The Sword Named No Way Out Chapter 99

Chapter 99

Shoutout to nyanmaru for the commission!

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“——The plague.”

Gong Wei squatted beside a severed living corpse, carefully observing for a moment before drawing a conclusion.

At the moment when the first light of dawn penetrated the valley, all the wandering living corpses seemed to sense something at the same time. They staggered with their shaky steps towards the primitive jungle, disappearing into the deep, rarely visited woods as if they were true corpses, stiff and unresponsive.

Deep in the valley, the dense jungle blocked the sunlight, making visibility extremely poor. If there were any living people passing by at this moment, even just a few steps away, it would be difficult to notice the thousands of decaying corpses hidden beneath the thick layer of humus.

Only at night would they return from the realm of death, flocking in groups to seek fresh flesh and blood.

Yuchi Rui frowned and asked, “If it’s a plague, where is the source?”

“Oh Rui,” Gong Wei covered his nose and said calmly, “let me teach you the first principle acknowledged in the Heavenly Realm when facing trouble: when in doubt, blame Qu Xie. Whenever this kind of inexplicable plague spreads in the mortal realm, we usually just go straight to the Ghost Crown Prince to settle the score.”

“…” Yuchi Rui nodded. “No wonder people curse you behind your back for being physically weak and mentally handicapped.”

“That’s pure slander,” Gong Wei stood up and hopped over the piled-up decaying corpses, emerging from the dense forest to stand by the mountain path. He slapped his sleeves vigorously. “I was born stronger than an ox. At the age of three, I carried the entire reincarnation platform around the Guiyuan and back. Qu Xie chased me for two hours and couldn’t catch up. Except for the first time I had diarrhea from eating spicy food, I haven’t been sick for more than nine thousand years. Where’s the physical weakness?”

Yuchi Rui was speechless for a moment and then asked, “What about the mental handicap?”

Gong Wei said coldly, “Birds of a feather flock together. Sometimes I do wonder why I became friends with you.”

Yuchi Rui: “…”

Gong Wei, with his head held high, stepped over the motionless Yuchi Rui, but then he tripped over a protruding zombie leg by the roadside. Luckily, he was caught by Xu Shuangce.

In the densely packed ground of decaying corpses, there were peasants wearing coarse cloth garments that clearly came from nearby villages and wealthy households adorned in fine silk and satin. The only commonality was the rapid rate of decay. Since the outbreak of the plague a few days ago, many corpses had already decomposed into black water, with some even having their abdomens pierced through.

“This plague has spread extremely fast,” Gong Wei stroked his chin and said, “but there’s one thing I can’t figure out.”

“What is it?” asked Xu Shuangce.

“Why is it that while the living corpses are terrifying and the mortality rate is so high, even the immortal families couldn’t escape it, I have absolutely no recollection of this plague from back then?”

After a moment of silence, Gong Wei turned around curiously.

Behind him, Xu Shuangce stood with his hands behind his back, looking down from a higher vantage point. His calm voice showed no fluctuation. “Because nine thousand years ago, around this time, a new god had just ascended to the Lower Heavenly Realm, with a remarkably handsome appearance.”

Gong Wei: “What?”

“You went to the Lower Heavenly Realm every day to talk, drink, and play chess with him, completely oblivious to everything. When the plague broke out in the mortal realm, the immortals didn’t dare to disturb you, so they directly delivered the news to the Eastern Heaven Temple, and the next day it was presented on my desk.”

Gong Wei: “…”

“I immediately prepared to descend to the mortal realm to investigate, but before I could leave, another message came from the mortal realm. Just as suddenly as it had erupted, the plague disappeared without a trace. The blood no longer spread, and the living corpses no longer harmed people. The spread remained within the domain of guicheng, and then it ended.”

Gong Wei looked shocked.

“Because the final impact was minimal, I didn’t specifically notify you,” Xu Shuangce said coldly. “That’s why you didn’t know.”

After a long silence, Xu Shuangce raised the corner of his lips and turned to leave, sweeping his sleeves.

“……………….” Gong Wei discreetly took a step back, one hand covering half of his mouth, and turned back to ask quietly, “My Rui.”


“Did it seem like I just offended him? Or is it just me?”

Yuchi Rui honestly replied, “No, you didn’t.”

“Why was he upset then?”

The two locked eyes, and Yuchi Rui wore an expression of disbelief, shocked as he said, “You shirked your responsibilities to go play, leaving all the work to Xu Shuangce. How could he not be upset?”

Gong Wei dragged out his words silently, “Oh—” Finally, he had an epiphany.

Feeling remorseful after his realization, Gong Wei prepared himself mentally under the reproachful gaze of Yuchi Rui, then hesitantly approached Xu Shuangce, earnestly saying, “I’m sorry, Xu Bai. I…”

“Why don’t both of you reflect on yourselves?” Xu Shuangce asked with a pleasant expression.


As the morning light pierced through the valley, illuminating the closed eyes of Xuan Jinghe, he gradually regained consciousness amidst intense pain.

The high fever had not completely subsided, and his entire body, even his internal organs, were immersed in a tearing agony. Especially his injured right wrist, which was almost throbbing with pain. He reluctantly lowered his head to look down, only to see his wrist tightly wrapped in black satin bandages, with blood seeping through the edges, no longer the dark hue of decay but a vivid crimson.

