Translated by Aphelios of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Everyone in the library only saw Xuan Wuzi touching the ‘illusion’, then the ‘illusion’ waved his sleeves, and Xuan Wuzi flew backwards and smashed into a bookshelf. The majority of the books all fell on top of him and buried him underneath.
The ink essence that was originally sitting on the bookshelf too jumped out and pointed a finger toward Xuan Wuzi and began to silently yell and berate him.
Wait, illusions couldn’t harm people……
Xuan Wuzi struggled as he got up and internally wished the floor would just swallow him whole.
This… this… this wasn’t an illusion? It was actually Martial Uncle in person?
The crowd, “……”
What was going on? It was agreed that the loophole of the illusion was that Martial Uncle had not visited the library for many years already and definitely would not and did not have a need to come here.
The very next second–
“You came!” Xiaoshen suddenly threw himself towards Shang Jiyu and wrapped himself around him.
Shang Jiyu caught Xiaoshen, then gently put him on the desk and quietly said, “What happened?”
It was true that Shang Jiyu doesn’t often show up in the library, and this time, it was Xiaoshen who called him over. Just now, after much research and close examination, he felt that he had discovered a clue and thus called Shang Jiyu.
“I found a book and this is what it said…” Xiaoshen handed him the words that he copied.
Daomi stood on the side with a grim expression and thought, He left out a crucial part of the story… Brother Xiaoshen forced me to look for this book and I searched high and low till I almost went blind before finding it…
The others, “…?…”
Unlike Daomi, they didn’t know how close Shang Jiyu and Xiaoshen were and speculations were flying everywhere.
Why were the Library Master and Martial Uncle hugging each other?
Why were they merely reading as if no one was around and ignoring everyone after they wrapped around each other?
Did the Library Master and Martial Uncle even care about the very much alive us?
Xiaoshen read a paragraph, “See, it said here that all living beings follow a certain order, and only through cultivation and prohibition towards the contrary…”
All living things must comply with the natural order of life, yet cultivation defies this order; from a mere mortal whose life does not surpass hundred, to an immortal and ageless cultivator. There was a saying: ‘Those who follow remain mortal; those who oppose become immortal’.
The theory recorded in this book roughly stated that the restriction also served a similar purpose and only through opposition did it make it hard to solve.
Even though this book was not about the spirit bracelet, Xiaoshen was able to sense a similar concept from it. That spirit bracelet was exactly one that ran against the currents and was different from other prohibitions; it used the power of an enemy attack to retaliate and was extremely crafty and shrewd.
“It does seem like they come from the same source.” Shang Jiyu took a look at the original book and creased his eyebrows.
“What?” Xiaoshen asked.
Daomi was very curious as well. Even though he was the one who helped Xiaoshen discover the information, his knowledge was not considered to be highly extensive; after all, he was not even a hundred years old yet. He was neither familiar, nor understood the characters and classical references that were recorded in this book, which was why Xiaoshen had to call Shang Jiyu over to take a look.
“This book is a compilation of rather obscure theories, in which this in particular is similar to the workings of the spirit bracelet that’s currently suppressing your powers. The author is someone by the name of Master Yanfen.” Shang Jiyu said.
Of course, Xiaoshen would not have recognized who this person was. He looked at Daomi.
Daomi too shook his head; he did not know who that person was either.
“This Master Yanfen was a nickname earned from his love of women and sex. He was an independent cultivator whose original name was Luo Jia. He died pretty early and wasn’t well known; however, he had a very famous disciple who was also his adopted son and that was Luo Pin.” Shang Jiyu said.
“He was Luo Pin’s master?!” Daomi took in a cold breath of air and when he saw that Xiaoshen still had a face of confusion, explained, “Brother Xiaoshen, do you still remember that time when I told you how our Grandmaster Yu Zhao fought an outside cultivator and fell in battle? That was Luo Pin! It was said that there were three thousand roads to cultivation and each cultivator will choose their own path in their search, yet Luo Pin chose the path of destruction and killing and thus brought the cultivation world into a time of darkness.”
“Ah… that one.” Xiaoshen surprisingly did vaguely remember this. It was just that Daomi usually babbled mostly about Grandmaster Yu Zhao.
“Yea! I heard from my grandpa that back in the days, this Luo Pin was born with supernatural strength and was known as one with the strength of a dragon…” Daomi continued.
