Chapter 82: Loyalty—Part Four
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Wei WuXian turned around and dashed in the directly of the blood pool. Lan WangJi followed closely at his side. The red spirit-summoning flag on the white robe was indeed the best target. Not a single corpse took notice of anyone else, completely ignoring all of the living humans that brushed by it, rushing red-eyed toward Wei WuXian alone.
The corpses advanced one after another. The path that Wen Ning cleared up was always quickly filled up by other corpses, and so he’d rush back and clear it again. Over half of the people inside the Demon-Slaughtering Cave hadn’t had the time to leave yet. Some of them were still unable to walk. They watched as Bichen’s sword glare swept across the cave again and again, rows of corpses severed into chunks as the next row pressed on. Cries and wails echoed, almost flying above the ceiling of the Cave.
Soon, the corpses had surrounded Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi, making it difficult for them to approach the blood pool. The mountains of corpses on the sides grew higher and higher, and the circle that surrounded them shrunk as well. The juniors were all burning with worry. They all returned, swords unsheathed.
Lan JingYi saw that someone was waving his sword as he rushed outside, “Could you please help? If you can still pick up your sword, could you please come help?! Just a little bit is enough!”
The person, “Get lost!!!”
Lan SiZhui, “Let it go, JingYi, we are fine on our own!”
Having heard their voices, Wei WuXian shouted, “Wen Ning!!! Throw them out!!!”
Wen Ning, “Yes!”
He grabbed Lan JingYi with one hand and, just as he was about to grab Lan SiZhui with the other, Lan SiZhui spoke to him, “General Ghost, I cannot go, let me stay here!!! Or else I would regret it for my entire life!!!”
The moment they made eye contact with each other, Wen Ning’s body froze. Seeing that he wasn’t going to catch him anymore, Lan SiZhui immediately took up his sword and turned around. Lan JingYi and the others took the chance to get past him as well. Almost being picked up, Jin Ling was dragged outside, brushing shoulder with many corpses. All of these corpses were attracted to the flag on Wei WuXian, staring at that one direction with red eyes and ignoring them.
Jin Ling shouted, “Uncle! I…”
Jiang Cheng’s voice was drenched in ice, “If you dare go back there, don’t call me your uncle anymore.”
Jin Ling stared at him hard. Jiang Cheng threw him onto the ground, shouting, “Stay here!” He himself, on the other hand, took up Sandu and rushed back inside the Demon-Slaughtering Cave.
Jin Ling paused in hesitation before calling after him, “Uncle, wait for me!” Despite the warning, he still followed.
On the other hand, within the Demon-Slaughtering Cave, the area that surrounded Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi had already shrunken to no greater than ten feet in width.
Bichen’s sword glare was still bright and clear, and the fires of the talisman burned incessantly as well. However, there were just too many corpses!
Just as Wei WuXian tossed out a handful of talismans, he sensed that there was danger. Looking to the side, as he expected, a fierce corpse had crawled up a pile of corpses near the two. Mouth hanging open, it threw itself at him. Wei WuXian’s hands were empty. He cursed and searched inside his sleeve, but nothing was there. His heart immediately skipped a beat.
He had used up all of his talismans!
Lan WangJi noticed the danger over there as well. Just as he was about to attack it with his sword, he suddenly heard a scream. The fierce corpse broke into two in midair.
No. It was torn into two. And the creature that tore it apart was right in front of everyone’s eyes!
A bloody corpse stood atop the mountains of corpses as tall as man. In both of its hands, it still clutched the two twitching pieces of the corpse as it gazed down at Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi.
Lan JingYi’s mouths hung gaping, unable to shut itself. OuYang ZiZhen murmured, “… My Ancestors… Just what in the world is this?”
Everyone who saw it had the same thought in their minds—just what in the world was this?!
The unidentified corpse that had appeared out of nowhere was nothing like the other corpses they had seen. It was colored a bloody crimson all over, as though it had just crawled out of the blood pool. With its extremely emaciated body, it seemed more than grotesque.
The corpses controlled by the Stygian Tiger Seal were also attracted to such a strange colleague of theirs. They all gave up on attacking Wei WuXian and instead looked over there with hesitation.
The blood corpse walked a few steps forward.
It wobbled forward as cracking noises came from its knuckles, almost as if it was stretching its bones. Dark red blood dripped from its limbs and torso, creeping to the ground.
A bitter fusion of yin energy and heavy resentment spilled from its body. As it approached, the other corpses began to writhe backward. Many of the people grew pale, afraid to make a single noise.
Lan WangJi stood in front of Wei WuXian, yet Wei WuXian pressed down on the hand he clutched Bichen with, whispering, “… Wait.” He stared dead at the blood corpse. A conjecture had formed within him. Heart racing, he repeated, “Wait.”
The blood corpse stopped at about ten feet away from them. Suddenly, it lifted his head, and let out two loud howls. The howls grew louder and sharper by each. The people covered their ears.
Light ripples formed over the surface of the blood pool.
