If Qi Yin knew what it was, he wouldn’t be so easily scared. After all, he had been chased by strange birds and now lived on Feng Huan Mountain, the thieves’ den. He was now a person who had seen the world. However, if it was something with an appalling appearance, it would be hard not to be frightened.
The problem was, there was nothing outside the door.
“What do we do now?” Qi Yin asked Yun Zhi.
“I don’t know,” Yun Zhi replied.
“Then why are you so calm?”
The knocking at the door continued, and Qi Yin felt his heart race. He moved his stool away from the door.
Yun Zhi waved his hand and symbols appeared on the door. “I drew some talismans on it. They won’t be able to come in. Don’t worry, Junior Brother, we can spend our whole lives in this dream. The only problem is that this place is a bit cramped, and you’ll have to look at your senior brother’s face every day.” He then took out a charcoal cage from his sleeve, snapped his fingers, and green flames lit up the black charcoal. He also took some raw meat and skewered it on his sword to roast it.
Qi Yin was speechless. “Is that how you treat your sword?”
“A sword is meant to be used, whether for slaying demons or roasting meat,” Yun Zhi replied.
“No wonder your sword is called ‘You Hui’,” Qi Yin said. “It must regret being with you.”
As they spoke, the knocking gradually stopped. Qi Yin stood up and looked through the door crack, but there was nothing outside. He then noticed that there were marks on the ground, as if someone had plowed it with a rake. Could it be that Dai Ge had come with a rake? But it didn’t make sense for him to knock on the door without saying anything.
Yun Zhi handed a piece of meat to Qi Yin, but he refused.
“If you were to face Lan Xian’er, how much chance do you have of winning?” Qi Yin asked.
“This lady can weave four dream realms, and even Junior Brother Dai hasn’t come out yet, so she must have some skill,” Yun Zhi pondered, rubbing his chin. “But other than weaving dreams, a tapir doesn’t have any other abilities. We can give it a try.”
The people on Feng Huan Mountain weren’t reliable, and although Yun Zhi could control his sword and had some skill, they couldn’t just wait around forever. Qi Yin felt uneasy, and felt that it would have better if Fu Lan was here instead. “We can’t just sit around and wait for death. Let’s go out and see what’s going on. It doesn’t matter what’s outside, we’ll fight it.”
Yun Zhi acted decisively, immediately putting out the charcoal fire and retracting his sleeves. Qi Yin took out his own broken iron sword and stood back-to-back with him as they left the house, in case something attacked them from outside. When they reached the stairs, nothing happened. Qi Yin breathed a sigh of relief and looked around with his sword in hand. There was a circle of dilapidated fences outside, with some dog-tail grass and comfrey growing underneath. The ground was muddy, and his boots were covered in mud after just one step. He hadn’t seen clearly through the crack in the door just now, but now he saw that there were plow marks all over the ground, criss-crossing in strange patterns.
Turning his head to look at the door again, he saw that it was pitted with holes, as if eaten away by insects. The holes were new, all made by the mysterious thing that had knocked on the door just now.
What the hell was going on? Qi Yin was at a loss and couldn’t make sense of it. Could it be that many demons were knocking on the door and then raking the ground with their hoes after they left?
Although he didn’t know what kind of demons they were, he was sure that there was something wrong with their mind.
As he was squatting and thinking, something suddenly fell on his head with a thud. He was startled, and the thing slipped into his collar, stinging cold against his skin. Qi Yin shuddered, then reached behind his back and pulled out the thing. He took a look and was immediately frightened out of his wits.
It was a green and white snake, and he happened to be holding its head, while its tail was coiling around his arm. Qi Yin was startled and threw the snake away, jumping to Yun Zhi’s side.
Yun Zhi laughed and said, “It’s just a snake.” He made a sword gesture with his right hand, and the sword slashed through the air, splitting the snake in half.
Suddenly, Qi Yin thought of something and asked, “Yun Zhi, what kind of demon ate your parents back then?”
“A snake demon.”
Just as Qi Yin was about to speak, things started falling from the sky with a pitter-patter noise as they hit the ground. Qi Yin focused his gaze and saw that they were all snakes, wriggling and twisting on the ground, some even twisted together as if tied in knots. These snakes were of various colors, some green, some white, and some with colorful patterns.
Qi Yin was suddenly alarmed and shouted, “It’s raining snakes! Let’s go inside!”
It was already too late to go inside. They still had a bit of a way to go to reach the house, and the road was now covered in snakes. Yun Zhi urged him to stay calm and once again used a gesture to activate his sword technique. The symbol, with a resounding sound, suddenly transformed into several flying swords. These swords moved through the snake rain like a tidal wave, stirring up the snakes into a frenzy, splattering blood and flesh into a mist.
