Ch2.1 – Metamorphosis and Rebirth (1)

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Translator: transcendent.wings

Thank you to the editors who tried out: Alygams, dancing.in.the.rain, JP, Mythos, Turquoise_Reina, and Wolf 

With 15 kilometers of ground that could only be covered on foot, not to mention a person to carry as well, it was only natural that they progressed at a snail’s pace.

Fortunately, the person wasn’t too heavy and could be carried effortlessly, although, that was probably only because he was burned until only a human husk remained.

 

 

The path he took was also deserted to the extent that not a single serpent, worm, rat, or ant could be seen.

Besides, their destination was particularly eye-catching. 

From 15 kilometers away, Xu Xingzhi could already see a the tall and upright tower in the Southeast.
It directly reached for the heavens, surrounded by floating lights and sparkling specks of gold.
A closer inspection of the surroundings showed that only that area had traces of human activity.

 

Even without the black figure navigating, Xu Xingzhi would’ve chosen to head over there without hesitation anyway.

Daylight didn’t exist in the savage wasteland, the backdrop of sky was hazy, like the nebulous corneal deposits in the eyes of the elderly.
It should’ve recently rained pretty heavily here and the rainstorm must’ve just passed since the sky was dim and the trees in the forest were still lush with drops of rain like a rippling green tide.

Xu Xingzhi trudged through the forest with a burnt body at death’s door on his back.

 

In the end, the surroundings were just too quiet, quiet to the point that a person would feel unnerved, so Xu Xingzhi started to whistle in order to break the silence.

The whistling sound was so crisp and refreshing that it seemed to be able to seep into damp rock.

He quite smoothly finished whistling a classical tune, then complimented himself sincerely: “I whistled pretty well, if I do say so myself.”

The person on his back shifted slightly and a breath of hot air swept across his neck. 

.
.
.
He seemed to be laughing.

However, when Xu Xingzhi turned around to take a look, the other’s head was just resting quietly on his back, motionless.

It was probably just an illusion ba.

Past the woods, craggy hills began to emerge for the first time.
Xu Xingzhi had walked until his legs turned into jelly.
He was so exhausted that he randomly picked a cool and dry cave and slipped into it. 

There was a moss-covered rock in the cave.
Xu Xingzhi wanted to prop the other against it, but he discovered that it was as if that pair of arms had become stiff and rigid and were exhausting nearly all its strength to encircle his neck, barely leaving him enough room to breathe.

Xu Xingzhi would be perfectly fine if he didn’t put him down but if he did decide to lay him down and was even just a little inattentive while doing it, he would’ve easily strangled himself to death.

Xu Xingzhi felt quite helpless.
He didn’t dare pat the other’s body for fear that he’d accidentally jolt his fragile arms and legs off if he was even a slight bit careless: “‘Ai’, wake up.
Can you get up?”

The person behind him wriggled slightly in response. 

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Xu Xingzhi said: “Let’s rest here for a while.
Let go of me.”

Ktf qfgrbc yftlcv tlw ragfceberis gfifjrfv tlr megifv jgwr j ilaaif, yea tf ralii vlvc’a ifa ub bo We Wlcuhtl mbwqifafis.
Lf olgwis ugjrqfv j mbgcfg bo tlr mibatfr lcrafjv.

 

Llr nblmf kjr ralii tbjgrf jcv tjgrt bc atf fjgr jr j gfreia bo yflcu yegca yjvis: “.
.
.
Cgf sbe ifjnlcu?”

Even though the other’s face was so ghastly, Xu Xingzhi’s heart was actually quite calm. 

On one hand, he’d just fought that monster in close quarters and had its blood splashed all over his face, so right now he would be able to remain unperturbed no matter what he saw.

On the other hand, in the savage wasteland where all sorts of monstrous things congregated, a monster that pretty much still maintained a humanoid form wouldn’t be too terrifying.

Xu Xingzhi settled the person down on the rock then attentively removed his own outer robe and wrapped it on the other’s body as he replied: “.
.
.
Not leaving.”

The burnt empty eye sockets of that person looked straight at Xu Xingzhi, weakly inquiring: “Why did you save me?” 

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Xu Xingzhi tucked the robe in for him: “Why are there so many whys?”

He murmured: “If I had died on your back, what would you do?”

Xu Xingzhi felt that it was pretty amusing: “Naturally I’d carry you home ah.
Is it possible that I’d just abandon you halfway?”

