ASV Chapter 21: Contemplation

After suffering a cruel blow from Shen Feixiao, Qin Kaiyi felt that his own liver was in slight pain,1 and he no longer talked. The two of them silently watched each other.

Shen Feixiao did not mind the awkward atmosphere. He sat opposite Qin Kaiyi and ate his own dry food with an indifferent expression, not revealing what he was thinking. Qin Kaiyi secretly observed Shen Feixiao through the mask, and the more he looked the more he felt guilty… at this moment he swore that he would absolutely 100% definitely never write novels again. This scene was undeniably too sad to look at. 

“Do you know him?” Just as Qin Kaiyi was stewing in his remorse, the creature of unknown species in his sea of knowledge spoke again. Qin Kaiyi saw that unruly flame and replied in an unhappy tone: “You always have something to say, what is it?”

Not expecting Qin Kaiyi to show such an attitude, Yan Gu became enraged: “You dare to be so fierce with me!!”

Qin Kaiyi laughed as soon as he heard this sentence. F*ck his sister, did he dare to be fierce with Shen Feixiao or did he dare to be fierce with this strange creature? With fear somehow morphing into anger he said: “Why don’t I dare to deal with you? Are you a soft sister, or are you a pretty girl? You’re so arrogant and yet you’ve been imprisoned in the mask for hundreds of years, if you’re so arrogant then come out of the mask and hit me, hit me!!! “

“You!!” Not expecting Qin Kaiyi to be able to say such a thing, Yan Gu was speechless from anger.

“You what, you what!” Finally having vented the anger he felt at Shen Feixiao, Qin Kaiyi heartily laughed: “Hurry up and tell me.”

“…” There was a silence.

“Hahaha, speechless huh,” Qin Kaiyi said with schadenfreude.

“Hehe…” suddenly letting out a low chuckle, Yan Gu’s voice was very soft: “I can’t get you right now, but Qin Shi, although I have insufficient strength, controlling a mask is still very simple.”

“Then?” Qin Kaiyi had a bad hunch.

“Say, if I make it so that you cannot take the mask off your face, what will that be like for you?” Yan Gu’s tone was full of maliciousness: “Would you still have the chance to see your shixiong and shidi? Even if you could see them, are you sure they wouldn’t just take you for something demonic and kill you?”

“What?” Qin Kaiyi was dumbfounded. He hadn’t thought that Yan Gu could be such a scoundrel!

“Since you dare to challenge my authority, you have to pay the price!!” Although the contents of the sentence were very majestic, Qin Kaiyi just felt that he tasted the meaning of the saying “an inferior person reaches a powerful position, becoming conceited and arrogant…”

The most terrifying thing in the world was not to offend a gentleman, but to offend someone with a nasty character. When Qin Kaiyi heard Yan Gu say this, he knew he would meet disaster and quickly changed his attitude: “I was joking with this senior; senior don’t take it seriously!! “

“Hmph.” “Senior, this humble one knows his wrong… I hope senior can give this humble one a new opportunity to change himself.” “Hmph.” “Hey, don’t win an inch and then want a mile. If you want to be like this then you and I will have to struggle to the death.” “Hmph!!!” “Hmph your sister, isn’t it just a mask, you really think I’m afraid of you, ai, why don’t you say anything? Yan Gu? Yan Gu? Fuck, at least hmph a few times more.” Blessings never come in pairs and misfortune does not come singly–this saying seemed to apply to these kinds of circumstances… Qin Kaiyi wanted to say that his balls really hurt a lot.

Fortunately, the mask covered most of Qin Kaiyi’s expression, so Shen Feixiao didn’t notice Qin Kaiyi’s abnormal state. But he felt that Qin Kaiyi’s gaze upon him became more and more strange, and now even more strange… 

The level of strangeness even made the always calm Shen Feixiao unable to stand it anymore, so he spoke again: “What are you looking at?”

“…” Qin Kaiyi was still entangled with Yan Gu on the side. Hearing Shen Feixiao’s question, he blurted out: “Looking at you ah.”

“…” Shen Feixiao was silent again, but this time, the expression he directed towards Qin Kaiyi became… somewhat strange.

The moment he let slip that sentence, Qin Kaiyi found that something wasn’t quite right. He temporarily put the difficult Yan Gu to the side and looked at the expressionlessly staring Shen Feixiao: “I’m kidding, don’t take it seriously.”

“En.” Shen Feixiao’s voice was very soft and his tone was very weak, as if he was indifferent to Qin Kaiyi’s explanation.

Qin Kaiyi saw Shen Feixiao’s reaction and didn’t know what to say for a while. In fact, he always admired Shen Feixiao. As a child who had been oppressed throughout his life, not only did he not have a self-abasing quality, but he instead had a tranquil and calm demeanor that was difficult for ordinary people to emulate. It was as if nothing could shake him, as if everything was under control. Of course, Qin Kaiyi’s deeply-moved feeling was quickly thrown to the back of his mind, because he suddenly remembered… Shen Feixiao is the protagonist.

Qin Kaiyi thought of this, and suddenly there was an unspeakable tiredness in his heart. He sighed softly, but he didn’t expect the sound of the sigh to be heard by Shen Feixiao.

“Why are you sighing?” Shen Feixiao had finished eating his dry food. His right hand propped up the drowsy eggplant in his arms, while his other hand gently touched its fur.

“I sighed thinking of what to do about this nonstop rain.” Qin Kaiyi leaned against the rock wall, and the voice that he had changed with a spell sounded coldly apathetic due to his absent-mindedness.

“What is the mystery behind this rain?” The outer tips of Shen Feixiao’s eyebrows raised. “What □ do you know?”2

□? Qin Kaiyi felt a bit like laughing when he heard this word. He didn’t hide anything and directly told Shen Feixiao what would happen next in the secret realm: “If the rain lasts for a month, the accumulated rainwater will open the mechanism of a hidden treasure pavilion, and this secret realm’s most precious items will appear. “

“…” Not expecting to hear such words, Shen Feixiao went silent again. His expression made it seem as if he was trying to discern whether Qin Kaiyi was telling the truth.

Qin Kaiyi ignored Shen Feixiao’s suspicion. He knew that this rain would not last long, because the treasure trove opened in the secret realm half a year later, not when they first entered the secret realm. Well… didn’t Shen Feixiao use these six months to improve quite a bit? Qin Kaiyi himself definitely couldn’t waste that precious time either.

“How do you know all this?” Shen Feixiao gazed at the weirdo in front of him. He was wearing a gray robe and his hair was loosely tied behind his head with a rope. The pure gold mask on his face should have made him seem more majestic, but the black lotuses outlined on its surface instead added an alluring quality. Coupled with that icy voice and out-of-sorts temperament… Shen Feixiao narrowed his eyes. He now became even more curious about the identity of the person in front of him.

“I’m talking nonsense.” Qin Kaiyi said, with something that resembled a smile but was not one.

“I don’t believe it.” Shen Feixiao’s expression told Qin Kaiyi his answer; he really didn’t believe Qin Kaiyi’s words.

“What don’t you believe? The secret I told you before or my assertion that it was nonsense?” Qin Kaiyi actually felt that it was a bit fun to tease Shen Feixiao.

“I, don’t, believe, everything.” Shen Feixiao said one word at a time. “You clearly could learn ‘Mountain Cloud Notes’ by yourself but you gave me the sable, you obviously could have helped me avoid entering the secret realm, but did not stop Qin Shi. Who are you? What do you want to do? “

“… what if I say I just think it’s fun.” Qin Kaiyi didn’t take Shen Feixiao’s suspicion seriously at all. In his thoughts, he was going to leave the plot and this world behind sooner or later, so he didn’t have to take responsibility for what he said… Of course, Qin Kaiyi would never realize how much he would have to pay for his carelessness in the future. 

Shen Feixiao heard this answer and said nothing. He stared at Qin Kaiyi in silence. That gaze made Qin Kaiyi feel uncomfortable for a while.

“Just kidding.” Qin Kaiyi waved his hand: “This question about giving you ‘Mountain Cloud Notes,’ I don’t want to discuss with you anymore. You also don’t need to know my thoughts. I’ll only tell you that you won’t die in the secret realm. Not only that, you will make even more gains.”

“How do you know I won’t die here?” Shen Feixiao didn’t believe Qin Kaiyi’s words at all.

“Because…” Qin Kaiyi paused, thinking that he couldn’t tell him that it was because he’d written him into existence with his own pen, so he changed his statement: “Because I will protect you.”

“Why?” The still waters of Shen Feixiao’s gaze seemed to reveal a ripple. “Why would you protect me?”

“…” I can’t escape this plot if you die, Qin Kaiyi thought silently. On the surface, his expression appeared to be like a smile yet not a smile: “Because if you die, I will be very bored.”

“Is that it.” The ripples in his eyes smoothed, and Shen Feixiao’s gaze turned back into a calm and deep lake: “Hopefully your promise is true.”

“Does it really affect you?” In other words, you’ve been given an inch and want a mile. Qin Kaiyi, still pretending to be cool, continued: “You won’t die anyway, if you die… “

“If I were to die, what would you do?” Shen Feixiao picked up after Qin Kaiyi’s words.

“If you die, I will accompany you to die.” Anyway, the system would not let him alone live. Qin Kaiyi was very sincere when he said this. He was really speaking his heart!

“Is that it.” Shen Feixiao lowered his head, making Qin Kaiyi unable to clearly see his expression: “Then I will wait and see.”

Qin Kaiyi no longer talked to Shen Feixiao. He turned to look at the endless downpour of rain within the woods. He felt that his mood became very calm at this moment. In fact, from the first day he woke up in this world, he felt like he was in a dream, an endless dream… maybe death would be an opportunity for him to wake up. However, this opportunity was a challenge that no one dared to attempt. If you failed this challenge, you would actually fall into an eternal dream you would never escape… death. 

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Notes

  1. 小心肝, lit: small heart liver, figurative: small darling. So QKY could be referring to himself as a little darling feeling pain
  2. □ is a placeholder for an unknown word–that’s all I have for you, folks. I’m also confused.

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ASV Chapter 20: Meeting by Chance

The weather in the secret realm was very strange. One moment, the sun would be shining splendidly high in the sky, and then in the next moment an overwhelming downpour of rain would sheet the air. Qin Kaiyi and that elder brother in the mask had just finished their confusing discourse when they were soaked by sudden heavy rain. He hid under a tree for a bit, but then saw that the rain seemed as if it would continue for a while longer. Qin Kaiyi had no choice but to consider finding a mountain cave to seek cover.

He was still unable to detach the mask stuck firmly to his face. However, taking off the mask wasn’t as important as finding a place to temporarily stay. It was raining, and he had to find a safe place to cultivate sooner or later. 

Fortunately, Qin Kaiyi had good luck. He found a hidden cave near the river shortly after searching in the woods. Qin Kaiyi first checked the situation in the cave with a spell. After confirming that there were no spirit beasts or lingering trails of human beings, he entered the cave.

The cave was not too deep, and it was somewhat similar to his dongfu. Because of how humid the jungle was, the rock walls of the cave were covered with green moss. However, Qin Kaiyi found that the ground of this potential abode seemed strangely different from those of ordinary caves. It seemed to have been polished by hand, without the vestiges of the moss that grew on the walls or of any other plants.

These unusual circumstances almost certainly pointed to trouble. Although Qin Kaiyi felt a little uneasy in his heart, he decided to stay put for now when he took a look at the heavy rain outside. After the rain stopped, he would make a decision. After all, the forest already held great danger, and now it was even raining. If he really encountered some ferocious spirit beast, he might not even have the opportunity to attempt an escape and could directly lose his insignificant life.

With this in mind, Qin Kaiyi created a fire in the cave. He hung his soaked clothes over the flames. As he roasted his soggy clothes, he lamented that he must really have a fated relationship with water. 

Seeing that the clothes were almost baked through, Qin Kaiyi took out some prepared dry food from his ring, thinking about filling his stomach first. It had been a day since he entered the secret realm, but he hadn’t eaten anything. Feeling so hungry that he felt that his chest must be sticking to his back, Qin Kaiyi gobbled up the dry food he’d cooked bit by bit. He glanced at the curtains of rain outside the cave, and then at his own sorry state. He could only choke out two bitter laughs to express his current state of mind. 

“Hmph, you look like a dog who lost his home. I really don’t know how Xue Xian could have a disciple like you.” A voice that was both frigid with irony and scorching with mocking rang from his sea of ​​knowledge. Qin Kaiyi wanted to roll his eyes when he heard this. He rudely responded to the ridicule: “I’m begging you, my shizu has already gone away to heaven for tens of thousands of years, so sir, please let my shizu rest in peace.”

