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Chapter 232: Greyish-white
Translator: EndlessFantasy Translation Editor: EndlessFantasy Translation
The monk Jin Zhao had averted the divine punishment with his remnant soul. Wen Leyang smiled as he looked at the now-living Ah Dan and the playful look on his face. The toddler could not stay still even for a minute. No matter how Wen Leyang thought about it, for the monk Jin Zhao, five words were enough to describe his sacrifice, it was a worthy death!
Qin Zhui did not look at Ah Dan. He was rooted on the spot, frowning as he looked at the ground in a daze. When Wen Leyang went over and patted his shoulder, he acted as if he had just woken up from a dream and muttered, “The One Word Palace has ties with Xiang Liu?”
He then looked at the others with a complicated gaze, “What relations.h.i.+p do they have? Is Nineteen’s stay on the Nine Peaks Mountain also… Because of Xiang Liu?”
Chang Li smiled and shrugged, “You can put it that way. However, when Nineteen had wanted to marry Wen Leyang before this, the Wen family did not have any ties with Xiang Liu.”
Wen Leyang frowned in confusion. Ah Dan exclaimed and seemed to think that the expression on Wen Leyang’s face looked cool. The little toddler tried hard to furrow his brows as well and frowned along with Wen Leyang. If a random person were to walk past, they would probably think that the older one misses his wife while the little one misses his mother…
Back then, Wen Leyang had foiled the Jingpo demon lady’s evil plan at the Miao stockade village. When they had returned to the Wen village, the One Word Palace was already busy making arrangements to marry Nineteen to him. When the Five Blessings had made a scene on Nine Peaks Mountain, Nineteen had broken her silver spear and was heavily wounded when she tried to save someone. She had stayed on in the Wen family village ever since.
However, the Wen family had known nothing about Xiang Liu back then. They only found out about Xiang Liu and the wicked soul after they accidentally rescued a Heaven’s Cone Nail at the Gold-Consuming Lair and battled Hanba at the City G.o.d Temple. After that, Wen Leyang and a few others then journeyed to the highland’s snow-covered peaks and discovered Tian Yin and the true soul. They had finally been able to piece together the entire series of events regarding Xiang Liu now.
Back then, when the One Word Palace had wanted to give their daughter in marriage, Wen Leyang did not even know how to write the words Xiang Liu, let alone defeat this monster. If the One Word Palace really has ties with Xiang Liu and they had given their daughter in marriage to plant a spy to deter Wen Leyang from fighting the nine-headed monster, they must have been fortune-tellers.
“The One Word Palace had given their daughter in marriage but they had not foreseen that you will treat the monster as an enemy.” Chang Li could not stand seeing Wen Leyan frown, even more so now when he has a copycat held to his chest. She quickly a.n.a.lyzed the situation for him, “Maybe it’s because they had known about some things beforehand, like…”
“Like ‘the important person who is significant to the destiny of the righteous and evil path of the cultivation world’!” Wen Leyang’s eyes lit up. He lifted his head quickly and Ah Dan lifted his head jubilantly as well.
Since the Jilong Sect knows that ‘Wei Mo’s Martial Uncle’ was hiding on the Nine Peaks Mountain, the One Word Palace naturally had a way of finding out about this matter as well, maybe even before Jilong Sect had received this information. Back then, before the Qing Niao had ascended the mountain to cause a mess, the smaller factions attached to the One Word Palace had begun to send betrothal gifts to the Wen family.
The matter was not too complicated especially now that they know the One Word Palace had ties with Xiang Liu. Xiang Liu had wanted to look for the ‘big flat cake, broken gong, and the dog’ so the One Word Palace would not keep themselves out of the affair. However, they were like the Rainbow Brothers and had not had the chance to make their move yet.
Wen Leyang smiled and shook his head. He found it increasingly difficult to differentiate between the cultivation world and the world of spies.
