The Sword Named No Way Out Chapter 96

Chapter 96

Shoutout to nyanmaru for the commission!

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In the forty-sixth year of Taiyi, with peace prevailing throughout the land and abundant harvests, the Dragon’s heart was greatly delighted.

A decree from the capital city was proclaimed to the world: the only legitimate son of the Empress, who had reached the age of eighteen, distinguished in appearance and noble in demeanor, was bestowed the title of the Peaceful Prince, and was to marry the only daughter of a prominent minister.

A perfect match, ordained by fate, awaited the auspicious day of their wedding.

The youthful Peaceful Prince, refined and elegant, with a strikingly handsome appearance, had long been renowned for his virtues. As he rode through the streets of the capital city, his figure clad in white as snow had been sketched countless times in the dreams of many young maidens.

Therefore, when the decree of marriage was issued, countless noble ladies saw their dreams shattered, and a gloomy mist of despair enveloped the households of each family.

Yet, the Prince’s mansion was bustling with activity, with well-wishers streaming in to offer their congratulations.

Late into the night, after the crowd of courtiers who had come to offer their congratulations had dispersed, the Prince’s mansion, which had been lively all day, finally regained its tranquility.

The Peaceful Prince, who had just turned eighteen, had a weak tolerance for alcohol. Amidst the cheers of the courtiers, he had been forced to drink a considerable amount of wine. Now, finally succumbing to the effects of the alcohol, he fell into a deep slumber at his desk, his head resting heavily on his arms, his mind drifting into a dream.

In his dream, he saw a young man suddenly appear in the mirror behind him.

The young man appeared to be about eighteen or nineteen years old, with a pale yet extraordinarily handsome face, towering half a head taller than the Peaceful Prince and much more muscular. A black robe lazily draped around his waist, adorned with intricate patterns of red spider lily flowers, faintly revealing the muscular contours of his chest. A blood-red sword hung from his waist.

“Who are you?” The Peaceful Prince had never seen this young man before, but in his dream, he felt no fear, only curiosity.

The young man did not answer. He stepped out of the silver mirror, approached and stood behind the Peaceful Prince, and looked over his shoulder at the portrait of a woman on the table. After a while, he looked up at the Peaceful Prince, his eyes flashing with a demonic, lazy smile:

“Are you getting married, Xuan Jinghe?”

The Peaceful Prince asked in confusion, “Who is Xuan Jinghe?”

The icy smile in the young man’s eyes deepened.

He grasped the Peaceful Prince’s chin with one hand, forcibly turning his face towards him. The movement was almost elegant, but the strength between his fingers was unimaginably powerful, like the claws forged from steel:

“Since we parted at the Reincarnation Platform, we have been separated by life and death. It has been eighteen years. I have missed you every moment, but you have completely forgotten the vow you once made to marry me.”

The Peaceful Prince was forced to sit at the desk, looking up at the smiling young man like he had fallen into a bizarre dream.

A vow of marriage?

“Look at the destiny of your current life.” The young man looked around, his tone tinged with lamentation. “Born into a noble family, with a long life ahead, a house full of children… truly worthy of being the god Xuan Jinghe of the Western Boundary. How many merits have you accumulated in your past life?” “Unfortunately, you have met me.”

“…Who are you?” The Peaceful Prince’s mind was in chaos, and he involuntarily tried to pull away from the hand holding his chin, but to no avail. “I don’t understand what you’re talking about…”

“No matter how many times you reincarnate, it’s useless, Xuan Jinghe. No amount of accumulated merits can compare to my eternal greed for you.”

“This is the price you pay for breaking our engagement.”

Every word was as intimate as a lover’s embrace, yet concealed an unmistakable chill. The young man smiled and left, disappearing into the enormous mirror in the bedroom.

The cold moon hung over the Prince’s mansion. After some time had passed, the door creaked open, pushed cautiously by a maid of the mansion.

A dim lamp burned faintly, casting a soft glow. Under the lamp, the Peaceful Prince laid with his forehead resting on his arms, slumped over the desk, motionless. Perhaps due to deep intoxication, his hair was half undone, flowing softly on the tabletop, shimmering with a gentle light.

“Your Highness, Your Highness?”

The maid feared that her master would catch a cold in the late night, so she tried to help the Peaceful Prince to the bed to rest. However, as she approached quietly, she suddenly saw something that startled her. She saw a branch of blooming red spider lily flowers tucked into the Prince’s white robe.

The blood-red petals seemed fresh, emitting a layer of misty red, unreal and enchanting. The maid blinked hard, realizing that she was not dreaming, and then a wave of fear struck her throat.

