes remained on the things moving on the ground.

And Xiao Luo also rushed forward to shield his mentor. He grabbed his bag and had one hand in it, ready for an attack.

Mr. Yan had a vacant expression as he stared at things on the ground. A second later, a sneer broke out and Xiao Li, his last henchman with prevailing kung-fu, drew his daggers as he got closer to his boss. 

He looked at the skin of his kinsmen without being perturbed. There was even a smile on his face.

How can there be any sense of camaraderie between these men? They died because of their impotence and too early, after all, he was prepared to cut them down himself.

In just a few seconds of crisis, everyone’s true standing was exposed. Only Zhen Hao screamed pitifully as he saw the monster closing in!

“Ah! Ahhhh! Yan you jerk, are you blind?! Quickly save me!! Quickly!!”

“Zhen Mu, you idiot! Come here now! Ahhhhhhh!”

Mr. Yan had not spoken yet but Xiao Li was chuckling: “Zhen Mu, your master is calling you~” 

He had been tolerating Zhen Hao for too long and hence, deliberately taunted Zhen Mu. No matter how one looks at it, Zhen Mu was a dog the Zhen family raised for Zhen Hao’s sake! 

He wanted to see if Zhen Mu could swallow his insult and save Zhen Hao or standby and watch the deadweight die!

However…..Xiao Li laughed like a notorious hyena….. regardless which of them die, to us, it’s a good thing, right boss?

He looked towards his boss but was stunned by the man’s delighted expression. 

Was the boss that dissatisfied with Zhen Hao?

Any man would have been angry with such humiliation but although Zhen Mu was born with a valiant fierceness, he was also gifted with a golden heart, strong and tolerant as a mountain.

He held Chang Feng with a deadly grip. His jaws were clenched tight and veins appeared on his cheeks. He shut his eyes and hampered his anger. As he was about to step forward to save Zhen Hao, two pairs of hands grabbed him from behind.

Zhen Mu looked to his left, Lei Jie was standing behind him. With a lack of sincerity, she said: “Oh, sorry. I almost tripped, good thing you’re standing here.”

“…..”

Zhen Mu looked to his right, Zhen Bei was holding on to his sleeves with tears in his eyes. Like a pitiful dog so frightened that his fur was standing on ends, he said: “Brother, I’m scared.”

“…..”

Zhen Mu was stopped for a moment. And it was at this moment that the two things on the ground giggled and rushed at Zhen Hao.

As he was squealing like a mouse, the human skin was blanketed over his face and body.

When the skin bag was placed over him, it muffled his screams. Like a broken cassette, his cries were intermittent and eerie. Finally, with a thud, his eyes turned white as he lost consciousness.

Zhen Mu leaped forward. His pupils constricted having seen the two things that lurked inside the skin. It was a human-shaped monster with movements like a jellyfish. Though transparent, their facial features were that of two teenagers, giggling mischievously at them.

Zhen Mu raised his sword, preparing himself for a fierce battle but as things turned out, the two tomb guardians were befuddled instead. They ceased their attack and even took a step back.

“… jiii jii?” This man carries the scent!

“…..ji ji!” Can’t kill, can’t kill! The master will be angry….

The two tomb guardians whispered intelligible words under the aghast gaze of everyone in the room.

In Wang Xiao Mie’s eyes, the two young lumps were quite lovely but to the people present, talking monsters were many times more terrifying!

“Shibo…” Xiao Luo’s hand was stuck to his weapon inside his backpack, “Those things are freaky, if we don’t destroy it now, they could kill us later!”

“Shut up!” Lei Jie pressed his shoulder, her sight never left the two monsters. She whispered: “Look!” 

Xiao Luo quickly looked over and found that the two blobs suddenly shrank as if something had scared them. They melted into a puddle of moving water then disappeared into the ground.

“!!!”

 None was able to relinquish their concern towards the tomb’s ceiling descending upon their heads, they just stared at Zhen Mu in bewilderment.

When did this guy get so powerful?!

…. in actuality, Mu Jiu and Mu Shi were scuttering away because they were fearful of the repercussion from Wen Feng Jin should they kill the wrong person.

Unaware of why they ran away, Zhen Mu was also baffled.

But it was always a good thing that the monsters ran away. The biggest threat was gone and an exit was also revealed.

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Zhen Mu did not hesitate and went to pick Zhen Hao up. He yelled back at the man surnamed Yan: “Mr. Yan, are we getting out of here or not?!”

Mr. Yan looked at him with calculations in his eyes, “Why are we leaving? The code is not hard to guess. According to what’s written on this silk scroll, the tomb master had set the code to the year most important to himself…”

“In the year 1326 of the ancient calendar, he graduated from the Academy. 1328, he rounded up his father’s men and formed the dark guards. 1330, he persecuted countless courtiers for revenge. In the same year, he was given the title of Dark Lord. 1334, he found the immortality elixir and was attacked. That year, he fled back to the Academy with his Shixiong but that did not work out and his Shixiong died. It was then that he took the elixir and became immortal. The following year, he killed his master and fellow disciples. Next, he began to eliminate enemy clans and dignitaries, forcing the current emperor to abdicate and supported a new emperor… 1445, the tomb palace was completed and the coffin was ready. He buried himself in the same coffin as his Shixiong, perishing for love…”

“Woa, this person was quite passionate, doing so much for his Shixiong…. He’s definitely a good man!” Zhen Bei blinked: “I guess the most important year to him is 1334, when his Shixiong died or 1445 when they were buried together.”

Lei Jie nodded in agreement: “But we still can’t tell which one is most important to him. One wrong move…”

“You’re only half right.” Mr. yan interrupted.

“Half?”

“That’s right. The code indeed has something to do with his Shixiong but it has nothing to do with what I just read to you. The real answer is…”

“…his Shixiong’s year of birth, the year 1308.”

Everyone: “…..”

What the! So why the hell didn’t you say so?! The roof is coming down and turning us into a paste and yet you’re giving a historical lecture?!!! And what’s with this tomb master?! It’s like setting a phone password to that of his girlfriend’s birthday, are you a high schooler?!

Damn it!

Zhen Mu and Lei Jie were grinding their teeth as they looked at the Yan guy harshly.

A little embarrassed, Mr. Yan coughed lightly and looked at Xiao Li. 

It took a while but Xiao Li eventually understood his boss’s cue! He said: “Boss, you’re so knowledgeable!”

Mr. Yan’s mouth twitched and said: “It’s nothing. Just a little research I did.”

Zhen Mu, Zhen Bei: “…..”

Lei Jie, Xiao Luo: “…..”