After he said so, he stood up and declared: “There’s a river outside, I’ll haul some water back.
Don’t let the robe slide down, otherwise don’t complain that it hurts if it tears your skin open.” 

The other grabbed the robes that Xu Xingzhi had snuggly wrapped him up in tightly like a puppy dog: “.
.
.
It doesn’t hurt.”

After Xu Xingzhi left, he snatched up the sleeve of the robe and sniffed at it greedily.

Pieces of his skin flaked off with the pulling motion but he seemed unable to register any of the pain in the first place.

He quietly chanted: “Shixiong, shixiong.” 

Xu Xingzhi left the cave and proceeded to squat down by the river.
He lacked a sense of reality in his heart that haunted him persistently.

He leaned over and attempted to wash the blood stains off his hands.
However the metallic stench of blood only became thicker and more intense as he scrubbed over and over, making it difficult for anyone to endure.

Xu Xingzhi’s knees suddenly gave out.
He leaned over by the river side and retched quite a few times without actually vomiting anything up.

He wiped his mouth and laid down, then he touched his waist and gazed up at the boundless green-colored sky. 

That dagger that was supposedly soaked with the spiritual aura of heaven and Earth was still fastened there, reminding Xu Xingzhi of his incomplete mission.

Xu Xingzhi didn’t notice that a serpent with a head the size of a dustpan was slowly slithering out of the woods dozens of meters away.

 

Only the head of the serpent remained whole while its torso was just a skeleton with chunks of rotten flesh connected by just a few strands of muscle.

The serpent noiselessly flicked it’s bright red tongue as it slithered in Xu Xingzhi’s direction, exercising its lower jaw. 

Its jaw was opened wide enough that it could bite off Xu Xingzhi’s head in one motion.

But Xu Xingzhi was ignorant and oblivious to it all as he spaced out.

The serpent crept closer to Xu Xingzhi inch by inch, then stopped when it was only a mere 30 meters away.

A moment later, it seemed to have sensed a terrifying aura and decisively turned around 180 degrees, fleeing frantically.
The serpent’s bones made a sharp chacha sound as it slid across the ashen ground. 

Upon hearing the abnormal noise, Xu Xingzhi immediately touched the dagger at his waist then stood up and looked back—

It was completely deserted except for the strange tracks that wound all the way to the edge of the woods until it disappeared.

.
.
.
F*ck.

Xu Xingzhi decided that this wasn’t a place where one should linger in for too long.
He smoothly plucked a broad leaf from a tree by the river, cleansed it and then casually rolled it up to collect some water. 

While he was filling up, he inadvertently caught a glimpse of his own reflection on the surface of the water.

Even with the knowledge that this place was dangerous, Xu Xingzhi still couldn’t help but spend some time trapped in a daze.

This face really wasn’t that bad.
The overall appearance was tall and slender paired with a rather gallant bearing and distinguished air.
When the face was expressionless, he would seem quite average, but once an expression spreads, his facial features would open up.
From his eyebrows to his eyes then down to his mouth and nose, all of it aligned with the word “handsome”.

Probably because the temperament was too regal and solemn plus the presence of a teardrop mole adorning the corner of his left eye that you would detect traces of asceticism and coldness when Xu Xingzhi had a stern look on his face. 

Xu Xingzhi couldn’t believe that the Heavens actually wasted such a godly face on himself, this annoying chatterbox.

As Xu Xingzhi lamented, the serpent that had slithered back into the forest was soundlessly writhing in agony on the ground.

Its joints were being fractured one by one by some mysterious force.
Each snap resounded like a harshly twisted stalk of grass.

When Xu Xingzhi returned to the cave, the black figure was already sitting up and was in the middle of twisting a strand of withered grass in his hands. 

He had already formed several breaks starting from the root of the withered grass.

Counting off as he folded it: “.
.
.
5, 6, 7.
.
.”

 

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Then upon noticing Xu Xingzhi’s return, he hid his hands behind his back as he looked up at him.

.
.
.
It was an oddly obedient and cute gesture. 

Xu Xingzhi noticed that he had recovered some energy and urged after feeding him some water: “Let’s hurry and leave.
There’s something not quite right about this place.”

The black figure nodded, tossed the stalk of grass that he’d folded into several sections aside, and then stretched out his two arms, his demand was clear.

.
.
.
He wanted to be carried.

Xu Xingzhi sized him up: “It doesn’t look like you’re injured too heavily.
Get up and walk by yourself.” 

The black figure didn’t move and just looked up at Xu Xingzhi.

