Translated by ethidda of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Xiaoshen also momentarily forgot to hold back and acted on a dragon’s instinct. Dragons, while coiled around something, would sometimes fail to restrain themselves, and accidentally use too much force. That was why their homes were always filled with very hard goods.
Xiaoshen lowered his head in embarrassment. He had never been taught to be careful, or that he could kill someone by coiling around them. So he looked at Shang Jiyu in great confusion.
He kept feeling that Shang Jiyu’s tone just now was somewhat strange, but it was only for a moment. Now he looked again carefully, and it seemed like he imagined it. He was obviously still as cold as frost.
And within that moonlight-like chill was tenderness reserved only for him.
“I’m sorry. I don’t know what happened either,” Xiaoshen said, embarrassed.
He snuck a peek at Shant Jiyu’s lips; the pink lips had a beautiful shape. They made him think of soft places. Humans were really interesting, to like doing this. But it felt unexpectedly good. Even though they only just separated, he already missed the feeling.
Now, he couldn’t help but feel disappointed. Sigh. If the one he had picked up today was this Shang Jiyu, then it would’ve been perfect.
Shang Jiyu saw the young man lower his head, and thought he must be nervous and shy. He could tell that this man had never experienced anything like this. No wonder he would be so embarrassed that he would coil around him so tightly…
That is… he was just too dazed and forgot to moderate his strength.
Shang Jiyu felt a stirring of tenderness and couldn’t bear to keep torturing Xiaoshen.
Everything just now proved that they both had feelings for each other, even if they were unsaid. Thinking of this, his heart softened even more. To him, a moment of silent companionship was worth much more than even a thousand words.
Soon, Xiaoshen raised his head again. “Are you better? Can I bite you again? I promise I won’t be too violent to you this time!”
Shang Jiyu, “……”
Faced with Xiaoshen’s enthusiastic initiation, Shang Jiyu actually had nothing to say.
Yet Xiaoshen’s expression was full of consideration. He even said, “If you can’t, then let’s just wait until next time.”
…In this kind of a situation, even if Shang Jiyu really couldn’t, he would still have to do it.
He held Xiaoshen’s face and kissed him deeply again. Xiaoshen quickly embraced his neck as well. And he also nimbly moved from sitting astride to sitting with both legs on the same side, in case he coiled his waist again when he got excited.
Xiaoshen was like a child who just got candy. He had no finesse and only knew to go straight for what he wanted. But though he was like a child, he was way too strong. So this was very dangerous.
“Hmm?” Shang Jiyu gripped his chin and shook his head lightly, to signal he was doing it wrong. He whispered close to his teeth and lips, “Don’t move.”
His frigid breath surrounded Xiaoshen. Xiaoshen became more entranced without knowing it. Following Shang Jiyu’s lead, he sank even deeper. The moonlight outside the window was just like that ordinary night ten thousand years ago, as clear and cool as water.
The sun had risen. Xiaoshen sat up from Shang Jiyu’s embrace. It was time to go to the library.
As he got to the edge of the bed, he thought about it, and crawled back a few steps on all fours, groaning, “Oh…”
You get the idea.
Shang Jiyu was a bit speechless.
Even though not many dared to try to be close with Shang Jiyu, he lived in the Yuling Sect, and had seen plenty.
Cultivators each cultivated their own path. Some renounced all attachments, but many more didn’t. It was just that after millions of years, it wasn’t possible to be so earnest. Otherwise, Master Yanfen or Taoist Luo Jia – who was Luo Pin’s master – would not have been ridiculed with such a nickname 1 .
Yet Xiaoshen seemed extremely earnest. Shang Jiyu couldn’t deny that he also really liked how it felt to be close to this young man. But the youth was already infatuated, which made him hesitate. He thought that maybe they should slow down, so at least the young man wouldn’t waste his cultivation.
But now, seeing Xiaoshen watching him eagerly, Shang Jiyu really couldn’t refuse him. He lowered his head and stamped a kiss on his lips.
A strand of ink black hair fell down, and caressed Xiaoshen’s cheek. It was light and ticklish, as if teasing his heart.
After the kiss, Xiaoshen was invigorated. “Be good and wait for me to be back!”
Shang Jiyu, “……”
He kept feeling something was off. Did the young man misunderstand something?
A small cloud floated three cun 2 above Xiaoshen’s head, shading him from the sun. He stood on the now fixed boat, holding his hands behind his back. He headed towards the Immobile Lands in a great mood.
