Chapter 16: Death Wish

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But, speaking of being granted a name by the heavens…

Wu Xingxue turned his head to look at Xiao Fuxuan, and then suddenly raised his hand to touch his ear.

It was said that the Celestial Immortal could strike his sword faster than lightning, and was capable of slashing the transgressor’s head in the blink of an eye.
All devils knew to keep a great distance away from him, and normal people were even less likely to come near him.

But Wu Xingxue had already reached out his hand.
When he finally remembered this saying, it was already too late to regret his actions.

However, the only thing that happened was that the sword in Xiao Fuxuan’s hand was lifted slightly, and then it was lowered again.
A deafening rumble that came out of him stopped abruptly right after it sounded.
Only a split second had passed from the violent surge to the withdrawal and sheathing of his sword.

Wu Xingxue was stunned by this sudden change, and before he could react, he saw Xiao Fuxuan turn his face to the side and glance at his finger with downcast eyes, “What are you trying to press?”

His voice was very deep, and his neck subtly vibrated when he spoke.

Wu Xingxue curled his fingers and retracted his hand.
Oh, what happened to your ‘Mian’ word? I don’t think it ever showed up on you.

Xiao Fuxuan glanced at the straw shack.
He didn’t seem to want to speak too much because of all the people there, so he only gave a one-worded answer, “Gone.”

Made sense.
With the Immortal Capital destroyed and the Lingtai perished, it was natural that the “Mian” mark granted by the heavens was gone.
Wu Xingxue didn’t know what he was thinking just now that made him ask such a dumb and obvious question.

He waved his hand, about to move on from this topic, but suddenly, he heard Xiao Fuxuan say, “Before, it also wasn’t visible all the time.”

Wu Xingxue became curious again, “Not visible all the time? What, the mark granted by the heavens would appear and disappear every now and then?”

“Mm.”

“Then when would it be hidden, and when would it appear?”

“……”

For some reason, Xiao Fuxuan didn’t answer.

He just raised his hand and pinched the part of the neck that his “Mian” mark should be on, then gave Wu Xingxue a look before walking to the straw shack.

Wu Xingxue: “?”

“What made you say that they were ordained?” Xiao Fuxuan walked to the shack and asked the woman wrapped in a thick coat.

A cultivation disciple beside her wanted to stop him, but was pressed back by another.
They stared at Xiao Fuxuan with a face of hesitation.

“Because they had a word on their neck,” said the woman as she raised her hand to demonstrate.
Because of the thick winter coat she was wearing, her movements seemed rather clumsy, making her red eyes look even more empty and sorrowful.

A word on their neck?

Wu Xingxue wasn’t exactly sure if that was the whole story.

Luckily, one of the cultivation disciples couldn’t stand it any longer, so he helped to explain, “This matter has been a hot topic on the outskirts of Yuyang for a while now.
The first family to suffer from this disaster was a lumberjack.
Just the day before, he was a healthy man, but after he woke up the next day, a word suddenly appeared on his neck… as if… as if it was granted by the heavens.
It had grown on his body and wouldn’t go away no matter how hard he tried to wash it.”

He glanced at Xiao Fuxuan’s neck, and then immediately looked away.
“Afterwards, the lumberjack vanished that same night.
In addition, the axe that he normally used and the incense burner he placed on his household shrine also vanished along with him.”

“Incense burner?” Yi Wusheng was puzzled.

“Yes, his incense burner,” said the disciple with a nod.
“His family felt weird about this matter too and tried to look for him everywhere, but they just couldn’t find him.
One week later, their entire family all had the same dream.”

“In their dream, they saw the lumberjack sitting cross-legged on a shrine, one hand holding his axe, and the other carrying the incense burner.
His chopped-off head was resting in his lap.
Blood flowed down from his empty neck, streaming all over his body.
And then, the chopped-off head spoke.”2

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“What did the head say?”

“It said that he had been ordained as an immortal and that his place of devotion would be at the temple in the Valley of Great Sorrow.
He even reminded his family to remember to bring incense to the temple and worship him.”

“After his family members woke up, they immediately came to our sect to seek help.
But as everyone knows, this Valley of Great Sorrow has been sealed for a long time, and people couldn’t just enter and leave that place easily.
Afterwards, a few elderly martial brothers and sisters felt pity for them and decided to go on a trip to the Valley of Great Sorrow.
They made sure to bring some Dreamless Pills bought from the Hua Sect.”

