Si Tian Guan Chapter 189

Chapter 189 – Wood Spirit

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Qu Chenzhou’s mind was in turmoil. For a moment, he didn’t comprehend what was being said and just uttered in a daze, “Turning point? What turning point?”

After calming down a bit, he quickly realized his confusion and lifted the object to inspect it more closely.

The edges of the jade were uneven, clearly not polished or set in gold like a finished ornament, but rather resembled a raw stone.

“Found it in that tree?” Seeing Liu Zhongming nod with certainty, he speculated, “Perhaps it belonged to a traveler who was swallowed by the yin wood and left behind in the tree.”

“I don’t think so.”

Liu Zhongming spread his arms and turned around, asking, “Did you notice anything off about me?”

Qu Chenzhou looked up and saw the sun shining directly at him, casting a clear silhouette of the person in front of him against the warm sunlight.

The person who had been sprinting through the snowy landscape had faded into a mere shadow. Now, it was a little fox holding a food box and urging him to wake up. The sunlight was just right, perfect for sunbathing its fur.

Having experienced a mixture of bitterness and sweetness in his heart, Qu Chenzhou responded in a daze, “No… Shizi is good…”

As soon as the words left his lips, he realized that something was amiss.

This tree’s power, they had already experienced it twice. This time, he had a short sword in hand, yet he was utterly defenseless and covered in wounds.

If Liu Zhongming hadn’t burned the yin wood, he might have ended up like Ding Lekang.

Though Liu Zhongming appeared bloody and disheveled, upon closer inspection, his injuries weren’t severe. The burns were not too deep, and the tree branch’s puncture wounds weren’t in critical areas.

The problem was, how could Liu Zhongming, who had gotten so close to the yin wood and been engulfed in a sea of flames, have suffered only these injuries?


“Hehehe,” Liu Zhongming sounded pleased, “There’s something I want to tell you, don’t be scared.”

Seeing his self-satisfied expression, Qu Chenzhou felt quite annoyed and made a motion to get up, “Then don’t say it.”

He was pushed back down to the ground.

“Why are you so easily angered? You weren’t like this before.”

Muttering to himself, Liu Zhongming decided not to tease any further.

“In fact, from the moment I saw that thing, I’ve been curious. It only moved here overnight. Could it be that it usually preys on people like this?”

Qu Chenzhou had a moment of confusion about this question as well, but at the time, he hadn’t had the opportunity to think it through carefully.

Since this creature couldn’t move swiftly and was easily concealed, it made sense that it would wait patiently in one place for its prey. Why would it go through so much trouble and travel so far?

“It was only when I brought you up there and saw it myself that I realized it was chasing us.”

Qu Chenzhou stood beside Liu Zhongming, his lips curved in a faint smile. Almost without thinking, he reached out to rub the top of the little fox’s head— the little fox didn’t dodge, staying there in a daze, letting him ruffle its fur.

“Think about why we came here in the first place. The Thousand Child Pagoda collapsed, the Emperor had a psychological burden. This trip back to the capital, we need something to present, something substantial. If even this isn’t enough, I can’t think of anything that would work.”

Qu Chenzhou frowned.

While the explanation sounded reasonable, this item looked too ordinary. Even if he could bluff the Emperor, he needed a more plausible explanation than this jade-like object being a wood spirit.

The Emperor had never seen a walking, man-eating yin wood himself. How could he believe that this jade was a wood spirit?

Seeming to sense his dilemma, Liu Zhongming explained his theory.

“I didn’t realize at first. I was planning to run out of the fire with you, but I only understood the significance when I stepped on a tree hole underfoot and realized what it meant.”

No wonder Liu Zhongming’s injuries weren’t severe, while he had lost all resistance almost instantly. It was because the yin wood had channeled all its energy into attacking him.

Recalling the sight of Ding Lekang’s body yesterday, he and Liu Zhongming had been near the tree roots. However, the yin wood had targeted him.

“Or… maybe it’s afraid of you?” he ventured to guess.

“A mere mortal flesh, what’s there to be afraid of? If it was truly afraid of me, it wouldn’t have been injured either,” Liu Zhongming sat down beside him. “I’ve known about yin wood longer than you have, so I made some preparations at Dingling Hill.”

“I thought it over. Even if it truly has become a spirit, it’s still just a tree. So, I brought along a bag of lamp oil just in case.”

