The two of them headed down into the tomb. Sure enough, everything was just as he remembered, which left even Zu An slightly baffled. He felt it a little difficult to distinguish between what was real and what had happened within the dreamworld of the trial.
It didn’t take him long to find the jade badge, and the bronze vessel where Jiangjiang’s head was stored. In the trial, Zu An had specifically given the order that Jiangjiang’s remains were to be placed in this tomb out of worry that he wouldn’t be able to find them later on. Sure enough, her remains were truly in this tomb.
Pei Mianman had a strange look on her face. “I can’t believe that it’s really here. Could it be that what we experienced in the trial was all real?”
“It might not be what you think. There’s no way for us to explain this coincidence based on what we know so far. Let’s not make any blind guesses.” Despite his words, Zu An couldn’t resist looking towards the giant coffin, which was resting off to the side.
Pei Mianman was also drawn towards it. She suddenly said in a soft voice, “I want to see the person buried inside.”
Zu An held her hand and shook his head. “I think it’s better if we don’t. In my heart, you are my Manman, no one else is. There is no need to cause any unnecessary complications.”
Pei Mianman was stunned for a moment, then she smiled sweetly. “You’re right. I am myself. There’s no need to make myself doubt my own path.”
With that, the two of them avoided any further speculation, and left Fu Hao’s tomb hand in hand.
“By the way, I now know how to leave this dungeon,” Pei Mianman said. A new revelation had come to her mind.
“How do we leave?” Zu An asked eagerly. The two of them had already stayed in this dungeon for way too long. They wondered how Chuyan and the others were doing outside.
Even though Mi Li told him that he hadn’t spent that much time in the trial, they had still been wandering this dungeon for a considerable amount of time before they had even attempted the trial. Assuming that the flow of time within this dungeon was different from the real world, things might already be drastically different in the outside world. If that were true, it would be a terrible tragedy.
“This owl statue is the formation core of this dungeon. We can leave through it whenever we want.” Pei Mianman replied. “However, if we leave the dungeon through its formation core, this dungeon might never open again.”
“Then let’s give Jiangjiang the badge before leaving,” Zu An said. “That way, she’ll at least be able to bring her clansmen peace.”
The two of them both believed in keeping their promises, and weren’t about to go back on their word. They hurried back to the entryway where they had separated from her.
“Jiangjiang?” The surroundings were pitch black, and Zu An couldn’t see anything, so he had to resort to calling out her name.
Despite the darkness, they knew that this was Jiangjiang’s territory, and they had gone through so much together, so they weren’t nearly as scared as before.
“She’s over there,” Pei Mianman said, pointing.
Zu An was surprised, but walked in the direction she was pointing. It was still pitch black, and he couldn’t make anything out. “How can you see her even when it’s this dark?”
“I think it’s because of Fu Hao’s owl statue. After all, the owl is the king of the night. Even in the darkness, things seem just as clear as day for me. I have a feeling that if I completely master this owl statue, I might be able to create darkness and drag an enemy within it in battle,” Pei Mianman said excitedly.
“That’s probably some sort of domain. Now, you might stand an even chance if you encounter opponents with a higher level of cultivation than you,” Zu An said with a sigh of admiration.
While the two of them were chatting, the spectral girl had already run up to them. “Big brother, big sister…”
She had been running towards them excitedly, but when she came closer to the two of them, her expression suddenly changed.
Since the two of them were in a hurry to leave, they didn’t notice this slight change in her expression. Zu An handed her the jade badge. “Jiangjiang, thankfully, I didn’t have to go back on my word. This is the jade badge you asked for.”
The young lady took it from him. When she touched the jade badge, happiness returned to her face. “Thank… thank you.”
She slipped the jade badge onto her arm. As she put it on, the surface of the jade badge glowed momentarily, before the light gradually faded. A pattern resembling the jade badge had been engraved around her arm.
Zu An clicked his tongue in wonder. They had learned in the trial that this was the holy artifact of the Eastern Barbarians, yet for him and Pei Mianman, it looked just like a normal jade badge. It was exquisitely crafted, but aside from that, they hadn’t noticed anything special about it. However, it clearly became something different when in Jiangjiang’s possession.
