Translator: Atlas Studios Editor: Atlas Studios
“Shi Shi! Senior Sister! My dear wife! It’s not appropriate for us to go in stealthily. Why not approach them openly? We can directly ask them anything that we want to, can’t we?”
In the Little Qiong Peak’s forest, two shadows suddenly came to a halt. Two figures appeared, one tall and one short. The two of them continued to use their hidden immortal senses to survey the sorcery around them.
Jiu Wu stood in front of his Dao companion, who stood taller than him. He tried to persuade her earnestly. “Little Jiu has grown up. We cannot always remain by her side. No matter what, she is an immortal, who is 962 years and six months old. She is not a kid anymore!”
Jiu Shi, who had just been stopped by her Dao companion, rolled her eyes and tutted. “What can we ask if we approach them openly? Obviously, we have to be stealthy in order to find out the truth about things like that! Have you forgotten how we found out about Little Six and Little Seven? If we had not caught them on the mattress, they would never have admitted it! Quickly, hide! Don’t reveal your steps!”
Jiu Shi stomped her foot and grabbed Jiu Wu’s collar again. Then, she lifted him up.
The two of them turned into shadows and disappeared further into the forest.
Jiu Wu could not help but laugh bitterly. He could brag about being resourceful and intelligent in front of others, but in front of the woman he loved, he could not do anything.
Still, after traveling less than 1,000 feet, they had no choice but to stop again.
Both of their figures appeared on top of a huge tree. They began to survey the situation in front of them.
“This array formation is quite exquisitely made,” praised Jiu Wu. “The boundaries of the array formation seem to blend into the surroundings. They’re just rough around the edges, revealing a bit of their spiritual power.”
“Eh?” Jiu Shi tilted her head, causing her two pigtails to sway.
She took a closer look and nonchalantly said, “It’s just a Bewildering and Confusing Array Formation. Can’t you and I handle it? Let’s go into the array. Look at your expression. Are you unwilling? Do you still want to sleep on the bed tonight?”
Upon coming face to face with this threat, Jiu Wu immediately admitted defeat. “Yes, yes, of course, I do. It’s rare for Shi Shi to be out of seclusion…
“Forget it! I’ll go in front. If anything happens, I’ll be responsible.”
Jiu Wu sighed as he succumbed to Jiu Shi’s ‘tyrannical abuse’. He jumped down from the top of the tree and clasped his hands behind his back as he advanced. He scanned his surroundings as his mind wandered.
Jiu Wu was not thinking about whether he could undo the array formation. Actually, he did not think much about the Little Qiong Peak at all. After all, there were no immortals in the Little Qiong Peak. How powerful could their arrays be?
Instead, what he was thinking about was what it would be like if they really bumped into Little Jiu and Junior Brother Qi Yuan. It would be extremely awkward for sure.
‘There’s an 80% chance that Junior Brother Qi Yuan will not be able to make it through the Heavenly Tribulation. Is our Junior sister going to be made a widow shortly after finding a Dao companion for herself? What should we do about this?’
“Pick up the pace!” Jiu Shi, who was behind Jiu Wu, rushed him. “If you keep dilly-dallying like that, we won’t be able to see anything when we arrive!”
“Don’t rush. I’m going to find the exit of this array formation.”
Jiu Wu quickly predicted where the Life Gate of that array formation was located. Thus, he led Jiu Shi out of the very first maze.
Yet, Jiu Wu quickly stopped again. He raised his left hand, gesturing for Jiu Shi to stop walking.
“Eh? A chain array formation?”
Jiu Wu rejoiced in his heart. Rubbing his chin, he sighed and said, “Although they are simple array formations placed one after another, the fact that this person could form a chain out of them shows that he is quite smart and artistic.”
“Long-winded!” Jiu Shi tutted and then moved two steps in front of her junior brother.
She expanded her immortal awareness and quickly searched for the exit of the array formation. Curtly, she said, “Follow me.”
Jiu Wu smiled helplessly and followed behind his Dao companion and senior sister. In his heart, he wondered what he would do if the situation turned into a mess later.
At the same time, in the Pill Chamber more than five kilometers away…
Li Changshou, who was tidying up the herbs and medicine, frowned. His expression unchanging, he turned to look at Jiu Jiu, who was meditating. He began to ponder but said nothing.
