Author: 梦溪石 / Meng Xi Shi
Translator: Kinky || https://kinkytranslations.com/
Dong Zhi remembered that Zhong Yuyi once said that when you invite a Yin God, you often encounter a situation where the Yin god you named to invite wouldn’t come, just like when they had that class at the farmhouse. Zhong Yuyi failed to invite Guan Yu and Yue Wumu one try after another. They both failed, not because Zhong Yuyi’s abilities weren’t good enough, but because the two he wanted to invite were largely famous, high in status, and had great tempers. They weren’t Gods that could just simply be invited on a whim. Secondly, they may not “hear” your request when you try to invite them. Finally, even if they did hear the request, they may not come if they’re in a bad mood or they simply didn’t like you.
Therefore, some magicians who can invite gods will not mention it, besides those who are liars and pretenders. If one has the capability to, in order to succeed every time, they will not try to invite any specific Yin God, but aim to invite whoever they can. This has also become a trick used by some so-called “masters” to deceive people. For example, they talked nonsense to their customers, patting their chests, ensuring them that they could invite any immortal, when in fact, at most they could only invite a fox spirit or a weasel spirit and the likes. For those more immoral, they would invite a lonely ghost and pretend to be someone else’s relative.
At that time, Zhong Yuyi talked about a case of a folk family who wanted to invite a god, but they encountered a charlatan. They all thought the story was very funny and enjoyed themselves but didn’t think too much of it.
But now, Dong Zhi recalled these thoughts, not because he wanted to reminisce about the fun times.
There wasn’t any incense burner or incense at the moment, and his limbs were tied, so he couldn’t form the prayers. The only thing that moved was his mouth.
Would it still be useful to just recite the mantra? Still useful.
His previous Master, Fang Yang, once told him that spells and talismans were channels for human beings to communicate with all creatures under heaven and earth, and they were also the most effective form of communication. As long as one was sincere, it could be possible to invite a righteous god. The rest of the other steps, such as burning incense and doing the seals, were just auxiliary.
Now that it had come to this point, he could only make a last desperate attempt. Dong Zhi closed his eyes and began reciting a prayer in his heart.
I am Dong Zhi, a disciple of the Hezao Sect. I am here with my companions to stop the Japanese conspiracy, punish evil and destroy demons, clean up the three realms, subdue fiends, and overcome all dangers and disasters. I earnestly implore all passing gods to help me. In return, this disciple is willing to offer his utmost sincerity to serve at thy beckoning!
Thousands have died in this underground cave. For what it was worth, they definitely were the most wronged souls, but Dong Zhi didn’t want to invite them. They most likely were ordinary people in their previous life, and now they have gathered their grievances here because they have died in vain. That resentment was refined and turned them into ghouls and thousand corpse figurines. Not only will they not be able to help, but it’s also very likely that they’ll do bad things.
However, deep in the underground here, were there any reliable Yin Gods passing by who would hear his prayers?
He hoped not to invite any of the kings of the Western Xia Dynasty. If he invites someone like Li Yuanhao or something, what use would it be? He has to be able to fight!
Dong Zhi tried his best to empty his mind, not thinking about any more nonsense. He tried his best to discard all disturbing factors from his five senses. The noise of fighting gradually faded away and the threat of the ghouls and thousand corpse figurines seemed to no longer exist. Even the life and death confrontation between the Archfiend and Long Shen was forgotten by him. Everything was forgotten, as his mind was filled with incantations that he chanted silently while not thinking about anything else.
His body no longer seemed to feel the sensation of the silk thread that was tightly wrapped around him. His body gradually became lighter, as if he was suddenly floating, but he didn’t leave his body completely. Dong Zhi slowly opened his eyes. His consciousness still exists, but it seems that he was no longer the only one in his body.
It was a very subtle feeling. Even though he had invited Yin Gods several times, he still couldn’t adapt to it. Another consciousness became dominant in his body and his own consciousness was squeezed aside involuntarily, creating a hazy feeling that left him seeing and hearing everything as if they were separated into a different world.
At that moment, he heard a voice. To be more precise, the voice sounded in his mind a bit like Long Shen’s telepathy, but it was different. The voice sounded majestic and thick, with layers of echoes, seemingly like an ancient voice, as if music was blaring from the sky.