I haven’t turned into a living corpse?

Xuan Jinghe gritted his teeth to tear off the bandages, but his hand was stopped by someone. At the same time, he heard the hoarse and surprised voice of Qu Xie, “Are you awake?”

Xuan Jinghe was startled, only then realizing that he was leaning against Qu Xie, his head resting on the sturdy youth’s arm, with no space between them, not even enough for a sheet of paper.

He immediately tried to struggle to sit up, but the exhaustion from the night-long fever had depleted his strength. His hand gave out as soon as he tried to support himself. Qu Xie immediately stopped him with concern, “Lord Iron Sect Master is still feverish. It’s better not to get up for now. Here, have some water.”

Qu Xie picked up a porcelain bowl from somewhere. The water was clean. Xuan Jinghe closed his eyes and drank half the bowl, finally gathering a bit of strength. Hoarsely, he asked, “…What’s going on?”

“Last night, when Lord Iron Sect Master was unconscious, I gathered all the corrupt blood to the wound. Seeing that your spiritual power was about to decline, I took the liberty of using a dagger to remove the small piece of corrupted flesh. As expected, the toxins were expelled, and what flowed out was pure blood.” Qu Xie sincerely apologized, “Although I hurt your esteemed body, it was an emergency. Please forgive me, Lord Iron Sect Master!”

The young man seemed to have stayed up all night, but his demeanor remained undiminished due to his youth. His apologetic posture was respectful and gentle.

But as Xuan Jinghe looked at his flawless face, he felt a strange sensation in his heart. It seemed that there were absurd and bizarre fragments of memories from last night flashing through his mind—vast seas of blood, colossal dragons breaking through the heavens, and the eerie yet magnificent Ghost Crown Prince’s palace… But whenever he tried to recall them carefully, his brain began to ache as if in a tug-of-war, and all the remaining images disappeared completely.

“Lord Iron Sect Master?” Qu Xie asked with a smile.

His soft voice seemed to contain a strange power, momentarily clearing Xuan Jinghe’s mind, and it took him a while to come back to his senses amidst the blankness. Frowning, he said, “My… my hand…”

He weakly opened his palm, and a slight movement of his fingertips caused a sudden numbness to spread through half of his body.

Qu Xie looked apologetic. “Although it’s true that two wrongs don’t make a right, injuring your wrist in such a place, it might affect your swordsmanship in the future.”

Xuan Jinghe’s heart sank.

For cultivators, the higher the realm, the stronger the spiritual power, but the same didn’t apply to swordsmanship. Many powerful masters in the Immortal Alliance had mediocre sword skills precisely because swordsmanship required diligent practice from a young age. It was a rigorous process, with winter training lasting three months and summer training in the three dog days leaving no room for any opportunistic shortcuts.

Xuan Jinghe was exceptionally gifted in swordsmanship, which was why he had been taken in by the previous Iron Sect Master at a young age. Swordsmanship could be said to be the stepping stone that opened the door to his cultivation path, and it encapsulated countless unknowns and efforts. If one were to disregard the current sword sect, if he recognized himself as the second-best in swordsmanship in the entire Immortal Alliance, no one would dare to claim the first.

Qu Xie felt even more guilty. “Lord Iron Sect Master…”

“It’s okay.” Xuan Jinghe gently interrupted him, after a long silence, he said, “You only did it to save my life. I should thank you.”

Using his left hand to prop himself up, Xuan Jinghe sat up with gritted teeth.

This simple movement exhausted all his strength, his face turned pale from the intense pain, and his lips were devoid of color.

A distance suddenly opened up between the two, and Qu Xie’s fingers twitched slightly, as if he wanted to reach out and pull him back, but he restrained himself. His face was filled with guilt and pity, “Please don’t say that. If it weren’t for Daoist Xuan protecting with all your might, I wouldn’t have survived last night… I’m just useless!”

Xuan Jinghe was extremely weak, shaking his head weakly, “I should thank Young Master Qu.”

Xuan Jinghe maintained his dignified posture, even in such a weakened state, he still kept a polite distance from others, displaying impeccable manners. When he lowered his head, his slender neck and straight back formed an angle that was heartrendingly captivating.

Qu Xie looked at him, and his eyes narrowed imperceptibly.

—Three thousand years later, the upright Iron Sect Master before him would ascend and become a god, ruling over the Twelve Palaces of the Guiyuan, while he himself would be sealed in the chaos, forced to listen to sermons day and night, unable to leave even a step.

Although Qu Xie found it difficult to imagine how such a bizarre situation came about, he knew the most crucial point: the future reflected in the mirror of the Three Thousand Realms could be changed.

If all causes and effects were quietly altered from last night onwards?

If Xuan Jinghe hadn’t had time to ascend and had died instead?

High bed, soft pillows, pearl curtains, jade mat, and tall red candles flickering. Qu Xie’s gaze lingered on Xuan Jinghe’s throat for a long time. With just a gentle grasp of his fingers, he could easily snap the fragile neck bone and let this peerlessly beautiful man die silently in the Ghost Crown Prince’s palace. But in the end, he didn’t do it.