Chang Li did not have the demeanor of an elder as she giggled and b.u.mped Wen Leyang with her shoulder, “What do you think about that girl, Nineteen? Do you still want to marry her? If you ask me, you should grab every chance you get…”
Before Wen Leyang would interject, Qin Zhui wailed and waved his fists, “Don’t you dare!”
Ah Dan sat in Wen Leyang’s embrace and convulsed with laughter. He seems to like Qin Zhui’s angry face very much…
Wen Leyang hastily waved at Qin Zhui, asking him to stop his a.s.sumptions. He then thought of something as the gloominess on his face was swept away, “The monk Jin Zhao had it wrong! Even if the One Word Palace had ties with Xiang Liu, it’s the tie of an enemy! Otherwise, Tian Yin would’ve attacked the Nine Peaks Mountain long ago!”
Though the One Word Palace has ties with Xiang Liu, they might be his ally or enemy. Wen Leyang had a.s.sumed that the One Word Palace was against the Wen family but then he pondered upon whether the One Word Palace was Xiang Liu’s lackey, she thinks that they would have leaked the information about Wei Mo’s Martial Uncle hiding at the Nine Peaks Mountain to Tian Yin already.
Following this train of thought, the One Word Palace was seeking the ‘big flat cake, broken gong, and the dog’ for the same reason as them, to defeat Xiang Liu. When he thought of First Brother Xia’s gallantry and Nineteen’s favor of saving Mumu’s life, this judgment made Wen Leyang’s heart feel extremely comforted and he smiled.
Chang Li exclaimed in utter surprise, she was not used to Wen Leyang’s sudden burst of intelligence.
Qin Zhui’s initially gloomy expression also lightened up quickly. He laughed and said, “Let’s come clean to Nineteen then, we share a hatred for a common enemy and we could fight Xiang Liu together…”
Chang Li giggled and nodded. Suddenly, she leaned forward and tapped Qin Zhui’s head with her fist. Qin Zhui did not even have the chance to be puzzled as he fainted with a straightaway. Ah Dan cheered immediately and chuckled heartlessly.
Wen Leyang too exclaimed in surprise. He was about to speak when Guo Huan opened his mouth from within the jade knife, “Whether the One Word Palace is a friend or a foe, we’ll only be making wild guesses no matter how well-based out inferences are. What’s scary isn’t how powerful the enemy is but the foolish young lad had wanted to treat the enemy as a friend. If that’s the case, he’ll die without a burial place!” After he finished, Guo Huan paused before he continued, “Silly boy, you regard the One Word Palace as your friend but there’s a huge flaw! It’s no longer a secret that you want to defeat Xiang Liu so why hasn’t the One Word Palace formed an alliance with you yet? Your powers have improved so much. In force, you have Great Mercy Temple and Chang Li at your back; in abilities, you are not inferior to the demon rabbit Bu Lu even before you had gone to the highlands!”
Chang Li added from the side, “The enemy’s enemy might not necessarily be a friend.”
Wen Leyang knitted his brows and said nothing.
Chang Li pondered for a while before she suddenly smiled until her eyes turned into crescent moons, “I’ve become badly injured after helping Ah Dan pa.s.s the punishment and need to leave to recuperate. You’ve also exhausted your strength and can’t move but the person in the Red Leaves Forest is important. The sooner we know about the secret of the ‘big flat cake, broken gong, and the dog’, the sooner we can defeat Xiang Liu. That’s why…”
Wen Leyang understood then that Chang Li wants to test One Word Palace. He nodded with slight hesitation.
Guo Huan laughed, “There’s no need to worry about them being suspicious. If it’s really for these three objects, anyone would’ve done the same! While you’re at it, you can even probe the thoughts of the Rainbow Brothers!”
Chang Li’s eyes were filled with excitement, she has finally found something more fun than chasing a debt. She then stretched out a hand and pressed it to Qin Zhui’s forehead. After a brief moment, Qin Zhui’s colors turned greyish-white and he now looked ninety-nine percent dead. At the same time, she looked at Wen Leyang and smiled, “Don’t worry, he’ll wake up after three days and I guarantee that he’ll be in super high spirits! However, before he awakes, Nineteen and the others’ cultivation base means that no matter how much they check his condition, they will think that Qin Zhui had been hit by thunder magic and his primordial spirit has been damaged!”