At first, it was as though a small rock had been tossed. Yet, the ripples grew larger and larger, as though something was moving restlessly beneath the thick syrup.
Suddenly, a hand broke out of the blood!
With the force, the hand clenched the shore, its fingers sinking deep into the ground. What emerged afterward was a crimson face, half-rotten, its facial features unclear.
A second blood corpse had crawled out of the pool.
Immediately after, the entire surface of the blood pool began toss and turn, almost as if it had reached a boil. As it churned, more heads bobbed up its surface. A third, a fourth, a fifth…
Every one of them were clothed in blood. Shrill howls accompanied their hideous faces. As soon as they crawled out of the blood pool, they immediately began to fight the other corpses!
The corpses under the control of the Tiger Seal seemed as if they had been stirred by a red blade, becoming flesh, limbs, and black blood that flew in the air!
Jin Ling watched with shock, “… Just what in the world are these things?! Why would there be more fierce corpses in the blood pool? Didn’t they say that all of the corpses on Burial Mound had been incinerated?!”
Sect Leader OuYang answered, protecting his son, “Some weren’t!”
Lan JingYi, “Which ones were not?!”
Sect Leader OuYang, “Those… Those…”
He couldn’t say it out loud. After those Wen Sect’s remnants on Burial Mound back then were killed by the people partaking in the siege, the fifty corpses were all thrown into the blood pool!
Suddenly, Jin Ling shouted, “Watch out!”
A bloody lump of a red figure landed before him. Holding his sword, Lan SiZhui walked a few steps back. The blood corpse rose slowly.
The corpse was abnormally small and bent-over. It seemed that somebody had smashed a hole into its skull. Its white hair was sparse, sticking tattered to its forehead after being soaked by the bloody water. Along with its rotting flesh, it was extremely repulsive. Anyone who saw it felt uncomfortable. After it crawled up, limping, it slowly walked toward Lan SiZhui. All of the juniors trembled with fear, immediately gathering over here.
With the increase in people, the blood corpse grew cautious, growling with its throat. The boys seemed as if they faced a significant enemy, yet Lan SiZhui hurried to stop them, “Do not move!”
Although he himself was a bit nervous as well, for some unknown reason, he didn’t feel scared.
If the scrawny corpse had eyeballs, it must be staring at him. Tilting its head, it even stretched out an arm, its hand slowly moving toward Lan SiZhui as though it wanted to touch him.
The hand was covered in blood, almost like a half-nibbled chicken feet. All of the boys could feel goosebumps crawling up their bodies. Jin Ling raised his sword, ready to block it, just as Lan SiZhui exclaimed, “Young Master Jin, stop!”
Jin Ling, “Then what do we do?!”
Lan SiZhui, “Everyone… Everyone, do not move for now.”
The blood corpse called out in a faint voice. He steadied himself, and reached out toward the corpse as well.
Just as he was about to touch the corpse, a new wave of corpses had arrived. The blood corpse spun around and, with a long howl, leaped into the air, throwing itself into the pile of corpses before it bit and tore as if it was mad. Blood and flesh flew everywhere. The terror of its howls and the brutality of its moves was drastically different from how it was in front of Lan SiZhui.
Wen Ning threw off a number of corpses. His body trembling, he shouted at the corpse, “Is it you?!”
It didn’t pay attention to him.
All of the blood corpses killed with madness. Wen Ning shouted, “Is it you?!”
Fierce roars of all tones filled the entire Demon-Slaughtering Cave. Not one of them answered him, and not one of them could.
Not even an hour later, all of the sounds slowly quieted down.
After it all had ended, the Demon-Slaughtering Cave seemed just like the sceneries of hell painted in scrolls.
One after another, the blood corpses began to gather at where Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi were.
The tall and the short, the men and the women, the old and the young—all of them were demons drenched in blood. But on these figures, Wei WuXian saw a few familiar shadows.
Wen Ning murmured, “Uncle Four… Granny…”
He said their names one by one, his voice wavering as he went. Wen Ning, “Have you been waiting here ever since??”
If he were alive, his eyes would have grown red already and begun to tear up.
Wei WuXian’s lips trembled. He seemed as if he wanted to say something, but still he couldn’t say it. He lowered his head and bestowed upon them a heavy salute. His voice was rasp, “… Thank you.”
Lan WangJi saluted as well.
When they were fighting, the blood corpses seemed as fierce as could be, but right now, when facing them, they still appeared hideous, but their movements seemed somewhat clumsy. At varied times, they bent down and lifted their hands, returning the salute.
And then, as if something had sucked out the energy and life within them, they all collapsed at once.
Their blood-colored bodies seemed to be fragile porcelain, cracking apart inch by inch, their pieces growing smaller and smaller. If another gust of wind blew over, there might be nothing left.
Wen Ning threw himself onto the ground, using his hands to gather up the crimson ashes. After he grabbed them, he stuffed him into his clothes, handful by handful. Soon, they were all full. Seeing this, Lan JingYi scratched his hair and took off one of his perfume pouches. He dumped out the herbs inside, squatted down, and handed it to him, “Here!”