Instead, he pressed Xuan Jinghe’s neck firmly into the bed, leaned down, and planted a kiss, full of tenderness and sorrow. After a long time, he lifted his head, feeling unsatisfied.

“You cannot ascend, and the future will not come to pass,” he gazed at the pale face of the sleeping Iron Sect Master, with a smile in his eyes but a harsh tone, “Someday, I will make you willingly step into this palace, with no other choice.”

On the cliff, the Ghost Crown Prince’s calm gaze shifted away from Xuan Jinghe’s neck. “Shall we go to Guicheng now?”

From his demeanor, one couldn’t tell what thoughts were running through his mind just moments ago. Xuan Jinghe, even less, couldn’t know that he had become the prey in the trap. Hearing the question, he shook his head. “My Golden Core is damaged, and it may take several years to recover. Going to Guicheng now would be a death sentence. The priority is to leave this place, inform the Dai Mountain Immortal Alliance about the plague, and send a large number of people to eradicate the living corpses to stop the spread of the epidemic.”

Qu Xie sighed softly, “Oh.”

“What’s wrong?”


“Young Master Qu?”

Qu Xie hesitated for a moment, sighed, and smiled sadly, “If we return to the Immortal Alliance, does what Lord Iron Sect Master said in which he will take me as his disciple, would that still count?”

Xuan Jinghe was taken aback.

Last night, he said those words because he thought he was going to die — if Iron Sect Master died and Qu Xie survived, when he returned to the Immortal Alliance, the other masters would probably tear Qu Xie into pieces. Therefore, he could only use this method to entrust him with a task before his death, not truly intending to take him as a disciple.

Xuan Jinghe knew his own destiny very well. Accustomed to considering everyone’s welfare in silence, but never getting too close to anyone, as if there was an invisible barrier that made him incompatible with the world, standing alone on the mountaintop and looking down at all living beings.

He was too aloof, instinctively refusing to form long-term relationships with anyone.

Xuan Jinghe took a deep breath and tactfully said, “Young Master Qu…”

But Qu Xie didn’t give him a chance to finish his words.

“You don’t need to say more, Lord,” he suddenly stood up, supported Xuan Jinghe, and with one arm, held up his entire weight. With a gentle tone, he interrupted, “We met by chance, then went through life and death together. This journey of life and death has been like a surreal and beautiful dream to me. I was foolish for a moment, wanting to make this dream last forever.”

With a smile, his voice softened, “It was my fault just now, Lord Iron Sect Master, please don’t take it to heart.”

Qu Xie naturally had a gorgeous tone of voice, speaking softly with his head slightly lowered, the subtle airflow almost brushing against Xuan Jinghe’s hair.

But that was just a moment.

“If we’re going back to the Immortal Alliance, we shouldn’t delay any longer,” Qu Xie exerted force to help Xuan Jinghe stand up, supporting him steadily with one arm, and kindly said, “At the moment, you probably can’t fly with your sword. Let me assist you all the way to the ferry crossing.”

At that moment, the distance between the two was extremely close. Xuan Jinghe instinctively took a step back, politely declining, “Young Master Qu, you don’t need to…”

But at that moment, a sharp whistle suddenly sounded in the distance. Xuan Jinghe turned abruptly, only to see a red smoke “bang!” rising into the sky, visible several miles away.

—It was clearly a signal smoke used by the aristocratic families to mark their prey.

Sure enough, just a few seconds later, more than a dozen figures appeared on the horizon, all of them wearing loose robes and each flying their own sword, swiftly flying from the direction of Guicheng on the other side of the valley, straight toward the cliff where the two of them were!

Xuan Jinghe’s expression changed suddenly. “The Zhao Family of Guicheng.”

The Dai Mountain Immortal Alliance stationed in the area, the renowned Zhao Family of Guicheng — they were supposed to come to the ferry terminal to welcome Iron Sect Master yesterday, but they made an excuse of getting the time wrong and didn’t show up. Why would they suddenly come here at this moment?

But Qu Xie seemed not to understand yet, excitedly saying, “Great, Lord Iron Sect Master, since these are cultivators, we are saved!”

Xuan Jinghe, however, knew better. “These people couldn’t have come to rescue us. Let’s go!”


Xuan Jinghe said urgently, “Don’t mind me, just go!”

If it were disciples like Xuancheng or Xuanzheng, they would have immediately flown away with their sword without saying a word. But Qu Xie seemed very confused, hesitated for a moment, and then hurriedly retreated.

Just as he hesitated, the leader of the Zhao Family cultivators pulled out a large bow from behind, drew the arrow, and in one swift motion, the steel arrow shot through the air. Just before it could pierce Qu Xie’s face, Xuan Jinghe’s Buqi Sword flashed out of its sheath —


The steel arrow was chopped into two pieces and flew away. At the same time, the second arrow came, “snatch!” piercing deeply into the ground, blocking Qu Xie’s retreat.

More than a dozen Zhao Family cultivators landed and sheathed their swords. The leader bowed deeply, “I am Zhao Zhaoyuan, paying respects to Lord Iron Sect Master.”

Xuan Jinghe, injured and unable to continue fighting after that one sword strike, had to stab his sword deeply into the ground to stabilize himself.

Zhao Zhaoyuan lifted his head and saw the blood still fresh on Xuan Jinghe’s right wrist, his expression changed drastically, “Impossible! You were bitten? And you haven’t turned into a living corpse?!”

