Home Post 3221-chapter-17


[T/N: I will change Lang Yin title from immortal master to immortal lord from this chapter onward because it is more accurate than immortal master…so please bear with me as I work alone and do not have any editor/proofreader so sometimes I need to do some corrections as I translate the chapters… Sorry for the inconvenience…)

Chapter 17

Jing Wuye led the four people out of Youzhou City. After traveling several hundred miles with the wind, they entered a region of towering mountains.

“From here, as far as the eye can see, this is all part of the Youfu Mountain Range. There are nearly one hundred thousand peaks with overlapping ridges and dense vegetation. Numerous human and spirit tribes are scattered throughout,” Jing Wuye explained as they flew in the air.

As they flew, they looked down to see dense forests and mist drifting between the mountains. Jing Wuye’s earlier claim that one couldn’t find the Tongshan Tribe without a guide was no exaggeration.

“The miasma here is heavy. It shouldn’t be suitable for humans. Why don’t the mountain tribes move elsewhere?” Li Que asked.

Jing Wuye replied, “The tribes that live in the Youfu Mountain Range are not ordinary humans. Their ancestors were often cultivators, passing down artifacts and techniques. Hence, many in the tribe are cultivators. Moreover, these inhabitants have lived here for generations, over a thousand years, and are accustomed to the environment with their ways to handle the miasma.”

Xu Manman had also passed through the Youfu Mountain Range during her travels. She ventured inside for several months, got lost a few times, and knew the dangers well, never stepping into the depths. If the Blood Sect chose this place as the base for the Soul Reaping Division, it would be easy to defend and difficult to attack.

After flying in the Youfu Mountain Range for an hour, they finally heard Jing Wuye say, “It should be around here. Let’s descend.”

Upon hearing this, Li Que dove down first. With a gentle flick of his golden-red wings, the thick fog rippled away, and the surrounding area became clearly visible for several miles.

The rest followed Li Que into the forest.

As soon as they landed, Xu Manman smelled the distinct scent of the forest: moist soil, decaying roots, blooming flowers—a mix of fragrance and stench creating the unique aroma of the woods. Their arrival seemed to disturb the forest creatures, causing rustling sounds all around them.

Such an environment was not unfamiliar to Li Que, even in the Youfu Mountain Range, teeming with snakes, insects, and rodents. The Feather Clan mostly fed on insects; although the proud Di Luan did not eat such things, the snakes, insects, and rodents still saw him as a natural enemy.

Jing Wuye led the way, saying, “A few more steps, and we’ll reach the Tongshan Tribe.”

It was just past noon, the time of day when yang energy is strongest, but the dense foliage blocked out the sun, and with the fog, the forest was as dark as night.

They had just taken a few steps when they heard the faint sound of music ahead, gradually becoming clearer.

It was the sound of a suona, gongs, and drums playing a cheerful tune.

“From the sound of it, the Tongshan Tribe seems to be celebrating something,” Xu Manman said.

“I think I hear someone singing,” Li Que added.

The singing grew clearer, a high-pitched female voice elongating the notes:

“Moonlight shines… on the corridor…

The bride… comes to pay respect…

Bowing to heaven and earth… bowing to parents…

Bowing to the impermanence… bowing to the king of hell…

Ghosts as matchmakers… tombs as beds…

Drinking the wedding toast… Meng Po’s soup…”

A cold wind blew, and the bright day suddenly darkened, casting an eerie and sinister atmosphere over the forest.

Such joyful music, yet with such ghostly lyrics, was clearly abnormal.

However, everyone present was highly skilled and not afraid of danger. They proceeded cautiously.

Through the foliage, they soon saw a wedding procession in the distance. Dozens of people dressed in red lined up in two rows, with a few in the front playing suona, gongs, and drums, while the people behind carried paper figures of men and women for funerals. The procession’s faces showed no joy, singing the eerie song with blank expressions like puppets.

The most peculiar thing was that the central figure, carried by four men, was not a bridal sedan chair but a long, rectangular coffin covered in red silk!