“Hmph.” Still exuding arrogance, Yan Gu continued to look for his faults: “You are a waste of your talents. If this body was under my control, it would long have reached the fasting period.”

Qin Kaiyi suddenly discovered that this Yan Gu really had a lot to say… 

“Boy, you really won’t consider a deal with me?” Yan Gu saw that Qin Kaiyi was ignoring him, and began trying to convince Qin Kaiyi: “I promise, if you agree to do this deal with me, you can stand at the top of the cultivation world within a hundred years. “

“Then have you rob my body?” Qin Kaiyi asked with a smile. He would never believe that pies could just fall into his lap from the sky. He didn’t have the almighty protagonist halo, yet encountered a “good thing” like Yan Gu. There was a ninety-nine point nine nine nine nine nine percent chance that there were hidden caveats.

“Who wants your rotten body.” Yan Gu seemed to fly into a humiliated rage at having been seen through–the flames surrounding him burned even brighter in Qin Kaiyi’s sea of ​​knowledge. “I haven’t even told you what the deal would entail.”

“Then tell me and let’s see?” Qin Kaiyi wanted to know what kind of temptation this Yan Gu would try to dangle in front of him. 

“I can provide you with a map of the labyrinth in the secret realm, and you… can help me get a thing.” Seeing the signs of Qin Kaiyi relenting, Yan Gu hurriedly said: “That thing is inside the maze. You can take it out while you grab treasure.”

“What kind of thing?” Qin Kaiyi asked with an eyebrow raised.

“It’s… not good! It has an otherworldly aura!” Suddenly saying some silly words, Yan Gu went silent. No matter how Qin Kaiyi called him, he wouldn’t answer.

“Fuck me (T/N: he uses 我靠, which sounds like the curse but isn’t. “Fudge me” seemed a bit too awkward to use)… What are you doing.” Before Qin Kaiyi could get some kind of an answer, he suddenly went silent–there was a rustling sound in the woods outside the cave, as if someone was walking over. Combined with Yan Gu’s abnormal reaction, Qin Kaiyi unhappily concluded that someone must be coming towards him. 

Who was it? With the bracelet on his wrist clenched in his hand, Qin Kaiyi’s expression was very grave. Most of the people he would bump into in the secret realm would be enemies and not friends. Killing others to snatch treasure was entirely too normal an occurrence. 

Although he was emotionally prepared, Qin Kaiyi was still surprised when he saw the appearance of the person coming. He looked at the soaked teenager and gave a small cry of alarm: “Shen Feixiao!”

Enemies on a narrow road: this saying was probably used just for these kinds of situations. ╮╭

Compared with Qin Kaiyi’s surprise, Shen Feixiao showed more vigilance instead. That was reasonable. Suddenly finding a person wearing a golden mask in a cave, any person would feel their hackles raise.

Qin Kaiyi only realized after seeing Shen Feixiao’s expression… he was wearing a mask on his face and did not need to fear being recognized by Shen Feixiao.

Shen Feixiao seemed to be holding a trembling eggplant in his arms, and he looked at the weird man sitting in the cave with a cold expression. He had been looking for a place to shelter from the rain for a long time. He finally found a cave, but there was someone inside. The situation was not very good. If he missed out on this cave… he didn’t know how long it would take to find shelter, nor when the rain would stop.

“Come in,” Qin Kaiyi said, changing his voice. After all, he couldn’t bear to watch Shen Feixiao standing outside in the rain.

“…” Having heard this, Shen Feixiao’s eyes revealed a bit of hesitation, but then he glanced at the sable who was still shaking in his arms. After clenching his teeth, he walked into the cave and sat not far from the entrance.

Well, this vigilance made sense. Qin Kaiyi rubbed the edge of his golden mask. Suddenly, he felt like this thing called a Yan Gu actually had a bit of use…

“Come and dry by the fire,” Qin Kaiyi helplessly said, looking at the Shen Feixiao who had shrunk into himself at the entrance of the cave. “Your pet is sick?”

Seeming to consider the sincerity in Qin Kaiyi’s words, after a long silence Shen Feixiao said: “It ate something bad.”

“Oh.” Qin Kaiyi recalled from the novel that after entering the secret realm, the sable really was abnormal for a short time… and of course it wasn’t sick. After eating a spirit fruit, the sable was about to evolve.

Alas, this really was the protagonist. Just picking two fruits can result in such fortune. If Qin Kaiyi tried this and picked some random fruit, he might get poisoned… 

“Which sect are you from?” No matter how he looked at the masked man, he seemed suspicious. Shen Feixiao didn’t let down his guard.

Qin Kaiyi didn’t want to answer this question at first, but an interesting thought suddenly came into his mind, so Qin Kaiyi said with a smile: “Lingshan Sect. Well, was the chicken I gave you tasty?”

“It’s you!!!” Shen Feixiao’s looked exceptionally stunned. He fixed his gaze at the pure gold mask on Qin Kaiyi’s face: “You… who are you really?”

“I am just me ah.” Qin Kaiyi finally understood why everyone liked to act like pretentious pricks… This kind of superior feeling was undeniably too cool!!

“Why did you help me?” Shen Feixiao forgot his manners and yelled: “What do you intend to do?”

“If I meet you once you just have to ask me once.” Qin Kaiyi said innocently: “Do I need a reason to help you?”

“… Of course you do.” Shen Feixiao absolutely did not believe that there was anyone in the world who would treat him well without cause or reason.

“Okay.” Qin Kaiyi lowered his voice and pretended to say with deep feeling: “I’ve fallen for you…”

“…” Shen Fexiao.

“…” Qin Kaiyi.

After big eyes silently stared into small ones for quite a while, Shen Feixiao opened his mouth and replied faintly: “What do you mean by ‘fallen for me’?”

… Qin Kaiyi finally understood the meaning of “one cannot escape from self-inflicted disaster.” This child Shen Feixiao really was a dumbass!!

“Can you stop asking why?” Qin Kaiyi sighed: “Can you ask something else?”

“Do you have food.” Shen Feixiao was not polite, and directly got to the point.

“Cough cough.” Almost choking on his own saliva, Qin Kaiyi drew dry food from his arms and smiled to Shen Feixiao: “You little fart, sit down a bit closer, still afraid I’ll eat you?”

Shen Feixiao hesitated for a while, and then slowly moved to sit next to Qin Kaiyi’s campfire, taking the dry food that Qin Kaiyi handed over: “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.” Qin Kaiyi waved his hand and chatted casually: “Why are you here?” In fact, Qin Kaiyi wanted to ask… How did you find this cave too? Yet Shen Feixiao understood this as… how are you also in the secret realm?

Then……

“I was set up by Qin Shi.” Shen Feixiao’s tone was obviously full of anger and hatred: “If I find him, I will definitely kill him.”

… Hey, you little juvenile, is it really scientific (T/N: reasonable) to say bad things to someone’s face? Wanting to wipe the cold sweat from his forehead, but finding that he was still wearing a mask, Qin Kaiyi laughed: “Why should small children commit violence and murder?”

“I am not a child.” Shen Feixiao angrily retorted: “I am already twelve years old, twelve years old!!”

“……… ==.” Qin Kaiyi showed that he didn’t want to say anything anymore.

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ASV Chapter 19: Elder Brother in the Mask

Qin Kaiyi opened his eyes and found himself lying on the soft bed in his own bedroom. The bed had a familiar smell. He got up and went to the kitchen to pour himself a glass of water.

What was he doing just now? It seemed like he forgot something important? Rubbing his messy hair, Qin Kaiyi guzzled the water, then sat on the computer chair in his living room and began to get lost in thought.

The empty feeling in his heart made Qin Kaiyi feel anxious. He lit a cigarette and looked around at his surroundings. He was now at home, but what should he do at home? Qin Kaiyi licked his dry lips, and suddenly noticed the computer in front of him. A lightbulb went on in his head–he wrote novels at home!

That’s right, he just wrote novels. It seemed he had grasped something important. Qin Kaiyi tremblingly pressed the power button, and after a few minutes he heard the familiar power-on music. He clicked on some novel-writing software with practiced ease, then scrolled all the way to the bottom of the page.

“Qin Shi, who was locked in the large array again, gave a painful □. A dark cloud hovered over his head, and from time to time golden lightning flashed through that black cloud. Qin Shi raised his head…” Reading these words, Qin Kaiyi felt as if his head had been hit by something. He looked around at the scenery which should be familiar with a shocked expression, but found that his surroundings seemed somehow indistinct. What he could see was blurred, as if covered with steam, and his head again felt that violent pain. Qin Kaiyi grabbed at his own hair and let out a pained □… fake, this was all fake!!! (T/N: not sure what the empty boxes are. That’s what the author wrote in, instead of a word). 

Along with the severe pain, Qin Kaiyi clearly saw the scene in front of him twist, like a mirage destroyed by sunlight. The entire space fragmented.

“Who are you?” Qin Kaiyi frowned as he looked at the person-shaped flame in front of him. Even if he were using his toes to think instead of his brain, he would understand that what he had just experienced was related to the strange thing in front of him. 

“I am Yan Gu.” Seeing that Qin Kaiyi’s consciousness did not disappear after he had invaded, Yan Gu’s mood was obviously not very good. The body made of flame glowed a dazzling red light in Qin Kaiyi’s sea of ​​knowledge. Yan Gu’s tone was a little unpleasant: “You actually didn’t disappear?”

“Why should I disappear?” Qin Kaiyi expressed extreme bemusement towards this entire situation: “Why do you appear in my sea of ​​knowledge, what kind of thing are you?”

“You are a thing,” the self-proclaimed Yan Gu sneered. “I didn’t expect that you, a foundation-building cultivator, had this kind of willpower. The illusion didn’t whittle away all your will…”

Hearing this, Qin Kaiyi finally understood his situation. Items in the secret realm really were not to be trifled with. Even a mask picked up by the roadside could lead someone astray. If not for the fact that he was not of this world, he would long have been trapped in the illusion. But those of this world would never be able to understand what Qin Kaiyi really wanted. 

“Let me make a deal with you.” Noticing Qin Kaiyi’s uncertainty, Yan Gu’s expression changed: “I can give you countless rare treasures, but you have to agree to help me do one thing.”

“I don’t want to.” Qin Kaiyi directly refused.

“Don’t want to?” Hearing Qin Kaiyi’s merciless rejection, Yan was stunned for a moment, and then angrily said: “I didn’t even tell you what I want you to do and you refused?”

“What can you give me?” Qin Kaiyi looked at this strange man in front of him with a smile.

“Top-level elixirs, the most precious rare books, talismans… I can give you anything you can think of,” Yan Gu said.

“Oh, that good?” Qin Kaiyi seemed tempted, his eyes flashing.

“Of course.” Yan Gu thought he had moved Qin Kaiyi: “How about it, do you agree?”

“I don’t agree.” There was no room for discussion in Qin Kaiyi’s tone; he smiled and said: “Something that a powerful person like you can’t do, how could I do it? No matter how good the magic weapon is or how numerous the elixirs, without my life that all would go to waste, don’t you agree?” 

“You!!!” Not expecting Qin Kaiyi to be so resistant to persuasion, Yan Gu felt annoyed. He was sealed in the mask for tens of thousands of years. His skill was almost worn away such that he only had the remaining scraps of the power he had at his peak. Now even a little Taoist at the foundation-building period dared to tease him. Thinking this, Yan Gu’s eyes revealed a strong killing intent.

“Hey, please don’t be rash.” Sensing Yan Gu’s anger, Qin Kaiyi hurriedly said: “People enter this secret realm only once in a couple hundred years. If you kill me, who knows when you’ll encounter someone again.” Qin Kaiyi knew that he was not the opponent of the person in front of him, so he had to reason with him: “Although I can’t agree to your deal, even if a trade doesn’t succeed we can still maintain civility. We can also discuss other things… “

“Other things?” Hearing this, Yan Gu didn’t know what he thought of, and took a slight pause before saying: “What’s your name?”

“This humble one is called Qin Shi.” Qin Kaiyi introduced himself.

“Which sect are you from?” From the hair to the eyes to his outer clothes, the completely red-colored Yan Gu appeared extremely dazzling in the dark sea of ​​knowledge. He sized up Qin Kaiyi as if he were a butcher determining which part of his prey was worth the most money. His gaze was frank and bloodthirsty.