—Where did these flowers come from? Was there an intruder just now?!

Her heart pounded wildly, trembling, she reached out to help the Peaceful Prince. “Your Highness? Your Highness, please wake up quickly, are you— Ah!”

A piercing scream pierced the silence of the late night.

Under the dim light, the Peaceful Prince laid lifelessly on the desk, his face pale and handsome, as if he had fallen into a deep sleep, his eyes closed as tightly as if they were sealed.

But his chest did not rise and fall, his body was already cold.

“Help, help—!!”


The next day, in Linjiang City.

In the Tai Bai Residence.

“―― He’s really dead?” Yuchi Rui, mid-peeling a peanut shell, asked in surprise.

Below the tavern, people bustled about, and the storyteller was reaching an exciting part of the tale, with applause and cheers resounding from all sides, creating a lively atmosphere.

In the secluded room upstairs, Gong Wei sat at one side of a round table, setting down his chopsticks and pouring a cup of tea. “Of course not. He’s the legitimate God of Wealth, swarmed by a group of immortals crying and pinching him for half an hour before he finally woke up. But even when he woke up, he wasn’t quite normal. He sat there shivering, crying out, ‘How could I lose? I, the mighty God of Wealth, lost everything in a game of mahjong to Xu Shuangce?! I want to demote myself to the mortal realm! I’m not worthy of being the God of Wealth!’ Then he struggled to rush towards the mortal realm…”

Gong Wei sighed sympathetically.

“Others quickly rushed to stop him, hugging his waist and legs, earnestly advising him, ‘God of Wealth, have you learned your lesson? It’s your fault for playing mahjong with Gong Wei all the time and going out drinking. No matter how we advise you… Look! You finally attracted Xu Shuangce! With Eastern Heaven’s skills, if he played against Northern Wall for cards, the War of Annihilation wouldn’t have started. Northern Wall would’ve lost everything, even his pants, to him…'”

“So, how much did the God of Wealth lose to Xu Shuangce?” Yuchi Rui couldn’t help asking.

Gong Wei, one hand supporting his forehead, struggled for a moment before saying, “Four hundred and thirty-six million and five hundred thousand taels… of gold.”

The peanut in Yuchi Rui’s hand dropped onto the table with a loud “clack.”

“Xu Shuangce said since they are both major gods, he wouldn’t bother about the extra six hundred thousand, just the four hundred and thirty million would do. When the God of Wealth heard this, he spurted blood and fainted on the spot…”

Gong Wei went from supporting his forehead with one hand to covering his face with both hands, letting out a long sigh. “It took three whole days to save him. When the immortal officials carried him to see me on a stretcher, they were all holding my hands and crying, saying, ‘Gong Wei, you have an undeniable responsibility for this. If it weren’t for your constant gambling with the God of Wealth and going out drinking, this poor child wouldn’t have fallen into Xu Shuangce’s hands at such a young age. Four hundred and thirty million taels of gold… you mustn’t ignore his plight…'”

Yuchi Rui’s mouth fell open, suddenly coming to a realization. “What’s your relationship with the God of Wealth?”

“We have no relationship.”

Yuchi Rui stared at him suspiciously.

“Really.” Gong Wei’s expression was filled with weariness. “The old God of Wealth had reached his limit in age and ascended to the void. The new God of Wealth just ascended, a handsome young man with sharp eyebrows and bright eyes. Everyone in the heavens says he bears a resemblance to Xu Shuangce when he was young.”

Yuchi Rui: “…”

Gong Wei could never change his nature of loving beauty as a mirror.

As beauty fades, love flees, and one generation is replaced by another, it seems reasonable for the Eastern Heaven God to strike with such force.

“What can I do? I’m desperate too. Should I strip naked and kneel at Xu Shuangce’s bedside in the middle of the night, holding his hand, begging him to spare the God of Wealth? Now whenever I mention the God of Wealth, Xu Shuangce immediately becomes motionless and stares straight at me. Then there’s thunder and lightning outside the Eastern Heaven Temple, followed by clear skies turning to stormy weather… In recent days, the heavenly realm has become an unbearable place to stay. Lightning and thunder one moment, snowfall the next. The God of Wealth cries and climbs my doorstep every half hour, insisting on hanging himself with three feet of white cloth outside my house…”

Yuchi Rui suddenly realized something, his gaze passing beyond Gong Wei to the window.

The sky had darkened at some point, despite it being midsummer in June, and small snowflakes were faintly floating in the air, swiftly heading towards Linjiang City.