Everyone couldn’t believe their eyes, and all eyes from all directions were fixed on Xuan Jinghe’s hands at the same time.

“…,” After several seconds of dead silence, Zhao Zhaoyuan trembled and said, “I have long heard of Lord Iron Sect Master’s extraordinary talent and remarkable spiritual bones, but I didn’t expect it to be true… To be able to force out all the corpse blood poison from the body, this spiritual power must be the best in the world!”

Xuan Jinghe didn’t even bother with his words, his face cold as ice, and his gaze swept around the encircling circle. “Imprisoning an Immortal Alliance Sect Master is punishable by death according to the law. Is your Zhao family trying to be expelled from the Immortal Alliance?”

This was not a threat but a fact — the three sects and four holy grounds held supreme status, especially Xuan Jinghe, who was one of the few Grandmasters in the world, and his status in the Immortal Alliance was even more precious than that of the Emperor. Even though the Zhao family is a prestigious and noble lineage, if they dare to detain Xuan Jinghe and are caught, it would be considered a minor offense. The entire family could face expulsion from the Immortal Alliance.

To his surprise, Zhao Zhaoyuan chuckled strangely in response. “Expelled?”

Then he raised his hand and pointed to the seventeen or eighteen Zhao family cultivators around him, smiling bitterly, “Sect Master Xuan, do you know that most of the children of the Zhao family are standing in front of you right now — the extermination of my entire family is imminent, and at this point, what do I have to fear from being expelled!”

Xuan Jinghe’s eyebrow twitched involuntarily.

The dignified aristocratic family of the Immortal Alliance had just over a thousand descendants, but ultimately only a few dozen survived. How terrifying was the spread of this plague!

“…When did the epidemic break out?” 

Zhao Zhaoyuan replied, his voice heavy, “Four days ago.”

“How many living people are left in Guicheng?”

“Of every ten houses, five are empty.”

“Why didn’t you report to the Immortal Alliance in time?!” Xuan Jinghe rebuked sternly.

Zhao Zhaoyuan remained silent.

“Guicheng of ten houses, five are empty, and the Zhao family is on the brink of extinction. Do you think you can conceal this by blocking the news? This plague clearly originated from your Zhao family!” Xuan Jinghe scolded sharply, “Zhao Zhaoyuan! What kind of evil magic has your Zhao family been secretly practicing to cause such a plague!”

A foul-smelling mountain breeze passed through the jungle in the distance. Zhao Zhaoyuan’s eyes were bloodshot, and he spoke slowly, “Sect Master Xuan, I know that you won’t believe whatever I say… but the truth is, the plague is not a sin caused by my Zhao family. In fact, we were the first victims of this plague.”

He closed his eyes heavily, seeming unwilling to recall the past, “A month ago, four of my direct disciples were ordered to sneak into the deep mountains to exterminate demons. Due to a landslide caused by heavy rain, they were trapped in a desperate situation, with no news at all. After the rain stopped, we sent out a large number of disciples to search and rescue in the mountains. It took more than twenty days of searching before we found the four disciples barely alive in a cave.”

“After rescuing them and bringing them home, the clan immediately called for doctors and medicine. At that time, their pulses and appetites were normal. But on that night… on that very night, all four of them started to have high fevers, their bodies twisted and convulsed, and they stopped breathing. Half an hour later, they all revived, but they turned into monsters that attacked people on sight…”

“Those bitten or scratched by them would quickly die from poisoning and then turn into the same kind of monsters, continuing to attack more living people. The area affected by the plague quickly expanded, and it was impossible to control it within the Zhao family. Many living corpses surged onto the streets, tearing and devouring passersby…”

Zhao Zhaoyuan took a long breath.

“The source of the plague must be in the deep mountains. Those four disciples must have encountered something that caused them to be poisoned and turn into living corpses. My Zhao family cultivators have spared no effort to save the people of the city and are definitely not secretly studying evil methods or spreading the plague!”

All the surrounding cultivators looked weary and tired, with traces of the battle all over their robes.

Xuan Jinghe narrowed his eyes slightly. Suddenly, he asked, “Where is your family master, Zhao Yuanliang?”

Whether it was an illusion or not, Qu Xie keenly sensed that the moment Xuan Jinghe asked this question, the air seemed to freeze for an instant.

However, Zhao Zhaoyuan remained calm, and he bowed slightly to the left, “Our family master is still in the city, leading several clan experts to burn the living corpses during the day.”

The answer was reasonable, and there was no hint of abnormality in his tone.

So Xuan Jinghe showed no signs of surprise, nodded slowly, and said, “In that case, it seems that the Zhao family has nothing to do with the source of the plague.” 

Zhao Zhaoyuan replied firmly, “It has never been related!” 

Xuan Jinghe continued, “In that case, I will quickly return to Mount Dai and report to the Immortal Alliance. The Alliance Leader will personally lead the team to come to the aid of Guicheng. The crisis in Guicheng can be resolved in no time, and the Zhao family’s descendants don’t have to sacrifice themselves anymore. How about it?” 

The people around them all changed their colors at once. Several cultivators behind them stepped forward nervously. They could almost hear the strain in Zhao Zhaoyuan’s voice as he said, “Absolutely not!”