“With the help of the Dreamless Pills, our martial siblings didn’t run into too much trouble.
But despite their hasty trip, they didn’t manage to find that lumberjack.
All they found was his axe, dripping with blood.”

When Wu Xingxue heard him say, “Dreamless Pill bought from the Hua Sect,” he was stunned for a moment, then looked at Yi Wusheng.

He saw him lowering his head, looking down, and then tugging the fabric that covered his nose and mouth even further up, hiding most of his face.
His expression looked a little sorrowful.

Everyone in the world relied on the Dreamless Pills to enter and exit the dangerous territory of the Valley of Great Sorrow, but the creator of the Dreamless Pills himself fell victim to the valley without even ever being there.

What an… unfair world.

“Anyway, after that, families would suffer from a similar situation one after another.
It was always a word suddenly appearing on a person’s neck, and then that person would vanish on the same night.
Even if they were tied to their beds with ropes, with someone beside them keeping watch the whole night without rest, it was still no use.
The person on guard would always somehow suddenly fall asleep, and though the rope used to tie them wasn’t undone, it’d be completely covered in blood.
It was as if… “

The cultivation disciple paused and then continued with a pale face, “It was like the person who was tied up had been sliced into pieces along the rope and then carried out.
No matter how they vanished, the missing people would always return through a dream and say that they had been ordained as immortals and that their family needed to come to the Valley of Great Sorrow to worship them with incense.”3

“This is another disaster-stricken family,” he said, pointing to the woman, “both of her daughters had vanished.
We came along to help search, but in reality—”

His lips moved, as if he wanted to say that, in reality, they wouldn’t find them no matter how hard they tried.
But after seeing the woman’s red-crying eyes, he swallowed the words back down.

“Your sect only sent three people on such a dangerous mission?” Yi Wusheng asked in surprise.

“Well, it’s because the Northern Frontiers and the Eternal Sea collapsed for no reason just a few days ago.
Most of our sect members all went there.
We are no big sect, so we were really all that the sect could send to help on this matter,” muttered the three disciples.

Wu Xingxue, who originally wanted to sit in the straw shack and wait for nightfall, immediately turned around and went for the carriage after hearing those words.

Thanks to the Dream Bell, he had forgotten what it was like to be infamous all over the world.

But as of now, compared to scaring those little guys from some nameless cultivation sect, it was better to take a nap in the carriage and to be wrapped in blankets.

He was hoping with this sleep he could dream of something, whether it be Que City or his past, but nothing came.

Oddly enough, although he didn’t dream of any complete scenes or people, he did dream of that “Mian” symbol, shining with a light golden hue, so close that it seemed to be right in front of his nose…

***

Wu Xingxue suddenly opened his eyes, only to see Xiao Fuxuan standing in front of him, bending downwards.

He licked his dry lips and grabbed Xiao Fuxuan’s wrist, “You—”

Before he could finish speaking, Wu Xingxue heard a light jingling noise.
He lowered his head and saw a pair of silver bells hooked to Xiao Fuxuan’s fingertips.
It was the same type of bell that had been tied to his wrist back when they were still in the Hua Sect. 

“What is this for? Are you going to tie it to me again? ” Wu Xingxue looked at the bell in a daze.

Xiao Fuxuan didn’t reply, ignoring Wu Xingxue’s hand that was holding his wrist.
But his fingers moved a little, and suddenly the pair of silver bells were tied to Wu Xingxue’s waist.

When he had his head lowered, his ears and neck were very close to Wu Xingxue’s face.

Wu Xingxue subconsciously glanced at the place that should have the character “Mian” printed. 

“The Heavenly Chains can not be removed.
I only have this.” Xiao Fuxuan said gravely.

Wu Xingxue hesitated for a moment and then let go of his hand.

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The heavenly chains can’t be removed, okay? What does that have to do with bells?

But not too long after, he understood the meaning of those words.

Outside the carriage, the sun had already set.
According to what the cultivation disciples said, they could finally cross the bridge now and enter the valley.

Wu Xingxue got off the car behind Xiao Fuxuan; the others had already been waiting beside the suspension bridge.