“What you ask for is to punish evil and destroy demons, yes?”
At the moment when the word “yes” fell, his body became light, and all the threads were disconnected.
As countless ghouls poured out from under the groove, the groove gradually emptied. Seeing that no more ghouls appeared, the handsome young man finally stepped forward and walked towards it. The groove was a square three feet in length. It was possible for a person to go through, but he did not rush down, but first squatted on the side, lowered his head to look in for a moment, then he took out something from the bag he was carrying.
Explosives. Moreover, it was a large amount. This kind of explosion was estimated to blow up the groove, the entire underground area, and even the Imperial Mausoleum would be affected.
But the young man’s face remained unchanged, as if what he was holding was only a piece of food or a bouquet of flowers. He acted completely normal as he picked up the pieces of dynamite to toss them into the groove.
At a critical moment, a person flew up next to him and kicked the explosives away. The dynamite the young man was holding, as well as the bag holding them, flew to the corner of the cave.
The young man didn’t rush to pick it up, but turned his head and raised his eyebrows in surprise. “How did you break free from those silk threads?”
As soon as he finished asking this, he immediately became keenly aware of the changes in Dong Zhi. The Dong Zhi in front of him was not the fledgling newcomer of the Special Administration Bureau that he had just fought.
“Who are you?” The young man frowned slightly and asked in a deep voice.
Dong Zhi’s face was like a stone-cold iceberg, emotionless, but in his eyes, there were slight hints of compassion.
“A silk string who was fortunate enough to cultivate as a human being. Why not continue on the right path but instead get involved in human disasters and help demons?”
The young man’s face changed, and he shouted, “Who the hell are you?!”
Dong Zhi looked at him blankly without speaking.
The young man reacted quickly and then smiled. “I see. It turns out this kid can invite Yin Gods. I didn’t really expect he had such capabilities. I wonder which Yin God your excellency is. Is it the head of this tomb, King Liang? Or a king of Western Xia?”
Dong Zhi: “My name is taboo. You cannot ask. Retreat quickly and don’t disturb the peace here, and your life will be spared.
The young man smiled slightly and said, “I respect that you have lived here for thousands of years, so I asked politely. Even if you don’t say it, I am entrusted by others. I am a loyal person, so I must complete this matter today.”
Before he finished speaking, silk thread had swept towards Dong Zhi. His ten fingers spread in his hands, and the transparent silk shot out in unison. Before he was halfway through his sentence, the silk thread had already reached his opponent.
This skill was extremely powerful.
The ten silk threads in his hand were sharp enough to break gold and cut iron. They attack in three ways: upper, middle, and below. They cast a net that encompassed everything, as if they were something with three heads and six arms approaching Dong Zhi. It was impossible to avoid them. The silk thread carried a fierce wind, which was different than when he was using it to bind Dong Zhi previously. If any part of his enemy’s body was touched by them, their limbs would be immediately cut off.
But when the silk thread arrived in front of the enemy, the opponent disappeared out of thin air. The young man was taken aback and couldn’t help following his movements, reacting extremely quickly by suddenly turning his head. As expected, Dong Zhi appeared behind him, holding the Changshou Sword that had been thrown aside some time ago. He pierced the young man’s body with an unpredictable speed.
The young man let out a cry of pain, and his body swept forward, not daring to stop at all. The Changshou Sword that Long Shen gave Dong Zhi, naturally, wasn’t an ordinary sword. Its power, combined with the divine might the Yin God imposed on it, easily penetrated the young man’s body, splattering blood everywhere.
The young man fell to the ground and looked at Dong Zhi standing in front of him with the sword in horror. His face remained cold and emotionless. The young man felt blood gushing up from his throat so that he didn’t dare breathe hard, let alone move.
However, Dong Zhi remained still. He “realized” that his body wasn’t moving to chase or kill the enemy completely. He wasn’t pretending or goading his enemy, but rather it was because his body wasn’t able to support this God. In other words, this Yin God is too powerful; so powerful that even the young man wasn’t a match for him, but the “container”, Dong Zhi, was too weak, so the Yin God could not fully integrate with him. Either the body becomes damaged, or the Yin God will leave.
He also sensed that the Yin God did not want to kill this young man.