“I advised the God of Wealth against gambling, but he insisted he was invincible. Now, look at the consequences. Unable to win, he wants to end his own life.” Gong Wei, his back to the window, remained oblivious. “If this continues, something bad will happen. I think I’ll have to bluff Xu Shuangce with some gold. If that doesn’t work, I’ll find a bunch of rocks and cast an illusion…”


A thunderbolt struck.

The bustling scene below the tavern suddenly fell silent, waiters froze in their steps, spilled drinks hung suspended in mid-air, and the smiling faces of the patrons froze on their faces.

Time seemed to be forcibly halted by an invisible force.

In the palpable silence, a tall figure appeared behind Gong Wei.

The newcomer wore white armor trimmed with gold, and a black outer robe. With striking features and a commanding presence, he lightly placed a hand on Gong Wei’s shoulder and, with sharp eyes, slowly asked:

“What are you discussing?”

Gong Wei: “…”

Maintaining his seated position, Gong Wei turned to Yuchi Rui and said firmly, “The God of Wealth set up a gambling den, corrupting the atmosphere in the heavens. We can’t let him off lightly! He deserves to learn a painful lesson!” 

Then, he turned eagerly to Xu Shuangce. “Xu Bai, why are you here? Your birthday is next month. We were just discussing how to kill the God of Wealth to give you a surprise.”

Yuchi Rui was shocked by this despicable act of selling out a friend for survival. Just as he was silently reproaching Gong Wei with his eyes, he suddenly saw Xu Shuangce smile faintly, then turn to him and ask, “Is that so?”

Yuchi Rui: “Of course…”

Xu Shuangce interrupted him gently, “I seem to have heard you talking about finding a bunch of rocks just now.”

In the blink of an eye, Yuchi Rui remembered something important.

It wasn’t just the God of Wealth who owed Xu Shuangce money!

During the reconstruction of the Immortal Alliance years ago, he managed to swindle a loan of one million taels of gold from Xu Shuangce by selling a fox. The promissory note is still devoutly placed in the shrine by Changsun Chengfeng, offering three sticks of incense every day. Calculating the interest rate, nine times out of ten, he still owes more than he did originally. And now, even if he sells the entire Tui’e, it wouldn’t be enough to pay it off!

Inside the room, there was silence. Only seeing Yuchi Rui firmly staring at Xu Shuangce, he asked with determination, “Yes, we were just planning to gather some stones to crush the God of Wealth to death.”

Meanwhile, in the Heavenly Court, the God of Wealth silently shed tears. He tossed a three-foot-long white silk onto the beam in front of the Eastern Heavenly Temple and was about to cautiously stick his head in. Suddenly, his nose itched, and he sneezed loudly, “Ah-choo!”

Below, the emotions of the immortals were stirred up: “Ah Cai, please don’t do anything foolish!” “Lord Mirror Immortal won’t just stand idly by!” “Help—someone, help—God of Wealth is hanging himself again—”

“Why would I want his life?” In the elegant room of the tavern, Xu Shuangce placed a hand on Gong Wei’s shoulder, leaning in gently to whisper in his ear, “I only want his four hundred and thirty million taels of gold.”

Gong Wei maintained his smile, thinking to himself, “I can’t save you now, Ah Cai. Why don’t you hang yourself to leave behind a complete corpse?”

With two slender fingers, Xu Shuangce brushed aside a strand of Gong Wei’s hair behind his ear, a gesture filled with tenderness. Unfortunately, it seemed more like a volcano on the brink of eruption.

Then he stood up, finally dispelling the invisible magic around him.

Time began flowing again, and the bustling atmosphere returned to the tavern below. Laughter and chatter resumed, and no one noticed anything unusual. Yuchi Rui raised his tea cup to cover half of his mouth, quietly asking amidst the noise, “Since when did Xu Shuangce become like this?”

Gong Wei remained subtly silent for a moment.

“Probably since that morning when I talked in my sleep, calling out to Ah Cai for a Red Dragon tile,” he whispered softly.

“…” Yuchi Rui murmured quietly, “Gong Zhiyu, you truly deserve this.”

The June snow outside the window seemed to reflect the unknown grievances in Xu Shuangce’s heart, finally disappearing as the magic slowly dissipated. The streets of Linjiang City were bustling with activity. Xu Shuangce glanced outside, casually asking Gong Wei, “Are you leaving the Heavenly Realm this time for something important?”

