Chapter 104 Ghost Mask
The sun was shining down, and the waves were surging.
On this day, a special guest came to the busy Tongzhou Ferry.
Zhu Xiaodu looked at the person in front of him.
He was slender, dressed in black, and carrying a long sword. He wore a bronze ghost face, standing alone by the ferry.
That mask glowed with cold light and looked very horrifying.
Zhu Xiaodu was busy at the ferry every day, and he had met all kinds of people. He had even seen people who looked even stranger than the person before him.
Zhu Xiaodu had a slight cultivation base and could clearly see the “qi” on people. There was no qi on the person in front of him, so it could be said that he wasn’t a cultivator.
He wasn’t a cultivator, but he felt more dangerous than the disciples of major sects.
He seemed to see a sword.
A sharp sword that pierced the yellow river.
“Does the guest want to board the ship?” Zhu Xiaodu asked.
The Ghost Face Man nodded slightly.
“Where are you going?”
The ghost face replied, “Northern Region, Cangzhou.”
His voice was different from his appearance. It was as cold as a broken jade hitting a stone, and it was very pleasant to hear.
The chill that came out of Zhu Xiaodu’s heart slightly retracted.
“The Northern Territory is far, so the shipping fee is a bit more expensive,” he said cautiously.
“Twelve gold, or three medium-grade spiritual stones.” Zhu Xiaodu paused, then said, “For cultivators above the Foundation Stage, two medium-grade spiritual stones. If it’s a golden core cultivator, the ship’s cost is exempted. However, if sea beasts attack the ship, the cultivators above Foundation Stage need to help out.”
He was a little worried.
The difference in ship rates between cultivators and mortals was based on the rules for ships on the same continent ferrying long distances. But some people always disdain the rules.
Mortal warriors with extraordinary strength could be compared with cultivators who practice qi or many weird swordsmen in Jianghu, who have practiced the sword to the extreme. Just one sword, and they could take a cultivator’s life.
Capable people generally disobeyed the rules.
He was afraid that Ghost Face Man was such a person.
Because he looked like one externally.
Unexpectedly, the Ghost Face Man didn’t reply. He just took out three middle-grade spirit stones from his sleeve and put them into his hands.
Zhu Xiaodu hurriedly stretched out his hand to catch it, only to realize that the Ghost Face Man’s hands were very beautiful.
His fingers were slender and pale like a half-bloomed lotus.
Suddenly Zhu Xiaodu couldn’t help being curious about the face beneath the bronze ghost mask.
He led the man onto the boat. The resting place for mortals wasn’t as comfortable and gorgeous as cultivators. It was very narrow. A wooden bed and a window were the resting place for the next seven days.
Zhu Xiaodu was afraid that the Ghost Face Man would be dissatisfied. When he was about to talk about the difficulties of the ship carrying people, the other party just nodded, took his sword, and walked in.
He set the bag down, sat on the edge of the bed, and quietly watched the waves outside the window. He seemed as if he could sit forever.
Zhu Xiaodu thought about it, then said, “It’s boring to sail at sea. The guest can go to the deck to get some fresh air. There are restaurants and bars in the cabin. If the guest is tired of dry rations, the guest can go there for dinner.”
The ghost-faced man said: ” Okay.”
It was still the cold, clear voice. Zhu Xiaodu’s ears went soft, and he hurriedly closed the door gently.
Ye Yunlan took off the mask.
The sea breeze was salty, blowing on his face. His complexion was almost transparent and pale in the sun.
Half a day later, the ship began to move, and the land gradually became farther away in his field of vision.
It took seven days to travel by sea from the Eastern Continent to the Northern Region.
At night, the voices of the people in the cabin were lively.
Inside the big cabin, it was divided into two floors with many wooden tables.
The alcohol made the atmosphere fiery. If one wasn’t carefully watching the waves outside the window, they would feel the ship’s waves. Also, when night fell, it turned into a pub and restaurant that one could walk into.
Ye Yunlan’s body wasn’t suitable for drinking.
But he still ordered wine and a plate of rather bland sichuan boiled beef. He held his bamboo chopsticks and slowly began to eat.
Because of the meal, he didn’t wear a mask. He just used the hood of the black robe to cover half of his face to reduce trouble.
The way he ate was completely different from the way the surrounding guests ate and drank.
He chewed very slowly like a lady. He had a whole jar of wine next to his food, but he only occasionally poured out a glass.
