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The Dragon

The Dragon By Oct 31, 2023 3 Comments
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Previous: Chapter 34

Chapter 35

Lost in the Maze of the Nine Palaces

The “Death Gate” is located in the Earth Palace among the nine palaces, positioned to the southwest. Gu Fuyou led the group into the maze-like passage for the sixth time, took out a talisman, and said, “Southwest.”

The talisman folded mid-air and fluttered like a yellow butterfly, fluttering its paper wings.

This was a direction-guiding talisman. It only flew in a specific direction. Because this passageway didn’t face the southwest, the talisman kept flying close to the wall.

After passing two intersections and walking some distance, the talisman took a turn, leading the group to a dead end.

Gan Fengzhong remarked, “How come there’s no way forward?”

Gu Fuyou approached the stone wall and felt its surface, measuring something with her fingers. After a while, she placed another talisman on the corner of the wall and instructed, “Uncle Gan, hit here.”

“Alright.” Gan Fengzhong stepped forward, gathering his energy into a fist, and punched the stone wall.

Gan Fengzhong was an external cultivator in the Nascent Soul stage. Unlike others who cultivated in sword, blade, or music arts, he focused solely on cultivating his physique. Standing at eight feet tall with a body as hard as metal, shattering a stone wall — or even punching through steel — shouldn’t be an issue for him.

Yet, the wall remained unscathed. Although Gan Fengzhong hadn’t used his full strength, the result was unexpected. Not only was he surprised, but Si Miao and Gu Huaiyou were equally astonished.

Gathering his energy again, Gan Fengzhong punched the wall with increased force. With a loud bang, only a small crack appeared.

Gan Fengzhong couldn’t believe that he was being bested by a mere wall. Pride surged within him, and he continuously struck the wall with force, causing the ground to shake.

The cracks grew larger and multiplied. Finally, with a loud bang, the wall shattered, centered around the talisman that Gu Fuyou had pasted, revealing the world behind it.

Gu Fuyou smiled, “See? Now we have a way.”

Beyond the wall was pitch black. A firefly lantern was sent in, revealing a cliff not far from the wall. On the other side of the cliff was another corridor.

As the group approached the edge of the cliff, they were immediately hit by a strong, fishy and damp odor, reminiscent of rotting fish and shrimp under the sun, mixed with the smell of pond mud.

Looking down, they couldn’t make out what lay beneath.

While the group could fly across, they feared something lurking beneath. After some consideration, they decided building a bridge would be safer.

Of the group, Gan Fengzhong had the highest cultivation level, but he was an external cultivator and not proficient in spells. Gu Huaiyou and Si Miao’s spells based on their spiritual roots were not useful, and they were not familiar with other types of magic. All eyes turned to Zhong Michu.

Without a word, Zhong Michu stepped forward and channeled her energy, creating an ice bridge that extended to the other side.

Upon seeing this, Gan Fengzhong couldn’t help but comment, “Beautiful.”

The spell was executed both swiftly and stably. Had he not heard Gu Huaiyou mention Zhong Michu before, Gan Fengzhong would have thought she had a mutated ice spiritual root. He hadn’t expected that someone with a water spiritual root could handle ice spells so effortlessly.

Zhong Michu hadn’t always been so skilled in ice spells. Her proficiency came from a unique treasure Gu Fuyou had acquired from the core of the Stone Maiden formation in Xian Luo. This artifact, wrapped in pure spiritual energy and countless ice strands, was absorbed by Zhong Michu, not only increasing her cultivation but also enhancing her ice spells as if she possessed an ice spirit root.

Gan Fengzhong stepped onto the bridge, saying, “Third Miss, I’ll scout ahead.”

He walked swiftly across the bridge without incident and soon reached the other side.

The rest of the group followed, with Gu Huaiyou in the lead, Gu Fuyou and Si Miao in the middle, and Zhong Michu at the end.

Midway, Gan Fengzhong on the other side suddenly shouted, “Something’s coming!”

As his words echoed, a dark shadow leaped from the abyss below the cliff, jumping over the ice bridge. The rotten fishy smell intensified.

As the shadow moved, a thick liquid dripped from it. Everyone quickly dodged to avoid it. When this substance hit the Ice Bridge, it fizzed and began to melt the ice.

Gan Fengzhong grabbed the firefly lantern and, using his strength, thrust it into the shadow.

The shadow retreated back into the abyss with a burst of light. In just a brief moment, everyone could clearly see the scene below.

The darkness of the abyss wasn’t due to an absence of light, but the presence of countless fat, intertwined black eels known as Wangyue Eels.

These spirit beasts live in mud and love consuming filth. Wangyue Eels are even more extreme, feasting on rotting corpses, dwelling in morbid places, and emitting a deathly aura.

The fishy stench everyone had been smelling came from these eels.

Gu Fuyou wasn’t fond of spirit beasts that were squeeze tightly together, nor did she like the sight of hundreds of these slimy creatures tangled together.

She shuddered, a tingling sensation spreading throughout her body, raising goosebumps: “Let’s leave, quickly.”