Xiaoshen counted with his fingers, “Perceiving the Golden Dragon, the Bound Dragon Terrace, the Dragon Massacre technique, the strength of a dragon, and all those crap that you humans make up about the Dragon King and the rest… I find you humans really like to weave ridiculous stories and names about the dragon race.”
Furthermore, they were all filled with contradictions. One moment they wanted to hear the roar of the dragon, while the next they wanted to massacre a dragon, and there was even one who wanted to compare himself with a dragon.
If it weren’t for Xiaoshen bringing this up, Daomi truly hadn’t minded too much about this before, but he still said, “This… this should be expected. They’re all a form of worship and admiration towards the dragon race. The Yuling Sect after all is composed primarily of humans and the human race had always had the tradition of worshipping the dragon race. It’s a shame that dragons no longer exist in this world and the only things that remain are countless legends and folklore.”
The human race could only use what remained to fantasize a bit. Allegories notwithstanding, there were countless poems, proverbs, and stories on the dragon race, be it flattery or madness, and even those come in all shapes and forms and truly displayed the profoundness and extent of human literature.
Brother Xiaoshen thought it was excessive after only hearing about just these few?
“Furthermore, isn’t your water race the same?” Daomi continued on. “Always claiming how close your blood is to the dragon race, and that so and so is the Dragon King’s descendant, the eight hundredth generation… Grandsons…”
—He actually wanted to say the grandson of tortoises but was afraid that it would provoke Brother Xiaoshen.
“Brother Xiaoshen, don’t tell me your family has never boasted that you have the true blood of the dragons running through your veins?”
Xiaoshen, “……I do.”
But this was not boasting.
“There you have it. Eleven out of ten water races boast about this.” Daomi clapped his hands. “This doesn’t even include other races. After all, it was said that the nature of the dragons was very wanton and they left behind many descendants. Our library has a lot of books that go into details and analysis of this.”
It wouldn’t be fair if only the water race was allowed to brag but the other races couldn’t. All races had equal rights to brag about dragons.
Xiaoshen originally wanted to comment that he didn’t see how humans respected the dragon race…yet at this moment, he couldn’t help but let out a low cough. Aye, the bad habits of the human race to compile and write history books… It has already been over ten thousand years and they still couldn’t forget that little hobby of ours. 1
“Ah.. let’s go back to the topic of Luo Pin.” Daomi only remembered that they went on a tangent after he turned around and saw that Shang Jiyu was quietly standing there.
“Oh, I remember now. Didn’t you say that he and Yu Zhao both fell in the battle?” Xiaoshen started his train of thoughts. “Is there a chance that that person is his disciple or even he himself? Hm?”
Daomi was silent for a while and said, “It’s impossible. Luo Pin did not have any disciples. Furthermore, in order to eradicate the possibility of future troubles, Grandmaster Yu Zhao perished together with Luo Pin; both their souls were shattered as a result.”
Xiaoshen was in a daze. “…Why would he do that?”
Once a cultivator has reached enlightenment, even if he died in this lifetime, his roots had already been planted and after reincarnation, he would still differ from an ordinary person and could even continue the path of his previous fate. Yet, there would be no hope for a shattered soul.
This was like that human who obviously got first place on the test of temperaments but decided to change his mind and not become a cultivator. Xiaoshen could not understand.
He could not comprehend why there were people who would choose this route.
Daomi babbled on, “My grandpa said, only those who had reached the peak of virtue and morality do not fear life and death.”
But what exactly was the peak of virtue and morality? Why would they rather shatter their souls? This was a question even Daomi could not explain the answer to clearly.
“Then… this means that this was a dead end… He didn’t even have a successor.” Xiaoshen wailed pitifully in despair. Fancy that he was just excited earlier.
“If this was really connected to Master Yanfen, then, it is possible that there were surviving remnants of Luo Pin’s party. Back in the days, he had gathered followers under his banner. Or, it could be that some cultivator accidentally stumbled upon a secret script of their techniques and methodologies.” Shang Jiyu analyzed. “Then that person was probably a wandering cultivator and not from a prestigious sect.”
If he was from a prestigious sect, he would definitely not be this reckless and study such an obscure cultivation method.
“Martial Uncle is correct! Additionally, I can continue the research and perhaps find some other clues!” Daomi said excitedly. He was even more motivated now that the situation could have been connected to a thousand-year-old monster.