As she said this, Chang Li was walking towards the depths of the jungle, “There’s no need to look for me. Whether it’s the village or the Red Leaves Forest, I’ll appear if anything’s wrong!” Her voice then faded as her gentle and graceful figure vanished at the edge of their sight…
Wen Leyang tore his clothes. The Power of Poison within his body flowed and his face flushed the color of blood. He dragged Qin Zhui behind him as he carried Ah Dan and slowly made his way, step by step, towards the village. Soon after, he was found by the disciples who had come out to fetch him. A huge group, under the orders of Grand Elder Wen, came hurriedly and escorted them back to the Wen family village.
Ah Dan seems to be dazed when he saw so many people in such a short span of time. These people looked familiar but he could not remember how they had met before. His gaze s.h.i.+fted as he scanned every face in the crowd but he was stunned when he saw Mumu. Bean-sized tears immediately dropped down his face and his mouth caved in as he cried out. He no longer wished to stay within Wen Leyang’s embrace as he extended his arms persistently at Mumu.
Mumu’s eyes were red and there were tears in her eyes. She hugged Ah Dan close and would not let him go. Everyone sighed in relief when they saw that Ah Dan was fine. Wen Leyang stuttered as he relayed everything which had happened but he left out the monk Jin Zhao’s final words. He also modified the story slightly, making it sound as if they had tried to block the divine punishment as they disregarded their own lives. In the end, Chang Li had been exhausted and badly wounded so she must immediately find a place to recover her demonic primordial energy. Qin Zhui and Wen Leyang too were heavily injured.
Wen Leyang panted as he told this lie. It was indistinguishable whether it was because he was too badly wounded or he felt guilty about lying. As Mumu hugged Ah Dan and looked at Wen Leyang deeply through tear-filled eyes, his face reddened even more…
Nineteen’s expression, as she looked at Qin Zhui, was extremely like Mumu’s.
Wen Leyang does not know how to use telepathy so he had no way of telling the few elders the truth. He then simply decided not to tell them. After all, it would not cause too much trouble other than making them feel worried.
After Ah Dan and Mumu were done with their reunion, Ah Dan then stubbornly jumped down onto the ground. He ran to Qin Zhui’s side next to the stretcher and knocked on his head before winking and grinning at everyone. They were all puzzled and Wen Leyang’s heart dropped. Luckily, Mumu yelled and pulled the plump little guy away.
‘You’ve Got Me’ was still fighting the Sword’s Resolve inside the village head’s big house. It had no time to properly greet Wen Leyang…
After resting for half a day, Wen Leyang had recovered somewhat. He seemed unwilling to wait any longer and after persistent requests, he finally met with all the good hands of the family and headed for the Red Leaves Forest. What made him surprised and confused was that Nineteen has utterly no intention of following them to the Red Leaves Forest. The entire group entered the mountain while she had stayed behind in the village. Before they parted, she even smiled happily and she told them to take care.
Guo Huan grunted softly within the jade knife, “Maybe the men of the One Word Palace have already entered the mountain. Even if the little girl’s not going, it doesn’t mean anything. Just keep your act up!”
Wen Leyang was quite successful in his acting and leaned on a palanquin throughout the entire journey. Ji Fei and Shui Jing had been initially compelled to carry their master out of obligation but then Wen Nine and Wen Thirteen threw a fit and wanted to carry the palanquin no matter what…
Only one of the Rainbow Brothers was needed to break Wei Mo’s Martial Uncle’s magic disguise spell but all seven of them had come along. The Rainbow’s Leader chuckled and explained to Wen Leyang, “Don’t worry, this matter is related to Xiang Liu. Even if you truly find those three treasures, I wouldn’t want them even if you were to give them to me as a gift! All seven of us have come along because we were worried in case anything were to happen. Us brothers could use this opportunity to thank the favors of all the mutton we had from the Wen family.”
