“By order of the Lord of Cui Palace, I have come to escort you to the Road to the Yellow Springs, brother.”
In mid-air, a woman dressed in purple was flying while holding Ji Ning by his hand.
Ji Ning stared around him.
Just a moment ago, he had been in the palace of the Lord of Cui Palace. How did he suddenly appear in mid-air?
“Dare I ask, who exactly IS Lord Cui?” Ji Ning was puzzled. “I heard that before reincarnating, I would meet with the Judges of the Dead. They would investigate my past and present lives, then send me to be reincarnated, right?”
“Didn’t you already see a Judge?” The violet clothed woman laughed. “As the Custodian of the Book of Life and Death, Lord Cui is naturally the First Judge of the Dead! Since he personally came to judge you, of course the other common judges don’t need to come judge you.”
In the Netherworld Kingdom, the highest authority was that of the Yamas of the Ten Halls, the ten Kings of Hell. Immediately beneath them was the First Judge of the Dead, the Lord of Cui Palace, ‘Cui Jue’.
His great fame had long since spread throughout the three Realms.
The Mortal Realm was vast beyond compare. It had three thousand major worlds and trillions of minor worlds. Every single living creature, before they were born, would have their good deeds and evil deeds assessed by the Judges. What an enormous task this was! Thus, the entire Netherworld Kingdom had trillions of Judges who were responsible for judging the dead souls of the trillions of worlds. But Cui Jue was the leader of all of the Judges, and was titled the First Judge. He was the true Custodian of the Book of Life and Death. His power was so great that he was virtually on the same level as the Ten Kings of Hell.
“Look. The Road to the Yellow Springs.” The woman pointed to a vast road ahead of them, which had countless ghosts slowly trudging along in a line. “If you follow the road, you will quickly arrive at the Bridge of Despair. After you pass the Bridge of Despair and drink Grandma Meng’s Elixer of Forgetfulness, you can go be reborn.”
The woman waved her hand.
Ji Ning’s body was suddenly surrounded by golden light, which sent him flying straight down into the front of the line, allowing him to ‘cut in line’.
The minotaur soldiers next to the line, upon seeing the violet clothed woman high up in the air, didn’t dare to say a word. They even arranged for one of the minotaur soldiers to escort Ji Ning and were extremely courteous to him.
The Yellow Springs Road was full of mist. Countless souls were making their way through it, and Ji Ning was one of them.
“What’s that?” Ji Ning stared in front.
In front of him, the mist was very thick. Any souls that entered there disappeared and never came back.
“Go on. In front is the Bridge of Despair,” the nearby minotaur soldier said amiably.
Ji Ning nodded. Not hesitating, he stepped forward, entering that dense fog.
He suddenly felt as though spacetime had changed.
“Where is this?” Ji Ning stared at his surroundings in confusion. In front of him was a small, winding road. Ghostly forms could be hazily made out. In front of him, only a few dozen ghosts could be seen. In front of this little road was a river with rapid, turbid water.
“That should be the legendary Bridge of Despair.” Ji Ning headed forward.
“Clearly, countless people entered here. But how come after I stepped in, so few people can be seen?” Ji Ning was quite baffled.
How could he know that here at the Bridge of Despair, time flowed differently than in the outside world.
As the saying goes, ‘For each day that passes in Heaven, a year passes in the mortal world.’
Time passed here at the Bridge of Despair at an even more extravagantly fast pace. A single day in the Netherworld Kingdom would equal countless years here in the Bridge of Despair.
As Ji Ning walked onto the Bridge of Despair, he saw that the other side of the bridge had a pool of blood. The pool of blood had all sorts of poisonous bugs, poisonous snakes, and vicious dogs that wildly bit at people. Most of the ghosts simply walked past the pool of blood, but some fell straight into it. Clearly, these people were burdened by great sins, and found it impossible to avoid the terrifying pool of blood.
“If you knew what would happen today, would you have acted so previously?” Ji Ning shook his head, then stared at the other side. “So beautiful.”
Next to the River of Forgetfulness was countless beautiful flowers.
Not too far from the bridge was a precious gem which flashed the light, creating many different images. This was the legendary ‘Stone of Three Lives’, referring to the ‘previous life’, the ‘current life’, and the ‘next life’.
Not too far away from the Stone of Three Lives was a stone dais. This was the ‘Dais of Viewing Home’. After the souls passed the dais, they arrived at Grandma Meng.
Grandma Meng was a seemingly very ordinary old grandmother. She held a bowl of water in her hands, handing it over to each soul to allow them to drink from it. After drinking it, the souls would become sluggish and seem to be in a trance, as they automatically began to walk towards one of the six tunnels of rebirth behind Grandma Meng.
