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Chapter 313 - The Key of the Black Coffin
Very mad? That was a must.
For such a kind, quiet girl who had eyes like fresh rain over a bare mountain to actually be engaged to such a shameless man, any person would feel that it was a reckless waste, casting pearls before swine, and they would become extremely angry. However, to Chen Changsheng… this was actually a good thing. Because of the battle against the demons, the human world was actually the same as the Elf race, all caring very much about marriage. There were many young engaged people like her, and just as she had said before, an engagement was an agreement that was most respected. If there were no special circumstances, it was very difficult to break—luckily, they were both ill-matched in marriage.
This sentence seemed rather weird, but it was very reasonable. Exactly because their partners in marriage were so terrible, they had the motivation and reason to break the engagement. A problem that seemed very difficult was just solved in such an easy way. Chen Changsheng immediately felt much more at ease. He decided to follow up victory with hot pursuit by also settling the final question.
He looked into her eyes and said, “As matters stand, I will also not hide it from you anymore. Actually, I…”
The black streak seemed far away, close to the horizon, but it would arrive at the mausoleum before long. The monster tide would bring death. There was already very little time that the world had left for them. In the final moments of life, being suddenly moved at heart was a very sad as well as lucky thing. He prepared to tell her that he was Chen Changsheng.
He believed that the entire continent knew his name, that even the far away land of demi-humans and elves should know of it.
Xu Yourong did not know that he was prepared to say his true name. She thought he was a disciple of the Snow Mountain Sect and was called Xu Sheng. Seeing how he was about to speak but suddenly stopped, as well as his slightly nervous appearance, she also began to feel nervous.
She thought he was going to confess.
She subconsciously did not want to hear it and mentally prepared herself to turn him down if he said it out loud.
It was just that… she did not want to turn him down. If he said he liked her, just exactly what could she do? Her thoughts were slightly messy, and shortly afterward, she felt very baffled. She clearly devoted herself to cultivation, so why did she think about these trivial matters right before death? Afterward, these baffled thoughts suddenly disappeared, only leaving behind peace.
There were many reasons and objectives to becoming a cultivator. Some did so to become strong, some did so to explore even more of the unknown and pursued spiritual peace, but most cultivators did so because of the two words of life and death. To not fear life or death, and as a result, escape from life and death. Why? Because between life and death, there were great fears; in the hundreds of years of loneliness, it was possible to sink away forever. However, not long ago, she who was in the years of her youth just had a stroll between life and death.
Right now, she was at her most peaceful moment, able to see the faint worldly affairs the clearest and able to understand her inner self the most. With a pure heart of Dao, brightly lit, she looked at Chen Changsheng and waited for him to speak. Her expression was calm, but there was an extremely vague smear of bashfulness and happiness swirling in her eyes. The bashfulness was not annoyance, but only peaceful joy, because that was the Dao she pursued and wanted to cultivate.
At this moment, she was still weak, but her eyes were extremely delicate and pretty, as well as extremely firm. All of the responsibilities in the world—the historic significance of the north and south combining, fighting against the demons, her senior’s truthful love, her masters’ hopes, the shadow that was left by that person—as long as she was with him, all of them would be blown away by a soft breeze. She did not need to care about anything or answer to anything.
Indeed, through their journey in the Garden of Zhou, they had conversed a lot. Most of the times, it was about cultivation, books and natural landscape, and very little did they talk about the loads on their minds. They did not understand it too well, but she was already extremely confident that he was the close friend she had always searched for, and that he was the companion she needed. When she was on the edge of the cliff at the Holy Maiden Peak, she had said to the white crane that no matter if it was a gentleman or an enlightened master, none of them were the ideal partner she wanted to spend her long path of cultivation with. Right now, she could confirm that the partner she was willing to spend her long path of cultivation with had already appeared.
Yes, this was the Dao she pursued and wanted to cultivate the most: Together. (TN: 一道 can mean both "One path/Dao" and it can also mean "together" or "side by side".)
Underneath the starry sky, advancing together, cultivating together, all the way until the end of life.
Yes, the monster tide grew closer and closer, and death also grew closer and closer. Perhaps life was almost at its end, but only because of this, and exactly because of this, she did not want to deceive her conscience even more.
The wutong tree transformed by the longbow grew in the incoming wind by the stone platform. The green leaves swayed softly in the leaves, causing the gloomy light to turn into an even softer light akin to cotton balls, as if someone had lit a candle.
Looking at her eyes, Chen Changsheng vaguely understood and opened his mouth slightly, about to speak.
Just at this moment, a green leaf suddenly fell off the tip of a branch by itself, slowly landing on his shoulder. It interrupted everything.
The reason why the green leaf on the wutong tree fell in the wind naturally was not because it was autumn, but rather because of the trembling from the stone platform underneath.
The trembling stone platform seemed to originate from the far away depths of the grassland at first, but actually, it originated from Chen Changsheng’s body.
For some unknown reason, his body began to tremble violently. His teeth chattered audibly, as if he was a patient who had suffered wind chill.
Xu Yourong was slightly alarmed and asked, “What’s happening?”
Chen Changsheng could not answer her and used his right hand to quickly investigate the origin of the trembling. He held tightly onto his dagger hilt.
The violent trembling originated from the dagger at his waist.