A huge crewman, who poured a jar of wine into the bottle, looked at him not far away. He sneered a few times and said to the person next to him.
“Now anyone dares to cross the sea. They better not get frightened by sea beasts afterwards.”
Ye Yunlan only lowered his head to eat as if he hadn’t heard any of it.
In the cabin, the cultivators and mortals were clearly distinguished. The mortals sat on the bottom floor, and the cultivators sat on the second floor. The cultivators spoke loudly and arrogantly at times and would spread down from the second floor.
“Fellow daoists are also going to the Northern Territory this time?”
“Naturally! Probably everyone has already read the Xuanji house’s Tianji announcement. It says that the Northern Territory has great opportunities, which are related to the life and fate of this world. There are even opportunities to become an immortal. Cultivating daily, isn’t it all to break through one’s realm? Isn’t it to fight fate for oneself? This opportunity has come, so how can I miss it.”
“The words of fellow daoist are extreme. Heaven and earth are boundless, and life has an end. If you can become immortal, you can live like the sun and the moon, unfettered and carefree, how happy and invigorating that would be! Haha, fellow daoists, come, have a drink!”
The sound of the collision of the wine jar rang out loud.
Cultivation asked for the path to be difficult. If you weren’t careful, your soul would be destroyed. At this moment, the cultivators on the boat forgot their troubles and hardships temporarily, indulging in the dream of becoming an immortal.
Ye Yunlan took a sip of wine.
The strong wine entered his throat like he was swallowing a ball of fire. It burned this frail and weak body, making him heated.
There was a slight redness on his face, and someone laughed: “It is said that beauty is easy to age, and withered bones become ashes. The names on the list of beauties change every year, which is really amazing. If I become an immortal, I should bring one of the beauties on the list with me. Otherwise, even if I get to that wonderful wonderland, what’s the point of being alone?”
This group of people had already jumped from discussing the chance of becoming an immortal to what they should do after becoming an immortal.
“Fellow daoist, if you can choose, which beauty will you choose?” Someone toasted and laughed.
“Do you even need to ask?!” Someone seemed to be drunk, and his voice suddenly rose, “If you ask me, I will naturally choose Immortal Lord Ye! I once saw Immortal Lord Ye on Tianchi Mountain, and the flowers in the world had no color ever since. If that Immortal Lord gave me one look, then this life would be worth it!”
The cultivator sitting next to him was a little embarrassed.
“Hey, fellow daoist, what place would have no colour? Not to mention, that person is still a man. You don’t have to be so crazy…”
The drunk person interrupted: “You haven’t been to the Tianchi Mountain Forum, so you won’t understand! Since then, my biggest dream in cultivation is to have the Immortal Lord marry me…”
Someone sighed next to him: “Isn’t this precisely the wide-spread rumor about Immortal Lord Ye, ‘Once you see the Lord’s face, it will be a lifelong mistake,* never meet again thereafter.’ I’m fortunate that I didn’t go to Tianchi Mountain. Otherwise, I will be thinking about that person daily. How could I continue to cultivate?”
*”it will be a lifelong mistake” comes from a poem. The woman in this poem made a lifelong mistake after meeting a very good man because she will either yearn for all her life, spend her last years alone, or lose her looks. Overall, they’re bad endings, making it a lifelong mistake.
Ye Yunlan listened to these words about himself, then just looked down and focused on eating with his chopsticks.
He ate half of the boiled beef dish, then stopped moving his chopsticks.
The waves hitting the hull made him dizzy.
His chest cavity also felt stuffed.
He got up and wanted to go back to the cabin. At this moment, a huge wave rushed in, and the hull shook, making him stagger. Finally, using the table, he stood firmly.
The passengers on the side sneered louder.
He ignored it. Holding the sword, he returned to the cramped cabin.
The dark sea outside the window reflected the stars. It looked a bit like the night sky he looked up at in his bamboo building.
At this time in the past, Shen Shu would be already lying on the bed, warming it and getting ready to sleep with him.
The wooden bed in the cabin was narrow and could not accommodate his body. There was no quilt, and the sea breeze was cold.
Ye Yunlan didn’t lie down. He just leaned on the head of the bed and held his sword, closing his eyes.
The sound of the waves slapped down. Then, in his half-awake and half-dream-like state, he heard someone yelling: “A sea beast attacked the ship! A sea beast attacked the ship!”
