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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 19, 2023 10 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 13

Chapter 14

One Day

Gu Fuyou said, “Yes, it’s the Azure Phoenix clan. The golden phoenix crown, the emerald feathered robes, and the bas-relief of a hundred birds paying homage to the phoenix are all elements exclusive to Azure Phoenix funerals. The hint of red at the corner of the woman’s eyes indicates she’s an Azure Phoenix from one of the three branches.”

The Azure Phoenix and Dragon clans are both ancient celestial beasts, said to have helped the Celestial Ancestor create the world, earning them a high status. They are the only two celestial beasts that can take human form.

The Azure Phoenix clan is divided into three branches: Qingluan, Daqing, and Shaoqing.

The Qingluan boasts emerald feathers all over, save for a distinctive red feather near its eyes. When transformed into humans, this red mark remains, resembling the rouge applied by women, adding a touch of charm.

Usually, members of the Azure Phoenix bury their dead within their tribe’s tomb, but the burial of this particular Azure Phoenix here lends an extra layer of mystery to the place.

Gu Fuyou continued, “When I brought you out, I saw an inscription above the ice door—’Ruizhu Palace.’ This confirms the woman’s identity as an Azure Phoenix.”

The Central Continent’s Danxue Mountain houses the famed Ruizhu Palace, while Penglai Island in the Four Seas is home to Penglai Palace. These palaces are the two most famous celestial palaces, respectively inhabited by the Azure Phoenix and Dragon Clans. Ordinary people wouldn’t dare to use these palace names lightly.

Watching the flickering firelight, Gu Fuyou said, “The Azure Phoenix clan is noble, always considered themselves superior. They highly value their bodies and wouldn’t demean themselves by using their own body as the formation’s core.”

“This formation is meant to keep outsiders away. When Xian Luo opens, the ones who usually enter are humans.”

“They look down on humans. Tens of thousands of years ago, humans were considered inferior to them, and even looking at them directly was seen as an offense. Although things have changed significantly now, arrogance is deeply rooted and hard to change. It makes sense that they would place the core under the woman’s body, as they subconsciously believe that those who enter are unworthy of gazing upon her face and should only bow their heads. So I guessed that the core was the ice platform beneath her.”

“In the end, it was thanks to Ah Fu that I found the weakness. It’s fitting that I named it ‘Ah Fu’. Ha-ha.”

Zhong Michu had been silently listening. She finally spoke up, “Even so, it’s an ancient formation. Knowing the core doesn’t make it easy to break.”

Gu Fuyou laid the sword embryo across her lap, caressing it thoughtfully. “I don’t know how it happened. The core’s defense was weak, but with my abilities, breaking it should have been extremely difficult. Yet, I broke it with just two strikes…”

Looking up at Zhong Michu with a radiant smile, Gu Fuyou said, “Maybe it’s thanks to the spiritual energy you transferred to me.”

“Don’t tease,” Zhong Michu said, knowing well that the spiritual energy she had transferred only stopped Gu Fuyou’s bleeding.

“I’m serious,” Gu Fuyou insisted.

Suddenly, Zhong Michu turned her head and coughed lightly.

Gu Fuyou’s playful expression vanished, replaced by worry, “Senior Sister Zhong…”

The earlier bleeding had indeed caused internal injuries. The ancient formation was powerful, and though the frost had melted, the damage wasn’t entirely gone.

Zhong Michu waved dismissively, “I’m fine.”

Gu Fuyou remained skeptical, “Really?”

Zhong Michu rested her forehead against the rock wall, slightly tilting her head back and closing her eyes. After a while, she opened her eyes and asked, “Is that weapon something you crafted?”

Zhong Michu rarely initiated conversation, and the few questions she had asked earlier were already unusual, probably due to the curiosity born from their brush with death.

Seeing her ask again now, Gu Fuyou realized she wanted to change the subject.

Sensing that Zhong Michu didn’t want to discuss her injuries further, Gu Fuyou sighed inwardly. Knowing wouldn’t change anything, and she couldn’t help anyway.

She bit her lip, touched her ear, and responded, “I’m crafting it without any clear plan.”

Gu Fuyou wasn’t in the mood to talk much, and after their brief exchange, they fell silent again. The fire crackled, and Ah Fu purred.

