In the First Song Sect:
More than ten thousand corpses had been tossed into a massive valley, piled up like a mountain.
These corpses’ condition revealed miserable deaths. Their chests were ripped open, and their hearts and livers were consumed. Their faces showed horror, sorrow, and resentment.
Five thousand spirit-assimilated cultivators stood above the valley, with snakes on their heads hissing wildly.
Fu Xue, the flood dragon, stood at the very front of the five thousand spirit-assimilated cultivators.
“Primogenitor, there are one hundred twenty-nine thousand six hundred corpses here. We ate their hearts and livers before they died. If that is not enough, there are another twenty thousand people alive outside that we can add in at any time!” one of the spirit-assimilated cultivators reported respectfully.
“One hundred twenty-nine thousand six hundred? That’s the number of an eon. That’s enough. This has gathered boundless resentment, enough to forge a ghost treasure!” Fu Xue smiled coldly.
[TL Note: The eon mentioned here is a part of a period system proposed by Song Dynasty scholar Shao Yong, dating from an assumed start of the development of human civilization. I could not find any existing English terms for the units used, so I used some existing English terms so that it would make some sense. Here is the breakdown: one eon (元 Yuan) is twelve eras (会 Hui), one era (会 Hui) is thirty cycles (运 Yun), one cycle (运 Yun) is twelve ages (世 Shi), and one age (世 Shi) is thirty years (年 Nian). Of the five units, only the term for year has an English translation. This is also made to reflect the ancient Chinese time system, where one year is twelve months, one month is thirty days, one day is twelve two-hour periods (时辰), and one two-hour period (时辰) is thirty four-minute periods (分). You can read more about this period system in this article if you are interested: https://daydaynews.cc/en/emotion/according-to-shao-yong-the-development-cycle-of-human.html]
“Ghost treasure?” that spirit-assimilated cultivator parroted in confusion.
“A ghost treasure is an enchanted treasure for capturing dragon veins. It is forged using mortal souls containing fear and resentment. Continue to scare them. We are beginning!” Fu Xue explained coldly.
“Scare them? Aren’t they already dead?”
“Although they are dead, their mortal souls are still here. You cannot see them, but they can see you. They died while being eaten by you. Their mortal souls remember that fear and horror. Hurry! Show your most ferocious appearance and make them feel even more fear and horror! Make them more resentful!” Fu Xue ordered coldly.
“Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!”
The five thousand-odd spirit assimilated cultivators showed their ferocious side.
Sinister energy seemed to gather suddenly in the valley’s surroundings.
Fu Xue extended his hand, and a crystal ball flew out.
Then, Fu Xue spat out a mouthful of poisonous gas that surrounded the crystal ball. The poisonous gas seemed to adhere to the crystal ball, looking like extended tentacles.
Whoosh! Whoosh! Whoosh!
Sinister, cold winds surged towards the crystal ball from the valley.
The sinister, cold winds slowly intensified and even started to show black streaks after some time. Strands of black energy seemed to come out from the corpse mountain and rush to the crystal ball. In the blink of an eye, the crystal ball turned jet-black and was still turning darker.
“What is this?”
“Resentful and sorrowful energy. It is not enough; continue scaring them!” Fu Xue commanded coldly.
“Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!”
The spirit-assimilated cultivators hissed even more ferociously.
Rumble…! Black energy surged into the crystal ball. The crystal ball’s surroundings turned frigid.
“Not bad! It’s a good ghost treasure. Unfortunately, it is not enough to capture a dragon vein!” Fu Xue said coldly.
“Roar!” The spirit-assimilated cultivators started running amok, appearing like demons.
The black energy strengthened again. Then, the ghost treasure absorbed the black energy. However, after the initial burst, the black energy weakened.
“Still not enough. Go down and eat!” Gu Xue commanded coldly.
“Huh? Eat? Primogenitor, we already ate their hearts and livers, though?” a spirit-assimilated cultivator said, feeling confused.
“Eat the other parts. Continue eating them!” Fu Xue said.
