Book 3 Chapter 31: Sorrowful enlightenment

The object floated in front of Wan Li, suspended in midair. Suddenly, it unfurled.

It was that human skin leather jacket…Gu Yu Fang.

She floated there in midair as a thin layer, making Wan Li’s scalp turn numb. He was weirdly daring in most things, but wasn’t able to endure seeing Gu Yu Fang’s current appearance.

“She’s part of your ambush? Why didn’t you tell me!?” Wan Li didn’t forget to complain in the midst of battle.

“She isnt’!” Ruan Zhan knocked the stone person down once again, but the stone person actually grabbed onto his legs, stopping him once again.

He hadn’t wanted to make use of Gu Yu Fang. He just couldn’t bear to do so. Having known her for two years, he wasn’t unaware she had feelings for him. However, his heart which was like stagnant water hadn’t been stirred in the slightest by her. Despite this, he was still appreciative of her feelings. In the end, he hadn’t been able to bring himself to wipe her out. Therefore, he brought her here and sealed her aura, keeping her outside the window, which was now the natural opening of the cave. This way, she could personally see who really harmed her.

He wanted her to become enlightened, no longer being hung up on unrequited love and fierce jealousy, and wait to reincarnate!

“Gu Yu Fang, why aren’t you taking the opportunity to steal your crush’s soul? That way you can be together with him forever.” Yang Mu You didn’t forget to try and harm Ruan Zhan while working to complete his teleportation.

The human skin leather jacket hesitated, slowly drifting towards the two stone people locked in combat. She looked at Ruan Zhan who had Shuo Yue’s face, and knew the soul of the man she pined after for two years was inside. Her face, which was flattened on one side of the jacket, revealed an extremely sorrowful expression. It was the expression of a painted person. There were no tears, but it still revealed inexhaustible grief and despair.

She finally understood that what she wanted to obtain was unobtainable. What she resented didn’t have anything to do with her. What she relied on merely wanted to use her. She thought herself shrewd, but was actually the biggest fool!

“My dearest, come away with me. I will love you more than anyone else!” She muttered, and slowly attached herself to Ruan Zhan as though hugging him.

“Really the most foolish woman in the world. Why haven’t you seen the light yet!?” Wan Li yelled anxiously. The jacket wrapped tighter and tighter around Ruan Zhan, restricting his movements. Wan Li was still tangled up with the old ghost and couldn’t go help.

On the side, Yang Mu You roared with laughter and turned back to completing his circle. However, at this moment, the leather jacket slipped off Ruan Zhan and wrapped itself around the other stone person.

This time, she didn’t constrict slowly, and instead used an extreme amount of force right away. Even the tough stone person let out a tragic scream.

The human skin leather jacket wrapped around the stone, resentful spirit wrapped around evil spirit. They struggled and twisted indescribably, locked in fierce combat. Then, with a loud bang, the stone person and the human skin both shattered into pieces. The resentful spirit and evil spirit both vanished, a scene of mutual destruction!

During this time, Ruan Zhan had already grabbed the bloodwood sword and stabbed it towards the two who were escaping via the circle. Although he was half a step too slow, Yang Mu You’s tragic scream could be heard in the far distance. However, the two grey spirits had vanished.

Ruan Zhan hesitated for a moment. He knew there was still time if he immediately chased after Yang Mu You, but by the time he vanquished the pair and returned, Gu Yu Fang would truly be gone. After his brief hesitation, he still decided to save her first. As for the future threat, he could only use the appropriate methods to deal with whatever comes.

He first used the bloodwood sword to destroy the old ghost that had been planning to flee before giving the sword to Wan Li. He started drawing symbols in the air while chanting silently: …mysteries of heaven and earth, source of all qi, rectify countless calamities…

His two hands were clasped tightly as though an extremely large force was pulling away while he desperately tried to pull back. Since his body was not his own, it took even more effort. However, he stubbornly gathered his energy, swearing that he would definitely save Gu Yu Fang.

Scattered lights floated in the air like fireflies, dancing in the various air currents. They seemed about to leave in despair, but also filled with reluctance to part. They flew closer one moment, and then further away the next.