Under the night sky, a blizzard wind suddenly started to blow in the Valley of Great Sorrow.
As Wu Xingxue walked over, the chains on his body were constantly giving off loud rustling noises.

Those chains were actually very thin.
They couldn’t be seen, but he could feel them.
Nail after nail, they went through his bones and penetrated his soul, pressing against him like a shadow.

“What is that noise?” When they got closer, the cultivation disciples heard the noise and muttered.
They followed the sound and their eyes fell on Wu Xingxue.

They immediately became alert, but after seeing the silver bells tied to his waist, they all breathed a sigh of relief.

Wu Xingxue saw this and said lightly, “Oh… I was wondering.
Everything was fine just now, so what was up with the bells?”

He turned around and saw Xiao Fuxuan’s icy cold face.

“Immortal? You…” Looking at Xiao Fuxuan’s eyes, he was just about to say something.

However, before he could finish, Xiao Fuxuan already raised his sword, pressing his sword sheath against the back of Wu Xingxue’s waist and pushing him forward.
He said, in a low voice, “Get on the bridge.”

Ooookay.

You’ve got a sword; you’re the boss.

Wu Xingxue walked forward along the long suspension bridge.

In front of them were Ning Huaishan and One-arm; they had returned after checking this place out.
There didn’t seem to be anything different about them; it was just that every once in a while, they would urge, “City Lord, we’ve cleared out those filthy yin beings around here.” When we enter the valley in a bit, don’t follow too far behind us.
There’s no need for you to dispose of those little things; we can take care of them.

Wu Xingxue looked at the back of their heads and smoothly replied, “Wow, that nice?”

“Of course!”

Before, they had said that there were countless things crawling beneath this bridge.
Only by crossing at night would they not startle them.
Wu Xingxue pondered the reason for this while trying to feel them beneath his feet.

To his surprise, he found out that the bottom of the bridge didn’t seem to have anything there.
Were they mistaken? Or did those things disappear for some reason?

They crossed the bridge very smoothly, a bit too smoothly.

Even those cultivation disciples looked back in confusion every now and then, muttering, “That’s strange.”

The place where they stood was a flat cliff, and there was a celestial temple on that cliff.
Despite there being no one in the temple, an oil lamp was lit on its own.

“This is the mountain temple of the Valley of Great Sorrow.
Once we pass through this temple, the valley entrance will appear before us.” As these cultivation disciples spoke, they again turned their heads to look towards the suspension bridge.
“We must be careful when we go, there’s a catacomb below this valley,” they said, still in disbelief.
“Remember to avoid those few loose floorboards, or else you’ll accidentally flip down.

Just as they were telling everyone to be careful, someone already flipped down.

That unfortunate person was none other than Wu Xingxue.

And the people who dragged him down were also none other than his two loyal subordinates.

The so-called underground catacomb was just an enormous cavern, with a divine statue standing in the middle of the cavern.
It seemed that no one had been here for a very long time, as the statue was covered in moss and intertwining vines.

There were countless holes in the surrounding rock walls; some were dark and quiet, while others were inlaid with a multitude of oil lamps.
They also lit on their own, like a scene of dismal devotion, worshiping the statue for an unknown amount of time.

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When Wu Xingxue landed, Ning Huaishan and One-arm had already vanished without a trace.
It was impossible for him to find out which cave they were hidden in.

In the entire catacomb, only the sound of dripping water could be heard.

Wu Xingxue stood next to the divine statue and looked around.
In the next second, tens of stark white shadows pounced down.

Those things were a type of yin being.
They tend to appear in places with a lot of dead people.

They had the appearance of humans, but their hands and feet were much more slender, and their skin was particularly white—like the white wax in a funeral hall.
When they opened their mouths, the corners of their lips could stretch until their ears, with no teeth to be seen, like a pitch-black crescent-shaped hole. 4

They only had black pupils without the whites of the eyes.
When smiling, they also look like two crescent-shaped holes. 

They liked to eat the spirits and souls of living humans, and they also liked to gnaw on skeletons.
When their cracked-open mouths came near humans, the cries of dead souls could be heard from within their cracked openings.

These were the things that liked to crawl beneath the suspension bridge.
Ning Huaishan and One-Arm spent about two hours gathering dozens of these things and hiding them inside a spirit-binding pouch.