Is their intelligence also being attacked in this tomb?

After they knew the code, the big gate was hastily opened, allowing them to leave the collapsing room. Zhen Mu carried Zhen Hao on his back and Zhen Bei followed closely behind.

Beyond the gate was a whole different layout. The walls were etched with painted carvings and even the floor they walked on had special totems sculpted on each brick.

To better compare, envision the interior design of a peasant’s home in contrast with that of royalties!

Mr. Yan glared at the paintings on the wall. His hand formed a fist then immediately relaxed. He stroked the wall gently.

Wen Feng Jin, I’m finally here…

Oh how I want to see the look on your face when you see me.

Wen Feng Jin, I will get what I want by all means! Because that is what you owed me!

…..

In the depths of the tomb

Wen Feng Jin reached into the coffin and caressed the face of his sleeping bride. With ivory skin and rosy cheeks, his love donned a red ceremonial gown as he laid inside the coffin. His hair, sleek and soft like a spider’s thread, spread out from beneath him.

“…..Shixiong has always been beautiful.” 

“Ever since I was a teenager, I’ve longed for the day when I’m able to touch you like this every time I wake up in the morning….. I’ve already let them in. Soon, you’ll be able to get rid of this shackle, you won’t have to suffer anymore…”

In his deep slumber, Wang Xiao Mie’s eyes quivered under his eyelids and flickered his lashes, but he was not able to wake up.

…..

For the latter part of their journey, the tomb intruders were like tourists who had bought their tickets, wantonly cruising through the magnificent underground palace with no tomb guardians to stop them.

The wintry cold tomb palace was the resting place for the dead. Its soundless desolation could make one long for a hug. 

A majestic structure such as this could not be fully illuminated by a mere flashlight, making them feel like ants that had fallen into an abyss by mistake. A sense of unease was always lurking in their hearts as they feared that monsters could appear at any moment…

“Shibo, why is it that my heart keeps thumping even though nothing has happened?” Xiao Luo asked Lei Jie discreetly.

Lei Jie gave him a glance but before she could say anything, all the lamps suddenly lit in succession.

The thousands of light rays illuminated the whole tomb, making the place bright as day.

Two rows of monsters of all shapes and sizes were lining up on both sides of their path, eyeing them without blinking.

Lei Jie: “……my dear disciple, did you just activate the voice command to turn the light on?”

Xiao Luo: “…..”

“What are you waiting for?!” Xiao Li readied his daggers and looked at the monsters in a cold sweat, “Damn it, which one of you stepped on the trigger?!”

At this critical moment, Zhen Mu put the unconscious Zhen Hao on the ground and pulled out his Chang Feng. He looked troubled but still kept his calm.

Mr. Yan, on the other hand, had witnessed a strange light coming from the main palace and a grin appeared on the stiff face.

“Xiao Li, put down your weapons. It seems the tomb master has invited us in!”

IHSC Chapter 30

Chapter 30

In their two days of exploration, the man named Yan had managed to lead them safely past the traps on the route that Zhen Mu had been to, proving the authenticity of his map.

On the seventh night, everything was ready.

The group entered the tomb again.

“This is the farthest we’ve been to.” Zhen Mu stopped and looked behind. “It was here that we met a long-haired ghost-like monster, up ahead…”

Several people looked at Mr. Yan.

“Boss, what should we do?” Xiao Li snickered as he turned to ask.

The man’s face stiffened. He took out the map and studied it attentively.

Zhen Hao frowned: “Of course we keep moving! Mr. Yan, didn’t you say that those things can be avoided? Didn’t we not see anything the last two days?.”

“That thing is not an ordinary zombie or the wicked things in the tomb, it’s a tomb guardian.”

“But do not worry.” The man gave Zhen Hao an emotionless look but because of the stiffness of his face, his expression seemed particularly cold. He nodded to Xiao Li and Zhen Mu, “Let’s press on. According to the map, there are only a few traps in this area. Although the tomb guardian is not marked on the map, this is not the first time we tomb raiders have come across such a situation. There were many other tombs without maps that we have raided. This little problem shouldn’t hold us back.”

The calm and definitive tone effectively motivated the fretful men.

Zhen Hao looked at Mr. Yan with a straight face and kept quiet, following behind the team as they continued forward. Lei Jie, standing in the rear position, squinted and sneered. After hearing his mentor’s soft laughter, he looked at Zhen Hao and the usually gentle eyes were filled with a touch of irony.

“Shibo, he’s going to be troublesome. This is a dangerous place, he might hold us back….”

“Don’t touch him, stinky boy.”

“…oh.” Xiao Luo lowered his head. Lei Jie placed her palm on his head and gave it a rub.

How long had it been in her line of work that she last saw a man whose discontent and arrogance were clearly written on his face? Lei Jie narrowed her eyes, in other words, it’s just plain stupidity.

…..

“This underground palace is so big. Look how long we’ve been walking?” Chunlei whispered.

Tiezi nodded: “And we have to avoid the traps and watch out for attacks from the creatures of the tomb.”

“Are there really tomb guardians? We haven’t even seen anything resembling the ghostly woman yet.” Tiezi touched his face. “Hm? Are we that deep underground? Why are there water droplets dripping on me? F**k! It’s in my mouth!”

Water droplets? Well, it’s plausible. This is within the mountain, there’s probably a river running through it, making the air dense enough to form the droplets.

Chunlei rolled his eyes at him: “That’s because your mouth is too big, you idiot!”

“Get lost!” Tiezi tried to spit out the water. He took a thermos from his backpack to gargle. Zhen Hao who had been following behind barged through them with an irritated look, almost causing Tiezi to drop his thermos.

“Step aside, don’t get in my way!”

Tiezi’s face immediately turned hostile. He wanted to speak up but was held back by Chunlei:” Don’t make any trouble!” Chunlei shook his head slightly and his eyes hinted that their boss was looking at them.

The angry Tiezi cursed at Zhen Hao’s back and spit.

He bit his teeth and whispered: “Damn it, see what I’ll do to him when Zhen Mu is gone!” As he said this, another droplet fell on his head. Tiezi’s anger was too prominent to care about the little things anymore.

At this moment, Xiao Li and Zhen Mu announced: “It’s a dead-end ahead!”

“Dead-end…” Mr. Yan stepped forward. He touched the wall and was about to say something when Zhen Hao interrupted him: “What’s wrong, Mr. Yan?! Did your map show us the wrong way?!”

“…..”

As soon as his words were said, there was only one thought in everyone’s mind: This man is an idiot, is he really questioning the real person in charge of this group?

