AWG - Chapter 0022: Greatly Ominous Place
After bathing and dressing, Yang Wu looked young, sprightly, and elegant once more. Though his skin had darkened under the harsh sun, it shone like smooth bronze. With his slender, well-proportioned build, his noble air gained an unruly edge.
Wan Lanxin gazed at him appreciatively, silently praising, At last, the little virgin boy has grown up.
“Let’s talk about you now. What happened to the Yang Clan? With Uncle Yang’s status as a count, causing trouble for your clan shouldn’t have been easy.” The lady got straight to the point.
Yang Zhennan had been more than just a count; he had also been a scholar general. He had held an official fourth-class position, and his father had been a third-class official. The family had served the empire for generations. Aside from the Imperial Clan itself, who could possibly take such a prominent family down?
[TL Note: The importance and paygrade of ancient imperial court officials are determined by their grades since Emperor Qianlong (1736–1796) of the Qing dynasty. The lower the grade number, the more authority that official has. The imperial court has two kinds of official posts, civil and military. Civil officials have a total of nineteen grades, from upper-first grade, lower-first grade, upper-second grade, and so forth until lower-ninth grade, and ungraded. Military officials had twenty grades, they have the same structure as civil officials with one additional grade above upper-first grade: transcendent grade. By being a scholar general, Yang Zhennan was likely considered both a civil official and military official. An upper-fourth grade civil official would be something like a deputy minister of justice or one of the major deputy ministers. A lower-fourth grade civil official would likely be a chancellor for one of the academies. As for the upper-fourth military officials, a deputy commander to a division or brigade is one of the possible positions and likely the position Yang Zhennan held.]
Indignant, Yang Wu snarled, “It was that bitch, Tang Jiaoyan!”
“Are you talking about that arrogant young princess?” Wan Lanxin hesitantly asked.
The man nodded slightly and proceeded to give a brief account of the events.
Tang Jiaoyan was Archduke Tang Fu-an’s daughter. The Archduke was the Emperor’s biological younger brother and considered part of the Imperial Clan. Born a lower princess, Tang Jiaoyan was only one level below an imperial princess, the Emperor’s daughters. Given her high status, she was, by nature, wilful and arrogant. As she was close in age to Yang Wu, she had taken a liking to the handsome young man. Thus, she had approached her father, asking him to speak on her behalf to arrange a marriage between the two. Of course, Yang Wu had not been interested. Although she was pretty, her character left much to be desired. Furthermore, he had already found a sweetheart, and he promptly rejected the proposal.
His refusal had infuriated the Princess, and somehow, news of the failed proposal had leaked to the public, embarrassing the Archduke. Not only had the Princess become a laughingstock, but her father had lost respect as well. His temper hit the roof at the public embarrassment, while his daughter could only shed tears as others laughed.
Still, Archduke Fu-an had needed more than just the embarrassment to take his revenge out on the Yang Clan. At most, he would have been able to make their lives a little more inconvenient.
However, Tang Yanjiao had refused to swallow her pride. She had found some people to set Yang Wu up, convincing the public that he had been caught while trying to rape her. Her father seized the opportunity to cause a commotion and raid the Yang Clan. He attacked before submitting a formal report, but once his goal had been accomplished, the Yang Clan had lost any standing to file a complaint. Since the matter affected the Imperial Clan’s reputation, Yang Wu had been facing execution, but his brother, Yang Wen, had offered to sacrifice the title he had earned as a top scholar in exchange for Yang Wu and his family’s survival. If his brother had not made the sacrifice, Yang Wu would never have been sent to the mountain prison.
After listening to Yang Wu’s side of the events, Wan Lanxin was so furious that her delicate fingers, clenched in tight fists, had gone white. “That bitch! She deserves death!” she roared.
Resigned, Yang Wu shrugged it off. “You don’t have to get so angry about it, big sister. She was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, so it was my fault for stepping on her toes and disrespecting her. It was only right that I be punished, but she had no excuse for implicating my clan.” The man ended his speech with a venomous tone.
“Usually, you’re pretty smart. So, how were you dumb enough to walk into her trap?” The woman retorted with a face-palm.
The young man clenched his fists as he replied, “At the time, I had reckoned I owed her an explanation and hoped to mend the relationship between our clans. I might not have been interested in her, but I still needed to consider my clan’s position. I hadn’t expected the bitch to lace my drink with sedatives.”
“Regardless, we need to find a way to remedy the situation,” Wan Lanxin mused.
Yang Wu waved a hand and said, “We’re talking about the Archduke’s Clan, an offshoot of the imperial bloodline. Don’t waste your time on this, big sister. If you really want to help, tell your men to leave me alone. I’ve got the feeling that they have been ordered to make my life hell here and won’t give up until I’m dead.”
“They wouldn’t dare!” Wan Lanxin shouted. “I may not be of any help elsewhere, but here, I call the shots. You’ll stay here from now on. We’ll see who dares to lay a hand on you”
He had to admit that Wan Lanxin was a faithful friend. Most would keep their distance once they learned he had offended the Archduke.
Yang Wu was touched. The so-called ‘band of brothers’ he had grown up with, who had used to wine and dine with him, had never visited him in prison. Indeed, critical times revealed a person’s true heart.
Still, he could not blame them. The Imperial Clan was involved in the situation. With such high stakes, there was nothing wrong with protecting oneself first. He might have done the same in their shoes.
Disregarding his injuries, Wan Lanxin instructed her men to bring a few bottles of alcohol. The two old friends continued to chat as they drank.