Shivering from Yan Gu’s stare, Qin Kaiyi coughed: “I am the head disciple of the Lingshan Sect.”

“Lingshan Sect?” Yan Gu’s expression distorted for a moment when he heard the name, but he quickly corrected it: “I didn’t expect you to be from the Lingshan Sect. Is your shizu (T/N: shifu’s shifu or further down the line of shifus) Xue Xian good lately?”

Xue Xian…? Qin Kaiyi knew this person. In his novel, Xue Xian is the author of “Mountain Cloud Notes.” However, he did not have a detailed description of this person. After all, he had been dead for tens of thousands of years; even if he left behind bones they would have become ashes by now…

“Shizu… has already been in heaven for many years.” After thinking for a while, Qin Kaiyi decided to reply honestly.

“He’s dead??” At the moment when he heard this, a few feet of flames suddenly exploded out from Yan Gu’s body. Flames that were supposed to produce heat somehow held a penetrating chill: “Haha… That’s right, I’m afraid there are not many who could survive after the ancient war.”

Another… old monster. When Qin Kaiyi heard Yan Gu’s words, he knew that he was going to be out of luck again. F*ck your sister, he just got rid of that fraudulent thing Zi Yangpei and now there was something else called Yan Gu. This one was even harder to handle than the last.

“You go, I want to calm down.” Not knowing if the news of Xue Xian’s death had hit Yan Gu too hard, he coldly looked at Qin Kaiyi and waved a hand.

“Yes.” Qin Kaiyi obediently and mellowly left his sea of knowledge. When he came out, he resentfully realized something. Why did this bastard ask him to leave, that was his very own sea of knowledge, OK?!!

Qin Kaiyi’s mood was already very bad, and became even worse when he returned to reality, because he discovered that… the mask on his face could not be taken off!!!

Even though the mask was pure gold, and even though it looked trendy, if you asked him to wear it for a lifetime Qin Kaiyi wouldn’t agree even if he had to die. As an otaku who did not even give away his first kiss, he firmly believed that this mask would affect his future love life. *Crying noises*… which sister would marry a man whose face she couldn’t even see?? 

Sadly drawing circles on the ground, Qin Kaiyi’s mind flashed with a sudden thought–he could accept his situation and move on. He would return to his original body anyway. If Qin Shi had to forever wear a mask on his face, what the hell did that have to do with him?

Thinking this way, he felt a lot better. At this moment Qin Kaiyi suspiciously seemed to completely ignore the problem of how he would explain himself when others saw him…

Qin Kaiyi wasn’t the only one gloomy; there was also the very depressed Shen Feixiao.

Since witnessing the scene of Qin Kaiyi jumping into the river to commit suicide, Shen Feixiao wasn’t feeling too well. He originally thought that someone like Qin Kaiyi must be very afraid of death, so he didn’t expect Qin Kaiyi to fearlessly jump into the river and kill himself. Shen Feixiao had lied about the poison, and he hadn’t thought to murder Qin Kaiyi in such a way. Even so, under unexpected circumstances, Qin Kaiyi actually jumped into the river and committed suicide.

Actually, Shen Feixiao still had not lost the innate kindness of a child. However, after looking in the river for Qin Kaiyi’s body to no avail, this kindness was nearly completely wiped out. Shen Feixiao had no choice but to suspect that Qin Kaiyi had not died. Furthermore, he wondered if the act of jumping into the river was all calculated to cheat himself. 

What to do if Qin Kaiyi didn’t die? Shen Feixiao petted the soft fur of the sable in his arms and felt a chill in his heart at this possibility. According to the nature of this vile and arrogant person who had come into a position of power, since he already knew that Shen Feixiao wanted to kill him, he would certainly not let him go. In this secret realm perhaps he had a chance, but if he left this secret realm… Shen Feixiao felt an uncontrollable murderous intent in his heart. He could not let Qin Kaiyi leave this secret realm alive!! If Qin Kaiyi did so, Shen Feixiao only had two choices. The first one was to leave the Lingshan Sect to avoid disaster. The other was that Qin Kaiyi would report this incident, whereupon Shen Feixiao would be wiped out by the sect head. Shen Feixiao wanted to walk on neither one of these two paths. So without any hesitation, Shen Feixiao chose a third path–kill Qin Kaiyi!! 

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Notes

If anyone has the original (possibly uncensored??) version for me to translate, that would be amazing. I’m getting the raws online as I go, but a lot is missing.

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ASV Chapter 18: The Protagonist’s Mood

When Qin Kaiyi woke up, he felt his head hurt so much it would burst. When he opened his eyes, he found himself lying on dry grassland in an unfamiliar place.

“No way…” Holding his head while crawling up from the ground, Qin Kaiyi’s mouth twitched. He was planning to wait for the gust of wind to blow the rest of his team away so that he could use his knowledge of the surrounding environment to hide. He didn’t think that Yan Buxuan, this unaccounted-for variable, would take him somewhere he had no knowledge of. 

Unfamiliarity equals hidden danger. Qin Kaiyi checked the equipment on his body and finally let out a sigh of relief. Fortunately, Yan Buxuan didn’t move his storage ring and bracelet. So why did he bring him here, and where did he go now?

Full of doubts, Qin Kaiyi carefully observed his surroundings. Where he was now was different from the jungle that he had just left. In front of him lay a relatively open grassland, and there was a clear river not far away. Qin Kaiyi thought it was a good place to station himself. Did Yan Buxuan do this for his own good…?

Reality proved that Qin Kaiyi was too naive, because just when he looked around, a familiar voice rang out behind him: “Don’t move.” Along with this voice came the sensation of a sharp weapon pressing against his own neck. 

Shen… Fei… Xiao… Qin Kaiyi felt dazed when he heard this voice. No matter how he turned it over in his head, he  could not think of why Shen Feixiao would appear here and also use a sharp weapon to restrain him.

Shen Feixiao seemed to understand Qin Kaiyi’s surprise. He sneered: “You didn’t expect it.”

“…” Qin Kaiyi nodded silently, he was a little worried that Shen Feixiao would kill him just like this.

“Relax, I won’t kill you.” Seeing Qin Kaiyi’s worry, Shen Fei’s voice carried mocking overtones: “How could I dare to kill shixiong.”

Qin Kaiyi felt that there was something not quite right about that sentence.

“Raise your hands and squat down. Hurry up.” The protagonist was obviously different from the villain. There was no verbose and fraudulent monologue, and he cut straight to the point: “Although I don’t want to kill shixiong, this sword has no eyes.”

Qin Kaiyi said nothing and crouched down obediently. In fact, if he wanted to escape he could do so easily. He could twitch a lip and resolve this matter, but without knowing why, he just wanted to see to what extent this little baby Shen Feixiao hated him. 

Seeing Qin Kaiyi squat down obediently, Shen Feixiao fished out a black pill from goodness knows where, and held it out to the side of Qin Kaiyi’s mouth: “Swallow.”

“What is this??” With panic in his voice, Qin Kaiyi deeply embodied the alarm of a villain being threatened. Of course, no one would know that at this moment he was internally ridiculing his own novel–really too cliche… 

“You’ll know once you eat it.” Shen Feixiao didn’t give Qin Kaiyi the opportunity to refuse, suddenly thrusting the ball into Qin Kaiyi’s mouth. Watching Qin Kaiyi swallowing it with his own eyes, he sneered: “This is the Rotting Heart Pill. If you don’t take the antidote I give you on a regular basis, your heart will break apart and you will die. If you don’t believe me, why don’t you try poking three inches under your rib.”

“…” Qin Kaiyi at this moment greatly disdained his own dog blood plot. Your mom, why did this rotten overused plot appear using his own body ahhhhhhhhh, and concerning this three inches below the ribs something or other, even if he poked it without having taken medicine it would still hurt!!! Of course, Qin Kaiyi would never outwardly express his collapsing mental state. He only feigned horror as he poked his own ribs, and said with great alarm: “Shen Feixiao you really poisoned me!!” 

“Who told me to mistrust shixiong.” Shen Feixiao moved his dagger away from Qin Kaiyi: “If you reveal anything about today, I won’t let you die a good death.”

Qin Kaiyi stood up silently, turned around, and saw Shen Feixiao standing next to the sable that Qin Kaiyi had sent to him. That sable tilted its head and  staring at him with eyes like purple grapes.

Shen Feixiao, seeing Qin Kaiyi turning his gaze to the sable, and hurriedly stepped forward and said: “This sable will be mine in the future, don’t think about getting it back.”

Shen Feixiao’s reaction caused Qin Kaiyi to smile internally, thinking, if he really was a child… Of course, on the surface Qin Kaiyi only showed an annoyed expression. 

“Come with me.” Shen Feixiao glanced at Qin Kaiyi and said: “I have something for you to do.”

Then Qin Kaiyi just eagerly (T/N: literally translated as “with jolting buttocks”) walked away with Shen Feixiao–that was impossible. As an ultimate villain, he also had an unyielding character. Did Shen Feixiao really think that he is afraid of death? Could he be afraid of death? Well, he was really afraid of death, death is terrible, but the villain’s integrity should never be lost. If it was like this and he walked with Shen Feixiao willingly, he may become cannon fodder, so Qin Kaiyi rose up to resist!!!

He pretended to be righteous and said, “Shen shidi, why are you being like this to me?”

“…?” Shen Feixiao completely didn’t understand why Qin Kaiyi asked such a question. Shen Feixiao looked at Qin Kaiyi with a baffled expression. That expression seemed to say… Haven’t we always been enemies?

“I didn’t expect that my kindness would be repaid by Shen shidi with betrayal. Fine, I’ll just die with my convictions.” Then Qin Kaiyi jumped into the river. Yes, he really jumped into the river, just plunged right into the little river’s motherly embrace, leaving behind a Shen Feixiao who looked like he had seen a ghost. 

Apparently not understanding how the plot could develop in such a distorted way, Shen Feixiao’s paralyzed face looked like it was about to cramp. Shouldn’t Qin Kaiyi try to drag out his own ignoble existence under Shen Feixiao’s watch, and then shouldn’t Shen Feixiao be able to use him and then kill him? So, how could this glorious image of choosing to die rather than submit suddenly appear on a wretched and nasty person? At this moment, Shen Feixiao’s outlook on life and his values  were profoundly impacted …

In fact, Qin Kaiyi didn’t want to provoke Shen Feixiao so much. Who told him to have his own plans? If he just stupidly followed Shen Feixiao, how could he demonically cultivate? Besides, that pill really didn’t seem like a poison… Qin Kaiyi swam a great distance along the river before going to shore. He sat soaked on the shore and sneezed a few times. He didn’t dare to use spells to dry his body. In this secret realm, the use of spells would inevitably involve spiritual power, and spiritual power would attract spirit beasts. 

After sitting on the shore for a while, Qin Kaiyi opened up a matchbook and lit a fire. He changed to clean clothes and dried his wet ones over the fire. It wouldn’t be good to catch a cold. 

“Ai, bitter life ah.” With a sigh, Qin Kaiyi groped around for some fruits in the storage ring and began to contemplate what to do next. He had already determined his general plan anyway: find a place with no people to demonically cultivate. But these kinds of places without people… would not be easy to find.

It would certainly be dangerous to go too far into the jungle. However, if he didn’t go deep into the jungle, in the case that someone caught onto the fluctuations of his demonic cultivation then tragedy would result. And given his current level of cultivation, if he was found out, then he would definitely die. 

“Huh, what is this?” Qin Kaiyi, who was still thinking, was suddenly attracted by something gold hidden in the dirt. He saw it was in some grassland not far away from him and walked forward with curiosity. 

What was buried in the ground? Seeing the small tip of it exposed, Qin Kaiyi did not hesitate to dig at the surrounding soil. He clearly knew that there were many treasures in this secret realm. Although he had no protagonist halo, what if he really just had some dumb luck? 

After digging out the buried object, Qin Kaiyi was completely stunned. He looked at what was in his hand with eyes full of shock.

Qin Kaiyi held a mask in his hand. The mask was made of pure gold with inlaid images of black lotuses. The mask seemed almost alive, and even someone without much awareness like Qin Kaiyi could tell that this object was not ordinary. The beautiful lines of the lotuses decorating the mask held a fascinating charm. Qin Kaiyi unwaveringly stared at the mask, not realizing that at some point his eyes began to suffuse with red.

