Rebirth of MC 179

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Chapter 179: Storage pendant

Two small hands cup the sparkling jade pendant as though presenting a treasure, a dazzling smile on that small face. Coupled with his large, shining eyes, the child is honestly too adorable.

As soon as his eyes fall on the jade pendant, Long Zhanye’s expression changes. Taking it from the child, he flips it over, fingertips running lightly over the smooth surface. He can feel a faint power emitting from it. This is no ordinary pendant, but one with a storage space within.

No wonder this child would be chased all the way into the depths of the forest. What those men were anxious about wasn’t because of the pendant itself but rather, the items stored within.

Although he has been slumbering for however many years at the bottom of the lake, for Immortal cultivators, a day is the same as a millennium. Thus, the world outside shouldn’t have changed all that much.

“Achoo…!”

Before Long Zhanye can ponder more over his current situation, Huo Zaiyuan sneezes, small frame trembling from the cold. He curls further into the man’s embrace, seeking warmth.

Long Zhanye silently reprimands himself for being so lost in thought, not taking the child’s present condition into account. The temperature in this forest is constantly colder than anywhere else, and on top of that, it is now winter. This chill is the sort that penetrates the bone. Who knows how long little Yuan was running for, and his clothes have been torn by beasts. Before, he didn’t feel cold due to shock but now that he is calm again, his body is finally reacting to the weather.

Wrapping his fingers around the tattoo on the small wrist, silver light flickers, transporting the two of them away from the lake and depositing them in the interdimensional space.

Even if Huo Zaiyuan’s soul has returned to his childhood body, his space has clearly not been affected the slightest. It looks the same as it was before. Only, after the heaven-defying act of fusing his soul with his spiritual vessel, the nine peach trees in the array has combined into one huge plant.

Huo Zaiyuan gazes around the space with great curiosity. Wide eyes roving over the beautiful and tranquil scenery, his mouth forms an ‘O’, soft sounds of amazement falling from his lips. Staring at the cute expression, Long Zhanye can’t help kissing his cheek again.

Entering the bamboo house, Long Zhanye places the little one down on the bed. “Be good and sit here. I will boil some water for your bath, then treat your wounds.”

Now that Huo Zaiyuan has returned to the young body of his original self, it would be best that the water used for bathing is drawn from the spring pool. However, recalling how the little one sneezed earlier, he is afraid the child will really fall ill if he bathes in cold water. In the end, Long Zhanye decides to boil ordinary water for a hot bath.

Currently, Huo Zaiyuan’s attention is utterly captivated by the pretty bamboo house he has never seen before. Letting Long Zhanye set him down on the bed, he busies himself with studying the interior, obviously unaware of anything else.

After Long Zhanye walks out of the house, he searches through the various goods stored around the space for a while. It is here he discovers all the all the perishable food stored within (fruits, vegetables, meat and baked goods) has become rotten.

Although time within this space flows slower than the outside world, there is also a very big difference in the flow of time within different realms. After crossing this space in between, it is not surprising that all the stored food is now inedible. It is just as well that before their battle with the mountain demon, Huo Zaiyuan took out most of the food from their space and gave it to his grandfather and friends. Therefore, Long Zhanye doesn’t hesitate to toss these spoilt items out of the space. After clearing those, he digs out every tube of peach juice buried next to the house.

When he twists the lid of one tube open, the rich, fragrant smell of peach wafts through the air. In the aromatic scent, one can also make out the potent spiritual energy it contains.

Even if he has reverted back to a child, no other food is more suited for him than this peach juice.

Giving Huo Zaiyuan a full cup of peach juice, Long Zhanye heads out of the house once more to boil some water for a bath. Since the bottle of liquid gas is still half full and the stove is operational, he doesn’t hesitate to flick it on and use it.

“Wuwu…Master ah!!” Suddenly, a loud cry sounds and a blur of green pounces onto Long Zhanye’s back, sobbing its heart out.

“Where did you run off to? Get down, don’t pull my hair,” Long Zhanye says mildly, hands not pausing in their movements. However, from the warmth in his eyes, one can tell he is also happy to see Lu Er.

“Lu Er is very happy to see you. Master, what about Master Yuan and Liu Ying? What happened? When I was in this space, everything suddenly warped. All the trees and flowers withered, scaring me to death. I ran and hid in the cave…” Even recalling the event now, Lu Er feels a trace of fear. If he had been just one second later, he would have withered like the other plants.

“Little Yuan is in the house. The space warped and the flow of time within accelerated for a moment because we entered a rift between worlds, returning to the Immortal Realm. You can come out with us later, since we have returned to this world and our original bodies. Liu Ying…I don’t know what happened to him. Seeing as little Yuan and I are fine, he should just be hidden somewhere.” Once the water boils, Long Zhanye scoops up some water from the spring pool and adds it into the pot.

Although all the other crops and trees withered, the bamboo, grass and peach tree are an exception, for they possess spiritual energy, and are originally of this world. Rather than wither away, the bamboos seem to have grown thicker and more solid.

“I also hope he is fine.” Lu Er’s eyes darken as he thinks about Liu Ying.

Although the sword spirit’s character is not good, arrogant, sharp-tongued, and always likes to bully him, but without him here…wuwu…when will he return ah?

Long Zhanye completely ignores Lu Er’s troubled expression and low mumblings, for right now, the only concern in his heart is Huo Zaiyuan’s physical condition. After adjusting the water to the ideal temperature, he heads to the house and carries the child out.

Lu Er’s eyes widen as his gaze falls on the child in Long Zhanye’s arms, screeching in alarm, “Ah – Master! Where did you find this child? I know, you went behind Master Yuan’s back to find a woman and had a child with her!”

Faced with the tree spirit’s unjust accusations, Long Zhanye’s temper explodes. “Scram!”

Poor Lu Er is unceremoniously kicked out of the space.

Huo Zaiyuan is very obedient as a child, not making a fuss all throughout the bathing process. Hence, even with no experience in taking care of a kid, Long Zhanye easily passes this obstacle.

During the apocalypse, Huo Zaiyuan always threw everything scavenged from shopping malls into the space. However, they sold what they didn’t need in the marketplace immediately after returning to the safe zone. Had he known there will be a day like today, he will not let Huo Zaiyuan sell all the children’s clothes.

With no other choice, Long Zhanye can only pick the smallest pair of pants there was amongst the pile of clothes as well as Huo Zaiyuan’s favourite knitted, woollen sweater. This will have to do for now. Once they exit the space, he will need to buy some children’s clothes.

Little Huo Zaiyuan doesn’t mind the too-big sweater, for this is the first time he has worn such pretty and warm clothes. Lifted up in Long Zhanye’s arms again, his little hands clutch the front of his black robes tightly.

“Zhanye…Zhanye…”

“Un, I’m here.” Kissing his cheek, Long Zhanye carries him to the low table, placing the child on the ground beside him before taking out the jade pendant.

Little Yuan’s eyes light up, reaching for the pendant he recognises very clearly.

Seeing his actions, Long Zhanye immediately wills everything within out before handing the empty storage pendant to the child. Then, he turns to inspect the pile of items that appeared on the table’s surface.

A hundred low-quality spiritual stones, ten mid-quality spiritual stones as well as more than a few bottles and jars of various pills. The majority of them are Blood-enhancement pills and Spiritual Replenishment pills. There is also a cured piece of beast hide. Finally, at the top of the pile is a recipe for Immortality pills as well as a letter.

Long Zhanye doesn’t hesitate in breaking the seal of that letter. Scanning through its contents, he eventually lets out a cold scoff.

“Bunch of idiots.”

“Zhanye.” Huo Zaiyuan raises his head to stare at him with big eyes, apparently having heard him scoff.

“It’s nothing. We’ve got money now. Where does little Yuan want to go?” Waving his hands to burn the letter, Long Zhanye leans down to kiss his brow.

In this realm, only the common folks use copper coins, silver, and such inferior currencies. Cultivators, on the other hand, use spiritual stones as currency. Just one low-quality spiritual stone is worth a thousand pieces of gold.

“Grandfather is sick. Want to find a doctor for grandfather…” Wringing the jade pendant in both hands, anticipation surface in Huo Zaiyuan’s watery eyes.

“All right, we will first find a doctor for grandfather. However, we cannot use that pendant as a means of payment.” Long Zhanye places a single low-quality spiritual stone on the child’s palm. “We just need to give the doctor this.”

The owner of this jade pendant is a disciple of the Jade Core sect. The men who chased this kid into the Evil Dragon Mountain are certainly dead now, torn apart by the wild beasts. If they rashly exchanged this pendant for services, it will definitely draw the attention of members of the Jade Core sect and bring them unwanted trouble.

Although he is no afraid of a direct confrontation with the Jade Core sect, right now, he has someone to protect.

He doesn’t wish a repeat of what happened the last time…


 

(Translator’s notes: From here on, chapters will come slowly. I will definitely finish it, but for those who are on NU, the ending is spoilt there. As previously mentioned, my motivation for this novel has drained, but I have come too far to drop it now. So if you are still reading this novel, please bear with me ^-^ )

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Rebirth of MC 178

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Chapter 178: Heretical Dragon awakens

Flesh and blood fly as bodies thud to the ground, motionless. No matter how skilful these intruders are, none are able to prevail against the large group of beasts within the mountain. In less than an hour’s time, the group of eight men are mercilessly torn limb from limb, their corpses devoured by the carnivorous animals. By the end of it all, not even a single bone remains.

The Lone Horned Jackal is a beast that looks similar to a house cat. One shouldn’t judge it due to its size, for within this Evil Dragon Mountain, this beast is one of the most dangerous creatures. To compensate for its small stature, Lone Horned Jackals are gifted with extreme cunning and intelligence.

When hunting their preys, a Lone Horned Jackal will not attack head on. Nor will it aim to kill swiftly, ending lives in a single strike. Like a cat playing with a mouse before they eat, this beast will allow its prey to run while it chases, amusing itself with its target until it collapses from fear and exhaustion. Only then will the Lone Horned Jackal end its prey’s life.

This little beggar’s silver hair has already been pawed at until it is a frightful mess. Tripping and stumbling, his clothes have long accumulated countless stains and tears. Large rips can be seen on a shoulder, travelling down towards his back. Blood continuously flows from the shallow scratches on his skin.

“Go away…go away. Don’t eat me…wuwu…” Stumbling forward, the child waves his weak arms towards the Lone Horned Jackal stalking him.

In the beast’s eyes, this weak little creature doesn’t possess the slightest threat. As the little beggar trips over a protruding tree root, it eventually cannot resist the enticing smell of this prey any longer. Scarlet eyes widening, it pounces on the child with a sharp yowl.

Instinctively throwing a hand out as the Jackal leaps forward, the child falls back to the ground. Sharp teeth clamp around a dirty sleeve and rip a strip from it. A fair, slender hand is exposed. Around the small wrist, a faint silver light shines.

Before the beast can bite down on the hand, silver light converges around the little beggar’s arm. A translucent dragon flashes into existence, roaring in anger. One moment, the Jackal is snarling in aggression and the next moment, it screeches in terror before fleeing for its life, tail between its legs.

The little beggar doesn’t know what happened, but seeing the beast flee, he scrambles back to his feet. Sobbing and running, he continues his way.

Mouth constantly chanting “don’t eat me, don’t eat me,” and vision blurred by tears, he doesn’t see the lake until it is too late. With a splash, he falls right into the ice-cold water.

Having never learned to swim before, and coupled with his terrified state of mind, he doesn’t struggle. Slowly, the little figure is drawn down into the dark depths.

Only when water enters his nose and mouth does the little beggar struggle. However, the lack of oxygen saps his remaining strength, making him stop… Just as it seems death will sink its claws into this little child, just as his heart gives one last stuttering beat, the little beggar’s body jerks. Silver rays of light flow out of his body, cocooning him. A single tendril of golden light flies out and shoots towards the bottom of the lake.

Similar to a key slotted into the right lock, the golden tendril spreads across the bottom of the lake. Instantly, a pair of golden eyes opens, illuminating the darkness. The water begins to surge, causing a large amount of bubbles to rise.

Along with the sudden roar of a dragon echoing out of and over the mountain, a large, serpentine body shoots upwards, wrapping around the sinking child before breaking through the surface of the lake.

