Chapter 72 – A Familiar Face Outside the City Gates

How unusual was that soul jade?

The scarred middle-aged man didn’t know. All he knew was that the elders of the Deathbringer’s Gate viewed Qing Wan as a treasure on account of that soul jade.

Otherwise, given those heretical cultivators’ tendencies, discovering such a pure yin soul would have been an irresistible temptation.
They likely would have already used her as a ‘living’ sacrifice.

When he heard this, Su Yi couldn’t help but glance at Qing Wan.
“Do you remember that piece of soul jade?”

Qing Wan shook her head and whispered, “When I woke up, I was already with that Wu Ruoqiu.
Everything before that is a complete blank.”

This was her first time hearing that she’d once occupied a piece of mysterious soul jade. 

So, they found me in a piece of soul jade.
I didn’t simply become a yin soul upon my death. This revelation left her daze. Who… Who exactly was I before?

“How did the Deathbringer’s Gate obtain that soul jade?” Su Yi glanced at the scarred middle-aged man once more, but the man merely shook his head. His position in the Deathbringer’s Gate wasn’t high at all; he had no access to classified information of this level.

Su Yi mulled it over, then asked a few other questions about the Deathbringer’s Gate.

It turned out that ever since facing annihilation a hundred years ago, the lucky survivors went dormant for a hundred years.
They’d already secretly recovered a certain degree of power.

Today, the Deathbringer’s Gate headquarters had a sect leader, two vice sect leaders, and nine elders.

Them aside, the Deathbringer’s Gate had six branches dispersed throughout the Great Zhou.

Each branch had a branch leader and four dharma protectors, and they reigned over all the sect disciples and underlings in the area.

The scarred middle-aged man and his late companions, as well as Wu Ruoqiu and Weng Yunqi, were all members of the sect’s Imperatorial Province Branch.

When he heard this, Su Yi instantly understood.

The Great Zhou was divided into six provinces and thirty-six prefectures, while the Deathbringer’s Gate had six branches.
They’d undoubtedly built one branch per province.

For instance, the Imperatorial Province that Cloudriver Prefecture was a part of had just one such base.

In other words, it was highly likely that the Deathbringer’s Gate had already spread their forces throughout the Great Zhou’s territory!

Of course, the way Su Yi saw it, if the Deathbringer’s Gate was relying on inept small fries like the ones he’d just fought, they wouldn’t be able to stir up any waves worth mentioning.

The scarred middle-aged man might be a disciple of the Imperatorial Province Branch, but he didn’t even know who their branch leader was….

It was utterly ludicrous.

All the man knew was that Wu Ruoqiu’s master, Weng Yunqi, was once one of the Imperatorial Province Branch’s four dharma protectors, and that his whereabouts had been unknown ever since he betrayed the sect.

After learning all this, Su Yi sank into thought.

Ten years ago, Weng Yunqi and Wu Ruoqiu fled the sect, taking the mysterious soul jade, Soul-Nurturing Gourd, and the secret method for raising Ghoul Worms with them.

Yet when Su Yi killed Wu Ruoqiu not long ago, all of these treasures fell into Su Yi’s hands save for the soul jade. 

Of course, that included Qing Wan.

But this revelation only led to more questions. If Wu Ruoqiu was only Weng Yunqi’s disciple, why did he have his master’s stolen treasures? 

Where has Weng Yunqi gone? Is he alive or dead?

If I’d known Qing Wan’s origins were so unusual, I wouldn’t have killed Wu Ruoqiu so soon…. Su Yi sighed to himself.

I would never have guessed that Qing Wan’s origins touched on so many secrets. If I want to learn Qing Wan’s origins, I’m afraid I’ll have to start with investigating the Deathbringer’s Gate…..

Su Yi then set those thoughts aside. He wasn’t all that concerned about who Qing Wan had been in life, but if she wanted to uncover the truth, he didn’t mind lending her a hand.

“Senior, I’ve told you everything I know, so please show mercy and spare my humble little life!” When he saw Su Yi sink into a long silence, the scarred man hurriedly kowtowed.
He was scared out of his wits.