Xu Xingnzhi confronted him for a few seconds, unmoved: “Get up.”

The black figure continued to keep his arms stretched out, but his chin was slightly tucked in unexpectedly displaying an extremely aggrieved countenance.

Xu Xingzhi held out against the face of that man so burnt that his facial features couldn’t be distinguished for an instant longer before his eyebrows wrinkled with impatience: “.
.
.Tsk.” 

When they exited the cave again, the black figure was lying on Xu Xingzhi’s back exactly like before, though he was cocooned in Xu Xingzhi’s outer robe this time around.

Xu Xingzhi rolled up his trouser legs and waded towards the opposite bank of the river, while the black figure turned his head to look back upon the dense woods with a cold smile.

There the skeletal serpent lay collapsed in the woods, it’s bones already twisted into a pile of mush, while the ground was littered with the remnants of a struggle.

Its body laid amongst the weeds, long dead. 

Soon a goup of ants the size of broad beans rushed out of their nest and picked the bones of the skeletal serpent clean in a matter of seconds.

However strangely enough, when they passed the footprints Xu Xingzhi left behind earlier as he crossed the woods, they not only avoided them in fear but also went directly around them as if they were avoiding a terrible wild beast that just passed by.

A 15 kilometer journey without any conversation would inevitably be a little boring, so Xu Xingzhi ended up spending more than 10 of those kilometers sorting out the remaining memories of the original owner.
After doing so, he realized that most of them were just sporadic and scattered fragments that could not be pieced together to form even a remotely complete memory.
It was to such an extent that even Meng Chongguang’s appearance was vague and blurred.

Xu Xingzhi thought that it was peculiar at first, however after some consideration, he realized that it was reasonable.
These memories were stripped from a dead person so even if there were any ambiguities present, it wouldn’t be that out of place. 

Now the only thing that he knew for sure was that Meng Chongguang had a cinnabar mole in the center of his forehead.

If he wanted to kill Meng Chongguang, he’d have to stab there.

 

As he’d be bored either way, Xu Xingzhi took the initiative to start a conversation with the person on his back: “How did you get hurt?”

That person responded hoarsely: “.
.
.
Fell prey to a plot.” 

Xu Xingzhi asked again: “How long have you been in the wasteland?”

He said: “I don’t remember anymore.
It feels like it’s been a hundred years.”

Xu Xingzhi thought he was joking and transitioned to the main subject questioning: “Do you know Meng Chongguang?”

Ch2.2 – Metamorphosis and Rebirth (2)

Translator: transcendent.wings

Thank you to the editors who tried out: Alygams, dancing.in.the.rain, JP, Mythos, Turquoise_Reina, and Wolf 

The black figure was momentarily silent: “Why are you looking for him?”

Xu Xingzhi thought that he was in luck and was pleasantly surprised as he replied: “He’s my shidi.
.
.”

 

 

Just when the black figure was about to respond, the two suddenly heard a loud explosion in the distance and a shockwave of spiritual energy that was enveloped in a warm current washed over them, almost pushing Xu Xingzhi to the ground.

The source was the giant tower to the southeast. 

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Surprisingly, an anxious look flooded the black figure’s face as he shoved Xu Xingzhi’s shoulder: “That’s the place, go quickly! Hurry!”

 

According to Xu Xingzhi’s personality, normally he would’ve immediately turned tail and ran towards the opposite direction as fast as he could.
He definitely wouldn’t have poked the belly of the beast, but when he considered that Meng Chongguang might be there, Xu Xingzhi only gritted his teeth and rushed towards the giant tower.

As he approached the center of the battlefield, Xu Xingzhi could feel the person on his back become more and more restless.

And at the same time, the closer he got to the giant tower, the more Xu Xingzhi felt an inexplicable sense of pressure that suffocated him.

 

The first thing that entered Xu Xingzhi’s line of sight was a young man standing by the edge of a cliff.
The upper half of his face was covered by an eerie phantom mask made of iron.
He stood on the high ground, his black clothes fluttering like a crow while a faint purple ball of light revolved in his palm.

.
.
.
However, he was only a short crow.

Xu Xingzhi knew who this person was.
He had also appeared in his novella and was Meng Chongguang’s subordinate, a ghostly cultivator well-versed in the art of controlling ghosts.

Except Xu Xingzhi didn’t have the time to give him a name. 

To be precise, in the entire story, Xu Xingzhi had only given Meng Chongguang a name.