“Deva. Asura. Mortal. Animal. Preta Ghost. Hell.” Ji Ning stared at the unfathomably deep tunnels behind Grandma Meng.
“I won’t drink, I won’t drink, I don’t want to forget, I don’t want to forget…”
Many ghosts struggled.
But no matter how much they struggled, they were forced by an invisible, inexorable force to move forwards. When they arrived next to Grandma Meng, they were forced by the invisible force to drink Grandma Meng’s Elixir. No matter how they screamed or howled, they still drank it… and after drinking it, no matter how strong their emotions were or how deep their memories were, they forgot it all. By then, they were no longer themselves.
“I’m entering the Heaven Realm. Although I’ll recover my memories at age sixteen, but by then, will my memories of the sixteen years of life in the Heaven Realm take precedence, or would the memories of my previous life take precedence? By then, would I still be me?” Ji Ning felt a hint of grief.
In this life, he only lived eighteen years. In the Heaven Realm, during those sixteen years, he would be far more powerful than in this life. Most likely, his current memories would be secondary.
“But what can I do?” Ji Ning was already bound, and he moved forward under that force’s control.
The ghosts ahead of him all drank from Grandma Meng’s Elixir. In six more ghosts, it would be his turn.
“Grandma Meng’s Elixir.” Ji Ning stared at Grandma Meng.
Grandma Meng suddenly raised her head.
This was the first time Ji Ning had seen Grandma Meng raise her head. Grandma Meng stared far away into the skies, and then her ancient voice said in fury, “Impudent!”
The skies seemed to shatter and the earth seemed to break. The surrounding skies suddenly began to fracture, and the surrounding mist began to break down and dissipate, exposing the countless ghosts in line in the outside world. The fractures in space transformed a large number of ghosts into dust. Like bubbles that were popping, countless souls began to disappear, all of them screaming in misery.
“Boom!” “Boom!” “Boom!” “Boom!” “Boom!” In mid-air, countless black dragons could be seen flying about, each one of them seeming as enormous as a massive, sinuous mountain chain. Ji Ning seemed to be able to see even those heart-freezing dragon scales. The countless dragons were wandering about, having fun in the skies, and then each of the black dragons vomited forth multiple streams of black lightning. Instantly, trillions of bolts of black lightning slashed down, every single one of them causing the heavens and the earth to break apart.
“The Life and Death Formation of the Twin Realm Calamity Dragons? How dare you attack the Six Paths of Reincarnation? This is a grave sin!” Grandma Meng shouted with unbridled fury. Transforming into a beam of light, she flew towards the tens of millions of black dragons in the sky. Instantly, those countless black dragons surrounded Grandma Meng.
The world was fracturing, and the muddied waters of the River of Forgetfulness began to form waves. Any ghosts that touched those waters were instantly dissipated. The Bridge of Despair shattered, and the ghosts atop the Bridge of Despair fell directly into the River of Forgetfulness. As for the Six Paths of Reincarnation, those immeasurably deep tunnels were beginning to shake as well, and light was gleaming from within their depths.
“Uh oh.” Ji Ning stared in terror at the calamity he was witnessing. At the same time, he could sense that invisible binding force dissipate.
“I’ll risk it!” When the binding force dissipated, Ji Ning was both surprised and pleased. Half hopping, half-flying, he jumped directly towards the ‘Mortal Realm’ tunnel. The Six Paths of Reincarnation each were located in different places. Because most people entered the Mortal Realm, the Mortal Realm’s tunnel was directly behind Grandma Meng and was the closest one to Ji Ning. Naturally, Ji Ning chose to jump down into that tunnel.
The surrounding ghosts were all jumping down into the various reincarnation tunnels.
One ghost dared to try and rush towards the most distant, Heaven Realm tunnel.
A bolt of black lightning struck down. That ghost, who hadn’t managed to dodge in time, instantly dissipated, along with several other nearby ghosts.
What exactly had happened in the Netherworld Kingdom? Those countless black dragons that had been circling about in the air, those trillions of black lightning bolts that had wildly struck downwards… that terrifying scene had shocked Ji Ning. But he understood that as an ordinary ghost, there was no point in worrying too much about it. In addition, right now, he didn’t have any time to worry about it, because his head hurt!
Ji Ning sensed that his head was in tremendous pain, as though something was frantically grabbing onto and tearing at it.
His neck hurt, and his body was suffering tremendous pressure.
Suddenly, he felt at ease, and then, he felt a bone-piercing cold. At the same time, a breath of fresh air entered his mouth. This was the first ‘breath’ which Ji Ning had taken since dying.
“Wow!” After taking a deep breath, Ji Ning immediately let out a cry.
The cry of an infant.
“A son! It’s a son!” Although his hearing was a bit distorted, he could still understand what was just said.
“Oh. I’ve been reborn.” Ji Ning instantly understood.