Chapter 63 – Malevolent Spirits Run Rampant, Without the Light of Buddha

The light only lasted an instant, then disappeared without a trace.

Uncle Yong thought for a moment, then turned to the armored girl behind him.
“Miss, there seems to be a person lurking deep in the white pine forest.” 

“A person?” The girl in military attire wasn’t the least bit scared.
On the contrary, she looked curious.
“Does that mean someone has come to Mother Ghost Ridge, just like us?”

“Most likely,” said Uncle Yong in a low voice.

“That’s actually rather interesting,” said the girl after a moment’s thought.
She quickly made up her mind.
“Since we ran into them anyway, we might as well go take a look.
It won’t take up too much time.”

Su Yi’s brow furrowed slightly, but in the end, he said nothing.

The group changed course, heading toward the distant white pine forest.

They were already halfway up the mountain.
The entire route was covered in wild grasses tall enough to reach their knees; there was no “path” anywhere in sight.

Guo Bing waved a hunting knife, clearing the grass from their path.
He smiled.
“During the day, that ruined temple is perfectly safe.
It’s at night that you have to be careful.”

Before long, the group entered an area covered in white pine trees.

The trees towered into the sky, their needles blocking out the heavens.
White mists lingered in the air.
As they walked, all they saw was the eerie darkness of the forest.

The ground was covered in a dense layer of rotting leaves, the air pungent.

Suddenly, Guo Bing, who was leading the way ahead, staggered.
If Su Yi hadn’t reacted and caught him just in time, he would have tripped and fallen.

When Guo Bing saw the object that had almost tripped him, the blood drained from his face.

It was a skull buried in the rotting leaves.
It was stained and covered in dust, its empty eyes staring up into the sky. One look was enough to make one’s hair stand on end.

However, Su Yi merely glanced at it, then looked away.
“Let’s go.” 

Uncle Yong and the others maintained their composure too, all of them calm as could be.

It was just a skull, that’s all.
To martial artists like them, warriors who’d experienced countless bloody battles, it was nothing at all.

But not long after they resumed their journey, Su Yi stopped.

In the distance, he saw shriveled skin after shriveled skin hanging from the white pines.
There were over a hundred of them, all hung close together.

They included men and women, elders and children.
Nothing remained of them but skin.
Their hair was disheveled, and they were a terrifying sight to behold, especially in the creepy, dimly lit woods.

“This….” Uncle Yong’s pupils dilated; he was obviously unsettled. 

The girl in military uniform couldn’t help but go rigid.
“What the hell are those creepy things?”

The nearby guards clenched their weapons and drew closer to her, their expressions solemn.

Guo Bing was already so scared that he was quivering from head to toe, and the blood had drained from his face.
He said in a shaking voice, “I… I’ve never seen anything like this before either.
How about… How about we leave?”

“Don’t be afraid,” said Su Yi lightly.
“It’s just a bunch of long-dead corpses.”

Suddenly, Uncle Yong spoke up.
“If I’m not mistaken, these corpses were likely devoured alive by Ghoul Worms.
And in this world, only the Deathbringer’s Gate raises wicked creatures like that!”

“Wasn’t the Deathbringer’s Gate destroyed a long time ago?” The uniformed girl’s eyebrows shot up.

“Miss, I’m afraid you don’t know the full story.
It’s true that the Hidden Dragon Sword Sect rooted the Deathbringer’s Gate out many years ago, but that heretical faction had numerous disciples, who in turn had disciples of their own.
Many evildoers had already gone into hiding, allowing them to escape calamity.”

Uncle Yong continued gravely, “Over the past few years, a series of bloody, evil incidents have occurred throughout the Great Zhou’s borders.
We suspect the Deathbringer’s Gate’s involvement.
In other words, the Deathbringer’s Gate shows signs of rising from the ashes.”

He paused, then frowned.
“Looking at those hanging corpses, although the wind and rain have worn away the skins, they’re still well-preserved and mostly intact.
It’s obvious that they died within the past few years.”

The uniformed girl’s expression changed dramatically.
“Doesn’t that mean it’s highly likely members of the Deathbringer’s Gate are lurking in Mother Ghost Ridge?”

“Don’t be afraid, miss,” said Uncle Yong gently.
“Heretical cultivators of their level are like rats; they only dare hide away in barren mountains and untamed rivers; they don’t amount to much.”

The girl gnashed her teeth.
“Uncle Yong, I suspect the abandoned temple deep in the white pine forest has become a gathering point for the evildoers of the Deathbringer’s Gate.
I want to go investigate.
If that’s indeed the case, we can level the place.
In doing so, we’ll be carrying out heaven’s will and protecting the people from this scourge!”

Su Yi couldn’t help but be surprised.
He hadn’t realized that this unreasonable, bossy girl was so brave and big-hearted.

“Alright.” Uncle Yong nodded.

Although Guo Bing was strongly opposed to this dangerous endeavor, when he saw that Su Yi had no objections, he could only steel himself and go along with it.

Shortly after passing the hanging skins, they saw a building in the distance.
It was only dimly discernible through the mists.

When they drew closer, they could see it more clearly.
It was old and in disrepair.
Weeds and vines grew nearby, but it did look like a temple.

“It’s true; there really have been people frequenting this place lately.” At a glance, Uncle Yong saw that someone had cut the weeds growing on the stone staircase, clearing a path for people to walk.

“Everyone, be careful.” After giving this order, Uncle Yong proceeded to the temple.

Upon passing through the gates, he saw a dilapidated courtyard.
The idol statue there had fallen into the dirt, and plants now grew on its surface.