“Heaven cares for all living things*. It’s not easy for this one to cultivate into this. I do not want to kill him.”
*(上天有好生之德) It means to have the virtue to cherish all living beings and not kill them.
“Who are you?” Dong Zhi couldn’t help asking in his mind.
The Yin God did not answer him but said, “I am only a wisp of divine thought, not a true God. I have traversed for thousands of years and had been consumed here for around 8 years before you summoned me. After this, I will disappear. I hope you will cherish yourself.”
Dong Zhi was taken aback. Before he could ask, he felt that his body suddenly sank. He fell to the ground involuntarily as blood surged from his chest. He was so uncomfortable that he couldn’t help but cough up a mouthful of blood.
At this moment, the duel between Long Shen and the Archfiend had also reached a critical moment.
In the world, love and hatred could never dissipate. The power of resentment breeds overtime and eventually condenses into magical energy, giving rise to the Archfiend. Thus, they would never die out and would always make a comeback every once in a while. This time, the Archfiend seemed to be particularly cunning and made countless incarnations of itself. Even if it was destroyed several times over, there would still remain remnants of its demonic energy that would condense again after several days. In this underground cave, with ghouls and thousand corpse figurines, it was a natural environment that could provide nourishment for the Archfiend. Its magical energy would be continuously replenished here, which meant that they were fighting on the Archfiend’s homecourt.
Long Shen was surrounded by demonic energy from all directions. He felt it more profoundly than Song Zhicun and the others because the more powerful his resistance was, the more powerful the suppression of demonic energy was. It seemed the stronger he was, the more the black mist would surge around him, as if the Archfiend was arrogantly laughing at his desperate attempt, wanting to make him give up his resistance and completely submit to the demonic energy.
He remained motionless, as his body condensed all the qi into the light of his sword that was in his hand. The glimmer of light tumbled endlessly as demonic energy filled half of the cave, but it never disappeared. Although the size of the light shrank, it kept getting brighter.
“What good can the old men of the Special Administration Bureau give you? They let you run around all day long when they had things for you to do, but they haven’t even given you the director position!”
“Long Shen, you have a dignified half-immortal body, but you beg for scraps under the hands of others. Don’t you feel ashamed?”
“My demonic energy can give you eternal power. As long as the world exists, demonic energy will always remain. You don’t need to be a lackey for the Special Administration Bureau. Let alone listening to others, you’ll be free to do as you please. You are you and can achieve ultimate power in the world! Join me, Long Shen. The power is all around you. Why not merge with them!”
These voices weren’t spoken by the Archfiend. They were the evil sounds made by the demonic energy that reached straight to the bottom of one’s heart. They were tricks used by demons to deceive people.
Even those with a profound cultivation base might not be able to resist the drive of their own desires. With a single thought of becoming a demon or god, they would fall into the devil’s way in the blink of an eye and would never recover. There were many legends and allusions about fallen gods in ancient and modern China and abroad, not to mention all the people in the world. Those who were fragile were easily swayed by the intoxication of glory and wealth. They wanted to enjoy themselves but were too lazy and unwilling to work hard for it, hoping instead to take shortcuts so they’d achieve success without the effort. These had become weaknesses, allowing demons to invade people’s hearts.
As such, the Archfiend didn’t believe that Long Shen had no weaknesses.
The violent wind bulged the cloak high, and under the cloak, the face of the Archfiend loomed. If Dong Zhi or He Yu had witnessed this, they might have been shocked as there was no human face under the hood. There were no facial features, and all that was there was a mass of swirling demonic energy. The black qi kept flowing out, absorbing all the demonic energy from the ghouls and blending with them as if they were becoming one with each other.
Long Shen moved suddenly. He slowly pushed the sword forward, inch by inch, into the tumbling black mist. The light remained unabated. From the eyes of outsiders, his speed looked very fast as his body melted with the sword of light, turning into an arc that shot at the Archfiend.
Song Zhicun and Li Ying were struggling as they slowly gained the upper hand. The ghouls fell one by one as everyone gathered together, their backs against each other, carrying all sorts of weapons to kill the ghouls as they rushed them from all directions.