“Originally, I wasn’t too concerned. However, Ding Lekang’s orders made me certain—it indeed fears fire. Any area scorched by the orders became its weak spot.”

“It’s been lurking and attacking isolated individuals. Maybe it’s because it isn’t strong enough yet, so when it concentrates its efforts on you, it doesn’t have the time to deal with me. That’s when I had the opportunity to burn its lair.”

“I never thought it would actually work.”

Thinking about the heart-stopping moments just now, Qu Chenzhou couldn’t help but rub his leg, feeling the intense pain.

Even though he had lived two lifetimes and had been seen as a monster in others’ eyes, he had never imagined encountering something like this.

“Fortunately, fortunately,” he shivered, turning the object in his hands, contemplating for a moment before exclaiming in shock, “Could this be… its wood spirit?”

According to Rong Jiuan’s explanation, only wood with a spirit was called “yin wood.”

“You clever little fox.”

Liu Zhongming suppressed a smile and reached out almost reflexively to ruffle the little fox’s head – the little fox didn’t dodge, staying still and letting him ruffle its fur.

Starting a fire, there was sound inside it. He guessed there might be something.

“I reached into the tree hole, and something tried to resist me. When the fire started all around, it panicked, unable to attack me. That’s when I managed to take this thing out.”

“When I jumped down, it lost the ability to move and was engulfed in flames.”

“I wanted to try,” Liu Zhongming took out a flint from his body, “If this thing is impervious to water and fire, it’d be great.”

“No,” Qu Chenzhou hurriedly stopped him, “A wood spirit’s tree body wouldn’t not fear fire. If it truly didn’t fear it, it wouldn’t have panicked. If we accidentally damage it, there won’t be a second chance.”

Liu Zhongming accepted his suggestion and put away the flint, then asked, “What’s your plan?”

Qu Chenzhou pondered for a moment but wasn’t entirely certain.

“Among those two people at Chengsong Ridge, one of them seemed like a tree demon. They had a friendly attitude and even said they’d meet us again later.”

“Are you thinking of finding them and asking?” Liu Zhongming chuckled helplessly, “Dealing with a yin wood was already hard enough. That one named Yan Guiqi is way more dangerous than a yin wood. Do you want to be a ghost that dies with unresolved questions?”

“The yin wood managed to find us, and they come and go freely in the mountains. If they want to catch up to us, we won’t be able to escape. It’s better to make the best of the situation.”

Liu Zhongming contemplated for a moment, seemingly agreeing with that perspective. If the other party wanted to find them, they wouldn’t be able to escape in these mountains.

“Alright, for now, the most urgent task is to find a way out as soon as possible. Even if we don’t encounter them, we can research on the way back. You take this for now.”

He pushed it toward Qu Chenzhou, watching as he stashed the object in his pocket before squatting down ahead of him.

“Come on, I’ll give you a piggyback ride.”

If the vague memories of his past life were taken into account, he had lived quite a few years, but this was the first time he had decided to cling on with such determination.

Yet, those anticipatory thoughts just couldn’t help but bubble up.

Just a moment ago, when he had recklessly leaped onto the yin wood, he had heard it all—the little fox telling him to run, saying it didn’t hate him, the little fox even crying for him.

He didn’t care about anything else, didn’t listen to anything else; only his little fox, who cared for him, was real.

He had been squatting for quite a while, but all he could hear was the howling mountain wind passing by and the beating of his own heart like a drum.

Liu Zhongming couldn’t contain himself any longer. He didn’t know what kind of gaze the person behind him was using to assess him. He barely turned his face when a foot kicked him in the back.

“Liu Zhongming, I detest you,” Qu Chenzhou forced himself to walk past him, seemingly resentful and turned back with a clenched jaw, “I really detest you!”

Liu Zhongming caught up with him and steadied him, “I like you.”

There was no response from him.

Until the half-moon shining through the window that couldn’t block the wind cast its light onto the ground, only then did someone stand with their back turned, slowly uttering a few words.

“Zhongming, I’m cold.”

He felt as if he had been granted a reprieve, shifting to the side to unbutton his clothes. Carefully and cautiously, he enveloped the person lying next to him in his arms, letting out a soft sigh.

To be able to spend time with the little fox like this again was something he had longed for, but the present circumstances were far from ideal.

After wandering around for so long, they had only just confirmed that they had gotten lost in the mountains.