Zhen Mu frowned with a sigh and Lei Jie all the way at the back snickered. The others looked at each other and thought: Is the boss going to kill him? 

Mr. Yan’s expression was frigid. He lowered his eyes and reached for his map, ignoring everyone else. He caressed the wall, feeling for a hidden mechanism on it.

“Tsk!” Chunlei and Tiezi were somewhat disappointed.

As for Zhen Hao, he was clenching his fist, thinking: How dare that Yan guy disrespects him, he’ll make him pay when they get out!

Standing in a place where no light could reach, the quiet Zhen Bei looked up at the dark ceiling of the tomb, slowly showing a chillingly silly smile.

Ah~ Here it comes.

…..

“By the way, who is guarding the outermost part of the tomb?” Wang Xiao Mie looked back at the man embracing him from behind.

“Hm? It’s Mu Shi and Mu Jiu.” Wen Feng Jin whispered as he continued to press his lips on Wang Xiao Mie’s neck.

Wang Xiao Mie was a little irritated and pushed him away. “Oh, it’s the two that look like jellyfish?” They’re soft and can even make the boing boing sound, it’s actually quite cute.

“They can turn themselves into water and penetrate the skin. People who are infiltrated by them will not feel any pain but… their insides will slowly be consumed, starting from the stomach to the intestines, then to the blood and flesh. Strangely though, they don’t eat the skin so in the end…”

“What’s left is only a piece of skin…”

“…..” Wang Xiao Mie swallowed his saliva. I’m a fool to think that they’re cute. 

The pale lips hooked up. Wen Feng Jin hugged Wang Xiao Mie with force. His gorgeous face was plastered to his neck, the tip of his nose pressed close to feel and sniff his skin.

“… Say, why are you so annoying today! You keep sniffing me, do I smell of something?” Wang Xiao Mie turned around and tried to grab Wen Feng Jin by the neck.

Wen Feng Jin lowered his head as he quietly gazed at him. This look coupled with the sparks in his eyes made Wang Xiao Mie blush.

Wang Xiao Mie could not hold his breath and succumb: “You, what did you want to say? And stopped dog-sniffing me like I’m a piece of bone.”

“…quite an accurate metaphor.” Wen Feng Jin moved Wang Xiao Mie’s hand on his neck to his lips and gave it a lick, “But I don’t know if Shixiong is willing to give me a bone~r…”

The words that will lead to a broken waist…

Wang Xiao Mie: “…..” my Xiao Wenzi is definitely possessed by something, that must be it!

“Stay away! Even Kai Ming is getting hot! What evil thoughts are you having?!” Wang Xiao Mie shouted as he ran around the coffin.

Wen Feng Jin chuckled a few times, following behind him slowly.

It’s not an evil thought, it’s just desire.

Wen Feng Jin’s elongated eyes swept over the sacred tree then back to Wang Xiao Mie who was staring at him on high alert.

…..come here quickly.

I’m getting impatient.

The one who wants my heart… you’re just in time, my Shixiong is also in need of a new sacrifice.

…..

The outermost area of the tomb

“Xiao Li, go with Zhen Mu to check the nearby walls.” Mr. Yan put his backpack on the ground and retrieved a piece of paper from it.

It was the inscription that used to be on the stone tablets.

Xiao Li and Zhen Mu looked at each other and went to look separately. There were two rows of alcoves with unlit candles along the walls of the passageway yet no one ever suggested lighting them.

In this tomb, the candles were most likely rigged with some kind of trap. It was safer to look to with a flashlight.

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Seeing Mr. Yan’s undivided focus on finding the trigger, the group assumed this would take some time. Chunei and Tiezi sat on the tomb floor to rest and reserve their strength.

Zhen Hao stayed quiet for now. He stood in a distance with his arms folded, leaning against the stone-cold tomb wall. Nonetheless, the docile facade could not hide his anxiety.

Lei Jie was sitting to one side with her arm’s length knife in her hand. Her eyes studied the wall in front of them. It was engraved with wavy lines. Generally speaking, the gates inside a tomb would be carved with symbolic beliefs or ferocious beasts to scare graverobbers away. Rarer were the ones carved with the life story of the tomb master weaved into a fairy tale of some sort. 

This is too strange…

Xiao Luo did not put down his backpack or sit down to rest. He looked around cautiously then walked to Zhen Bei who was squatting on the ground.

Although his mentor said that there was something wrong with this man, seeing him squatting harmlessly without uttering a word, Xiao Luo decided to give him a pat on the shoulder.

Zhen Bei looked up at him with surprise, “What’s wrong?”

“Nothing…” After patting him, Xiao Luo did not know what to say so he took his hand back awkwardly. After scrambling his brain, he said: “It’s dangerous here… be careful.”

Zhen Bei was taken aback. He blinked then flashed a brilliant smile.

“Thank you, I’ll keep it in mind.”

Xiao Luo assumed that those words were to thank him for his warning but little did he know that his small gesture of kindness had saved his mentor’s life…

“Woah, why are there more and more water dripping down?” Chunlei touched his arm. Even though there was a layer of fabric over his skin, he still felt an itching pain where the water came in contact.

“True…” Tiezi raised his neck and looked up. Another droplet fell directly into his right eye. “F**k!” He rubbed his eyes vigorously. 

At the same time, the sound of mechanism moving vibrated through the place!

Even Zhen Bei and Zhen Hao switched from their resting state to an attack mode!

However, after a closer look, it turned out that Zhen Mu and Xiao Li had managed to find the hidden switch on the wall. Mr. Yan with the inscription in hand nodded gently.

With the switch triggered, the plain wall carved with wavy lines slid down, revealing four indentations, each corresponding with a rotating wheel etched with numbers. (TN: something like a 4-digit padlock)

“A pin? Ha ha ha! The owner of this tomb is quite modern! And here I thought we could use Chunlei’s demolition skill. And a passcode lock? It’s like they are actually going in and out as if this is a house.” Xiao Li grinned.

Everyone had now gathered in front of the strange-looking device.

“Mr. Yan, we don’t know the code, if we make any mistakes…” We could die. Just as Zhen Mu finished asking, a loud rumbling screeched over their heads. Even the ground felt like it was trembling.

“What’s going on?! The wall is collapsing! We are sinking! Ahhhh! What’s happening! Ah…”

Mr. Yan shoved the panicking group aside and approached the source of the commotion. His pupils constricted when he saw what was on the ground. Even Lei Jie and Zhen Mu were in a cold sweat. 

A piece of human skin in a set of clothes was lying on the ground!

And the clothes definitely belonged to Tiezi!

“Tiezi…… is dead….!”

