Chapter 21 — The Sorcerous Clan and the Treasure Map
Long Qingxie carried Yun Wu through the underground palace —which turned out to be something like a labyrinth—weaving in and out of the dark passageways until the familiar entranceway came into sight, and that was when she noticed just how familiar the man seemed with the underground palace.
“You’ve been here before?” She tilted her head and asked him suspiciously, to which he laughed charmingly and shrugged, “Nope, but I was able to familiarize myself with the paths after I wandered around in here for a few days.”
Wandered around in here for a few days? He….
She turned her head sideways and sized him up, then suddenly, out of the corner of her eye, she spotted a small wooden box. It was the very box she had wrestled away from Wu Gang that one day. Yun Wu threw off Long Qingxie’s arms and made her way towards the box, picked it up, and walked back.
He glanced at it and inquired curiously, “What’s that?” though when his gaze swept over the peculiar patterns on the box, she was able to catch the conspicuous glint in his eyes.
“Not sure. It belongs to Wu Gang. I thought it looked unpleasant, so I snatched it.” She explained vaguely. After seeing her reach out to open the box, only to find it locked from the inside, Long Qingxie took it for inspection.
“The structure of this wooden box is one that requires a special key to unlock, though the mauve wood it was carved from is quite rare in itself. In Zhou Dynasty as a whole, I’m afraid only a few exceptional figures of the imperial family would have access to mauve wood. Looks like this Wu Gang is rather extraordinary,” he remarked, handing the box back.
The imperial family?
Yun Wu furrowed her brows and thought back to Liu Qingyue, who had been both parts frantic and desperate in her attempts to reclaim the seemingly ordinary box. But it made no sense, for Liu Qingyue resided perennially within the manor and hardly ever stepped out to attend imperial banquets and the sort
Even if she did, the public setting would make it hard for her to develop a relationship with anyone from the imperial family. Could be that Liu Qingyue had someone standing behind her… Someone who bore designs to control the Yun Manor through her? And perhaps…. Yun Wu’s poisoner wasn’t Liu Qingyue, but the person behind Liu Qingyue?
If that was the case, then why would that person take the pains to spend over ten years in hiding, opting to slowly spread Yin poison throughout her body rather than just directly killing her?
Moreover, she was nothing more than the daughter of a neglected concubine; so why the fuss? However, regardless of the reason and the accuracy of Yun Wu’s speculations, the matter was undeniably a complicated one.
“Got silver needles or anything similar?” She lifted her eyes and glanced at Long Qingxie.
She wanted silver needles?
He arched an eyebrow but refrained from asking questions as he manifested a thin needle on the palm of his hand. “I’ve only got this. Take a look and see if it’s acceptable.”
“Acceptable!” The corners of her lips tilted up slightly. She took the needle and pushed it into the opening of the box’s inner lock.
A special key? As far as she was concerned, the lock was child’s play at best. In her past life, she had grown up learning a myriad of skills. She was capable of working out Germany’s most preeminent and elaborate anti-explosion lock within a mere ten minutes—let alone this measly inner lock.
Ten seconds! A faint click could be heard, and the inner lock cracked open, causing Long Qingxie’s eyebrows to rise. His eyes shone as he peered into Yun Wu’s unfathomable eyes, and his lips curved into a smile. “Who would’ve expected a little pipsqueak like you to have that up your sleeve? You’ve really surprised your husband. ”
Yun Wu frowned and shot him a displeased look, “Stop calling yourself my husband all the time. You might not feel embarrassed, but I feel like I’m being disgraced.”
“Disgraced?” He was stunned.
“Look at yourself… your age makes it that I should be calling you ‘uncle’!” She mocked with distaste, though in reality, despite her current body being that of a 15-year-old adolescent’s, she had lived till 28 in her past life.
With just a glance, she could tell that the man before her was younger than what she had been —he appeared 25, at most— but in any case, she just wanted to stop him from self-proclaiming himself as her husband and taking advantage of her.
The main reason, however, was because she felt that this man was much too dangerous. His eyes flashed darkly, and then he gave an alluring laugh, “Little pipsqueak, so you dislike your husband being older? But don’t you know that in Shenzhou Continent, breaking through the Nine Practitioner Ranks to Master Practitioner would enable a one hundred year surplus to one’s lifespan and that breaking through from Master Practitioner to Martial Sage would add three hundred? An Exalted Sage would receive five hundred more years. Although your husband is 25 this year, it wouldn’t be hard for me to break through and become a Master Practitioner. Little pipsqueak, your husband hasn’t even started to pick at you yet, but you, on the other hand, you’re already planning to abandon me?”
At the age of 25, he had reached the peak of Rank Eight and was only a step away from Rank Nine. One could only imagine how astonishing his innate talent was. Unfortunately, an outsider like Yun Wu was wholly ignorant of the so-called innate talent of Shenzhou Continent. Still, she was a bit surprised by the news that longevity could be extended.
In her mind, most people lived within the range of seventy to eighty years, and few were able to live beyond one hundred. It had never crossed her mind that in Shenzhou Continent, cultivation could prolong one’s life. Didn’t that mean as long as one kept cultivating, they could keep living?
Yun Wu was not yet aware of the fact that the further along one gets on their cultivation path, the more difficult it becomes. The later stages would require one to experience great fortune before a breakthrough could be made; as the matter of fact, countless practitioners would find themselves stuck at one bottleneck for their entire lifetime, unable to break through.