Xu Manman’s face changed slightly because she heard faint sounds coming from within the coffin!

“There’s a living person in the coffin!”

As soon as Xu Manman spoke, she rushed to the procession and blocked the coffin.

The procession abruptly stopped, the singing and playing ceased, and everyone turned to stare blankly at Xu Manman.

The sudden silence made the sounds from the coffin even clearer. Xu Manman’s keen senses detected a sharp, scratching noise from within the coffin, nails scraping against wood.

Eager to save the person inside, she didn’t hesitate and struck the coffin bearers away with a palm strike. The coffin fell heavily to the ground. Made of solid wood and extremely heavy, the bearers, who were cultivators with great strength, quickly recovered from the surprise attack and turned ferociously towards Xu Manman.

The others emitted piercing screams, as if the sky had fallen.

Ignoring the attacks aimed at her, Xu Manman struck the coffin lid but couldn’t open it. She realized the coffin was nailed shut with fourteen thick copper nails, which seemed unusual.

By then, the others had arrived and intercepted the attacks.

“Immortal Lord, please pull out these fourteen copper nails,” Xu Manman urgently said.

Immortal Lang Yin glanced at the nails, then pointed at them. An invisible force gripped the nails, pulling them out inch by inch.

Xu Manman saw the threads on the nails, and her face darkened.

“Seven inches and seven points, soul-locking nails.”

Immortal Lang Yin’s speed was incredible. In no time, all fourteen nails were removed. Xu Manman flipped the coffin lid to reveal a young woman in bridal attire inside. Her face was already purple, her fingernails were broken and bloody, and the coffin’s inner surface was covered in scratches she made in her dying moments, forming a hauntingly accusatory pattern.

“They released the bride! They released the bride!” The dozens of people shouted madly, but were sent flying by Ao Xiu and Li Que.

Xu Manman had no time to worry about them. She channeled her spiritual energy into the bride’s body and sensed a faint sign of life, finally breathing a sigh of relief.

“Immortal Lord, your spiritual energy has healing abilities. She’s still alive; see if you can save her,” Xu Manman said.

Upon hearing this, Immortal Lang Yin extended his long, fair right hand, hovering it over the bride’s face. Life-giving spiritual energy enveloped her, entering through her spiritual aperture. The weak breath gradually strengthened, and the blue-purple tint on her face slowly faded.

Seeing that the bride’s life was saved, Xu Manman finally relaxed. She stood up and surveyed the surroundings, noticing that the wedding procession had fled, unable to withstand Ao Xiu and Li Que.

Li Que had captured one of the coffin bearers, forcing him to kneel on the spot.

The man looked to be in his thirties, with dark skin, a short stature, and muscular limbs, typical of someone who had practiced the Six-Armed Mystic Art.

“Are you from the Tongshan Tribe?” Xu Manman asked.

But the man seemed to be in a daze, staring blankly at the revived bride. His pale lips moved, muttering, “The bride is alive… the mountain god is angry… it’s over… it’s over…”

Li Que frowned and said, “He seems to have gone mad.”

“When a person is extremely terrified, they can become soul-lost.”

Xu Manman sighed helplessly, looking in the direction the Tongshan tribesmen had fled.

“Let’s go to the Tongshan Tribe and ask someone else,” Li Que suggested.

“We’re probably already seen as enemies of the Tongshan Tribe now. It won’t be easy to get the truth,” Ao Xiu said.

Li Que proposed, “We could change our appearance.”

Ao Xiu shook his head. “This is a deep mountain forest where they might not see an outsider for decades. Even if you change your face, they won’t trust you.”

Li Que snapped, “Do you have to oppose everything I say?”

Xu Manman patted Li Que’s shoulder.

“Ao Xiu has a point.”

Li Que glared angrily at Xu Manman.

Xu Manman continued, “But you’re not wrong either.”

Ao Xiu smiled. “You really know how to talk.”

“I’m just telling the truth,” Xu Manman shrugged.

“Li Que didn’t say we should change other people’s appearances. If you turn into a bird, will they still be on guard?”