“And eggs!” Wen Leyang had no way of distinguis.h.i.+ng truth and lies as he diverted the topic with a smile. He then asked strenuously, “The true soul has shown himself and you guys have also seen Tian Yin’s abilities. Maybe someday, the nine-headed monster will break the Prohibitions and return to the mortal world. What would the World Sect do then?”
The Rainbow’s Leader answered with a solemn expression, “The righteous and the evil paths will then unite and finish off Xiang Liu above anything else!”
The other six brothers all broke into laughter.
The Rainbow’s Leader scratched the back of his head and could not help but laugh as well, “Let me be honest with you, let’s not talk about Xiang Liu’s true body yet, even his true soul or the wicked soul. Which one of them can we even go against? While all h.e.l.l breaks loose, we would settle our debts with the Mountain Sect b*stards first before anything else! Then, even if we die, at least it’s after we have got our revenge!”
Wen Leyang smiled bitterly and said no more but Guo Huan laughed, “As I thought, these World Sect b*stards are more to my liking!”
The Rainbow’s Leader shook his head helplessly, “We’re not stupid, we know our own limitations. The Great Mercy Temple is administered by a great demon and is also closely related to Chang Li as well as the Wen family so we won’t fight them just yet. As for the Jilong Sect, Eyang Sect, Kunlun Sect, and One Word Palace, hehe! We don’t even need the Rainbow Brothers, the Four Heavenly Sects are more than sufficient to defeat them now.”
The Rainbow Brothers do not know that the Kunlun Sect has the ability to compete with the Enlightened Tian Shu’s sword formation, nor do they know that the Supreme Leader of the Eyang Sect was San Wei’s split body. Except for the Great Mercy Temple, they had a.s.sumed that the abilities of everyone else in the Five Blessings were only average. Hence, they had made these wild claims.
Wen Leyang smiled as he heard that, “The grudge between the righteous and the evil paths are no business of ours but… Be careful that you guys don’t break your heads!”
Wen Leyang could not be bothered by the matters of the Jilong and the Eyang Sects. The Little Supreme Leader Liu Zheng was very friendly with him but with the World Sect’s abilities, if they truly wanted to fight the Kunlun Sect which only has seventy-three remaining members, they would lose. Wen Leyang was not too worried about Liu Zheng at all. The old grudge which had acc.u.mulated for thousands of years could not be settled in any other way and he had no way of meddling in this either.
However, if the Great Mercy Temple or Liu Zheng were to fall into the hands of the World Sect, he would definitely not sit idly by as the Rainbow Brothers harmed them.
The elites of the Miao stockade village and the Luo family had also accompanied them to the Red Leaves Forest. Since Mumu has seen Wen Leyang, she decided to no longer hide from him. However, she was too shy to be too intimate with him in front of everyone else. She had followed behind the two Luo family elders as she glanced occasionally at the severely incapacitated person on the palanquin.
Each time their eyes met, a delighted gleam would erupt within Mumu’s eyes and she would then lower her blus.h.i.+ng face. Wen Leyang felt happy and tickled, miss Luo w.a.n.gfu, who has always been spicy, had a cute and shy side to her personality after all.
The entire journey was uneventful. Only Ah Dan, who was bored, had run beside the palanquin and pulled on Wen Leyang’s pants. He wanted him to come down and walk… When he saw that he could not pull Wen Leyang down, he then tugged on Mumu as he looked at the palanquin with eager eyes. He gesticulated and informed his guardian that he wanted to have a ride as well.
Out of consideration to a few elders and the group of ordinary Death Trademark disciples, it took them two days of walking in the mountain before they finally arrived at the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death. The two Luo family elders looked at each other in surprise before they smiled cynically, “I’ve always heard that the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death was a forest of red-leaved trees which will not wither throughout the seasons. It was a beautiful scene like flames that reached the heavens. However, I didn’t think that… The Wen family had needed to brag about this?”
