Chapter 145 – Are you ready to die?
Translated by: Sephillia
Edited by: Rango
TLCed by: Shiroyukineko
Yue Yang walked for a long time in the underground Ant Hole, but he had not found the place indicated on the map where volcanoes were supposedly present.
Of course, he could have moved in a much faster speed. However, the Ant Hole which was more twisty than a labyrinth made Yue Yang’s head hurt. The one thing that made Yue Yang sweat most was that most of the markings that the mercenaries had left were either duplicates or incorrect. He had walked in circles and went through a lot of pointless routes. Although Yue Yang did not really care about the time, he was afraid that Yue Bing would be worried waiting outside. She should not by any means enter the Ant Hole to find him, otherwise she would be in danger.
He had walked for an unknown amount of time in the underworld.
Finally, Yue Yang heard the flow of running water, and a blackened underground river appeared in front of him.
Following the markings on the map, Yue Yang waded upstream from the shallow riverbed, then walked for nearly half an hour before finding some traces left behind by the mercenaries on the wall.
Leaving the riverbed, he entered a small hole. After going in a few hundred metres, he found that the temperature of the surrounding had risen noticeably, and the air was thick with the smell of sulphur. Yue Yang increased his speed and walked out of the small hole. To his awe, an extremely huge underworld came into his view.
In a remote area, a low volcano was glowing with lava.
Below the tiny volcano, there was a hot spring lake with steam rising slightly. This caused Yue Yang to be astonished. There were many small islets floating like a chain of islands on the hot spring lake, with each islets having many different kinds of weird plants growing on them. How could there be such a thriving growth in this kind of underworld? Yue Yang had seen this phenomenon before. The Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit was completely different from the Dragon Fruit found normally in the desert. Its leaves, the ‘Sky Measuring Ruler’, were thinner and stiffer. Not only that, they were deep green in colour and was as strong as steel plates. It took root ashore deep into the bottom of the hot spring, absorbing huge amounts of energy as stockpile for its fruits. It required a duration of a thousand years in order to float to the surface of the water. At that point of time, the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit would slowly separate itself and begin to reproduce itself… It was absolutely impossible to harvest the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit as and when one wanted to. The only time they could was when it matured, then use a specialised medical scissors to cut it off.
The Twin Dragon Scissors* was a type of medical scissors. Not only that, it was the trademark product of the Smithing Grandmasters, Jiang Clan.
(*Shiro: Previously translated as Double Dragon Shears, I’m changing it to Twin Dragon Scissors as it is easier to remember…)
In the world, there were many plants that could not be cut by ordinary blades. For example, the Obsidian Bamboo, the Iron Bone Scale Star Grass, the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit and many others.
However, a pair of small Twin Dragon Scissors could easily snip them off…
Obviously, the Smithing Grandmasters Jiang Clan would never admit that although it was a design made by their ancestor Jiang Qiao Er, the first pair of Twin Dragon Scissors was actually crafted by the ghost genius Yue Gong from the Yue family. This Twin Dragon Scissors was the betrothal gift that the ghost genius Yue Gong gave to Jiang Qiao Er. Its original use was not to harvest medicinal plants, but rather made for her to do her sewing. Yue Gong and Jiang Qiao Er’s intellects were unsurpassed throughout the world. However, due to the two of them being frail and ridden with sickness, they did not even make it in time to be wed and died very early on. However, their love story that touched people was passed on for centuries without end.
On every pair of Twin Dragon Scissors that was manufactured by the Smithing Grandmasters Jiang Clan, they would engrave the words “Workmanship of the Gods”*, to pay respects to their ancestors.
(*Sephilia: This is an idiom, lookup 巧夺天工)
“It’s no wonder that it had such a tiny and feminine design. It was a scissors that was meant for girls to use…” With his big hands, Yue Yang held the scissors and felt that the Twin Dragon Scissors was very small. Thinking a little, he finally realised that this was designed by the ghost genius Yue Gong specially for Jiang Qiao Er’s small hands. He did not know why the Grandmaster Smithing Family Jiang did not make it a little larger.
After searching through the entire hot spring lake, Yue Yang found that there were still two Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits at the bottom of the lake.
However, they had not matured yet.
Yue Yang furrowed his eyebrows. He found that there were two different cuts. Could it be that someone else had already taken the other Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit before him?