Even though they hadn’t officially completed the ceremony, and really, didn’t say a single extra sentence, in the way unique to humans, Xiaoshen felt that his and Shang Jiyu’s hearts beat as one and they knew each other’s thoughts.
Xiaoshen even felt that this was sweeter than any ceremony for picking up a found wife. He should recommend all dragons to change their ceremony to this. Go kiss a human, and you would know if he/she was your wife.
Very soon, he arrived at the Immobile Lands. Xiaoshen got off the boat and entered the library.
Xiaoshen entered to see Xuan Wuzi was saying something to Yu Yi. Yu Yi crossed its arms, expressionless, and ignored him.
Xuan Wuzi circled Yu Yi, talking until his mouth went dry. The ink essence was not cooperative either. When he saw Xiaoshen, he happily said, “Brother Xiaoshen, you’re finally here. I made some progress here and wanted Yu Yi to let me take a look at his body, so I can adjust it. But he wouldn’t let me touch it at all!”
Heaven knew that in order for him to research this technique, he had given up his place in the small competition that he had already signed up for… He was even likely to get first place. His competition prize that Xiaoshen had broken, the White Sea Sand ruler, had still not been fixed yet.
“Yu Yi, why don’t you want to?” Xiaoshen asked Yu Yi.
Yu Yi remained silent, without even an expression on his face.
He was throwing a tantrum.
Xiaoshen thought back, and ran through his memories. He felt maybe it was because Shang Jiyu gave the order to Xuan Wuzi to break the curse and pressured him. So maybe Yu Yi was purposely making it difficult for Shang Jiyu.
“Yu Yi, think about it. If you turned back, then you would be able to rest on my head again,” Xiaoshen said.
A delicate sound floated by. Yu Yi took one step, stopped in front of Xiao Shen, and put its chin on his head.
It was just right. Xiaoshen leaned in.
Xiaoshen looked up and could only see Yu Yi’s black Adam’s apple. “This…”
This… Did this really also count as ‘resting’?
Only, he wasn’t resting his entire body.
Xiaoshen couldn’t bear to back Yu Yi into a corner.
So he climbed out from under Yu Yi’s chin and said to Xuan Wuzi, “Find another way to solve it.”
Xuan Wuzi, “Me???”
Xiaoshen, “When you invented this technique, you didn’t examine Yu Yi’s body then either. Or you can find another ink essence to research a bit… Either way, you have to think of something. Don’t disappoint your Martial Uncle!”
Xuan Wuzi, “……”
Now he wondered if Brother Xiaoshen just wanted his martial uncle to beat him for a few more days.
Xiaoshen was not paying attention to Xuan Wuzi anymore. He went to find Daomi.
The library was unusually crowded today. He didn’t find it unusual. He already knew from Daomi that it was because the small competition was nearing. Everybody was making bets in the library. All the stationery were being used for this.
Dragons didn’t have competition rituals like this. Xiaoshen had beaten all his young dragon peers, when he was young, or how else could he have become Lanyu Lake’s Dragon King? But humans really knew how to have fun, and even held a special competition for it.
Shu Feng and other disciples of the Yingning Stage couldn’t compete. Only disciples of Xuanguan (third) Stage or higher level could enter. But those of the lower level still enthusiastically participated. Everyone was supporting someone, either their own Senior Brothers or Sisters 3 , or even their love interests.
Naturally, Xiaoshen was supporting Daomi. Daomi’s odds weren’t good. Not many people had high expectations of him. However, Xiaoshen bet on him without hesitation. He didn’t have many treasures, but he was the Library Master. So as Daomi suggested, he put down several vouchers for borrowing books.
“Listen, just hit their Baizhao aperture and Mingfu aperture,” Xiaoshen told Daomi in a low voice.
Back when he was beating up other thin dragons, he would just batter these places. Of course, only when the opponents were in their human form. If they were in their dragon forms, he had other methods.
This scared Daomi. His face paled. “Brother Xiaoshen, it’s just a small inner sect competition. There’s no need to fight to the death.”
He recalled the general knowledge he had memorized well. If he successfully hit the Baizhao aperture, and broke the other’s defense, the opponent would become blind. The Mingfu aperture was even more serious. It was a cardiovascular weak point.
“Then you would not be fighting how I imagined you would,” Xiaoshen said in disappointment. This would be like dragons watching a pond loach play house.
“……” Daomi remembered the rumor he heard again today, that Brother Xiaoshen suffered from a tragic background. It fit with what he learned from what Brother Xiaoshen said and even included many more details, such as Brother Xiaoshen fighting for his life.
Now, it seemed the rumor was very likely true. No wonder he fought so viciously.