With another huge splash, a dragon with inversed, ink-black scales glistening under the light of the setting sun hovers above the lake. In a flash of golden light, the dragon morphs into a handsome, black-haired man clad in black robes, scales covering his left cheek and a dragon totem circlet on his brow.

Face filled with anxiousness, the man swiftly lands on solid ground, setting the pale child on his arms down. Injecting a small thread of golden light into the small body, he compressed the child’s chest and gave him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

After who knows how long, the child’s body jerks, then flips on his side to throw up several mouthfuls of lake water. Gasping, he glances wildly around until his breath returns. Before the man can react, the child’s face scrunches as loud sobs are wrenched from him. Curling in on himself, the small frame trembles as he mumbles “don’t eat me, don’t eat me” under his breath.

During that critical moment, the man’s mind was filled with thoughts of absolutely needing to rescue the child. The sudden loud weeping drags him back to reality. Silver hair, torn clothes, injured legs. The silver dragon circling around one small wrist is a testimony to the child’s identity. If this boy before him is not the person he misses the most, then who else could it be…?

Heart aching intensely, he reaches out to draw the trembling child into his embrace. “I am here, I will protect you. Nothing will dare eat you…”

Little Yuan, what exactly happened?

He remembers everything. The final battle with that mountain demon, delivering the last blow together with Huo Zaiyuan, the demon finally exploding under the force of two incredibly powerful strikes…

The explosion ripped open a gateway between realms, which sucked little Yuan and him in…

Here, his memories end.

But clearly, little Yuan and he succeeded in returning to the Immortal Realm. His mortal body presumably turned to dust, so his soul is now united with his original body, the one slumbering at the bottom of the lake. As for little Yuan…

Did he return to his original body? Or was this caused by their heavenly-defying act in the mortal world?

His low voice sounds very soothing in this child’s ears, causing the loud sobs to gradually quieten. Slowly, his tear-stained face lifts to peek at the black-haired man. His small mouth curls into the faintest smile. Extending his hands, he wraps them around the broad shoulders and clings tightly to the man.

An answering smile surfaces on the adult’s face. Although he has never hugged a child before, he instinctively knows how to best comfort this little person in his embrace. Slowly curling an arm around the child’s waist, the other comes up to pat his back gently.

“Don’t be afraid. With me here, no one will be able to harm you.”

Carrying the child in his arms, the man settles down beside the lake. Even after a long time, the tender look in his eyes doesn’t disappear. Waiting until the kid calmed down, he initiates a soft conversation.

Being only six years old, the little beggar’s vocabulary and explanation ability is still rather weak. Fortunately, this man’s analytical skills are above average. After listening to the child’s recount, he lifts a hand to stroke the silver hair. “What is your name?”

“Name? Grandfather calls me ‘good grandson’. The uncle who stays with us calls me ‘little beggar’…” The child stares at the man with a serious expression on his face. Due to crying not long ago, his eyes are still red, giving him the appearance of a little bunny.

Hearing “little beggar”, the man’s lips thin. “Your name is not ‘little beggar’. It is Huo Zaiyuan. Remember that.”

“Huo Zaiyuan? My name…”

“Un, that’s right. Very clever,” Long Zhanye praises as he rubs the top of the child’s head. “My name is Long Zhanye.”

“Long Zhanye…” Repeating the name under his breath, his gaze becomes distant, as though trying to recall something.

Seeing the cute and familiar expression on the little face, Long Zhanye’s heart thumps from anticipation.

Is little Yuan’s memories regarding him going to…

Just as Long Zhanye’s heart is filled with expectation, the child’s eyes brighten, a flowery smile spreading across his face. His next sentence is like a bucket of ice water being dumped over Long Zhanye’s head, extinguishing the hope burning brightly in him. “So you are called Long Zhanye! I’ve seen you before! You were always sleeping!”

Long Zhanye really doesn’t know if he should laugh or cry.

Sure enough, reality is cruel. Having been returned to his childhood body, how can he remember anything?

“I’m awake now. And from now onwards, I will always be together with little Yuan, is that all right?”

No matter what Huo Zaiyuan becomes, he will always be the person Long Zhanye is deeply in love with. Children will eventually grow into adults. Compared with his soul scattering, this situation is many times better.

“Really? Zhanye will always be together with me?” Huo Zaiyuan’s (Author’s note: from now onwards, the little beggar will be referred to as Huo Zaiyuan) eyes brighten, glistening like precious jewels.

“Un. Forever together, never separating.” Long Zhanye leans down and kisses a soft cheek.

“Then will Zhanye come with me to see grandfather?”

“Of course. I will need to express my thanks to the grandfather who brought little Yuan up,” Long Zhanye agrees with a nod.

From the patched and worn clothes covering this child, it is clear his grandfather’s life is also not good. However, he doesn’t abandon this child, instead looking after him…

“But grandfather is ill. If I give this to the doctor in the medicine store, he will be able to treat grandfather.’ Huo Zaiyuan shows the jade pendant in his hands to Long Zhanye, displaying his inexplicable trust in the man.

Looking at the pendant, Long Zhanye’s eyes narrow.

This jade pendant…

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Rebirth of MC 177

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Chapter 177: Little beggar

Midnight in the Immortal Realm

Two pillars of light descend from the sky, one gold and the other silver, illuminating the entire sky above. Night is abruptly changed to day. This mystical scene shocks many within the realm. Within a few moments of this occurrence, a lot of cultivators are drawn to the site in order to investigate.

Only, the pillars of light disappear as suddenly as it appeared.

The object left behind is rather problematic. As soon as the opaque golden light vanishes, it reveals the Evil Dragon Mountain that everyone in this world is afraid of. For an entire year, it was surrounded by a thick fog of poisonous gases. Vicious beasts group together and wander freely near the mountain’s foot. Its danger level was raised from a level 3 risk to a level 1 forbidden area. Anyone who tries to enter the perimeters of the Evil Dragon Mountain alone is undoubtedly seeking death. Naturally, no one is so foolish as to carelessly throw their life away to slake a moment’s curiosity. Although they are unwilling, the crowd quickly disperses. As for the place where the silver pillar fell onto, everyone gathered there is met with disappointment.

Just what was that flash of gold and silver light? What will it bring to this world of Immortals? No one knows. Following the disappearance of this mysterious light, the bright sky returns to its dark state and tranquillity settles once more.

The mysterious occurrence of this night is like a pebble thrown into a pond, rippling through the hearts of every cultivator. It broke the long, peaceful quiet, raising small waves on the water’s surface. In no time at all, every kind of rumour and speculations pertaining to this event surfaces.

However, as days bleed into months and still nothing strange appears, this matter gradually fades from people’s minds, slowly being forgotten.

~~~

Six years later

In a vast expanse of whiteness, a little figure sporting long, dazzling silver hair and adorable, flawless features kneels on the ground, motionless. Clad in a shabby, ash grey, patched attire, their little feet are covered by a pair of worn, straw sandals.

Next to this little person lies another body. Wrapped in black robes and sporting long, black hair, this individual is extremely handsome. Expression serene and eyes closed, the rise and fall of his chest indicates that he is in deep asleep.

“Grandfather is ill, I’m really worried…” A soft, high voice filled with caution rises as the little one holds a one-sided conversation with the sleeping man, the adorable face still chubby with baby fat falling in grief. “Older brother, why do you like to sleep so much? If you wake up, can you bring this little beggar’s grandfather to see a doctor? A few days ago, the oldest grandfather in our beggar’s den fell ill and disappeared… This little beggar doesn’t want grandfather to be sick, or else he will disappear just like that old man…” As he mumbles under his breath, the child crawls up on the sleeping man’s chest before he too, eventually drifts off.

The image of a child and an adult nestled together, fast asleep, surrounded by a field of white brings forth untold amounts of warmth and comfort.

~~~

In the month of October, the mid-winter weather is extremely cold.

Recently, in the tranquil village of Lin Wan, something unusual happened. One can hear the bustle of activity everywhere, and from time to time, a few cultivators clad in the disciple robes of the Sixth Major sect can be seen dithering around.

Regarding this sudden change, the young, six-year-old beggar doesn’t notice it. This little child is only aware that there seems to be a lot of people on the streets today. Although he huddles in on himself in one corner of a side street, quite a few passersby stop to drop a copper coin into his chipped bowl. Very quickly, the small bowl is filled to the brim, making him beam with joy.

Grandfather fell ill and needs money in order to see a doctor to cure him.

Therefore, taking advantage of his grandfather sleeping soundly, he took the bowl and ran out here to beg. Now, with this full bowl of copper coins, he can go and invite a doctor…

Carefully picking the bowl up, the little beggar heads as quickly as he can towards a small medicine store. He has only taken a few steps forward when a shadow suddenly dashes out of a nearby alley, knocking him over.

The bowl in the child’s hands follows him to the ground, shattering upon impact and scattering the coins everywhere. The person who crashed into him is a beautiful, dainty woman clad in a light satin skirt. Glaring down at the little beggar, she sneers, yelling at him in anger before wheeling on her heels and stalking off.

But this child’s thoughts are not on the angry female who bumped into him. Rather, he is wholly focused on the coins strewn over the ground. Scrambling to his feet, he wants to gather them up only to see others looting the copper. Very soon, not a single coin remains. Not only is the little beggar roughly shoved around by the looters, the large pieces of his shattered bowl have been ground to dust beneath people’s feet. Knocked down to the ground again in the middle of the crowded street, the flow of passersby doesn’t stop. His small body and red, frozen fingers are stepped on numerous times. By the time he manages to drag himself away, the little beggar is unable to bear the agony and eventually sobs.

Withdrawing back to his corner to weep quietly, he clutches the few coins he managed to take back tightly in his little hands. After a while, when the sharp pain fades to a dull ache, he wipes his tears with a dirty sleeve before staring out at the busy street again with huge, dark eyes.

Suddenly, he notices something in the distance that draws his attention. A male child around the age of twelve or thirteen deliberately runs into a lavishly-dressed man. In a split-second, the older child’s hand snakes out, stealing the jade pendant hanging at the man’s waist. By the time both of them separate, the jade pendant is already hidden in the child’s sleeve.

The little beggar’s eyes widen as he continues watching. The finely-dressed adult reaches down to pat his waist, only to discover his pendant was stolen. Freezing, the man snaps around with a yell before giving chase.

As soon as the older kid realises he was found out, anxiousness fills his face and begins to flee. Being small of size, the kid is nimble and agile. But ultimately, he is still obstructed by the man’s bodyguards. In a moment of desperation, the jade pendant is taken out of his sleeve and thrown up into the air.

The lustrous jade pendant curves in a beautiful and perfect arc, accurately hitting the ground in front of the little beggar. The small child stiffens for a second, then reacts swiftly. Snatching the pendant up, he turns and flees.

Noticing the jade pendant now in the little beggar’s hands, the bodyguard yells in rage and gives chase…

Got it, he got it…now he has money to let grandfather see a doctor…

Eyes bright, he clutches the pendant in a death-grip as he runs. He knows he needs to flee quickly, to run faster. Much, much faster. He definitely cannot be caught by the adult. Although his gait is slightly staggering, his speed is not at all slow. The few bodyguards behind are already starting to pant, but continues chasing in hopes of catching the little thief.

He doesn’t know how long he ran for. He only knows that since he is still being chased; he has no choice but to keep running out of the village gates and into the jungle.

Lin Wan village is surrounded by a mountain range on one side and the ocean on another. Located at the end of the mainland, the residents here often go out to sea to fish, but never enters the jungle to hunt. For the mountains are covered in a thick layer of white, opaque fog, and large, ferocious beasts lurk in the depths of the forest, as well as several different venomous snakes and insects. Venturing in leads to certain death.

The little beggar doesn’t know these things, but his grandfather has reminded him countless times never to enter the forest.

However, being chased by a group of men, everything his grandfather told him has been forgotten in favour of escaping. In a flash, the small figure rushes into the forest, following the small dirt road, going deeper and deeper into this treacherous place.

Seeing the little beggar dash into the forest, the few men giving chase instantly halts in their pursuit. Exchanging glances, none dare to continue forward.

“What are you standing around here for? Still not going to give chase? If the jade pendant is not found, you will all be put to death!” The leader bellows at his lackeys.

Looking at the murderous expression on their leader’s face, the subordinates are well aware of how merciless and cruel he is. Hence, they can only grit their teeth and enter this frightening forest.