“What happened before this?! Did no one see what happened? How on earth did he get like this?!” Mr. Yan roared at the frozen Chunlei standing beside him. The others subconsciously moved away from the emptied human skin.

Chunlei frantically said: “I… I don’t know. We were just standing next to each other a moment ago, looking at the wall. My… my stomach, why is it so hot? My throat… I… arrr…” 

His eyes widened in extreme desperation to open his mouth, gasping for air through his throat but in an instant, in front of everyone’s eyes, his body flopped down as his insides disappeared, leaving behind a rug of human skin…

IHSC Chapter 29

Chapter 29

At night, the dozen or so tomb raiders prepared to enter the previously excavated passage to the underground tomb.

After letting down the rope, Zhen Mu and Xiao Li who were in the front threw in several flares. The weak light fell straight down and a faint sound could only be heard after a relatively long time. The people above ground looked down and saw a tiny dot of light.

“My god, how deep is this?”

“Under here is a thousand-year-old palace that spans this entire mountain range. Imagine the depths of such a magnificent building.”

For easy access, the hold was not dug vertically down and hence the view below was mostly blocked. Peeking into the deep tunnel, Zhen Hao’s excitement was unrestrained.

He urged the two men squatting beside him: “What are we still doing here?! Get down there quick!”

Xiao Li smiled at him and remained in place until Mr. Yan gave him a nod. He said: “Alright! I’m going.” He then strapped himself and slowly slid down the rope.

When it was Zhen Mu’s turn, Zhen Bei grabbed him and put something in his hand: “Brother, this is for you.”

Zhen Mu was briefly surprised as he looked at the small sachet in his hand: “What is this?”

“Lucky amulet.” Zhen Bei said with a smile: “I especially went to have it blessed.” 

Zhen Mu was touched with the small lucky charm and his eyes were filled with warmth. He rubbed Zhen Bei’s head, “Thank you Xiao Bei.”

“You’re welcome!”

When Zhen Mu began his descent, Zhen Bei squatted at the entrance with a worried look.

“Hey, you gave Zhen Mu an amulet but not to your big brother?” Zhen Hao looked down at Zhen Bei and asked with a smirk.

Zhen Bei raised his head and anxiously said: “No, no. I brought one for you too! Look!” He took out several small bags from his pocket, “I worry for both of you. Big brother, you also have to come back safely.”

He held the straps sewn to the sachet and intended to attach it on Zhen Hao.

As Zhen Hao looked at the grey sachet and Zhen Bei closing in with his idiotic smile, he slapped his hand away in disgust.

With a pa sound, Zhen Bei’s backhand was reddish and the sachet fell to the ground. Mr. Yan glanced at the scene coldly and turned back to stare at the cave while his subordinates scoffed with malice.

“This thing, it’s better for you to keep it.” It’s grey and dirty with unknown origins!

“Oh…” Zhen Bei lowered his head sadly like a kicked golden retriever. He bent to pick up the sachet but another hand picked it up for him.

It was Xiao Luo who could not standby and look any longer. He handed the sachet to Zhen Bei and whispered: “Don’t be upset by your stupid big brother. You should keep it for yourself.”

“Thank you,” Zhen Bei shyly smiled, and instead of taking it back, he pushed it to Xiao Luo, “You take it, it’ll definitely keep you safe!”

Xiao Luo laughed and nodded. He placed the item into his chest pocket and gave it a tap.

“Thank you, I’ll keep it with me.”

“En!” Zhen Bei nodded happily.

Zhen Hao stared at them coldly and rolled his eyes, “Idiots.”

The small incident was quickly cast aside when two high pitched whistles were heard from the ground. 

The man with the facial paralysis smiled awkwardly. “It’s ready! Let’s go.” His group dropped what they were doing and one by one, slipped down the rope promptly, leaving Zhen Hao behind. 

After Zhen Hao finally made it down, only then did Lei Jia signaled Xiao Luo to follow suit and she after. The last person to leave was Zhen Bei.

He stood at the entrance and looked down with cold eyes as a ghastly smile filled his face. Ashui who was made to stay above ground inadvertently saw this sinister look but in the blink of an eye, it was switched back to the airheaded face!

Thinking he was somewhat unnerved by the big fool, Ashui kicked Zhen Bei’s ass angrily, “What are you standing there for?! Get down there you big fool!”

Zhen Bei staggered and looked back at him with a scared and silly smile: “Sorry, I’m still a little scared. Ha ha. I’ll go now.”

Seeing Zhen Bei’s hesitation and his anxious look, Ashui eased up a little and murmured a few dirty words while he checked the rope. After assuring everything was fine, he went back to the tent and took a nap.

…..

Deep inside the large expanse where looking up would give a feeling of being in another world, a giant stone gate stood in front of the group, seemingly connecting heaven and earth.

They gawked in front of the majestic gateway as if it was the Wailing Wall, unable to see the top even with their necks stretched upwards. A sense of awe and unease crept in and even the timid ones were eager to stop and observe.

“This… this is the thousand years mausoleum of legends?” Zhen Hao’s hands were shaking as he stared fixedly at the stone gate and touching the carvings on it.

Mr. Yan behind him was holding his breath and even Zhen Bei and Zhen Mu who had been here before were still filled with wonder when they looked at the stone gate.

“How the hell did they construct this? It’s freaking high… can all ancient people fly?” Chunlei asked Tiezi with his mouth gaping.

Tiezi rolled his eyes. He looked firmly at Mr. Yan, waiting for his instructions.

“There’s only a giant door here and yet I’m feeling oppressed. Inside… it won’t get easier, would it?”

“Hey! If you’re scared then go back. When it’s time to split the haul, there won’t be any for you!”

“Get lost! That’s not what I meant!”

The group of men joked as they were about to unveil a mystery. Lei Jie, on the other hand, was pinching her apprentice’s hand tightly with eyes staring straight at the door!

Xiao Luo gritted his teeth in pain: “…Shibo, we’re not inside the door yet and you’re using me as a sacrifice?”

Lei Jie calmed herself and released his arm. She slapped him on the back of his head: “Shut up! Sacrificing a close one to heaven does give immense power. Careful or I’ll really burn you!”

“Let’s go…Let’s go in!” On a rare occasion, Mr. Yan waved at the group with excitement. One by one, they crept through the hole drilled by Zhen Mu the last time he was here.

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Walking in the front were Zhen Mu and Xiao Li with one hand holding the flashlight and the other firmly on their weapons. Zhen Hao and the others were following closely behind.

Xiao Luo asked Lei Jie in whispers: “Shibo, did we just enter the gate to the tomb palace? Why does it feel easy?”