As they were talking, another disciple approached them and put several pieces of Dadao Herb 4 in front of Xiaoshen. “This is a gift for the Library Master. Please eat your fill.”
“Thanks.” Xiaoshen casually picked them up and ate them.
Exactly what happened when he wasn’t paying attention?
When did he get so many admirers?
Please eat your fill?
It was a bit sickening.
This small competition took place in front of Hong Meng Hall, where a temporary arena would be set up. Occasionally, the patriarch, deacons, and other similar people would also watch. After they placed their bets, Xiaoshen and Daomi left for Hong Meng Hall together, where there were already many cultivators gathered.
The arena looked like a small space, but it could actually accommodate many people fighting at the same time.
When the time came, a steward announced that they would separate into divisions and start competing. The divisions were not strictly formed by levels. As long as they were within one level of each other, they could be in the same division. Otherwise, only the type of competition mattered.
For example, Daomi signed up for the spell division. No weapons allowed.
They entered the arena at the same time. After many rounds, each division would have only one winner. Everybody watched the performance with great attention. So even though some disciples might be of lower levels, if they had an extraordinary performance, they would still get a bonus. They might even be given gifts by high level elders.
The Shen 5 were responsible for projecting the competition into the sky. Projecting what was actually happening was actually one of the sea serpents’ natural skills. It was even much easier than recreating themselves. Everybody only needed to look up to watch. But because it was only a projection, no matter how fast, this “mirage” was still delayed by several moments. So it was different from when everybody usually watched the fights, in that there was no prohibition against talking. Nobody could interfere anyway.
Daomi was in the third division. When it was his turn, he anxiously nodded to Xiaoshen and flew into the arena.
Xiaoshen watched the mirage outside. He didn’t know why, but from time to time, people would come bearing offerings, giving him some food. He accepted them all.
He ate as he watched Daomi fight.
Because Daomi was not popular, at first, very few people paid attention to his division.
Until his wings flapped and flapped, with large fire on top. Every time he shook a wing, the fire would blast out like an arrow. If it even grazed the opponent’s magic, it would even absorb it.
If it were just that, then it would be fine. But the fire could even separate into small phoenixes. If the first fire didn’t hit, it would turn around to try again.
He flapped his wings several times, looking like a huge firebird dancing.
Several of the disciples who cultivated fire techniques noticed, but frowned. “What kind of fire is this?”
There were many types of fires. There was Lunar Fire, Nanming Inferno, Thunder Fire… As for Daomi’s fire, nobody recognized it. It also looked unusually damaging. Nothing was safe. It forced his opponent to dodge around without any dignity.
Both of them were at the Perceiving the Golden Dragon Stage. Daomi only reached that stage several days ago. His opponent was already near the end of the realm.
As for the shapes of the spells, that wasn’t anything special. Which feathered tribe didn’t like phoenix-shaped implements? It was normal to have a magic technique that mimicked the phoenix’s figure.
Slowly, more and more people started watching Daomi fighting his way through the competition. Their chatter became louder and louder. They were all discussing which fire it was, what technique, how could it be so fantastical that nobody could identify it even with Yuling Sect’s broad knowledge?
This Daomi had personally served the patriarch before. Lately, he was sent to teach literacy to the Library Master. Could it be that the patriarch gave him some personal benefits, such as a secret text?
Nobody thought to ask Xiaoshen. After all, no matter how much Shu Feng boasted of him, all these elders knew that Xiaoshen was still learning to be literate.
When Daomi got first place in his division and flew out of the arena, thunderous applause roared through the site. Some disciples seemed to sigh dejectedly. They lost big. Only his close friends bet on Daomi… Probably only these few people and the house made money.
“Daomi improved a lot.” Nobody knew when Xie Kurong also came out of Hong Ming Hall. He even held the prize in his hands, as if to personally give it to Daomi. “But… When did you cultivate this new technique? I’ve never seen it. Several deacons were also discussing it just now.”
Everybody present suddenly silenced in surprise. They didn’t know that even the patriarch and deacons – such important people! – hadn’t even seen this before… It looked like Daomi must have had a miraculous encounter!
Yet Daomi said vaguely, “This is… Brother Xiaoshen… The Library Master copied this technique from the library and taught me.”
He originally believed that the only reason he hadn’t seen it before was because he was not very knowledgeable enough, and only high level disciples knew of it. But how come even the patriarch was questioning him?
Just then, a middle-aged cultivator suddenly shouted, “This technique is definitely not in the library!”