Near the front of a palace was a grand hall.
No one had repaired it in a long time, and it was on the verge of collapse.
Its red lacquer was flaking off, and its doors and windows were broken, the very picture of desolation.

As soon as Su Yi and company arrived, a cold voice emanated from within the hall.

Immediately afterward, a figure charged towards them.

It was an old man, as gaunt as bamboo.
He wore black robes, and his eyes glowed with faint, yet terrifyingly unnatural jade light.

When he saw Su Yi and the others, the old man’s expression shifted dramatically.
He immediately reached for the bone flute at his waist and blew, hard.

Ooo! Ooo! Ooo!

The shrill sound of a flute shattered the silence, the sound piercing.

“You’re seeking death!” Uncle Yong’s expression darkened.
He drew his saber with a clang, then leaped forward, traversing a hundred feet in a single bound.


The icy, glinting saber seemed to burst into flames.
It now shone with a piercing, fiery red glow as he swung at the old man’s skull.

The gaunt elder turned and fled back into the hall, but he was half a step too slow.

The red saber light slashed down, tearing a long, narrow gash in his back.
Fresh blood exploded from the wound; he’d almost been cut in two.


As the gaunt elder fell into the dirt, he shrieked, “Don’t even think of getting out of here alive!”

Before his words finished even finishing echoing through the courtyard, he breathed his last.

Uncle Yong approached, then picked up the old man’s bone flute.
After examining it, he couldn’t help but frown.

“Uncle Yong, was that old man a fiend of the Deathbringer’s Gate?” The girl hurried over, but when she saw the body, she seemed a bit disappointed.
“No, he seemed a bit too weak.
He couldn’t even block a single one of your attacks.”

“That was just a small fry at the Refining Muscle stage of the Blood Circulation Realm,” said Uncle Yong.
He frowned.
“But that bone flute he played just now was obviously a call for reinforcements.
I’m afraid there are numerous other members of the Deathbringer’s Gate in the area.”

“What’s there to be afraid of? Uncle Yong, with you here, we’ll kill any who show up,” said the uniformed girl, not the least bit concerned.

Then, her willowy brow knit; she just saw Su Yi walk into the hall.
Inside was another statue, which he was currently examining, as if nothing had happened just now.

She strode towards him on her long, jade-like legs, then asked in a huff, “Hey! Don’t you realize that we saved your life just now? But instead of thanking us, you have the time and energy to spare on that of all things?”

Su Yi was stunned.
“You saved my life?”

“You think otherwise? Without us, would you have dared come here? Even if you did, the fiends of the Deathbringer’s Gate would have surely killed you.
Without us, you’d be just another empty skin hanging from a pine tree by now!”

The girl glared, her words filled with cold mockery.

Su Yi’s expression didn’t so much as ripple.
“Remember: you are here with me and Elder Guo, not the other way around.
If you were really that capable, you would have just come here on your own.”

As he said this, he ignored her completely and walked to the other side of the hall. 

The girl had numerous flaws. For instance, she had a poor temper, she was prone to arrogance and tantrums, and she loved to boss others around.

But none of her flaws were that bad. 

Su Yi certainly wouldn’t turn this into a real fight over a few insults.
It wasn’t worth it.

The uniformed girl stared at Su Yi, so angry, her chest heaved.
Her pretty little face frosted over, and she audibly clenched her pearly white teeth.

But despite her anger, she couldn’t argue with what Su Yi had just said.

Meanwhile, Uncle Yong had watched this entire scene play out.
He was inwardly displeased too.

No matter what he said, by accompanying them, Su Yi had reaped enormous, entirely undeserved benefits. After all, had he come here without them, who knew how many dangers he would have encountered along the way?

That kid looks clever, but it seems he still hasn’t realized just how lofty the miss’ status is.
Otherwise, I’m afraid he wouldn’t dare argue with her like that. Uncle Yong inwardly shook his head, then cast those thoughts aside. 

He was well aware that nowadays, each youth was more arrogant than the next.
Their confidence was through the roof.

Su Yi’s reaction wasn’t at all strange. After all, without a bit of arrogance, could you even be called a youth?

It was obvious that someone had cleaned the hall’s interior; it was clean, at least relatively speaking, without the usual dust and cobwebs of an abandoned building. 

The idol statue at the center of the hall faced away from the door, but its head was missing.
The colored clay of its body was cracked, and there was nothing overtly special about it. 

But on the sides of the hall, Su Yi discovered a few paint marks.

The paint was mottled and damaged, the colors indistinct, but he could still dimly discern that the painted walls depicted living things trapped in the suffering of the mundane world.

A Bodhisattva stood amidst the ignorant masses, expression compassionate.
They seemed to be delivering a sermon.

They see the agony of the masses and wish to share their doctrines and redeem the people? It’s a lovely thought, but alas, this temple has been in disrepair for a long time.
Worse, it’s haunted.
Ghosts and evildoers run rampant.
Only the light of the Buddha is nowhere to be seen.
How desolate. Su Yi lamented to himself. 

In the Nine Provinces of the Wilds, Buddhism flourished.
Buddhists had their own province and countless disciples.
Their altars were lit with incense year-round.

But in a mundane nation like the Great Zhou, it seemed Buddhist monks had it awfully rough…

Meanwhile, the uniformed girl was still in a huff, her pretty lips pursed in displeasure.
Seeing this, one of the guards silently approached and whispered, “Miss, how about we teach that pipsqueak a lesson? Or we could just kill him and be done with it.
In any event, we’re all the way in the mountains and far from the city.
No one will know.”

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