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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 21, 2023 8 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Leaving Xian Luo

An idea popped into Gu Fuyou’s mind, and she immediately put it into action.

She neatly stored away her storage bag and wrapped the harvested spiritual herbs and rare flowers in her outer robe, making a bundle. She carried it on her back and picked up Ah Fu, heading straight to the front of the courtyard.

Standing in front of the fence, she called out, “Senior Sister Zhong, Senior Sister Zhong.”

It had been light all day, and Gu Fuyou guessed she must have been out for about twelve hours, essentially a whole day and night.

After calling out several times, a woman came out. Hearing Gu Fuyou, her eyebrows shot up in annoyance. “What’s all this noise?” she snapped.

She extended her staff over the fence, pushing Gu Fuyou away and said, “Stay away from my courtyard.”

Gu Fuyou: “…”

Gu Fuyou asked, “Where’s my Senior Sister?”

“She’s resting,” the woman replied curtly and then ignored Gu Fuyou, muttering to herself as she walked back to the porch, “Humans are so noisy.”

The woman went on to tend to the spiritual flowers and herbs in the yard. Seeing this, Gu Fuyou immediately turned and left, appearing to stroll casually but secretly sneaking around to the back of the courtyard.

The back fence of the courtyard was different. It was a row of earth walls covered with green vines and adorned with unknown flowers, looking particularly elegant.

When Gu Fuyou approached, she found that no matter how she walked, she couldn’t get close to the courtyard wall. She was always five steps away from it.

Looking around, she realized the back of the yard was protected by a maze-like formation.

The formation was exquisitely set up, and Gu Fuyou, thrilled at the challenge, concentrated intently. When she finally broke through the formation, she felt a surge of satisfaction and accomplishment.

Excitedly, she ran to the wall, used it to gain leverage, and flew up, landing steadily on top.

Peering inside, she found the view entirely different from what she had seen outside.

The backyard was incredibly spacious, like an emerald forest with oddly shaped trees and a light mist swirling about.

The person she was looking for was right there in the backyard.

She was sitting on the twisted roots of an ancient tree, leaning against its trunk, eyes closed as if asleep. A bird perched on her open palm, tilting its head to look at her. The sunlight filtering through the leaves draped her in a silky glow.

She seemed surreal, like a person in a painting.

Zhong Michu had let her hair down, her long black hair cascading over her shoulders like ink.

Gu Fuyou noticed something in Zhong Michu’s hair, but couldn’t see it clearly. Instinctively, she wanted to get closer, forgetting she was still on the wall. She leaned forward and, with an “ouch,” fell off the wall.

She rolled on the ground, cushioned by the bundle on her back, so she wasn’t hurt.

Before she could stand, a shadow loomed over, blocking the sunlight.

It was Zhong Michu, her hair now neatly tied up again, standing beside Gu Fuyou and looking down at her. “What are you doing?” she asked.

Gu Fuyou looked up at Zhong Michu, noticing nothing unusual in her hair and assuming she had been mistaken earlier. She sat up and asked, “Senior Sister Zhong, did that person do anything to you?”

She initially intended to summon Zhong Michu directly but feared it might hinder any healing process. Hence, she decided to check personally.

Zhong Michu shook her head. “The elder did not mistreat me.”

“She didn’t allow you to come in, and now you’ve sneaked in. She might blame you, so it’s better to leave first. I’ll bid farewell to the elder and leave with you.”

“Okay.” As Gu Fuyou stood up, relieved that Zhong Michu was safe, she held many words in her heart, planning to discuss them once they were outside.

Just as she was about to discreetly climb back over the wall, she suddenly heard a voice, You’ve got some nerve, girl, sneaking into my courtyard. Are you seeking death?”

A chill ran down Gu Fuyou’s spine, and she turned around to see the same woman from the front courtyard, coldly staring at her from a distance.

Feeling guilty, Gu Fuyou said, “Elder…”

The woman glanced towards the wall and smirked, “You’ve got some skills, little girl. Did you break that formation?”

Zhong Michu stepped in front of Gu Fuyou, shielding her, “Elder, please forgive us. My junior sister has been waiting outside for a long time, feeling uneasy and worried about my safety. That’s why she intruded here without proper manners.”

“You’re quite protective of her,” the woman remarked, her gaze shifting between the two before settling on Gu Fuyou for a moment. With a cold snort, she tossed over a crystal stone and said, “Both of you, get out of here. Don’t stand around and annoy me.”

Zhong Michu caught the crystal and replied, “Thank you, elder.”

Gu Fuyou, feeling as if she had been granted a great pardon, quickly added, “Thank you, elder, for your leniency.”