Wen Leyang was also dumbstruck as he stared at the nearby forest. He could hardly believe his eyes, the once blazing and enchanting patch of red leaves had now turned greyish-white like the skin of a toad’s belly. The scene was lifeless and extremely ugly.
The forest was covered in corpses. The corpses were not rotten but the skin exposed to the air was the same color as the leaves.
Grand Elder Wen ignored them and looked at Wen Leyang. He spoke in a low tone which was loud enough for everyone to hear, “On the tenth day of the fourth month, take the little girl Luo w.a.n.gfu as your bride here. On the eleventh day, send her back!” They had first set the date of the tenth day of the fourth month as their wedding day but Wen Leyang had been held up inside the jade talisman for two months and they had missed the lucky time. Grand Elder Wen had set the next date to the same time the following year. Now, the spring festival was upon them and their ‘second wedding’ was only three months away.
Grand Elder Luo burned with rage. He pointed at Grand Elder Wen and scolded, “Bullsh*t! I’m not giving her in marriage anymore!”
Grand Elder Wen sneered, “Not marrying? You’ve accepted the betrothal presents, she has to go through with the marriage even if you don’t want to!”
“You have the face to call mushrooms, wood ears, and broken bamboo baskets as betrothal presents?” Grand Elder Luo was stamping with rage when the betrothal presents were mentioned.
Luo w.a.n.gfu’s small face was flushed red with shame and anger. Wen Leyang would have loved to find a crack in the ground and bury himself in it. The others did not interrupt, especially the Second Mother and little Chi Maojiu. They almost looked on with a smile as they witnessed the two elders quarrel.
Fourth Elder Wen walked behind his older brother with his hands folded behind his back, he looked ready to strike at any time. He decided to fight with this old enemy of his before the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death over anything else.
First Uncle smiled bitterly and stood in front of Wen Leyang. He pointed at the dilapidated and ugly forest as he talked business, “When Fourth Elder Wen had planted the Ning Jiao’s poison, the forest was still red in color. Back then, the antidote which we had concocted was also working. Then, Fourth Elder Wen had thought of the other two elders’ wounds and returned to the village. He only found out later that the leaves had turned into their current color without warning. The poison of the Prohibition spell has also changed, our antidotes are useless now. The people outside can’t get in while the people inside can’t get out either!”
One of the fat Rainbow Brothers moved closer and pointed at the corpses in the forest. His expression was sorrowful, “Those were all our subordinates. They had been poisoned when they entered the forest and they died on the spot. Even those with profound cultivation bases could not withstand such a malicious poison.” After he finished, he paused for a while before he continued, “At that time, some of the Brothers had lost their temper and hit the forest directly with their magic weapons. However, whether it was the blade’s aura, divine glow, magic weapons or magic powers, they were all corroded immediately once those magic weapons touched the trees.”
Wen Leyang listened as he spread his telegnosis ability far and wide. He could sense that around the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death, other than this group of people, not even an ant could be found. It was also silent within the forest. He was too familiar with the people from the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death who were only different from zombies because they still needed to breathe. It was as if nothing under the skies could shock them. The only ones with any signs of life were the two men brought up by wild beasts and Wen Xiaoyi.
Wen Leyang was delighted to sense Wen Xiaoyi, who was sitting at the entrance as she cleaned her blunderbuss…
The Rainbow Brothers looked at his expression and exclaimed in surprise, “Your telegnosis ability can penetrate into the Place of Birth, Life, Sickness, and Death?”
Wen Leyang nodded and asked rhetorically, “You guys can’t”
The fat men nodded in unison.
To put it bluntly, the current forest was extremely similar to the Gold-Consuming Lair which Wen Leyang had been to before. They could not accommodate the telegnosis abilities of cultivators but the latter had the thick force of Metal Element whereas the forest was enshrouded in poison. However, not only was Wen Leyang’s telegnosis ability work unaffected inside the forest, it was also clearer than usual.
Wen Leyang took some light steps as he tottered towards the forest. He felt the poison which enshrouded the surroundings while, at the same time, he secretly urged the Poison of Life and Death to flow swiftly in his body. In an instant, the surroundings quieted down. The two elders who were sparring with curses also shut their mouths in unison. Their eyes bulged as they looked at Wen Leyang.