Put it on… Quickly put it on… a deep voice sounded with incomparable charm, and Qin Kaiyi’s hand began to shake slowly… Who was talking, who wanted him to put on this mask…

Put it on… you can have anything… The man’s magnetic voice was like a succubus’ (T/N: lit. female demon), making Qin Kaiyi become sluggish. He slowly raised the mask, but there seemed to be some hesitation.

Put it on… magic weapons, elixirs, beautiful women… all yours… the voice was still tempting Qin Kaiyi, but Qin Kaiyi was still a bit muddleheaded, and he somehow spit out a sentence: “Nonsense, beautiful women are all Shen Feixiao’s.”

Well, it seemed Qin Kaiyi’s deepest resentment just got revealed… 

Hearing Qin Kaiyi’s words, the voice seemed distracted for a bit, but then continued… Put it on, and you can step on Shen Feixiao and rise above him.

“That won’t work. How can I go back after stepping on him.” Qin Kaiyi continued to answer reflexively.

…… The voice went silent again for a while, and then continued with some anger… I told you to put it on!! You can go home after you put it on!!

Really? Go back home? After hearing this, Qin Kaiyi finally raised the mask in his hand and put it on his face.

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Notes

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ASV Chapter 17: Greetings, Supporting Role

Because entering the secret realm required passing through the Lingshan Sect’s forbidden grounds, Qing Xuzi showed that he prepared a lot in advance. The formation that originally would trigger once someone entered the forbidden area didn’t respond. Yan Buxuan walked in the middle of his team with an entirely vigilant expression. 

As an elder of the Ice and Fire Sect, Yan Buxuan had a deep understanding of secret realms. When a sky secret realm opened three hundred years ago, he entered with his master. He naturally knew what sorts of dangers lay in that kind of an environment. Although he had made sufficient preparations, he still did not dare to be reckless. 

The entrance of the secret realm was in the middle of the forbidden area. Qin Kaiyi knew that they would not encounter any accidents in the forbidden area, so he was not too nervous. As he thought, they safely made their way to the entrance of the secret realm. Qin Kaiyi was thinking to let out a sigh of relief, but then he heard a familiar voice. 

“Yan Buxuan, it turns out you really did collaborate with that silly youngster (T/N: just a mocking form of address used a lot in ancient settings. Zi Yangpei previously called Qing Xuzi this) Qing Xuzi!!” Qin Kaiyi turned his head and saw that woman who had been impolite with Qing Xuzi before.

She obviously didn’t have the same luck as Qin Kaiyi and the rest. They didn’t know what kind of arrays the other group had encountered in the forbidden ground, but the lot of them appeared filthy and dejected. Some of the disciples standing next to Yan Yi had even had all their hair burned off.

“Oh, why does Young Lady Yan Yi say such a thing?” Yan Buxuan was not annoyed by Yan Yi’s aggressiveness; he smiled.

“Dare you say you haven’t colluded?” Yan Yi blazed with anger: “Why didn’t you encounter anything along the road you walked on, and how come the path we were on was just…”

Before Yan Yi finished speaking, Yan Buxuan interrupted her: “How does the Young Lady Yan Yi know that we haven’t encountered anything?”

“Did you really encounter something?” Yan Yi sneered: “Tell me, what did you encounter?”

“What we encountered, why should we report that to you?” Although Yan Buxuan was still smiling, the smile was already a little unkind. He lightly snorted: “No matter what happens, I will try my best to protect these disciples, unlike Young Lady Yan Yi–not only did she not protect herself, but even the disciples under her suffered.”

“You!!!” Yan Yi’s face went red and then white, but she couldn’t find any rebuttal.

“Forgive my humble self, we won’t waste any more time here with Young Lady Yan Yi.” 

After rendering Yan Yi speechless, Yan Buxuan said lightly: “Let’s go.”

Qin Kaiyi enthusiastically spectated from the sidelines. When he heard Yan Buxuan’s last two words, he hastened to catch up. 

The other disciples also seemed to have been enjoying the show. At this time, Yan Buxuan had given an order, so naturally his line of sight returned to his team. 

“Qin Shi.” Yan Buxuan, who was walking in front, suddenly spoke to Qin Kaiyi who was following behind him: “What do you think of this trip to the forbidden land?”

Why did Yan Buxuan ask him this? He really had no impression of this guy who was just a passerby buying soy sauce in the original novel (T/N: “I’m just here to buy soy sauce” = “it’s none of my business.”) Qin Kaiyi deliberated and then replied: “The younger generation only needs to gain the experience of being in the mysterious realm, and doesn’t need to ask for any rare treasures.”

“Is that it.” Yan Buxuan didn’t show any expression when he heard this sentence. He still appeared neutral: “Young man, why don’t you have any ambition?”

“This one of the younger generation still has self-awareness,” Qin Kaiyi said awkwardly.

“It’s better to call me Brother Yan, ‘senior’ is too unfamiliar.” After looking at Qin Kaiyi, Yan Buxuan smiled.

“Eh… this is not appropriate, Senior Yan is of the same generation as my shifu.” Qin Kaiyi couldn’t quite understand Yan Buxuan’s meaning, but he wasn’t too worried. After all, after entering the secret realm they would be separated. 

“There is nothing inappropriate.” Yan Buxuan’s tone seemed to brook no argument. 

“Okay,” Qin Kaiyi forced himself to say. 

The entrance to the secret realm was a huge teleportation array. The array appeared on a huge rock. As if entirely outlined with golden thread, the array emitted a striking light. Qin Kaiyi, staring at the array, suddenly felt a thread of anxiety that he could not explain. 

“Let’s go.” Yan Buxuan took the lead and stepped onto the teleportation array first. Qin Kaiyi followed closely, and he chanced a glance at the Shen Feixiao who was walking at the back of the crowd. He found that Shen Feixiao had fixed an expressionless stare on the teleportation array. That cold stare made Qin Kaiyi’s heart shiver a bit. Good, he had to admit, the protagonist’s grand and tyrannical aura was overflowing. 

Not long after he stepped onto the teleportation array, Qin Kaiyi’s vision blurred, and the scene in front of him changed suddenly.

“Here it is.” Of course, Yan Buxuan was the first to come in. He looked at the surrounding scenery, his expression solemn.

The teleportation array sent them into a dense jungle. They were surrounded by tall trees which blocked more than half of the sun’s rays. The air around them carried a bloody smell emanating from the soil, making Qin Kaiyi quite uncomfortable. 

“Count the number of people.” Yan Buxuan saw that no more disciples teleported over, and so gave this order. He glanced at the surrounding environment, frowning slightly.

Arriving at a jungle meant they would have to spend energy on dealing with spirit beasts. Spirit beasts’ most favored living in jungles. 

“Elder, everyone is together,” a disciple said to Yan Buxuan.

“Good.” Yan Buxuan nodded slightly: “Let’s go, everyone focus on staying safe.”

Hearing Yan Buxuan’s words, Qin Kaiyi’s felt his nerves acting up. He clearly remembered… once Yan Buxuan said this, an accident would happen. 

Qin Kaiyi’s memory proved to be reliable. The sound of Yan Buxuan’s words had just rung out when, from within the depths of the jungle concealed by bushes, came a wail that sounded like that of an infant’s.

“…” Qin Kaiyi’s whole body stiffened when he heard that sound. His bad premonition really came true.

Motherf*cker, the monster in front of him with a human’s face and a tiger’s body did not appear in the novel. Why did the cute monsters from the book change into the human-faced freak in front of them????

The human-faced monster with a tiger’s body was a beast that had the voice of an infant and ate people alive. 

Upon seeing this creature, Qin Kaiyi felt goosebumps rise all over. His conditioned reflex was to glance at Shen Feixiao, and when he did, he found that Shen Feixiao was not in the crowd… fuck, he was indeed the protagonist, the incredible speed of this escape!!

“Everyone spread out.” The moment he saw the monster, Yan Buxuan’s expression turned black. He didn’t expect to encounter this kind of difficult creature when they had just entered the secret realm.

In fact, the monster’s attack power was not strong, but the trouble lay in its powerful life force and vengefulness. Once provoked, it would fight to the death. 

Yan Buxuan was obviously reluctant to spend too much energy on this creature. He stared at it, watching it still crying like a baby, and said, “start the spell.”

As soon as these words came out, the disciples of the Ice and Fire Sect who were originally only watching quickly arranged themselves into a strange formation, surrounded the remaining disciples of the Lingshan Sect. Qin Kaiyi looked around for Shen Feixiao, but reluctantly came to a conclusion… Shen Feixiao had the ancient immortal sable, he didn’t need to concern himself with the beasts of the secret realm. 

Qin Kaiyi was not so lucky. He had neither the protagonist halo nor the sable. He felt like a weak cabbage; if the wind blew past he could lose half his life, not to mention traversing the dangerous jungle environment. 

Qin Kaiyi was on the side being absent-minded, while Yan Buxuan was already fighting with the monster. He was holding an ice-blue longsword and looking coldly at the creature in front of him. 

The baby-like crying became harsher. The creature seemed to perceive that the person in front of him was difficult to deal with. It walked around Yan Buxuan with no intention of stepping forward. It opened its mouth and kept crying, as if wanting to disturb the people around it. 

After being imprisoned in the secret realm for hundreds of years, a group of people finally showed up–how could the creature so easily let them go? Qin Kaiyi, seeing everything, felt that he understood the freakish thing in front of him a little bit. 

But was this creature the reason for the team getting separated? Of course not, the human-faced creature only signalled a turning point. The real reason for why their entire team would disperse was… coming!!

Just as Yan Buxuan and the monster were about to confront each other, a strong wind with a thickly bloody odor blew from within the jungle. This wind was extremely strange. The jungle was full of trees, so how could such a great wind pass through? Furthermore, why didn’t any of the trees move as it passed? And the bloody smell in this wind seemed to confirm that Qin Kaiyi had remembered the plot correctly. 

At the moment that the wind blew, Qin Kaiyi stuffed a few pills in his mouth, and then covered his mouth and nose with a piece of black gauze. He knew what would happen next… they would fly away. 

Sounds funny, right? But when everyone flew, no one would find it funny. Qin Kaiyi sat on the ground, looking at the screaming crowd in the sky, and sighed helplessly. He secretly comforted them in his heart: don’t worry, you won’t die… at most you’ll scatter to different areas, just gather the team again, um, wait why didn’t he see Yan Buxuan in the sky? He inspected the sky for a long time and still couldn’t find Yan Buxuan’s figure. Just as Qin Kaiyi was getting curious he heard a cold voice from behind him: “Hehe, in this place you’re actually sitting quite calmly.”

“…” Qin Kaiyi turned his head stiffly and saw Yan Buxuan standing behind him without expression.

Being stared at by Yan Buxuan like this, he felt somewhat guilty. Just as he thought to explain himself, he saw Yan Buxuan sneer and wave a hand. Qin Kaiyi’s vision went black. Before he lost consciousness, his most pressing thought was… f*ck your mom, he knew that there must be some people hiding their true intentions lingering near him. This time he really got played. 

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Notes

Really wish these BL authors would consider writing well-rounded, sympathetic female characters. Oh well, this lacking hasn’t deterred me from reading ASV so far.  

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ASV Chapter 16: Beginning of Entry

After hearing Qin Kaiyi’s explanation, Liu Ling’er’s expression finally improved a bit. She glanced at Qin Kaiyi and hesitantly said, “But shixiong, why did you choose Shen Feixiao? Did he offend you?”

“Do you still have to intercede for someone who stole your bird?” Qin Kaiyi pretended to be indifferent: “Such disciples at the Lingshan Sect are a waste of resources. I really don’t know why you chose him to enter the sect.”

“Shixiong…” Liu Ling’er whispered: “But he’s still a child, can’t you… change the person?”

He didn’t expect that Liu Ling’er would actually plead for Shen Feixiao. Qin Kaiyi was a little surprised, but on second thought he was actually relieved. This was normal for Liu Ling’er, as a future member of Shen Feixiao’s harem. 

“Then would you give me a list of names?” Qin Kaiyi looked at Liu Ling’er with a smile.

“This…” Liu Ling’er hesitated.

Qin Kaiyi was actually quite annoyed by Liu Ling’er. Who didn’t have a heart of flesh? No matter who was sent to die, someone would be sad. When entry seemed beneficial, she seemed dissatisfied. As soon as she thought her advantages to be infringed upon, she could immediately change her attitude.

“You leave first.” Qin Kaiyi’s attitude was lukewarm: “I still need to prepare some things.”

“Shixiong…” Perceiving the change in Qin Kaiyi’s attitude, Liu Ling’er wanted to say something, but was interrupted by Qin Kaiyi.