The woman had a strange temper, so the two of them, not wanting to linger and risk upsetting her further, quickly left through the back gate.

Zhong Michu turned back to bow respectfully to the woman once more, and Gu Fuyou followed suit, saying, “We apologize for the disturbance and are grateful for your care. We’ll take our leave now, and we’ll always remember your help…”

“Go on, go on!” the woman said impatiently, “Humans really are a nuisance.”

Gu Fuyou felt a bit awkward but kept silent.

Once they were a good distance away and out of sight, Gu Fuyou exhaled a huge sigh of relief, feeling much lighter. She stretched her body, the pressure from the woman now gone, and even her steps felt much lighter.

She showed Zhong Michu the bundle and grinned broadly, “Senior Sister, I found a lot of spiritual plants in an old forest. They’re all rare types, so at least the dangers we faced after falling into the inner layer weren’t for nothing. When we get out, once Si Miao refines the pills, I’ll share half with you.”

“Oh, and there’s more!” Gu Fuyou suddenly remembered, pulling out a handkerchief from her pocket. She unwrapped it to reveal a soft-glowing, snow-white pearl. Handing it to Zhong Michu, she said, “Senior Sister Zhong, this is a rare treasure used to stabilize the formation in Ruizhu Palace. It’s an ice-attribute treasure, perfect for your water spiritual root. If you absorb it, your cultivation will definitely improve.”

Zhong Michu replied, “You went through so much trouble to get this. You should keep it for yourself.”

Gu Fuyou insisted, pushing it into her hand along with the handkerchief. She smiled and said, “We’re in this together. It wouldn’t be fair if I kept all the benefits. I have the core of a Wind beast. You take this, one for each of us. It’s perfect.”

As Zhong Michu was about to refuse again, Gu Fuyou quickly ran a few steps away, holding Ah Fu, and called back with a laugh, “If you try to give it back, I won’t take it. If you don’t want it, just throw it on the ground.”

Only then did Zhong Michu accept, saying, “Thank you for your kindness.”

“Senior Sister Zhong, don’t be so formal with me,” Gu Fuyou said. They had been through life-and-death situations together, and Gu Fuyou had already considered Zhong Michu a close friend. She didn’t like the polite distance between them.

Gu Fuyou asked, “Senior Sister, how are your injuries?”

There was a moment of silence from Zhong Michu. When Gu Fuyou didn’t receive a reply, she looked back at her.

Zhong Michu softly said, “I should be… okay now…”

She handed the crystal stone to Gu Fuyou and changed the subject, “The elder knew we were looking for the center of the inner layer. She told us the mountain we’re heading to is the place. She probably knew our purpose and hence gave us this crystal stone.”

In the Immortal Realms, spirit stones are typically used as currency because they contain spiritual energy useful for cultivation, alchemy, and array formations.

Crystals were the result of compressing spirit stones to their limit. Typically, it takes tens of thousands of spirit stones to produce a single crystal, so the spiritual energy within is immense.

It can be used to supply the spiritual power required by the Zhuan Fengshui formation.

Gu Fuyou, holding the crystal, wondered, “Why would this elder help us so much without any apparent reason?”

The Azure Phoenix was naturally proud—an attribute common to their clan. This particular Azure Phoenix was especially strange, with a capricious temper. Despite seeming difficult to deal with, she unexpectedly took the trouble to heal Zhong Michu, didn’t hold a grudge for Gu Fuyou’s intrusion, and even gifted them a crystal stone to help them leave.

Perhaps the Azure Phoenix cannot be judged by appearances; despite her harsh words, she might actually have a kind and gentle heart.

Zhong Michu explained, “The elder said she had some old connection with my ancestors, which is why she helped. She didn’t elaborate further.”

Gu Fuyou chuckled, “So, it’s all thanks to Senior Sister Zhong’s good fortune.”

Gu Fuyou knew that Zhong Michu’s mother was Yunran Xuanzun. Since both were prodigiously talented, she thought it wasn’t improbable for her powerful ancestors to have connections with the Azure Phoenix. Although she was curious, Gu Fuyou didn’t dwell on it.”

They left the woman’s territory and headed straight for the peculiar mountain, encountering no spiritual beasts on the way. They reached safely, passed the stone statues of the beasts, and, despite the lingering anxiety, climbed to the peak.

Gu Fuyou started setting up the formation. Once the formation was ready, they simply needed to throw the spirit stone into the formation’s core, and the formation would activate.

Although the crystal stone contained a lot of spiritual energy, it would only sustain the Zhuan Fengshui formation for a short while.