“Well that’s great! Continue the good job.” Xiaoshen said. “I’ll take my leave now.”
As soon as Xiaoshen stepped his foot out of the library, he discovered numerous boats outside and each one carried a bunch of people.
He had thought that the entire population of Yuling Sect was pretty much those in the library, but it was obvious now with the sea of people outside that the Yuling Sect was a lot bigger than he originally thought. Those who were towards the end of their cultivation naturally would not frequent the library as often.
As soon as these people saw Shang Jiyu and Xiaoshen walking out together, they were in an uproar…
“I feel like they’re not here to read.” Xiaoshen pondered. Even though these people were pretending to admire the landscape or were just passing by.
“They’re here to watch the bustle.” Shang Jiyu explained calmly. The news had already spread far and wide in this short amount of time. They didn’t know whether these cultivators truly had nothing else to do or really dropped everything just to come and see them.
“Watch the bustle? What bustle?” Xiaoshen looked around and didn’t see any scene worth watching.
Shang Jiyu grabbed the youth’s hands and left by riding his sword. He could still hear fragments and noises of speculations below him.
These cultivators and those that often visit the library for the most part did not overlap, yet they too heard about Xiaoshen’s past feat and were astonished beyond belief. Some of these cultivators even went as far as to express that there was some logic to Xiaoshen’s actions; this little clam was similar to the martial uncle and was an expert at cross-border cultivation battles.
Of course, an accident was still an accident. The little clam was able to actually subdue the killing god. This scenery indeed only appeared once in a lifetime. They did not come in vain to see this view, even at the risk of being beaten by the martial uncle…
Xiaoshen finally understood. “They’re here to see us? Why?”
Shang Jiyu unconsciously revealed a small smile. His voice was crisp clear in the wind and passed into Xiaoshen’s ears. “It’s because there had never been a person like you who stood by my side.”
“Really?” Xiaoshen hugged him from behind. “But you’re so good!”
From their first meeting, Xiaoshen felt that Shang Jiyu was the most pleasing human to the eye and was the best person amongst the human race who he had ever encountered.
“Then you should be more gentle and tender with me. Don’t always be so unreasonable.” Shang Jiyu said lazily.
Xiaoshen immediately removed his hands, but Shang Jiyu turned around and encircled him in an embrace. “What? Didn’t you hug me first?”
“It was you just then?” Xiaoshen removed his arms. “Go away! Tell him to come back.”
“I just appeared.” Shang Jiyu said. Xiaoshen hugged him right when he took control of the body. “It can’t always be him at both the night and the day. We already agreed that we will split our time in half. It’s my turn now.”
If it was in the past, they would never have a need for this type of discussion. Whoever wanted to come out, would come out. There wasn’t much of a difference anyway. But now… it was different.
Yet Xiaoshen lost his excitement. “Hmph.”
Shang Jiyu had to ask a question he already knew the answer to, “What were you guys talking about just now?”
Xiaoshen didn’t want to tell him at all, but there was one matter that he thought there was no harm in asking Shang Jiyu about and thus ignored his question in favor of asking another one, “I observed the cultivator’s recruitment at the Imperial Palace today and the participant who ranked first in the test of the temperament willingly gave up his spot to enter the sect and returned to the realm of the mortals. What are humans thinking? The former was one who willingly shattered his soul while the latter, who was without a doubt one with a resolute temperament, chose to willingly abandon the path of immortality and return to the mundane world to live out his life as a mere mortal.”
Shang Jiyu answered without much thought, “Humans are complex beings. There are some like me, who gain your favor one moment and lose it the next.”
Shang Jiyu suddenly lowered his head and looked at Xiaoshen who was forced into his embrace and said, “You really want to know the answer?”
He wanted to. He didn’t know the answer and neither did Daomi. Perhaps Shang Jiyu, who had lived for centuries as a human would understand.
Shang Jiyu whispered in Xiaoshen’s ear, “Then I’ll show you.”
The long sword adjusted its position and went toward the direction outside of the sect.
Shang Jiyu landed with Xiaoshen on top of the city gates and took a few looks around, “Today’s a holiday.”