He held tightly onto the dagger, but it continued to constantly tremble. It became faster and more frequent, all the way until the extremely simple patterning on the dagger sheath had turned into blurry lines, unable to be seen clearly.
He used more and more strength in his hand, but he was still unable to make the dagger stop. He was a little disturbed, unable to comprehend what was happening.
This was the first time he had met such a situation after Yu Ren had gifted him the dagger.
His spiritual sense landed on the dagger hilt and attempted to regain control. However, he failed. His spiritual sense went deeper across the hilt, arriving in the space within before finally finding the origin of the trembling.
Amidst the drifting bottles of medicine, secret manuals and treasures, a black magical artifact moved at high speeds, grinding everything of what it came in contact with into fine powder. As its speed of movement increased, the black magical artifact grew hotter and hotter, as well as brighter and brighter, giving off a powerful Qi and radiance in all directions, as if it was about to turn into a sun.
This black magical artifact was the Soul Pivot from White Emperor city, and it was also the core of Zhou Dufu’s mausoleum.
At this moment, it seemed to have detected something in the outside world and went berserk all of a sudden.
If Chen Changsheng’s current level of cultivation had been slightly higher and his spiritual sense slightly stronger, perhaps he could attempt to use his all of his authority over the space to forcefully suppress the berserk Soul Pivot. However, right now, he did not have that sort of power and could not even make it settle down a little. If he continued to try, no matter how much time there was, he would not succeed, and this even made it highly possible for the space to suffer severely heavy damages.
Without any other ideas, he could only give up. Channeling his spiritual sense, he released that black Soul Pivot from inside.
With a quaking drone, the black soul pivot appeared on the stone platform. It gave off great radiance, illuminating every vein of the leaves on the wutong tree. It emitted an unimaginable pressure, causing Xu Yourong and Chen Changsheng to even struggle to breathe. Especially since Xu Yourong had not fully recovered from her injuries, her complexion became even paler and weaker.
Fortunately, the Soul Pivot did not stay on the stone platform for too long, and neither did it begin to attack the two of them. Even more fortunately, and incomprehensibly, the Soul Pivot clearly only became so berserk after feeling something that was currently approaching the Mausoleum of Zhou, but it did not attempt to break open the green leaves of the wutong tree and unite with it. Instead, it transformed into a ball of light, and shot into the depths of the Mausoleum of Zhou.
Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong glanced at each other and came to a tacit understanding from the looks in their eyes. He carried her on his back, and they once again entered the tomb in pursuit of the ball of light.
In the spacious and gloomy depths of the mausoleum, the huge obsidian coffin stood as quiet as a mountain in the center of the hall.
The black Soul Pivot floated in the air before the obsidian coffin and did not move at all. It gave out a dim light, reminiscent of a life lamp.
When Chen Changsheng and Xu Yourong went back into the mausoleum, this was the scene they saw.
Vaguely, they heard some sounds. The sounds were very faintly discernible and very remote, as if they originated from within an abyss or the sea of stars. It was like the whisperings of a person, and also like a deep dirge.
Clearly, the sound that originated from the remote space was extremely unclear. The music was not continuous, and they could not hear its clear melody or content. However, they could feel the content that the music wanted to express.
May the spirit of the deceased return to us.
Chen Changsheng looked at the Soul Pivot in front of the obsidian coffin and asked her after staying silent for a while, “Did you hear it?”
Xu Yourong gave a soft sound of agreement and said, “It is not a hallucination. It should be some sort of leftover Qi from a formation.”
“What exactly has it sensed? I vaguely feel that it is related to the monster tide.” Chen Changsheng asked.
Before they had discovered the black Soul Pivot, as well as the time following its discovery, it was always very quiet. However, it suddenly became so berserk, forcefully leaving Chen Changsheng’s dagger, and flew in front of the black coffin and gave off some leftover Qi of an old formation. It definitely had its special reason. For an isolated object to suddenly undergo change would always be related to external factors.
Xu Yourong thought silently and said, “I have always suspected that the Soul Wood is in Nanke’s hands. Looks like it’s true, and she is getting closer and closer to the mausoleum.”
Previously, Chen Changsheng found it very odd. The dagger could separate the real world and the world in the sheath. Instead, this Soul Pivot could feel the Qi of the outside world from inside, so what exactly was the connection that actually allowed it to penetrate the walls of space? Now, hearing her words and also thinking about the three words ‘artifact, soul, unseparated’ from the Nanhua Records of the Daoist Canons, he finally had a reason of cause.
The lost piece of Soul Wood was indeed in Nanke’s hands. She brought the monster tide from every direction with her towards the mausoleum, growing closer and closer until the Soul Pivot to sensed it.
‘Artifact, soul, unseparated’ could be applied to the Soul Pivot, a magical artifact that could oversee the White Emperor City, which was better known as a divine artifact. It could be imagined how intense the connection between the artifact and soul was. After an unknown about of time, the Soul Pivot finally sensed the return of the Soul Wood, so it naturally had an extremely great reaction. However, why did the Soul Pivot return before the obsidian coffin and not fly off?
“The Soul Wood is the key.” Xu Yourong’s gaze left the Soul Pivot and landed upon the obsidian coffin. She said, “Not the key to the mausoleum, but the key to the stone coffin.”