Chapter 3: To Die Before Victory
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
Just thinking about how the person on his back was Meng Chongguang, Xu Xingzhi only felt a chill running down his back
The crucial thing was that he did not know how to reply to Meng Chongguang’s words.
Firstly, it was clear that these people knew Xu Xingzhi, but he did not know how the original Xu Xingzhi acted around these people and the image he portrayed to them.
Secondly, with regards to any resentments or kindness that happened between Meng Chongguang and Xu Xingzhi in those previous years, Xu Xingzhi was unaware of them.
According to logic, Meng Chongguang murdered their master and even caused Xu Xingzhi to be expelled from the immortal sect. The original Xu Xingzhi should have hated Meng Chongguang to the extreme.
It was a long spear that saved Xu Xingzhi from this problematic situation.
While he was hesitating on how to answer, a sharp and cold light swept across, and a tip of a spear was pointed straight at Xu Xingzhi’s chest.
Xu Xingzhi unconsciously raised up both his hand and took a step back, blurting out, “… Oh no.”
He regretted the moment these words flew out of his mouth.
When he was still Xu Ping, he would always have some improper phrases. If the original Xu Xingzhi did not have this kind of indecent nonsense personality, he might have already exposed himself.
While he was still contemplating, Xu Xingzhi suddenly heard a cracking sound.
—The body of the spear was cracked open right in front of his eyes.
The tip of the spear faced the sky as it was bent into two and showed a white stalk.
Meng Chongguang’s left hand was gripping at the crack of the spear. His eyes never blinked as he continued to stare at the young man holding the spear with the intention to impale. His tone lacked any special emotions. “…Zhou Beinan, get down.”
The young man named Zhou Beinan clutched at the broken spear and had no desire to back off.
The threat was useless so Meng Chongguang gave no more mercy. He pulled off the tip of the spear from the body, and with a flip of his hand, he hurled them back to Zhou Beinan.
Zhou Beinan instantly dodged, but his neck was still torn. Flesh blood instantly gushed down.
… The ghost servants controlled by ghost cultivation wouldn’t be harmed by any normal magic artifacts. Only the magic artifacts held by the ghost soldiers could damage the shells of those ghosts servants.
The tip of the spear pierced through the huge stone behind him like it was a tofu. It exploded and pulverized into powder.
Meng Chongguang’s voice was heavy. “… Do not point this thing at Senior Brother.”
Zhou Beinan showed no fear and rotated his palm. The broken spear flipped around and lifted Xu Xingzhi’s chin. He questioned Meng Chongguang, “Is this really Xu Xingzhi? Do you believe it?”
He turned towards the audience. “…Do all of you believe?”
Seeing that no one answered him, leading the situation to become even more unpleasant, Xu Xingzhi was brazen and shamelessly lifted up his arms. “I believe.”
Zhou Beinan had a cold smile on his face. “You? Aren’t you afraid you are just a Walking Corpse of Jiu Zhideng?”
In the real world, Xu Xingzhi read numerous books. He once saw a record about “Walking Corpse” in a mystery collection.
“Walking Corpse” was a type of monster transformed from a corpse. Its appearance, speech, and actions were all the same as an ordinary human. It could even think, live, and eat like a living human.
However, Walking Corpses did not have any feelings. They cannot distinguish between love and hate. Black and white were reversed in their eyes, making them unable to differentiate light and darkness. Likewise, they couldn’t tell the difference between hot and cold. They live to only follow the orders and control of their master.
Zhou Beinan did not continue any irrelevant talks. He withdrew the spear and his left hand gathered a ghost fire. He walked towards Xu Xingzhi and shoved the fire in his face.
The firelight stopped at three inches before Xu Xingzhi’s eyes.
The ghost fire was a stern agidity but it wouldn’t burn. However, the bone-rooted chill still formed a layer of frost on Xu Xingzhi’s face.
In order to maintain the image of the original Xu Xingzhi that was almost ruined by himself, Xu Xingzhi forced himself to not close his eyes and watched as a layer of frost formed on his lashes.
With the burning of the ghost fire, Zhou Beinan’s original steadiness was shaken.
It stood to reason that a real Walking Corpse would mistake a cold flame as a hot flame, hence instinctively avoiding it out of fear.
He stared at Xu Xingzhi incredulously. “How could it be? …You are not a Walking Corpse?”