Qi Yin was stunned as he witnessed this sword technique for the first time. This was the Phoenix Still Sword Technique, where the sword followed one’s heart and the sharpness of the blade was unstoppable.
However, the snake rain continued to fall endlessly. Snakes fell on the ground far away, convulsing a few times before hissing and spitting venom, and soon they were surrounded by layers of snakes. Yun Zhi flicked his index finger, and his sword technique changed suddenly. The sword lights weaved into a dense giant net, slowly and calmly clearing a space around them and forming a protective barrier.
“Just now, the ones knocking on the door must have been these snakes,” Qi Yin said. He should have thought of this earlier. No wonder he couldn’t see anything knocking on the door. These snakes must have attached themselves to the door and knocked with their heads. The traces on the muddy ground were clearly snake tracks, but he was too focused on wanting to find Fu Lan.
“Let’s rest for a while, and wait until this rain stops before we decide what to do,” Yun Zhi said.
The snake rain gradually stopped, and Qi Yin suddenly said, “Is there any meat left? Can I have a bite?”
Yun Zhi handed him a piece of meat. Qi Yin thanked him and said, “Don’t worry, let’s hold on for a while longer. Before we left, I told master that if I didn’t return by dawn, he should come down the mountain to find us. Judging by the time, he should be coming soon.”
“You are indeed thoughtful, junior brother. If our master comes, he will definitely be able to save us from this danger.”
“Hey, look, isn’t that our master?” Qi Yin pointed with his sleeve, and sure enough, a chubby figure appeared in the sky, floating down like a lantern. Yun Zhi’s eyes also lit up. His master was usually unreliable and would sleep until late in the morning, even if the world was collapsing. He didn’t expect him to arrive so quickly this time.
Qi Yin and Yun Zhi both waved at the figure and shouted loudly, “Master! Master!”
A black shadow shot out from an oblique direction. A curve of light suddenly appeared, slashing across Qing Shi’s falling figure. Qi Yin and Yun Zhi watched in horror as Qing Shi was cut in half. A monster floated in the air, holding Qing Shi’s broken upper body in its mouth. Its gaze was indifferent as it looked down at the two stunned onlookers.
“I knew I didn’t like monsters…” Qi Yin thought to himself, his face contorted with a complex expression.
The monster was a tapir, which resembled a giant mole with black fur all over its body, but with a woman’s face stuck to its head. Its eyes and eyebrows were slender and long, vaguely resembling Lan Xian’er’s face. It was quite terrifying.
The tapir opened its mouth and spat out Qing Shi, saying, “Yun Yin, I had already released you. Why did you come looking for death?”
“I came for my foolish senior brother.” Qi Yin scratched his head and said, “Lan Xian’er, you said your mother is imprisoned. That prison is actually Feng Huan Mountain’s Heavenly Boundary Array, right? When will this cycle of revenge end? Why don’t you come down and talk to us? We can help you plead with our master to release your mother. Wouldn’t that be good?”
“Your master is already dead. What’s the point of begging for mercy?” Lan Xian’er sneered, then she stared at Qing Shi’s corpse on the ground. Qing Shi’s body suddenly burst into flames and turned into a burnt piece of pork with a transformation talisman stuck on it.
Qi Yin smiled apologetically. “Since we don’t have the key to this dream, we have to lure you, Miss Lan Xian’er, the owner of the lock, out.”
Yun Zhi sighed with his sleeves rolled up. “What a waste of good meat.”
“Your plan is quite clever.” Lan Xian’er’s eyes were cold. “Since you don’t want to live, then die with Yun Zhi!”
The tapir suddenly appeared in front of Yun Zhi and Qi Yin, its huge pale female face facing Qi Yin. Qi Yin was startled, leaned back, and almost fell to the ground. The giant mouth on the woman’s face opened, revealing sharp fangs arranged in two rows, top and bottom, capable of biting through steel. With just one bite, it could bisect Qi Yin’s waist!
As Lan Xian’er was about to swallow Qi Yin whole, a cold light suddenly interrupted her. Yun Zhi blocked the attack for Qi Yin and thrust his sword into the center of the tapir’s mouth. The woman’s face looked directly at Yun Zhi, her mouth curved into a cold smile.
Qi Yin felt a sense of foreboding in his heart. The tapir suddenly charged towards them, allowing You Hui Sword to tear at the corners of her mouth. Her fangs cut into Yun Zhi’s right arm inch by inch. She then shook her head violently, tearing off Yun Zhi’s arm with great force.