Of course not, I’m simply avoiding your thunderous anger and the God of Wealth’s wailing storms…

Gong Wei felt bitter in his heart, but dared not speak it aloud. He held Xu Shuangce’s hand earnestly, saying, “No, I just felt that I neglected you too much recently. I came down specifically to discuss with Changsheng how to give you a birthday surprise.”

Xu Shuangce remained noncommittal, raising an eyebrow. “Haven’t you finished discussing it yet?”

Gong Wei immediately responded, “We’ve already finished. Let’s go, we’ll head home right now!”

Unexpectedly, Xu Shuangce didn’t move, but gently withdrew his hand. While stroking Gong Wei’s hair, he asked in a gentle tone, “With so many friends you have in the mortal realm, don’t you want to visit them?”

You’re making your ulterior motives too obvious, do you really think I’ll fall for it?

“What friends? I have no friends.” Gong Wei replied firmly, “I just want to spend all my time with you. What do other people matter to me? It’s not worth my energy!”

However, Xu Shuangce responded, “Perhaps you should still take a look.”

Gong Wei’s tone turned even colder, “No need. The only thing I want to do now is to go home with you immediately. Whether others live or die, it has nothing to do with me!”


Xu Shuangce stood still, looking at Gong Wei.

Gong Wei met his gaze with an unwavering and resolute look.

After three seconds of frozen silence, Xu Shuangce slowly said, “…Actually, I didn’t come down to seek you this time, but to investigate something in the capital. Last night…”

Before he could finish his sentence, a red talisman suddenly flew out from Yuchi Rui’s sleeve, followed by the opening of a formation in the sky. Within the formation was an anxious disciple of the Tui’e Palace, “Reporting to the Alliance Leader! News came from the capital last night that the God of the Western Boundary has passed away!!”

Yuchi Rui didn’t react immediately. “Didn’t the Western Boundary God pass away long ago?”

The Western Boundary God had died as a human, as a god, and even as the Ghost Crown Prince Master; alive one moment, dead the next, everyone had become somewhat accustomed to his comings and goings.

“No, this time it’s the reincarnated Peaceful Prince, the Western Boundary God!” The disciple was nearly in tears. “For some unknown reason, he passed away again last night!”

Yuchi Rui: “…………”

Gong Wei: “…………”

Xu Shuangce calmly continued what he hadn’t finished saying earlier: “My purpose in coming to the mortal realm this time is to investigate this matter.”

According to the disciple, the Western Boundary God’s death this time was completely unexpected. The newly reincarnated Peaceful Prince had just turned eighteen this year, and the emperor had recently issued a decree of marriage, causing the doors of the palace to nearly collapse under the weight of well-wishers. It wasn’t until late at night that the palace regained its peace, and when the drunken Peaceful Prince leaned over his desk for a nap, a maid returning with sobering soup found that the Peaceful Prince, who should have been asleep, had already stopped breathing, his body already cold.

In addition, the portrait of the future Peaceful Prince’s consort on his desk had also been torn into countless pieces, as if venting some deep-seated, inexpressible hatred.

For a moment, the tavern’s private room fell silent. After a while, Gong Wei rubbed his hands together, forced a smile, and squeezed out a few words: “Xu Bai, about this matter with Xuan Jinghe, am I also…?”

Xu Shuangce placed a slender finger against his lips, understandingly saying, “What friends? You have no friends.”


“The only thing you want to do now is to go home immediately.”


“As for others, whether they hang themselves or commit suicide, what does it have to do with you?”

Gong Wei: “…………”

The slap in the face came too fast, like a tornado.

Xu Shuangce turned and walked towards the window, saying lightly, “Yuchi Rui, come with me to the Peaceful Prince’s mansion in the capital.”

Gong Wei rushed up, wrapping his arms around Xu Shuangce’s waist, pressing his forehead against his back like a little fox, speechless and choked up: “Okay, Xu Bai, I know I was wrong!”

Xu Shuangce asked leisurely, “Where did you go wrong?” 

Gong Wei also wanted to know, yeah, where did I go wrong? 

Wasn’t it just a shout to the God of Wealth in a half-dream, half-awake state? Wasn’t it just thinking too much about winning a red tile in the night? Wasn’t it just a vague expression of wanting to cultivate together in the early morning, followed by bluntly saying, “Xu Bai, I made an appointment with Ah Cai to go out and play mahjong this morning”?!

“…I went wrong by letting the God of Wealth live.” Gong Wei couldn’t help but feel sorrowful. “When I go back, I’ll send him to the underworld to raise fish!” 

Finally, Xu Shuangce turned around, looking down at Gong Wei. After a long while, he reached out and pinched his cheek. 

