Chapter 424: City of Ghosts
Another disciple asked: “Chief, where are we going now?”
Qiurong Wanxue answered: “We are going to Nightsea. That is the only place where we can catch Yang Nightfish. We are only passing by this place.”
“Haha, we have to hurry!” Peng Zhuang was excited to hear this and wished that he could fly there instantly.
This was not Qiurong Wanxue’s first time to Necropolis, so she was not in a rush to get to Nightsea. She purposely took her time so that the group of Peng Zhuang could see more things and broaden their horizons.
On a particular street, they found a young man showcasing some merchandise with refined jade as the currency.
Peng Zhuang came and asked: “Doesn’t your Necropolis use Yang Nightfish to trade? Why are you using refined jades? What are you selling? Let me see.” Having said that, he excitedly looked at the items displayed on the stand.
His overly excessive enthusiasm was met by the young man’s angry glare and an evicting shout: “I am not a ghost, I am a human, wait no, I am a member of the Ghost Race!”
His strong response startled Peng Zhuang. He quickly opened his Heavenly Gaze and found that the person was truly not a ghost.
Peng Zhuang awkwardly apologized immediately: “Ahh, my bad, I thought that you were a ghost, wait, no, a sentiment…” Having said that, he sped off right away.
Li Qiye, who had been keeping silent within the group, smirked because Peng Zhuang’s group really knew too little about Necropolis.
However, this was not their fault; the Snow-shadow Tribe was only a minor one. Ordinary disciples within the tribe never got the chance to go to Necropolis, so their lack of knowledge was understandable.
Qiurong Wanxue reminded them: “There are many outsiders who come here to trade. There are not only ghosts here, but also many young cultivators. Make sure to use your Heavenly Gaze when looking at people from now on.” [1. It looks like the author/speakers are using ghosts and sentiments interchangeably, so just be aware of that. All of these ghosts/sentiments/ghost race/tribe are killing me.]
A female disciple shivered and asked: “Oh I see, are they not afraid of living together with ghosts?”
All of the inhabitants of the city were sentiments without any life; it was no different from a ghost city. Just this thought alone was quite creepy.
Qiurong Wanxue warned them: “As long as you don’t provoke them, the ghosts of Necropolis will not mess with you. It is best not to do so, since being enemies with these ghosts won’t end well.”
Qiurong Wanxue was quite right. Visitors were either here for fun or for trading, so they didn’t need to mess with the ghosts. Some would often need to trade with Necropolis’ ghosts, so many visitors didn’t want to have any conflicts with them.
Another reason was because it was hard to leave Necropolis alive once one became an enemy of these ghosts.
Qiurong Wanxue brought the six of them — along with Li Qiye — to sightsee so it took two days before they reached Nightsea.
If one wanted to find any success in Necropolis, then their first destination should be Nightsea because the currency of the city was Yang Nightfish and not refined jade like the outside. Only Nightsea had Yang Nightfish.
To be more accurate, Nightsea was more like a gigantic lake. Standing before Nightsea would give spectators quite a creepy feeling.
The water was pitch black, and it exuded a cold, dark air as if the sea was a devil opening its mouth so that it could swallow people at any moment.
However, after seeing Nightsea, the six youths were not afraid and instead became rather excited, especially Peng Zhuang: “Nightsea, I’m jumping in now!” All he wanted to do now was to dive in and catch some Yang Nightfish.
Qiurong Wanxue immediately shouted in a grave manner to stop them: “Don’t fool around! There will be no escape once you enter Nightsea, you will die without a burial.”
These words startled the young group, so they immediately paused in fear. One disciple asked: “Really?”
Qiurong Wanxue warned them again: “Nightsea is extremely treacherous. No one can leave once they enter, not even Virtuous Paragons.”
“Then how do we catch any Nightfish?” Peng Zhuang inquired.
“We have to find a ferry; it is the only way to enter Nightsea.” Qiurong Wanxue continued: “Entering Nightsea without one is suicidal.”
A disciple with good eyes saw a boat at the port and exclaimed: “Over there!”
However, before they could react, a dozen young men had already boarded the ship to enter the vast Nightsea.
Qiurong Wanxue took them to several ferries, but all of these boats were either already reserved or taken by others.