The shoes on his feet are made out of woven straws. After running for so long, the little beggar’s sandals are stained with fresh, red blood. With a single glance, one would be able to tell that the tender soles of his feet have been rubbed raw.

Bloodstains are left behind on various dead leaves and grass below as the little beggar continues forward. Up until his muscles ache so badly and become numb. The surrounding darkness fills him with fear, but he doesn’t dare stop. For behind, the group of men are still in pursuit.

The smell of blood from the child’s feet drifts up, wafting in the air. Suddenly, a loud, vicious snarl rings through the forest, causing every human within to jump in fright.

In the dimness of this place, one, two, three…countless pairs of scarlet eyes appear, surrounding the few bodyguards who entered the forest after the little child.

Only the little beggar is left to continue his way, completely unaware of what is to come next.

In the next second, a malevolent-looking, ink-black beast with scarlet eyes pounces on the beggar from behind. Although it claws only graze the child’s shoulder, it nearly frightened him to death.

Weeping while fleeing…

The little beggar unknowingly runs towards the forbidden area!


 

(Author’s note: Poor little baby, enduring all sort of hardships immediately after appearing ~ )

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Rebirth of MC 176

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Chapter 176: The final battle

Just as the first rays of light breaks the horizon, a military Hummer cruises out of A City. The soldiers guarding this outermost gate salute as the vehicle drives past, a complicated expression on each of their faces.

“Not greeting grandfather before leaving, is it okay?” Wrapped in a soft quilt and holding a steaming cup of scented tea, Huo Zaiyuan asks softly from the passenger seat.

“Paying grandfather a visit before leaving would only add to his worry. Leaving behind our wedding day as one of the possible last memories of us is the best thing we can do for him.” Removing one hand from the steering wheel, Long Zhanye gently strokes the back of Huo Zaiyuan’s head.

“Un, you are right.” Nodding, Huo Zaiyuan sends the cup back into his space and pulls the quilt up to his chin. “I’ll rest for a while.”

Yesterday was their wedding night and today, they have to set off early. While Long Zhanye is in great spirits, Huo Zaiyuan, on the other hand, is still sore and tired. Which is why he has to take the opportunity to rest on the way to G City or else, how is he going to fight later on…

“Un, go to sleep. It’ll take us about a day to reach G City.”

Four out of the nine days have already passed. Wasting one day to reach G City makes that five days. They will only have four days left to deal with the mountain demon, then tear open a rift between realms order to enter the world of Immortals…

For his little Yuan, he definitely cannot lose…

A day and a half later, the military Hummer enters G City. At that time, in order to prevent the polluted air from spreading, the Elder Taoist priest used the modified mutant plants to lay a few layers of arrays. Hence, a sea of ordinary undead mill around outside of the city, unable to enter. Amongst the mass of common zombies, a few evolved ones can be spotted here and there. Peering over the perimeter walls into the city itself, one can see that the streets within are also filled with undead. The only difference is the ones inside all sport sharp claws and teeth. Every last one of them is at least a Rank 3. Suffice to say, the mountain demon already anticipated this day when the mass invasion failed. Hence, it recalled every available zombie back to G City in order to make a final stand.

With Huo Zaiyuan’s soul fusing with his original vessel, he has already surpassed the limitations of a human. Although Long Zhanye’s dragon soul is still confined to a human body, based on his power alone, he is able to resist the potent evil energy here. Hence, to this couple, shrugging off the infection trying to dig its metaphorical claws into them is as easy as breathing.

“Tsk, tsk, such a large battalion standing in formation to welcome us ah!” Hummer coming to a halt, Long Zhanye opens the driver’s side door and leans out to look, a calm and collected grin on his face.

“But this ‘welcome committee’ don’t seem to be in a good mood. Come, let’s give them a huge present.” Still sitting in the passenger’s seat, Huo Zaiyuan waves his left hand, materialising an assembled rocket launcher and handing it over to his husband.

Taking the offered weapon and bracing it on his shoulder, Long Zhanye shoots him a mock grimace. “Little Yuan, I’ve tainted you. The old you wouldn’t have bullied the dead.”

Firing the rocket launcher immediately after saying this, the consequent explosion lands in the middle of the horde, blowing away a relatively large chunk of undead. Only after suffering the first attack does the horde turn towards the Hummer in unison, shambling forward with low snarls. The two exit their vehicle, one tossing talismans into the wave of zombies while the other lifts two submachine guns, firing from the hip. Back to back they stand, felling row after row of walking corpses before they can be surrounded.

In the end, after tossing a few dozen grenades, Huo Zaiyuan materialises some fire talismans, causing a golden blaze to spread. One with snow-white hair fluttering in the wind, another in a crisp uniform billowing in the breeze, the couple advances…

For an entire day, Huo Zaiyuan and Long Zhanye fight their way through the barriers and into G City, slaughtering a straight path towards the dead volcano. Thick, slimy, purplish-red fluid secreting an intense smell of rotting meat flows endlessly out of the volcanic crater. Of course, this is not lava, but the liquid that creates poisonous swamps.

“Tch, this welcome ceremony is truly grotesque.” Long Zhanye’s mouth curls in disgust as he stares at the foul liquid streaming down the mountain.

“That substance not only contains potent evil energy, but is it highly toxic towards a Taoist’s spiritual vessel. It will erode my body should a drop touch.” Huo Zaiyuan can’t help a small smile forming as he eyes the other man’s smug expression.

“Beloved, I am not a Taoist practitioner. This filthy, insignificant thing is completely beneath me. However, you need to extremely cautious.” With a wave of his hand, a flash of black light flickers in the air before Long Zhanye and a black dragon appears. In a single bound, the man lands lightly on the dragon’s back, turning his head to quirk an inquiring eyebrow at the Taoist.

Smile still plastered on his lips, Huo Zaiyuan lifts two fingers and swipes it horizontally through the air. A large, silver jian materialises near his feet. Taking a step forward onto the blade, he mentally wills it to move. The jian rises smoothly and shoots towards the mountain, Long Zhanye following close behind on his black dragon. Two streaks of light, one black, one white, fly to the peak of the volcano before dropping into the crater, initiating a direct attack on the mountain demon sealed within.

As soon as it catches sight of the two attackers charging towards it, the mountain demon roars, mouth opening wide, spouting forth a torrent of scarlet mist. The couple separates instantly, dodging to the left and right. Huo Zaiyuan flicks his fingers, nine talismans fanning out around his torso in a circle. Spinning and rising at the same time, the talismans shoot towards the demon.

A sphere of black, chaotic energy flies towards the giant head from the other side, catching the demon in flanking position.

The nine talismans converge into a Ninth Heavens Mystic array midway through the attack, and adding on Long Zhanye’s flanking strike, the demon controlling Chi You’s decapitated head is too slow in trying to evade. Two powerful strikes sink into the left and right side of the bodiless head, causing purplish-red liquid and rotting flesh to spew forth.

Howling in rage and pain, the mountain demon bellows, “Taoist! I will definitely kill you this time!!”

“Tch, don’t you know the saying: one has to look at the owner before hitting a dog? This Heretical Dragon’s man is not someone you, this brainless giant head, can touch so easily.” A flicker of deep loathing passes through Long Zhanye’s golden eyes as he jabs a clawed finger at the demon.

Gathering his inner energy, Long Zhanye leaps off the back of the black dragon as the latter tosses its head back and hisses. The atmospheric pressure within the volcano grows heavier as a formidable surge of power explodes forth, charging towards the mountain demon.

Unaffected by the pressure nor the frightening rush of power, Huo Zaiyuan makes a drawing motion in front of himself. A silvery-white horsetail whisk[1] appears in hand. Swiping the bristles a few times through the air, a Yin-Yang symbol fades into existence, growing in size as small runes pour forth, snaking around the circular edge in a revolving link. A flick of his wrist has the newly created seal drifting swiftly towards the enemy.

Having been on the defensive long enough, the demonic head doesn’t intend to keep evading attacks any longer. Mouth opening to let loose an earth-shaking roar, the entire volcano trembles. Below, the thick, stinking fluid bubbles like water put to boil… A forceful bolt of demonic energy rushes towards Huo Zaiyuan and Long Zhanye.

The collision of three formidable powers gives rise to a sonic boom. Cracks and fractures appear on the surface of the mountain as the entire region quakes from the aftershock. Not stopping to regain their balance, Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan instantly attack again in unison.

From within the demon’s plump head, two scarlet-red, beast-like claws slash out. After this display, it is not difficult to tell that the mountain demon’s original body is hidden within Chi You’s head!

Another shockwave ripples outwards from the clashing of three powerful attacks. Already shaky from the earlier explosion, the foundation of the volcano shudders violently, causing the cracks to widen. Finally, the walls begin to crumble…

Even though this mountain demon has completely fused itself with the ancient Demon God’s head and obtained the vast reserve of power stored within, it is still hard-pressed to resist the combined force of the Heretical Dragon and the strongest Taoist priest. Striking their foe in rapid succession at full power, they slowly pressure it into a defensive stance. The black dragon hisses once more even as the red claws slice through the air in a diagonal upwards slash.

~~~

As Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan slipped out of the dormitory building without a word, by the time Long Haotian went to find the newlyweds, it is already afternoon. Hence, an anxious Commander-in-chief makes the prompt decision to gather Zuo Hanyang, You Nuandong, Li Qing, Qin Jun, Lian Xiang, Long Hongjian and Mo Junfan. Together, they are to form a special unit and accompany him to G City.

When the line of vehicles approach G City, small craters and scorch marks left behind by grenades, rocket launcher shells and bullets become increasingly frequent. Suffice to say, Huo Zaiyuan and Long Zhanye cleared out quite a few undead on the entire journey to this city. Just as they arrive outside the array’s barriers, a sudden burst of dazzling silver light erupts from within G City, rising up towards the sky. One is able to feel an impressive amount of power emitting from it. The pillar of light begins to warp, twisting into a spiral black hole that immediately begins to suck everything in. Before any within the vehicles can react, a blast similar to an atomic bomb goes off with the dead volcano as ground zero, rippling forcefully outwards, bringing along with it an intense gust of hot air and dust…

~~~

The battle lasted for an entire day and night, up until dawn breaks the horizon once more, brilliant sunlight raining down on Mother Earth. The volcano has long since crumbled, unable to endure the massive amounts of power being flung around. As for the mountain demon, it is already forced to expose more of its original body in order to fight Huo Zaiyuan and Long Zhanye off. Presently, large chunks of Chi You’s giant head are missing.

The horsetail whisk whips out, drawing threads of silver together in a mesh barrier, blocking the claws. Leaping upwards, the slender figure lands lightly on top of a huge boulder. The whisk vanishes as Huo Zaiyuan’s hand stretches out to the side. In the next moment, Liu Ying flies over, hilt landing in his palm.

“Zhanye!” Huo Zaiyuan calls.

Locked in battle for an entire day and night, the demon’s mental state has already become chaotic and agitated. Which is exactly what Huo Zaiyuan and Long Zhanye were aiming for. Drawing the fight out until the demon loses its patience and goes berserk, they will take this split-second opportunity to deliver their strongest attack.

“Got it.” Long Zhanye answers, silhouette flickering rapidly backwards to evade a wild swing. Snapping his fingers, the black dragon obediently returns to his side.

Gathering their inner powers in preparation for a single, heavy blow, two figures drift slowly upwards, one black and one white. When the energy surrounding their bodies grow too dense to contain for long, they streak towards the demonic head. Even in its berserk rage, the mountain demon is not so frenzied as to lose its intelligence. Seeing them charging forth with their most powerful attacks, it also begins to gather its power to meet them head-on.