In Xu Xingzhi’s imagination, the world was divided into Mortal, Spiritual, Ghostly, and Demonic Cultivation, these four methods.
Amongst them only Mortal Cultivation was publicly acknowledged as a righteous path and had the ability to rule the three realms.

While Spiritual Cultivation is characterized by the ability to utilize the essence of heaven and earth and is practiced by animals and plants.

We’re sorry for MTLers or people who like using reading mode, but our translations keep getting stolen by aggregators so we’re going to bring back the copy protection.
If you need to MTL please retype the gibberish parts.

Ghostly Cultivation is based on the principle that “all beings must die, and all things dead must return to the earth” and so they are able to command both ghosts and corpses. 

Cr obg Zbgaji jcv Gfwbclm Jeialnjalbc, atfs jgf ybat qgjmalmfv ys tewjcr.
Ktfs ybat rajgafv bea bc atf rjwf qjat sfa fjmt xfqa ab bcf rlvf rb fnfcaejiis, atfs jgglnfv ja vloofgfca vfralcjalbcr jcv jmtlfnfv vloofgfca fcvr.
Zbgaji Jeialnjalbc meialnjafv atf wlcv jcv tfjga, ragfrrlcu j ribk jcv rafjvs qjat ktlmt obiibkfv cjaegji qgbugfrrlbc; ktlif Gfwbclm Jeialnjalbc meialnjafv atf ybcfr jcv ybvs, obmerlcu bc jc jmmfifgjafv jcv fzqibrlnf qjat ktlmt yfoevvifv atf wlcv jcv tfjga.

And those who were trapped in this wasteland were without a doubt those spirits, demons, ghosts, and monsters as well as those mortal cultivators who took to a darker path and fell to nefarious ways.

Xu Xingzhi looked around and there were countless ragged ghosts of the dead floating around just as expected, each wielded a sharp blade as they waged war against the enemy.

Their foreheads all glimmered with a faint purple cloud pattern the same color as that of the ball of light floating in the phantom-masked youth’s palm. 

The phantom-masked youth was standing on the high ground and although he was completely dressed in black, he was still too conspicuous.
Not long after, a sharp arrow was released straight towards his chest like electricity bridging a gap.

When the arrow was still over thirty meters away, a nine-star tasseled spear that was longer than a meter suddenly blocked in front of him and met the tip of the arrow head on.

 

The two tips collided and an metallic spark flashed as the tasseled spear slashed the arrow into two using brute force!

Afterwards a mirage shimmered in front of the phantom-masked youth and a humanoid shadow gradually manifested. 

The humanoid figure grabbed the bottom end of the tasseled spear and drew a perfect arc of light in mid-air with a flip of his wrists.

It was a very handsome and peerless youth, it’s only a pity that there was a faint purple cloud pattern between his brows as well.

.
.
.
This meant that he was a deceased soul too.

He temporarily ignored the intense battlefield below, turned to the short phantom-masked youth, then leaned over and gave the tip of the mask’s nose a peck before he commented jokingly: “.
.
.
Why’re you so careless ah, don’t you even know how to try and dodge a little.” 

The phantom-masked youth froze and felt both ashamed and annoyed: “Zhou Beinan, hurry and get down there for me!”

With a pinch of his fingertips, the purple light undulated and the youth with the tasseled spear fell off the cliff against his will.
He staggered in mid-air a few times before he could steady himself.

The phantom-masked youth touched the tip of his nose while he bit his full lips, the corner of his mouth drooped slightly downwards as if he was sulking.

Xu Xingzhi heard the black figure on his back sigh in relief: “.
.
.
Thankfully it’s okay.” 

Xu Xingzhi asked: “What should we do now?”

The black figure looked up at the sky and whistled.

Xu Xingzhi didn’t understand what he was doing and just when he wanted to ask in detail, a skeleton suddenly emerged from behind a huge rock, startling Xu Xingzhi so badly that he almost choked on his own breath.

It was a female skeleton.
The entire body was extremely clean without a trace of residual skin or flesh, but she still had her full head of black hair which she had properly coiled up with a long silk ribbon. 

She recognized the charred black person with a single glance and exclaimed in surprise: “You only went out to clear your mind, how did you make such a mess of yourself?”

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The black figure didn’t bother answering and only coldy inquired: “What happened?”

The skeletal girl stretched out her thin bony right hand, placing it on the radial pulse of the black figure’s burnt left hand and then answered: “It’s the one that was sealed in the mountain.”

The black shadow sneered: “.
.
.
Doesn’t know it’s place.” 