“No need, why bother the Lord Heavens God to do it personally?” There was a hint of teasing in the Eastern Heaven God’s eyes. “I’ll take care of him.”

Meanwhile, in the Heavenly Realm, the God of Wealth, with tears streaming down his face, muttered, “Ah… Achoo!!”

The crowd below erupted in excitement once again: “Ah Cai, don’t be impulsive, Ah Cai!” “The Eastern Heaven God is kind-hearted and won’t really kill you!” “Help! Ah Cai is jumping off the building again!”

On the other side, at the Peaceful Prince’s mansion in the capital…

White banners were already hung over the gates of the mansion, and both inside and outside, people were dressed in mourning, crying out in sorrow. The imperial physicians knelt neatly in front of the hall.

“Why can’t we find the cause of death? How can’t we find the cause of death?!” The Emperor arrived in person, almost exploding with rage. “My son is only eighteen years old! He’s always been healthy! How could he suddenly die?!”

“Your Majesty, please calm down!” “I am guilty, I am guilty!” “Your Majesty, something’s wrong! The Empress has fainted again!”

Outside the hall, it was noisy, and no one could see inside. Gong Wei, Xu Shuangce, and Yuchi Rui stood around the golden nanmu coffin, staring at the already cold body of Xuan Jinghe, their expressions all very complex.

“How is this possible?!”

Gong Wei, all the way holding onto Xu Bai’s waist without letting go, shamelessly followed to the Peaceful Prince’s mansion in the capital. Even after seeing the Peaceful Prince’s body with his own eyes, he was still deeply shocked: “The fate of this life was arranged by me personally. He was supposed to live a life of prosperity, free from illness and disaster, with a happy family and children filling the halls, living until the age of ninety-nine without any illness, and even fathering ten children, five sons and five daughters! How could he possibly die at the age of eighteen?!”

Ten children…

Gong Wei once again demonstrated his innate pursuit of beauty: If you’re good-looking, you should have more children. Every beautiful person has a duty and responsibility to spread their beauty. If he were in charge of fertility, the world would have long been filled with handsome men and beautiful women.

Yuchi Rui couldn’t help but size up the slender figure of the young Peaceful Prince and had some doubts. “…Is he capable?”

Gong Wei was displeased. “Changsheng, you’re too disrespectful to your seniors. When Xuan Jinghe ascends next time, I’ll report this to him. How dare you doubt his abilities?”

Suddenly, Xu Shuangce remembered something. “Has Ying Kai’s reincarnation encountered any problems?”

Eighteen years ago, Ying Kai, due to a twist of fate, reincarnated as Xuan Jinghe’s sister. However, he was born with illness and died at the age of six. In his second life, he accidentally stabbed herself to death while playing with scissors. In his third life, he was poisoned to death after eating poisonous mushrooms. Now, diligently and conscientiously, he had reincarnated into his fourth life and was about to be smashed to death by a meteorite falling from the sky without any surprises. Undoubtedly, he was the man with the most varied experiences of death in the three realms.

Gong Wei said, “No, aside from his peculiar ways of dying…”

At this moment, cries of the maid came from the spirit hall, and the three of them looked outside simultaneously.

Through the half-closed door, they saw a maid kneeling tremblingly on the ground, crying so hard she could barely catch her breath. “This slave… this slave really dare not lie. This slave found His Highness the Peaceful Prince, and there was nothing unusual in the room, only a red flower inserted… inserted in His Highness’s robes…”

A red flower?

Gong Wei fixed his gaze and saw the imperial physician tremblingly presenting a tray to the emperor. On the tray was a familiar flower—red spider lily!

The mastermind behind the scenes was revealed, and Gong Wei exclaimed in surprise, “It’s Qu Xie again?”

Yuchi Rui almost drew his sword on the spot. “Didn’t that brat already get sealed in the Chaos Realm?! How did he escape and commit murder?!”

“He didn’t escape.” On the other hand, Xu Shuangce said, “Before coming down to the mortal realm, I visited the Yellow Springs. The seal on the Chaos Realm is intact, and Qu Xie’s soul is still imprisoned inside.”

“Then how did he…”

Yuchi Rui’s words were interrupted as they suddenly saw a semi-transparent figure slowly sitting up from the coffin, it was Xuan Jinghe.

His soul was no longer that of the young Peaceful Prince but had reverted to the appearance of the original Western Boundary God when he ascended, with a beautifully slender profile but excessively pale cheeks, his eyes staring straight ahead. Then, as if sleepwalking, he stepped out of the coffin, and a force from nowhere quickly distorted the space in front of him, tearing open a crack.