Xu Xingzhi had nothing to say.
He clasped his hands behind his back, unfathomable but extremely guilty as he looked at Zhou Beinan.
Zhou Beinan waved his hand and the ghost fire turned into thousands of blue fireflies, dissipating away.
However, he still retained doubts that weren’t willing to part. He said to Meng Chongguang, “…Go and take out his magic artifact. I will battle him now and I will know if he is real or not.”
Xu Xingzhi had no choice but to remind him. “I am nothing but a mortal.”
Zhou Beinan naturally did not believe his words. “You mean you were removed of your immortal roots?”
Xu Xingzhi did not agree nor disagree.
Zhou Beinan gave a bleak laugh. “Impossible, according to what I know, no one ever survived after having his immortal roots removed.”
Xu Xingzhi: “That is what you know.”
Zhou Beinan didn’t speak anymore and directly grabbed his shoulder.
Before Zhou Beinan could touch him, Xu Xingzhi’s right wrist was captured by Meng Chongguang.
His strength was tremendous and Xu Xingzhi was almost pulled away by him.
He blocked Xu Xingzhi behind him, and a terrible cold aura was laced in his voice. “If he is a Walking Corpse and dares to use Senior Brother’s face. I would have killed him when I first met him.”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
He rubbed at his chilly neck, thinking, who exactly taught this child? So impolite.
He was so kind-heartened to carry him home and he actually wanted to kill him.
But thinking of his purpose, Xu Xingzhi shut his mouth.
…Anyway he wasn’t not a good person either, so what was the point of the kettle calling the pot black?
Meng Chongguang paused for a moment before continuing. “Senior Brother has indeed lost his power, I had already checked on the way back. The spiritual veins inside his body no longer function and there is no more spiritual energy flowing within him.”
After speaking, he turned and his voice instantly softened. “… Senior Brother, is this what happened?”
If he did not have to play the Senior Brother who had been pitted by him, if he did not know that the person in front of him was a savage demon, if he did not come here to kill him, Xu Xingzhi would think that this child looked pretty adorable.
Xu Xingzhi resisted the urge to touch his head and looked away.
Meng Chongguang also felt his resistance and the light in his eyes dimmed before fading away. He was like an ownerless puppy begging for a pat.
Zhou Beinan seemed to have believed somehow, but he still had his suspicion. “Are you certain that he is not someone pretending to be him?”
Skeleton girl could no longer endure this. “Brother Zhou…”
Zhou Beinan thought for a moment. His brow picked up as if he had thought of a perfect verification method.
Xu Xingzhi noticed his change of expression and he began to concentrate and prepare for his next difficult question.
Zhou Beinan said, “… Since young, you have given me a dozen nicknames. As long as you can say three, I will believe that you are Xu Xingzhi.”
…Nickname, and there was actually more than ten fucking nicknames.
Xu Xingzhi felt that the original owner was not a very proper senior brother.
However, after Xu Xingzhi verified with those scattered memories, the original owner actually did such a boring thing.
There were four celestial mountains in the immortal sect. Xu Xingzhi and Meng Chongguang were the disciples of Fengling Mountain. Zhou Beinan was the son of Ying Tian Island, and the other two were Danyang Peak and Qingliang Valley.
The original owner’s memory was extremely fragmented. Xu Xingzhi could only see from some messy fragments that whenever the original owner and Zhou Beinan faced each other, they would squash and beat each other. Their relationship was very bad. As a result, Xu Xingzhi gave him a dozen nicknames to highlight the special status of Zhou Beinan in his mind.
Xu Xingzhi paused for a moment and from his scattered memories, he flipped out a nickname: “Beibei.”
Zhou Beinan: “…”
Xu Xingzhi: “Pumpkin1.”
Zhou Beinan: “…”
Xu Xingzhi: “Ah, there’s still Ah-men2.”
Zhou Beinan couldn’t tolerate it anymore. “…Shut up!”
The twin sword maiden let out a peal of joyful laughter.
Zhou Beinan’s reputation wasn’t hanging securely. He turned his head and scolded, “Why are you laughing? What is there to laugh?”
The maiden wasn’t afraid. “Uncle, I understand the first two nicknames, but what does “Ah Men” means?”
