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Even after ages, Xu Yangyi was reticent. This continued for a few minutes until he said, “In the end, it goes back to a guess.”
“What do you mean by that?”
Not waiting for Liu Shuren to continue speaking, the demon slayer immediately shifted topics and pointed towards the decorative design on the box’s edges. “Someone told me that this is a verse.”
“Indeed, these are hieroglyphs.” Liu Shuren breathed in heavily a few times. “These words solve this relic’s secret.”
Xu Yangyi nodded; Jadewave hadn’t lied.
“Sir…” Liu Shuren tightly grabbed the chest, the muscles on his face quivering. “This is just a single piece… This box… is concealing an enormous secret! Next, I’m going to talk about the true secret!” Finished speaking, he took out a watch and a map of China. Xu Yangyi undid the box and handed it over him. Liu Shuren took the chest and hovered it over an approximately fifty-centimeter-sized region on the map. He bit his lip and stared at Xu Yangyi.
Xu Yangyi looked carefully but failed to understand. This map was still a map; it didn’t have anything… No! In the next second, his eyes snapped wide open! Right… There was nothing! There wasn’t a thing!
Even under sunlight, this chest didn’t cast a shadow! There was only the shadow of Liu Shuren’s hand holding the box, but the box’s projection was simply unseen!
“Right now, it’s 11:50.” Liu Shuren’s eyes were fairly reddened. “Wait ten minutes… All that’s needed is ten minutes! After ten minutes… you will look upon archaeology’s greatest miracle!”
Xu Yangyi stood up, not uttering a single word. Ten minutes drifted by quickly, but it seemed the passing seconds were years. The Emperor Armament, the Animus Armament, a supreme treasure come about only once in five millenniums in China. As to what the final bell’s toll would bring afterwards, Xu Yangyi was like a cautious secret unveiler, lifting open these dusty histories little by little.
Dong… As the clock on the wall resonated at twelve noon, Xu Yangyi’s gaze suddenly pulsed in the light of Liu Shuren’s excited eyes.
There was movement...
At the midday hour on the map of China, the shadowless Animus Armament finally revealed a silhouette!
However, this silhouette… was in no way ordinary! It was a needle. Perhaps it should be said that it was a figure that was akin to a needle. Through the passage of sunlight, the shadow nailed straight into a region.
“This is a sundial!” Liu Shuren’s body was shaking a bit. “A sundial that only comes out at twelve o’clock!”
“Haven’t you discovered that the map I had you look at is somewhat different now?” Liu Shuren used his finger to point at the sundial’s position. “This… is a map of the Ming dynasty!”
Xu Yangyi looked over. Written on the map wasn’t Longsu Province, but rather Qinshan Prefecture. He muttered to himself as he stroked this location. After a brief moment, he said heavily, “What’s the meaning of this?”
“Mr. Gao… that means… this place might be hiding some absolute secret!” Liu Shuren’s eyes were both flushed as he looked at the map. “It made the emperor use such a method to inform his descendants! Moreover… it’s certain that this secret can only be seen by a special person! He couldn’t tell anyone else! Even his own children!”
Xu Yangyi’s gaze was deep and heavy, and he picked up the Emperor Armament, not batting an eyelid. Once again, he placed it on his chest. After he sat down, he spoke not a word.
The Emperor Armament… was telling him to go there? What was concealed? What did this… and the ancient cultivators concealed in the pages of history have related?
Countless ideas surged in Xu Yangyi’s brain. The sundial was pointing straight at Longsu Province, and less than several seconds later he came to a decision. This place HAD to be explored! Success was taken from details, and fortune and honor sought amidst danger. The Emperor Armament’s clue was like a dark thread that had strode across a thousand years, pulling at him to explore, track, and solve these secrets buried in history’s annals.
In his chest, his blood was burning hot and roiling with heat. Xu Yangyi understood this was called ambition.
“This is it?” About a minute later, Xu Yangyi schooled his features, looked at Liu Shuren, and laughed, “Anything else?”