Black, white and red. Three colours, three forces, two sides. The violent explosion this time puts all others to shame. Everything in their vicinity is reduced to dust, the wave of destruction travelling further outwards in all directions, sparing nothing. The excess energy shoots up into the sky. As though a razor-sharp knife sliced it apart, the sky above splits open. The black hole warps and begins to rotate, sucking everything into its abyssal depths…

~~~

Who knows how long passed before the small team laid flat on their backs are able to move again. Crawling painfully to their feet one after another, everyone silently bears witness to the astonishing scene before their eyes. Within the array, the entire G City is completely wiped out, replaced by a wasteland… No traces of grass, buildings or zombies… Everything is just…gone.

Faint, golden light descends from the sky like a shower of glitter, or a swarm of tiny fireflies slowly drifting in the wind. Amazement paints the faces of everyone present. Some even extend a hand out with palms up in order to catch the falling sparkles.

“What is this?” The question falls from Li Qing’s lips in a soft whisper as he stares at the golden flecks disappearing from his palm.

“This is the scattered energy borne from sacrifice to induce rebirth. Look,” Lian Xiang answers, pointing towards what was once G City.

As the shower of golden sparks falls gently to the ground, the wasteland gradually transforms. Tender, green sprouts grow, small flowers blossoming. Tree saplings burst from the soil, maturing at a rapid pace. In a few moments, it is as though the earth has entered the peak of spring. Lush green plants as far as the eye can see, it conceals the marks of destruction and carnage.

“Then, where is Boss and eldest sister-in-law…why haven’t they appeared yet?!” Zuo Hanyang strains his eyes to peer into the dense vegetation, as though by looking hard enough, he would see two figures within.

“The black hole that appeared in the sky was a gateway leading into the Immortal Realm. Long Zhanye and little Yuan have broken their mortal bindings and ascended, returning to where they belong,” Lian Xiang says. “Grandfather, you may finally be at ease.”

“They truly managed to return?”

“Un. I can guarantee that they succeeded. Grandfather, let us head back. If they know you are still worrying about them, they will surely be upset.” Lian Xiang is not someone who knows how to offer verbal comfort, but these words don’t lack warmth.

“Un, as long as they are fine, all will be well. All will be well…”

“Grandfather, one day, we will definitely be able to meet older brother Long and little Yuan again.” Li Qing slips his hand into Long Haotian’s squeezing it lightly in comfort.

“That’s right ah. Commander-in-chief, don’t worry and be happy! Let’s all return to the city!”

Entering their vehicles, the short convoy leaves the lush greenery behind, heading back towards the safe zone.

From the day G City vanished from the face of the earth, every zombie roaming the land disappears as well. The devastated land covered in sores and scars is shrouded in lush, new growth, restoring life to the earth. It also represented the end of the apocalypse. At long last, the survivors in A City can travel safely outside, spreading out to claim a small piece of land for themselves. A small slice of paradise to begin their lives anew.

~~~

As for Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan?

According to Lian Xiang, they have returned to the world of Immortals. There, they can start the next chapter of their lives together.


 

(Author’s note: Here ends the story within the mortal realm…)


 

Translator’s note: And so here ends the apocalypse arc in the modern, mortal world.

I am actually going to give you lovely readers a warning for the next few chapters until the end of the novel, which is approximately 20+ chapters away.
If you are reading this for the zombie apocalypse and the modern world and the main couple’s friends and everything we fell in love with so far, I suggest turning away after reading this note, hold onto all the fluff accumulated on this relatively long journey, savour it for as long as needed, then set them aside. Because what comes next only stars our main couple and no one else you have come to adore.

Personally, I would have loved to end the novel here and introduce the next portion as a side story or even an alternate universe, but…eh. Anyway, despite my lukewarm (and disappointed) reaction to the next portion, I encourage you lovely readers to continue on ahead and form your own decisions. Don’t let me sway you before reading ^-^

Who knows? You might actually end up liking it, or I might gain another companion to rant with over this…


 

[1] Horsetail whisk:

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Rebirth of MC 175

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Chapter 175: Traditional marriage ceremony

Staring at the red ‘喆’ made out of paper and stuck on the wall of the room, Huo Zaiyuan heaves a resigned sigh and massages his aching temple.

How exactly did the situation evolve to this stage? Even he doesn’t know.

“Why are you sighing?” Long Zhanye hugs Huo Zaiyuan from behind, kissing the top of his head. Snow white is the colour best suited for this person in his arms. It is the colour he years for the most, as well as the colour he is infatuated with. “I understand. You don’t wish to marry me, which is why you are sighing. Then forget it, I’ll tell them to stop, so don’t – ”

As he says this, he lets go of Huo Zaiyuan, turning around and preparing to walk out.

“Eh? Ah…hold on…” Seeing him turn away, genuine anxiety surfaces in Huo Zaiyuan’s heart. Swiftly, he reaches out to grab Long Zhanye’s wrist, a pretty red blush spreading across his cheeks. “I…I didn’t say I am unwilling. You…don’t you tell them to…”

A self-satisfied grin breaks out on Long Zhanye’s face. Spinning around, he wraps Huo Zaiyuan in a tight hug. “Do you know how long I’ve been waiting for this day? Even if you are unwilling to marry me today, I would have forced you to do so…”

“How can a groom be like that…” Huo Zaiyuan blushes, smacking his chest before returning the hug. “I…I love you.”

“I love you too.”

No further words are exchanged as the couple displays their deep affection through a slow, scorching kiss.

After Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan gathered their group of friends and informed them of their plan to use the demon’s power and return to the Immortal Realm, Li Qing instantly raised the issue of performing a wedding ceremony for the couple. Before either of them can react, everyone else present nodded in agreement, then rushed off in various directions to busy themselves with the preparation.

While their group of friends are naturally happy that the two will be marrying, none will feel happier then Long Haotian. Because he is able to personally witness his treasured grandson finally forming a family of his own. The child he saw born, personally raised and will forever dote on.

The matter of Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan’s marriage was not announced to the public or even to the entire military district. They personally invited their group of close friends and a handful of subordinates, but the number of people who turn up is still not small. Presently, the building’s topmost level is already bustling with activity.

Although it is the apocalypse, this is still the wedding of A City’s senior officer Long Zhanye. Even if the ceremony is plain and simple, they still need to ensure the entire process goes smoothly, and nothing has been overlooked. For example, Long Zhanye’s ceremonial attire. Originally, the groom himself was going to wear his own ceremonial military uniform, but somehow, the soldiers are able to find a grand-looking, white and silver military uniform to act as the ceremonial attire. As for Huo Zaiyuan, even though in the soldiers’ eyes, he is the wife in this relationship, they still cannot make him wear a female bridal gown. Thus, the soldiers once again miraculously produce a Tang Dynasty style’s ceremonial robe that is a cheerful red[1]. The golden embroidery lining the hem and the surface of the fabric appears lavish and sumptuous. Tailored to fit him, the bottom portion of the robe is rather wide, resembling a dress. Coupled with an equally red and embroidered pair of cloth shoes, Huo Zaiyuan makes an extremely beautiful groom (bride). It is clear to see that in regards to their Boss’ wedding, the subordinates put in a lot of thought and effort.

As today is his wedding day, after his subordinates have observed and ensured their Boss will absolutely not become angry, they enact the traditional practice of separating the bride and groom during their respective preparations, not allowing them to meet face to face until the ceremony commences. Bringing Huo Zaiyuan to Li Qing and Qin Jun’s unit, the white-haired man has not gone out the door for the entire day, causing Long Zhanye to feel restless and itchy in his heart.

“I will go with you two…” Lian Xiang murmurs as he combs Huo Zaiyuan’s long, white hair.

“You may not.” Huo Zaiyuan rejects without the slightest hesitation. “Fan Yin paid the price of a long coma in order to send you down to the mortal realm. Besides helping me, he also helped you. Aren’t you afraid he will die from laughter should you return like this to the Immortal world?”

“Little Yuan, I am being serious.” Lian Xiang frowns, upset.

“I am also being serious. The last time you helped to transfer my soul into my spiritual vessel, your cultivation suffered a blow. If you insist on following us on this journey, with your current condition, your body will turn to dust and your soul scatter should you enter the rift between realms. I do not wish to needlessly lose a close friend.” Huo Zaiyuan smiles at Lian Xiang before his gaze deliberately turns to Mo Junfan, who is currently chatting with a few friends. “Furthermore, are you willing to part with him just like that?”

Following the direction of Huo Zaiyuan’s gaze, Lian Xiang stiffens and blushes, then glares at his friend. “Right now, I am talking about you. Don’t turn the topic around.”

“Well, how about this? Zhanye and I will return to the world of Immortals and wait for you.” Drawing Lian Xiang towards him, Huo Zaiyuan wraps his arms around the other’s waist and leans a cheek on his collarbone. “You are my first and closest friend. We know each other’s characters very well, do we not? I will absolutely not take risks if the outcome is not favourable.”

“Is that so…why do I feel like you…”

Ai…trust me. With Zhanye by my side, I will definitely not act recklessly.”

“Un. That Heretical Dragon may not be too trustworthy, but as long as it concerns you, he is extremely reliable. With him around, I can feel relieved. Fine, I will let you off this once.” Rare is it that the headstrong Lian Xiang relents after setting his mind on something.

Huo Zaiyuan pulls back a little to scowl at his friend. “You don’t trust me?!”

“You have a bad record. Falling from the Righteous Winter Sky Gorge down to the mortal world, leading to reincarnation.”

Not being able to refute Lian Xiang’s words, Huo Zaiyuan can only sputter in indignation. “You…you have been tainted! You were never this eloquent before!!”

“Hmph.” Lian Xiang turns up his nose haughtily, ignoring his friend.

Before Huo Zaiyuan can open his mouth to speak again, Li Qing peeks into the room, a bright grin on his face. “Little Yuan, take a look at what I found!”

Holding the item in both hands like a treasure, Li Qing happily places it down in front of Huo Zaiyuan.

As soon as he sees the item, Huo Zaiyuan glares at Li Qing. “You want me to use this?”

“Of course! Today is your marriage ceremony between you and older brother Long. You must dress yourself up as beautifully as possible.” Li Qing nods, extremely serious.

Although a trace of reluctance can be seen on his face, Huo Zaiyuan eventually consents. “All right.”

For cultivators who possess a long lifespan, one can only marry once in their lifetime. Thus, a marriage ceremony is an unforgettable event for both parties involved. Also, on this day, he wants to show Zhanye his most beautiful image…

Under the soldiers’ instigation, Long Zhanye and Huo Zaiyuan’s wedding ceremony will be a traditional one that involves a kneeling and bowing ritual. Once the Elder Taoist priest announces that the auspicious time has come, Huo Zaiyuan walks into Grandfather Long’s unit, accompanied by Li Qing and Lian Xiang.

A wide, joyful smile on his face, Long Haotian sits on a mahogany chair at the end of the hall as Long Zhanye stands in the middle. As soon as he spots Huo Zaiyuan, his eyes brighten, a dazzling smile with a trace of giddiness breaking out, both hands extending towards his beloved. Stunned exclamations and gasps of awe rise as everyone present finally catch sight of Huo Zaiyuan.

“Wah, eldest sister-in-law is indeed a super beauty ah!!”

“That’s right ah, that’s right ah! Boss really struck it big this time!”

“What do you mean?! Our Boss is an extremely handsome and confident man too ah!”

It’s not surprising a fervent, lively discussion breaks out amongst the soldiers as soon as Huo Zaiyuan walks in. Long, free-flowing, white hair half-tied and knotted at the back of his head[2], clad in a deep red, traditional ceremonial wedding robe, matching cloth shoes on his feet, a rosy, flawless complexion bearing the slightest trace of make-up, his utterly captivating and beautiful mien will leave many a beauty in the dust.

Clasping Long Zhanye’s hand, the couple walks forward side by side a few paces, then kneels before Long Haotian. The entire house that was filled with chatter and noise a second before instantly quietens.

Following the silence, the Elder Taoist priest’s voice rings out. “First bow to the Heavens and Earth!”

“Second bow to the main hall!”

“Husband and husband mutual bow!”

“Send the newly-weds to the bridal chamber!”

The boisterous crowd cheerfully delivers Huo Zaiyuan to Long Zhanye’s unit while they surround the other man in a tight formation. Trying to get away from this sticky crowd will not be a simple task.

As the wedding reception’s feast is held in Long Haotian’s unit and Long Zhanye’s house is treated as the bridal chamber, this kind of scene surfaced…

“Heehee…Boss, today is your joyful occasion! As the main lead, you have to accompany us brothers for a small celebration, right?” A cup of wine in hand, a soldier grins.

“Correct ah, correct ah!”

“Boss, we will not return home if we are not drunk!” As he says this, another subordinate hands a large cup of wine to Long Zhanye.

Clearly, these soldiers who have experienced a lot of bullying under their Boss are taking this rare opportunity when he wouldn’t be angered to climb on his head and fool around.

Eyeing the group of soldiers harbouring evil intent behind their grins, Long Zhanye smirks and retreats a step. Only, he is suddenly flanked by Long Hongjian and You Nuandong, one from the left and one from the right.