“Let’s slowly talk it out when I come back?” Qin Kaiyi looked at Liu Ling’er coolly, and made it clear that he wanted to send his guest back.

“… Okay.” Guessing that her words and actions had caused her shixiong to be unhappy, Liu Ling’er had to concede. In fact, she also felt a bit guilty about her previous lack of trust for him. Usually she would act cute and beg for Qin Kaiyi’s forgiveness, but seeing Qin Kaiyi’s current indifferent expression, words that ordinarily flowed smoothly couldn’t seem to come out.

Seeing Liu Ling’er walk away reluctantly, Qin Kaiyi faintly sighed. He decided not to care too much and prioritized the matter of entering the secret realm.

Three days after the list of names was set, it was the time to enter the secret realm.

Qin Kaiyi put on the storage ring given to him by Zi Yangpei and the jade bracelet given to him by Qing Xuzi, and followed the leading shixiong to the gate of the forbidden area. Many people had already gathered there, including Qing Xuzi.

Qin Kaiyi looked away from the crowd, and unexpectedly saw a silent Shen Feixiao in a corner. Qin Kaiyi thought about it but didn’t go over to greet him in the end. After all, his relationship with Shen Feixiao was really too awkward. Shen Feixiao probably cursed him in his heart.

Qing Xuzi saw that most people had already arrived, so he began to speak: “Lingshan Sect’s disciples, let me introduce the three people beside me: one is of the Lingshan Sect, the other of the Ice and Fire Sect, and the last of the Chi Lei Pavilion. They will lead you as three teams. I have nothing further to say. The only thing I want to tell you is that you must prioritize human lives.”

At this, Qin Kaiyi turned his attention to the three people standing next to Qing Xuzi. One of the white-bearded elders was someone he had seen before and was undoubtedly an elder of the Lingshan Sect. As for the other two, a young man and a young woman, Qin Kaiyi couldn’t tell who belonged to which sect.

The man’s appearance was not excellent, but he had an elegant temperament which attracted people’s gazes. He stood next to Qing Xuzi with a smile, showing no emotion.

The woman wearing a glamorous red dress next to the man did not seem to have the same good manners. She had thick makeup on her face and the long red dress on her body exuded a strong flirtatious charm. Upon hearing Qing Xuzi’s words, she let slip a mocking expression. That was right, perhaps in these people’s eyes, comparing human lives and magic weapons wasn’t even worth mentioning. 

Qin Kaiyi thought he should be in the same team as his sect elder, but he did not expect to be assigned to the elegant man’s team instead.

Qing Xuzi seemed to understand Qin Kaiyi’s surprise. He reached out and patted Qin Kaiyi’s shoulder, and said to the man: “Bu Xuan, my apprentice will be given to you, don’t give this old man any unwelcome excitement ah.” 

“Of course.” Yan Buxuan smilingly said: “Even if I lose my life, I will protect your precious darling.” (T/N: 心肝宝贝儿的, usually refers to one’s child). 

Qingxuzi laughed when he heard these words, and Qin Kaiyi was a little embarrassed. He began to wonder what relationship this person named Yan Buxuan and Qing Xuzi had.

“This is your shifu’s good friend of many years. He serves as an elder in the Ice and Fire Sect.” Seeing the doubt in Qin Kaiyi’s eyes, Qing Xuzi explained with a smile: “Don’t look at him as a young man, he’s also an old monster who has lived several hundred years.”

Yan Buxuan seemed to have a really good relationship with Qing Xuzi. He didn’t care about Qing Xuzi’s ridicule, and nodded with a smile.

“Senior.” Qin Kaiyi cupped his hands in salute: “Thank you for your care.”

“Huh.” Yan Buxuan looked Qin Kaiyi up and down then said: “That Qing Xuzi can have a disciple like you, count it as his blessing.”

“How could that be,” Qin Kaiyi politely said.

“Qin’er, after you enter the secret realm, follow your senior Yan. Don’t be greedy. Will you remember?” Qing Xuzi urged.

“I understand, shifu.” Qin Kaiyi nodded.

Qing Xuzi wanted to say something, but was interrupted by a shrilly scolding shout. He frowned and saw that the female elder of Chi Lei Pavilion was pointing at someone and screaming. Qin Kaiyi also heard this and looked over. He was shocked to find that the disciple being yelled at was actually Shen Feixiao.

“Huh, your Lingshan Sect really dares to send any kind of garbage inside.” These vicious words actually came out from such beautifully-shaped thin lips. This Chi Lei Pavilion elder clearly didn’t want to give Qing Xuzi any face (T/N: basically doesn’t care about embarrassing him): “You dare to shove a disciple who hasn’t even reached Qi Refining period into my ranks? Do you take me for someone who picks up garbage? Well, that’s right, the lives of your Lingshan Sect disciples aren’t worth much anyway, it’s fine if a few die.”

Qing Xuzi’s expression darkened when he heard this. He didn’t care about Shen Feixiao’s situation, but he cared about the reputation of the Lingshan Sect. Looking at the female cultivator who seemed as if she even wanted to step on heads to climb up, even a man made of clay would feel anger. Sneering, Qing Xuzi said brightly: “Aiyah, Young Lady Yan Yi, I’m really sorry.”

“Hmph, where are you sorry?” Hearing Qing Xuzi, Yan Yi thought she had the upper hand.

“Why did I think a young woman could protect my disciples, alas, blame my silliness on my age. Let’s move the Lingshan Sect disciples you have over to Elder Yan to take care of so I can rest assured.” Qing Xuzi did not back down, his words causing Yan Yi’s face to turn red and then white.

“All right, I’m not interested in helping you look after this group of weak chickens.” Yan Yi gritted her teeth.

“The disciples of Chi Lei Pavilion in Elder Yan’s team should be left to the care of Lady Yan Yi.” Qing Xuzi could not be so easily fooled. He smiled like a zen Buddha statue. In fact, agreeing to the demands of Chi Lei Pavilion and the Ice and Fire Sect was something he had no choice in. Now, Chi Lei Pavilion actually sent such a stupid woman over–don’t blame him for shedding any pretense of cordiality.

“You!” Unexpectedly, Qing Xuzi would do something like this. Yan Yi was dumbfounded for a while, but she soon reacted. This development didn’t seem too bad. Each would go his own way. Isn’t that good?

But from this kind of thinking one could see how shallow Yan Yi’s understanding was. First of all, the entrance to the secret realm was through the forbidden grounds of the Lingshan Sect. Of course Lingshan Sect disciples would better understand the ways of these forbidden grounds. Qing Xuzi originally wanted to have the Lingshan Sect disciples together in one team, but Chi Lei Pavilion demanded otherwise so he was forced to form mixed teams. Now that Yan Yi had caused trouble, she clearly gave him an opportunity to allocate in closer accordance with his wishes.

Qin Kaiyi watched as Shen Feixiao and a few other disciples of the Lingshan Sect walked over to Yan Buxuan’s team. Yan Yi had pointed at Shen Feixiao’s nose and scolded him, so his mood was obviously not very good. His expression was somber and a bit frightening. Seeing Qin Kaiyi staring at him, he gave him a fierce look back, and that fierce look made Qin Kaiyi quake… Great, now Shen Feixiao hated him to the bone. Good job, continue to work hard! But seeing the son he carefully raised not acknowledging him, that kind of dimly sorrowful emotion, what kind of disturbing thing was that, *crying noises*…

Qing Xuzi naturally didn’t know about Qin Kaiyi’s sad inner world. He watched the teams finally get arranged and said to Yan Buxuan: “Have a pleasant journey.”

“Of course.” Yan Buxuan showed a gentle smile, and began to lead his team into the forbidden ground.

Qin Kaiyi followed Yan Buxuan, still thinking of Shen Feixiao and his own problems. He knew that they would encounter an important plot development after entering the forbidden area. The team would become fragmented, and the opening of the secret realm would also mysteriously close. A year later, this channel would open again. During this year, he would have no choice but to steadfastly struggle for survival in the wild… he would not only guard against fierce spirit beasts, but also protect himself from the cultivators who would kill people and steal treasure.

But that all didn’t matter. Qin Kaiyi forced himself to be optimistic. The forbidden area was a  much better environment for him to demonically cultivate, and he did not have to worry about being discovered. Since the secret realm was so vast, and he himself had no desire to seek out treasures, as long as he found a corner to hide in all would be well. 

Thinking thusly, Qin Kaiyi relaxed a bit. But for some reason, he couldn’t shake off the sight of Shen Feixiao’s savage glare from his mind… it was like a wild animal’s–one moment of inattention and he could be torn to pieces.

“Shen Feixiao, you can’t just kill me off like that… if I die, how will your radiant image be supported?” Qin Kaiyi murmured to himself, always feeling that he would suffer a great loss due to Shen Feixiao… well, as the final boss, he would not be killed that easily!

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ASV Chapter 15: Wandering

At Shen Feixiao’s residence, Qin Kaiyi stepped forward and knocked on the door: “Shidi, are you there?”

Quite a while later, the door finally opened with a creak. Shen Feixiao looked at Qin Kaiyi, his face as expressionless as usual.

“You should prepare, next month you will go with me to the sky secret realm.” Qin Kaiyi saw that Shen Feixiao wouldn’t even let him cross his threshold. He truly felt a bit too amused, and directly stated his purpose in coming: “I specially came to inform you. “

“Why?” Shen Feixiao’s expression did not look pleasant. He stared at Qin Kaiyi and said: “Why am I able to go?”

“I want you to go.” Qin Kaiyi said lightly: “Do you need a reason?”

“I don’t want to go,” Shen Feixiao coldly said. His words made Qin Kaiyi’s heart drop. “Why don’t you take Liu Ling’er?”

“You should call her shimei,” Qin Kaiyi corrected.

“Why don’t you take Liu Ling’er?” He repeated his question again. Shen Feixiao’s gaze towards Qin Kaiyi seemed to connote loathing. His impression of his shixiong was poor.

“She is a girl.” Qin Kaiyi vaguely felt that Shen Feixiao probably heard the conversation between Liu Ling’er and him, and thus misunderstood his purpose in bringing him along into the secret realm… Well, actually he didn’t misunderstand, in the novel Qin Shi really let Shen Feixiao into the secret realm to kill him. “I’m just here to tell you, I’m not interested in asking for your thoughts.”

“…” After hearing this, Shen Feixiao went silent. After a long while he said in a low voice: “What if I don’t want to go?”

“Leave the Lingshan Sect or follow me into the secret realm,” Qin Kaiyi said coldly. Right now he didn’t care what Shen Feixiao thought about him at all: “Choose one yourself.”

Hearing this sentence, Shen Feixiao’s expression stiffened and he was silent for a long time before he hoarsely said: “Yes.”

Qin Kaiyi nodded with satisfaction, then turned around and left. He knew that Shen Feixiao must hate him to death right now. After all, anyone with an intact brain could deduce that bringing a disciple who hadn’t even reached the Qi Refining period into the secret realm was equivalent to asking for his demise. Qin Kaiyi was in a poor mood when he flew back to his dongfu. He thought that after this trip, maybe Shen Feixiao would understand the meaning of fighting his way desperately out of death.1 

After arriving at his dongfu, Qin Kaiyi began to study the storage ring given to him by Zi Yangpei. He carefully sifted through the pills and rare books, and finally found a book for demonic cultivation titled “Black Military Ghost Scripture.” After carefully looking at the cultivation method, Qin Kaiyi sighed softly. If he really began to demonically cultivate, he would have to revise his cultivation method in the foundation building period and transform his entire body’s spiritual energy into demonic energy. However, once this method was used, it would be disastrous if others discovered him. The attitude of the cultivation realm towards demonic cultivation was very harsh, because those who demonically cultivated were always fond of killing. As long as someone was found to be demonically cultivating in an ordinary sect, then that someone would definitely be annihilated by the entire sect.

But even so, because of the amazing speed of demonic cultivation, many people entered that path.

Qin Kaiyi was not interested in doing so now. He knew that Zi Yangpei would definitely give him items to hide his demonic cultivation, but entering the secret realm was more pressing. Rather than spending a month to understand a cultivation practice he had never encountered before, Qin Kaiyi would be better off preparing practical items for the imminent trip. Qin Kaiyi remembered that Qin Shi did not enter the secret realm in the original book, but now the story had inexplicably changed, and he did not know what would happen in the secret realm.

The butterfly effect could be quite frightening.