Lei Jie sneered: “Gate to the palace? Ai, what you just walked through was like the city gate. Besides, there were so many who had passed through here before, there shouldn’t be any mishap. And I’m sure many died just so we can have a safe passage now. You’re probably stepping on their bones right now.”

“…..” Xiao Luo kept his mouth shut but his eyes were alert. At this moment, the skinny youth began to show a sword-like sharpness in his eyes.

After their silhouette disappeared into the dark and empty stone path, somewhere in the shadows, a water-like pillar rose from the ground. It began to shapeshift into two transparent humanoids.

The two hurdled together as they murmured.

“Did you smell which of them carry the scent Mu Yi was talking about?”

“I did. There’s a total of three.”

“Is it the one in the front with the sword, the tall and thin one, and the short melon next to the woman?” 

“No, no. He’s not a melon, he’s a bean sprout. He’s not fat.”

“Yes yes, Mu Shi is so smart~”

“Hee hee, Mu Jiu is also very smart~”

“What about the rest?”

“We kill them of course!”

The two jelly-like entities shifted back to a transparent liquid and seeped into the walls.

…..

Petals fell under the ever-blooming Peach Blossom tree like sparkling stars floating down. In this abyss stood a platform where a blossoming tree and a red coffin endowed a beautiful love story.

And beneath the tree was the protagonist of that beautiful story… barbecuing a piece of meat.

Here’s the thing, ever since Wang Xiao Mie knew that his Kai Ming could emit heat, a brilliant idea popped up. He gathered the vacuum-sealed beef and lunch meat, washed Kai Ming cleanly, and let Wen Feng Jin hold it.

Seeing Kai Ming turning increasingly hot, Wang Xiao Mie’s eyes twinkled and an evil grin bloomed across his face.

With a sizzling sound, a piece of meat was placed on the body of Kai Ming.

Wen Feng Jin: “…..” For a moment there, I actually felt sympathy towards a dagger.

Wang Xiao Mie used a pair of self-made chopsticks to pick up the piece of meat and put it in his mouth.

Yum! What a great smell!

He did not neglect feeding Wen Feng Jin as well. Wen Feng Jin with his soft and beautiful face, gently open his mouth to be fed.

Feeling the incredible heat even through the thick cloth, Wen Feng Jin felt as though he was eating his own conscience.

And Wang Xiao Mie with his inquiries was not helping: “Aiya, look at Kai Ming, it’s heated to the point I can cook with it! Tell me, how many bad things have you done?”

“…..”

“…..”

Both: How can there be such a shameless person on this planet!

Wen Feng Jin looked at his puppy of a Shixiong and for the first time thought that he was quite outrageous!

Kai Ming: …… I’m going to blow up this couple!

After the meat was gone, Wang Xiao Mie threw his chopsticks along with the emptied cans and packaging. With a smug, he reclaimed Kai Ming and began wiping off the oil stains on it carefully. In his hand, Kai Ming had slowly cooled down.

“You’re such a useful little thing~” Wang Xiao Mie stroked the dagger adoringly.

Kai Ming hummed, as though giving Wang Xiao Mie a dog bark.

Wen Feng Jin smiled as he watched Wang Xiao Mie. 

He then looked in a certain direction and the smile on his face suddenly changed. That was the outermost area where the graverobbers were situated, which was also protected by Mu Shi and Mu Jiu. 

It’s better not to kill on the first day. What if they give up and leave? Wen Feng Jin dropped his head to hide his sinister laughter.

“Xiao Mie.”

“Ha?”

Wen Feng Jin’s eyes soothed: “It’s time for us to sleep.”

IHSC Chapter 28

Chapter 28

On the morning of the fifth day, in the quiet mist-covered barren mountains, a group of people was setting up a tent on the wild overgrown grass. Boxes of equipment were being transported and put into place.

A thin and weak looking youth was meticulously spraying insect repellent powder around their living quarters. He turned back and saw his Shibo her highness sitting on a stone and leisurely using a cloth to wipe a short and flat point sword.

“Shibo, it’s so hot out here, why don’t you go inside the tent?”

“This tent is too green.” The woman admired the weapon in her hand and answered absentmindedly.

The youth choked a little then sighed: “Shibo, just say so if you don’t want to go in with them. This is a green tent, not a green hat. You still have to sleep in it at night.”

The woman glared at him: “How dare you bicker with me. Is it because I haven’t given you a beating in a while that your head’s filled with grease?! Listen well, stinky boy, except for Zhen Mu that simpleton, do not believe anyone else, they’re all living ghosts that are capable of swallowing you.”

The young man named Xiao Luo respectfully nodded and happily replied: “I understand. Other than Zhen Mu and Zhen Bei, and also Shibo, I will not be bothered with anyone else.”

“Not Zhen Mu and Zhen Bei, only Zhen Mu.”

“Ha? Why?” Xiao Luo was surprised.

The woman squinted: “That kid Zhen Bei…. I always feel that he’s evil.”

Xiao Luo scratched his head and thought: Ai, this is probably a woman’s sixth sense. Even so, he treated her words with importance. After being taught by her for so many years, he trusted her the most.

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With that, he packed their secret insect repellent powder and went back to the tent to check their equipment.

As for the woman, once she saw Zhen Mu coming out of the tent with his bronze sword, she beamed brilliantly: “Zhen Mu! Second son of the Zhen family! Come, come! We haven’t seen each other for so long yet you don’t even come and say hi. Here, let me check your Chang Feng!”

Zhen Mu was a little evasive towards the woman but hearing her request of checking his weapon, he came forward with a straight face and greeted softly: “Lei Jie.” (TN: jie is a form of address towards an older female. I’ll be referring to her as Lei Jie instead of sister Lei.)

Lei Jie had a wide grin on her face as she cast aside the knife in her hand and took over the bronze sword from Zhen Mu. She carefully stroked the body of the sword named Chang Feng.

Lei Jie’s family had been swordsmiths for many generations. The craftsmen in the family were all crazy about creating the perfect sword to the point of sacrificing everything else. This was also the reason for her fascination with ancient weapons and why she joined this particular line of work.

“Long time no see, and you’re still beautiful as ever…” Lei Jie said tenderly to the sword. Its masters’ love did not cause the sword to become weak, its blade remained sharp as it had always been even after so many years. Lei Jie was only given the chance to repair it twice and if it wasn’t for Zhen Mu’s unwillingness to part with his beloved sword and that he had saved her disciple, she would have tried to get it from him at any price!