These things were extremely hard to kill.
If one doesn’t run fast enough, they will crawl on his or her body.
There were only two good ways to deal with them: One is to use a soul-binding pouch, or two, to let them eat a full meal.

One-arm has already confirmed that this Wu Xingxue wasn’t the original person himself and that he doesn’t have anything on him; he definitely didn’t have a spirit-binding pouch with him. 

The two hid in the cave and waited to watch this impostor City Lord become attacked and for him to learn an unforgettable lesson.

But when that crowd of yin beings pounced towards him, they saw that below the divine statue, that fake City Lord relaxed his shoulders.

It seemed as if he let out a sigh, murmuring, “How troublesome,” then threw away the handwarmer he kept in his sleeves.

The handwarmer rolled around on the ground, the sound echoing inside the catacomb.

Ning Huaishan said subconsciously, “Uh oh.”

When he looked again, he saw one of the yin beings charge toward Wu Xingxue.
Just as it was about to crack open its mouth and suck out his life energy, Wu Xingxue had already pressed on its shoulder and hooked two of his fingers at the edge of its mouth.

Crack—

The sound of bones being cracked and shattered sounded as Wu Xingxue ripped off the yin being’s head.

Blood splattered everywhere.

Ning Huaishan subconsciously closed his eyes.

But the sound of bones breaking never stopped after that.

He was way too familiar with this sound…

“We’re done for, we’re really done for,” Ning Huaishan repeated as he felt his body going numb.

On the other hand, One-arm was also about to go insane.

“This isn’t right!”

“This definitely isn’t right!”

To ordinary people, and even to some cultivation disciples, dozens of yin beings were really a thorny problem.
Otherwise, they wouldn’t have treated that suspension bridge so cautiously.

But for the real Wu Xingxue, these things really meant nothing to him.

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Ning Huaishan swallowed hard.
When he opened his eyes again, he saw that all the yin beings they spent hours collecting were all dead already, their heads and corpses lying everywhere.
The entire cavern was filled with blood, that moist fluid gurgling in streams, even flowing to the front of the hole where he and One-arm were hiding. 

Their entire surroundings smelled like blood.

He saw Wu Xingxue grab the last yin being’s throat with a hand, then frigid frost extended outwards from his fingertips, covering that yin being’s entire face.
The frost followed the blood that was everywhere on the ground and formed an ice path directly towards Ning Huaishan and One-arm.

All that happened in the blink of an eye.

They took a look at the frozen blood, and when they looked back up, Wu Xingxue had already appeared in front of their faces, standing inches away from them.

“Ah, this is where you’re hiding.
Gave me quite a search,” said Wu Xingxue.

Ning Huaishan held his breath.

It’s over.

I’m dead.

He thought to himself.

Then, he saw Wu Xingxue raising a hand towards him—

***

After a moment, the entire catacomb no longer echoed with the sound of snapping bones.
Only the sound of water dripping remained.

Every drip was like a hammer, slamming on these two cowards’ hearts.

Wu Xingxue didn’t kill Ning Huaishan and One-arm; instead, due to their rebellious actions, they had been tied together with a long band.
With a closer look, one would find that it was just two belts knotted together.

Of course, these little devils wouldn’t be bound by just a belt.
It was the internal energy and the oppression pressing on top of them that prevented them from even moving a single muscle.

Wu Xingxue didn’t kill that last yin being and only froze it.
He picked it up and carried it over in front of Ning Huaishan and One-arm.

He took the two filial subordinates’ spirit-binding pouches and patted their heads, then said with a smile, “Sigh, you two have gifted me so much.
It’s not too much to return some of it, is it?”

Ning Huaishan almost started to cry, “City Lord……”

“*Sob sob*”

“Sorry… we were wrong.” 5

“Well, what’s the use of sobbing now?” Wu Xingxue said as he wrapped the yin being around them.

Not too long after, the yin was slowly defrosted and came back to life.

It struggled for a bit, and after discovering that it was of no use, it became a little irritated.
But then, it discovered that there were two living beings sitting right beside him, emitting the enticing aroma of food.

It immediately became happy again, with its black eyes and mouth curving into crescents.
Then it stretched its head towards One-arm on the left.

And gave him a “kiss.”

One-arm: “……”

It smacked its lips a few times, then turned around and stretched its head towards Ning Huaishan.

Ning Huaishan: “Fuck…”

And he was kissed too.

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