The marks left behind by a scissors’ cuts were completely different from an animal’s’ bite. Furthermore, this other cut was different from the cut made by the Twin Dragon Scissors. This proved that someone had come here before, and the mercenaries did not know about it either. The greater doubt that Yue Yang had was that although the mercenaries had heard a dragon’s cry, he did not find any trace of a dragon even after searching for every nook and corner of this hot spring lake and the mouth of the volcano. The only suspicious thing was that the Quintet Seeking Golden Mice found a kind of energy within the water that was dissipating…
Had a great battle happened in the water?
Who was it that knew there were Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits at the bottom of the Ant Hole? Not only that, how did they know when to come here and harvest it just as it matured?
Where did the ‘dragon’ that was protecting these Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits originally go to?
It didn’t take long for Yue Yang to be filled with suspicions. He definitely knew that something was wrong, but he could not think of what was wrong. As Yue Yang was collecting his thoughts, suddenly, a black silhouette appeared behind him soundlessly. With a unique, magnetic voice, he asked, “Are you looking for me?”
“Eh?” Yue Yang was shocked.
He had always been careful and never let an enemy approach him closer than five metres before, but he did not sense this person’s presence at all.
Who exactly was this person?
He forced himself to calm down and turned over to look, but he found that there was nothing behind him. There wasn’t a single trace of existence of any humans. It was as if the sentence that was spoken just now was simply a hallucination inside his head. Yue Yang was completely motionless. He did not use his eyes, but he could feel that the enemy was right behind him. Not only that, his enemy was extending his hands close to the back of Yue Yang’s head. If Yue Yang had moved even a little, the enemy’s hand would probably smash the back of his head…
A drop of cold sweat glistened as it slid down Yue Yang’s forehead.
This was the most powerful enemy that he had encountered in his life.
“Are you scared?” The person acted as if he was provoking a little worm. His voice was filled with disdain.
“Who, who are you?” Yue Yang turned around quickly and found that there was a tall imposing middle-aged man with a power that seemed to belong to a god. He had a haughty look, and he looked at Yue Yang with a gaze as sharp as spears. Yue Yang felt another jolt of shock in his heart.
This unknown middle-aged man was definitely not inferior to Jun Wu You in any way.
Furthermore, he could conceal his killing intent even better than Jun Wu You.
That middle-aged man heard Yue Yang’s question and furrowed his eyebrows. “You actually dared to not recognise me?”
Yue Yang was sweating profusely. Could it be that this was tragic guy’s deceased father Yue Qiu, as talked about in legends? No, that was not right, everyone else said that the tragic guy resembled his father, Yue Qiu shouldn’t look like that… Was this guy the tragic guy’s uncle? Or another relative? Or a killer out to plot murder against the tragic guy? Yue Yang’s thoughts flashed as he thought of the endless possibilities, yet none of them could be proven to be true. However, Yue Yang was certain that this man was hiding his killing intent that was directed towards Yue Yang. No matter who it was, it was definitely an enemy and not a friend.
“Commoners usually call me the Marquis of Zi Jin.” The middle-aged man called himself the Marquis of Zi Jin.
“What?” Yue Yang turned pale at this.
Within the three great countries Da Xia, Tian Luo, and Zi Jin, there were countless of strong rankers present. No matter whether it was the Da Xia Emperor Jun Wu You, the Tian Luo Emperor Hua Xu Ri (Sephilia: literal rising sun) or the Zi Jin Emperor Chu Tian Xiao, they were rankers who were at least Level 7 [Overlord] and above. Their strength was extremely terrifying and could completely deter a military unit from invading.
Within the royal families, almost none could match the power of the three emperors.
The sole exception was this the Marquis of Zi Jin who was standing in front of Yue Yang. He was the publicly recognised ranker whose strength was said to be even stronger than the three emperors.
Thirty years ago, he had once challenged his brother, the Zi Jin Emperor Chu Tian Xiao, for the position of Zi Jin Emperor… The whole Soaring Dragon Continent was shocked by this. Countless warriors in the world witnessed it and Zi Jin’s Emperor also agreed to it. However, a month before the challenge, the Marquis of Zi Jin, who had an arrogant personality, had offended Tian Luo’s Emperor Hua Xu Ri when he went to the Tian Luo Kingdom as an ambassador . He was subsequently heavily injured by one of the three Heavenly Imperial Guardians of Tian Luo, Ye Hou… Afterwards, the Marquis of Zi Jin fought his elder brother while still recovering from a serious injury. After three days and three nights of bitter fighting, he was eventually defeated.