Feeling Gu Fuyou’s low spirits, Zhong Michu, for some reason, felt an inexplicable unease. Breaking her usual silence, she asked, “Why haven’t you crafted it completely?”

The sword embryo was only roughly shaped like a sword. If not complete, its power would be greatly limited.

Gu Fuyou replied, “It’s not the right time yet. This sword embryo…”

She stared at the sword embryo for a long time, then suddenly looked up at Zhong Michu with an enigmatic smile, “Can you guess why?”

Before Zhong Michu could respond, Gu Fuyou continued, tracing the patterns on the sword embryo, “I plan to make it into the most powerful magical weapon in the world.”

“I want to fuse ancient and modern formations into it, using them like talismans. With just a command, it could deploy a formation, but unlike talismans that are single-use, this could be used thousands upon thousands of times, endlessly. It would develop its own spirit, allowing it to cultivate like a human, absorbing spiritual energy, refining its body, and even evolving and improving the formations. That way, even someone like me, with no cultivation talent and low spiritual energy, could wield it and compete with Nascent Soul or even Hallow Void stage masters.”

“But because it’s so difficult to refine and I still lack many materials, it’s incomplete.”

She hadn’t shared these thoughts with anyone in a long time. When she was younger, people dismissed her as naive and childish for saying such things. As she grew older, others would mock her for being delusional and overambitious.

She had resolved to keep these dreams to herself, but she couldn’t resist when Zhong Michu asked twice.

Partly, it was the thrill of narrowly escaping death that spurred her to speak, and partly, she had a gut feeling that Zhong Michu wouldn’t look down on her.

As expected, Zhong Michu looked slightly surprised but showed no disdain. Her expressions were always subtle and sparse, which Gu Fuyou used to find dull, but now she cherished that calm demeanor.

If Zhong Michu had shown even a hint of scorn or treated her words as a joke, Gu Fuyou would have been deeply hurt and disappointed once more.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen.

Zhong Michu asked, “Do you want the core of a Hallow Void spirit beast for this purpose?”

“Yes.” Gu Fuyou responded, smiling and looking straight into Zhong Michu’s eyes, not wanting to miss any of her reactions.

Zhong Michu shook her head. “There are countless ancient and modern formations. Fusing them all would require a treasure of extraordinary power to withstand it. The spiritual energy needed to sustain such a weapon would be immense, requiring billions of spirit stones. Where would you find that? And letting it evolve and improve formations on its own is unheard of. No one would think or dare to attempt such a thing…”

Gu Fuyou retorted, “Tens of thousands of years ago, the idea of humans cultivating immortality was unheard of. No one thought it possible, but look at us now. Immortal sects flourish, and the path of immortality thrives. Just because something doesn’t exist now doesn’t mean it will never be possible!”

Zhong Michu was taken aback, silently contemplating without further argument.

Gu Fuyou felt her excitement grow, as if a barren part of her heart was being nourished, causing a once withered flower to bloom.

She had so much to say about her dreams, but no one had ever understood. She had kept these thoughts bottled up for so long, yearning to share them. With even the slightest encouragement, she could talk passionately and endlessly.

She stirred the fire, “All types of formations in the world are derived from Yin and Yang and the Five Elements, spreading like the branches and roots of trees.”

“In the end, the foundation of any formation relies on treasures of the five elements: metal, wood, water, fire, and earth. I already have a metal spirit and now the core of the Wind Beast, which is of wood attribute. Both are top-quality items. They may not be unique in the world, but they’re good enough as a foundation for endless variations. I only lack treasures of water, fire, and earth. As for the vast spiritual power needed, you don’t necessarily need so many spiritual stones. Just one thing will do…”

She paused here, initially wanting to reveal what that thing was. But on second thought, since Zhong Michu might not know about it, saying it might not be convincing.

Unexpectedly, Zhong Michu’s thoughts flashed, and she naturally continued, “Are you talking about Qilin Marrow?”

Gu Fuyou stared at her in shock, “You… you know about the Qilin Marrow?”

Qilin Marrow doesn’t refer to a specific item but a category of spiritual substances. These rare objects are born from celestial phenomena, occurring once every ten thousand years or even hundreds of thousands of years.

Qilin Marrow could manifest as a spring of water, flowing magma in a volcano, or even the blood of a spirit beast. The spiritual energy contained within QilinMarrow is vast, comparable to the cosmos. When not in use, it seems like an ordinary item with no detectable special properties. But once activated, even a single drop can rival the combined spiritual energy of endless miles of spiritual mines.