Xuan Jinghe seemed unaware of the tense atmosphere around him. “Why?”

“Although there are many casualties, this matter is still within a controllable range. My Zhao family can fully bear it. Why bother the Immortal Alliance?!”

Xuan Jinghe said lightly, “The Immortal Alliance stores a large amount of gunpowder, which can be used to urgently relocate all the citizens to Dai Mountain. Then, we can burn the mountains and explode the city. Within half a day, we can completely eradicate the problem.”

Burning the mountains and exploding the city was indeed the most thorough way to stop the spread of the plague. However, Xuan Jinghe could immediately think of this method. With just a few words, he could completely erase the entire city from the map. His determination was beyond strong; it was terrifyingly decisive.

Looking at his beautiful, almost girlish face, everyone felt a chill down their spines.

“…We have considered this method too. We have discussed it several times over the past four days,” Zhao Zhaoyuan said hoarsely. “There is also a thousand catties of gunpowder hidden in the underground passage of the main mansion of our Zhao family. Once it explodes, it can destroy the entire city without using the Immortal Alliance’s inventory!”

Xuan Jinghe said coldly, “Then why haven’t you exploded it?”

“We just…”

“Could it be that you think there haven’t been enough deaths among your own disciples?”

“Absolutely not…”

“With heavy casualties in the family and the urgent situation in Guicheng, you can’t possibly have the leisure to come looking for me. But the people who found us just now were carrying red signal smoke — the plague has reached a critical point, yet you still have the mood to carry signal smoke all over the mountains. It’s impossible that you’re hunting. Are you looking for something?”

Zhao Zhaoyuan’s face turned pale, but Xuan Jinghe’s words were sharp, pressing step by step. “You’ve been blocking the news and delaying time, willing to let your own disciples die rather than use explosives to clear out the living corpses. It shows that whatever you’re looking for must be very important, so important that you’re reluctant to blow it up with the tide of living corpses.”

“So you’re trying every means to block the news, trying to find it at all costs before the Immortal Alliance finds it.”

Not only Zhao Zhaoyuan, but all the surrounding cultivators’ faces changed completely.

Xuan Jinghe stared at him directly, asking word by word, “What is it exactly?”

No one around spoke, and the air was tense. The cultivators behind them quietly drew their long swords.

“Sect Master Xuan,” Zhao Zhaoyuan’s face was very ugly, but his tone was calm as he said, “You are seriously injured at the moment and should not rush on the road. Why not let us take you back to Guicheng for careful care?”

Xuan Jinghe’s hand faintly blocked in front of Qu Xie, while the other silently grasped the sword that was not a sword. “What if I don’t go?”

Before the words fell, arrows suddenly attacked. Zhao Zhaoyuan shouted harshly, “Then don’t blame us for ‘inviting’ you to move!”

With a deafening clang, Xuan Jinghe cut off the steel arrow with his sword, then grabbed Qu Xie and flew up with his sword. “Go!”

He had just struggled to stand a moment ago, and no one had expected him to still have the strength to fight, let alone be so fierce and swift. Before Zhao Zhaoyuan could say “pursue,” several figures darted into the air like lightning to chase after him. Zhao Zhaoyuan shouted loudly, “Catch him alive! Form a formation!”

Before the last word landed, Xuan Jinghe had already faced several Zhao family disciples in mid-air. With a flip of his hand and several gestures, his techniques were as swift as startled dragons. None of the cultivators present were his match, and they were all pushed back as soon as they met. They couldn’t even form a formation. The Buqi sword shot out like a meteor in broad daylight, heading straight towards Guicheng!

The dense forest underfoot rapidly receded, and Qu Xie worriedly said in the roaring wind, “Is Lord Iron Sect Master okay?!”

Standing behind Qu Xie, Xuan Jinghe protected him in front of himself. There were two heavy, blood-stained coughs from his chest. “It’s okay.”

—How could it be okay? The Golden Core was the most important and fragile life gate for cultivators. He had been injured by the corpse poison, damaging his foundation. This was truly the last struggle.

“Don’t look back, listen to me,” Xuan Jinghe said, restraining Qu Xie’s movement with one hand. “Right now, I’m holding onto my last breath. Once it’s exhausted, it’s all over.” 


“Since the Zhao family has found us, they must have sent people to the ferry crossing to destroy our boat. At the moment, I can’t even fly my sword to the nearest Yangzhou. Fortunately, there is a lookout tower at the highest point of Guicheng, and there is a sound transmission array on the top of the tower. As long as I throw my token into the array, the Punishment Hall of the Immortal Alliance will receive an alert of the anomaly in Guicheng.” 

Xuan Jinghe flipped his left hand, and the strong wind lifted his sleeve, revealing a jade plaque about an inch square tied with a green rope around his wrist. But that snow-white translucent skin only flashed in Qu Xie’s line of sight before being covered again by the sleeve. Xuan Jinghe swiftly reached out and pressed down on the back of Qu Xie’s head. 

The sharp steel arrow flew past his ear, and in the distance behind him, there were faint roars: “Catch them!” “Quick!”… 

Qu Xie’s gaze remained on the sleeve that covered the wrist for a moment before he calmly withdrew it and asked, “Has the Lord already figured out what the Zhao family is looking for?”