Within the quiet room of Long Zhanye’s house, Huo Zaiyuan stares at the red ‘喆’ stuck on the wall, heart racing. Li Qing ran off to join the fun immediately after escorting Huo Zaiyuan into the room. Although there is no one else here, he doesn’t feel lonely.

Sitting on the edge of the bed, he has lost count of the number of times he peeked at the tightly closed door. Each time he looks up, he feels a ball of nervousness in his gut, as though Long Zhanye will push the door open and walk in at any moment.

“Huu…” Is this how new brides feel whenever they await their husbands in the bridal chamber?

Who knows how long he waited before the nervous Huo Zaiyuan eventually decides to meditate. Else, if he continues to be so tense, he will pass out from anxiety even before Long Zhanye returns.

Just as he prepares to settle down in meditation, the room’s door is pushed open to reveal Long Zhanye with an enormous smile on his face. “I’ve made you wait.”

“Eh…not really.” Huo Zaiyuan rises and stops directly in front of the other man. This close, he is able to smell the strong scent of alcohol emitting from him. Evidently, they managed to drag Long Zhanye into drinking quite a bit. “You came rather quickly. I thought…”

Before he can finish, a pair of lips blocks the rest of his words. “With such a beautiful new bride waiting for me at home, where do I have the mind to make merry with that bunch of monkeys?”

“Who — who’s your bride…” Huo Zaiyuan glares halfheartedly up at Long Zhanye.

“You, of course. Come, we haven’t exchanged nuptial wine yet.” Long Zhanye extends the arm he concealed behind him when he entered the room. A tray with a pot of wine and two red cups is presented to Huo Zaiyuan. “This was given to me by the Elder Taoist priest, to wish us an eternal, harmonious union. Here.”

Holding hands, the newlyweds sit at the table. Placing the tray down, Long Zhanye pours wine into the two cups. Before handing one over, he flicks a finger, injecting golden rays of light into the wine.

“Zhanye, you…”

“Little Yuan, drink it. From this day onwards, our souls are tied together. If you live, so will I. If you die, so will I. Let’s live and die together.”

A soft smile curving his lips, Huo Zaiyuan breaks the skin of his right index finger and presses his bloodied finger between Long Zhanye’s eyebrows. “Okay, let’s live and die together.”

Linking their arms with cups in hand, the two men drain the wine in one swallow. Putting his cup down, Long Zhanye tugs Huo Zaiyuan’s hand towards his mouth, kissing the finger with the broken skin. The drop of blood between his eyebrows disappears in a flash of silver, warming his heart.

“Each moment of a romantic night is worth a thousand pieces of gold. Tonight belongs solely to you and me…”

The magnificent red ceremonial robe pools on the floor, followed by a white and silver military uniform. Within the warm and peaceful house, light pants and gasps fill the room, not ceasing for a very long time.


 

Footnotes:

[1] Traditional red ceremonial robes for men:

[2] Free-flowing, long hair half-tied and knotted at the back:

[3] Main hall = generally the parents (both the bride and groom’s). In this case, there’s only Long Haotian since LZY’s parents are dead and HZY doesn’t have any family left.

[4] (Additional footnote) 喆: Means ‘double happiness’. It is a blessing for newlyweds to achieve double happiness in life, where the bride and groom will be harmonious and blissful together.

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Rebirth of MC 174

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Chapter 174: Mountain demon

Long Haotian’s unit is just down the hall from theirs, hence, Long Zhanye very casually carries Huo Zaiyuan over his shoulder and knocks on the door, not the least bit afraid to interrupt someone’s day this early in the morning.

“Coming, coming.” Grandfather Long’s voice drifts out from behind the door. Following the sound of feet shuffling closer, the door opens. As soon as the old man registers his precious grandson carrying little Yuan and is standing outside his unit, any trace of sleepiness vanishes. “This…what’s the matter?”

“Grandfather, I have something I need to tell you,” Long Zhanye says in a very serious manner.

“Come in and talk, don’t stand outside.”

As the pair walk in, Long Haotian glances at the white-haired man draped over his grandson’s shoulder. Although his outer appearance has changed, based on Zhanye’s every move and speech, it is clear to see that this is still Huo Zaiyuan. The matter of a lightning bolt splitting the military hospital in half was witnessed by more than a few people in the safe zone. While Long Haotian refrained from prying, he knows that his grandson and his companions have something to do with it to some extent.

Stepping into the living room, Long Zhanye sets Huo Zaiyuan down on the sofa. He is rewarded with a stink eye and a foot to his shin. Laughing, he bends to drop a kiss on a flushed cheek.

Heheh…the embarrassed, bushing look on this powerful Taoist’s face is really too innocently enticing ah. Even with snow-white eyebrows drawn together in annoyance and lower lip stuck out in a pout. If they don’t have to hold a serious discussion with his grandfather right now, he will definitely love his little Yuan tenderly for a while.

“Did you find me to discuss about the sudden collapse of the military hospital a few days ago?” Long Haotian eventually speaks, breaking the sweet moment between the couple, making them freeze as though a cup of ice-water has been upturned over their heads.

“Grandfather guessed half of it. I actually came for another reason. This other matter pertains to little Yuan and the entity behind this zombie apocalypse.” Long Zhanye sits down on the sofa beside Huo Zaiyuan before recounting how Huo Zaiyuan was stabbed in the chest by a cursed dagger, which led to Lian Xiang and him (LZY) performing a heavenly-defying deed, causing the hospital to be struck down by lightning. Finally, he also divulges that Huo Zaiyuan only has nine days of life in this body.

Suddenly, Long Zhanye kneels before Long Haotian after ending his story, shocking his grandfather. “You…what’s with you, child? Get up, quickly get up.”

“Zhanye…” Even Huo Zaiyuan is alarmed by Long Zhanye’s abrupt action.

No one understands Long Zhanye’s past life and how much he suffered. No one besides him, who has regained all the memories of Huo Tianji. This domineering and unruly individual…very little can make him kneel.

“Grandfather, listen to me…” Long Zhanye grasps Long Haotian’s arms before the latter can help him to his feet, expression solemn. “After mum and dad passed, it was grandfather who brought me up. You instructed me, trained me, loved me. I have never once forgotten it, but…”

“Grandfather is unaware of my other identity. My soul comes from a dragon residing in another world. A dragon that was dubbed the harbinger of chaos, created to defy the Heavens. Without a father or mother, without name or family. I was reborn as grandfather’s treasured grandson, was given the name Long Zhanye, and became a member of this family. I wouldn’t kneel to the Heavens or the Earth, wouldn’t kneel to a father or a mother. But to me, grandfather is more than worthy of my respect and honour…”

“Now with little Yuan’s soul reuniting with his spiritual vessel, he only has nine days to live. After these nine days, his body will crumble and his soul scatter. Therefore, within this period, what he and I wish to do is to put an end to the root of this apocalypse. Afterwards, we will return to the other realm. I understand what is going through grandfather’s heart right now, but my love for little Yuan will never be broken. It existed in our last life, remaining between us in this life, and will never change in our next…”

“However, no matter where I am, I will always remember grandfather, and will never forget that I am a son of the Long family.”

“Grandfather understands.” After listening to Long Zhanye’s speech, a gratified smile emerges on Long Haotian’s face as he reaches out to pull his precious grandson to his feet and hug him. “In grandfather’s eyes, my grandson is the most dignified, honourable man. Since you have made up your mind, then go and accomplish it to the best of your abilities. Always know that no matter what you do, grandfather will eternally be in favour.”

“Thank you very much, grandfather.”

“Now, let’s talk about the thing behind humans changing into zombies. The Head priest said before that the reason behind a zombie’s transformation is due to humans being infected by evil energy. As for where this infectious energy comes from, it is none other than the dead volcano in G City. We reached this conclusion after we saw pictures of ants in the ashes during the volcano’s initial eruption. Within this volcano lies a high-rank demon responsible for spreading this infectious energy. Little Yuan, do you happen to know what this creature is?”

“I do. That is a mountain demon. A few thousand years ago, it rampaged through the mortal world. The leaders of various Taoist sects led their Elders to battle, resulting in countless casualties. In the end, because I was only a step away from ascension, I exploited the energy drawn from the Nine Lightning Tribulations and sealed it within a mountain. Not only can that demon turn humans into undead puppets under its control, it can also absorb dormant spiritual energy from Heaven and Earth, allowing him to infect the land as well. This is what created the toxic air in G City as well as the poisonous swamps.”

“You were the one who sealed it away!” Long Haotian gasps in astonishment.

He knew Huo Zaiyuan’s Taoist ability is very formidable, but to the extent where he is able to seal such a powerful demon away…

“Grandfather, it was my previous self who did it,” Huo Zaiyuan corrects.

Although he regained Huo Tianji’s memories and his spiritual power has increased exponentially, compared to the Huo Tianji during the peak of his powers, his current level is still inadequate.

“It’s the same thing. So what do the both of you plan to do? How many men will you be taking along? I will go arrange it immediately.” There is no trace of a smile on Long Haotian’s face as it is completely replaced with a grave expression.

Exchanging a glance with Long Zhanye, Huo Zaiyuan says, “Grandfather, do you know about Chi You?”

“Of course. He’s that ancient Demon God who fought against the Yellow Emperor.” Long Haotian nods, before he senses something’s not quite right. “Er…weren’t we talking about that mountain demon? Why did you suddenly bring up this Chi You? Is there any relation between them? Chi You is only a legend.”

“No, he is not a mere legend. Demonic beings are bodiless beings hiding in the dark beneath the Earth. When this mountain demon arrived in the mortal world, it found the ancient demon god, or rather, the head that was chopped off by the Yellow Emperor. On its own, the mountain demon is not very difficult to deal with. Therefore, being able to infect humans and the earth is all through relying on the remaining power left behind in Chi You’s decapitated head. As long as we destroy Chi You’s head, that mountain demon will return to its previous condition. Of course, the deed itself wouldn’t be an easy feat.”

“Then…”

“Grandfather, just the two of us will be enough,” Long Zhanye says, holding hands with Huo Zaiyuan. “The number of infected beings is too many to count. We are still unsure if other countries are experiencing the apocalypse as well, but in this nation, A City is our last stronghold… If we make any pointless sacrifices, then who will be left to rebuild this nation in the future? Grandfather, I am not the sort of person to begrudge the world or pity others. The reason little Yuan and I choose to do things this way is because he only has nine days. Another factor is you and our friends. All little Yuan and I wish for is for everyone to live happily.”

Ai… whenever you leave to take care of your affairs, grandfather doesn’t worry that you will fail. Since you have already decided, then proceed as planned.” Long Haotian sighs helplessly, waving a hand. “It’s not that grandfather doesn’t trust you, but will the two of you really be enough? The enemy is the undead’s big boss ah.”

“Grandfather, that mountain demon is only the boss of walking corpses. Your grandson is a big boss feared by everyone in the Immortal world. A stamp of my foot is enough to send everyone into a panic.” Long Zhanye smirks smugly, completely not putting the mountain demon in his eyes.

In his heart, he makes another silent vow. When the time comes, he will give this mountain demon a proper beating. Hmph, that damned demon dares to bully his little Yuan. Anyone who touches Long Zhanye’s treasure will definitely not have a good ending.

Seeing the resolute gleam flashing through his grandson’s eyes, the worries in Long Haotian’s heart vanishes into thin air. For some reason, he feels the one who will emerge the loser is that mountain demon.

“Hn, since you have planned everything in advance, then grandfather will not say anything more. How after afterwards? When you have defeated the mountain demon, where are you two going to go?” He hasn’t forgotten what Zhanye mentioned before, that little Yuan only has nine days to live. A very short nine days.

“Actually, our intention is to utilise the evil energy this mountain demon absorbed from Chi You’s head to break through the rift between worlds and return to the Immortal Realm. This is similar to the method my close friend employed to enter the mortal world.” The close friend Huo Zaiyuan mentioned is of course none other than Huo Tianji’s best friend – Lian Xiang.

“Exploiting a demon’s power to achieve your goal. Haha…you two children are really not simple ah.”