“Yun Zhi!” Qi Yin shouted.
Lan Xian’er spat out the arm and said, “This bastard is really tough. He broke my teeth.” At the same time, the wound on her mouth slowly healed, and in the blink of an eye, it was as good as new.
Yun Zhi retreated, holding his right shoulder. “This woman’s teeth are really sharp.”
Qi Yin was originally terrified, but seeing that this guy didn’t even shed a drop of blood and could still speak normally, he was stunned and couldn’t speak.
But before he could think more, the tapir roared and stamped its hooves, kicking up dust and clearly preparing to charge. Qi Yin was startled, and Yun Zhi handed You Hui Sword to him, saying, “I lost my right arm and can’t hold the sword. It’s up to you now, my brother. Do you still remember our sect’s swordsmanship? Show your prowess and fight her!”
“What the hell! I’ve never fought in real combat before!” Qi Yin shouted.
“Remember that we fought and defeated Yao family’s nine-headed bird monster together. This is nothing!” Yun Zhi pushed him and said, “Go!”
How could he do it? Qi Yin clenched the hilt of You Hui Sword, his hands sweaty with nervousness.
The tapir stomped on the ground and charged straight towards them. In an instant, dust billowed up, and the fierce black shadow grew closer and closer!
Swordsmanship, swordsmanship! What swordsmanship again? Qi Yin breathed rapidly, his mind a mess. He had to stay calm. He closed his eyes, slowed down his breathing, and recalled the dazzling swordsmanship he had seen at Feng Huan Mountain. One by one, the black silhouettes of people wielding swords flashed through his mind, each move as powerful as a tiger. Which move should he use? It seemed like none of them were right!
The sound of hooves grew louder and louder, like the beating of war drums that shook the ground. Qi Yin suddenly opened his eyes, and for a moment, it was as if a sharp sword was drawn from its sheath, and a fierce light flashed. Qi Yin stepped forward, but at the same time, slipped on the ground and slid under the tapir’s belly. You Hui Sword pierced through her chest cavity, slashing all the way down to the abdomen. Dark, murky blood splattered all over Qi Yin’s face, making it feel like his face was on fire.
“Feng Huan Swordsmanship: Breaking Evil.”
This was the most ordinary move among Feng Huan sword arts. In immortal swordsmanship, there were always moves like “Killing Evil,” “Breaking Illusion,” and “Suppressing Demons,” which were no different from the commonplace “White Crane Spreads Wings” and “Black Tiger Plucks Heart.” But precisely because it was ordinary, it was simple, and Qi Yin was familiar with this move.
Qi Yin had almost sliced the tapir’s entire body in half. Wiping his face, Qi Yin climbed up from the ground, belatedly feeling afraid. He turned his head to look at Lan Xian’er standing in a pool of blood, not knowing if he had struck her heart.
“I underestimated you, Yun Yin.” Lan Xian slowly turned her head. “You’re stronger than I imagined.”
Her wounds slowly closed, and Qi Yin cried and said, “Miss, can we stop fighting? Let’s sit down and have a good chat. Maybe we can still save your mother.”
“You idiot, my mother is already dead.” Lan Xian’er stared straight at him. “My mother exhausted her life’s cultivation to save my father, greatly reducing her lifespan. She was locked up in the Heavenly Boundary Array for decades and died long ago. Senior Brother Yun Yin, the sect leader imprisoned my mother, and I imprisoned his disciple. It’s only fair. Despite that, I released you once on Feng Huan Mountain, and once in the dream world.”
The next moment, she suddenly appeared behind Qi Yin, her gloomy voice sounding like it came from hell. “But you insisted on seeking death. Don’t blame me for being heartless!”
After speaking, Qi Yin was suddenly hit from behind, and at that moment, his back felt like it was struck by thunder, and his entire back was about to split apart. Qi Yin was thrown into the air, and Yun Zhi rushed forward, barely catching him. They both fell to the ground together. Qi Yin’s throat felt sweet, and he spat out a mouthful of blood.
After being hit like this, he felt like he had become a pile of scrap metal and couldn’t stand up. He lay on the ground, his mind wandering. If he died, would Fu Lan and Lord Cat have to beg on the streets?
One of them had lost an arm, and the other was unable to move. Both of them were disabled, but the tapir did not continue attacking. She suddenly stopped, panting restlessly. Only then did Qi Yin realize that something was wrong. All the snakes on the ground were gone. He struggled to turn his head and found that all the snakes had hidden in the house, trembling in fear.
It felt like there was a tremendous pressure overhead, like a huge cloud covering the sky, making the world dark.
As if something terrible was about to descend.