Then, the hull shook. Ye Yunlan woke up, grabbed queying by his side, and looked at the dark sea outside the window. There was a pair of twinkling fierce eyes. His eyesight was lacking, and he couldn’t see clearly, but he could feel the fierce aura of the sea beasts that kept rushing from the darkness.
The evil qi agitated queying. Ye Yunlan stretched out his hand and stroked it over the scabbard, and queying slowly calmed down.
He put on the mask, got up, and pushed open the door to the corridor.
He smelled a potent scent of blood before he reached the deck.
“They are coming up soon! How about the defensive formation on the ship, can it still be supported?”
“Boss, there are too many sea beasts, and the spirit stones are being consumed too fast. I’m afraid they will collapse soon.” “D*mn, have the other cultivators on board come yet?”
“Most of them have arrived. But boss, among the cultivators who boarded this time, there are only two cultivators in the Golden Core Stage. With you, boss, there are only three. I’m afraid we will run out of spiritual power and won’t be able to survive this wave of beasts!”
Ye Yunlan had already walked to the deck.
There was a long blood stain on the deck and some corpses and limbs had not been taken care of. A crew member had probably left it, one who was suddenly attacked by a sea beast.
The approximately dozen cultivators, who were just chatting and laughing in the restaurant above the ship had gathered and inputted spiritual power into the hull formation. A dim light curtain was opened shakily, withstanding the invasion.
At the head was a cultivator with a rugged face and a square scarf, who seemed to be the ship’s captain.
Zhu Xiaodu was also among them. His cultivation was only barely at the first level of Qi Refining, and he couldn’t help much, only help assist with chores. Seeing Ye Yunlan, he was shocked.
“Guest, why are you here?” Zhu Xiaodu asked, “The sea beasts have invaded, and the deck is dangerous. Only cultivators need to help protect the ship. You don’t have to come here.”
Ye Yunlan whispered: “I’ll take a look.”
The ocean wind on the deck was stronger than it was inside the cabin. Added with the little wine he drank, he was already uncomfortable. The wind was irritating him now, and he couldn’t help coughing.
“Xiaodu, he’s a sick person with tuberculosis, and you still have time to take care of him? We’re already overwhelmed right now. Later, if the barrier is damaged and the sea beasts board the ship, I am afraid that all of us in the boat will have to be buried here!” A crew member called out to Zhu Xiaodu. Zhu Xiaodu glared at the man and looked up at Ye Yunlan, “Guest, you are unwell, so go back to the cabin to rest first. It is an accident to encounter a sea beast, but in any case, we will try our best to stop the sea beast and protect the safety of the guests. ”
Ye Yunlan: “Go ahead, don’t worry about me.”
His voice was a little hoarse from the mask, but it was still cool and beautiful, as if it had a calming power.
Zhu Xiaodu felt guilty.
If he hadn’t taken the initiative to solicit the guest, the guest in front of him might not have boarded their ship and suffered this kind of danger.
He was seemingly ill, so who knew if this bump would aggravate the illness.
At this moment, he suddenly heard a crisp sound.
It was the corner of the ship’s barrier!
The sea beast uttered a harsh howl and took advantage of the opportunity to climb up the ship’s hull. A sturdy crew member was shaking the sail on the bow. Suddenly the sea beast appeared behind him and extended its claw at the crew member’s neck. The pupils of the strong crew member shrank sharply, but it was too late to escape. He could only close his eyes and wait for death.
Suddenly, he saw a sword light like a shooting star entering the night and lit up before his eyes!
The sword cut the sea beast in front of him into two parts, and the smelly blood sprayed on his face.
He hurriedly seized the opportunity to retreat to the back of the deck. Turning his head to find his savior, he only saw a black robe and hood. Under the hood was a cold bronze ghost face.
His eyes widened, and he couldn’t believe it, “It’s you!”
Ye Yunlan recognized that he was the strong crew member who had sat not far from him. He didn’t say much and walked over to the bow of the ship.
The sea beasts had gathered at the bow at this. Ferocious bodies and cold flashing eyes were eyeing the humans. Blood flowed down Ye Yunlan’s sword, and a cultivator behind him said: “Be careful!”
Before the voice finished coming out, the sword light swept across, and the sea beast that rushed forward was divided into halves!
The cultivator who wanted to call Ye Yunlan stopped and sucked in a cold breath.
The nirvana sword intent on Ye Yunlan’s body flowed slowly, swaying like water waves.
Queying sword whispered as if it couldn’t bear it.
The sea beast continued to pounce from the crack.