Lei Jie took her cloth and carefully wiped the sword, cleaning every nook and cranny. As her special cloth slid along the edge, a light buzzing sound could be heard from the friction.

Zhen Mu sat quietly on the boulder beside her as she admired the sword.

After some time, she asked: “Your family’s eldest son Zhen Hao…. Did he receive some kind of injury when he was young?”

Surprise sprang up on Zhen Mu’s sharp and handsome face. He earnestly recalled and said: “That shouldn’t be.”

Lei Jie let out an oh and said: “Then why is it that I find him stupid?”

Zhen Mu: “…..”

Lei Jie squinted as she carefully observed the sword while saying: “I’ve always been straightforward, don’t mind my rudeness. I’m an old lady and maybe my eyesight is getting worst but everyone in the circle knows how treacherous that old dog Yan can be. He can swallow your brother whole and not even spit out his bones. Not to mention his lawless and unruly underlings. Your brother is so stupid that he gives the man everything. The way I see it, sooner or later he’s bound to be killed!”

“And that rotten luck mother of yours still wants you to protect him. Are you sure you can do that? It’s already a big fortune if you can get out of there alive.”

Zhen Mu grimaced in silence before saying: “I know you’re looking out for me, thank you Lei Jie.”

“Tsk.” Lei Jie knew he had wood for brains and did not say much. She handed back Chang Feng to him with much hesitation and said: “Advice is not well received by those who deserved to die. Also, beware of that little brother of yours.”

As swordsmiths, they were very sensitive to the sharpness and auras of weapons, the same goes to people.

“My little brother…” Zhen Mu shook his head, “My little brother is a good kid. Lei Jie, you’re overthinking. And one more thing, if something happened to me, you can have this sword but please look after my brother and get him out. Please?”

Lei Jie gazed up and down at him: “Ai Yo, what are you talking about. I wasn’t trying to drive a wedge between anyone. Besides, if you can’t even survive then how am I capable of saving your brother?”

Zhen Mu smiled: “Lei Jie, others may not know it but I’m fully aware of your skills. And also your sole purpose here is for those famed weapons, not the treasures, there’s no lost trust between us.”

Lei Jie glanced at him then at the Chang Feng sword in his hand. In the end, she listlessly gave him her word.

“Ai~ If I could so much as peek at Liao Yue sword and Kai Ming this time, I’ll gladly die in there!”

Having received her promise, Zhen Mu also smiled with relief.

In the tent, Zhen Hao was sitting motionlessly while fanning himself with a fan. He had his eyes half-closed as he listened to Mr. Yan giving out instructions.

“Xiao Li, you have good martial arts, you’ll stay in the front with Zhen Mu. If you sense anything wrong, send a signal to retreat.”

“Understood.”

“Tiezi and Chunlei, you’ll be protecting Mr. Zhen.”

The two named Tiezi and Chunlei nodded with a smile and said: “Don’t worry, brother Yan.”

“Finally, I’ll tell you the positions to avoid the traps. One more person will stay above ground just in case. Ah Shui, you’ll stay here.”

“Ok.”

“Oh right, what about that woman and her apprentice?” Zhen Hao opened his frowning eyes and asked.

The man’s face remained expressionless: “They will follow us down. That woman and her apprentice are powerful. Just let them do whatever they want. Regardless, they still have to follow our instructions for safety.”

“Alright.” Zhen Hao reluctantly nodded.

…..

Underground

Wen Feng Jin treated Mu Yi in front of him like the former subordinate of many years ago as he gave out orders.

“If you can’t tell your opponent’s strengths, feel free to test them out or just kill them. But Mu Yi, remember this, those bearing the scent as the person before are not to be killed. Absolutely not, understood?”

Click click click. Mu Yi made sounds from his throat, indicating he had understood. The few monsters behind him did the same.

“Very good.” Wen Feng Jin nodded with satisfaction, “Go on to your respective position. And remember my words.”

The troop of ferocious-looking monsters turned and in a flash, disappeared into the tomb’s passageway. When he turned back, Wang Xiao Mie was standing behind him.

“Xiao Mie?” Wen Feng Jin froze for a second. He lowered his face, then looked up with a smile, “How long have you been here? I didn’t hear you come in.”

Wang Xiao Mie rubbed his sleepy eyes: “I only just came. I woke up and didn’t see you so I came here to look. Mu Yi and the others already left? What did you tell them to do?”

Wen Feng Jin narrowed his eyes and went up to Wang Xiao Mie, pulling away his hand that was rubbing his eyes. He gently used his thumb to rub his eyes for him.

“Don’t rub so hard, it’ll hurt your eye.”

“Oh~” Wang Xiao Mie did not mind Wen Feng Jin not answering the question. He stood with his hands hanging and chin raised, obediently allowing himself to be wiped.

“If I’m not wrong, they will come down here tonight to scout but won’t go too far in. You have to carry your dagger at all times.”

“I know.” Wang Xiao Mie turned his head and slowly opened his eyes, feeling much better. He reached into his clothes and pulled out the dagger. The weapon was simple in design and black in color. There were no intricate carvings and only the words ‘Kai Ming’ was etched on the handle. 

“I always have it on me.”

Wen Feng Jin took back his hand and slowly walked him back.

Wang Xiao Mie waved his dagger and sighed: “Tell me, what’s the use of this thing? It’s sooo short. An inch shorter, an inch more dangerous. This will be the death of me. The attacker is already at my throat and I can’t even reach his stomach.”

(TN: What he meant is that because the weapon is short, he had to get closer to the opponent to kill him, making it more dangerous)

Wen Feng Jin chuckled and explained to him: “This Kai Ming dagger is considered a godly weapon back in those days. It was forged by a master swordsman and later, passed on to an assassin to kill a tyrant king. Because it carried the hope of getting rid of tyrants and opening up the world, it was given the name Kai Ming. This dagger is extremely sharp. It is capable of cutting through heavenly soldiers and has killed countless cold-blooded kings and nobles. As long as it senses an evil person close by, it will give off heat as a warning.”

“Ha? It’s that incredible?!” Wang Xiao Mie immediately saw the dagger in a new light. Its black color was like a soothing design choice and even the tiny scratches were proof that it had been through many battles.

He suddenly thought of something and asked Wen Feng Jin: “You said it will turn hot when it’s near bad people. You’re by my side now and nothing’s happening! Are you lying to me?!”

Wen Feng Jin: “…..”

Wen Feng Jin: “…..Shixiong, I’m actually a good person.”

“…..” Wang Xiao Mie was speechless.