The bones of the skeletal girl started to glow with a faint green light as she pushed wave after wave of light into the black figure’s body: “Let me heal you first.
.
.
.
There is no need to be concerned, even if you didn’t return in time, Qu Chi and Zhou Beinan would still triumph.”

Xu Xingzhi kept feeling that something was a little strange somehow as he listened in on this conversation, but the collision of the spiritual weapons and the resulting screeching noises kept interrupting his thoughts, so he decided to stop thinking about it and emerged from their hiding spot.

 

In the midst of a melee, it’s hard to distinguish between friend and foe with everyone similarly in tatters and haggard, but if he insisted on pointing out something out of the ordinary then it would be the 13- or 14-year old girl.

She was extremely thin, her brown tight-fitting clothes were already torn to shreds and her sleeves were rolled up to her elbows to reveal her thin and snow white wrists. 

And in stark contrast to her appearance, was the sabre she held in each hand.
The double blades were made of bronze and if she were to stand them up, they wouldn’t be that much shorter than she was.
Yet, she easily wielded them with one hand and beheaded the enemy with a single stroke as she leapt forward.

Her face was stained with numerous streaks of blood which made her fair and delicate complexion stand out even more.

Just like the skeletal girl predicted, these people who came to attack the giant tower quickly retreated in defeat like the falling tide as they dragged their troops back and hauled their weapons away.

The girl crisscrossed the two sabers in her grip and inserted them into the cross-shaped scabbard that was buckled on her back in preparation to give chase. 

Xu Xingzhi was anxious and immediately emerged from his hiding place to shout: “Don’t chase them!”

The battle took place in the middle of an empty valley so his voice started to echo with one layer building upon another as it bounced back and forth endlessly.

The girl turned back upon hearing it and when she saw that it was a male stranger she didn’t appear surprised either, only tilting her head to one side slightly.

The phantom-masked youth that stood at the top of the cliff also reacted to the sound and turned around, the purple glow in his palm immediately disappeared, and the floating talisman that he used to manipulate the battalion of ghosts fell straight to the ground with a pata. 

He muttered: “.
.
.
Xu-shixiong?”

The girl also wasn’t wary of him and raised her voice to question: “Why should I not chase them down? They were obviously fleeing in defeat!”

Xu Xingzhi pointed at the direction they retreated in: “Their standard hasn’t fallen and even the formation they fled in wasn’t chaotic.
Have you ever seen such an orderly retreat?”

The girl was startled and she wavered between whether or not to give chase for a moment. 

On the other hand, the skeletal girl who was just healing the black figure was staring blankly at Xu Xingzhi as her frame creaked and trembled guzhi guzhi.

“Listen to him.”

A slightly cold voice rang out from behind Xu Xingzhi.

Xu Xingzhi looked back and was immediately stunned. 

The burnt body of the black figure was smoothing out naturally as the previously extremely dehydrated husk rapidly filled out, his height quickly surpassed Xu Xingzhi’s.

He was just like a caterpillar that had gained its wings after metamorphosis, gone was the burnt skin and rotten flesh of the cocoon as the true nature of his original appearance was revealed.

 

His skin was extremely white, so white that it seemed to glow faintly.
As for what people describe as “masculine sex appeal”, he probably only accounted for the latter two words.
His entire body was surrounded by a hazy air of lethargic indolence that other people wouldn’t find annoying.
The corner of his eyes were slightly upturned and its ends were stained with a natural cinnabar red color.

He wrapped up his body with Xu Xingzhi’s outer robe but that only made him seem more charming than if he wasn’t wearing anything at all because everything that should’ve been covered up wasn’t. 

Xu Xingzhi only spent a brief moment staring at his face, yet he couldn’t remove his gaze from his nether regions.

.
.
.
F*ck.

This person looked prettier than a girl yet was bigger than himself when he pulled it out.

Xu Xingzhi’s thoughts were chaotic for a long time before he noticed something, an extremely important feature that he had just missed. 

.
.
.
At the center of this person’s brow there seemed to be a very beautiful cinnabar mole.

Xu Xingzhi shifted his gaze up and coincidentally locked gazes with a pair of peach blossom eyes.

The owner of the peach blossom eyes and cinnabar mole stared directly back at Xu Xingzhi.
His gaze was like a stagnant and deep pool of water, both seductive and possessive to the point that it seemed as if he wanted to drown the person within: “Shixiong, Chongguang has waited for you for so many years, you finally came to find me.”

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