“Take your time. Don’t end up destroying their mortal souls. I still need them to generate an endless flow of sorrowful and resentful energy!” Fu Xue said coldly.
“Yes!” The group of spirit-assimilated cultivators immediately leaped into the valley.
The snakes rushed at the corpses filling the valley and slowly bit into them, consuming the flesh.
The surrounding black energy thickened—several times of what appeared previously. The ghost treasure’s surroundings grew increasingly colder as it radiated a sinister aura.
Buzz! The ghost treasure trembled slightly.
“Sob! Sob! Sob! Sob! Sob! Sob!”
What sounded like tens of thousands of ghosts crying out came from the ghost treasure, sounding very bleak.
“It’s alive? The ghost treasure is alive? Excellent. The number of an eon is indeed wondrous. Continue! Continue eating. I want it to become even stronger!” Fu Xue yelled, his eyes wide.
“Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss! Hiss!”
The snakes grew even more unruly. Soon, some of the corpses’ bones became exposed, presenting a bloody scene—a scene from the asura hell—inspiring chills in the hearts of anyone watching.
As Fu Xue stared at the hovering ghost treasure and the spirit-assimilated cultivators in the valley, he revealed a cold, satisfied smile.
“It’s not good! Primogenitor! Primogenitor! It’s not good! Gu Hai is here again! He is here again!” Horrified shouts suddenly came from the distance.
Some spirit-assimilated cultivators ran in from outside the ritual array.
“Huh?” Some of the spirit-assimilated cultivators in the valley were slightly startled and turned their heads to look over.
“Keep eating! Don’t stop!” Fu Xue said coldly.
Chomp! Chomp! Chomp! Chomp!
The spirit-assimilated cultivators below continued consuming the corpses. However, the spirit-assimilated cultivators who came to make the report felt a chill in their hearts, their expressions changing.
“What’s going on?” Fu Xue turned his head and looked at the new arrivals.
“Primogenitor! Gu Hai is here, and he is here with his ritual array! His ritual array!” the spirit-assimilated cultivator he looked at replied anxiously.
“Gu Hai? He still dares to come?! Humph!” A corner of Fu Xue’s mouth quirked in a trace of a sneer.
Fu Xue looked up at that increasingly sinister ghost treasure. With a cold smile, he said, “Continue eating. I’ll go and capture Gu Hai. I’ll make his mortal soul contribute a portion of sorrow and resentment to the ghost treasure. Hahahaha!”
As Fu Xue spoke, he pushed off the ground and rushed to the exit of the ritual array.
Outside the Gold Armor Water Crystal Ritual Array:
After Gu Hai scared away the spirit-assimilated cultivators, he immediately cut the ropes binding one of the ordinary people.
“Many thanks, Benefactor! Many thanks!” that person cried out gratefully.
“Hurry, rescue me! Hurry!”
“Me too! Me too! Hurry!”
The surrounding people urged anxiously.
“Don’t waste time speaking. Save the others. Hurry!” Gu Hai shouted.
As Gu Hai spoke, he quickly cut the ropes binding another person. The people he just rescued went on to cut the ropes of other bound people. Over time, they released more people.
The group of ordinary people started helping to save the others, expediting the process. Shortly after, they had released everyone.
“Many thanks, Benefactor!”
“Many thanks, Benefactor!”
“Many thanks, Benefactor!”
Countless people gratefully looked to Gu Hai. Many even knelt and continuously kowtowed to him.
Suddenly, what felt like a cool breeze blew at Gu Hai, giving him a comfortable feeling that spread throughout his body, as though all his pores opened up.
While Gu Hai’s cultivation did not increase, it was an incredibly wondrous sensation.
“This is…?” Gu Hai revealed a shocked expression.
“This is providence!” A voice suddenly rang out by Gu Hai’s ears.
“Providence?” Gu Hai looked at the nearby foggy area, feeling bewildered.
It was Venerable Liu Nian who projected his voice to Gu Hai.