That was clearly a doorway through time and space!

Yuchi Rui was shocked, but before he could ask, he was stopped by Gong Wei. “――Look at his hand.”

Following Gong Wei’s gaze, they saw a blood-red thread tied around Xuan Jinghe’s left hand, tightly wrapped around his ring finger, with the other end extending into the doorway of time and space, emitting a faint red light.

“Marriage thread?!”

“No, that’s not an ordinary marriage thread. There’s also a blood oath attached to the thread.”

Gong Wei looked at the deep, endless void of the temporal gate, his expression slightly changing. “Seal the bond with blood, as a wedding oath, solemnly pledging that both parties must willingly enter into a three-life marriage, and neither life nor death can change it. If one party betrays the marriage contract, their soul will be extracted from their body and forever suppressed by the other party, unable to reincarnate.” 


“So, Xuan Jinghe once willingly entered into a marriage contract with the Ghost Crown Prince, and his death was the result of backlash from violating the contract.” Gong Wei stared at the thin, deadly red thread, his brows furrowing involuntarily. “How did Qu Xie accomplish this?” 

In Gong Wei’s view, Qu Xie’s pure hatred and desire for control over Xuan Jinghe were nothing but manifestations of his twisted inner self. However, the issue lies in the fact that the oath must be willingly agreed upon by both parties, and Xuan Jinghe would never have entered into such a blood-sealed marriage with the Ghost Crown Prince unless he had gone mad. 

Had Qu Xie deceived him?

What exactly had happened between them?

At that moment, Xuan Jinghe’s soul slowly walked forward, about to step into the temporal gate. Yuchi Rui drew his sword to intercept, but stopped midway. “Where is he going?” 

With no time to waste, Xu Shuangce firmly grasped Gong Wei’s wrist and decisively said, “Let’s go!” 

Before the words had fully left his mouth, both of them took a step forward simultaneously, leaving Yuchi Rui trailing behind. Soon, a white light engulfed everything, and the three followed Xuan Jinghe’s soul, stepping into the temporal gate together! 

As the white light gradually dissipated, Gong Wei was the first to open his eyes. After taking in the surroundings, he couldn’t help but softly exclaim, “Huh?” 

Where were they? 

A warm breeze greeted them. 

It was no longer the mourning hall of the Jing Palace, but a Huai River pleasure boat, bustling with tourists. It was the peak of spring, with laughter and music echoing from the brothels and pleasure houses along the shore, painting a picture of prosperity and peace.

“Where are we?” Yuchi Rui looked around. “And where is Xuan Jinghe?”

Groups of three or five singing girls frolicked past, seemingly completely oblivious to their presence, as if they walked through the air and directly through the bodies of the three. Poor Yuchi Rui, who had never been in close contact with a girl in his life, couldn’t dodge in time and almost stepped into the river, blushing and embarrassed. “Is this an out-of-body experience?!”

“No worries, it should be a kind of temporal regression. The people here can’t see us.” Gong Wei took a step back to avoid the crowds that were coming one after another, frowned as he surveyed the surroundings. “The marriage thread brought us back to some scene from the past, probably a memory of Xuan Jinghe or Qu Xie himself… But what year is this exactly? Could it be when the engagement was first made?”

Xu Shuangce’s gaze suddenly fixed on a certain spot, and he whispered, “The Ghost Crown Prince.”

In the distance, numerous painting boats floated on the river, among them a delicate small boat drifting gracefully downstream. At the bow of the boat, a lazy young man leaned back, drinking wine—it was none other than the Ghost Crown Prince, Qu Xie!

At this moment, Qu Xie seemed even younger, looking about sixteen or seventeen, handsome and dressed in black, like a debonair young man from a wealthy family. He leisurely enjoyed the women singing and dancing on the boats around him, with a faint smile on his lips. If one didn’t know him well, they wouldn’t see the cruelty and indifference behind that smile.

Gong Wei looked at the Ghost Crown Prince, realizing something from the appearance of his sibling, and exclaimed in surprise, “Ah!”

Xu Shuangce asked, “What is it?”

“… He has just come of age.” Gong Wei took a deep breath, seemingly astonished. “We’ve regressed so far back… This is nine thousand years ago, before Xuan Jinghe ascended, before the first battle of the War of Annihilation!”

Nine thousand years ago, Ying Kai and Xu Shuangce had just ascended to become gods. The former was still a humble gentleman who hadn’t had the chance to go mad and start his War of Annihilation; the latter spent his days feeling frustrated, jealous of Gong Wei’s carefree attitude.