If such an item appeared, it would be a divine treasure that would drive all cultivators to madness.

However, the long intervals between appearances mean that records of Qilin Marrow are scarce. Many people don’t know about it, and those who do often doubt its existence.

Suddenly, Gu Fuyou blurted out, “Senior Sister Zhong, Senior Sister Zhong, there are three thousand paths to immortality, no path is the only one!”

Zhong Michu was silent for a while, unable to ignore her expectant gaze, and sighed softly, “Follow your heart and let nature take its course…”

Joining in, Gu Fuyou smiled and said, “Even grass, trees, and stones can become immortals!”

Filled with emotion, her voice trembling, Gu Fuyou asked, “Senior Sister Zhong, have you also read the ‘Records by the Azure Emperor’?”

Zhong Michu had intended to explain that she was only looking up some things, but seeing Gu Fuyou so happy, her smile so bright, she found herself simply saying, “Yes.”

Gu Fuyou felt a deep joy, as if she had met a kindred spirit, lamenting they hadn’t known each other sooner.

‘There are three thousand paths to immortality, no path is the only one, follow your heart and let nature take its course, even grass, trees, and stones can become immortals.’ This quote from the ‘Records of the Azure Emperor’ resonated deeply with her.

This book, once banned, was written by one of the past leaders of the Azure Phoenix clan, a figure the world respectfully called the Qing Emperor. It’s been tens of thousands of years since, and his name is lost to history.

The book covers a wide range of topics, including astronomy, geography, formations, artifact refinement, rare treasures, and spirit beasts, filled with unusual and insightful knowledge.

The Qilin marrow is one of the treasures recorded in the ‘Records of the Azure Emperor.’

The book was banned due to its eccentric and unconventional content, describing many spirit beasts and treasures that no one had seen in modern times, leading people to dismiss it as fanciful and misleading.

Additionally, it contained a scathing critique of the Four Immortal Sects. At that time, the Four Immortal Sects were just a minor sect, so they kept silent. Now, having gained more influence by dominating a continent, they have banned this book.

Despite the ban, the Four Immortal Sects still secretly believed in some of its records—each year, they would perform astrological calculations to predict the birth of Qilin Marrow.

Upon learning that the Qilin Marrow would appear in this century, they’ve discreetly dispatched people worldwide to search for it.

By now, there are only a few copies of Records of the Azure Emperor left in the world. She had to put in a lot of effort to obtain one.

Zhong Michu not only possesses a copy but has also read it.

Gu Fuyou never would have imagined someone like Zhong Michu would read a banned book.

This gave Gu Fuyou a new perspective on Zhong Michu, seeing her in a more vibrant light.

Gu Fuyou offered the sword embryo to Zhong Michu, looking at her earnestly, “Senior Sister Zhong, would you like to take a look?”

Seeing the eager expression on her face, Zhong Michu couldn’t bring herself to refuse.

Accepting it, she felt the cool touch of the sword embryo. Its texture was soft, and it looked like dark jade. “Is this a Yin-Yang jade? It’s of excellent quality.”

Though called jade, Yin-Yang jade has the texture of jade but is tougher than any metal. It can absorb spiritual energy and balance the five elements.

High-quality Yin-Yang jade has an immense capacity, even able to absorb the spiritual energy of an entire spirit stone mine. This thing is quite impressive when used for making magical artifacts, but high-quality yin-yang jade is rare, very rare, and can be encountered but not sought after.

Gu Fuyou’s eyes sparkled even brighter with excitement. She leaned towards Zhong Michu and exclaimed, “Yes, it’s a Yin-Yang jade!”

She realized she had spoken too loudly, felt embarrassed, and quickly sat back down.

She felt like a child who had just found a friend, eagerly presenting her most cherished toy and being overjoyed at the slightest praise.

It took her quite a while to calm herself down, worried that her excessive excitement might make Zhong Michu uncomfortable.

Staring into the fire, a gentle expression crossed her face, “Senior Sister Zhong, the first time I encountered formations, I knew they would be my lifelong passion.”

“I’m not very talented, you know that. I might never reach the Golden Core stage in my lifetime.”

“So I want to create this magical weapon to prove that formations aren’t just a niche skill, to show that effort matters. Even without talent, without the ability to cultivate, I can still stand shoulder to shoulder with the greats.”

