Before coming here, An Zheng had thought that the Illusory Perennial Domicile had been the only place to live withinthe Blue Boorish Mountain. If people had not been pushed to a dead-end, then they must have came here unwillingly, or they were refugees.. If not, no one would have come to such a place in the middle of nowhere like this place. People of the Sixteen Kingdoms of You Yan had wanted to hide themselves from war, or they were the scoundrels who were being hunted down by the criminal justice system. Those were the reasons why they came to live in the Blue Boorish Mountain. These people had the same thoughts that they would have died no matter where they had lived. Therefore, it would have been better for them to have risked their lives in the Blue Boorish Mountain because they might have had a better chance to live.
The terrain here was dangerous and rough, so why had the people made a road here? Moreover, the rock wall was shinny, and there were even wallpapers on it…
The existence of the wallpapers was not too special. The South or the West where there were original Mediation Sects, wallpapers were quite developed. However, in the North where everything was chaotic, it would have been very hard to be able to have seen the wallpapers. The content of the wallpapers were usually about an event of a sect, climate, or about something that was important.
However, the wallpapers which An Zheng was looking at were all about battles.
They showed the bloody scenes of murder. People in the wallpapers looked like the slavers who were digging out something. After that, some black objects jumped out from the mountain and had killed them all. Continuously, there might have been an army coming towards the mountain, and there was also a practitioner who was controlling the flying swords. Finally, the army and the practitioner had won, and those black creatures were caught or killed.
The remaining wallpapers had peeled off due to their old age, so nothing could now be clearly seen. Behind An Zheng, the Unicorn engraved Bird still did not give up. It still broke the cave with its beak. Therefore, An Zheng did not dare to stop. He followed the road to keep going forward. At the broken areas, he had followed the cave wall to climb up. After about ten miles, the path was now wider.
There was a big crack in front of him leading towards a valley. From the cave, the entrance was very small. An Zheng came from the south, and he looked at the north from afar, so he could see the northern border of the valley from the cave.
When they had moved into the valley, the kitten then went out from An Zheng’s chest. The star reflecting in its eyes was moving very rapidly. It looked at the valley and said meow as if it was quite excited.
An Zheng followed the rock wall to climb down and realized that there were plants growing in the valley, and these plants werecompletely different from the ones growing on the outside. The plants were a couple of evolution cycles different from the mainstays of the herbs and vegetations that were growing on the outside. He felt as if he had just entered the entrance of the highly fabled Shangri-La. He was even more amazed when he saw that the valley full of medicinal herbs. Moreover, there were also white and red herbs, so it must have been the reason why the Unicorn engraved Bird was still on the outside. It was due to the herbal valley inside of the mountain. Based on the scale of the herbal valley, he thought that someone had seeded and cultivated the valley. However, no one had taken care of the valley for a very long time. Therefore, the herbs had grown very disorderly.
From An Zheng’s position, he could see that small pieces of stones had been arranged in a line, but most of them were hidden by the herbs.
He followed the small road to get closer. The closer that he came, the more surprised that he was. Because no one had harvested this herbal valley, the herbs had grown very well. It was very hard to see the fourth-level ginsengs in the outside world, but there were at least some of them in there. There were ginsengs, Giant Jade Lingzhi, and the Snake Bone Grass… this place was really a big botanical museum.
If someone had found this place, a bloody battle might have ensued. The army of the Sixteen Kingdoms of You Yan would have tried by all means to have taken over this place. If people of the underworld had known about this place, it would have become a graveyard for the practitioners.
Some basic herbs had even evolved to jade or even the white level because they had grown up in a perfect enviroment, so its conditions were immaculate. Therefore, An Zheng began to wonder why the soil in this area was so special.
After about three miles, An Zheng saw a cottage.
– “Anybody here?”
An Zheng tried asking, but no one answered.
He moved forward carefully, and he unclearly saw a person behind the windows. He stopped with haste and said with his hands clasping:
– “I visited this place by accident. I really don’t want to bother you, Senior. Please forgive me.”
This place was not an ownerless place. If An Zheng had wanted to ask for some herbs but the host did not accept, then he would have just asked for a way out. However, after some questions, the person still did not answer, so An Zheng said ‘excuse me’ and moved towards that person. When he was close to the windows, he then realized that the person was just a dried up corpse, and he did not know for how long that person had been dead for.
Because the herbs there were green and the herbal air was strong, the corpse had not been rotten yet. The corpse was of a man around seventy years old. He sat next to the windows and looked outside. His eyes had not been ruined yet, and they revealed loneliness. Although he was a dried up corpse, he seemed to use to have been a special man when he was alive, a courageous man.
– “He must have been a venerable senior living in solitude.”
An Zheng bowed to the dried corpse respectfully:
– “I just need some herbs, so I will not destroy this place. This is your lifetime confidant, so I will not dare to destroy anything.”
Having bowed, he looked around:
– “Although I don’t know who you are, I think other people may have disrespected you if they had seen this place. So, I would like tomake a tomb and bury you.”
He looked around the cottage and saw that it was terribly ragged and that it could have collapsed at any given second.
Coming closer to the corpse, An Zheng found some texts on the table. They must have been from the old man before he had died.
Guarding the tomb for five hundred years,
and no fairy found at last.
Looking at this human world,
and asking whose karma that was?
An Zheng could not explain the meaning of this poem. If explained based on the texts, then this senior had lived more than five hundred years ago or even longer. He insisted on living alone here in order to guard an ancient tomb? But why did he say ‘no fairy found at last’, and then asking ‘whose karma that was’? Without knowing of the situation of this senior at that time, I will never understand the meaning of the poem.