But it was then that the sound of distant, hurried footsteps cut through the darkness.
Shortly after, Cheng Wuyong, Yuan Luoxi, and their companions appeared. When they saw Su Yi, as well as the corpses sprawled out nearby, Cheng Wuyong and the guards couldn’t help but be surprised.

“Were you chasing them?” asked Su Yi.

Cheng Wuyong nodded.
“Mystic Master, just now, this bunch took advantage of the cover of darkness to approach the run-down temple in secret.
They snuck about like ghosts; it was obvious at a glance that they were up to no good.
When I discovered them, they scampered off in a panic.
I wouldn’t have guessed they’d run into you.”

“I’m finished….” The scar-faced man sank into despair, looking as dejected as if he were attending his parents’ funerals. 

“They’re from the Deathbringer’s Gate, but there’s only one survivor left to interrogate.
I’ll leave him to you.” After giving these orders, Su Yi picked up the Soul-Nurturing Gourd and led Qing Wan away.

Cheng Wuyong naturally didn’t stand on ceremony.
He immediately ordered the other guards to tie the scarred middle-aged man up and bring him back to Guangling City for a thorough interrogation.

“Miss, what are you looking at?” Cheng Wuyong suddenly noticed that something was strange about Yuan Luoxi’s expression.

Yuan Luoxi whispered, “Uncle Yong, did you notice? Just now, there was a girl in a red dress floating beside the Mystic Master.
She was really pretty… Her eyes were so big, and her skin was white as snow.
She was almost a bit too pretty….”

Cheng Wuyong’s eyes narrowed.
“Miss, if my deductions are correct, that’s most likely a yin soul the Mystic Master has subdued.”

“A ghost?” Yuan Luoxi gasped.

“That’s right.”

“But a ghost like that isn’t scary at all! This is my first time hearing that there are such peerlessly beautiful specters out there!” 

She suddenly seemed envious.
“If I had a ghost like that as my subordinate, I’d definitely brush her hair every day and make her try on different clothes.
Oh, and I’d have her wear all sorts of beautiful jewelry.
It would definitely be a blast!”

“….” Cheng Wuyong didn’t even know what to say. What… What kind of hobby is that?

……

The run-down temple.

When they returned, Su Yi immediately sat down and crossed his legs.

During this trip to Mother Ghost Ridge, he’d had quite the harvest.
He’d killed the Six-Severings Yin Corpse, obtaining a ink jade pendant storage treasure, nine stalks of spiritual medicine, fifty-plus spirit stones, and around a dozen bottles of pills suitable for Qing Wan’s cultivation….

Then, he’d traded the Six Yin Grass with Yuan Luoxi in exchange for seventeen stalks of spiritual medicine, five of which were tier two.

On top of all that, in the peach orchard, he’d obtained three tier-four Fire Peaches and a foot-long segment of yin spirit vein.

Adding all these treasures together, Su Yi wouldn’t have to worry about cultivation resources any time soon.

There was still more to see in Mother Ghost Ridge, but Su Yi had no plans to investigate any further.

He could vaguely deduce that between the Six-Severings Yin Corpse and the heretical cultivators of the Deathbringer’s Gate, others had long since swept the mountain of all its treasures.

“I just don’t know when Lingxue is getting back….” Su Yi muttered to himself.

He planned to leave Guangling City in the near future, and he had no lingering attachments to the place.

The only thing he couldn’t just let go of was Wen Lingxue.

When dawn broke over the horizon, Su Yi, Yuan Luoxi, and company set off and left Mother Ghost Ridge.

….

Outside the mountains, near the unmarked mass graves.

The group had left two retainers by the foot of the mountains to look after the horses.
When the two of them saw Yuan Luoxi and their companions return safely, they finally sighed in relief.

Once everyone reconvened, they set off for Guangling City.

Except that this time, Yuan Luoxi and her companions led their horses on foot, walking so as to accompany Su Yi and Guo Bing.
None of them showed any signs of impatience, either.