He eyed Wen Feng Jin from head to toe in his black and red robe. Wen Feng Jin unconsciously tried to paint himself in a gentle light with a smile but with his black eyes and the scarlet mark on his forehead, the smile only added a touch of evil to his perfect villain appearance.

“…..tell me the truth.” Wang Xiao Mie pressed the dagger to his chest.

“…..” Wen Feng Jin stood his ground, “I’m a good man. Look, even Kai Ming approves.”

The dagger touching his chest gave out a hum…..it was turning hot.

“…..”

“…..”

Wang Xiao Mie looked away from Wen Feng Jin. The devil’s face was too beautiful, he dared not look.

“I’ll say this again, tell me the truth.”

The mesmerizing boss Wen finally gave in to Wang Xiao Mie’s questioning and told him the truth.

“Alright…..” 

“When I first got hold of Kai Ming many years ago, I was quite intrigued by it. For fun, I would keep it on me through the winter…..for warmth.”

Kai Ming, the legendary dagger, was becoming increasingly hot as if crying out to Wang Xiao Mie, telling him its grievance of after being used as a portable heater for so many years, it was too lazy to produce heat in Wen Feng Jin’s presence and could only cry silent tears.

IHSC Chapter 27

Chapter 27

Underground

Wang Xiao Mie stood at the entrance of one of the halls with his sleeves rolled up. He looked at the mound of gold flowing past the door not with joy but annoyance.

With utmost seriousness, he began dog-paddling through them.

All the gems and gold were brushed aside. What he needed now were weapons!

“Xiao Wenzi, come help me quickly!”

Wen Feng Jin came along and saw his sweet little dumpling jutting out his butt and digging into the ‘soil’. The corner of his mouth hooked, “Xiao Mie, don’t lift your butt so high.”

Wang Xiao Mie turned and glared at him with black lines coming down his face: “Stop being a hooligan. Come and help me. Which big boss in the movies doesn’t carry a weapon? Our tomb is going to be dug up in two days and yet you’re being too carefree.”

“You and I cannot leave the tomb palace, so the only thing we can do is stay here and wait.” Wen Feng Jin said so but he still lifted his sleeves and joined the search.

“But we have to at least be prepared. What if you can’t beat them?”

“Then there’s still Shixiong you.” Wen Feng Jin said with a smile.

“How can I be of service? Do you want me to dial the cops or call the ambulance?” Wang Xiao Mie continued to bury his head into the treasure heap. His eyes suddenly lit up as he pulled out a little undershirt made of gold thread???

“What the hell is this?! You even collect people’s undergarment? This is insane! Did you strip the person of his clothes to get this just because it’s made of gold?!”

Wen Feng Jin stayed silent for a while before saying: “Xiao Mie, that’s a golden light armor.”

Wang Xiao Mie: “…..”

Gold… golden armor? The super incredible armor that can withstand bullets and knives? He folded the vest and added it to his pouch.

Ke, keke, I’m keeping it.

A somewhat embarrassed Wang Xiao Mie continued dog-paddling through the treasures. “Ai ya, so many good items and weapons, why didn’t you keep them separately in a different hall? Now they’re lumped together with ordinary jewelry and we have to scour through them.”

Wen Feng Jin pinched his forehead and sighed: “Xiao Mie…”

“Ah?” Wang Xiao Mie looked at him with wet puppy eyes.

“Did you forget that you were the one who used the weapon display as a clothes hanger? You also changed the weapon storeroom into the clothes drying room.” Wen Feng Jin lowered his head and looked at him, “Those weapons were thrown here by MuYi at your request…”

“…..”

Wang Xiao Mie remembered his past behavior with little remorse. He looked at Wen Feng Jin with a grin.

“I did that! So what? Are you gonna get fierce with me?! Wan Wan Wan!!!” He was unrepentant with an arrogant and ferocious attitude that made even the big Boss Wen itch.

Wen Feng Jin: “…..” My family’s little dumpling likes to make dog’s sounds, what should I do? It’s actually quite cute, can I do him? After doing it will he get better?

Facing the fuming and ‘cute to the point I want to have *cough*’ Wang Xiao Mie, Boss Wen decided to bow down to him and quietly accompany him to scavenge.

After a few minutes of metal crashing sounds, someone asked a question: “My Liao Yue sword…”

“Why are you so petty! I will dig it up for you in a moment! Hmph!” 

“…..”

Even with the additional help of Mu Yi, they toiled away the whole day before finally assembling back all the precious weapons into the weapon storeroom.

Sitting on the smooth stone floor, Wang Xiao Mie was exhausted to the point that he simply laid on the ground. Wen Feng Jin was leaning against a pillar with droopy eyes, clearly, he had also used up quite an amount of effort.

As for the poor Mu Yi, he did not even have the strength to latch himself on the wall. The big lizard fell to the ground with his tongue sticking out. Without his heavy breathing, Wang Xiao Mie would’ve thought the thing had killed itself.

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After taking a break, Wang Xiao Mie sat up and looked wearingly at Wen Feng Jin: “That should be all of them, right…”

Wen Feng Jin nodded: “Most of it. There are probably several buried further down but this that’s enough….Xiao Mie, I said you don’t have to worry about anything, I’ll think of a way to deal with those graverobbers.”

“I know, I know.” Wang Xiao Mie put his hand on Mu Yi’s grotesque head and patted it like a dog. The hideous Mu Yi was trying to act cute by whining coquettishly. “I just want to cover all my grounds. It’s better if I don’t know when they are coming. Now that I know, every day feels like a countdown to my end. And I keep having a very bad premonition…”

As the day approached, the unrest in his heart was getting stronger.

Wen Feng Jin’s eyes stayed on him: “Xiao Mie…”

Wang Xiao Mie interrupted his words and said with a smile: “I get it. I don’t doubt what you’re going to do or that you can’t handle this. I’m just worried about the man Zhen Bei mentioned. A person who’s able to say that he wants to eat your heart must have something to back his words.”

He had a nightmare the previous night. He dreamt that Wen Feng Jin was captured and had his heart ripped off. The bloody scene shocked him awake. His hands kept shaking for a long time until he felt the familiar embrace, only then did he calm down.

Wen Feng Jin came up to him and knelt down on one knee. He placed his palm on Wang Xiao Mie’s cheek and gently rubbed the corner of his eye.

“Don’t worry about me, I don’t age or die, no matter what, I will live.”

Wang Xiao Mie dropped his head, “Even if you’re immortal, doesn’t mean you don’t have a weakness. Can your heart grow back after being torn off?”

Wen Feng Jin smiled. When his large black pupils fully reflected the face of his beloved, he said: “I’m a little happy.”

