was stunned for a moment.
He looked at the monk.
“Grandmaster Tanji.”

“That is me,” said the old monk, now Grandmaster Tanji.

As Dugu Zhuo watched, the template features of the Nine Heavens monk gradually changed into those of Grandmaster Tanji.

This was real!

He didn’t know how, but he had “pulled” the monk from his original world into the VR game’s world.

“The spiritual energy is so plentiful within my dreams,” the old monk said, rubbing his shoulders.
“Is this the world that this poor monk hopes to see?”

“Do you know where you are?” Dugu Zhuo asked.

“Tanye Temple, right?” The old monk looked up to the Buddha statue.
“This statue looks exactly like the one I commissioned.”

Tanji struck up a conversation with Dugu Zhuo.
Apparently, after their meeting at the healing booth, five months had passed for Tanji.

He had been renovating the temple with his disciple all this time, finding a craftsman to create a Buddha statue, begging everywhere for resources to fix the temple, and even hiring a few wandering refugees to clear the nearby land for farming.
Since this was a Buddhist temple and Tanji was a high-ranking monk, he was given a piece of land, which he all gave to the helpers aside from a portion large enough for the monks in the temple to be self-sufficient.

He had also visited the spirit cultivators nearby who were nearly bursting from the over-abundant natural spiritual energy, and asked for their help in setting up a charity healing booth.

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A few years ago, spiritual energy was sparse within the lower heavens, fought over by the six races, so the spiritual cultivators, born as natural treasures favored by heaven and earth, would offer incredible boosts to the other races.
After the collapse of the Pillar of Heaven, the nine layers of heaven merged with earth, replenishing the spiritual energy.
Anyone could collect all the spiritual energy they wanted with a little cultivation, so spiritual cultivators were no longer coveted.

After all, one would have to fight with a spiritual cultivator in order to obtain them, so it was more worthwhile to spend that time cultivating.

Spiritual cultivators didn’t need to cultivate, as spiritual energy would enter their bodies automatically, but with too much spiritual energy that they couldn’t convert to inner essence, they all felt overstuffed.

A ginseng that Tanji had found was so thick it resembled a tree stump, and when it saw Tanji approach, it clumsily struggled to move its body, having lost its original speed and nimbleness.

Tanji was quickly able to open his healing booth, and after five months, a bustling small town had grown around Tanye Temple, in stark contrast to the original desolate land.

“Not everything has been good,” Tanji said.
“A few avaricious yao have come recently, coveting human vital essence.
The residents of the town have become plump and healthy under the nurturing of the spiritual cultivators, which is exactly to the yaos’ tastes.
We’ve already lost a few youths, which is currently troubling me.”

“So much time has passed already?” Dugu Zhuo said doubtfully.

He had been searching for ten years, and the PC game had also lasted for ten years.
He’d thought that time was the same between the two worlds, but he had only been here for five hours, yet over there, five months had already passed.

“Has it been much time?” Tanji said.

“Two and a half shichen have passed here,” Dugu Zhuo said, automatically converting to the time system Grandmaster Tanji was familiar with.

Grandmaster Tanji thought some and said, “Sir Dugu, time in a dream can change freely.
An instant can feel like a lifetime, or several shichen can pass in an instant.”

“If you explain this as a dream, then time can change without any rhyme or reason,” Dugu Zhuo said.

“When does the world remain unchanging? This poor monk has reincarnated for ten lifetimes and seen all of the mortal world.
Sometimes, a hundred years can seem like a day, if your routine remains unchanged for a century.
Sometimes in the span of one year, the dynasty has changed three or five times.
Sometimes, one day feels like an entire lifetime.
Is time not something so unfathomable?”

“Makes sense,” Dugu Zhuo said.

Since the system could assign him as a player based on the playerbase’s perception, Grandmaster Tanji might as well judge the flow of time based on his own perception.
Dugu Zhuo had been in the game world for only five hours, but the experience had felt longer than ten years.

“Does Sir Dugu have any insights on the trouble with the yao?” Grandmaster Tanji asked.

“The six races intermingle within the world, and the Heavenly Dao favors humanity, the other races having always stood in opposition to them.
This is difficult to solve, unless…”

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“Unless what?” Tanji asked.

“Unless the realm were divided.
Since the human race has a world where they are chief, the yao must also have their world where they are chief and so on, each staying within their own territory and not encroaching on any other,” Dugu Zhuo said.

Tanji shook his head.
“That would be difficult.
This monk doesn’t possess such cosmic power.”

“I know,” Dugu Zhuo said.
“It was just idle talk.”

Tanji looked at Dugu Zhuo, though.
“This poor monk may not, but Sir Dugu might.
Legends say the twin swords of creation were formed from the axe Pangu[5] used to split heaven and earth, so they have the ability to divide the world.
In this world, perhaps only Sir Dugu can accomplish this division of the realms.”

“The twin swords are already—”

Before Dugu Zhuo could finish talking, Tanji abruptly vanished.
The old monk picked up the wooden fish again and started lightly tapping on it.
Light came from outside, the night having already passed.

Dugu Zhuo went outside to look at the sun.
It was already Chenshi.

It seemed like he and Tanji had once again entered a separate space in between the two worlds, or perhaps a dreamscape.

In a single conversation, the night had gone by.

the author actually said in their first author’s note that they originally named dugu zhuo 独孤浊, but they didn’t like the way it looked because the characters were too similar lol

thank you all for reading!

Please support the original author over on jjwxc

zhuo is written differently, 浊, same pronunciation.
it means impure 

a wooden percussion instrument beaten to keep timing during prayers and such 

小宝 little treasure.
a baby’s pet name 

the current spelling now.
zhuo as in outstanding 

the creator deity of chinese myth.
he was born when the cosmos was formless chaos and split it apart, separating the sky and earth 

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