Xiaoshen also observed the scene. Loud noises and rackets were heard throughout the streets and everyone had formed a circle to watch a group of people dance while holding a long red object held together with multiple bamboo sticks and in front of its head was a colorful silk ball. The gongs and drums reached the heavens with their rambunctious beats.
Shang Jiyu said, “This is called the Dragon Dance.”
“Dragon Dance? There they go again with making things up using dragons…” Xiaoshen pondered for a bit and quickly understood. “Wait, that’s the dragon??”
Gods, that thing infuriated the dragon. Us dragons do not look like that! That fat body, protruding eyes… it doesn’t even have scales. It’s too ugly, way too ugly. What’s wrong with humans?!
Even though the dragon race had disappeared from the realms for ten thousand years and thus could not give their input, it didn’t mean humans had the right to casually draw something and call it a dragon!
Xiaoshen was pissed off to a point where he wanted to stomp his feet, but he couldn’t let Shang Jiyu find out.
At this moment, Shang Jiyu said, “This ceremony was developed from the human race’s tradition of sending prayers to the dragons for rain and hoping that the dragon race who controlled the world’s water would protect them with fortuitous weather and bountiful harvest. It is only during a grand holiday that people perform the Dragon Dance.”
Xiaoshen unconsciously suspended his indignation and discovered that those humans who were watching the dance had smiles on their faces and the lanterns’ reflections shone like stars in their eyes.
……So, this dance stemmed from their reverence of the dragon race… When he thought about it this way, Xiaoshen couldn’t muster up the energy to be mad anymore.
“It is difficult for mortals to take control of their own fate. Even the trajectory of clouds and rain was dependent on their prayers to a higher being. In the eyes of cultivators, mortals only have a few decades of life, akin to ants. Yet, in the eyes of mere mortals, these few decades of ordinary livelihood with all its emotions of happiness and despair, transcends the thousands of years blessed to cultivators in their path to immortality. When you think about it, that person who gave up the path to immortality truly had a strong and resolute temperament and he indeed knew exactly what he wanted.”
Xiaoshen only partly understood Shang Jiyu’s words, but could also faintly sense that the atmosphere here was quite different from that of the cultivation world.
“Let’s go down and take a look.” Shang Jjiyu took a step forward with Xiaoshen in tow and had already reached the bustling streets below.
Xiaoshen curiously looked all around. His curious and innocent disposition was an ideal target for peddlers. It was a shame that he had a handsome but frightful man by his side. No one dared to come close.
A child ran straight ahead and bumped into Xiaoshen’s legs. Xiaoshen caught him.
This child had a dragon shaped candy in his hand as he looked up at Xiaoshen and said, “Thank you elder brother!” 2
“You’re welcome.” Xiaoshen said and took the candy from the child’s hands.
The child, “??”
Xiaoshen let him go and continued walking.
The child began bawling and one could faintly hear a female’s voice asking, “What happened? Why are you crying?”
“This is in the shape of a dragon as well.” The human race truly did like dragons. Xiaoshen scrutinized the candy and took a sniff, but he didn’t want to eat it. He carelessly threw it behind him and the candy once again returned to the child’s hands.
The child dumbly held on to the lost but newly recovered candy as his snot hung from the corner of his mouth.
In front was another band of dragon dancers, and this time, there were two dragons dancing together and on the side, people repeatedly shouted the phrase, “May the dragon gods bless us with favorable weather for a bountiful harvest!”
The Dragon King Lord Zhenbao 3 had already left the human world for over ten thousand years, yet the human race continued to miss him.
Now, only I, the sole dragon, remain in the mortal realm. All right, I’ll lend Lord Zhengbao a hand and let these humans rejoice for a moment.
Xiaoshen performed his water spell and a wisp of cloud floated quietly out from the jade belt hanging from his waist and rose to the skies that overlooked the dragon dancers and spectators. The color darkened and from the puff of cloud, water droplets emerged.
“Ah! It’s raining!”
Sharp cries of surprise echoed all around and the just bustling streets were immediately filled with people covering their heads and running left and right.
“This is awful! How come it started raining!”
“What the hell. Why is it only here?”
Xiaoshen was dumbfounded. “Why did they leave? I didn’t finish my fun yet! And these people didn’t look happy at all! Wasn’t the point of the Dragon Dance to pray for rain?
Shang Jiyu sensed it too and took one look at the disheartened youth and said, “They were praying for a good season and harvest, not to have the rain come down immediately. Mortals can get sick from being out in the rain, so there was no way they would continue playing.”