“There is…” Liu Shuren stopped and coughed gently, somewhat awkward. “If… Mr. Gao is going to take a look, I was hoping you could bring me, too…”
Xu Yangyi laughed as he shook his head.
“Mr. Gao?” Liu Shuren was a tad incredulous. This had been his work for two years, but Xu Yangyi was actually unwilling to take him?
“Prepare your final words.” Xu Yangyi curbed his smile, and his gaze chilled. “Although I don’t know who you are, you’ve exceeded your bounds.”
“Mr. Gao, I don’t understand, what are you saying?” Liu Shuren looked at Xu Yangyi in confusion. “Even though you’re not willing to take me, you don’t have to be so unpleasant about it…”
At this moment, Xu Yangyi’s gaze failed to conceal his flooding killing intent in the slightest. “Is that so? Do you remember that I just held your hand? I was worried that you’d been followed by someone, so I played a bit of a trick on your hand.” He looked straight into Liu Shuren’s eyes. “It was a strand of spiritual sense. Simply put, it can see if you have another person’s spiritual sense on your body.”
“What are you saying…”
Xu Yangyi sneered as he shook his head. “There was nothing, but your body itself has its own spiritual sense.” He stared directly at Liu Shuren. “You are a cultivator.”
This was an affirmation. It contained not a shred of doubt. Liu Shuren no longer spoke, only softly exhaling.
“Besides, the most important point…” Xu Yangyi extended a finger and wagged it back and forth. “You’re unlucky. I’ve unleashed my neurons, but not just that. Compared to other people, I’ve activated a lot more.”
The last thread of a smile finally vanished from Liu Shuren’s face.
“In this building, besides myself, there are seven people. Five are police officers, and then with you, that’s altogether six.” Xu Yangyi watched Liu Shuren’s eyes and said, “From the moment I stepped through the door, I’ve been searching where the last person was. In the end, I finally figured it out.”
“In the basement two meters underground, there’s someone lying under a bed. Since the beginning, that person hasn’t moved. Can I say it?” Xu Yangyi’s hand already started to burn with a blazing flame. “The real Liu Shuren’s corpse was placed there. You asked everything before I got here but just happened to run into me. It was hard to escape, so you just pretended to be Liu Shuren, no? You wanted to get me to leave? I admit, your acting is very pretty, but it’s a pity. I’ve known that you were a cultivator from the start.”
Silence. After a full thirty seconds, Liu Shuren laughed grimly as he stood up, and gently drummed his palm. “Brilliant… Truly brilliant… I didn’t expect that there was a chance that I, Zhao Wuye, would be made out by you. To capsize in a shady channel, I concede defeat. It’s just that I don’t understand. Why didn’t you expose me from the start?”
“Simple.” Xu Yangyi gently wound a fireball in his hand. “I wanted to know how much you knew. And if the real Liu Shuren is already dead, you’re undoubtedly the only person who knows this box’s secret.”
Zhao Wuye laughed, “Is that so… My young Fellow Daoist, are you not afraid that you won’t even leave this place?”
Xu Yangyi raised a brow. “Young?”
“Your voice isn’t fooling anyone.” Zhao Wuye laughed hollowly. “You’ve disguised everything, but not your voice. But to be able to pretend so exquisitely, let me guess… Is this the Thousand Illusions? Truly, Fellow Daoist’s backer is no minor figure… to get a hold of such a precious commodity. Unfortunately, while you had part of the general idea all along, you didn’t bring an Echo Bug. Perhaps you thought you didn’t need to be so mired in details in dealing with a mortal?”
Xu Yangyi smirked. In the next second, Zhao Wuye’s pupils quickly shrunk back. The fireball was already flying towards him, allowing him no explanation!
“Break!” Needless to hide any longer, Zhao Wuye shouted loudly, and a ray of misty yellow light spat out from his mouth. In an instant, it transformed into a qi longspear, crashing together with the fireball! In his hands, he had three divine abilities. He was confident that he was facing a cultivator less than thirty years old; he could capture the other! And at worst, he was still able to flee without trouble.