Xuan Jinghe, “Yes.”

Qu Xie pretended to be surprised. “Could it be invaluable treasures?!”


Xuan Jinghe seemed unsure how to explain, and after a moment, he sighed silently and asked, “Do you know why the position of a sect master in the Immortal Alliance is higher than that of a noble family?”

Qu Xie shook his head.

Xuan Jinghe said, “Because noble families can be established easily, but sect masters are hard to come by. Noble families can easily gather thousands of disciples, but it may take several generations to produce a sect master. However, a sect master who breaks through the Immortalization Realm has the power to command the winds and clouds, and can easily elevate an insignificant small sect into a noble family.”

“Therefore, for the Zhao family, even if only three or five people are left, as long as the patriarch Zhao Yuanliang, who is a grand master, is still alive, even if they commit serious crimes against the Immortal Alliance, they will still be given some face. It is only a matter of time before they can rise again.”

Qu Xie’s expression changed slightly as he realized something. “So…is the grand master of the Zhao family still alive?”

Xuan Jinghe said mockingly, “He’s dead.”

Qu Xie exclaimed, “But just now when you asked Zhao Zhaoyuan, he clearly replied—”

“He said the patriarch Zhao is leading experts to burn the living corpses in the city,” Xuan Jinghe interrupted. “He’s lying.”

Qu Xie was genuinely surprised now. “How do you know?”

Xuan Jinghe didn’t directly answer but instead asked, “Do you remember what Zhao Zhaoyuan said when he was shocked to find out I was injured but didn’t turn into a living corpse?”

Qu Xie furrowed his brow in recollection. “He said you could force out all the corpse poison from your body, and such spiritual power could probably be considered the best in the world… ah,” he suddenly realized, clapping his hands. “I understand!”

“Yes,” Xuan Jinghe said lightly. “He has never been bitten, so how does he know that forcing out the poison requires a huge amount of spiritual power, something only the best in the world can achieve? It’s because he must have witnessed Zhao Yuanliang, the grand master, fail to force out the poison and ultimately turn into a living corpse.”

Qu Xie was speechless for a moment, his expression somewhat complicated. “…Lord Iron Sect Master is truly astute, far beyond ordinary.”

Xuan Jinghe shook his head wearily.

“What does that have to do with the Zhao family searching with signal smoke everywhere? Are they trying to save the Zhao patriarch who has already turned into a living corpse?” Qu Xie couldn’t help but ask again in the raging wind.

A group of cultivators in the distance hadn’t given up flying their swords to chase after them. The Buqi sword had been urged to its limit, and Xuan Jinghe’s chest coughed out two muffled, blood-stained coughs. Then he hoarsely said, “No, it’s for the Golden Core.”

The Ghost Crown Prince was the ancestor of all kinds of evil arts. Qu Xie immediately reacted, softly exclaiming.

Seven days after a cultivator’s death, the Golden Core would disappear. However, there was a kind of evil art in the Guiyuan that could extract the Golden Core from a dead person and integrate it into oneself, immediately gaining almost all of the cultivator’s cultivation and spiritual power.

Once the patriarch of the Zhao family died, the backbone of the Zhao family collapsed. Combined with the heavy casualties of this plague disaster, it was certain that the entire family would be expelled from the Immortal Alliance. To rise again, the only way was to find the patriarch who had already become a living corpse, dig out his Golden Core, merge it into Zhao Zhaoyuan’s body, and forcefully push Zhao Zhaoyuan into the ranks of grand masters using this kind of evil art.

“Even if the disciples are reduced, even if there are heavy casualties, as long as Zhao Zhaoyuan gets the Golden Core, even if only he is left alive, the Zhao family will not be considered extinct, and the family’s glory can still be continued.”

Xuan Jinghe let out a short, mocking laugh, not hiding his sarcasm and disappointment. “These noble family disciples have long engraved the words ‘family continuation’ into their hearts, ingrained into their bones, completely disregarding their own life and death, let alone the common people in Guicheng.”

The scene suddenly cleared up, and the vast forest was left behind, with Guicheng ahead.

At this moment, arrows shot out from behind, and Zhao Zhaoyuan shouted angrily, “Stop Iron Sect Master!! Don’t let him reach the watchtower!”

Xuan Jinghe’s five fingers sank into Qu Xie’s shoulder, and his knuckles protruded with a bluish-white hue. The Buqi Sword suddenly exploded with a majestic tail flame and rushed into Guicheng. Countless arrows immediately filled the air, and even though Xuan Jinghe had the ability to transcend the heavens, he couldn’t completely avoid them. The sound of tearing cloth and breaking silk echoed, as arrows tore through his robes, ripping them apart in the fierce wind! 

Qu Xie’s pupils contracted slightly. 

Just then, a tall tower appeared in the distance, and Xuan Jinghe hoarsely exclaimed, “We’re there!” 

It was the lookout tower with the sound transmission array! 

“—-Stop him!!” 

No need for orders, all the Zhao family cultivators desperately chased after him, releasing arrows. The sky was filled with dense shadows, and countless arrows flew past. Xuan Jinghe’s arm, waist, and outer thigh all drew bloodlines simultaneously. But his speed didn’t diminish in the slightest. The Buqi Sword burst out of the encirclement like a dazzling white rainbow, piercing through the sky directly towards the top of the tower where the sound transmission array was! 

