Chapter 1: Demon
In the era of Tianshu, a blizzard covered the islet of Mian.
Snow enveloped the Boundless Sea for kilometers on end, reaching all the way to the Canglang Northern Territory.
It was too cold here.
Thin ice floated on the stagnant water.
Wu Xingxue stood atop a withered tree in the middle of the water, washing the blood off his hands.
His hands were slender and pale, without a hint of liveliness.
It seemed as if he had just teased the birds of a yao palace, had just played with the flowers from the Immortal Capital.
But not long ago, those fingers had unscrupulously torn off several heads.
So he washed carefully, without any intent to speak, and those waiting at the shore were also afraid of speaking.
After holding their breath thus for a long stretch of time, they finally were offered a single sentence.
“What year is it” Wu Xingxue asked.
His voice penetrated across the vast surface of water, a little hazy.
The people on the store took a moment to react, and then hurriedly said: “The twenty-fifth year of Tianshu.”
Wu Xingxue sniffed his washed fingers and finally looked over: “Tianshu”
“Tianshu…” Wu Xingxue lightly repeated this unfamiliar name.
The person who responded hurriedly said: “The cultivation sects changed it.”
Wu Xingxue dropped his hands.
The sound of clanging metal sounded with his movement.
…It sounded like he was shackled.
The reaction of the people at the shore to this sound was immense; their scalps all tingled.
They looked cautiously at the person in the middle of the water.
They only saw Wu Xingxue dressed in dark green, almost blending in with the cold fog.
But no matter the wrists within his sleeves, or the stretch of ankle peeking above his bare feet, all were bleak white and clean, with no sign of any chains.
But the clanging was truly there.
Someone murmured softly: “That sound is—”
“Shh! Are you crazy You’re going to bring it up in front of him If you’re looking for death, don’t drag us along too!”
The person who interrupted was deathly afraid that the one in the water would hear; even when scolding, he didn’t dare raise his voice.
But unfortunately, he was still heard.
“What is it” Wu Xingxue asked.
“Don’t stop, continue.”
The crowd at the shore stopped breathing.
They swallowed a mouthful of saliva, and the hands hanging beside their bodies trembled softly: “No… no! We… we didn’t say anything, we really didn’t say anything.”
As everyone knew, Canglang Northern Territory was more dangerous than a demon lair.
The demons and monsters of the world weren’t afraid of retribution and weren’t threatened by priests and monks; their only fear was dying there.
The demons who were imprisoned there were all nailed with heavy heavenly locks.
The locks weren’t visible and couldn’t be removed; they represented punishment from heaven.
From a day to a year, the demons who were nailed inevitably succumbed to the torture, their souls scattering, both their spirit and flesh extinguished.
So, for the five hundred years that Canglang Northern Territory floated atop the Boundless Sea, there was only entrance and no exit.
Except for the demon Wu Xingxue.
He was the only one who had been locked here for twenty-five years and still lived.
This type of demon, now bearing locks that could not be seen, softly saying “what is this clanging sound exactly, explain it to me,” who dared answer
The dead quiet slowly pervaded through the cold fog.
The people at the store looked carefully at each other, but they only saw Wu Xingxue staring at them, his head tilted, not saying a word.
Suddenly, they were cold from head to foot.
The emotional instability has started.
The crowd thought.
Actually, this infamous demon didn’t look very scary.
He had a haughty, wealthy guise, his voice was extremely pleasing, and his appearance was also quite pretty, especially his eyes.
The corners of his eyes curved downwards very slightly, and when he looked down, they resembled ink that had just melted in a cold pond.
But so what
Not to mention these demon subordinates, he even killed the initial Lingtai Twelve Immortals on a whim.
Who wouldn’t be afraid
When he spoke, fear.
When he didn’t speak, fear.
And when he tilted his head like this, it was even **ing scarier!
The crowd dripped with cold sweat.
A second later, the person who initially said the wrong thing shivered, unable to hold his words in: “Chengzhu, chengzhu, I was wrong.
I spoke carelessly, I shouldn’t have brought up the lock… pst! Anyhow, I shouldn’t have! I’m really, I’m really—”
He smeared a streak of blood at the corner of his mouth, preparing to seal his promise with a talisman.
Then, he heard Wu Xingxue say: “Where were you wrong I don’t understand.”
“Also, you called me chengzhu”
How did chengzhu offend you now, we can’t call you that anymore
Under so many rounds of interrogation, the people at the shore were almost driven insane.