An Zheng knelt down on one leg:
“I have bothered you by accident. Rest in peace!”
Having finished speaking, he stood up and brought the dried corpse out. When he had just gotten out of the doorway, the cottage collapsed, and there was only a stack of straws left.
An Zheng was frightened, and he consoled himself: “The cottage collapsed after its owner left, which meant it was faithful to its owner.”
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Not far from the cottage was a hill, and there was a lonely pine on the hill, so An Zheng carried the dried corpse there. When having arrived there, he gently put the corpse down, and then he dug a hole next to the pine with his hands. When he stood up, his look had changed, and his eyes opened widely.
The dried corpse sat cross-legged there, and its appearance was decourous.
An Zheng was terribly scared, so he stood up but didn’t know what to do.
The dried corpse still maintained its manner like when he was leaning on the window. When An Zheng had brought the dried corpse up, he felt that the corpse was hard as a rock. What had happened when he had been digging the hole? Although An Zheng was full of experience, he had never witnessed a hundreds-year dead body sit up. This was so ghastly.
Although the dried corpse had been well maintained, its blood was completely dried up. Therefore, its appearance was quite scary. At that time, the dried corpse had maintained sitting down seriously. It clasped its two hands together, and it seemed to smile at An Zheng. Moreoever, its facial expression had also changed. Such a situation like that had scared An Zheng although he was courageous. An Zheng was terribly frightened, and his heart beat strongly.
– “Senior… you… you…”
An Zheng swallowed saliva and prayed: “Please don’t answer me.”
It was lucky for him that the dried corpse did not say anything. Otherwise, it would have frightened An Zheng out of his wits. However, although the dried corpse did not say anything, it changed its manners again, hands clasping together and head nodding a little as if it was saying thanks to An Zheng. An Zheng was surprised, and then he also clasped his hands:
– “Senior, you don’t need to thank me. This is what I should do. If you still have something uncompleted and it is still in my capacity, I will not refuse.”
An Zheng was quite frightened, so he spoke without carefully thinking, and then he regretted it. What should he have done if the dried corpse had asked him to kill someone? This man was dead since a long time ago, so his enemy might have also died a very long time ago as well.
The dried corpse raised its hand slowly. One hand pointed to the sky, and another one pointed to the earth. An Zheng was terribly surprised: “Asking you a question, do you mean you used to go to the heaven and the earth, being the selfish one of monolatry?”
The dried corpse maintained its manner for quite a long time, and then An Zheng understood that the old man pointed to the sky meant he would like his soul to go to the heaven. Another hand pointed to the earth because at that time, they were standing on the hill. He pointed to the earth, which meant he had pointed to the herbal valley.
– “Senior, don’t worry. I will never tell anyone about this place. I will not let your life-achievement be ruined.”
An Zheng clasped his hands to pay his respects, and then he found that the finger of the dried corpse pointed to another direction. Following the finger’s direction, he saw a mountain behind the valley. The mountain was sharply high, and it looked as if a great sword was pitched there. An Zheng recalled the word ‘Guarding the tomb for five hundred years’ and wondered if there was an ancient tomb there. An Zheng was thoughtful for a while and asked:
– “Senior, you mean I should bury you there, don’t you?”
Suddenly, the dried corpse put down its hand, and its head had also turned down.
An Zheng looked at the ahead mountain. It was more dangerous than climbing on the rock wall. However, once An Zheng had promised, he would not have changed his mind. He said ‘excuse me’, and then he tied the dried corpse to the robe on his back. Carrying the dried corpse, An Zheng went directly to the mountain. The further he went, the colder he felt.
At first An Zheng thought that he was scared because he was carrying a dried corpse on his back, which was not a normal thing to do, but later he felt frozen when he had gotten near to the mountain because the water turned into ice there due to the freezing temparature. However, the surrounding plants had no changes, and they were still green.
Until An Zheng had arrived at the foot of the mountain, he saw a door behind a tussock.
The door was made of wood, and it was terribly ruined. An Zheng tried pushing it, and some dust flew toward him. An Zheng went forward carefully, and he found there was nothing more than the darkness and the coldness in there.
After that, he saw other dried up corpses…
An Zheng saw seven dried corpses sitting cross-legged. The corpse of the senior in the herbal valley was not ruined thanks to the strong herbal air. However, the corpses in this cave were not ruined because the inside temperature was many times lower than the outside. Therefore, these seven peoplehad not even had their faces changed because of the preserving temperature. It would be better to say that they were frozen to death.
An Zheng clasped his hands and said ‘excuse me’ to the dried corpses. When he stood up, he realized that those seven people were sitting around a strange ancient rock dais. Seven people had sat around the rock dais, and each person wore a coldly shinny long sword on their backs. Looking at their clothes, An Zheng did not know where they came from, and he had not ever seen such styles like that.
At that time, wind blew from nowhere, and it cleaned off all the dust covering the rock dais. The dust was cleaned, and a crystal coffin appeared under the dust layer.
An Zheng talked to himself: “Maybe this is the coffin which the senior had prepared for himself. He might have been offended when he had seen me digging a hole for him.” However, An Zheng did not dare to speak out any further because he was afraid that the dried corpse behind would have given him a thick ear.
He untied the dried corpse, and then he gentlylowered it into the crystal coffin.
At that time, something fell down from the dried corpse and made a sound, then rolled towards An Zheng.
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