Impossible to stop. 

Gritting his teeth, Zhao Zhaoyuan withdrew the last silver arrow. The glaring sunlight reflected a hint of blue light on the arrowhead, indicating that it was poisoned. He pulled the string to its limit— 


Unexpectedly, at the moment of release, the Buqi Sword shifted slightly, causing the silver arrow to whiz through the air, slightly deviating from its target. Instead of aiming at Xuan Jinghe’s heart, the arrowhead pointed directly at Qu Xie’s back of the head! 

Everything happened in the blink of an eye. 

Xuan Jinghe didn’t have time to turn around. With a backward flick of his hand, he caught the arrow between his fingers. The deadly poison on the arrowhead was less than half an inch away from Qu Xie’s neck. But the immense spiritual power carried by the arrow surged onto Xuan Jinghe’s body, pushing him forward and crashing into Qu Xie’s shoulder. A mouthful of blood sprayed out! 

The scorching blood splattered half of Qu Xie’s body in an instant. 

At the same time, the lookout tower approached, and amidst a deafening roar, the two crashed through the tightly closed door, falling to the ground amidst countless broken bricks and wood.

“Lord Iron Sect Master!”

Qu Xie’s stern shout hadn’t even landed when Xuan Jinghe, rolling on the ground, rose up, sword in hand, and kicked off the ground. He had no time to cushion himself as he held the sword in his right hand and, with the left, swung the poisoned silver arrow back in its original direction!

The arrow’s shadow was like a cold light, moving against the rain of arrows, through the chaotic battlefield, and through the frightened eyes of all the cultivators, rapidly expanding in Zhao Zhaoyuan’s pupils.

Truly, it was an arrow that pierced through clouds, coming to meet the enemy.

The next moment, the arrowhead pierced through the body, blood splattering into the sky. Zhao Zhaoyuan didn’t even have time to utter a sound before he was hit in the shoulder by the arrow, falling from the sky along with his sword.

Someone cried out in horror, “Master!” “Senior Uncle!”

Two or three figures immediately turned back to the ground to rescue him. However, more people rushed madly towards the watchtower.

If the crisis of exposure had made them anxious, Zhao Zhaoyuan being shot now drove them to madness. Xuan Jinghe didn’t hesitate at all. He rose up, drew his sword, and the sword flashed brilliantly in front of everyone. In an instant, he was engulfed in a siege. Everywhere was filled with cold blades, coming from all directions.



Xuan Jinghe was like a sharp stream of light. Wherever his sword went, no one could stop him. He deflected the blades coming at him with a fierce wind, then used his momentum to turn and strike down three long swords aiming for his chest. With a backward palm strike, he sent a cultivator flying backward, blood spraying from his mouth and nose as he crashed into a half-collapsed white wall.

The encirclement was forcibly torn apart, and Xuan Jinghe’s robe sleeve whistled as he leaped back to the front of the sound transmission array.

The top floor of the watchtower was a simple octagonal hall, with solid green bricks covering the ground. In the center was a circular array, emitting a faint blue light that connected to the Dai Mountain Immortal Alliance. It was designed to seek help from the Immortal Alliance in case of natural disasters in the area.

As long as the token was thrown into the array, the Dai Mountain Immortal Alliance, thousands of miles away, would receive an alert, and nothing that happened in Guicheng could be concealed anymore.

“Don’t let him throw the token in!!”

The crowd had already gone berserk, all rushing forward in a frenzy. Six or seven blades were simultaneously aimed at the back of Xuan Jinghe’s neck. But Xuan Jinghe seemed to have eyes on his back. With his right hand holding the sword, he swung it with all his strength. “Clang!” A deafening sound echoed, and in an instant, he blocked all the blades. The tremendous impact shattered the bricks beneath his feet.

At the same time, with a flick of his left hand, the emerald token slid into his palm, about to be thrown into the sound transmission array.

—Just at this critical moment, a stern roar erupted from behind: “Stop! Or I’ll kill him!”

Xuan Jinghe froze in place, turning around to see a Zhao family cultivator holding Qu Xie, a sword pressed against his neck!

“Put, put down the token!” The cultivator’s eyes were bloodshot, and the sword had already cut Qu Xie’s neck. Strands of blood reflected in Xuan Jinghe’s contracted pupils. “Throw the token over, or I’ll cut off his head! I’ll cut off his head!!”

The air seemed to freeze for a moment. Xuan Jinghe met Qu Xie’s gaze.

The young man seemed extremely frightened, his face slightly pale, his eyes fixed on Xuan Jinghe as if he wanted to remember every expression and reaction at this moment.

—But that was only for a blink of an eye.

If there were outsiders present at this moment, they might think that Xuan Jinghe didn’t even hesitate for a moment.

He suddenly withdrew his sword and threw it, the buqi sword turning into a white light, piercing through the heart of the cultivator, pinning him heavily to the ground;

At the same time, in the chaos, someone stabbed Xuan Jinghe from behind, a piece of the sword tip piercing through his abdomen, blood spraying into the air!

With a heavy thud, Xuan Jinghe fell to one knee.