‘The person beside Uncle-Master Jiu Wu should be one of the Nine Jiu Immortals, too. That’s just as well. Both of them can help me test out the effectiveness of the arrays on the bottom later.’
“I’m here. Are we starting?”
“We have to wait a while more,” replied Li Changshou, smiling. “When you get back to the Heaven-Breaking Peak, if someone asks Aunt-Master Jiu what you’ve been doing here, you can just tell them the truth. However, it’ll be best if you could keep the arrangement and quantity of the array formations here a secret for your disciple.”
“Don’t worry! I understand all these principles!”
Jiu Jiu patted her chest hard.
“Your Aunt-Master is not the kind who forgets herself after obtaining benefits. On account of the fact that you’ve given me so much Beauty’s Charm, I promise to keep my lips sealed!”
Li Changshou gave her a small smile and continued to weigh the various herbs and ingredients.
Finally, he could start refining the Immortal-Melting Pill.
However, he could only begin after the two Perfected Immortals outside left.
In the forest…
An hour had passed since the two elder Perfected Immortals of the Nine Jiu Immortals had entered the array formation.
“You solve this array,” mumbled Jiu Shi. “I am mainly trained in refining weapons. I can’t beat you and Third Senior Brother when it comes to array formations.”
Jiu Wu smiled subtly and kept his hands behind his back as he walked past his Dao companion. His short figure emitted manliness and pride!
“Follow me closely. This array formation is called the Quick Revolving Array Formation. It’s still quite a basic maze, but the Life Gate is in a strange position. It’s located at the top.”
Before he finished speaking, Jiu Wu located the array’s exit. He led Jiu Shi and jumped out of the array formation, into the next. Then, everything around them began to rotate at once.
Another hour later…
“This is strange. I think we made one full circle to return to our starting point.” Jiu Wu’s expression turned somber as he squeezed his fingers to analyze the situation. “We just passed through 24 array formations, which were linked together. Yet, these small array formations seem to form a huge, concealed array. We were led right back to our starting point as we followed the directions of the Life Gates. The creator got the best results with the least expense by setting up the array formations in this manner. I can’t say that he’s an expert, but this is very interesting. Hmm, it is very interesting, indeed.”
Jiu Shi smacked her forehead and scolded, “Resolve this! How long has it been?! According to your timing each time, you would have gotten us through three or four array formations by now!”
Jiu Wu cleared his throat. “Alright, it’s time for me to get serious. Follow me!”
At once, he pulled his Dao companion and walked briskly into the maze. Both of them quickly disappeared into the forest.
Two hours later…
“This doesn’t make sense. This shouldn’t be happening.”
Jiu Wu set cross-legged on the ground, on top of a pile of leaves. He squeezed the fingers of both of his hands, analyzing the situation.
Jiu Shi rubbed her clean, smooth, beautiful chin as she paced back and forth. She kept chanting the incantations for array formations that she knew, but they were of no use at that moment.
Their current problem was not finding Jiu Jiu in this huge array.
Instead, the main problem was that they were already—completely lost in this chain array!
No matter which direction they traveled, even up or down, they would find themselves in another maze!
They kept coming back full circle. No matter how hard they tried, they could not find the exit!
Jiu Shi said, “Why don’t we blow this array formation up?”
“We cannot. Did we come here to catch people or to blow up the mountain?” Jiu Wu smiled bitterly. “What’s more, if word gets out that we got stuck in an array formation on the Little Qiong Peak, where there are no immortals, how can we show our faces in public again?”
Jiu Shi complained, “Aren’t you an expert in array formations?”
“These are basic array formations indeed, but there is no set way to break out of chain arrays. We can only grind our way out slowly, or look for a tear between arrays. However, the person who set up these arrays covered up these tears perfectly.”
Jiu Wu smacked his forehead and said, “Come, I’ve found a way to get out of this array formation. Let’s try again!”
Thus, another two hours later…
Five feet above the ground, a flat forehead kept knocking itself against the trunk of a huge tree.
The short Daoist’s eyes were hollow and caved in. His normally bright and alert gaze was now dim and lifeless. Leaves and branches clung to his brown robe. The aura in his body was a mess.