The newly of-age Ghost Crown Prince had nothing to do, and there were no wars or plagues in the mortal realm to provide him with a stage for performances. He spent his days squandering his wealth in places like this.

Suddenly, there was a commotion on the river. “Isn’t that Master Zheng’s boat?” “It’s really disrespectful for the old to not respect the young and keep hitting on the handsome young men in public…” “Keep your voice down, we can’t afford to offend such prestigious families!” “Stop looking, stop looking!”

Following the discreet gazes of the people around, they saw two disciples flying out of a large and gorgeous painting boat, landing on the bow of the Ghost Crown Prince’s small boat. The two bowed in front of Qu Xie with surprise in their eyes, speaking respectfully but arrogantly, “This young master, our master happened to pass by and admires your elegance. Would you like to come aboard for a drink and a chat?”

Gong Wei, Xu Shuangce, Yuchi Rui: “…”

As if a thunderbolt had struck from the heavens, the expressions of the three became too complicated to describe in words.

The Ghost Crown Prince blinked slowly, finally realizing what was happening, and pointed to himself. “…..Me?”

The disciple hesitated for a moment, then replied, “That’s correct, it’s you!” 

In the nearby pleasure boat, amidst the music and banquet, the master of the Zheng family appeared to be in his forties, but his eyes already showed signs of indulgence in alcohol, as he gazed over with an undisguised eager look. 

“…” The Ghost Crown Prince’s smile deepened slowly, and he asked again, “Your master wants to invite me onto the boat for drinks?”


The two disciples were clearly used to forcibly “inviting” people in public like this, and they regarded the young man in front of them as nothing more than a playboy with a pretty face, without any hesitation.

The Ghost Crown Prince finally laughed, then forcibly suppressed it again.

No one could see the excitement gleaming in his eyes as he stood up leisurely, smiling and saying, “Then let’s go.”

At that time, among the six major families of the Immortal Sects, the Zheng family held the foremost position, wielding immense power. Their pleasure boat was also magnificent, luxurious to the extreme.

Two disciples flew their swords to bring the “dandy young man with a beautiful appearance” onto the pleasure boat. The master of the Zheng family had long been impatiently standing up from the banquet, and upon seeing the Ghost Crown Prince up close, he was so stunned that his soul almost flew away. “Young sir, may I ask your distinguished name? Why are you here alone by the lake? Look at this beautiful spring scenery, why not accompany me for a stroll?”

The Ghost Crown Prince’s desire to play along was fully aroused. At this moment, he was completely immersed in his role, turning his body timidly and defensively. “Who are you? I don’t know you.”

It could be imagined how Qu Xie, the brother of Gong Wei, looked, and the more he acted this way, the more anxious the master of the Zheng family became. “It doesn’t matter if you don’t recognize me. Meeting by chance is fate. Why don’t you sit down and have a drink with me?”

“You and I are complete strangers; I’d rather not.” The Ghost Crown Prince retreated timidly, waving his hand. “I’m not good at drinking. Please send someone to take me off the boat!”

If he had outright refused to board from the beginning, it would have been fine, but since he came up, and kept refusing repeatedly, the master of the Zheng family couldn’t easily let him off. He immediately stepped forward to pull him in, saying, “Come on, what’s the harm in having just one drink?” As he spoke, he forcefully filled a cup with wine and tried to put it in the Ghost Crown Prince’s hand.

“I really can’t drink…”

“Do you know who I am? Are you looking down on me, surname Zheng?”

“No, no, I don’t know the senior…”

“As long as you finish this cup, I’ll let you off the boat. Do you distrust even me, Gentleman Zheng?”

“Why force me, I really can’t…”

In the struggle, the Ghost Crown Prince’s resistance seemed so insignificant. He looked around anxiously, seemingly trying to seek help from the people on other nearby boats. But everyone recognized this as one of the boats of the six major families, who would dare to offend such a wealthy family? No one extended a helping hand; they all sped up their boats, pretending not to see, and there was no one to help.

Seeing no way to seek help, the Ghost Crown Prince, with a trembling heart, could only stand there nervously. “If I drink this cup, can I really get off the boat?”

The master of the Zheng family didn’t hesitate to make promises: “Of course!”


The Ghost Crown Prince seemed to be moved, his peach blossom eyes staring at the mortals in front of him, and after a long time, a shy smile slowly appeared on his face.

“It’s boring to drink alone. Why don’t you, senior, share this fine wine with me?”