Li Que suddenly understood and laughed. “Exactly, that’s what I meant!”

With that, Li Que transformed back into his true form, Di Luan. However, as the king of the Feather Clan, his long feathers touched the ground, and his radiant plumage was dazzlingly conspicuous. Proudly raising his long neck, he was extremely pleased with his original form.

“Ahem..Li Que,” Xu Manman coughed lightly, smiling, “try to keep a low profile. This form is a bit too eye-catching.”

Reluctantly, Li Que dimmed his brilliance and shrank his size by half, making it easier to blend into the forest.

“Much better. You go ahead and scout the Tongshan Tribe to see what’s going on,” Xu Manman said.

“What about you guys?” The little bird tilted its head, speaking in a human voice.

“We’ll investigate the cemetery. If we find anything, we’ll contact you via sound transmission,” Xu Manman said, adding, “If you encounter danger, retreat immediately.”

Li Que replied arrogantly, “What danger could there be in the small Tongshan Tribe?”

Xu Manman picked up one of the heavy copper nails from the ground, her expression serious.

“The seven-inch-seven soul-locking nail—I’ve only read about it in ancient books. It’s said that this kind of copper nail is made from a special material, inscribed with an evil array that can seal a person’s soul. This Tongshan Tribe is not simple and likely has connections with the Blood Sect.”

Hearing this, Li Que also became more cautious.

A hundred years ago, he suffered at the hands of the Blood Sect, experiencing Nirvana to escape the disaster, which can be considered losing a life. Though his cultivation had greatly improved since then, the Blood Sect was still unfathomable. They could even kill Lian Yue Daozun and capture Fu Yue Shenzun. He didn’t dare be complacent.

“I understand. I’ll be careful,” Li Que said. Spreading his wings, he flew towards the Tongshan Tribe.

Xu Manman was confident in letting Li Que act alone because he had the advantage of the terrain. In the forest, Di Luan was the king of the Feather Clan, commanding the birds and having wings to escape easily.

“Cultivator Jing, please take us to the cemetery,” Xu Manman turned to Jing Wuye.

Jing Wuye hesitated for a moment before responding, “The Tongshan Tribe’s cemetery is in another direction. Follow me.”

Jing Wuye was also puzzled. Among the four, Xu Manman had the lowest cultivation level but seemed to be the leader, commanding the group. Her words carried a certain authority that made people instinctively trust her. However, the others were all powerful figures: the young master of Di Luan and the Sea Emperor. Yet, they didn’t have her natural commanding presence.

How strange…

Jing Wuye carried the bride on his back while Ao Xiu watched over the soul-lost captive. They moved quickly, but it still took over an hour to find the Tongshan Tribe’s cemetery.

The cemetery was on the shady side of the mountain. Each mound of earth was a grave, with a stone tablet inscribed with some local script. Fortunately, Jing Wuye could read it.

“The inscriptions record the deceased’s name and birth and death years. The higher the grave, the older it is,” Jing Wuye explained.

The group looked around and saw countless graves, numbering in the thousands.

“Two days ago, our Palace Lord ordered a thorough search of the Youfu Mountain Range. We discovered that the graves here were empty. I then learned some history about the Tongshan Tribe. It was once a large tribe in the Youfu Mountain Range, very prosperous, occupying a vast area. But then a plague broke out, killing many people.”

“When did the plague occur?” Xu Manman asked while inspecting the tombstones.

“About 130 years ago. It lasted around ten years, causing the decline of the Tongshan Tribe.”

“Immortal Lord,” Xu Manman walked back to Immortal Lang Yin and asked, “You are also a spirit of plants. Can you extend your roots into the ground to investigate?”

Immortal Lang Yin nodded.

“Can you check how many of these graves are empty?”

Immortal Lang Yin closed his eyes, and the ground beneath him emitted a faint light. Streams of spiritual energy spread out like roots, probing deep into the earth.

After a moment, Immortal Lang Yin retracted his spiritual energy, opened his eyes, and pointed towards the cemetery.