Watching, the other boys copied as well. Jin Ling was the only who continued to watch them, his expression complex. He didn’t do anything. Frowning, he instead walked farther away. On the other hand, when the seven or eight hands were in front of Wen Ning, holding up perfume pouches and woven bags, Wen Ning didn’t know what to do.
Lan SiZhui, “General Ghost, do you need help?”
Wen Ning hurried, “No, you…”
Lan JingYi, “There are so many bones and ashes. Can you finish collecting everything all on your own?”
Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi walked over, “Don’t touch them as you please. You’ll be under corpse poisoning if you don’t wear gloves.”
Hearing this, the boys finally gave up. Lan SiZhui, “Senior Wei, HanGuang-Jun, and General Ghost, this time, thank you so much for…”
Suddenly, a cold voice came from within the crowd, “For what?”
Lan SiZhui and the boys turned around to find that the one who spoke was Fang MengChen again. He stood up, rage written over his face, “What is all this?”
Lan SiZhui was perplexed, “What is all what?”
Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi looked at him as well. Fang MengChen’s voice was harsh, “I’m asking you—what is all this? Atonement?! You haven’t all began to feel gratitude towards him in your hearts, have you?!”
It was a dead silent within the Demon-Slaughtering Cave. Not a single whisper could be heard. What everyone was feeling right now really wasn’t too great.
With all their fanfare, they came to throw a siege, yet they themselves were instead faced with a siege. They chanted that they were here to destroy evil, yet in the end they needed the ‘evil’ to save their own lives.
They really didn’t know whether it was comical, strange, awkward, or absolutely incomprehensible. They only felt that they, the ones who jumped up and down with such indignation during this farce, were indeed somewhat embarrassing.
Thank Wei WuXian? It didn’t seem quite appropriate, but they were saved by him after all. It didn’t seem appropriate either to say that they held no gratitude. Under such circumstances, the best way out was to remain silent.
Seeing that nobody was going to answer him, Fang MengChen grew even more angered. He lunged with sword in hand, “Do you think that by doing a few pretentious good things and showing that you’ve repented your errors would write off all those debts of blood in your hands?!”
Wei WuXian darted to the side. Somebody came forth to mediate, “Fang-xiong! Don’t be so agitated. Let it go…”
As soon as the person said it, he realized what he did wrong. Fang MengChen’s eyes reddened, “Let it go?! What do you mean, let it go? The murder of my parents—I let it go just because you say so?!”
He questioned loudly, “Wei WuXian killed my parents. That is the truth. But why is it that now it seems like he’s become a hero?! Do a few good deeds, and you can forget about all the things he did? Then what about my parents?!”
Among the crowd, Jin Ling clenched his fists. Suddenly, sharp pain shot out from his shoulder. The fingers that Jiang Cheng placed at his shoulder slowly tightened.
Jin Ling couldn’t see his expression. He whispered, “Uncle…”
A curt, ambivalent laugh came from Jiang Cheng.
Finally, Wei WuXian spoke up. He said, “Then what do you want me to do?”
Fang MengChen paused in surprise. Wei WuXian, “Then what do you want? Nothing but my miserable death to soothe your own hatred?” He pointed at Yi WeiChun, who lay passed out among the crowd, “He’s missing a leg, while I was cut into pieces; you lost your parents, while my family had long since been gone. I’m a dog who was chased out of its home. I’ve never even seen the ashes of my parents.”
Wei WuXian, “Or do you hate the Wen Sect’s remnants? The Wen Sect remnants that you speak of already died once, thirteen years ago. And right now, just then, for my sake, for your sake, they died once again. This time, they’ve all become ashes.” He continued, “Let me ask you—just what else do you want me to do?”
Fang MengChen glared at him. A moment later, he replied through clenched teeth, “There’s no use. Let me tell you, Wei WuXian, no matter what you do, don’t ever expect me to forgive you or forget about my parents deaths.” He raised his voice, “It’ll never happen!”
Wei WuXian, “Nobody told you to forgive me. The things I did, not only do you remember them, I remember them too. You won’t forget them, and they’ll stay even longer in my mind!”
He looked at him for quite a while. Fang MengChen felt a whirlpool of emotion within him, a feeling of surrender.
His life was indeed saved by Wei WuXian and the others, but he didn’t want to give up on all those grudges right then. But if he wanted to seek revenge on Wei WuXian, it’d be futile, given how powerless he was. In the end, he could only let out a loud shout before he rushed out the Demon-Slaughtering Cave.
After he went out, a voice asked, “No more corpses will come, right? We’re really safe this time, right?!”
Hearing this voice, everyone felt their heads grow a few times bigger, It’s him again!
Nie HuaiSang looked around. Seeing that nobody answered him, he asked once more, “Then aren’t we… allowed to go too?”
This was the right question to ask. Right now, all that anyone wanted to do was to put on some wings and fly their swords back to their sects. One of the female cultivators spoke, “Four hours should be up by now. How much have everyone’s spiritual powers recovered?”