Liu Si continuously whipped his whip until his arm became completely numb, decapitating ghouls’ heads with each strike. Ba Sang and Gu Meiren worked together to attack and defend each other, cooperating seamlessly.
Li Ying cooperated with Zhang Song and Liu Qingbo to deal with several Onmyoji, such as Fujikawa Aoi. Although they were just fledgling, their courage was not weak. Under the siege of several shikigamis, they did not waver. Though Liu Qingbo only had a short dagger in his hand, although it wasn’t as refreshing as the Feijing Sword, he still masterfully used it as it scarred and drove those skikigamis to exhaustion.
In the past, Fujikawa Aoi would never even put these green boys on his radar, but he had been severely injured by Long Shen and He Yu on Changbai Mountain, and his injuries have not yet healed.
It was not his proudest disciple, Kitachi Eiko, who assisted him this time around, but a different male disciple, Tani Rui. Although he was also his right-hand man, he wasn’t as talented as Kitachi Eiko. This time, Tani Rui went with him to assist Fujikawa Aoi and also to avenge Kitachi Eiko, his younger martial sister. He was fierce and wanted to cut down his enemies.
Unexpectedly, he not only failed to kill his enemies, but now he was in danger. Tani Rui’s shikigami was cut down by Zhang Song’s sword, causing it to stagger away, hitting against the cave’s stone wall. With a loud crash, the shikigami dissipated in the air and shattered, causing Tani Rui to scream as he fell down, spurting blood everywhere.
Seeing that Li Ying and the others were temporarily able to control the situation, Song Zhicun took a breath and ran to Long Shen and the Archfiend.
“Long Shen, let me help you!” he shouted. Holding the seal of Acala with both hands, he jumped up and slammed the demon on the head.
Although he had learned Taoist dharma from the leaders of Mount Longhu, this demon slaying seal was learned from a monk that he met when he was traveling in Yunan and Guizhou. Through Song Zhicun’s own research and improvement, there should be no doubt how powerful it was.
His roar was like a drum in the early morning, condensing almost all of his entire strength. It suddenly broke through the heavy demonic aura, as if the sky had rained lightning down, cutting through the shackles of the Archfiend’s enchantment, creating a burst of life!
With the light from the sword in front and the demon slaying seal in the rear, both sides clashed with the black qi as they entangled each other and fought fiercely. Energy swirled and surged around. The black qi roared as it tried its best to expand outwards but was suppressed by the two rays of light. Black and white stirred, forming a vortex.
The black mist slowly shrank and retreated sharply, surrounding the Archfiend, Long Shen, and Song Zhicun. In order to destroy the white light, it tried its best to concentrate its powers for its final struggle. However, the white light refused to back down from the black mist. With the powers of Long Shen and Song Zhicun combined, a noise erupted, pushing everyone away as a shockwave sonic boom emitted outward.
The area filled with white light, like the long-awaited daybreak, that completely expelled the darkness, returning the light back into the world.
The cave shook violently, causing gravel to topple and the ground to tremble. Everyone felt unsteady on their feet and fell again as soon as they stood up.
After a long time, everything became calm. When the smoke dissipated, the faces of the Japanese changed. Long Shen and Song Zhicun fell to the ground, but the Archfiend had disappeared, leaving not a single trace behind.
The ghouls and thousand corpse figurines were scattered all over the ground and everything remained quiet.
Tani Rui’s chest was aching. He was affected by the shockwave just now and suffered internal injuries. He could no longer summon his shikigami. When he looked around, he saw that the enemy’s side didn’t fare any better. His gaze fell on the explosive bag in the corner of the cave. Gritting his teeth, he struggled to get up and walked over. He picked up the bag and threw it into the groove, then went to get the detonator that had been dropped on the ground.
As soon as his legs tightened, he fell to the ground, caught off guard. When he looked back, he saw Dong Zhi had hugged his calves and tripped him. Without hesitation, Tani Rui punched him in the face. Dong Zhi endured the pain and fought back, returning his face punch with a gut punch. The two sides scuffled with each other. They were seriously injured and exhausted. Without their magic and abilities, they had no choice but to resort to the most primitive form of combat: brawling.
Tani Rui’s figure was much stronger than Dong Zhi’s, giving him a natural advantage. Dong Zhi had punched him several times in the stomach, causing him to curl up in pain. As he was about to reach the detonator, Dong Zhi jumped up from behind, hugged him and twisted him to the side as he raised his knee to jab at his opponent’s most sensitive area.