One, two, three.
Then, it was all over.
They had no human wisdom, but they knew how to be afraid.
They could only hesitantly climb up the bow but did not dare to attack Ye Yunlan again.
Suddenly, a shrill monster screamed from the sea in the distance as if it was urging its subordinates to continue to board the ship and attack.
The sea beasts who were still hesitating became agitated. Some of their eyes had turned crimson.
The sound of the monster from the sea in the distance continued.
Ye Yunlan raised his eyes and looked into the distance.
He still couldn’t see the situation on the sea surface, but the nirvana sword intent had already locked on to the most powerful spirit aura among them.
“Noisy,” he said coldly.
The sword intent burst out, breaking through the boundless night, and the screams in the distance stopped abruptly.
The howls of the sea beasts ceased, and the beasts, lacking their leader, could only give up attacking the ships.
The sea breeze was calm.
There was even more silence on the deck.
Looking at the blood-stained man on the bow, Zhu Xiaodu couldn’t speak.
He heard a drunk cultivator beside him speak excitedly.
“Immortalization Realm of the sword dao? I didn’t expect that I, Xu Zice, could see a senior in the Immortalization Realm of the sword dao today!”
“Since you are already in the Immortalization Realm of the sword dao, why are you still a mortal, shouldn’t, shouldn’t…”
Seeing that drunk person stuttering and wanting to get close to that person, someone else was one step ahead of him.
The rough-faced captain strode forward, came to Ye Yunlan, and laughed loudly: “Being able to withstand this beast tide today all depended on your help. I, Zhu Shengguang, want to thank you. Sire, may I know your name?”
Ye Yunlan didn’t answer immediately. The bronze mask on his face was ferocious, glowing coldly in the moonlight.
Observing his body language, Zhu Shengguang immediately changed his statement: “If Sire is a hermit and doesn’t want to expose your name, you can just give us a code name at will. You are the great benefactor of our ship, we will definitely try to repay you.”
Queying sword slowly slipped into its sheath.
Ye Yunlan: “You don’t have to repay me for help. As for the title…”
The nirvana sword intent hadn’t completely faded from his body, and the sea breeze blew his black robe, and he looked like a ghost god who came from h*ll to the world.
“I don’t have a code name. It’s just that a long time ago, everyone else called me…”
The black wind blew, and the dead leaves fluttered in the sky, then fell into pieces. It was like floating paper money.
Shen Shu walked on the barren land.
The closer to the Demon Abyss, the fiercer the space between his brows throbbed. The memories of the Demon Lord, who was suppressed in the depths of his mind, also continued to surface. Those memories were not only the years of returning to the world but also the long experience of being at the bottom of the Demon Abyss. Absorbing the memories of countless devil souls and ghosts—while these, Shen Shu didn’t dare to touch them. He was afraid of sinking into the memory.
“If you want to develop a nine-turn celestial demon body, you need to kill and absorb a million demon souls, then it will be Inferior Immortalization.” There was a voice in his mind, “You can’t even accept the fragments of the demon souls in your memory, so how can you stay sensible and save the master you are thinking of?”
Shen Shu knew this.
Before entering the Demon Abyss, he must completely absorb the memories in his mind so that the personality split from that part of the memory merged with himself.
He hesitated before, but now, he would definitely not lose himself with the promise that Ye Yunlan gave him.
After all, his master was still at home, waiting to see him.
Shen Shu looked up at the gray sky.
In a barren land, the stars and moon were hard to see.
However, at this time in the past, his master would have already gone to bed to rest.
But he didn’t know if his master would feel cold without him warming the quilt. He held the afterglow sword tightly and accelerated his pace.
Although Ye Yunlan had said that he did not need the captain’s repayment, Zhu Shengguang still transferred him to the best room on the ship.
Zhu Xiaodu was sent by his father to take care of Ye Yunlan’s daily life.
The new room was very different from the original one. It was spacious and elegantly furnished with soft bedspreads, a soothing incense burner, and hot water for bathing.
Ye Yunlan did not refuse. When the sea beast attack was resolved, some blood had stained him, so he could take this opportunity to clean it.
Zhu Xiaodu took the treasure prepared by his father and knocked on the room door.
“Your Excellency, can I come in?”