“That’s right. Providence. It is the sincere gratitude that people have for you. Every person contributes one portion of beneficence. There are twenty thousand people here; that is twenty thousand portions of a beneficent providence. One hundred twenty-nine thousand six hundred portions make one eon. Providence is counted with eon as the unit. You still have not reached the number of an eon. However, you have obtained twenty thousand portions. When you gain the portions individually, you cannot feel it; however, gaining twenty thousand portions in one go allowed you to experience it.”
“Providence? What is it used for?” Gu Hai asked, feeling curious.
“What is it used for? It can be used to establish sects or dynasties. It can be used for longevity, becoming immortal. Of course, while you won’t die while you have providence, when it runs out, you will die,” Venerable Liu Nian explained.
“Oh? Did the Clear River Sect and First Song Sect manage mundane nations, nurturing ordinary people for the sake of increasing their providence? No, it should be for harvesting providence?” Gu Hai’s expression changed as he looked towards the fog.
“You will understand in the future. One hundred twenty-nine thousand six hundred portions of beneficence form one eon of providence. How much have you obtained so far? You will understand how profound this providence is in the future!” Venerable Liu Nian’s voice rang out again.
Just at this moment, a gale suddenly blew from the Gold Armor Water Crystal Ritual Array’s entrance.
“Gu Hai!” A cold shout came from the Gold Armor Water Crystal Ritual Array.
“Ah! The demon is back. He is back!” the twenty thousand ordinary people shouted in horror.
The people who were still showing their gratitude to Gu Hai fled in a panic. Many people jumped into the nearby water.
Fu Xue led a few spirit-assimilated cultivators out of the ritual array and looked at Gu Hai across the distance.
Gu Hai arched his eyebrows tauntingly as he looked at Fu Xue.
Fu Xue raised his head and saw the surging fog near Gu Hai.
“Haha! The Twenty-Eight Line-Pair World Ritual Array again?” Fu Xue sneered.
“Primogenitor, the ordinary people are fleeing!” a spirit-assimilated cultivator shouted.
“Fleeing? No one can flee!” Fu Xue crooned coldly.
Suddenly, a poisonous red fog surged out of Fu Xue’s sleeves, instantly filling the place, like a large enclosure trapping everyone.
“Don’t touch that poison fog. If you touch it, you will die!”
“Ah?! That is the poison fog that killed our entire town?”
“No! Save me!”
The ordinary people shouted in horror.
Fu Xue stretched out his right hand, and a strong suction suddenly appeared, trying to pull Gu Hai over.
A golden manifested finger appeared in the vast fog and charged at Fu Xue.
The manifested finger’s strong aura caused Fu Xue’s expression to change. He turned and threw a palm strike.
A loud sound rang out, and Fu Xue’s figure paused.
The fog suddenly moved, instantly shifting in front of Gu Hai and shielding him.
Fu Xue showed a ferocious expression as he extended his hand and waved. “Your ritual array can move? Humph! Do you think you are the only one who knows how to use ritual arrays? Ten Thousand Rivers Flow into the Sea, Cutting across the Heavenly River!”
The surrounding water suddenly splashed up and surged towards Gu Hai and the fog. A huge wave charged at them, looking like it wanted to wash away the fog.
“Amitābha!” Venerable Liu Nian shouted coldly.
A golden palm appeared, instantly dyeing the sky golden. A powerful aura spread out as the manifested palm thrust at Fu Xue.
“That’s not right! This…this is not the Twenty-Eight Line-Pair World Ritual Array!” Fu Xue’s expression changed.
Fu Xue waved his hand, and the surrounding water crashed into the fog.
The fog scattered, revealing a white-clad Venerable Liu Nian.
Venerable Liu Nian’s golden manifested palm also approached Fu Xue.
Fu Xue hurriedly sent out an attack to counter the golden manifested palm.
A loud report rang out, and a storm blew in the surroundings. The attack knocked Fu Xue into the air and caused him to take his flood dragon form.
The flood dragon let out a roar, and the surrounding seawater rushed up in towering waves. Dark clouds filled the sky, presenting an apocalyptic scene.
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