After a while, Wen Leyang turned and shook his head at the two elders, “This poison can’t harm me but I can’t absorb it either!”
Fourth Elder Wen nodded drily, he had a hunch in his heart. If Wen Leyang could absorb the Ning Jiao’s poison, they would not have needed to wait for Gu Xiaojun to dispatch vehicles to send the Ning Jiao’s corpse back to the village. Wen Leyang would have absorbed the poison when he killed the Ning Jiao at Painting Town.
Though the Ning Jiao’s poison was strong, after Wen Leyang’s poisonous bones had been remolded, his body would only absorb the purest poison from the Five Elements or the purest Yin corpse poison. Although the Ning Jiao’s poison was similar to the Poison of Life and Death, they were not entirely the same. Even the slightest difference would cause both poisons to be incompatible. Moreover, Wen Leyang’s Poison of Life and Death was much more powerful than the Ning Jiao’s.
Grand Elder Wen sighed, he no longer has the energy to quarrel with Grand Elder Luo, “If you can’t do it, we can only ask Grand Master Chang Li to help destroy the prohibition spell.” Wen Leyang was immune to poison so he could enter and leave this land of poison with ease. However, he could not bring anyone into it nor could he bring anyone out of it.
Destroying the prohibition spell means destroying the entire forest to the root. Wen Leyang was at a loss. He had first met Wen Xiaoyi here a few years ago and was acknowledged as ‘You’ve Got Me’s’ master before he was. .h.i.t by the Yin Chi’s poison and the hundred poisons of the Wen family. He had also made his first kill here, experienced great dangers, and tasted the sweetest chocolate under the heavens… Each time he thought of this fiery red enchantment, he could not help but laugh foolishly. He naturally has deep feelings about the Red Leaves Forest.
The edge of Fourth Elder Wen’s lips twitched in a barely noticeable manner. He made an extremely low and m.u.f.fled grunt from the depths of his throat as he gazed at the forest in sadness.
Grand Elder Luo raised his brows with glee. He wanted to say something when he was pulled back by his brother. At this moment, if he was to provoke Fourth Elder Wen even more, both elders from the two families would really break out into a fight.
Wen Leyang smiled bitterly and raised his arm before he lightly punched the nearest grey-leafed camphor tree. The straight tree shook slightly but the leaves did not shudder. After this one punch, Wen Leyang grunted in puzzlement!
The melancholic whitish color had no l.u.s.ter to it. The Ning Jiao’s sting, which was cultivated within Wen Leyang’s body, had appeared without warning and stabbed into the tree with a thwack!
Grand Elder Wen thought that Wen Leyang had summoned the fierce, snake-shaped blade on purpose. He smiled and diverted the topic in an attempt to distract Fourth Elder Wen, “How was this sword refined> It can’t even penetrate a tree…”
The old man had not finished speaking when his voice was drowned out by loud bangs. A Bone Snake had suddenly leaped up and extended its body. It then plunged headlong into the forest with a high-spirited howl!
The entire grey-leafed forest shuddered. As the leaves rubbed against each other, they released loud, stifling banging noises which resounded under the heavens!
After a while, First Uncle was the first to react. He pointed at Wen Leyang and laughed bitterly, “You’re a little too fast, aren’t you?”
Wen Leyang was stunned. He then realized that First Uncle and Grand Elder Wen both thought that he wanted to destroy the forest. He hastily smiled bitterly and shook his head, “It wasn’t me who had summoned them!” He then paused and added, “I’m badly wounded so how could I have any energy to destroy the forest!?”
The Ning Jiao’s spike had turned manic when it felt the Ning Jiao’s strange poison. It had appeared on its own without being summoned by Wen Leyang!
What surprised the entire Wen family most was, as the Bone Snake circled the forest and rubbed against the trees, the greyish-white color of the forest quickly faded away and a faint but flouris.h.i.+ng red color began to sprout silently!