of them had barged in carrying half of a bloody corpse and then expressionlessly kicked it into the water.

As evident, not a single person here was a kind soul.

Surrounded by this sort, could he say “I’m not the chengzhu”?

If he said it, those devotedly loyal subordinates would probably immediately turn on him, tear him in half, and throw him into the pool of dead water.

So, he could only wash the blood of his hands while pondering how to trick them into revealing more information.

But after a good deal of tricking, he only got “Chengzhu, I was wrong,” “Chengzhu, I’m going to shut up,” and “pst.”

This was going to kill him.

***

While internally calculating, he suddenly heard a surge of noise.

It was hard to make out through the thick, metal-like mountain walls.
At first, it seemed like innumerable people had surrounded the outside and pulled out their knives and swords.
Voices intermingled in between; he could dimly make out phrases like “what are we waiting for” and “that demon.”

Their sounds had not yet faded when a sudden clang thundered.
Pieces of black, metal-like stone fell together in chunks, and the dim, interminable cold pool also shook as if in an earthquake—

Wu Xingxue grabbed onto the nearest tree branch.

“…”

The subordinates at the shore were still ardently listening to the movement outside the mountain with furrowed brows and ugly expressions.

“It doesn’t sound pretty.”

“The cultivation sects have probably come.”

“That’s unavoidable, haven’t they always regarded Canglang Northern Territory as their own life.”

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“What kind of comment is that, the last place on earth that can scare demons and monsters, of course they treat it like their own life.”

“Ah, but so what, it’s still time for the end.”

Boom!

Another sound, and though the mountain still seemed like metal, the quakes came harder and harder.

“This won’t work, if things continue, they’ll be coming in soon! Chengzhu, we—” The subordinates turned over, and their words rapidly halted.
Wu Xingxue looked down, grasping a fragment of a newly broken dry branch.

Subordinates: “?”

“We what? Continue.” Wu Xingxue seemed like he had snapped off the branch to play with it.
He looked at it for a bit and then lost interest, throwing it into the water.

The subordinates stared at the branch that floated gently on the water’s surface, their expressions all a bit wary.

After all, everyone knew that everything that passed through the head demon’s hands, even a single drop of water, was worthy of inspiring fear.

“We…” The subordinate licked his dry lips.
He couldn’t help but to glance at the dry tree branch, “We should hurry up and get out of here.”

“Exactly, chengzhu.
Canglang Northern Territory has been behaving strangely these last two days, and there are rumors that it’s arriving at its end.
The cultivation sects are afraid this place is going to collapse, so they naturally couldn’t sit still, they all raced over here.”

Half so that they could do their best to save the Territory.

Half because they were scared that the demons inside hadn’t all died out yet.

In this kind of situation, if the two parties met, it would really be a tough battle.
The subordinates’ heads hurt just thinking about it.

They were going to press him, but Wu Xingxue spoke: “So you’re all so anxious because we can’t beat them?”

Obviously, they couldn’t nod yes.

“Chengzhu, the cultivators outside actually are not even worth mentioning.” The oldest one said.
The person beside him was silent for a few moments, then turned to stare at him: “?”

“But the main body of Canglang Northern Territory.” He swept his gaze across all four directions, “They all say that a continuance of strange behavior means that the spiritual qi necessary for life has been depleted.
That should be right, or else, just based on our ability, we wouldn’t have been able to enter this place.
It’s just that this place used to be under that… that Tianxiu Immortal’s control.”

The words “Tianxiu Immortal” were spoken quickly and vaguely, but the person beside him still elbowed him.

“He already perished along with the Immortal Capital, why do you have to bring him up in front of chengzhu??” Taking advantage of the fact that the shore stretched some distance away, they quickly peeked at Wu Xingxue, their voices so low as to be imperceptible.

“…”

Wu Xingxue thought, Not again, not those ghastly pale but forcibly silent expressions.
Is there some secret between the Tianxiu Immortal and me, no, between him and this original body? Why are they peeking at me.

Wu Xingxue really wanted that subordinate to keep on talking about it so that he could understand the whole story.

But because of his identity, he had to give up.

He wasn’t the original person who had been imprisoned, so he couldn’t react any other way.
He could only listen to that unfamiliar title, silent, unmoved.

His subordinate peeked at him again, “Any-anyway, although that person died a long time ago, this damned place might contain some of his leftover protective measures, it would be bad if we got tripped up.”

“True.”

“So Chengzhu, let’s hurry up and leave!

Their tone was anxious and earnest, almost like sincere admonishment.

Their chengzhu also thought that their logic made sense and could nod his head in assent.

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But the chengzhu had a more pressing issue.

Just asking, how can he get down from this tree branch without ruining his identity as a demon?

Wu Xingxue looked down at the deep pool beneath his feet, and then at the shore.

Those subordinates gazed towards him helplessly, waiting for an order.

He thought for a second, then lifted his hand.
A lightly curled finger chose between the people at the shore, finally selecting one who was relatively easy on the eyes.

“You, come here.” His tone was still moderate.

The person who was chosen trembled, confused and freezing in place.

“Me?”

“Hn.”

“Chengzhu, I, did I say something wrong? I didn’t speak just now.”

Wu Xingxue: “…”

Coward.

“Come here.” He softly repeated, lowering the finger he had used to point at him.

The person who was chosen didn’t dare to ask more questions.
Squaring his shoulders, he stepped into that pond of still water, taking large strides.
In just a second, he had reached the front of the withered tree.

“Chengzhu.”

Just as he was going to step on the tree, a huge roar sounded!

Innumerable invisible currents of sword qi swept in from all directions, bringing along the frigidity of the vast snow covering Canglang Northern Territory.

In the next second, the hand he had lifted towards Wu Xingxue turned into a cloud of bloody fog, and his entire body was thrown heavily back towards the shore.

In an instant, the cold pool quaked forcefully, waves crashing towards the sky.

Wu Xingxue only felt the sharp sword energy sweep towards him head-on, and he instinctively closed his eyes.

When he opened them again, he saw a golden water lily, big enough to encompass the entire Canglang Northern Territory, spread open forcefully underneath his feet.

Through the melted snow and golden aura, he saw with squinted eyes a vague image of a hand holding an enormous sword.

That person was very tall, with three black mourning needles piercing the cartilage of his right ear.
An indistinct golden tattoo stretched from beneath his ear to the base of his neck.
It was the word “Mian[5]”.

As everyone knew, the Tianxiu Immortal Xiao Fuxuan was granted the courtesy name “Mian” by the heavens.

Mian, to pardon, absolution from a hundred sins.

[1] 瑶宫, literally meaning pristine palace, used to refer to the palaces in the Immortal Capital

[2] These locks are chains which are secured by nailing metal through the body.

[3] 城主, literally meaning “city leader” or “city chief”

[4] 曲水宴, apparently this is a custom originating in China and popularized by Japan, celebrated on 3/3.

[5] 免, meaning to pardon/to exempt

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