As he was just contemplating this, Qin Kaiyi was suddenly attracted by the transparent spider in the storage ring. He took the spider out of the ring, took it in his hand, and then was surprised to find that this spider was actually alive!

The body of the spider was a translucent milky white, and about the size of a palm. At first glance, it looked like a jade carving, but upon closer inspection, the spider was actually moving.

The realization that living things could be placed into the storage ring made Qin Kaiyi dazed for a bit. He remembered that living things could not be placed in the storage ring, because there was no air and the space inside was warped. Living things taken out after being placed inside would probably become mincemeat. However, this spider managed to survive. Qin Kaiyi clicked his tongue–Zi Yangpei really spared no effort on him. If this spider were to be refined into a spirit beast, it would have to be at least in the third rank. In the cultivation realm, spirit beasts ranking above five were already very rare, not to mention the third rank.

Qin Kaiyi thought for a while and decided to bring the spider with him to the secret realm. The other items Zi Yangpei had given him all had the faint imprint of demonic cultivation. If those items were seen by others, Qin Kaiyi would not be able to avoid their speculations. The spider in front of him, however, would not cause others to harbor suspicions. 

Qin Kaiyi pricked his finger and let a drop of blood fall onto the spider standing in his palm. That drop of blood was quickly absorbed into the spider’s body, and a faint layer of red light appeared from within the spider. The originally lazy spider’s movements became lively.

“I’ll call you Little Jade from now on,” Qin Kaiyi said without thinking too much. “It’s quite like your color.”

He didn’t know if the spider could understand him. After crawling in Qin Kaiyi’s palm for a while, the spider stopped moving again. He looked like he wanted to sleep. Qin Kaiyi laughed and threw it back into the storage ring. He usually disliked these kinds of crawling insects, but because this jade-like spider was smooth all over without the terrifying hairiness of ordinary spiders, Qin Kaiyi wasn’t that disgusted.

After finishing up with the spider, Qin Kaiyi began to prepare some necessary elixirs. He knew how many horrible spirit beasts were in the sky secret realm. In the novel, Shen Feixiao had encountered very few. After all, the ancient god beast sable was beside Shen Feixiao, and those spirit beasts had to take it into consideration. But Qin Kaiyi was different… as a villain without a golden finger, Qin Kaiyi was under immense pressure.

He knew that the strength of the Lingshan Sect would rise to a new level after this trip to the secret realm. Shen Feixiao would directly break into the foundation building period, and also seize the opportunity to gather many treasures in the secret realm. Qin Kaiyi sat there thinking for a long time. He finally decided to use this year when they would be in the secret realm to reach the fasting period. The risk of practicing demonic cultivation within the sect was too great, so he would be better off doing so in the secret realm despite the presence of various ferocious spirit beasts. Compared to those spirit beasts, human beings posed the greatest threat to Qin Kaiyi.

With this resolution in mind, Qin Kaiyi began to attempt to put all the things he needed into the  storage ring, such as pills, rare books, alas–there were not many items in this room, and he had probably already packed all of them. He didn’t wear the bracelet Qing Xuzi gave him. Most of the people in the sect were acquaintances. A bracelet with such an extraordinary appearance suddenly appearing looked suspicious no matter what, and Qing Xuzi also reminded him not to let others know that he would enter the secret realm through a backdoor…

During this month, although Qing Xuzi had already set the rules for entry, there were still many who tried to break through the guards stationed at the forbidden area in order to explore the secret realm. Some of them were intruding cultivators who slipped in from the outside, and some were disciples under the Lingshan Sect. All were killed on the spot. This also demonstrated Qing Xuzi’s approach. He treated all equally without a shred of tolerance. If others had the courage to offend, then they must pay with their lives as a consequence.

Because of these unstable factors, the atmosphere of the Lingshan Sect seemed extremely heavy, and everyone carried him or herself with the strict solemnity of waiting troops.

A month later, the list of those who would enter the secret realm came out, and the names on it were basically what Qin Kaiyi had previously guessed. The majority of the names were composed of a few elders and their disciples who practiced independently. There were a small number of people like Qin Kaiyi with good prospects listed as well, but Shen Feixiao’s name was really in a class of its own.

Qin Kaiyi very seriously prepared for this trip in the month prior. He went to his shijie and shixiong to gather many talismans, and also wore inner armor of a decent grade. In other words, Qin Kaiyi firmly wrapped himself up into the form of a tortoise with little attack power, but with full-to-bursting defensive power.

As soon as the list of names was released, Liu Ling’er stalked up to Qin Kaiyi’s door.
She was extremely dissatisfied with Qin Kaiyi now, and rightly so–Qin Kaiyi had solemnly vowed that he would not enter the secret realm. Now there he was, on the list. Shen Feixiao’s name appearing on the list made the situation even more difficult to bear. She didn’t believe that Qing Xuzi could have noticed Shen Feixiao. Even a fool would understand that Qin Kaiyi must have done something.

Qin Kaiyi saw Liu Ling’er’s menacing approach and felt his spirit fade (T/N: 焉了 [yānle], meaning his vigor or his interest lost vitality). He didn’t want to quarrel with her…

“Shixiong, what did you say to me before?” Liu Linger got right to the point.

“Ling’er.” In fact, Qin Kaiyi didn’t know how to explain himself. He couldn’t say he actually didn’t want to go, right? Even he himself would think these words sounded fake.

“It turns out that shixiong is this kind of a person.” Liu Ling’er sneered: “Ling’er, from today, understands.”

“…” Qin Kaiyi was choked to the point of being unable to speak, and it took a moment before he could sigh: “Do you really think I don’t want you to go?”

“What do you mean?” Liu Ling’er furrowed her brows.

“Do you know the role of disciples below the Qi Refining period in entering the secret realm?” Qin Kaiyi looked sad: “Ling’er, do you have to be a bait to lure spirit beasts?”

“Shixiong, you…” Liu Ling’er’s eyes widened sharply.

“Hehe.” Qin Kaiyi smiled bitterly: “I didn’t want to tell you such a cruel thing, but…”

“Shixiong, do you mean…” Liu Ling’er’s tone was full of disbelief.

“What I said is naturally…” Fake, Qin Kaiyi muttered silently in his heart, but on the surface, he looked sad: “True.”

____________________________________

Notes

  1. An idiom from Sun Tzu’s “Art of War.” Place somebody on a field of death and he will fight to live.

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ASV Chapter 14: To Be Chosen

Following Qing Xuzi’s instructions, Qin Kaiyi bid Liu Ling’er farewell and left. He didn’t know what Qing Xuzi wanted to speak to him about, but he guessed that it was related to the sudden appearance of the sky secret realm. 

Arriving at Qing Xuzi’s dongfu, Qin Kaiyi stood outside and waited for a while before he saw Qing Xuzi arriving slowly. Qing Xuzi had a slightly unsightly expression, as if he had argued with someone.

“Shifu.” Qin Kaiyi respectfully saluted his shifu. He had a good impression of Qing Xuzi. Although this old man was a noble sect head, he never put on airs and he treated all his disciples equally. Qin Kaiyi remembered that Shen Feixiao became a disciple of Qing Xuzi after coming out of the secret realm. After that, Qing Xuzi’s teaching laid a good foundation for Shen Feixiao’s road to immortal cultivation. This old man apparently placed righteousness before all else.

“Qin’er, please sit down.” Qing Xuzi waved to Qin Kaiyi, let him sit down first, and then sighed heavily.

“Shifu, is there something wrong?” Qin Kaiyi looked at Qing Xuzi’s solemn expression and asked, pondering.

“Nothing’s wrong.” Qing Xuzi looked at Qin Kaiyi sitting in front of him and sighed involuntarily again. Qin Shi began to follow him when he was just six years old, and he even regarded this talented disciple as a son. As the sect head, he obtained many benefits for this disciple, so that this disciple entered the foundation period early.

But the unfortunate part of his love for Qin Shi was how he spoiled him. Because he protected Qin Shi so well, this disciple rarely had the opportunity to participate in actual combat. Qing Xuzi was extremely aware of the importance of actual combat to a cultivator. In other words, reading thousands of books was not as good as traveling thousands of miles yourself. If you only bitterly immersed yourself in cultivating and neglected actual combat, you might miserably fall into decline.

Moreover, Qin Shi was about to enter the stage of cultivating the heart, so Qing Xuzi was still uncertain about whether he should send his favorite disciple into the secret realm.

Qin Kaiyi of course didn’t know about Qing Xuzi’s deliberations. He thought Qing Xuzi was mulling over how to tell Qin Kaiyi that he couldn’t enter the secret realm. If only he knew–Qing Xuzi loved him so dearly that if Qin Kaiyi insisted on entering, Qing Xuzi would have to agree. 

“Shifu, I don’t know if you are worrying about the secret realm?” Qin Kaiyi noticed Qing Xuzi’s agitated expression and asked.

“Qin’er, are you in the middle of foundation building now?” Qing Xuzi looked at Qin Kaiyi.

“Yes.” Qin Kaiyi hesitated, but answered honestly.

“What do you think of the secret realm that appeared suddenly this time?” Qing Xuzi gazed at Qin Kaiyi and carefully observed his expression.

“The secret realm is closely related to the future of the Lingshan Sect. Qin Shi is only a disciple in the foundation building period, and really does not dare to recklessly speak.” Qin Kaiyi decided to be conservative: “As long as it is shifu deciding, this disciple is willing to give his full support.”

“Really.” A glint of satisfaction appeared in Qing Xuzi’s eyes. He paused for a moment and said: “Qin’er, do you want to enter the sky secret realm?”

Hey, why would Qing Xuzi ask him such a question? Qin Kaiyi felt a touch of apprehension in his heart when he heard this question, but he didn’t think too much. He said directly: “Shifu, although this disciple also wants to see the magic weapons in the secret realm, this disciple knows that with just his foundation building stage cultivation, he will definitely cause trouble to others who enter the secret realm, so… “

“Not bad, not bad.” After hearing Qin Kaiyi’s answer, Qing Xuzi nodded with satisfaction. He was very happy that the disciple in front of him finally got rid of his impetuousness. With this, he even more so wanted Qin Kaiyi to march with the rest of the troops into the secret realm. 

“Then do you want to go in? I’m only asking if you want to, you don’t have to worry about anything else,” Qing Xuzi said, looking at Qin Kaiyi.

“…” This development was not quite right. Hearing Qing Xuzi’s words, Qin Kaiyi’s heart started to drum at his chest. Why did he feel that Qing Xuzi’s question made him panic? But he already just said that he wanted to go in. At this time, it was not easy to change his stance, so he had to bite the bullet and say: “Naturally I want to go in.”

“Okay, then.” Qing Xuzi clapped and said: “After a month, you will follow the rest of the troops in. Qin’er, shifu has secretly let you in through the backdoor. For shifu’s sake, don’t fall short.”

… These words shocked Qin Kaiyi so much that blood gathered in the back of his throat. He couldn’t cough it out or swallow it. He almost had the impulse to roar at Qingxuzi—Laozi1 doesn’t want to go to that shit secret realm, Laozi still needs time to demonically cultivate, Laozi’s dog eyes will be blinded by Shen Feixiao’s protagonist halo aaahhhhhhhh!

But the little bit of reason he maintained stopped his roar. Qin Kaiyi smiled weakly, and softly said: “Thank you shifu for your generous affection…”

“But keep this matter a secret for now.” Qing Xuzi interpreted Qin Kaiyi’s twisted expression as happy. He got up and patted Qin Kaiyi’s shoulder: “You come with me.”

“Yes.” Feeling deeply attacked, Qin Kaiyi hallucinated many many many many halos floating before his eyes… 

Qing Xuzi went into the depths of the dongfu, leaving Qin Kaiyi standing behind him. He directly pulled out several books from a bookshelf, and then the bookshelf moved silently a few feet to the right, revealing a deep cave.

“Come in,” Qing Xuzi glanced at Qin Kaiyi and said.

Qin Kaiyi made no reply and walked in with Qing Xuzi.

After taking Qin Kaiyi through a few small paths, Qing Xuzi arrived at a stone room. He took a few steps forward to a stone table in the middle of the room, and picked up an ebony box inlaid with gold. He handed it to Qin Kaiyi.

“Shifu, what is this?” Qin Kaiyi spoke cautiously–he didn’t think that Qing Xuzi would bring him to this place. 

“Open it.” Qing Xuzi looked at Qin Kaiyi kindly.