“We had thought about it before. This mountain demon’s purpose of invading the mortal realm is to transform it into Purgatory. Supposing we are unable to defeat it, we will open a crevice in the rift between realms and drag this demon up with us. Towards mortals, this creature is a huge threat, but in the world of Immortals, it is a mere imp.” Long Zhanye doesn’t hesitate in telling his grandfather everything, but not bothering to mention that bringing this demon into the Immortal Realm will stir up a lot of trouble. Naturally, being who he is, causing inconvenience for Immortals is not anything new. Besides, he can sit back and watch a play unfold if they are forced to enact Plan B.

“Be careful, you two. And remember, no matter when and where you are, grandfather will forever by your grandfather. And this place will forever be home to you children.”

“Yes.”

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Rebirth of MC 173

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Chapter 173: Ephemeral

The lightning bolt that is as aggressive as a striking viper splits the ten-storey hospital in half, causing it to collapse.

Suddenly, the violent gales bring with it a fragrant scent of bamboo. Silver rays of light shine out from the pile of rubble that used to be a building. Closely following the flash of light, a power reminiscent of nature itself rips through the air, scattering the lightning before it can strike the ground.

A lean figure falls from the sky, the clothes wrapped around his frame now torn and tattered. Drops of scarlet blood flowing from the various lacerations on his body stain the ground beneath as it follows the body downwards.

A white-haired, white-robed figure leaps out from the debris, arms reaching out to catch the falling person. Eyes closed, Long Zhanye feels himself being drawn into a soft embrace, surrounded by the smell of bamboo, a scent he is extremely familiar with…

“Little Yuan,” Eyelids open half-mast to reveal golden pupils as a faint smile curves his lips, Long Zhanye whispers.

“I’m here.” Huo Zaiyuan tightens his arms around his lover, touching down lightly onto solid ground, a hand reaching up to roam lightly over Long Zhanye’s bloodstained face. “Fortunately…all of you are all right.”

Behind, a large piece of broken concrete is pushed away and Lian Xiang climbs out, coughing a little from the still-settling dust. Looking at the two embracing, lost in their own world, the corners of his mouth lift upwards.

So what if he helped defy the Heavens? As long as he is able to see him smile, he would do it a thousand times over!

~~~

“Haha…he’s dead! He is finally dead, I finally killed him…hahaha!!”

Within the dim jail cell, a woman’s loud, maniacal laughter rings through the area. The shackles clamped around her wrists and ankles jingle with every move.

Tap, tap, tap

The slow, deliberate click of combat boots on the cold, hard ground grows louder by the second, the soft noise seemingly loud in the relatively quiet atmosphere of the prison. Along with the footsteps, one can also hear the sound of something being dragged over the floor.

Very quickly, that person arrives outside the cell door. A key is slotted into the steel lock, the ‘clack’ announcing its unlocking ringing out clearly. With the faintest creak, the steel door swings open.

The thing that was dragged behind this figure is carelessly thrown in. Like a dirty rag being tossed aside, a man sporting broken hands and legs is dropped to the floor in a sorry heap.

The raving mad woman sitting chained to the back wall of the cell abruptly halts her crazy laughter. Her entire body stiffens as her gaze falls onto the crippled man flung on the ground. A moment later, a startled expression crosses her face before she throws herself towards him. However, her actions are stopped short by the shackles binding her. No matter how much she struggles, she cannot hope to touch the man now emitting pained whimpers.

“Shouldn’t you thank me? I mobilised the entire army in order to find your son, bringing him here from the furthest ninth district’s separate housing,” Slowly stepping into the small cell, a smooth, pleasant voice says. But in the woman’s ears, it sounds like the voice of the devil himself.

This man is indeed the devil.

“You…what did you do to my son…you fiend! Devil!” Not stopping in her struggle, a desire to tear free of these blasted chains to protect the man on the ground rises. Her furious hollers are half threats, half garbled words. The glare piercing the soldier in the cell contains a murderous glint.

“I didn’t do anything too excessive, just used him as a punching bag to train a little. Fiend? Devil? Tsk, tsk…don’t use that plaything’s title to compare with this deity.” Scoffing coldly, Long Zhanye’s eyes displays all the despise he holds for Zhou Huijiao. Lifting a foot, the heel of his boot grinds harshly on the back of the man lying pitifully upon the hard ground.

Right now, Huo Jiaobao is a sorry sack of mere flesh and bones, with no strength in his body. Weak to the point of not being able to withstand another blow. This one step from Long Zhanye causes his wound-ridden body to twitch in agony, a mouthful of fresh blood spurting out between his lips.

“Y – you…let go of my son! I will kill you!” Zhou Huijiao’s hands curve into claws, scrabbling uselessly at the air.

“Let him go? When you assassinated my little Yuan, was there any mercy in your heart?” Looking at the woman baring her teeth, Long Zhanye replies frostily.

“So it turns out…you are that mongrel-child’s accomplice…haha…that bastard died well. Died well. I killed him…hahaha…” Another bout of insane laughter breaks out as Long Zhanye’s words make her recall her recent kill.

“Ahh – !!”

Just as Zhou Huijiao’s crazy laughter rings out, Huo Jiaobao suddenly moans in pain. For Long Zhanye ruthlessly drove the dagger that was stuck in Huo Zaiyuan’s chest through one of Huo Jiabao’s palm, effectively pinning this man to the cell’s floor.

“You! What do you want! Let him go…if you dare to kill him, I will haunt you even as a ghost…”

“Don’t worry, I won’t let him die so easily. With the dagger you used to stab what is mine, I will carve the flesh off your precious son piece by piece…”

Afterwards, the eerie cries of pain and the sharp shrieks of a woman resonate through the darkness from the prison block, not ceasing for a very long time.

It is only when the heavy stench of iron pervades the entire cell does Long Zhanye step out, leaving a set of shoeprints behind in the viscous sludge of dark red pooling on the hard floor.

~~~

A soft bed, warm blankets…the person still hazy with sleepiness rubs his cheek on the quilt, burrowing further into the mattress even as a blissful sigh escapes him.

“Heheh…” A light laugh full of fondness rings out from somewhere next to him.

Eyelashes fluttering open, the person buried under the blankets peeks out. A handsome, smiling visage meets him. Mouth curving into an identical smile, a slender hand emerges from beneath the quilt to rest on the other man’s shoulder.

“Zhanye.”

“Watching you sleep so peacefully gives me some sort of comfort.” Long Zhanye’s hand travels down the curve of his body to rest on a hip.

Just before the two can kiss, Huo Zaiyuan’s brow wrinkles lightly before he shoves Long Zhanye away. “You…you reek of blood. Where did you go?”

“Eh? Your senses have become keener after your soul and spiritual vessel united. I just took a shower too.” Long Zhanye also frowns, not bothering to deny anything.

“Did you kill Zhou Huijiao?” Ignoring the other’s complains, Huo Zaiyuan draws a couple of runes in the air. Following it, gentle silver light emits from the characters and falls on Long Zhanye’s body, causing a faint red mist to rise. As soon as the mist disperses, the smell of blood clinging to Long Zhanye disappears.

Pulling his beloved into a tighter hug now that he doesn’t stink, Long Zhanye grins, dropping a kiss on the long, white hair.

“I’m not a vicious murderer. Although that brainless woman deserves death, that doesn’t mean she is qualified to die under my own hands. Of course, I also cannot let her off without a little lesson. Hmph, what does she expect after stabbing you? The smell of blood on my body is all borne from that woman’s hatred and resentment, that’s all.” As he says this, the expression on his face is as innocent as can be.

Indeed, Zhou Huijiao and her son are not dead yet. But after suffering through his little lesson, they are no doubt wishing someone would end their life.

Naturally, Long Zhanye will never let his treasure know about the dark thoughts residing in the depths of his heart. If it ever got out, it might make the other disappointed in him.

Ai…so be it.” Huo Zaiyuan sighs. “I died in her hands before my rebirth, and once more fell to her in this life. A predestined calamity is someone one can neither hide from nor escape…”

“I am your only calamity.” Long Zhanye sulks as he hears Huo Zaiyuan’s words. Tightening his grip around his beloved, he buries his nose in the other’s hair, breathing in the soothing scent of bamboo.

“Yes, yes. You are my calamity, and my troublesome man.” Huo Zaiyuan is already accustomed to this man’s territorial nature when it comes to things he considers his. Wrapping his arms around the other’s waist, he continues. “After the heavenly-defying act, my soul has reunited with my original body. Right now, my cultivation level is at the ninth level and I have regained my memories as Huo Tianji. However, this is an ephemeral phrase. Nine days later, my body will disappear and my soul will scatter once again.”

“I had no option but to enact this heavenly-defying procedure. I couldn’t simply stand aside and watch as you died again.” Long Zhanye’s hold tightens to the point of suffocating, but Huo Zaiyuan doesn’t protest. “I will definitely not allow your body to crumble and your soul to scatter. I finally found you again after so many millennia. I will never let go of you again…even if the Heavens themselves wish to snatch you away, they will need to step over my corpse.”

He was born as the harbinger of chaos, destined to keep defying the Heavens. For the person he loves, he will willingly set the realms on fire and raze the Heavens.

Because he has nothing in this world. Nothing besides the one Huo Zaiyuan…

“Zhanye.”

“Come, we’ll go pay grandfather a visit, then discuss what needs to be done next. The little monk was able to descend into the mortal world without incident, so he should know how to return to the world of Immortals. Since that’s the case, I will return with you. There are countless spiritual herbs and medicines there. I don’t believe nothing can save you.” Not waiting for Huo Zaiyuan to reply, Long Zhanye immediately tosses the other over his shoulder and heads to the door.

Shocked by the sudden actions, Huo Zaiyuan smacks his hand on Long Zhanye’s back. “Ah! Don’t be impulsive! Put me down!”

“Not going to dally any longer. Even if I have to tear a hole in the sky, I will return to the Immortal Realm with you.”

“Then…then put me down first. I can walk on my own!”

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Rebirth of MC 172

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Chapter 172: Defy the Heavens

It takes less than five minutes for the car to return back to the military hospital. Due to the large crowd gathered on the first floor, they have to stop the car a few meters in front of the building.

The first to exit the Hummer is Lian Xiang. Sweeping a glance over the staff and patients, he lifts his head to look at the dark clouds covering the sky above the hospital. Frowning, he turns to address Mo Junfan and Li Qing.

“Don’t come into the hospital. The Heavenly Retribution is near. Go to the command building and tell the soldiers there to clear everyone from the vicinity.” Saying this, Lian Xiang darts away, easily leaping over the crowd to enter the hospital.

As soon as he steps into the building, he is hit by a bone-cutting chill.

It is fortunate that all the patients and staff here are soldiers, hence, they evacuate swiftly without question. By the time Lian Xiang nears the emergency room, the entire hospital has cleared out.

The Heretical Dragon’s energy permeates the air, but it is clearly just spiritual signature lingering due to an outpour of spiritual power. Allowing a trickle of spiritual energy to flow through his being, Lian Xiang’s body is enveloped in golden light that disperses the bone-cutting chill.

Pushing the door of the emergency room open, one can see the machines are still operating as before. Besides Long Zhanye and Qin Jun, there is no other staff in sight. A green-haired child is clinging onto Qin Jun’s back, the green glow emitting from his body preventing the doctor from freezing to death. Even so, Qin Jun’s mental perseverance is rather high, allowing him to remain steady as he treats Huo Zaiyuan.

Pouring his power into Huo Zaiyuan once more to suppress the curse from the dagger, the anxious expression on Long Zhanye’s face doesn’t ebb a little.

Grasping the current situation after a brief observation, Lian Xiang hurries over to the operating table. Golden lotuses bearing a swastika spreads out rapidly, replacing the bone-cutting chill in the room with warmth. Chanting under his breath, he condenses his spiritual power in the hollow of his palm, injecting it into Huo Zaiyuan.

“Qin Jun!” Long Zhanye calls quietly as black scales envelop his hand. Eyes flickering gold, he grips the handle of the dagger and tugs at it.

“Urghh…” A low moan of pain emits from the unconscious Huo Zaiyuan as his body jerks, seemingly locked in a struggle.

Qin Jun’s reaction is extremely fast, immediately clamping down on Huo Zaiyuan’s limbs. Long Zhanye exerts a little more strength, and following a short spurt of fresh blood, the dagger is finally removed from Huo Zaiyuan’s chest.

Tossing the dagger away, the two men instantly work together to treat the bleeding wound, speaking in soft tones to placate the unconscious youth whose muscles are still jerking from agony.