Their luck had been poor since coming down from Chengsong Ridge. They had walked in the opposite direction from Dingling Hill. During the day, they had been scared by the yin wood and ran blindly in the opposite direction, so now they had completely lost their way back.

He had a stronger constitution, while Qu Chenzhou had five or six wounds on his body, and without any medicine, by noon, he had no energy left to stand. He could only be carried by him.

Fortunately, before the sun went down the mountain, they found an abandoned cabin that the forest guardian had once used. It was barely enough to provide shelter.

Qu Chenzhou seemed extremely exhausted, and Liu Zhongming had to hold him in his arms while forcing him to eat a few mouthfuls. Then Qu Chenzhou laid down and fell asleep, but Liu Zhongming couldn’t find rest.

Ding Lekang’s firework signal had been so conspicuous that it was impossible for it not to be discovered. No matter how strict the defense at Dingling Hill was, they couldn’t stop everyone from spreading the news.

If it was their own people coming, it would be fine, but if it was Mu Jingyan’s people, they might have trouble escaping.

Plus, the massive fire and thick smoke caused by the yin wood’s ignition would surely attract attention. Anyone with eyes would know which direction to look.

However, Qu Chenzhou’s condition was dire, and they didn’t have much time to waste.

Even though the tail end of summer was still lingering, the night wind in the mountains was still quite harsh. Liu Zhongming held him even tighter, and his fingers brushed against the piece of wood spirit in Qu Chenzhou’s embrace.

Despite having discussed the possibility of this thing being a “turning point,” he still felt uneasy in his heart.

He had run businesses all over the country, and if it was just about being “impervious to water and fire,” couldn’t he just find a peculiar-looking stone? That would be much simpler.

How did it come to this point, running so far, enduring fear and worry? If they couldn’t find their way out, they might end up losing their lives here.

What he could think of, Qu Chenzhou must have thought of as well. Not explicitly discussing it was merely to empathetically understand each other’s anxieties.

Perhaps Qu Chenzhou’s original intention for having him come to Dingling Hill was related to what happened to his elder brother back then. Perhaps his plan to bring the little fox along was to pull someone out of the palace, maybe something that has already turned into a huge turmoil.

But no one expected that things would go awry and end up like this.

And the divination remains unchanged: “Turning point.”

“A turning point?” He helplessly pinched the little fox’s face, a bit audacious since the person was asleep anyway. “My divination is really about a turning point? It’s not something like a death divination?”

He suddenly stopped his words, his hand then touching Qu Chenzhou’s body again, his cheeks, his neck, his chest, everything was so hot that it made his heart race.

Then a soft voice, accompanied by hot breath, exhaled onto the back of his hand.

“D*mn it,” Liu Zhongming muttered to himself.

Qu Chenzhou’s body wasn’t strong to begin with. Enduring the bumps along the road was one thing, but now, injured and not in a good condition, he had a fever, unsurprisingly.

Perhaps he found comfort in his slightly cool hand touching him, Qu Chenzhou couldn’t help but nuzzle his cheek against Liu Zhongming’s palm, even tugging him towards his chest.

Liu Zhongming had lost himself entirely, his mind blank. He fumbled and hurriedly took off his clothes to wrap Qu Chenzhou in them, softly reassuring him, “We’ll talk when we get back, we’ll talk, when we get back, you can have whatever you want.”

Thankfully, Qu Chenzhou wasn’t delirious. Amidst Liu Zhongming’s incessant chatter, he slowly came to his senses, asking vaguely, “What time is it?”

“Just sleep a little longer,” Liu Zhongming placed his hand on Qu Chenzhou’s burning forehead, glancing out the window. “It’s just past midnight, it’s still a while until dawn.”

His breath suddenly caught.

Though he hadn’t experienced military campaigns, his uncle had taught him a lot. One of the main points was to be vigilant against enemy night ambushes.

However, just now he clearly saw that, among the tree branches swaying in the mountain wind, a small section was moving in a direction different from the moonlight.

There was someone on that tree.

He gently set down Qu Chenzhou and crept towards the window, looking outside carefully, feeling a chill in his blood.

In the dappled moonlight, more than one figure flickered by, arranged in a formation, advancing.

Both the formation and the glint of their weapons weren’t familiar to him.

“D*mn it, heaven wants my demise,” he softly cursed. “Did Chenzhou’s divination fail?”

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