But what they didn’t know was, the person on the tree had actually broke a long time ago.
Wu Xingxue appeared completely unaffected, but roaring waves crashed towards the heavens in his heart.
All of his thoughts consisted of four huge words: “How did this happen!”
He had only had a deep slumber; how could he possess someone else’s body
Clearly only a moment prior, he was still an eminent noble of Que Capital.
He had just set down the fine wine from the Winding Waters Banquet, draped on his overcoat and started to head back home.
Que Capital had been storming for two days with no end in sight, so getting back was a little bit difficult.
He was tall, so his servant struggled to hold the constantly tipping umbrella.
He couldn’t stand it and took the umbrella himself, passing his jade handwarmer to the boy.
The entire way back, the servant boy was overwhelmed by this sort of favor.
The people at his residence had already set out the hot earthenware; it was so warm that he was sleepy the moment he entered his room.
He remembered he had offhandedly selected a popular storybook, flipping through it at the edge of the bed.
Outside, a winter bird landed on the flower bells outside, lightly jingling.
He listened, read, and unknowingly fell asleep…
When he was awoken by noisy voices and opened his eyes, he found that he was already at this damned place—
Vast waters in all four directions, fog filling up the entire sky.
A withered tree stood alone in the middle of the water.
The water beneath was bleary and indistinct, seemingly filled with short, light green branches.
At first, he thought it was the coral that had trended for a bit in Que Capital.
Looking closely, however, he found that they were all human arms.
All human arms…
And he stood on a branch of the withered tree that could fall at any moment, balancing precariously on bare feet.
And wind was blowing at him.
And he was dizzy.
And his hands were filled with blood.
Heaven knew that in that moment, he really wanted to curse someone out.
In storybooks, when people closed their eyes, they always “dreamt suddenly of youth,” but when it came to him, it turned into “being possessed by a ghost.”
It was him who was possessing the ghost.
Thanks to the loose lips of the those on the shore, he still hadn’t said anything wrong yet, but he had come to understand the most important points—this damned place was called Canglang Northern Territory, and it was used for the purpose of imprisoning demons.
He was the demon who had been chained here.
Those at the shore seemed to be his previous subordinates.
One of them had barged in carrying half of a bloody corpse and then expressionlessly kicked it into the water.
As evident, not a single person here was a kind soul.
Surrounded by this sort, could he say “I’m not the chengzhu”
If he said it, those devotedly loyal subordinates would probably immediately turn on him, tear him in half, and throw him into the pool of dead water.
So, he could only wash the blood of his hands while pondering how to trick them into revealing more information.
But after a good deal of tricking, he only got “Chengzhu, I was wrong,” “Chengzhu, I’m going to shut up,” and “pst.”
This was going to kill him.
While internally calculating, he suddenly heard a surge of noise.
It was hard to make out through the thick, metal-like mountain walls.
At first, it seemed like innumerable people had surrounded the outside and pulled out their knives and swords.
Voices intermingled in between; he could dimly make out phrases like “what are we waiting for” and “that demon.”
Their sounds had not yet faded when a sudden clang thundered.
Pieces of black, metal-like stone fell together in chunks, and the dim, interminable cold pool also shook as if in an earthquake—
Wu Xingxue grabbed onto the nearest tree branch.
The subordinates at the shore were still ardently listening to the movement outside the mountain with furrowed brows and ugly expressions.
“It doesn’t sound pretty.”
“The cultivation sects have probably come.”
“That’s unavoidable, haven’t they always regarded Canglang Northern Territory as their own life.”
“What kind of comment is that, the last place on earth that can scare demons and monsters, of course they treat it like their own life.”
“Ah, but so what, it’s still time for the end.”
Another sound, and though the mountain still seemed like metal, the quakes came harder and harder.
“This won’t work, if things continue, they’ll be coming in soon! Chengzhu, we—” The subordinates turned over, and their words rapidly halted.
Wu Xingxue looked down, grasping a fragment of a newly broken dry branch.
“We what Continue.” Wu Xingxue seemed like he had snapped off the branch to play with it.
He looked at it for a bit and then lost interest, throwing it into the water.
The subordinates stared at the branch that floated gently on the water’s surface, their expressions all a bit wary.
After all, everyone knew that everything that passed through the head demon’s hands, even a single drop of water, was worthy of inspiring fear.
“We…” The subordinate licked his dry lips.
He couldn’t help but to glance at the dry tree branch, “We should hurry up and get out of here.”