“Ahhhhhh!” Tani Rui shouted in pain.
Dong Zhi was just about to reach the detonator when he felt a sharp pain in the back of his head. Suddenly, his eyes darkened as he staggered a few steps and leaned against the stone wall.
The Japanese who attacked him from behind were trying to finish him off when Liu Qingbo came from behind and stabbed him in the back with his dagger, causing him to fall to the ground with a thump. He was no longer breathing.
“I-This can be considered returning your favor, right?” Liu Qingbo grasped his knee as he panted.
Dong Zhi held back the dizziness and said intermittently, “Explosive, bag, under the groove. You can’t let the Japanese blow it up. Go get it!”
Liu Qingbo heard this as he saw Tani Rui climbing forward towards the detonator. He ran to him and kicked him away, then jumped into the groove and retrieved the bag of explosives. Seeing Song Zhicun and Long Shen relieved, he got up and walked towards them, saying proudly, “Boss Long, Boss Song, I got it…”
The ground suddenly shook, and the amplitude got bigger. Cracks in the ground quickly spread under the stone statue.
Song Zhicun’s expression changed as he said to Liu Qingbo, “Run!”
Dong Zhi staggered, picking up the detonator not far away and holding it tightly in his hand, being extra cautious for fear of accidently detonating it.
Behind him, the huge stone statue shook as cracks started to appear on its upper body, spreading out densely, before it broke off and smashed down on top of Dong Zhi.
“Get out of the way!” Liu Qingbo saw the scene coming as he crawled out from under the groove, but it was too late for him to run over and save him. He could only shout with exhaustion.
At a critical moment, a figure wrapped its arms around Dong Zhi’s waist and flashed into the corner with him. The next moment, the head of the stone statue hit the ground heavily, exploding countless pieces of dust everywhere.
“…Master?” The moment just now had made him dizzy. His eyes were shaky and overlapping, and he couldn’t see the figure clearly.
“Give me the detonator!” Long Shen said.
Dong Zhi did not hesitate to hand over the detonator. Long Shen pushed him out of the way and said loudly, “This place is about to collapse. Hurry and get out!”
The shaking became more and more severe, causing most of the stone statues to collapse. Rocks began falling from the surrounding stone walls. Everyone retreated, evacuating one after another.
Long Shen turned his head and ran towards the groove. Dong Zhi didn’t know what he took out of his pocket, but he laid down on the edge of the groove and fiddled with one hand underneath it.
Dong Zhi looked back and saw Long Shen’s figure in a daze. He didn’t want to abandon him. Long Shen got up after arranging it properly, and when he saw him running back, he yelled, “What are you doing back?”
Dong Zhi: “Let’s go together!”
Long Shen didn’t care about reproaching him anymore. He simply picked him up by the waist and ran out.
With a bang, the stone statue completely collapsed, crushing Tani Rui, who didn’t have time to escape. Smoke, dust, and stones completely submerged him.
Liu Qingbo ran out with the explosive bag in his arms with a distressed face.
“Boss Song, what should I do with this thing!”
Song Zhicun grabbed it as everyone ran in the direction of where the original pool was. Without saying a word, he opened a waterproof bag and stuffed the explosives in it.
“Get into the water. This place is likely to collapse too!”
As soon as his voice fell, the cave behind everyone was already shaking and debris had already collapsed, blocking the entrance to the main hall just now.
Everyone went into the water one after another, as Dong Zhi was dragged in by Long Shen. He didn’t have the strength to swim, but before he sank to the depths below, Long Shen grabbed him and directly supported him, allowing him to surface for air.
This was the place where they first fought the giant python.
“Wake up!” Long Shen patted him on the cheek. His face was as white as a sheet of paper, and he was drenched as he remained motionless.
He had exhausted the last bit of his strength after inviting a god just now and fighting with Tani Rui. Let alone his arms, he couldn’t even lift a finger.
Long Shen couldn’t help it and had to directly carry him.
“Is this a fantasy or reality right now?” Some people weren’t sure as they looked around.