“Come back! Give yourself a chance!” Wan Li wasn’t able to help on the side and could only yell out loudly, doing what he did best. “You’ve worked hard your entire life, but decide to give up in death!?”

He stared at the scattered soul in the air as they still flitted about chaotically. He wished nothing more than to gather them all up. Beside him, Ruan Zhan still stubbornly clung on.

After a moment, the scattered soul finally fluttered about in an orderly manner before gathering together. Ruan Zhan stretched his hand out and grasped the halo of nothingness. He let out a long breath and did his best to stand steady.

“Take off your jacket!” He said to Wan Li.

“Why me?” Wan Li retorted, but his hands were moving and he took off his jacket.

Having known Ruan Zhan for so many years, he naturally had some knowledge of things. Without a vessel, a soul wasn’t able to float around for long unless it was an evil spirit or had some powers.

Ruan Zhan didn’t speak, placing the soul into the jacket.

“Keep an eye on things here. I’m going after Yang Mu You!” Not waiting for a response, he rushed out.

He knew with Yang Mu You’s heavy injuries, his powers were severely diminished. There might be an opportunity to catch up. Therefore, he hurried out and ran after the gradually fading ghostly aura. This was the first time he was grateful for his abilities to see things other could not.

He had almost left the forest when he finally noticed a sliver of green light on the floor. He rushed up and stabbed the bloodwood sword into the ground. He felt the sword tremble continuously and heard Yang Mu You’s tragic cry and cursing before the light fled once again.

He could really run!

Ruan Zhan was actually a little impressed with Yang Mu You. The bloodwood sword had actually failed to strike him properly both times. It had indeed grazed him, but he was merely injured and not dead. It seems his powers and abilities were truly exceptional. Unfortunately, they were being used for evil!

A small stream blocked his path. He saw the fleeing light was in the bottom of the water. The stream was clear and shallow, and it was easy to see under the brightening sky. He lifted his foot and was about to walk into the water when he suddenly realized something and threw himself backwards, practically falling over.

This person was truly sinister!

He had been too eager to attack, and had almost forgotten he was currently in a stone body. This sort of stone had a strange characteristic. It was extremely afraid of water and fire. Since water and fire were merciless in this world, the stones ended up becoming so rare they were only spoken of in legends. Who knew where Yang Mu You got them from?

If it encountered fire, it would burn up completely. If it encountered water, it would absorb the water until it was too heavy to move! Then, it would decompose like a plant.

Yang Mu You actually didn’t forget to lure him into a trap while fleeing!

The fleeing light remained in the water for a while. Seeing that Ruan Zhan didn’t get tricked, it shot off towards the stream’s opposite bank. Ruan Zhan hurriedly found a narrow section and leapt over, pursuing closely. He followed it to a cave.

The cave was dark and deep, filled with many corpses. Some belonged to animals but more were human. The damp smell of mildew mixed with waves of vile stench. However, Ruan Zhan wasn’t able to care about this as he went to the deepest part of the cave.

“Must you insist on killing me?” The two grew shadows trembled as they were forced into the corner.

Ruan Zhan froze for a moment.

He hadn’t considered this. He merely battled against this spirit to prevent it from harming others, from harming Xiao Xia. Now, he suddenly didn’t know how to respond to its question.

He was connected to it in some way. Perhaps it could unravel the mystery of his father’s death! If he really killed it, will he never know the secrets of the past?

“I also know your past. You were sent to your father’s side by a ghost when you were five, right?”

“Who on Earth are you?” Ruan Zhan reacted as though he was stabbed. The events of the past he had been unwilling to mention now resurfaced in his mind.

“Let me go, and you’ll have the chance to find out!” Yang Mu You suddenly started laughing. Then, while Ruan Zhan was shocked, he took Hong Hao Hao and sank into the ground like water. Only then did Ruan Zhan see that there was a crack in the ground. The innately cautious spirit must have prearranged it. Furthermore, after they vanished, several spirits crowded over, looking at him in fear.

If he stabbed the bloodwood sword downwards with all his strength, there was a chance he could wipe Yang Mu You out. However, there were too many things he wanted to know. He also didn’t want to harm these spirits, which seemed to have been imprisoned by Yang Mu You for many years and were now being used as a shield.