This person was Ying Yuanzi. He also used to be one of the candidates for Library Master and had also gone to Biqiao Peak to ask for alcohol. Right now, he hadn’t drank any alcohol and was very sober, so his voice was confident.
It seemed as if an explosion happened in front of Hong Ming Hall. Ying Yuanzi was very well read with excellent memory. If he said it didn’t exist, then it definitely didn’t exist!
But it was Xiaoshen who brought it out, so only he knew. Countless eyes looked toward Xiaoshen, who was still eating.
Under everyone’s gaze, Xiaoshen said blandly, “It doesn’t exist? It was kept right there in the furthest row of the library. It suits Daomi very well.”
Everyone in Yuling paused, not sure how to react.
“Is it somewhere we can’t enter?”
“No, I think I remember my Senior Sister saying that the texts there were all unreadable!”
“How’s that possible?”
“How else can you explain it…”
“Silence!” Xie Kurong faintly said. Even though he said it softly, it was audible everywhere. Everybody quickly became quiet.
Watching Xiaoshen, he knit his brows and said, “But Xiaoshen, in the furthest row in the library, only ancient divine texts and relics are kept.”
Xiaoshen said righteously, “Yes. Am I not in charge of the library? Nobody said I couldn’t borrow texts from there.”
Xie Kurong, “……”
That was not the problem!
The site was so silent you could hear a pin drop…
Right now, they seemed to understand why the ink essences would approve of Xiaoshen and why nobody could tell what technique it was.
In ancient times, the three realms had not separated yet. In the very beginning, the gods created the earliest writing between heaven and earth, which contained the Way of the Origin. Later, the gods divided the three realms and moved to the realm of the immortals. In the mortal world, a soul must cultivate until ascension in order to reach the immortal realm.
In the long history, as tribe after tribe went extinct or left, most clans could no longer read the divine texts.
Humans counted as late-rising stars among the tribes. They used to have short lives and very few cultivators. They weren’t able to pass down writings that were deep, and contained so much power. Very few even knew about it.
Since about ten thousand years ago, when even the dragon tribe ascended, there wasn’t anybody who was fluent in the divine language and could understand its full meaning.
In the Yuling Sect’s library, they had collected these ancient divine texts and relics, which came from different tribes. Some were carved on stone. Some were books. They were so varied. They were kept more for the symbology: the earliest writings in the world.
But in reality, if they had to take a wild guess on what the content of those texts were, they wouldn’t know if they were magic techniques or some young girl’s diary.
Xiaoshen might be “illiterate”, but only as defined by humans…
Dragons lived long lives and their bodies were invulnerable. They were a major ancient tribe. Moreover, the dragon tribe’s writings came from divine writing. It was easy to learn. Back when Lord Zhenbao “ascended with one sentence”, he used divine language. Only this language that could contain the original meaning of heaven and earth would let him understand the divine mystery.
Xiaoshen didn’t speak human language well, but he could read ancient divine texts. This was not contradictory at all.
Any of the other texts in the library could be studied, and thus understood. Only these, if one didn’t understand, one just wouldn’t understand. One could study for hundreds of years and learn only the most basics, and still not be able to read the texts!
Xiaoshen didn’t know much about other tribes. He didn’t recognize those Yuling Sect’s treasures as such at all.
He saw it and felt it was suitable and so gave it to Daomi. And because the original was carved into a rock wall and was huge, he especially used the easier human writing to copy it.
Ying Yuanzi’s voice was slightly shaky, as he confirmed, “So, what you’re saying is you can read them?”
Maybe it went beyond ‘can read’. Daomi cultivated it, after translation, and it was a spell technique. Spell techniques… a slight variation would be a world of difference. If he was not fluent, it wouldn’t work.
As for Daomi, he had long been stupefied, as if he suddenly won the lottery.
“You can’t read it?” Xiaoshen shot back.
Ying Yuanzi, “…A little… I can read a little.”
This would actually be him boasting. Even with his wide knowledge, he would still only be able to recognize that there was a book called <How to Polish Your Horn>. He had to guess at the contents. Piecing it together, he understood a little, but he couldn’t even be sure which tribe’s horns it was talking about.
As for the usual disciples, it would be like reading mumbo-jumbo.
Xiaoshen looked around, and found everybody’s expressions indescribable, and sensed something. “None of you can? And you keep it in the library?”
In one night, his situation was reversed. He smiled slyly. “So you are actually the illiterates. I’m the unparalleled literary genius!”
The author has something to say:
Xiaoshen: As long as you can live long enough, truth will be on your side.
Brother Xiaoshen even became the unparalleled literary genius. It can’t be much longer until he reveals his true identity…