As if responding to her words, several Wangyue Eels leapt upwards.

Gan Fengzhong looked fierce, “Little beasts, don’t be arrogant!”

He punched the wall, controlling his strength to only shatter the rock. He then lifted a massive stone and threw it easily, but when it landed, it had the force of a thunderbolt, smashing the head of the Wangyue Eels to bits.

Several quick strikes followed, with stones raining down, repelling the attacking eels back into the abyss. However, with hundreds of Wangyue eels coming from below, they seemed endless.

Every time an eel fell, their corrosive slime dripped like rain, eroding the ice bridge, causing it to finally break.

Gu Fuyou lost her balance and fell. Si Miao, who was nearby trying to shield herself from the corrosive rain, couldn’t save her in time and cried out, “Ah Man!”

Before her words could fully leave her lips, a burst of sword light emerged, catching Gu Fuyou in its embrace.

Gu Huaiyou said anxiously, “Senior Sister, get Ah Man to safety first.”

Si Miao instructed, “Uncle Gan, clear a path for Ah Man.”

With a nod, Gan Fengzhong hurled stones, killing the eels surrounding Gu Fuyou, ensuring her safe passage across.

Without any further hesitation, Zhong Michu quickly repaired the ice bridge, and the three rushed across.

Gu Fuyou obediently remained seated on Gengchen and didn’t disembark.

Gu Huaiyou asked, “Are you hurt?”

Gu Fuyou shook her head. Si Miao smiled, “If you’re not hurt, then come down.”

Gu Fuyou obediently jumped down, but her legs were so weak she almost knelt. Fortunately, Zhong Michu was there to support her in time.

Although Gu Fuyou wasn’t injured, she was clearly shaken.

The group resumed their journey, and Gu Fuyou insisted on staying by Zhong Michu’s side. Seeing no alternative, the group let Zhong Michu lead the way, with Gan Fengzhong covering the rear.

Gu Fuyou practically glued herself to Zhong Michu, wanting to be as close as possible, almost wishing she could stick to her like a talisman.

Finally, Zhong Michu said, “I can’t walk like this.”

Gu Fuyou reached out her hand, “Then, can you hold my hand?”

Zhong Michu stared at her silently, not replying. Gu Fuyou said, “I’m scared…”

Zhong Michu clearly didn’t believe her. Would someone who dared to extract a core from a Hallow Void stage beast, and could remain calm in life-threatening situations, be scared just because she almost fell into a pit of eels?

Zhong Michu’s eyelids dropped slightly, signaling doubt.

But Gu Fuyou wasn’t lying. She was truly scared, or rather, disgusted. It was more unbearable than facing death. She’d rather die on the spot than roll around in an eel pit.

This reminded her of the human-faced crabs she encountered in Xian Luo, the deep horror of which still haunted her. The eels were even worse.

Knowing that Zhong Michu was from the Dragon clan meant certain spirit beasts were deterred from approaching her. This ensured that anyone by her side was safe from disgusting beasts or demons.

Gu Fuyou’s voice held a subtle hint of pleading that she herself hadn’t realized, and a touch of teasing, “Senior Sister Zhong.”

After a moment of silence, Zhong Michu didn’t say anything, but she held Gu Fuyou’s hand.

With her heart at ease, Gu Fuyou continued forward.

Inside the Nine Palaces and Eight Trigrams formation, the eight gates surround the central palace. If this formation was protecting something, it would typically be in the central palace.

Gu Fuyou wasn’t certain if everyone was inside the central palace, but without any clues, her best option was to check there first. She believed someone must have had a reason for setting up this formation at the base of the mountain. They had to visit the central palace to uncover the mystery.

Guided by Gu Fuyou, they passed numerous obstacles, finally reaching their destination.

Another stone wall blocked their path.

Gan Fengzhong said, “Third Miss, should we break this one too?”

Gu Fuyou temporarily let go of Zhong Michu’s hand, took out a talisman, and said, “No need, it’s just an illusion.”

Gu Fuyou rubbed the talisman and attached it to the stone wall, murmuring, “Open the door for good luck, open the door for good luck.”

This wasn’t a property of the talisman, just an auspicious phrase she was chanting.

She pressed her hand against the stone wall, it vanished instantly, revealing a path ahead.

Gu Fuyou smiled, “See? It’s gone.”

But when she turned around, there was no one behind her.

To her surprise, instead of a dim corridor, there was a classroom behind her.

The scene was vibrant with colorful flowers, green willows, and the soft chirping of birds.

In the courtyard, a group of children dressed in rich attire, all from prestigious families, were playing.”

Drawn to the scene, Gu Fuyou took a step forward and was immediately transformed into a child with a delicate appearance.

With her slightly chubby hands nervously clasped, she approached and asked, “Can I play with you?”

One of the boys pushed her away, “Go away, go away. You can’t even harness spiritual energy. If you get hurt, the teacher will blame us.”

Others joined in with similar sentiments. All these children had started their cultivation practice, except for her, who didn’t know how to harness spiritual energy.