Xu Xingzhi peeked his head out from Meng Chongguang’s back. He kindly explained, “Because when he was young, he was a fatty. ‘Zhou Beinan’ means ‘door to the north and south’. This nickname was too sloppy, so to make it simple, I called him ‘Ah Men’.”
Zhou Beinan’s ears were red. He threw the broken spear in his hand to the ground. “Xu Xingzhi, do you want to be beaten up?”
Xu Xingzhi hid behind Meng Chongguang, pretending to be dead.
In between the conversations, a black shadow ran from afar.
… It was the ghost mask youth on top of the cliff just now.
Xu Xingzhi had yet to make any reactions when the youth had already sent himself to his chest. His voice was laced with sobbing sound, “Senior Brother Xu!”
This youth was indeed short, only reaching to Xu Xingzhi’s chin. His face not covered by the horrifying mask was clean and clear. If one was to look briefly, they might identify him as a child.
Xu Xingzhi was stunned by the hug and since he wasn’t able to call out his name, he lifted his hand and touched his hair. “…En, it’s me.”
The youth lifted his head and behind the mask was a faint green round iris, and it made him look like a young fox. “Senior Brother Xu, it has been thirteen years, where have you been?”
Xu Xingzhi smiled bitterly.
… Wait a minute, let me fabricate something out.
He had yet to make anything up when the youth was pulle out from his embrace.
Xu Xingzhi was unsure if it was just his illusion but Zhou Beinan’s expression was getting uglier. He pointed at the spear broken by Meng Chongguang, and told the youth, “… Fix it.”
The ghost mask youth was struggling. “Senior Brother is still here, let me ask him first…”
After Zhou Beinan’s eyes swept around Meng Chongguang, he forcibly pulled the ghost mask youth away. “It isn’t your turn to talk to him now.”
The ghost mask youth seemed to understand something and obediently closed his mouth.
Meng Chongguang didn’t greet anyone else but pulled Xu Xingzhi’s left wrist and walked straight to the tower’s internal.
Xu Xingzhi wanted to break free from him but he was helpless due to his lack of strength. He could only be dragged away like a dog.
In a hurry, Xu Xingzhi looked back and realized that the skeleton girl who had treated Meng Chongguang’s burns was staring at him.
When Xu Xingzhi looked back at her, she bowed her head in a hurry and turned away.
Her straight black hair was tied in a band and as she left, it flew like a wave.
When the two entered the tower, the twin sword maiden went to the ghost mask youth’s side and curiously asked, “Big Brother Lu, is that the Senior Brother Xu who was oftenly mentioned?”
The ghost mask youth was fiddling with the broken spear, it was obvious that he was not happy. “He is.”
The twin sword maiden grabbed at her short haircut that was in a mess. “Why do I think that he is frivolous?”
The ghost mask youth said: “Although Senior Brother Xu seemed to be frivolous, he is the nicest person in the world.”
Zhou Beinan rolled his eyes: “Ah.”
The ghost mask youth turned to face Zhou Beinan and said angrily, “Why are you smiling? And still smiling! You should know fixing ghost artifacts uses a lot of energy! Can’t you use it more carefully?”
Zhou Beina:“…Can, can, can.”
Afterwards, Zhou Beinan turned to the twin sword maiden. “Ah-wang, where is Qu Chi and Tao Xian?“
Zhou Wang answered, “I heard that in some spirit stones were discovered between the south mountains. Godmother and Godfather went to get the spirit stones. They will probably be back after midnight.”
Zhou Beinan thought carefully for a moment and pulled Zhou Wang before seriously saying, “Help uncle with a favour, okay?”
Zhou Wang turned her ears toward him and Zhou Beinan told her what happened.
The ghost mask youth who was standing at the side abruptly lifted his head. “Zhou Beinan, are you still suspecting Senior Brother Xu?”
Zhon Beinan: ”…Why are you eavesdropping my conversation with Ah-wang?”
The ghost mask youth said angrily. “You are my ghost servant, your eyes are my eyes, your ears are my ears. Do you think I really want to listen?”
There was nothing Zhou Beinan could do anyway, he might as well tell them frankly, “For thirteen years, Xu Xingzhi was missing and now he suddenly appeared. I do not believe that he came without a purpose. All of you don’t forget, Jiu Zhideng always wanted us dead!”