After a swig of alcohol, Wan Lanxin changed the topic, “I saw the carcass, the wolf spirit from two days ago. You killed it before I managed to land my attack.”
“What about it?” the young man retorted.
“That was a Warrior-Realm wolf spirit. Given your strength, you should have been assigned to one of the first ten blocks, yet you had been sent to block 68. It’s interesting.” She pondered.
“Well, would you believe me if I told you that they shattered my dantian before throwing me in here?” Yang Wu asked with a bitter smile.
“Really?” The young woman could not stop the trace of anger in her tone as she looked at him, brow lifted.
Thereafter, Yang Wu shared his woes with her. Like a caring elder sister, she showered him with concern. She was an excellent listener, readily echoing his complaints, clearly indignant over the injustices he had faced.
That night, they both got thoroughly drunk.
Wan Lanxin could easily force the alcohol out of her system, but she did not. Rather, she clung to the equally-intoxicated Yang Wu as she tumbled into bed.
Who knew how the two ended up wrapped in each other’s arms. Even the shining moon seemed ashamed, hiding behind the clouds. Slowly, the insects stopped their singing, and the world around them fell into silence ….
Wan Tianlong, Zhao Changdao, and Lie Feng had ventured deep into the pit in block 8. By now, they had lost half of their troops. The bloody aura was too much for the men to withstand; it eroded their minds, robbed them of their rationale, and turned them against one another.
Although the warden and his deputies had not been as affected as their followers, due to their strict determination, even they knew they could not fight the aura indefinitely.
Wan Tianlong revealed an evil-warding bead, and driving his energy, he managed to isolate most of the bloody aura from his troops. Ultimately, this spared the remaining men from their impending doom.
Finally, the bloody altar was in sight, and they could see the earthly spirit spring around it. Piles of horrific animal spirit carcasses littered the ground. Wolf spirits, bear spirits, tiger spirits … even human bodies lay among the piles. The mounds of decaying flesh radiated a baleful aura. It was a grisly scene.
“This is bad. This is a sacrificial ritual array. Let’s get out of here!” the warden exclaimed, startled.
Wan Tianlong was the strongest fighter in the prison. If such a scene robbed him of his composure, what hope did the rest have? His entire team turned, eager to follow the order, but it was too late.
Suddenly, the bloody aura manifested as multiple wolves, bears, and tigers, pouncing on the group without any hesitation.
As manifestations of the aura, these beings mainly attacked the mind, making them impossible to defend against.
Some clutched their heads as they cried out in pain. Not even the evil-warding bead could shield them.
“Everyone, get out of my way!” Lie Feng roared like thunder as he threw gusts of wind with his palms, attempting to disperse the bloody aura as it came.
Meanwhile, Zhao Changdao vehemently swung his long saber. Ambitious, his gaze landed on the bloody altar, and in a flash, he lunged toward it. Ignoring the manifestations around him, he focused his energy on his weapon, which began to glow with an azure light in the form of an immortal azure wolf. When the light reached its peak, he slashed at the altar in a swift, graceful move.
“No!” Dismayed, Wan Tianlong cried out the warning.
Unfortunately, he was too late. His deputy had already released the light from his saber.
Just as the azure light reached the altar, a bloody hand rose from the pit, capturing and crushing the light in its fist. With astonishing speed, it then shot toward Zhao Changdao. Alarmed, the man shoved himself backward, but he was not fast enough.
The massive hand snatched the deputy, squeezing until the man was reduced to a river of blood. He had not even had the chance to cry out one last time before his untimely demise.
The man’s spurting blood, exploding like fireworks across the wall before disappearing into the blood pool, was too gruesome to watch.
“D-Deputy … Zhao is dead, this … this is terrifying.”
“We need to escape. These enemies are too powerful for us.”
“What the hell is that thing?! Run! Or we’ll be next!”
Many of the guards were scared out of their wits, and they began to flee in a frenzy.
Damn it! How can there be a Blood King here? The secret this place contains must be huge. Wan Tianlong thought to himself.
He pushed the evil-warding bead to its limits, covering himself and disregarding the rest of his men. Then, he dashed toward the blood spirit, as Zhao Changdao had, dodging the attacks from the numerous manifestations and showing no regard for his men’s deaths.
However, the altar’s next defense had been triggered, and now, the ominous being on the altar awoke. Crimson beams of light, sharp as daggers, and more feral beasts poured forth, flying toward Wan Tianlong. With no way to defend against the assault, he barrelled forward.
Lie Feng did not dare move in farther, and he cried out to his leader, “Come back, warden! That is a Blood King! You can’t win this!”
“Head back and look after the prison, Lie Feng. If I don’t return within seven days, temporarily take over my position!” The warden ordered as if he were expressing his final wishes. He then added, “Look after my daughter for me.”
As the last word left his lips, a dense burst of Profound Energy seemed to erupt from within him. Layered barriers engulfed him in dazzling light, and swinging his blade, sword images flew from his longsword toward the bloody altar.
As a Consummate Grade General, Wan Tianlong lived up to his reputation as the strongest man in the prison. His attacks easily subdued the massive, bloody hand.
Still, the warden did not dare lower his guard. Gathering energy, he prepared to destroy the blood altar in one attack.
The bloody aura continued to pour from the altar, and two new hands reached out, grabbing the warden. They then dragged him into the altar, and all three vanished.
Glancing back, Lie Feng watched the warden disappear. He hid a cold grin, overjoyed. Finally, this mountain prison is mine! Hahaha!
Translated by: Half-Cat
Edited by: FluffyGoblyn
Checked by: DragonInWhite
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