“The arteries of his heart has been damaged. Heartbeat is dropping. If this continues…” With his power still within Huo Zaiyuan, Lian Xiang can clearly feel what is occurring. His words are supported by the nonstop beeping noises coming from the machine.

“I’ve already made preparations.” Long Zhanye glances at Lian Xiang before biting the flesh of his index finger. Blood wells out, which is instantly smeared over the silver dragon tattoo on Huo Zaiyuan’s wrist.

The tattoo lights up in a silver blaze before a white-haired, white-robed body falls into Long Zhanye’s arms.

Lian Xiang stiffens as soon as his gaze falls onto the familiar face of the body. “Don’t tell me you plan on…”

“Correct. Little Yuan’s inner spiritual power has already been eroded away by the curse. Now, the only way to save him is to unite soul and body.” Placing the body beside Huo Zaiyuan, Long Zhanye’s hard gaze locks on his beloved.

Absolutely will not let anything happen to you…

“Tianji died due to the Heavenly Retribution! If you do this, the lightning will descend once more!” Lian Xiang gasps in alarm.

Ever since he saw the dark clouds gathering above the hospital, he more or less guessed that Huo Zaiyuan’s wound this time might lead to his demise. If his soul is allowed to re-enter the reincarnation cycle, the clouds will disperse. But should one defy the Heavens and succeed in saving him, lightning will definitely fall from the sky.

“I know, but I will not just watch him die and slip through my fingers once more. I finally found him again after so long…” Long Zhanye’s hand tightens around Huo Zaiyuan’s own, which is rapidly turning cold.

He will absolutely not allow his most beloved person to die before him. Absolutely not!!

“I understand. Leave him to me. But what about the Heavenly Retribution?”

The lightning that will descend due to this Heavenly-defying act will not be easy to endure…

“I will bear it. I will definitely not allow it to get past me and harm any of you one bit.” Long Zhanye’s dark eyes turn golden, scales appearing over his skin.

“No. You don’t have a dragon’s body! How can you bear the full weight of it with only a human’s body?!” One hand on Huo Zaiyuan’s body, the other materialises a golden jian. “Take Fu Hua with you.”

“No, Fu Hua is the medium for your Buddhist Arts. Even if my dragon power alone is insufficient, it will be enough with him by my side.” A wave of his fingers and a silver jian appears. “Liu Ying is the same as me. We both wish to protect our most important person.”

The Liu Ying who has always been at odds with Long Zhanye emits a strong silver burst of light, clearly indicating that he approves of the other man’s words.

Although Fu Hua and Liu Ying are classified as godly weapons, they are both made out of different materials. Long Zhanye’s energy conflicts with Fu Hua’s Buddhist powers. On the other hand, Liu Ying is crafted out of metal ores harvested from the Dragon Mountain in the Immortal Realm. As a result, it is extremely compatible with Long Zhanye’s dragon nature.

Lian Xiang eventually nods, keeping Fu Hua. Without further ado, he condenses more spiritual energy and pours it into Huo Zaiyuan.

As Long Zhanye departs with sword in hand, Lian Xiang spreads his attention and power between Huo Zaiyuan and the spiritual vessel. Glancing up at Qin Jun, he says, “You need to quickly leave this building. The Heavenly Retribution will commence soon. Although Long Zhanye will block it, the extra energy from it will reduce an ordinary person to dust. The tree spirit’s protection wouldn’t be enough, so take him and leave.”

“What about you?” Regarding the Heavenly Retribution and whatnots he caught from Long Zhanye and Lian Xiang’s conversation, Qin Jun doesn’t understand any of it. However, his instincts tell him that this event will be a thousand times more dangerous than anything he has faced in the apocalypse.

“A large reserve of spiritual power runs through my meridians. Although I cannot block the lightning, I will be able to endure the excess energy. In addition, I have Fu Hua by my side. Leave quickly. Time is precious to Huo Zaiyuan now. One second of waiting is another second closer to death.”

“Got it. Be careful.” Qin Jun understands the seriousness of this situation. Thus, holding Lu Er in his arms, the doctor leaves as quickly as he can.

Silence falls in the emergency room – no, not just the room, but the entire building. Suddenly, a huge explosion of light erupts from the emergency room. Following that, the dark clouds above rolls and surges as flickers of lightning flashes in the sky. The wind kicks up, becoming fiercer by the second.

On the roof of the military’s hospital, a lean figure raises a silver jian to the sky, inversed black scales covering his left cheek and arm as well as the back of his hand. A pair of golden eyes like that of a beast stares fearlessly up at the dark clouds.

“Little brat, best prepare yourself. Don’t let the lightning tear your body and crush your bones. Else, when little Yuan wakes up, he will definitely cry. You don’t want to make him sad…”

A light “shing” comes from the silver blade, faint silver light emitting from the entire jian. In a flash, it morphs into a small silver dragon.

[Hmph, I should be telling you that. Don’t let the lightning crush you. Else when Master awakens, he will be very sad if you are no more than a pile of ashes!]

Sword spirit and dragon both wish to protect that one person, but always find themselves butting heads. Even facing their possible deaths, neither of them forgets to ridicule each other. Suffice to say, just looking at the other fills them with disgust ah!

The Heavenly Retribution is different from the Nine Lightning Tribulations one will have to endure in order to ascend. Instead of nine lightning strikes, the Heavenly Retribution consists only of one. But this one strike has the combined strength of all nine bolts from the Tribulations. Needless to say, it is many times more destructive than the Nine Lightning Tribulations.

A fierce gale rages. Dark clouds roll in the sky, golden light flicking in the middle of the surging mass as a large sphere of energy is condensing into one spot.

Lightning will definitely descend in the split-second the soul is transferred…

Suddenly, all the glass windows in the hospital shatter as a burst of golden light erupts. At the same moment, an earth-shattering thunder booms. Golden lightning descends from the surging dark clouds gathered above, streaking downwards, aiming unerringly for the hospital.

Clothes billowing in the strong wind, Long Zhanye condenses his power, sending it coursing through the silver blade. With a roar, he swings the jian in a diagonal arc. Black and silver rays of light intertwine together in the form of a dragon, shooting towards the lighting bolt.

Boom!!

An immense force explodes outwards as soon as the lightning and dragon collide. Throughout the entire safe zone, every structure is shaken to its foundations by this wave of invisible energy.

Dragon and lightning contend against each other in the skies above, neither giving way. Black scales drop to the earth piece by piece as scarlet blood rains down…

As the black dragon nearly dissipates before their eyes, an abrupt howl rips out of Long Zhanye. The dragon is eventually devoured by the golden lightning. Unobstructed, the bolt pierces through the hospital, splitting it in two and causing the entire building to crumble.

 

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Rebirth of MC 171

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Chapter 171: Injured

Everything happened in a blink of an eye. Huo Zaiyuan saw the welcoming and eager smile on the soldier’s face disappear as he throws himself forward. A single gunshot rings out, shattering the quiet air in the military district.

Blood blossoms from the soldier’s back as the bullet sinks in, followed by a maniacal shout emitting from a crazed-looking woman as she charges forward.

In the next second, a sharp pain erupts in Huo Zaiyuan’s upper torso. A hot blade has carved its way through his flesh and bones, some sort of strange energy spreading from where a steel dagger rests within his body, sapping all the strength in him…

As he collapses, the woman’s twisted face fills his vision, accompanied by her sharp, crazy laughter…

In the first apocalypse he experienced, he was kicking into a swarm of devil ants by this woman. At the time, she was also wearing this expression…

Ah…what did he do in both lifetimes for this woman to hate him so…?

“Little Yuan!!”

A heartbroken cry momentarily drowns out the woman’s crazed laughter. Huo Zaiyuan’s heart stutters as he is drawn into a warm hug. Zhanye’s anguished eyes are the last thing he sees before his eyelids slide close. Huo Zaiyuan’s lips tremble as he tries to talk, to soothe the despair on his face. But the only thing that comes out of his mouth is a stream of blood.

Zhan…Zhanye…

Long Zhanye grits his teeth in agony when he lay eyes on the pale-faced youth in his arms, the sight of blood flowing from his nose, mouth and chest fills him with desperation.

A relatively large group of soldiers dash towards the military hospital located not too far away. Bursting through the entrance, the soldiers in front bellow for a doctor, disregarding the rule for peace and quiet.

In no time at all, Huo Zaiyuan is transported to the emergency room. The sound of soldiers suddenly charging into the building and shouting for medical assistance alarmed not only the doctors and nurses on the first floor, but also the patients and staff on the second and third level. From amongst the crowd of people drawn to the first floor, a figure rushes out to grab Long Zhanye by the front of his blood-stained uniform.

“Older brother Long, ju – just now…was the person wheeled into the emergency room little Yuan? What the hell happened?”

“Little Qing.” Qin Jun shoves through the crowd, gently pulling Li Qing away from the haggard Long Zhanye.

“But – ”

Before Li Qing can protest, the doctor who entered the emergency room with Huo Zaiyuan walks out with a tensed expression, stopping before Long Zhanye.

“Senior officer Long, please come in.”

Long Zhanye stiffens before following the doctor. Exchanging a quick glance, Li Qing and Qin Jun quickly tag along as well.

Within the emergency room, Huo Zaiyuan is already laid out on the operating table, tubes inserted through his oral cavity and stuck down his trachea. The bloodstained sweater has been cut down the middle, exposing his bare upper torso. A dagger sticks out the front of his chest. Most of the blade has entered cleanly, leaving only the handle. However, the strangest thing is the black-veined patterns spreading out from the wound. Even as they stare, these lines continue crawling further and further as a relatively slow speed.

“This…what is this?” Li Qing grips the end of the operating table but dares not approach any closer. Fear for Huo Zaiyuan grips his heart. Not too long ago, his childhood friend was still happily walking around. Now…

“We noticed this immediately after cutting the patient’s shirt and did a test for poison. However, the indicator displayed the patient’s body is clear of any poisonous or toxic substances. As this situation is very strange, we dare not remove the weapon,” the doctor explains in a strained tone, clearly showing that Huo Zaiyuan is still in a critical condition.

“It is not poison but a curse. Removing the weapon without breaking the curse first will result in a horrible consequence.” Dropping his coat carelessly on the floor, Long Zhanye approaches the operating table and gently lifts Huo Zaiyuan into his arms. “Qin Jun, come over and help me support little Yuan. Doctor Wang and the others, I will trouble you with monitoring the patient’s condition.”

As soon as he finishes directing everyone, black rays of light conjugate in his palm, causing the temperature within the emergency room to plunge sharply. However, every medical personnel in the military district’s hospital is a military man or woman. Faced with this sudden change in air temperature, none of them reacts, instead focusing on their assigned task. Their current duty is to prevent any unexpected event from occurring.

Long Zhanye injects his inner spiritual energy into Huo Zaiyuan’s body. The spreading black veins stop before withdrawing slowly.

Approximately ten minutes later, the black lines have disappeared from Huo Zaiyuan’s skin. Li Qing beams brightly in relief, only for it to disappear when Long Zhanye curses under his breath.

“Older brother Long!” This man is always stoic and cool-headed. For panic to surface in his eyes means the situation is not good.

“My power is incompatible with little Yuan’s. The most I can do is lock the curse inside his body, but cannot remove it completely. If I try to…”

“Don’t you cultivate together with little Yuan?!” Li Qing bristles in agitation.

What to do?! What to do ah!!

“We do, but I don’t use the Taoist Arts!!” The sphere of energy in his palms become denser as the air temperature within plummets even lower. Long Zhanye’s pupils flash gold.

Although his body is that of a human right now, his spiritual energy is a dragon’s. Dual cultivating with Huo Zaiyuan allows them both to achieve better results in lesser time due to their opposing nature. He is able to obtain pure spiritual energy from Huo Zaiyuan while the other can absorb the Yang in his. But from the start, the base nature of their respective inner spiritual energy cannot be more different!

“Taoist Arts, Taoist Arts. I know! I’ll go find Elder priest grandfather!” The Head priest is the strongest Taoist Li Qing knows within the ‘School of Taoism’.

“No, don’t look for the Head priest. Go find that Buddhist monk!”

“What monk?!” Startled by Long Zhanye’s sudden yell, Li Qing slams into the door of the emergency room.