Su Yi noticed all of these changes, but he declined to comment.

As they neared Guangling City’s main gate, he suddenly recalled something, and he warned them, “Everyone, it would be best if you didn’t speak of what happened in Mother Ghost Ridge.
If you do, well, I’m not worried about myself, but I’m afraid you might get mixed up in something dangerous.”

Mixed up in something dangerous? Yuan Luoxi was stunned for a moment.
Then she said hurriedly, “Mystic Master, thank you for your warning, but we’re not at all afraid of the Deathbringer’s Gate knocking on our door.” 

She sounded completely confident.

But she’d obviously misunderstood. Cheng Wuyong and the others seemed confused too. 

Su Yi thought about it, then explained in more detail.
“If Ge Changling finds out you were with me, it’s hard to say whether it’ll end well for you or not.”

Ge Changling! 

Cheng Wuyong’s expression changed dramatically.
This was one of the Great Zhou’s nine non-Zhou kings, the Sea-Swallowing King.
Furthermore, of the nine of them, he was solidly in the top three!

He’d leaped into the ranks of Xiantian Martial Ancestors a full thirty years ago!

The other guards went rigid, their eyes blank.

How on earth could our expedition into Mother Ghost Ridge land us in hot water with the Sea-Swallowing King?

He’s like a god of war amongst men! A legend every martial artist in the Great Zhou can only look up to!

Yuan Luoxi’s confident smile faltered.
Her eyes widened, and her pretty face looked lost.

Ge Changling? 

Father says he’s an expert so lofty, even our Yuan Family can only gaze upon him from afar….

A while later, Cheng Wuyong finally regained his composure.
“Mystic Master, are you saying that some of what occurred in Mother Ghost Ridge had a connection to the Sea-Swallowing King?” 

Su Yi dared call the Sea-Swallowing King directly by name, but Cheng Wuyong certainly didn’t.

“Given his status, he’s unlikely to make this hard on you,” said Su Yi offhandedly.
“In the unlikely event he does, have him come find me instead.” 

These words only made it harder for Cheng Wuyong to remain calm. Is Mystic Master Su implying that it’s highly likely the Sea-Swallowing King will come looking for him?

But the most unbelievable part is that he doesn’t seem at all concerned about the threat the Sea-Swallowing King represents!

This small interlude only silently increased the awe Yuan Luoxi and company already felt for Su Yi.

This time, Guo Bing was actually the most relaxed member of the group. Although he was confused too, he had no idea just how terrifying the Sea-Swallowing King, Ge Changling, really was. The ignorant were without fear.

“Miss Luoxi, you’re finally back!” Suddenly, they heard a burst of hearty laughter from the city gates.
A handsome young man in jade robes and a thick cloth belt strode toward them.

The black-hatted elder followed immediately after.

They were none other than Zhang Yuanxing and Elder Xiong.

When he saw them, Su Yi’s expression went a little strange.

Two days prior, on Spiritbamboo Island, this young dandy of the Cloudriver Prefectural Capital’s Zhang Family had said that working with him would be like flying with the support of powerful winds, and that he’d send Su Yi soaring into the clouds….

Even Fu Shan had found it amusing.

As for Su Yi, he naturally saw the entire incident as a mere joke.
He laughed, but didn’t take it the least bit seriously. He wouldn’t have guessed that he’d run into Zhang Yuanxing again now.

“Eh? Young Lord Su? Why are you with Miss Luoxi?”

At practically the same time, Zhang Yuanxing saw Su Yi.
He couldn’t help but exclaim, “Don’t tell me you plan to seek refuge with the Yuan Family and serve Miss Luoxi?”

His smile faded, and his brow furrowed in displeasure.

After witnessing Su Yi’s performance at the Dragon’s Gate Banquet, Zhang Yuanxing appreciated his abilities and took the initiative to extend an invitation.
If Su Yi agreed to work under him, he wouldn’t mistreat him.

Who would have thought that just two days later, Su Yi would reappear by Yuan Luoxi’s side?

This was a blatant slap in the face!

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