Despite this development, neither of them would go so low as to covet someone else’s possessions. Zu An remembered something else, and handed her the earthenware vessel containing her head. “Jiangjiang, this should be your head…”
He wanted to say some words of consolation, but when the girl saw the head in the earthenware vessel, her eyes immediately turned red. “All those from Shang shall die!” she said, baring her teeth at them.
Zu An immediately put up his guard, and quickly pulled Pei Mianman behind him. The ground where the two of them had been standing just a moment ago crumbled instantly. Clearly, it had been blasted by a wave of tremendous power.
“Jiangjiang, have you gone mad?” he demanded angrily.
The girl floated in midair, her beautiful hair fluttering about her. “All the people of Shang must die. The two of you carry extremely strong Shang auras. You are definitely genuine people of Shang.”
Zu An was speechless. It was probably the Heaven Devouring Sutra that he was carrying, and Fu Hao’s treasured owl statue and the Heaven’s Wisdom Jade that Mianman had on her. They also served for many generations as the rulers of the Shang Dynasty, so it would be hard to get rid of this aura even if they wanted to.
The young lady’s voice thundered again. “That is why… you must… die!”
She stretched out her hand, and a cacophony of voices began to rustle in the wind. Zu An and Pei Mianman’s expressions immediately grew awful. The Guman Tong had appeared around the young lady again, and skeletal warriors were assembling as well. There was even the sound of hissing, indicating the presence of the strange snakes they had seen in the great pit outside the tomb.
Zu An could still remember how much of a headache those strange snakes had posed, and he hurriedly turned to Pei Mianman. “Didn’t you say we have a way out of this dungeon?” he asked. “Can we leave right now?”
Pei Mianman shook her head. “Not yet,” she replied with a frown, “I need some time to establish a link. I don’t think they’ll give us the time.”
The approaching skeletal warriors had already drawn their blades and swung them at the pair of them even before she had finished her sentence.
Zu An whipped out the Tai’e Sword and stuck it into the head of the closest skeletal warrior. However, more skeletons quickly charged at him, taking the place of their fallen comrade. In addition, several of the strange snakes were slithering across the ground, spewing venom at the two humans. Some of them even flung themselves at them in an attempt to bite them.
The skeletal warriors naturally did not fear the venom of these strange snakes, but Zu An and Pei Mianman surely did.
The two of them quickly found themselves in a spot of bother. Suddenly, a black rose blossomed on the battlefield. It was beautiful, yet full of devastating power. All the skeletons and strange snakes were burned to ashes.
This was Pei Mianman’s skill, ‘Flaming Rose’. She had not been in the best condition ever since being in the dungeon, and wasn’t able to use this skill so far. Now that she was back to her peak, her attacks were vicious.
“I haven’t had the opportunity to use this move until now,” Pei Mianman said softly.
More and more strange snakes and skeletal warriors swarmed at them, pouring forth like an endless tide.
The girl floating in the air frowned. As though she had given some sort of order, the Guman Tong around her charged at Pei Mianman.
Pei Mianman had a look of consternation on her face. She remembered the suffering she had experienced while under the control of one of these Guman Tong. The Guman Tong were immune to flames as well, which made it a bad matchup for her.
Zu An quickly leaped to her side, brandishing his sword to fend off the incoming Guman Tong. Despite this, he knew that his efforts were not enough. He wanted to use the Heaven Devouring Sutra, but the creatures around him were all deceased beings or disgusting snakes. He might have been able to devour anything once he mastered the skill, but at his current level of understanding, there was no way for him to do so.
A sudden burst of inspiration struck him. There were so many of these fellows around them, and they were all of low intelligence. He might not have any area-of-effect skills, but he knew someone who did!
He quickly summoned Daji and gave her an order.
Pei Mianman’s eyes went wide. A ridiculously beautiful woman suddenly appeared, carrying a jade pipa in her arms. She plucked the strings gently with her fingers, and a pleasant melody began to fill the space. The incoming Guman Tong, skeletal warriors and endless waves of strange snakes all froze.Previous Chapter Next Chapter