Canglang Northern Territory has been behaving strangely these last two days, and there are rumors that it’s arriving at its end.
The cultivation sects are afraid this place is going to collapse, so they naturally couldn’t sit still, they all raced over here.”
Half so that they could do their best to save the Territory.
Half because they were scared that the demons inside hadn’t all died out yet.
In this kind of situation, if the two parties met, it would really be a tough battle.
The subordinates’ heads hurt just thinking about it.
They were going to press him, but Wu Xingxue spoke: “So you’re all so anxious because we can’t beat them”
Obviously, they couldn’t nod yes.
“Chengzhu, the cultivators outside actually are not even worth mentioning.” The oldest one said.
The person beside him was silent for a few moments, then turned to stare at him: “”
“But the main body of Canglang Northern Territory.” He swept his gaze across all four directions, “They all say that a continuance of strange behavior means that the spiritual qi necessary for life has been depleted.
That should be right, or else, just based on our ability, we wouldn’t have been able to enter this place.
It’s just that this place used to be under that… that Tianxiu Immortal’s control.”
The words “Tianxiu Immortal” were spoken quickly and vaguely, but the person beside him still elbowed him.
“He already perished along with the Immortal Capital, why do you have to bring him up in front of chengzhu” Taking advantage of the fact that the shore stretched some distance away, they quickly peeked at Wu Xingxue, their voices so low as to be imperceptible.
Wu Xingxue thought, Not again, not those ghastly pale but forcibly silent expressions.
Is there some secret between the Tianxiu Immortal and me, no, between him and this original body Why are they peeking at me.
Wu Xingxue really wanted that subordinate to keep on talking about it so that he could understand the whole story.
But because of his identity, he had to give up.
He wasn’t the original person who had been imprisoned, so he couldn’t react any other way.
He could only listen to that unfamiliar title, silent, unmoved.
His subordinate peeked at him again, “Any-anyway, although that person died a long time ago, this damned place might contain some of his leftover protective measures, it would be bad if we got tripped up.”
“So Chengzhu, let’s hurry up and leave!
Their tone was anxious and earnest, almost like sincere admonishment.
Their chengzhu also thought that their logic made sense and could nod his head in assent.
But the chengzhu had a more pressing issue.
Just asking, how can he get down from this tree branch without ruining his identity as a demon
Wu Xingxue looked down at the deep pool beneath his feet, and then at the shore.
Those subordinates gazed towards him helplessly, waiting for an order.
He thought for a second, then lifted his hand.
A lightly curled finger chose between the people at the shore, finally selecting one who was relatively easy on the eyes.
“You, come here.” His tone was still moderate.
The person who was chosen trembled, confused and freezing in place.
“Chengzhu, I, did I say something wrong I didn’t speak just now.”
Wu Xingxue: “…”
“Come here.” He softly repeated, lowering the finger he had used to point at him.
The person who was chosen didn’t dare to ask more questions.
Squaring his shoulders, he stepped into that pond of still water, taking large strides.
In just a second, he had reached the front of the withered tree.
Just as he was going to step on the tree, a huge roar sounded!
Innumerable invisible currents of sword qi swept in from all directions, bringing along the frigidity of the vast snow covering Canglang Northern Territory.
In the next second, the hand he had lifted towards Wu Xingxue turned into a cloud of bloody fog, and his entire body was thrown heavily back towards the shore.
In an instant, the cold pool quaked forcefully, waves crashing towards the sky.
Wu Xingxue only felt the sharp sword energy sweep towards him head-on, and he instinctively closed his eyes.
When he opened them again, he saw a golden water lily, big enough to encompass the entire Canglang Northern Territory, spread open forcefully underneath his feet.
Through the melted snow and golden aura, he saw with squinted eyes a vague image of a hand holding an enormous sword.
That person was very tall, with three black mourning needles piercing the cartilage of his right ear.
An indistinct golden tattoo stretched from beneath his ear to the base of his neck.
It was the word “Mian”.
As everyone knew, the Tianxiu Immortal Xiao Fuxuan was granted the courtesy name “Mian” by the heavens.
Mian, to pardon, absolution from a hundred sins.
 瑤宮, literally meaning pristine palace, used to refer to the palaces in the Immortal Capital
 These locks are chains which are secured by nailing metal through the body.
 城主, literally meaning “city leader” or “city chief”
 曲水宴, apparently this is a custom originating in China and popularized by Japan, celebrated on 3/3.
 免, meaning to pardon/to exempt