He knocked his forehead into the tree trunk again as he laughed mirthlessly. Then, he mumbled, “It’s fake. The comprehension of array formations that I had was all fake… Even basic array formations can form such a high-level maze and trapping array when grouped together. It looks like I’ve been on the wrong path all these years… Have I been on the wrong Dao all this time, too? My Inaction Sutra is wrong as well, right? Hehe… After all, I’m just an average Perfected Immortal. Hehe…”
Jiu Shi stood by the side, at a complete loss as to what to do. She quickly got down on one knee and hugged her Dao companion.
“Junior Brother, don’t scare me like that. We can just blow up this array formation.”
“No, don’t do that. How can the person that created such an array not have been prepared for someone to try and blow it up? For all we know, it might turn into a killing array immediately… Senior Sister?”
Jiu Wu’s lips trembled as he looked up at the movingly beautiful immortal. He smiled, distressed.
“It turns out that I’m not good enough for you.”
Jiu Shi quickly hugged Jiu Wu even tighter. “Don’t say things like that. We have made an oath to the Great Dao that we would not leave each other forever, for better or for worse!”
“I am really not good enough…”
A gentle breeze blew past. A dense, white fog suddenly appeared in the forest. As quickly as it came, it dissipated.
At the same time, both of them heard a conversation not far away.
“Aunt-Master Jiu, let’s test it out. After this, we will throw these two herbs into the furnace. Then, you can—”
“Mm, no problem.”
Jiu Wu and Jiu Shi exchanged a look. The latter immediately used her skills to turn them both into shadows. Then, they escaped towards the sound.
Soon, they realized that they had just been a mere 1,000 feet away from Jiu Jiu all along!
They hid behind a huge tree and stealthily stretched their necks to look into the Pill Chamber.
Since they were going to activate the furnace and refine pills, the windows on both sides of the Pill Chamber were open. From Jiu Wu’s angle, they could see Li Changshou and Jiu Jiu discussing something in front of the furnace.
Unknowingly, it was evening. The rays of the setting sun shone through the window and onto Jiu Jiu.
Both her hands were clasped behind her back. She was on the toes of her left foot, and her body was leaning forward as she listened to the tall cultivator in front of her describe the steps of pill refinement in detail.
In the sunlight, her shoulder-length hair seemed to glow. Her skin looked shiny and moist, and her round, star-like eyes looked clear and translucent.
Her long, slender neck and curvy figure made her emit beauty from top to toe.
Beside her stood a male cultivator dressed in an azure robe, whose long hair was tied up simply with a Dao hoop.
“Martial Nephew Changshou? Could this array have been…” mumbled Jiu Wu, his face a mask of confusion.
Before he could finish speaking, a soft hand covered his mouth. Beside him, Jiu Shi giggled and sent a voice transmission. “Shh! Let’s go. We can talk when we get back. Let’s not disturb them.”
Jiu Wu looked confused. “We’re leaving just like that?”
“Otherwise…? He’s quite handsome, this young one. He looks quite reliable, too. It’s just that he’s only in the Void Return Realm… That’s not really a problem, either.”
Jiu Shi gave a small smile and held onto Jiu Wu as she activated her Dao technique.
Just then, a green leaf left its home on the tree and swayed back and forth as it descended onto Jiu Wu’s head.
‘They’re finally gone.’
Li Changshou heaved a sigh of relief. Once again, he activated the huge array formation and checked various parts of it multiple times.
‘That’s good. Nothing was exposed.’
The trapping array worked unexpectedly well. What’s more, the message, which the trapping array sent to intruders, matched Li Changshou’s original predictions.
“Let’s begin refining the pill.” As he said this, he turned around and walked towards a plain. He retrieved a pouch, which was marked Metaphysics Number Eleven, held it up in front of him, and shook it. A bunch of things fell out and landed on the ground.
Dharma robes, which looked like space suits, gloves, which could withstand corrosion by most fatal poisons, poison-resistant talismans, detoxifying spirit pills, corrosion-resistant tweezers and clips, strangely-shaped containers, and so on.
With wonder, Jiu Jiu asked, “What are these?”
“Necessary precautions we must take when refining pills,” answered Li Changshou, smiling. “I’ve prepared a set for you, Aunt-Master. We can put them on together. Although Aunt-Master’s immortal powers are rich, poison can seep through even the smallest of openings. It’s best to be careful.”
“Alright. Little Martial Nephew, you’re quite considerate for your Aunt-Master.”
Jiu Jiu blinked as she curiously moved closer to Li Changshou’s side.