Each boat had a handler, but the strange thing that surprised the group of Peng Zhuang was that these handlers were different from the ghosts back at Necropolis. The handlers had a body that exuded a weak blood energy.
The youths were also quite scared as they looked at these handlers since they dressed like mummies who just came out of a tomb. Especially their eyes that were filled with ghastly energy, they caused others to shiver.
“Are these handlers ghosts or people?” Peng Zhuang had to ask.
“No one knows. The handlers are always here to row the boats since they are the only ones capable of using these ferries.”
The disciples noticed the faint blood energy on the handlers’ bodies and curiously asked: “Are they just like Necropolis’ ghosts? Can they not leave Necropolis either?”
“Not necessarily.” Li Qiye, who was behaving quite well and didn’t talk a lot, smiled and shook his head: “A legend claims that a handler left this place and achieved invincibility.”
“Left Necropolis?” Another disciple asked with surprise: “Is that true?”
Qiurong Wanxue looked at Li Qiye and said: “This is only a legend. The person is the patriarch of the Nether Crossing Swamp, but this is — of course — only limited to a legend.”
Peng Zhuang slapped his thigh and said: “I have heard of this legend!” He then excitedly continued: “He is Immortal Emperor Ming Du! It was said that he came from Necropolis and might have been a handler.” [1. Ming Du is Nether Crossing; it should give the feel of a ferryman taking someone across the River Styx for example, or the Yellow River in Asian myths.]
“Yes, it is Immortal Emperor Ming Du.” Qiurong Wanxue added: “However, it's only a rumor. The Nether Crossing Swamp had never accepted this hypothesis. Moreover, the handlers cannot leave this place. Such a thing is unheard of!”
Immortal Emperor Ming Du was the emperor before Immortal Emperor Qian Li. There were many theories regarding his origin, but there were two that were the most popular. First was that the emperor was a boat-rowing ghost of the Underworld River, and the other was that he came from Nightsea at Necropolis.
For the second theory, it was said that after he obtained a great fortune, he was able to return to life and finally escaped Nightsea and Necropolis to become an invincible emperor.
But of course, regardless of whether he came from the Underworld River or Nightsea, they were just unproven rumors. In addition, even Immortal Emperor Ming Du’s lineage, the Nether Crossing Swamp, denied these claims.
Future generations later on believed that Immortal Emperor Ming Du came from the Ghost Race — this was widely acknowledged by people from the same generation as him.
Qiurong Wanxue led the group of Li Qiye to find ferries, but they were always late and had their ferry taken by others.
Qiurong Wanxue pondered for a moment before looking at Li Qiye to say: “Fellow Daoist Li, please watch over them, I will go and find a ferry.”
Compared to an energetic youth like Peng Zhuang, the well-behaved Li Qiye was more trustworthy, so Qiurong Wanxue temporarily left him in charge.
“Don’t worry, we will wait here until you return.” Li Qiye answered with a smile. This was his chance since he wanted to ask Peng Zhuang some more things regarding the Prime Ominous Grave.
Qiurong Wanxue looked at Li Qiye then cautioned the group of Peng Zhuang before quickly leaving to find a ferry.
After she left, Li Qiye immediately asked Peng Zhuang: “Brother Peng, what do you think the gigantic hand that night was?”
Another disciple said with a smile: “Brother Li seems to be really interested in this matter.” They had no ill feelings towards Li Qiye, and to the contrary, quite liked him.
Li Qiye calmly smiled and replied: “That day, when the night suddenly came, it really frightened me to death, so I am very interested in hearing about the gigantic hand from Brother Peng.”
The five disciples became excited and quickly discussed: “I nearly lost my mind too. I heard right after that the chief and the elders all went to the ancestral ground since they thought it was a huge deal.”
“Right when the sky turned dark, I really did see a gigantic hand. Although it was fleeting, I am sure that it wasn’t due to my blurred vision or anything.”
In fact, very few believed Peng Zhuang since he was the only one who saw it. At that time, he was coincidentally looking towards the Prime Ominous Grave.
Li Qiye asked with great interest: “What kind of gigantic hand was it?”
Peng Zhuang thought about it carefully before answering: “Hmm… How should I put this… It was a really huge hand. It seemed as if it was its own separate heaven and earth. It was like the stars in the sky or another world entirely. It had stars, a moon, and a sun… It was as if this gigantic hand replaced our own sky.”
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