He didn’t call out the three characters, “Ghost Rakshasa,” just because the code name was really gloomy. It didn’t sound like a righteous person, and instead a nickname from a group of demonic cultivators in the Demon Realm. His father, Zhu Shengguang, didn’t say much at the time, but he explained to him that he must be careful dealing with that man many times privately. Although this man seemed incapable of cultivation, he had already entered the realm of immortalization for his swordsmanship. If he really made a move, even ten boatmen would not be enough to stuff his teeth.
He also doubled the treasures of pill medicine and entrusted Zhu Xiaodu to deliver the reward to the Ghost Face Man.
Although Zhu Shengguang was cautious about facing an enemy, Zhu Xiaodu felt that the Ghost Face Man wasn’t the kind of person they imagined.
Perhaps because of his voice, perhaps because Zhu Xiaodu saw him when he boarded the boat and was sitting quietly back in the cabin, Zhu Xiaodu always felt that the Ghost Face Man might be a gentle person.
Then he heard the person’s faint voice coming from the door.
Zhu Xiaodu pushed the door and walked in. He saw the dim candlelight in the room. The man looked at the sea outside the window with his back facing him. His black robe had faded away, and he was only wearing a white shirt with long hair wetly draped behind him.
From Zhu Xiaodu’s point of view, he only felt that his back was extremely thin as if the wind would blow him away whenever.
“Father prepared something for me to bring to you.” Zhu Xiaodu walked up and placed the magic pills and magic weapons on the table.
The man by the window said: “I have already said this earlier, I was just lending a hand. I don’t need repayment. Take the things back.”
Zhu Xiaodu thought of his father’s warnings, hesitated for a moment, then remembered that he’d heard it on the deck before, the other party coughing. So, he whispered: “Your Excellency, you have injuries. Even if you don’t want repayment, you can take a few bottles of useful pills to treat your body.”
The person by the window said lightly, “Medical pills are useless for my injury. Go back.”
Zhu Xiaodu’s heart burst upon hearing these words. He couldn’t see a cultivator’s “qi” on the Ghost Face Man. Now, if he looked carefully, even a living person’s “qi” was scarce.
He had only seen such a situation in people on death’s door.
He couldn’t help taking two more steps forward. He walked to the window side, “What kind of injury do you have? If the medicine stone is useless, how can I help…”
His voice stopped abruptly.
The person in front of him wasn’t wearing a mask. From his angle, he can see the other party’s pale profile.
Every inch was smooth as if crafted by heaven. The hair was extremely dark, and the skin was extremely white. A vermilion dot dotted the end of his eye, and a few strands of slightly damp hair curled against his cheeks.
Zhu Xiaodu had envisioned what it looked like under the mask of the “Ghost Rakshasa.” He imagined someone ugly and someone handsome, but it was by no means as it was now, this kind of thrilling beauty.
Even the beauties on the Tianji list couldn’t compare.
Ye Yunlan turned his head over.
Zhu Xiaodu was young, only 13 or 14 years old. He had a delicate face. Holding a pile of magic pills and magic weapons in his hands, he was very sincere when he looked up at people.
Ye Yunlan remembered when Shen Shu was young he also liked to look up at him. His dark eyes were clear and bright, only reflecting his lone figure.
He closed his eyes.
Then he took a bottle of pills from the boy’s arms.
“Okay,” he said, “Go back and tell Zhu Shengguang that when the ship arrives in Cangzhou, I will disembark immediately and not stay on the ship. These days, don’t let anyone disturb me.”
Zhu Xiaodu nodded blankly.
After leaving the room, he realized that his face was flushed. He returned to his father and relayed what Ye Yunlan stated to him. When he saw his father’s face showing peace of mind, somehow, he was reluctant to tell him that he saw Ghost Face Man’s face.
Seven days later, the ship anchored at the edge of the Frost Sea in Cangzhou, the northern region.
Ye Yunlan got off the ship, and the fellow cultivators all expressed gratitude and respect to him, but they were separated from him by many distances, either intentionally or unintentionally. Only a cultivator with a handsome face and a giant sword on his back rushed over.
“Seven days have passed, and I finally spotted you, Senior!”
“My name is Xu Zice, and I admire Senior’s swordsmanship very much. I want to discuss and compete with Senior during Senior’s leisure time. If Senior is also going to the Frost Sea Realm to search for opportunities, how about travelling with me?”
The young man looked at him and smiled with white teeth.
Ye Yunlan hadn’t ever seen him but remembered his voice.
That day in the cabin restaurant, he was drunk and shouted, “I want Immortal Lord Ye to marry me.” That was the person in front of him.