Gu Fuyou and Zhong Michu were already standing inside the formation. As soon as the spirit stone was thrown, they would be able to bid farewell to this dangerous place.

Gu Fuyou took a moment to gaze into the distance. Inside Xian Luo, they couldn’t feel the change of seasons, but by her calculations, over three months should have passed in the outside world. Reflecting on the various events they had experienced on their journey, filled with ups and downs, she couldn’t help but feel emotional.

Zhong Michu called out to her, “Gu Fuyou?”

Snapping back to reality, Gu Fuyou asked, “Senior Sister Zhong, are you ready?”

Zhong Michu nodded in confirmation. Holding Ah Fu, Gu Fuyou tossed the crystal stone into the formation’s core. Initially, nothing happened, but within three breaths, the wind and clouds transformed, and a hole of light appeared beneath their feet, leading to a meadow covered in dimond-shaped flowers.

They fell through the void and landed safely on the ground. Looking back at the large gate to the inner layer, they saw it had already closed. After three breaths, it reappeared in the air in front of them.

Inside Xian Luo, the distance between the inner and outer layers was vast, but in the external world, it was merely a few steps.

“We’re out!” Gu Fuyou exclaimed joyfully, lifting Ah Fu up high, only to realize she was struggling with its weight.

Ah Fu had grown too quickly. Not long after birth, its body had become plump, its once grayish-white fur hardening and darkening, no longer resembling the fragile creature it once was.

Zhong Michu stood by, watching her silently.

Gu Fuyou’s joy was short-lived as she remembered that Gu Huaiyou and Si Miao were still trapped inside Dizang’s mouth, their safety unknown. Though she believed in their abilities to protect themselves, she worried they might be stuck without a way to escape. She decided to go back into Xian Luo to find the Dizang.

The entrance to Xian Luo spun for a moment before returning to its original position, allowing them to re-enter from the outermost layer.

Gu Fuyou thought that since she no longer had the spirit stone with her, there was no risk of mistakenly entering the inner layer again. With Zhong Michu by her side, she felt reassured.

But Zhong Michu had just been through life and death with her. They had finally gotten out, and she hesitated to ask her to go back in.

While she was contemplating, a group emerged from the entrance of Xian Luo. The man leading the group, riding a flying carriage, was none other than Zuo Tianlang.

The group seemed to have reaped a rich harvest, as the carriages behind them were filled with nets bulging with captured beasts.

Gu Fuyou glanced at the nets and saw that they were filled with Dizang meat. Her expression changed, and she thought, “Zuo Tianlang captured Dizang. What about Gu Huaiyou and Si Miao…?”

She was about to step forward and intercept Zuo Tianlang to ask about the whereabouts of Gu Huaiyou and Si Miao.

But then she saw two more people emerge from the celestial gate of Xian Luo, following behind the Zuo family convoy.

It was a young man and woman. The man wore dark, form-fitting clothes and had numerous injuries on his face. The woman was dressed in a dark-colored dress, its original color indiscernible as she looked like she had been pulled from a pool of blood.

As soon as they landed, the man gently laid the woman down, lightly patting her cheeks and calling out in distress, “Sister! Sister!”

The woman remained unconscious. The man suddenly raised his head, eyes filled with fury, glaring at Zuo Tianlang, who was driving the carriage in the sky. He stood up and shouted at the Zuo family members in the sky, “The esteemed Xu Ling Zuo family, abusing your power and committing violence, showing no regard for human life. Do you have any sense of justice? Have you no shame?”

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Previous: Chapter 15

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tar
tar
8 months ago

I really love the story so far and the translations are so good. Thank you for translating and keep up the good work translator!

tar
tar
8 months ago
Reply to  admin

Ohh my godd,, i can’t waitt to know what will happenn. I’ll be waiting eagerly for your translation thenn

Doom
Doom
4 months ago
Reply to  admin

If this is the boring part and it’s already this good, I can’t wait what’s up ahead!!! Tysm for translating!

Anon
Anon
8 months ago

Novels that focus on story and worldbuilding rather than exclusively on romance are my favorites, this one reminds me a bit of ”the witch nichang”

You get to really know both characters and the romance naturally builds up, thanks for the tl

Gibli
Gibli
3 days ago
Reply to  Anon

Where did you read “the witch nichang” ? As I can’t find the completely translated novel

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

Waaa I hope the friends are okay! It’s so rare for protagonists to actually have genuine friendships especially in fantasy adventure novels, I was looking forward to it ;;;

Hatimo
Hatimo
22 days ago

Ahhh it ends? I quite enjoy the Xuan lou journey, I wonder if Gu Fuyou got stronger significantly after this