Ow, ow, ow…he must have broken his skull…

“Go to the command centre and find either Hanyang or Nuandong. Get them to send people out to search the safe zone for a young man named Lian Xiang, then bring him here! Hurry!” Long Zhanye removes the armlet displaying his rank from his sleeve and tosses it to Li Qing.

Fumbling to catch the armlet, Li Qing freezes for a second as soon as the two words ‘Lian Xiang’ registers. Then his face flushes in elation. “Lian Xiang, Lian Xiang…no need to find your left and right adjutant. I know where he is. Older brother Long, hold on for ten minutes while I go kidnap him!!”

Sprinting out of the room even before he finishes speaking, Li Qing hops into the nearest vehicle, drops Long Zhanye’s armlet onto the passenger seat, before heading to the seventh district with the speed of a whirlwind.

In the dimmest corner of the vegetarian restaurant, two figures sit facing each other. One is clad in a long white robe, a tranquil expression on his young face. The other is short-haired and dressed in a smart, all black attire. Although the latter’s base disposition make him seem like a cold and unapproachable man, the expression in his eyes as he gazes at the youth opposite him is full of gentleness.

“How is it?” Lian Xiang asks, gaze locked on the other man.

“Un, it is sweet and fragrant. However, it tastes different from the one you normally brew for me.” Mo Junfan nods, placing the teacup in his hands down on the table.

“Naturally. This is a special product unique to the ‘Clear Bamboo Teahouse’.” Lian Xiang pours Mo Junfan another cup from the purple clay teapot.

At this moment, a Hummer screeches to a halt outside the restaurant. A moment later, the restaurant’s door is slammed open, revealing a red-faced, panting Li Qing.

“Excuse me…may I know if Lian Xiang is here?” Li Qing asks in a loud voice, drawing everyone’s attention.

“You…”

“Oh, it’s you. Did something happen?”

Just as the workers in the restaurant prepares to drive Li Qing out, thinking that this youth is looking for trouble, Lian Xiang’s voice rings out, halting the staff in their tracks.

“You’re here, that’s great! Quick…quickly come with me!” Li Qing grabs Lian Xiang’s arm and drags him away.

“Let go of him!” Mo Junfan who was completely ignored instantly rises to his feet, expression icy as he breaks Li Qing’s hold on Lian Xiang.

Already extremely worried about Huo Zaiyuan’s condition and stressed out by the time he is wasting driving here and back, Li Qing’s mental state is already very tensed. He completely didn’t notice Mo Junfan, and is thus caught off guard by the shove.

“Junfan!” Lian Xiang scolds under his breath before hurrying towards Li Qing, helping him to his feet. “Are you okay? What happened?”

“Little Yuan…little Yuan was stabbed and is in a critical condition! Older brother Long said his power is not compatible and told me to find you. Lian Xiang…I beg you, please, please save little Yuan.” Li Qing drops to his knees, weeping as he kowtows to Lian Xiang.

“Little Qing!” Lian Xiang pulls Li Qing to his feet before his gaze sweeps over the startled customers to the stern-looking man standing next to him. “Let’s go! Junfan, drive the car!”

“Hn.” Although Junfan is annoyed by the entire event, he still follows Lian Xiang out the door.

Who asked him to fall in love with such a troublesome monk?!


 

(Translator’s note: Don’t ask me where that bitch of a stepmum got the cursed dagger from… Author-sama…aren’t you simply pulling things out of your behind now to make the main couple suffer…?)

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Rebirth of MC 170

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Chapter 170: Meeting Zhou Huijiao again

The hoarse, humourless laughter grates on the ears of everyone within earshot. Although a stupefied expression is displayed on the unfamiliar woman’s face, deep envy and hatred swirl in the depths of her eyes. She glares at Huo Zaiyuan as though wishing to tear him apart, body trembling with rage as both hands clench.

“Haha…Huo Zaiyuan, you – you actually ask who I am… You…it’s all because of you that I fell to this state! You are the one who harmed my son!”

Finally giving in to her anger, the woman throws herself at Huo Zaiyuan, hands poised as if to strangle him.

Fortunately, as soon as Huo Zaiyuan notices the madness on her face, he was already on guard. The moment she charges towards him, he leaps up onto his chair and kicks it towards her whilst flipping up into the air. In a flicker of silver light, he places a distance of five meters between them.

“You are…” Narrowing his eyes at the crazed woman, it takes him a while to finally realise who she is. “You are Zhou Huijiao.”

“Heehee…unexpected, right? Never thought you would run into me? It’s all your fault…it was foretold years ago that you will steal away Huo family’s assets and try to harm me. Why are you so cruel? Even if you don’t like me as a stepmother, but Jiabao…Jiaobao is your blood brother!!” Zhou Huijiao screams at Huo Zaiyuan.

Originally, the restaurant is already rather packed. But with Zhou Huijiao screeching and raving, a large crowd is drawn to watch the spectacle, though no one steps in.

Gazing silently at the woman, Huo Zaiyuan’s face is calm and tranquil. On the other hand, Li Qing, who was half scared to death by the sudden yell finally reacts, his temper exploding. Stomping over so he is standing in front of Huo Zaiyuan to block this detestable bitch’s line of sight, he scoffs coldly.

Ai…old auntie, you really have no sense of shame. Everyone knew very well how you, this pair of mother and son, treated little Yuan during that time. And no one else knows it better than me. Even after he left home, you continued harassing him. After Uncle Huo’s death, you immediately want to chase him out of the Huo family. Has your son ever treated Huo Zaiyuan as his older brother and shown him proper respect?!”

Li Qing has always been rather short-tempered. Even after suffering General Long’s ‘demon training’ for more than a year and mellowing out a lot, pushing the right button will still be able to incite his fury. Seeing this Zhou Huijiao cursing his best friend, he naturally cannot remain calm.

“You…you are Li family’s bastard. Our Huo family affairs are none of your business…” The words of whispered discussions surfacing amongst the crowd cause Zhou Huijiao’s vision to redden in anger again. Spitting mad, she lunges at Li Qing, intending to slap him away.

Before her palm can touch Li Qing, the woman’s wrist is caught by someone.

“Excuse me, Miss, please don’t lay a hand on a customer of our establishment,” the person states in a low tone, eyeing Zhou Huijiao warningly before letting go of her. A slender figure slips between Li Qing and the woman, protecting the two youths from further attacks.

Zhou Huijiao’s expression becomes even uglier. Rubbing her sore wrists, she draws a deep breath and continues spitting out unpleasant words. “Who the hell are you?! What status do you have to block my way? Scram! Or else I will beat you up as well!”

“Based on my status as the boss of this establishment.” The man’s voice grows cold. “Drag this person who is making a ruckus out!!”

Immediately, two burly men appear to grab Zhou Huijiao by her left and right arm, pulling her out of the restaurant.

“Filth! Huo Zaiyuan…just you wait! You repulsive, disgusting child! Illegitimate bastard! I will definitely not let you off…!” Struggling against the man, she continues shouting at the top of her lungs. Simply judging from her speech and actions, it is as though she has truly gone mad.

After Zhou Huijiao is dragged away, Lian Xiang slowly turns around to smile radiantly at Huo Zaiyuan.

“Rare is it when the eloquent, righteous Taoist remains silent when faced with false accusations. You really have changed.” The words are delivered in a teasing tone, but carries a sense of seriousness.

Huo Zaiyuan flashes a small, answering smile. “I am not ‘him’. I owe you once more.”

“Un. Even if you are different from ‘him’, you are still my close friend. That is a fact,” Lian Xiang states firmly. “I heard you returned yesterday, so I made plans to visit the military district to see you. Unexpectedly, you delivered yourself to my doorstep. Order whatever you like, I’ll treat you.”

Glancing at the half-eaten dishes on the table, Lian Xiang then turns to talk quietly with Mo Junfan who appeared beside him sometime during the commotion. The latter sweeps a thoughtful gaze over Huo Zaiyuan before nodding his head and departing with a few subordinates.

“Little Yuan, who is he? He looks rather remarkable. When did you make friends with such a dignified older brother…?” Li Qing asks, curiosity piqued.

“He is Lian Xiang. Didn’t you hear what he said before? He is my first friend,” Huo Zaiyuan says as he pats Li Qing’s shoulder. Stepping around the mechanic, he walks towards Lian Xiang.

Glancing between the other two youths, Li Qing heaves a helpless sigh. “First friend, huh? Then between childhood friend and first friend, which one is closer? Ai…why do I feel like I’ve just been abandoned…”

“Little Qing, why are you still standing there daydreaming?”

“Ah, coming!”

~~~

“If you dare cause a scene in our establishment again, we will definitely not let you off! Old auntie, grow a pair of eyes!” Shoving Zhou Huijiao away from him, one of the two burly men snorts coldly.

“Tch, if little boss wasn’t around, Boss would have already strangled and buried you in a pit,” the other sneers. “Count your mongrel-self lucky!”

Glaring at the retreating backs of the two men, Zhou Huijiao remains on the ground where she fell, dark hatred gleaming in her eyes as her hands clench into fists.

“Huo Zaiyuan…I will never let you off. I will definitely not let you of… You made me fall to this extent…I will definitely make you suffer before dying. That’s right…suffer…heehee…suffer before dying…”

~~~

Outside the entrance of the command centre with a knitted cardigan wrapped around him, Huo Zaiyuan stands there, staring blankly at the doors.

Looking at the youngster who has not moved for a while, the handful of guards exchange glances, communicating silently through their eyes and a few gestures.

Huo Zaiyuan being Long Zhanye’s lover is a fact every soldier knows. In addition, his formidable Taoist skills have saved their hides on more than a few occasions. Hence, regarding this ‘eldest sister-in-law’, the troops are more than willing to treat him with the same respect they give the demon king.

After a brief exchange of silent communication between them, a young soldier with a military baton at his hip and a camouflage-patterned cap on his head jogs over. Clicking his heels and saluting in greeting, he speaks up with a dazzling smile.

“Eldest sister-in-law, hello!”

Startled out of his musing by a loud call of ‘eldest sister-in-law’, Huo Zaiyuan blinks at the soldier in front of him before his face is filled with black lines.

He knows that Long Zhanye’s group of lackeys loves causing trouble and being noisy, but…what makes them think that he is the wife! Being addressed as ‘eldest sister-in-law’ gives him goosebumps ah.

“Er…my name is Huo Zaiyuan. Don’t call me eldest sister-in-law. May I ask what are you here for?”

“Reporting to eldest sister-in-law. It’s nothing.” The soldier shakes his head, completely ignoring Huo Zaiyuan’s attempt to change their form of address. Still smiling brightly, he continues, “Eldest sister-in-law, are you here to find Boss? He is currently still in his office. You can go up directly, or this subordinate can help you inform him of your arrival.”

Huo Zaiyuan shakes his head, partially given up on trying to coax the soldier to use his name. “No need, I was just passing through. He is busy working right now, so I wouldn’t interrupt.”

Zhou Huijiao’s sudden appearance caused him some distress. Being jittery, he naturally couldn’t focus on meditating, hence he came out for a walk around the city. Only, his subconscious mind brought him here, in front of the command centre.

After Long Zhanye’s injury and consequent capture, he spent quite a few days in recovery and helping Huo Zaiyuan to break through to the seventh level in the interdimensional space. As a result, the amount of work waiting for him when he got back to the safe zone is piled high. Huo Zaiyuan doesn’t wish to interrupt him and draw his attention away from more important matters.

Although he does miss Zhanye, standing for a moment out here is sufficient…

“No, no. Eldest sister-in-law, the weather is cold. You will freeze if you continue standing out here. Boss will tear our limbs off if something happened to you. How about coming in to rest in the lounge? I will prepare some hot tea for you!”

“I…that wouldn’t do. I’ll be bothering you.”

“Not at all, not at all. Being able to service eldest sister-in-law is our honour!” The soldier’s smile widens further, before respectfully leading Huo Zaiyuan into the building.

Seeing the man’s minion-like expression, the originally gloomy Huo Zaiyuan can’t help giggling softly. Ah, this short interaction really lifts his mood a little. “Thank you.”

Just as Huo Zaiyuan gestures for the guard to lead the way, the soldier’s eyes widen and his expression changes in a split-second. Before the youth can react, the man throws himself at Huo Zaiyuan with a cry of alarm.

Bang!

Immediately, the crack of a pistol firing breaks the peaceful air within the military district. Blood splatter onto the ground below, followed by a maniacal shriek. “Illegitimate bastard! Go die!”

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