It felt like an unseen barrier separated her from them, and she couldn’t break through.

Despite this, Gu Fuyou didn’t leave. The boy said, “Let’s go play somewhere else.” And the group followed him and left.

Gu Fuyou felt isolated and sad. She went back to the classroom and, after sitting down, realized that the seats around her were filled with people who seemed older, their features more mature.

Behind her, hushed voices murmured, ‘I’ve heard the City Lord favors her above all others. Even Gu Shuangqing doesn’t get treated as well as she does. They even handed her that special spiritual pill for refining roots.

“Really? Then why is she still only at the initial stage of Qi Practicing? If Gu Shuangqing had been given that spiritual treasure, he would have surely advanced.”

Another person laughed, “Even the best spiritual treasures can’t compensate for a lack of talent. I really don’t understand why the City Lord overlooks his talented son in favor of this useless daughter.”

“I’ve seen her work hard, constantly retreating into seclusion.”

“Always in seclusion, yet year after year, she’s still at same stage.”

“Ha, when you put it that way, I feel a bit sorry for her.”

Unable to bear listening further, Gu Fuyou abruptly stood up and ran outside.

She skipped her lessons and ran home. As she entered, a man in light attire turned to her, “Ah Man you’re back.”

The man paused, then gently patted her head, speaking softly, “Why are you crying? Did someone bully you?”

“Big brother, am I stupid?”

“Big brother, am I very stupid?”

“No way, Ah Man is the smartest girl.”

“But in school, my cultivation progresses the slowest. They all laugh at me.”

“Ah Man, some people cultivate like this. It takes time. As long as you work hard, you will catch up with them someday.”

“But what if I can’t catch up? What if no matter how hard I try, I can’t catch up?”

Gu Fuyou wiped away her tears, feeling a bit lost. If she was destined to never succeed, what’s the point of all her hard work?

The man choked up, his face filled with sorrow, and couldn’t answer her for a long time.

On this clear day, when Gu Fuyou came back to her senses, she was squatting on the ground, looking at a simple formation she had laid out with stones.

A group approached, led by a confident young man. He glanced in her direction and sneered, “Third Gu is fiddling with her formations again.”

“I’ve heard she cherishes them greatly and is even trying to develop some kind of formation that allows those in the basic cultivation stage to combat those at the Nascent Soul stage.”

Upon hearing this, the group burst into roaring laughter.

They thought it was funny and ridiculous. Wanting to make fun of her, they walked up to Gu Fuyou, pretending to be respectful, and asked, “Master Gu, what kind of wonderful formation are you working on?”

“Go away.”

The group laughed and teased, “Come on, show us the formation that can counter those at the Nascent Soul stage.”

Flushed with embarrassment, Gu Fuyou watched as the group continued to laugh. They pointed at the stones she had arranged on the ground and jokingly asked, “Is it this one?”

One of them kicked the stones, scattering them. Pretending to be in pain, he held his foot and laughed mockingly, “Such a powerful formation! Ouch, my foot, my foot.”

Their laughter grew louder. Gu Fuyou’s face turned beet red, feeling both embarrassment and anger, she retorted, “You all don’t understand anything!”

Seeing her lose her composure, they laughed even more, “The formation set by the great genius Gu, of course, we ordinary folks wouldn’t understand.” Their laughter still piercing.

“That’s right! My genius thoughts! You will never understand! Because you are all idiots!” Out of frustration, Gu Fuyou shouted back with all her might.

When they saw how she reacted, the group looked unamused. “We just teased you a bit, and now you believe you’re some kind of genius? We’ve never seen a “genius” like you before.”

“I am a genius, do you have a problem with that?”

“I am a genius!”

“I am a genius!” Gu Fuyou continued to shout, each time feeling more justified.

These weren’t empty words. They seemed to be grounded in some kind of truth, carrying weight behind them.

Gu Fuyou felt momentarily dazed, murmuring to herself, “Yes, I am a genius, I am a genius.”

A clear ringing sound echoed in her mind.

She suddenly snapped back to reality, realizing she was still in the dimly lit tunnel below the ground, and found herself whispering, “I am a genius.”

A chill ran down Gu Fuyou’s spine as she realized she had been trapped in an illusion.

Behind her was the entrance to the central palace, but there was still no sign of Zhong Michu and the others.

Gu Fuyou thought that if she had fallen into an illusion, the others must have been trapped in similar illusions too. They couldn’t be far and might be nearby.

As she called out, “Senior Sister Zhong, Gu Huaiyou, Si Miao, Uncle Gan,” she looked around and entered the central palace through the entrance, searching for them.

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Previous: Chapter 34

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Alex POTUS
Alex POTUS
8 months ago

Thanks for the update

Khriss
Khriss
6 months ago

;-; kids can be really mean, why can’t they just leave other people alone???

MatrixM
MatrixM
3 months ago

Damn this series is just so well written and so cinematic. This should totally be a tv series.
Great translator work, too, this could all easily be lost if not for your skill.