The feeling of the ground shaking continued. The most obvious change was that the water level had begun to rise, and the river had started surging. Song Zhicun frowned and glanced around. Suddenly, he saw five huge red lightbulbs floating in the distance in the dark and immediately said, “It’s real. Hurry up and follow me. The python is coming!”
The giant python was heavily injured and had lost one of its eyes to them. It deemed them its mortal enemies and refused to relent until it killed every single one of them. When it saw Song Zhicun and the others, its five “lightbulbs” speeded up and instantly narrowed the distance between the two sides.
Everyone rushed with all their strength and swam alongside the river before reaching the shore and running wildly towards the exit.
Dong Zhi was carried on Long Shen’s back and wasn’t aware of all the events that were currently taking place, which was both a blessing and a misfortune.
As the “lightbulbs” got closer, a huge snake head bent down and opened its big mouth to bite at Gu Meiren, who was lagging at the end. Ba Sang turned back in time and stretched out his hand to pull Gu Meiren forward. The head narrowly missed and snapped at the air as it saw the two figures disappearing into the small corridor ahead. The python hissed and roared as it slammed its head into the wall without hesitation.
This wasn’t the noise made by the giant python, but the underground cave that had just completely collapsed. After crossing the threshold from the passage and returning to the main tomb, they could finally regard this place as safe.
Everyone looked back, and in the darkness, they couldn’t see anything. They could only vaguely hear the movement of the rocks collapsing. Everyone was tired and fell to the ground, looking at each other in shock.
Song Zhicun said worriedly, “Under the groove…”
Long Shen said, “I have used the seals given by Daoist Master Li and Elder Zong to seal it. The collapse should not spread there. We can dig it up afterwards.”
Song Zhicun sighed. “I suppose that’s the only way. It’s a good thing it wasn’t blown up by the Japanese.”
Liu Qingbo glanced at the aftermath and saw a figure quietly moving towards the exit of the tomb. Without hesitation, he threw his dagger at the opponent’s shoulder blade, causing him to scream as he fell to the ground.
“Still trying to run away, you fucker!” Liu Qingbo sneered.
Xiang Yongnian rolled up his sleeves and walked towards the collapsed Fujikawa Aoi. “Motherfucker. These Japanese have caused us so much trouble. They were almost the death of us. If I don’t kill him today, I won’t be surnamed Xiang!”
“Stop it!” Song Zhicun ordered. “Fujikawa is still useful to us, so you can’t kill him. Bandage him up briefly first. We’ll take him to the hospital when we go back.”
Xiang Yongnian remained unconvinced. “Boss Song, they tried to kill us several times just now, and they almost blew the entire cave up. We have so many scruples with them!”
Song Zhicun said angrily, “You are a member of the Special Administration Bureau, not a street gangster! Only hooligans and ruffians can be happy seeking revenge. He’s a well-known figure in the Japanese cultivation world. All his companions have died below. This time, he’s the only one alive. If he’s also dead, what do we use as a bargaining chip when we ask for benefits later?”
Xiang Yongnian didn’t expect this, so he was taken aback for a moment before he felt ashamed.
When everyone got out of the tomb and returned to the thief’s hole, Song Zhicun surveyed the area, and before the subbranch came to pick them up, he took the opportunity to lecture them, “Of course it’ll feel great to kill him now, but you’ll only know the sorrow when you realize how much interest you lost later down the line! In the future, when you go out and do things, it’ll be under the name of the General Administration and the country. Therefore, everyone must think in the long term. Don’t just look at immediate gains and care only about personal happiness. That kind of thing will never benefit you!”
Truthfully, he didn’t need to say all these things. After all, very few of them were impulsive and irrational, especially now that they have matured after this life and death experience. Not counting the veterans, they could at least now be qualified as a member of the Special Administration Bureau.
The air was full of Gobi yellow sand, and at the end of the rolling mountains, there was a clear and deep blue sky. They felt the value of light after they had escaped from the darkness underground.
Those thrilling life-and-death moments that they had just experienced became a thing of the past that they never wanted to recall, because they had left behind two companions who had not even started their apprenticeship yet but were now buried sleeping below.
The sun’s rays felt surreal. They would all rather bask in this sun for an hour than go back down for another minute.
In the end, only two people died… Wasn’t expecting such a small number.