“Eh? They’re that weak?” Xiaoshen had just comprehended how weak mortals truly were and hurriedly retrieved the puff of raincloud.
However, he did observe clearly that amongst those humans who ran, the adults were covering for the children, and the husbands were protecting their wives from the downpour. Even though they were taking shelter from the sudden rainfall, humans still gathered in groups.
It was precisely because of this that the feeble human race became a race that could not be ignored by the Divine Land. 4
Even though Xiaoshen still could not fully comprehend the reasoning behind that candidate’s abandonment to become an immortal, he now had a better understanding of that person’s decision. “Then what made Yu Zhao choose to voluntarily shatter his soul?”
But on this question, Shang Jiyu became petty and apathetically said, “You can go and ask your little ink essence. Isn’t it Yu Zhao’s sword spirit? Perhaps it would know.”
Xiaoshen had originally wanted to yell at him, but Shang Jiyu suddenly took out a ball of colorful silk, “This is the ‘dragon ball’ that I just took from the dragon dancers. The human race has a tradition in which whoever touches this ball will gain the divine protection of the Dragon King for the year. You’re part of the water race. Here, you have it.”
Xiaoshen took the silk ball. Even though Lord Zhenbao often berated him, well… He’s probably too lazy to offer much protection…
He took a look at Shang Jiyu and felt happy nevertheless that he had the thought to do this. Even dragons were superstitious, otherwise they would not have called a small dragon a ‘thin dragon’.
He took another peak at Shang Jiyu and thought that this person wasn’t so hateful after all. “Thank you.”
Shang Jiyu looked at the youth under the lantern light, his dark jade colored eyes were round and moist, shining with the light of the flames, and the spiritual energy within his veins pulsed in synchrony with the flickering radiance reflected in his eyes.
Shang Jiyu pressed on the youth’s shoulders and said in a low rumble, “If you really want to thank me…”
His fingers caressed the youth’s neck and through a lucky stroke, touched a sensitive area on the young dragon’s neck. Xiaoshen unconsciously tilted his head to provide more access.
The color of Shang Jiyu’s eyes darkened, he bowed his head, and suddenly retreated just as he was about to touch the youth in front of him. His face alternated between cloudy and clear, and finally, vexed and annoyed, he squeezed out a soft and almost inaudible question through his gritted teeth, “Why not?!”
From not far away, the group of dragon dancers were frantically looking for their ‘dragon ball’, and suddenly saw two figures standing below the city gates; one tall and one short. The short one was facing them sideways and was hugging the silk ball. Seeing this, the dancers’ anger rose immediately.
It was like this every year.
One dancer placed his hands on his waist and yelled, “You there, in white! Hurry up and return the dragon ball! Your son is how old now? And you’re still using a dragon ball to play with him?!!”
Xiaoshen glared ferociously at Shang Jiyu and threw the silk ball at him. “Who’s your son! Taking advantage of me again! You’re despicable!”
Shang Jiyu caught the ball and threw an elixir to the human. After all, he didn’t bring any money and once again he pulled Xiaoshen, turned around and landed on top of the city gates.
The dancer saw two living beings disappear in front of his eyes and stared dumbly down at his hands, where the elixir still sat. I saw a pair of gods……
“I didn’t call you my son. It’s that guy who made the mistake.” Shang Jiyu looked at Xiaoshen and serenely declared, “You’re too short.”
Then he told Xiaoshen to hold on to the dragon ball.
Xiaoshen refused to hold it. Meh, the human race; a shallow bunch. He shouted, “But I’m very thick all right!”
Shang Jiyu, “Huh??”
- Xiaoshen is talking about the dragon’s wanton nature.
- It is customary in Asian culture to address a young person who looks older than you by elder brother or elder sister, even if that person is a stranger.
- 君 Jun (Lord here) in this case is used as an honorific attached to a person’s name, denoting royalty e.g. lord, sovereign, monarch. Fun fact, in Japanese, the word Jun 君 is the honorific -kun.
- The original text was 神州大陆 Shen Zhou Da Lu. The first two characters literally translates to God’s prefecture and was also an old name of China and the last two characters translates to mainland. But since back in the days, the Chinese thought that they were the center of the world, I just used the Divine Land instead.