As he was saying, he looked at the bronze gate of the tower, he coldly said, “…Especially Meng Chongguang who has stayed in the wilderness for 13 years yet he never dies. I’m afraid he had already became that person’s heart thorn.”
Inside the tower.
Different from the bleak and desolate exterior of the tower, the inner tower was adorned with elegant and stillness just as if there was living water flowing through it. There was flowstone and paintings on the walls, with static shadows sinking between the walls with hazy water mists.
If Xu Xingzhi was to walk into a paradise, then he would be the savage fisherman.
Meng Chongguang gently waved his hand and a door made of bamboo opened.
He introduced Xu Xingzhi to the room. The tables and chairs were all prepared and there were even ornaments decorated with gems and the likes.
Meng Chongguang softly called, “Senior Brother, this is your room. I had already prepared for you since a long time ago. I have placed all the objects exactly the same way as before, but some of the items could not be found in the wilderness. Don’t be angry, I will get them all one by one for Senior Brother in the future.
Xu Xingzhi pretended to be indifferent. “En.”
Meng Chongguang pulled Xu Xingzhi to sit at the bed. His eyes shone with a strange light. “Senior Brother touched Lu Yujiu just now. Could you touch my hair now too?”
Very good, so the ghost mask youth is called Lu Yujiu. Next time, he would not have to worry about not being able to call out his name.
As Xu Xingzhi was pondering, he did not look at Meng Chongguang nor did he answer his question. He only looked elsewhere.
This one gaze, Xu Xingzhi saw a delicate bamboo fan neatly placed at the end of the bed. It looked quite mysterious.
Xu Xingzhi took it with his left hand and slowly unfolded the fan.
Eleven words on the surface of the fan: “At this moment in the wide world, who can contain me?”
The other side, “The first in Sky Rank, Xu Xingzhi of Fengling.”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
Meng Chongguang who was being ignored cleverly came together. “Senior Brother, I have always been keeping your magic artifact, do you like it?”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
He felt that the taste of the original owner was a mystery.
Xu Xingzhi wanted to put the fan back to its original position, but the moment his hand just reached out to the bed, a vine swiftly came out from the foot of the bed and tightly wrapped around Xu Xingzhi’s left wrist.
Xu Xingzhi was horrified. “What is this?”
There was happiness laced in Meng Chongguang’s voice. “Senior Brother, you are finally willing to talk to me.”
Xu Xingzhi: “…Alright, I will talk to you, put this thing away.”
The rough vines did not seem like it had any intention to let him go.
Meng Chongguang who was full of hope asked, “When Senior Brother was carrying me back, didn’t you say that the reason you came to the wilderness was to look for me? I am here. Senior Brother don’t go anywhere else, okay?”
Xu Xingzhi: ”…”
Seeing that Xu Xingzhi was not making any sound, Meng Chongguang could not conceal his dismay. He stood up and said, “Since Senior Brother is not willing to talk to me, I will wait a little longer.”
Seeing that he was really leaving, he couldn’t help but urgently yelled, “Let go of me!”
Meng Chongguang who was already at the door and was shocked by Xu Xingzhi’s shout and had turned his head back.
There were actually tears swirling in his eyes.
“Senior Brother, please be patient for now. Everything I did is for Senior Brother. The wilderness is too dangerous, as long as Senior Brother stays at Chongguang’s side, you will be safe. I beg Senior Brother to accommodate to Chongguang’s request. Please stay.”
Xu Xingzhi: “…”
If he was not in a tied-up state that he could not even move, just by seeing Meng Chongguang’s face full of grievances, ten out of ten people would feel that the one being tied up was Meng Chongguang.
Xu Xingzhi still harbored a seam of hope. “Let go of me, I’m not going anywhere.”
Meng Chongguang pondered for a while before he asked, “Senior Brother don’t like the vines?”
Xu Xingzhi nodded: “…En.”
…Vines bred insects easily, Xu Xingzhi was extremely terrified of insects.
Meng Chongguang was unwilling. “…Fine.”
Very soon, Meng Chongguang closed the door and left.
Xu Xingzhi meaninglessly rested on the head of the bed. The vines that were originally coiled around his left hand transformed into a sturdy gold shackle with a luxurious brilliance.
He moved his wooden hand to touch the dagger on his wrist, feeling truly doleful.
…This must be the so-called to die before gaining victory.