His hand gently stroked the edge of the white jade wine cup, and faint black smoke rose, like clusters of flashing powder, silently melting into the wine.

But the mortal eyes couldn’t see those deadly fine points of light.

Xu Shuangce’s expression changed slightly. “What is that?”

Gong Wei said, “The plague.”

Yuchi Rui, struggling to speak, choked on the words, “Is it poison?”

“Qu Xie used to love playing this game when he was a child. He often disguised himself as a beautiful woman or a wealthy stranger, pretending to be chased by bandits and fleeing into a village for help. If no one in the village dared to help, he would play dead on the spot, leaving behind a corpse; the next day, the corpse would turn into a plague and spread rapidly for miles around, with a survival rate of less than ten percent for the entire village.”

“He just did the same thing.” Gong Wei glanced around the boats on the river, slowly shaking his head. “No one dared to help for fear of offending the Zheng family, so he will poison the master of the Zheng family with that cup of wine and spread the plague through his corpse. In the next three days, this city I am afraid will be engulfed by the plague.”

Even Xu Shuangce remained silent for a long while, and it was only after a long time that Yuchi Rui asked with difficulty, “Then… what if someone helps?”

A strange and subtle expression appeared on Gong Wei’s face.

“….He will leave this place,” Gong Wei said slowly, “but before he does, he will kill the person who tried to help and refine their soul into a collectible, to bring back to the underworld.”

“Good, good!” The master of the Zheng family, completely unaware that he was about to die on the spot, thought that his lucky star was shining brightly today and eagerly held the Ghost Crown Prince’s hand, saying, “Let’s each take a sip of this cup, younger brother, you first, you first!”

To the Ghost Crown Prince, the plague in this wine was no different from a snack. He blinked as if very timid and hesitant, “After I finish this cup, will you really let someone take me off the boat?”

“Of course, of course!”

The Ghost Crown Prince turned his head, glanced around at the other boats nearby, and everyone deliberately avoided his pleading gaze.

“Then… then okay.” The young man’s tone was slightly unstable, and others thought it was fear, but no one could hear the thrill of excitement in his trembling voice. “Just, just this one cup, okay?”

The master of the Zheng family was so impatient that he repeatedly agreed, his face filled with a lecherous smile, and he watched as the Ghost Crown Prince raised the wine cup to his lips—

Just then, a cold sword light pierced through the air, and the wine cup in the Ghost Crown Prince’s hand shattered with a bang, splashing the master of the Zheng family all over!

“Who’s there?!” “Assassin!” “Protect the master!!”

The disciples all drew their swords angrily, and a gleaming longsword was seen plunging deeply into the deck in front of the master of the Zheng family. The sword’s edge gleamed with cold light, illuminating the latter’s instantly pale face.

Even the Ghost Crown Prince was stunned for a moment, and the two ancient and simple characters on the long sword reflected in his pupils—


Qu Xie slowly turned his head, encountering Xuan Jinghe for the first time.

A fishing boat drifted along the river, with a young man about twenty-two or three years old at the bow, dressed in white robes, his face as calm as water. His eyes were clear and bright like cold stars, one hand behind his back, and the other hand raised his sleeve as the Buqi sword returned to his palm.

“…Iron Sect Master…” The master of the Zheng family trembled all over, his knees softened and he fell to the ground, “Greetings, Iron Sect Master!”

The entire river surface resounded with the sound of everyone kneeling down on the deck, shouting, “Greetings, Iron Sect Master!”

The air was tense to a frightening degree. The music and dancing had long been hastily interrupted, and all that could be heard on every boat was the sound of the river water, with not even a bird or a sparrow to be heard.

After a long time, Xuan Jinghe slowly uttered four words: “Few morals little shame.”

His voice was not loud, but it spread to all the boats on the river, as if a huge stone had slammed heavily on the head of the master of the Zheng family.

Everyone knelt down on the deck, not daring to make a sound, not even daring to breathe. In the eerie silence, only Qu Xie remained standing, his dilated pupils reflecting Xuan Jinghe.

At this time, the flames of the end of the world had not yet begun, and all the chaos and slaughter had not yet occurred; Xuan Jinghe was still mortal, while Qu Xie had already become the Lord of the Underworld.

No one knew a thousand years later, that their first meeting was not at the Tianmen Pass when the war was resolved and ascension was achieved, nor was it when Guiyuan was defeated and a heavy ransom was paid; it was in the thick of spring, on the Qinhuai pleasure boat, where the Ghost Crown Prince gazed at the figure of the young Iron Sect Master in the distance, as if forgetting to breathe.

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