If not for being seriously injured, nobody would have been able to predict who would win the battle.
And thus, the Marquis of Zi Jin made his name with this battle, becoming the strongest prince in everyone’s hearts. Even Zi Jin’s Emperor, Chu Tian Xiao had also set up a prince’s seat nine steps below the Imperial Throne as respect to the Marquis of Zi Jin.
Everyone on the planet felt that perhaps the elder brother Chu Tian Xiao was more suited to be an emperor. However, strength-wise, the Marquis of Zi Jin was better than him.
the Marquis of Zi Jin was originally the Zi Jin Country’s Sixth Prince.
However, after the battle for the throne of Zi Jin, the three great countries’ emperors came together to give him the unique title of “the Marquis of Zi Jin”.
This kind of overpowering existence had appeared right in front of him out of the blue. Yue Yang did not think that this was a good thing, especially when he met him next to the hot spring lake where the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruit grew… Yue Yang’s vigilance was at its highest. He wasn’t sure whether this guy had tailed him or had made camp here early on. If the Marquis of Zi Jin was here to take the Hard-shelled Dragon Fruits, then after he had taken it, he should have left. Why was he still staying here?
If he had tailed Yue Yang, when did that happen?
Was it since he entered the Ant Hole or was it just a few moments ago?
“You’ve heard my name. Should you not bow in respect to me? Not mentioning that I’m a noble, I am after all your senior and a ranker. Shouldn’t you give your proper respects?” the Marquis of Zi Jin looked at Yue Yang using his especially arrogant face. His gaze was as sharp as blades.
“Do you intend to smash my head the moment I bowed to pay my respects?” Yue Yang tried his best to act naturally. At this time, he definitely could not let the enemy see through his entire strength, otherwise it would be dangerous.
“Oh? I did think along those lines. I’m not willing to see a young man who can’t see through the strength of others to grow up slowly.” the Marquis of Zi Jin actually nodded in agreement. He casually made a remark, saying, “Before I kill you, I can give you three options. You can choose three different ways to die. First, you can resist and get your bones and heart completely smashed by me. Second, you can choose not to resist and let me kill you instantly, without a single shred of suffering. Lastly, you can try your utmost to escape and let me catch up to you. I’ll then skin you alive and douse you in this scalding hot spring. Then, I’ll watch you die alive… Think about it. Once you’ve chosen, I’ll move.”
Yue Yang had never seen such an arrogant guy in his life.
He thought that he, himself, was arrogant enough. However, compared to the Marquis of Zi Jin, he seemed to be lacking by a huge margin.
Yue Yang was very arrogant and unbridled, he never once did he think about trying to reason. This guy, on the other hand, was good. He made his arrogance seem as if it was well-reasoned.
Yue Yang grinned at his words. “Can I choose to commit suicide?”
the Marquis of Zi Jin coolly and emotionlessly refused while shaking his head. “Without my permission, it is impossible for you to commit suicide.”
“I don’t care whether you are the Marquis of Zi Jin or the Monkey of Zi Jin*. Saying all this crap, did you think that by being a few years older than people, you can arrange for someone else’s life or death in such a loud tone?” Yue Yang raised his middle finger in front of the Marquis of Zi Jin. “You can act like a tyrant, but don’t act like an idiot.”
(Shiro: Marquis 侯 and Monkey 猴 sounds similar in chinese.)
“It seems like you’ve already made your choice.” the Marquis of Zi Jin was actually not angry and had rather asked in a peaceful tone. “Now, are you ready to die?”
“What about you? Are you ready to die too?” Yue Yang spat this question back at him.
At the same time, the magic blade Hui Jin in his hand slashed out with the speed of lightning, cleaving towards the Marquis of Zi Jin’s face.
Sparks of fire scattered shaking the area. The entire underworld was shaking from Yue Yang’s slash. The hot spring lake’s water was cleaved in half by the blade’s qi, forming a deep gap, and raising the waters into 2-metre high waves that dissipated towards each end…
However, after a single second, Yue Yang’s gaze was frozen.
That was because, the strike he used all his force in had been stopped by two of the Marquis of Zi Jin’s fingers.
The Hui Jin Magic Blade, that had a thunderous power capable of completely cleaving metal and rocks was held by the Marquis of Zi Jin’s index and middle finger, unable to budge a single inch further…