“I know forging this sword will be incredibly difficult, but even if it takes my whole life, one day, one day…”

As she spoke, memories flooded her mind, bringing a sting to her eyes. She quickly wiped away the moisture and looked at Zhong Michu with a smile, “Senior Sister Zhong, I’ve only ever shared these thoughts with you. Don’t laugh at me, and please don’t tell anyone.”

She had opened up too much today, sharing thoughts she usually kept to herself. She knew she might feel embarrassed later.

Perhaps due to her lingering injuries, Zhong Michu wasn’t sitting as upright as usual. Instead, she leaned lazily against a rock, watching Gu Fuyou silently.

The firelight reflected in her eyes, making her look warm and inviting.

She finally spoke, “Gu Fuyou, you are incredible.”

Truly incredible.

Gu Fuyou dared to dream big, her imagination unrestrained.

She had a goal she was passionate about, willing to dedicate her life to it. She burned like a fire, her dreams shining brightly when she spoke of them.

Zhong Michu had no clear idea of what she wanted to do with her life. It seemed to her that her entire life’s path was in clear view: cultivate and eventually ascend to immortality.

For her, whether she becomes an immortal or not didn’t matter. Cultivating was just a part of her life, just as eating is for mortals. She didn’t particularly love it, nor was she averse to it.

It felt too mundane. At times, even her memories seemed colorless.

Deep down, she was somewhat envious of Gu Fuyou, who had found a passion worth dedicating her life to. Even though she didn’t have such feelings herself, she could somehow understand them, which is why her words were sincere.

Blushing, Gu Fuyou said, “Senior Sister Zhong, don’t make fun of me. What’s so incredible about me? You are the incredible one.”

Zhong Michu retorted, “Am I?”

It wasn’t a teasing question; it was a genuine inquiry.

Gu Fuyou assumed she rarely left the mountain and wasn’t aware of how her skills compared to other cultivators. She thought Zhong Michu wouldn’t consider herself incredible without a comparison.

Filled with emotion, Gu Fuyou jumped to her feet, her voice filled with fervor, “You are incredible! Truly incredible!”

“You reached dual cultivation of the Golden Core Stage before the age of a hundred. Throughout history, there have been very few like you. Among women alone, you are certainly the first. You will certainly ascend and be revered throughout history. You’re the really incredible! Really, I swear!”

“Really?” Zhong Michu responded softly, a faint smile tugging at her lips.

For the first time, Gu Fuyou saw her smile.

Her face was as radiant as white jade, a delicate flower speaking warm words.

Blushing deeply, Gu Fuyou sat back down and covered her face with her hands.

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Previous: Chapter 13

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Anon
Anon
8 months ago

I really like this novel and your work thank you very much

Anon
Anon
8 months ago

Thanks for the TL!

Otaku046
Otaku046
8 months ago

So cute, I’m glad they’re slowly opening up to each other

dadin
dadin
8 months ago

‘There are three thousand paths to immortality, none are the only right way, act according to one’s nature, go with the flow, even grass, trees, and rocks can become immortals.’

sounds like a motivational life motto .. nods

jbebe
jbebe
8 months ago

Just started reading this–very much enjoying the story. Thank you so much for translating!

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

DAWGGGG ITS SO GOOD!! Wuwuwu we love genuine connection and talking open feelings, this truly is a treasure ;+;; thank you TL for bringing this story to us!

adlibbed
adlibbed
4 months ago

Sharing her dreams with her shijie… being open and vulnerable to each other… envying each other… shijie likes waching her talk about her dreams… </3

Doom
Doom
4 months ago

Dang fl is like me. I’m working and doing things but it’s not like I love it, at the same time don’t hate it too. I understand this girl so much. Just living and going with the flow. 😭🫂. Good thing one of my passion is reading novels 👀

Kat
Kat
1 month ago

Oh gosh. I just know what the Kirin Marrow she’s looking for is. It was emphasized recently.. Don’t look anymore…. Seemlingly ordinary, you say? 😭👀

Last edited 1 month ago by Kat
Hatimo
Hatimo
22 days ago

Oh damn, we learn a lot about Gu Fuyou here, I root for her and cry with her 😭 she has been underestimated through her life but it doesn’t make her dream less… And finally , zhong michu could see it as well