Bang! An explosion boomed, and all the glass in the house shattered! A formless blast wave caused the interior to appear to have been struck by a small bomb. The vicinity was an expanse of wreckage!
Pow! The sound of two fingers snapping rang out simultaneously. An invisible seal isolated all noise and visual within a range of fifty meters. Regardless of whether it was Xu Yangyi or Zhao Wuye, both their eyes at this moment completely betrayed their murderous will. In a situation where both of them didn’t want anyone to see, they would hinder and kill each other here!
“Hundred Soldier Hall…” Zhao Wuye was the first to launch an attack and sucked in deeply. This breath of air was incredibly prolonged, and in the wake of his inhaling, his whole chest and belly swelled up like an inflated ball. “Longevity Sword!”
Following his snarl, another ray of golden brilliance jetted out from his mouth. This light ray resembled a roaming dragon coiling in the air. The instant it flew out, the ray suddenly transformed into a longsword that was about two meters in length. It thrusted fiercely towards Xu Yangyi’s chest!
“Tortoise Burdens!” Xu Yangyi didn’t take his foe lightly in the slightest. They would come to gain a clear understanding each other in the first exchange of hands.
Both of them were at the middle stage of Qi Condensation!
Bang! The sword crashed against the defensive move, yet it turned into yellow qi that engulfed the entire area in a flash. This qi was completely different from normal qi. It was bright, very bright. So bright that one’s eyes were somewhat unable to open.
Conditioned into his reflexes, Xu Yangyi turned his head. Even though the alarm in his heart was going off, his body was almost even faster than his mental response! In this instant, his body suddenly crouched, and his left leg simultaneously lashed back in a trained motion. Subsequently, he immediately heard a heavy groan from behind.
At the same moment his sword burst forth, Zhao Wuye had already flashed behind him like a demon! His opponent’s two hands saturated with qi, they formed two knuckle dusters piercing straight into his back!
“Fuck…” Xu Yangyi fiercely grinded his teeth. Zhao Wuye’s qi was inferior to his own, but the other’s operational experience was far richer in comparison. This was the most obvious difference between cultivating for several decades and several years.
So long as he entered Foundation Establishment, he would then transform into a true resister of divine abilities, a resister of spiritual force. In the Qi Condensation realm, a great majority of cultivators still needed to use body techniques.
“Tiger Crane!” Xu Yangyi’s spiritual force channeled into his thigh meridians. Promptly, his leg seemed to become a razor. Following a swishing sound, a rain of blood scattered through the air without the slightest warning.
Xu Yangyi was devoid of pause because at the same time, Zhao Wuye’s blood bubbled forth. He distinctly felt a breadth of qi motes, so dense like flying locusts, suddenly explode! It was as if he had just kicked a hornet’s nest and all the hornets were flying out now!
“Ten Cardinals Red Lotus!” Without a moment’s delay, Xu Yangyi simply didn’t consider what these qi motes were. He only knew that if these things struck his body, he would become a sieve at the very least.
“ROOOAAAR!!!” In a flash, a several-meter-long red fire-dragon ignited within the room. With a heaven-shaking bellow, it turned the fluttering qi motes into flying ash in a flash!
In a spark of flint, the two of them had already crossed swords a few times.
“Pant… Pant…” Xu Yangyi proceeded to bounce back with a kick and rushed out by a meter. Presently, he and Zhao Wuye were standing at opposite corners and cautiously watching each other. Crackling sounds inundated the entire area. These sounds came from countless hidden weapons, shurikens, and flying guillotines… All of them were condensed from qi, and every one of them were presently burning.
The Ten Cardinals Red Lotus was unrelenting until extinguished!
The flames fluttered down, and the blaze reflected Zhao Wuye’s embarrassed expression.
1. In this sentence, the word used to describe the “prefecture” in Qinshan Prefecture is the ancient form of the word “province” used in modern day. The ancient word is more along the ideas of “Administrative Prefecture”. Essentially the same, but I thought I would make this note.
2. 阴沟里翻船 - to capsize in a shady channel. This idiom refers to an idea of an unexpected failure in a familiar place.
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