The array was right behind him, but at this moment, he couldn’t even turn around, only using the last of his strength to toss the token to Qu Xie.

Immediately after, he collapsed into the pool of blood.

With a “pa,” Qu Xie caught the jade token that came flying through the air with one hand.

The scene froze for just a moment. Someone woke up as if from a dream: “Don’t move!” “Stop!” “Put down the token!”…

Qu Xie just stood there, not speaking or moving, staring expressionlessly at Xuan Jinghe in the pool of blood, holding the emerald token in his hand, which was covered in hot blood.

There was no one around him at this moment. As long as he let go, he could throw the token into the array without fail, even with his eyes closed.

The Zhao family cultivators were on the brink of madness, roaring and rushing forward, eagerly reaching out to grab the token—however, in this incredibly chaotic and tumultuous scene, Qu Xie closed his eyes, took a long, deep breath, and then raised his hand and snapped his fingers.


Suddenly, time stood still, and an invisible force immobilized everyone in midair, rendering them unable to move.

“How… how is this possible…”

“What’s going on…”

With not a hint of expression on his handsome face, Qu Xie walked forward amidst the terrified gazes from all directions. He reached the edge of the sound transmission array, scooped up the blood-soaked Xuan Jinghe with one hand, effortlessly cradling him in his arms.

Meanwhile, his other hand hovered above the sound transmission array, ready to drop the token straight into it.

Immediately, there erupted a chorus of shouts behind him: “Don’t!” “Put down the token!” “Don’t throw it in!” “Quick, put it down!!”…

The ethereal light of the array reflected in Qu Xie’s eyes, his pupils like deep pools, unable to reveal any joy or anger. He seemed oblivious to the frantic noise surrounding him.

“You see,” he gazed at the token, tilting his head slightly closer to the unconscious, pale face of Xuan Jinghe, and whispered softly, “You’ve provoked me.”

He suddenly tightened his five fingers.

In full view of everyone, the jade token silently disintegrated into powder.

The scene abruptly froze, and everyone found themselves unable to believe their eyes, suspended in midair unable to move.

Then, Qu Xie closed his eyes and tilted his head back, and a violent surge of divine power erupted like a raging wave, sweeping through all the space!

Time and space were forced into extreme distortion, and the void echoed with the cries of millions of ghosts. H*llish flames flooded the vision like molten lava. People found that what laid before them was no longer the top floor hall of the watchtower, but an endless abyss. Darkness led to the unfathomable depths of the earth’s core. Every cultivator seemed to be suspended by invisible iron chains over the abyss, emitting terrified screams!

“What… what kind of sorcery is this!” Someone struggled with all their might, screaming frantically, “Who are you! What are you!!”

At first, they all thought this young man was Xuan Jinghe’s disciple, but seeing that he had no cultivation or spiritual power and showed utmost respect to Xuan Jinghe, they thought he was an insignificant outer disciple.

It wasn’t until this moment that they realized their judgment was not only wrong but utterly ridiculous.

Qu Xie sat cross-legged in midair, with Xuan Jinghe lying in his arms. He gently lifted Xuan Jinghe’s chin with one hand and leaned down to kiss him.

With this kiss, a breath of divine energy shimmering with blood-red radiance gradually flowed into Xuan Jinghe’s body. The wound in his abdomen healed and sealed in the flashing light, leaving no trace; the meridians that were on the verge of severance due to the corpse poison reconnected, his pulse resumed its beat, and his pained expression in unconsciousness eased slightly.

Qu Xie stood up and looked down at him.

His expression was even serene, but this scene sent shivers down everyone’s spine, and someone squeezed out a trembling voice, “Who… who are you…”

“You wanted to know why those four people turned into living corpses, didn’t you?” Qu Xie said lightly.

“Because they encountered me in the deep mountains.”

— Those four disciples who were trapped in the deep mountains by the torrential rain, rescued by the Zhao family, and then turned into living corpses.

The initial source of the plague of the living dead in Guicheng.

After several breaths, the crowd finally realized the meaning behind these words. A tidal wave of fear surged forth, engulfing everyone to the brim! But at this moment, no one could utter a sound anymore.

A blood-red door, towering nine zhang high, emerged from the abyss, bursting into flames and opening with a resounding boom. Countless living corpses gushed out like a tide, one climbing over another, instantly stacking up into a towering tower of corpses, with its height still rising. The cultivators hanging in the air above the abyss realized the disaster was upon them, desperately twisting and struggling, screaming frantically, but the topmost living corpses had already reached out from the abyss, eagerly grabbing their feet and starting to feast voraciously.

Some were wailing, some were shrieking, blood and flesh rained down like a torrential downpour, eagerly devoured by the living corpses below.

Qu Xie embraced Xuan Jinghe with one arm, enjoying the gruesome spectacle with great pleasure. The large blood-red red spider lily flowers on his robes seemed to come alive in the wind. Finally, a cultivator recognized his identity in despair: “You… you are… you are the Ghost Crown Prince!”

“He is the Lord of H*ll, he is the Ghost Crown Prince!——”

Qu Xie affectionately hugged Xuan Jinghe tighter, then gave a faint smile to the crowd of cultivators.

The heart-wrenching screams were drowned out by the mass of corpses, and clumps of shattered bones and viscera fell into the abyss, disappearing without a trace.

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