“Yes.” Qin Kaiyi opened the exquisite wooden box and found an emerald-green bracelet in it. The bracelet was both sparkling and translucent, and both pure and limpid. However, ink-like mist seemed to flow through the bracelet’s emerald coloring. Look carefully, the black mist actually appeared to be densely-packed runes. 

“This was left to me by my shifu.” Without waiting for Qin Kaiyi to ask, Qing Xuzi explained: “This bracelet will activate a formation when you are attacked by a cultivator, helping you resist most spells. This trip to the secret realm is bound to be extremely dangerous. I will definitely not be able to enter as the sect leader, so I have no power to protect you. Qin’er, you must remember that your purpose for entering the secret realm this time is not to obtain magic weapons, but to gain experience. When you encounter danger, saving your life is most important.”

“Thank you shifu.” Qin Kaiyi was both touched and pained. What touched him was Qing Xuzi’s concern for him. What pained him was that he didn’t want to go into the secret realm at all!!

“There are also two other sects entering with you this time, one is Chi Lei Pavilion and the other is the Ice and Fire Sect. These two sects will probably send over a hundred disciples. You must pay attention to them. In the secret realm, the most sinister creature is not a spirit beast, but human nature,” Qing Xuzi worriedly asserted.

“Yes, shifu, I will pay attention.” Now that reality had set in, Qin Kaiyi had to start planning his entry into the secret realm. He listened to Qing Xuzi’s advice and suddenly thought of something. He hurriedly said: “Shifu, may I bring a shidi with me?”

“Shidi?” Qing Xuzi looked at Qin Kaiyi in doubt: “Who?”

“It’s Shen Feixiao.” Qin Kaiyi spit out three words.

Qing Xuzi remained silent for a long time, probably trying to recall who this shidi was, but he didn’t seem to be able to in the end: “Why do you want to take him?”

“He… I promised him.” Qin Kaiyi lied without any psychological burden. “I hope shifu can agree.”

“Is that so. How is his cultivation?” In fact, Qing Xuzi didn’t care who Qin Kaiyi wanted to bring. However, what he feared was not that no one would want to go, but that there would be too many willing participants.

“He hasn’t started yet.” Qin Kaiyi continued: “It’s just that he begged me for a long time today and threatened his own life. My relationship with him is not bad. I don’t want to see him abandon himself to despair like this.”

…… Shen Feixiao would like to express that he had really just been unjustly ridiculed.

Qing Xuzi naturally didn’t know that his apprentice was randomly spinning tall tales. He thought about it, and concluded that if a disciple who hadn’t even begun cultivating bumped into trouble, it wouldn’t have any great consequences. He said: “That’s fine, but don’t promise any others. Even if your Ling’er shimei begs you, don’t agree. And the matter of this shidi following you in, you must keep it quiet.”

“Yes, shifu.” Qin Kaiyi had thought that he would be asked other questions. He didn’t expect Qing Xuzi to agree in such a refreshingly quick manner, so he immediately said: “Your disciple understands.”

“Go on, next month is when you enter the secret realm. You have to prepare well during this time.” Qing Xuzi added: “Qin’er, don’t be careless. The secret realm is extremely dangerous, and one moment of negligence could cost you your life. You absolutely have to be careful.” 

“Thank you shifu, your disciple will be careful.” Qin Kaiyi held the ebony box in his arms: “Shifu’s great grace, your disciple will never forget in his life and will repay in the future.”

“All right, go.” Qing Xuzi bitterly smiled and shook his head: “Shifu doesn’t need any repayment from you. As long as you remember that you are from the Lingshan Sect, shifu will already be very happy.”

“Your disciple follows these teachings.” Qin Kaiyi bowed his head and said: “Shifu, then I’ll go first.”

“Go, go.” Qing Xuzi waved his hand: “Remember to go back and prepare well, don’t mess around with Ling’er anymore.”

After hearing this sentence, Qin Kaiyi left, bringing the box with him. He put the box into the storage ring. He thought about going to greet Shen Feixiao first. He should prevent the possibility that Shen Feixiao could lose the sable or “Mountain Cloud Notes” in an excessively frenetic state (T/N: literal translation). 

So Qin Kaiyi formed a cloud hand seal2 and flew towards Shen Feixiao’s residence.

__________________________________________

Notes

  1.  Laozi = “I, your father.” Used in a usually jokingly arrogant way, or in an actually arrogant way.
  2. Think Naruto hand seals. These are a traditional/ancient Chinese practice from way back when.

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ASV Chapter 13: The Selection

Qing Xuzi’s expression as he stood on the high platform of the mountain gate was very grave. There were several elders of the Lingshan Sect standing around him. The solemn atmosphere quickly calmed the noisy crowd.

Seeing that the disciples no longer spoke, Qing Xuzi opened his mouth lightly. His voice was enhanced by a spell so that everyone present could hear clearly: “Disciples of the Lingshan Sect, we have now reached a juncture that determines Lingshan Sect’s survival or annihilation.”

This opening statement caused an uproar. All the disciples of the Lingshan Sect present began to whisper to discuss what could have happened. Liu Ling’er’s expression was also very ugly. She looked at Qing Xuzi with hesitation, asking Qin Kaiyi in a small voice: “Shixiong, is it so serious?”

“It should be.” Qin Kaiyi said lightly: “Master would not joke about this kind of thing.”

“Quiet!” Qing Xuzi said in a deep voice: “This matter is of great importance. I hope that all the disciples of the Lingshan Sect will focus on clearly understanding what I want to say next.”

As soon as this remark rang out, the noise around the mountain gate dissipated. The disciples in the sect all looked at Qing Xuzi with worry and curiosity.

“Our Lingshan Sect has a sky secret realm.” When he said this, Qing Xuzi’s mood was very complicated. He naturally knew that the sky secret realm was a great temptation for any cultivator. If this matter were to be handled well, Lingshan Sect would definitely have a chance to place among the top-ranked sects.

However, if one were not careful, this sky secret realm could destroy the Lingshan Sect. This was not unprecedented. Several hundred years ago, this happened with the Chongyang Sect in trying to obtain the Royal Bell. The higher ups of the sect were too greedy in the face of such treasure. They actually agreed to let all the disciples in the sect enter, resulting in heavy casualties. This finally led to the Chongyang Sect’s inability to protect the Royal Bell, and to the disastrous loss of both life and property.

Although Qing Xuzi rarely took care of the day-to-day affairs of the sect, he was not muddleheaded. He understood quite clearly that the Lingshan School could not hog this secret realm by itself. 

Thinking of this, the expression on these Qing Xuzi’s face became even more solemn. He said to the disciples standing under the platform: “I have discussed with several elders. In the near future we will choose disciples who may enter the secret realm. I hope that at the Lingshan Sect, in times of danger, disciples will help each other rather than harm others for their own benefit. I, Qing Xuzi, hereby set the rules: if I find that a disciple has killed another for treasure, their cultivation will be abolished, and their soul pulled out to be placed into a formation and never released. “

As soon as Qing Xuzi’s firm voice reached the ears of those below, it caused a commotion. Although the Lingshan Sect already had a rule to prevent killing and stealing treasure, the most severe means of punishment was to kill the perpetrator. Now even the soul would be punished. The fierce nature of this punishment did not suit Qing Xuzi’s kind, monk-like image.

Of course, compared with the news of this vicious punishment, the most striking development was still the appearance of the sky secret realm. Everyone knew that there were countless rare treasures in the sky secret realm. Although the spirit beasts inside were also abnormally ferocious, the thought of getting precious magic weapons or elixirs mitigated concerns about danger. After all, everyone counted on getting that stroke of luck. What if you had good luck, what if you really managed to obtain the treasure, what if…

“There is one more rule.” The amplification spell allowed Qing Xuzi’s voice to transmit clearly even among the whispers of the crowd: “Except for the selected disciples, no one else can enter the secret realm. I have now sent someone to guard the entrance to the sky secret realm. If someone attempts to enter by force, they will be killed on the spot. “

Qin Kaiyi didn’t feel very surprised when he heard Qing Xuzi’s words. Hey how could he be, these words were written by him!!

But the people next to him were not as calm as Qin Kaiyi. Liu Ling’er frowned and said, “Shixiong, why did shifu do this? Isn’t it that the more people that enter the sky secret realm, the greater the chance of getting a magic weapon? Why does shifu have to restrict us from going in?”

Hearing Liu Ling’er, Qin Kaiyi naturally knew that this was how most people would think. Those who had not entered the sky secret realm of course did not know how scary the spirit beasts in the secret realm were. He smiled and said, “Ling’er, do you want to go in too?”

“Of course.” Liu Ling’er answered as if it was obvious: “I have heard how many good things are in the sky secret realm, and I don’t know when the secret realm will appear again. This time it appeared in the Lingshan Sect. Why shouldn’t I enter?”

“Ling’er.” Qin Kaiyi looked helplessly at his little shimei who lacked self-awareness: “Do you know where the entrance to the secret realm is?”

“Where?” Liu Ling’er looked at Qin Kaiyi curiously.

“In the forbidden grounds.” Qin Kaiyi knew that the trip to the secret realm of the Lingshan Sect would not be easy, and he did not have interest in participating in this mess. Although he was a disciple of Qing Xuzi, Qin Shi did not enter the secret realm in the novel.

“Ah?” Liu Ling’er was dumbfounded when she heard this. She said doubtfully: “Shixiong, you’re not tricking me are you?”

“What use is there in tricking you?” Qin Kaiyi said: “I’m not going to go on this tour of the forbidden grounds. Ling’er, I know you are curious about what is in the forbidden grounds, but don’t forget, you are still in the Qi Refining stage. If you really went in, I’m afraid you would encounter disaster.” 

“…” Liu Ling’er was arrogant and capricious, but she was not stupid. She listened to Qin Kaiyi’s persuasion and rolled her eyes: “Shixiong, are you telling the truth when you say you won’t enter?”

“Of course.” Qin Kaiyi didn’t lie. He had already made up his mind when he got the storage ring from Zi Yangpei. It was too dangerous to enter the secret realm. He didn’t have Shen Feixiao’s sable or that “Mountain Cloud Notes” golden finger. More importantly, he did not have Shen Feixiao’s protagonist halo. Qin Kaiyi had self-awareness, which was probably his best quality.

“In that case, if a magic weapon really appears in the secret realm, wouldn’t shixiong feel like he missed out?” Although Liu Ling’er had a good relationship with Qin Kaiyi, she had her own thoughts. She did not believe that her shixiong would really give up the opportunity to enter the secret realm. 

If he really were Qin Shi, then the words he had just said may really have been just to get rid of Liu Ling’er. However, Qin Shi was now Qin Kaiyi, and the words he said were definitely true, so Qin Kaiyi just sighed: “Ling’er, magic weapons are great, but you have to use your life to obtain them. Remember that last time because of you, I mistakenly entered the forbidden grounds and nearly lost my life? I can’t even enter the forbidden grounds. Where do I have the power to get a magic weapon? “

“That’s true…” Seemingly placated by Qin Kaiyi’s logic, Liu Ling’er’s eyes dimmed. After a while she said: “Shixiong, who do you think will enter the secret realm?”

“Probably some elders and those shixiong and shijie who are already cultivating by themselves,” Qin Kaiyi said. The Lingshan Sect was different from other sects. When the disciples reached the Foundation Building period, they would leave their shifus and practice by themselves. Of course, self-cultivation did not mean that they would have nothing to do with the Lingshan Sect. It could mean opening up one’s own dongfu, or traveling the world to establish one’s character and mind. 

The status of such disciples was generally very high, and they would return to the Lingshan Sect only in critical moments.

“Oh.” Liu Ling’er finally succumbed, and she pouted: “Alas, it’s a pity, I wanted to go in with my shixiong.”

“It’s okay, there will be chances in the future.” Qin Kaiyi had no choice but to settle her down. He had more important matters to consider, such as how he could stuff Shen Feixiao into the forbidden grounds. In the novel, Qin Shi whipped up a small trick. He let Shen Feixiao replace another disciple. On the surface, it seemed as if Qin Shi did this because he and Shen Feixiao had a good relationship. Only Qin Shi and Shen Feixiao understood that Qin Shi could only do such a thing because he hated Shen Feixiao.

Qin Kaiyi swept his eyes towards the crowd and saw Shen Feixiao standing in the midst of it, still sporting a thin and weak appearance. The expressionless teenager looked silently at the Qing Xuzi who had just finished his announcement on the mountain gate platform. Qin Kaiyi didn’t know what he was thinking.