Few would be able to follow Yun Wu’s line of thought; after all, if her reasoning were the case, then wouldn’t Shenzhou Continent have become a land of Immortals already? She pursed her lips and gave Long Qingxie a contemptuous look. “I don’t feel like talking to you any longer, so just keep your mouth clean.”
With that said, she completely ignored him and turned her attention to the box. It opened to reveal nothing but a sheepskin parchment that was flattened beneath a block of translucent jade, and a totem. No words were visible on the latter.
She reached out to grab the block of jade, but a larger hand beat her to it. “You…” Yun Wu scowled and snapped her head up, just about to say something, but the man’s icy-cold countenance caused whatever she intended to say to die in her throat.
This expression of his was a first. “You recognize this,” she stated. It wasn’t a question. Pushing down the turmoil in his heart, Long Qingxie unfurled his fingers to reveal the character ‘巫’ that had appeared when a light was shone through the jade.
“‘巫’? Meaning?” Yun Wu knit her brows.
“An exclusive jade talisman of the Sorcerous Clan,” was the relatively cold answer.
Sorcerous Clan? She couldn’t help but think of her necklace. It seemed to be a sacred relic of the Sorcerous Clan.
What is this about? First, it’s the imperial family, then it’s the Sorcerous Clan… Does this have anything to do with me?
Long Qingxie stealthily concealed the chill in his eyes and stretched out a hand to retrieve the sheepskin parchment, but as he examined it, his expression changed again, albeit only slightly. Nonetheless, anything that was capable of making his expression fall was surely beyond ordinary.
With an eyebrow raised, she asked, “What’s that? Is it something related to the Sorcerous Clan again?” Judging from his reactions, she reckoned he had some grievances against the Sorcerous Clan. Otherwise, his devilish composure wouldn’t have been shaken.
“This one has nothing to do with the Sorcerous Clan, but rather, your future.” He cast her an ominous look.
Related to her future?
“What is it? Let me see.” Curiously, she accepted the small sheepskin parchment and swept her gaze over it, quickly picking up on the eccentric nature of the character ‘巫’. She couldn’t understand it fully, but the lower portion of the character displayed…. An incomplete map.
“A portion of a map?” She lifted her attention and asked with uncertainty. Long Qingxie stared at her as he responded, “To be precise, it is a treasure map.”
She looked over the sheepskin parchment a few more times, shrugged, and said indifferently, “Even if it’s a treasure map, what of it? What does it have to do with my future?” Based on previous experience, she knew that although a treasure map sounded exciting, once its existence became known, a reign of terror and bloodbath would follow.
Therefore, she truly didn’t have any interest in braving the weather to find whatever treasure the map promised. Wealth was something that came and went. However, if she knew that the treasures mentioned on the map weren’t just pearls and gold, she wouldn’t have disregarded it.
When Long Qingxie heard her words, he chuckled affectionately and rubbed her head. “In this world, I’m afraid only a little pipsqueak like you would be this disdainful of riches. But if I’m not wrong, then this is a fragment of the legendary Summoner Temple’s treasure map.”
“Summoner Temple? What’s that?” A crease appeared between her brows. Long Qingxie smiled mysteriously, “It is said that the Summoner Temple is where Summoners converge after they transcend to Immortality. Unfortunately, throughout the endless years, Summoners have begun to decline, and the Summoner Temple was closed.”
At this point, he paused and then continued, “However, Immortal Might remains within the Summoner Temple, left behind by the several Summoners of the olden days. If one succeeds in entering and inheriting the power of Immortal Might, then one would be able to reach the sky in a single bound, become a successor, and seize the terrifying strength capable of obliterating an entire kingdom.”
“Obliterating an entire kingdom?” No matter how reserved and calm she was, Yun Wu could not resist the tremor of fear that thrilled through her heart. As long as she inherited Immortal Might and became the successor of Summoners, she could obtain that astonishing level of power? Wasn’t that equivalent to having an enormous meat pie fall from the sky?
When the news spread, no one in Shenzhou Continent would be able to contain their elation and craze.
Seeing Yun Wu’s slightly shocked expression, Long Qingxie smiled gently and rubbed her head again, continuing, “This is merely one fragment out of twelve though, so only assembling all twelve fragments would cause the Summoner Temple to reveal itself.”
Twelve fragments? She regained her composure and frowned as she inspected the sheepskin parchment. She was extremely moved by the prospects of the map, but she was nonetheless aware that she was holding a hot potato, especially since Housekeeper Wu and Liu Qingyue both knew she was in possession of it.
If they learned that she was still alive, she would most likely fall into peril before she could even get the chance to grow stronger. Thus…. After she got out, she would have to kill them first.
“What is it you’re thinking about, little pipsqueak, that’s making your killing intent escalate so much?” The murderous intent in her eyes did not escape Long Qingxie’s notice, and that only served to further delight him.
VIN: So has anyone been scared away by the age gap yet? I don’t know how I feel about the age gap…. she sees him as 3 years younger, but he sees her as 10 years younger, and people can live till their hundreds. I think I’m fine with that, it’s not as weird as if the MC was only mentioned to be 10 years younger or something.
After checking the following chapters, I will say… the word count for this novel will be doubled from now on. I thought the length of this chapter was a one-time thing, but as it turns out, it’s not, lol. Prior to this chapter, the average chapter length in Chinese characters was 1.7k, and this chapter and the rest will be around 3.5k. Here’s a little comparison for my xianxia readers: ISSTH has the same average, and CD has a few hundred more.