“Starting from there, all the graves behind are empty, and there are seventy-six empty graves in the front.”

Xu Manman and Jing Wuye approached the area indicated by Immortal Lang Yin.

“Cultivator Jing, what is written on these tombstones? How many years ago were these graves made?” Xu Manman asked.

Jing Wuye examined the tombstones and said, “145 years ago… not long before the plague.”

“What about the empty graves in the front?”

The tombstones were inscribed with the birth and death years. Jing Wuye checked each one and reported the years to Xu Manman.

“Judging by the birth and death years, the empty graves in the front originally contained the remains of cultivators. The higher a cultivator’s level, the slower their body decays after death.”

“A common person’s body, when buried, typically turns into bones within five years. The Blood Sect’s puppet technique doesn’t require bones but intact corpses. So, there’s a possibility that about 140 years ago, the evil cultivators of the Blood Sect came here, dug up the undecomposed bodies, and when they ran out of corpses, they started killing people, using the plague as a method. Death by plague ensures the integrity of the corpses,” Xu Manman speculated.

Immortal Lang Yin shook his head and said, “No, the unique temperature and soil here cause bodies to take ten years to turn into bones.”

Being a plant spirit, Immortal Lang Yin was more sensitive to these matters.

Xu Manman frowned, “So, they began the killings soon after arriving here.”

“Are you sure it’s the Blood Sect’s doing?” Immortal Lang Yin asked.

“Not certain, but such actions are no different from those of evil cultivators,” Xu Manman glanced at the unconscious bride.

“Sealing a living person in a coffin with soul-locking nails is an extremely malicious act.”

Humans have three souls and seven spirits. The three souls form the primordial spirit, while the seven spirits are distributed across the seven major chakras of the body. After death, the seven spirits perish first, while the three souls can remain in the spiritual aperture for seven days. If met with a resurrection technique within these seven days, there’s a chance of revival; otherwise, the soul disperses and returns to dust. Even a revered figure cannot escape this fate.

The Blood Sect’s pursuit of immortality involves preserving the body so the primordial spirit can endure. Over the past century, ghost stories have frequently emerged. The Daoist Alliance, upon investigating such rumors, discovered that the Blood Sect had somehow created a type of living dead. These beings lack a primordial spirit, feel no pain, and are controlled like puppets. This came to be known as the puppet technique.

Based on the history of the Tongshan Tribe, it’s likely that 135 years ago, the Blood Sect began conducting numerous experiments here, creating countless puppets over several decades.

To this day, no one knows how the puppets are made or controlled.

As Xu Manman was deep in thought, she suddenly heard a scream nearby. She turned and saw that the bride in red had awoken at some point and was trying to escape in panic.

However, she was soon recaptured by Ao Xiu.

“Who are you?” The woman’s voice was hoarse, and she trembled, looking even more terrified at the sight of the cemetery.

“Am I dead? Why am I here?”

“Don’t worry, we saved you. We won’t harm you,” Xu Manman reassured gently.

It took the woman some time to calm down and recall what had happened.

“I don’t want to be a ghost bride… they’ve all gone mad… My mother knocked me out, and when I woke up, I was in a coffin… they were nailing it shut…” The woman stammered incoherently.

Xu Manman understood a bit and asked, “Why did they seal you in a coffin and dress you in bridal clothes?”

Still frightened, the woman hugged herself tightly. After a long time, she replied, “I was chosen by the tribe chief to marry the mountain ghost.”

Xu Manman said, “When I saved you earlier, I heard others say the mountain god was angry?”

“No, not the mountain god; it’s the mountain ghost!” The woman suddenly shouted, then quickly covered her mouth, looking around in terror.

Having been abandoned by her family and narrowly escaping death, she seemed mentally unstable, her eyes constantly flickering with fear and vigilance, as if expecting an attack at any moment.

“Can you tell us what the mountain ghost is?” Xu Manman squatted in front of her, meeting her gaze. Her gentle eyes held a compelling force, calming the woman.

“I saw it with my own eyes,” the woman whispered.

“An evil ghost in a mountain cave.”

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