His life was saved by a benevolent ghost when he was young. How could he be willing to harm innocent ghosts!? This Yang Mu You understood him too well, but Ruan Zhan knew nothing about him!

He picked up a human femur and sighed.

“Come!” He said to those spirits. “I’ll take you to a safe place.”


Holding the bone containing the spirits, he returned to the previous cave. Wan Li had already piled up all the black stones, not leaving a single one. He crouched there looking warily at the continuously writhing jacket.

“My god, you’ve finally returned! I’m not afraid of demons and ghosts, but this…” He stood up and pointed at the jacket. “This gives me the creeps so much I have no idea what to do!”

Ruan Zhan walked over and took the soul inside the jacket out, also placing it into the bone.

“Take the jacket back.” He handed it over to Wan Li but Wan Li jumped away.

“Toss it out, toss it out. I’d rather freeze to death! Anyway, who won in the end?”

“Yang Mu You. He still managed to get away.”

“A pity. We managed to get to this point with such a risky plan, but there wasn’t a perfect conclusion.” Wan Li patted Ruan Zhan’s shoulder and didn’t ask for further details. “However, it’s fine. Now that we’ve experienced this once, we can make preparations in advance the next time. We’re just playing around with our lives!”

Ruan Zhan shook his head. “His injuries are severe enough to prevent him from returning temporarily. However, it seems I need to gradually start cultivating. Otherwise, if he comes prepared, we will all die tragically.”

Wan Li didn’t expect Ruan Zhan to say this. Hearing it, he was no longer as fearful, and was instead a little excited. He had never agreed with Ruan Zhan sealing himself. Allowing his powers to waste away was quite a shame.

“That’s also pretty good. At least you’ll have something to do. That thing…” He pointed at the bone in Ruan Zhan’s hand. “What are you going to do with them?”

“After leaving the mountain, I’ll find a quiet place filled with qi and set up a few empty tombs. They can rest in peace there. As for Gu Yu Fang, I’m afraid she’ll have to endure hardship for some time, but she’ll get better.”

Wan Li nodded, feeling some inexplicable sorrow. He had also met Gu Yu Fang a few times. Such an unyielding and arrogant woman ended up like this. Luckily she had become enlightened in the end and gave herself the opportunity to be rescued, although it was just her spirit.

“However, this Yang Mu You is really hard to deal with. To actually escape from such a well-planned ambush! I’m really curious why those two stone people, or should I say spirits, would obey him. Without his command, they were too afraid of him to stop.”

Ruan Zhan frowned. “Actually, I keep getting the strange feeling that his powers aren’t pure. It has some hint of foreign sorcery. I’m guessing his method of controlling ghosts is the same. However, I haven’t looked into such things before and am not too clear about it.”

“Even something like this has gone international?” Wan Li was astonished. “It’s even better than the Chinese soccer team!”

“Stop speaking nonsense. Let’s hurry and settle things here. Xiao Xia must be dying of anxiety.” Ruan Zhan looked at the sky. “These stones are afraid of fire. Burn this place to the ground, but don’t start a wildfire in the mountain.

“But there isn’t any fire here.”

“Hold out your hand.”

“What for?” Wan Li asked while foolishly stretching his hand out. Ruan Zhan picked up a sharp stone and slashed mercilessly. Wan Li’s hand immediately started bleeding, making him cry out and almost pull his hand back.

“I’m in a stone body and don’t have any blood. Yours will have to do.” Ruan Zhan explained insincerely. Then, he drew a flame talisman on a pile of dried leaves and threw the stone upon it. It immediately burst into flames.

Stone wasn’t supposed to burn, but not only did they burn fiercely, they even made crackling noises. The stones pushed and struggled in the fire as though they were alive.

“What about you?” Wan Li pointed at Ruan Zhan’s stone body.

“I’ll be leaving. Remember to bring this back.” Ruan Zhan handed the bone to Wan Li. He wouldn’t be able to carry anything in his spirit form.

“Alright, don’t delay any longer. Once it’s daytime proper, you won’t be able to come out.”

Ruan Zhan nodded and leapt into the fire. His spirit left the body at the same time.

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