After staring for a while, Qin Kaiyi made up his mind. He wanted Shen Feixiao to enter the forbidden area. If Shen Feixiao missed this opportunity to test his capabilities because of Qin Kaiyi’s own selfishness, even Qin Kaiyi wouldn’t be able to accept it. Of course, he wasn’t alone in his thoughts. Just after he settled into his determination, he heard the sound of that fraudulent system: [System Reminder: Please send Shen Feixiao into the forbidden land, otherwise 15% return value will be deducted. Please send Shen Feixiao into the forbidden land, otherwise 15% return value will be deducted.] I know. Internally rolling his eyes, Qin Kaiyi had outlined a plan in his heart. He decided to follow the original book and let Shen Feixiao replace someone to enter!

“Qin’er,1 come to my room alone.” Qin Kaiyi startled at hearing this secret sound transmission, and he turned to look at Qing Xuzi who was still standing on the high platform at the mountain gate. He answered his Qing Xuzi’s order in the same manner: “Yes, shifu.”

Qing Xuzi valued Qin Kaiyi, who was a disciple with dual fire and earth spiritual roots. He used to be worried about Qin Shi’s impetuous temper. However, ever since Qin Shi injured himself in the forbidden area, his character seemed to have greatly changed. He was no longer so high-and-mighty. This allowed Qing Xu Zi to finally let go of his worries and believe that his head disciple had finally been enlightened, profiting from his recent disaster by learning to cultivate his own heart. 

Now the Lingshan Sect suddenly had to contend with this sky secret realm matter. Qing Xuzi had been thinking about whether to let Qin Shi enter along with the elders. Considering that entry was such a good opportunity for cultivation, after thinking for a long time, Qing Xuzi decided to talk to Qin Kaiyi to see what he thought.

Because he was hesitating over this decision, Qing Xuzi decided to secretly speak with Qin Kaiyi. 

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Notes

  1.  Appending “er” to someone’s name adds affection and familiarity.

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ASV Chapter 12: Secret Realm

“Since you have signed a contract and become a disciple under me…” After making an oath with Qin Kaiyi, Zi Yangpei continued to transmit speech in secret with him: “I’ll give you the courtesy of meeting up with those you know one last time.”

“Many thanks brother Zi Yang,” Qin Kaiyi said lightly.

“You’re welcome.” Zi Yangpei looked at Qin Kaiyi with a smile, and then opened his mouth: “Shixiong, I bought a ring a few days ago in the secular world, and I really can’t judge its quality. Can shixiong help me to appraise it?”

Thinking that Zi Yangpei probably said this because Shen Feixiao was in the vicinity, Qin Kaiyi felt a bit amused. So he played along and took the ring that Zi Yangpei handed over, muttering: “Then I will help shidi take a look. “

Shen Feixiao, who stood behind Qin Kaiyi and saw this scene, kept quiet but showed obvious contempt in his gaze. He clearly regarded Qin Kaiyi as the kind of shixiong who received bribes. Seeing this look, Qin Kaiyi didn’t care too much. He would eventually have to be Shen Feixiao’s enemy anyway, even having the best relationship with him would still not help matters.

Zi Yangpei watched Qin Kaiyi accept his item with satisfaction. Naturally, he did not want to convey that he hoped for Qin Kaiyi to properly demonically cultivate with him. To put it plainly, now Qin Kaiyi had become penned-in livestock in his eyes. The higher Qin Kaiyi’s demonic cultivation level, the better he would serve as a supplement.1

Qin Kaiyi certainly knew his position in Zi Yangpei’s heart. He knew that Zi Yangpei didn’t have good intentions from the beginning, but even if he knew that, what could he do? He couldn’t beat him, there was a poisonous insect inside of him under Zi Yangpei’s control, and even if he tried hard to escape, was there not Shen Feixiao to slow him down? “Mountain Cloud Notes” was powerful, but Shen Feixiao hadn’t practiced it for long. If he really annoyed Zi Yangpei, who knew if the protagonist halo would have any effect.

Moreover, Qin Kaiyi was still under pressure to reach the fasting2 period in his cultivation within a year. He and Zi Yangpei would both get something out of their recent transaction.

Having thought this through, Qin Kaiyi’s resentment at being threatened by Zi Yangpei finally alleviated. He turned his head to say something to Zi Yangpei, who was still gazing at the forbidden grounds, and was surprised to see that Zi Yangpei’s expression had suddenly changed.

In the midst of wondering why Zi Yangpei’s face suddenly changed, Qin Kaiyi heard a loud noise.

An immense sound that he likened to an abrupt thunderclap or violent shuddering of the earth rung out, as if something had come to cover the sky, such that Qin Kaiyi was momentarily stunned and his first reaction was to think, “… an earthquake?”

Zi Yangpei was obviously not as shocked as Qin Kaiyi. He seemed to know what had happened before he heard the loud noise, and after hearing it, Zi Yangpei secretly transmitted one sentence to Qin Kaiyi, telling him to practice and to come to see him later. After making an excuse to leave, he departed with great speed as if chased by something…

At the start of this sudden development, Qin Kaiyi hadn’t responded to what happened. He didn’t react until he started to sort out the contents of the novel. This loud noise should be the harbinger of Shen Feixiao’s second golden finger.

In the novel, Shen Feixiao did not practice “Mountain Cloud Notes” long before the Lingshan Sect had a major event. A sky secret realm3 suddenly appeared in the forbidden area of ​​the Lingshan Sect. Sky secret realms were usually set up by ancient Daoist immortals as a particular kind of storage space. These kinds of spaces would have countless precious spiritual plants and high-level magic weapons. Of course, with great return comes great risk. The ferocious spiritual beasts in the secret realms were enough for ordinary cultivators to cower away.

The entrances of these kinds of sky secret realms were very hidden, but every time one appeared, carnage would result. The magic weapons born from these sky secret realms also made the cultivators salivate with desire. Three hundred years ago, the Royal Bell appeared in a sky secret realm and caused the cultivation world to rouse itself to stalk around this one ancient immortal tool.

The Lingshan sect now had a sky secret realm in the forbidden area. Naturally, it would consider sending disciples to dive in to search as soon as possible. The sooner they entered, the more opportunities to snatch the best items.

Although the Lingshan Sect was not weak in the realm of cultivation, there were still several martial arts sects above it at the top. One was Kunlun’s Shui Hua Lian Qiong. This sect rarely appeared in the outside world, but once it did, it would certainly cause a stir. Shui Hua Lian Qiong had only ever let out thirteen disciples. Among those thirteen disciples, the weakest was already a Nascent Soul stage elder.

Qin Kaiyi naturally understood the role of this sky secret realm for Shen Feixiao. If Shen Feixiao only stayed within the bounds of the Lingshan Sect as a disciple who had just entered the sect without even a dongfu (T/N: cultivation cave) or rare grasses to aid him, he wouldn’t even have the spiritual energy needed for cultivation. This would greatly impact Shen Feixiao’s cultivation speed.

Qin Kaiyi thought of this, and began to shout bitterly in his heart. He remembered clearly why Shen Feixiao could enter the sky secret realm… his entrance was not some rare honor. A disciple who only practiced up to the seventh layer of Qi Refining entered this secret realm–if not for “Mountain Cloud Notes” and the sable, he was afraid that even a few of Shen Feixiao’s lives would not be enough to pay the price. 

The one to kick off this evil event of Shen Feixiao entering the sky secret realm was his disgruntled shixiong Qin Shi. In the novel, because Shen Feixiao and Liu Ling’er were getting closer, Qin Shi tried every means to get rid of Shen Feixiao. This sky secret realm gave Qin Shi a great opportunity–in for a penny, in for a pound. He simply forced Shen Feixiao into the sky secret realm. Originally intending to let Shen Feixiao die in the secret realm, Qin Shi did not expect that Shen Feixiao using his protagonist halo to not only survive, but to increase his cultivation…

You can’t deny that every villain with a sliver of intent to do evil was always unsuccessful!

Shen Feixiao stared at Qin Kaiyi’s continually changing facial expressions with no idea what he was thinking about. After a long time, he said lightly: “Shixiong.”

“Ah?” His meandering thoughts interrupted by Shen Feixiao, Qin Kaiyi turned to look at the shidi who he was about to set up: “What’s wrong?”

“It seems there is the sound of a bell,” Shen Feixiao said softly. “Did something happen?”

The sound of bells? Upon hearing this remark, Qin Kaiyi finally reacted. At this time, Qing Xuzi sent people to ring the bell. The sound of this bell held great meaning in the Lingshan Sect. Every time it sounded, there must be a major event concerning the survival of the Lingshan Sect.

“Shidi, come with me.” Qin Kaiyi thought for a moment and then said, “I’m afraid something important has happened.”

“Yes.” Shen Feixiao’s tone was very plain. He came across as neither humble nor overbearing. Even though his position was beneath that of Qin Kaiyi’s, he never showed a flattering or self-abasing expression. That is to say, a person’s inborn character was really too important. 

“Let’s go.” Qin Kaiyi walked towards the mountain gate with Shen Feixiao. Of course, during this time, he quietly checked the ring that Zi Yangpei gave him.

The seemingly ordinary jade thumb ring (T/N: worn in ancient times by archers to protect the thumb when drawing a bowstring) was actually a storage ring. Its space was not too large, at only three or four cubic meters. It was filled with some bottles and jars and some books on demonic cultivation. In an inconspicuous corner, Qin Kai Yi also found a clear-colored, transparent spider. It looked like Zi Yangpei really spent quite a generous amount on this deal with him. The corners of Qin Kaiyi’s mouth lifted into a sneer. He didn’t forget that Zi Yangpei’s poisonous insect was still in his stomach. He did want to demonically cultivate in the future, but that was in order to have the plot run its course. He wasn’t stupid enough to trust Zi Yangpei.

They quickly arrived at the mountain gate. Qin Kaiyi wore the storage ring on his finger and said to Shen Feixiao: “Shidi, I’ll first go and see what happened.”

“Okay.” Shen Feixiao still had an expression conveying that he did not want to pay attention to anyone.

At this time, a lot of people had gathered at the mountain gate. One rule of the Lingshan Sect is that as long as you heard the bell, no matter what you were doing, you must immediately rush to the mountain gate. If one arrived late, he would be immediately expelled from the sect.

Qin Kaiyi’s shifu Qing Xuzi, who was the head of the Lingshan Sect, was a not-very-strict little old man. However, when it came to these important matters, he still did not dare to be careless.

When Qin Kaiyi arrived, Liu Ling’er and the group of shidi and shimei serving as disciples of the sect head had already almost all gathered. When they saw Qin Kaiyi, they all gathered around and curiously asked him what happened.

Although Qin Kaiyi secretly already basically understood what was going on, he didn’t reveal any flaws on the surface. He thought about it for a moment and said, “How can I know what happened? But since shifu has struck the bell, it must be a big deal.” With such an obvious statement, he might as well have said nothing at all. The disappointed shidi and shimei who failed to receive any worthy news dispersed, leaving only Liu Ling’er behind.

“Shixiong, what about the new shidi you just received?” Liu Ling’er asked curiously.

“Oh him, I got separated from him just now. He should be here by now.” Qin Kaiyi lied casually: “I’ll help you catch a sable in a few days.”

“Okay, no hurry.” Despite saying so, Liu Ling’er’s narrowed eyes still exposed her good mood.

“En.” Because he still had pressing matters to worry about, Qin Kaiyi did not want to say more.

“Brother, do you actually know what’s going on?” Liu Ling’er rolled her eyes and looked at Qin Kaiyi.

“En?” Qin Kaiyi felt a bit surprised: “Why do you say that?”

“Haha, of course because shixiong’s expression makes it seem as if the sky is about to collapse.” Liu Ling’er laughingly said, “I haven’t seen this kind of expression on shixiong for a long time.”

“Really?” Qin Kaiyi didn’t know whether to laugh or cry, he really didn’t expect that Liu Ling’er would be able to discover his unusual state. 

Qin Kaiyi saw that Liu Ling’er wanted to say more, so he waved at her and whispered: “Don’t talk, shifu is here.”

Liu Ling’er turned her head and saw Qing Xuzi appearing at the mountain gate.

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Notes

  1. Or tonic. Basically he’s like vitamin D except instead of clearing Zi Yangpei’s acne or something he’s gonna bolster his evil powers.
  2. What it says on the tin–fasting. I guess the author means the stage in his cultivation when he no longer has to eat.
  3. Original: 先天秘境. 先天 means innate or natural. Neither made sense to me so I kept 天 only, which means sky. Suggestions welcome.

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