“Happy with what? That someone else wants your heart?” Wang Xiao Mie looked up and stared at him.

Wen Feng Jin laughed softly, “I’m happy that you care about me and worried for my sake.” After doing the things that I did, I dared not dream that you would once again give me this warmth.

“With this, I’m more determined not to let them have the upper hand.” Wen Feng Jin gently took Wang Xiao Mie into his arms. Feeling the strong embrace and reciprocation of emotions from Wang Xiao Mie, he sighed with bliss.

His eyes closed and his smile deepened.

Finally….. finally, there comes a day that my wish is fulfilled…

No one can stop me from being with you. Whoever dares get in our way, I will give him a life worse than death!

…..

The Zhen House

In the age-old solemn mansion, several individuals with diverse characteristics sat in groups at the reception hall. They carried themselves with grace and politeness but none would give anyone else a second glance.

On the patriarch seat were the Zhen family head and his wife. On his left were Zhen Hao and the masked man, on his right were Zhen Mu and Zhen Bei.

(TN: I forgot to talk about the three brother’s names. Zhen Bei, as mentioned, sounds like the word bad luck. Zhen Mu (木=wood) refers to someone who’s dense, quite alike his personality. And Zhen Hao, which sounds like 真好, meaning great or wonderful.)

“Everyone here is an expert in the same circle. Your presence gives us great honor and we’ll never forget this debt. And you, Mr. Yan, my son Zhen Hao had mentioned you many times to me.”

The Zhen patriarch looked at the man next to Zhen Hao. He showed no expression and only nodded slightly.

He was told that the man received a fatal wound a long time ago and now was not able to show any expression on his face. Thus, he dismissed his discourtesy and continued his speech.

The other tomb robbers were still very respectful towards their big sponsor and listened quietly. A brazen woman who brought along a young man of twenty-something glanced at Zhen Mu with a smile.

Zhen Mu titled his head in avoidance when he felt the laser-beam eyes aiming at him. 

The woman snickered and began to fiddle with her fingers in boredom. The young lad behind her stared at his mentor with a helpless sigh.

As the meeting was about to end, Madame Zhen who had been quiet suddenly spoke with some sadness in her tone: “Zhen Mu, Zhen Bei.”

Zhen Mu and Zhen Bei looked at her.

Madame Zhen said: “I can’t stop your brother from wanting to go underground. I have no idea why he insisted on going to such a dangerous place but Zhen Mu, you’re used to that kind of job, make sure to take care of him when you’re there, do you hear me?”

Zhen Mu lowered his eyes. Under the fiery visage was actually a calm and gentle soul. Even under his mother’s obviously biased instructions, he still nodded with grace.

Seeing that Zhen Mu had agreed, Madame Zhen smiled with satisfaction. She had absolute trust in the second son’s abilities.

“And Zhen Bei.” When she saw Zhen Bei’s simpleton smile, she frowned and reproached him: “Look at your silly appearance! You’re so old and still had to rely on your big brother! Don’t give your big brother any trouble when you’re in the tomb, got it?”

Zhen Bei shrunk back and Zhen Mu was a little upset. In a rare occurrence, he spoke against her: “Mother, Zhen Bei is not stupid. He’s been a sincere child since birth, don’t keep reprimanding him.”

“You!”

“Alright! Alright!” The Zhen patriarch interrupted his wife who was fuming, “We’re talking about serious business here! You’re getting off-topic and making the guests look at us as a joke!”

Madame Zhen snorted and turned her head. Zhen Hao then comforted his mother by saying: “Mother, I know you’re worried about us but father is right. I’ll accompany you for a while before I leave.”

Madame Zhen smiled again and the Zhen patriarch eased up after hearing his favorite son’s words. He exchanged a few pleasantries before leading his wife away.

The man with the facial paralysis known as Mr. Yan gestured to everyone to gather around him. He and Zhen Hao then relayed the plan to them, assigned tasks, and what to prepare when they go underground.

The group hurdled and discussed, deliberately disregarding Zhen Bei and Zhen Mu.

Zhen Bei twitched his brows and whispered to Zhen Mu: “Second brother, don’t you think that Zhen Hao is quite unwise? Although all these people are skillful, they’re not affiliated with us. And with Zhen Hao isolating us on purpose, if that jerkface Yan betrayed him, the three of us are done for.”

Zhen Mu eyed the contemptuous Zhen Hao smiling in the crowd. When Zhen Hao saw him looking over, he smirked and looked back at them with disdain.

Zhen Mu drooped his eyes. He patted the back of Zhen Bei’s head with his scarred hand.

“It’s ok, brother will protect you. You’re my first priority.”

Zhen Bei flashed a brilliant smile and nodded with an oomph.

He looked at Zhen Hao and Zhen Hao mouthed the word “idiot” at him.

Zhen Bei kept smiling and scratched his head as if he was clueless while Zhen Hao laughed at himself for being bothered with a fool.

The time of departure was soon fixed and the supplies and equipment would be arriving right on schedule. 

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Back underground

Wen Feng Jin was leaning against the sacred tree with his arms folded. He smiled sweetly at Wang Xiao Mie who was playing with a short and sharp dagger.

“Xiao Mie, compared to this dagger, I think you should use the other one.” Said Wen Feng Jin.

Wang Xiao Mie looked at the dagger in his hand that shined like snow and the black and rusty one on the ground, “No matter how you look at it, this one has got to be more powerful!”

“The grade of a blade is not determined by how shiny it is. Only decorative blades are clean and shiny, this is called ‘zei guan’. The truth is, real weapons are heavy and strong which sometimes makes them seem dull but they have incredible cutting prowess and only after being used for a long time will their ‘bao guan’ appear. The only exception is the sword.”

(TN: zei guan 贼光, direct translation is probably trick light, it usually used in ceramics and refers to a piece that is more modern and its shine is different from those of aged ones which tend to have bao guan 宝光, meaning a precious shine. I’m not fully knowledgeable with this aspect so please correct me if I’m wrong)

“Oh, I see.” The illiterate Wang Xiao Mie looked at the dagger imbued with jewels and the word gaudy flashed all over it.

He then picked up the black and rusted dagger on the ground and continued slashing at thin air with it. Like a puppy baring its fangs, he practiced as if he was ready to go all out against the group of intruders!

Wen Feng Jin slowly raised his hand and covered his giggling mouth. 

Nai xiong, nai xiong, Shixiong…. 

(TN: Nai xiong is describing something small and cute, like a baby animal, trying to act tough which rhymes with Shixiong. I don’t know how to translate this sentence to make it rhyme and sound cute as the author intended so I’m leaving it as it is)