1 Prelude: The Beginning

Translator: Henyee Translations Editor: Henyee Translations

Nanli was a small kingdom on the southern end of the continent. On the western frontier of the kingdom stood a mountain known as Immortal Deeds, where red clouds lingered in the sky throughout the year, reminding one of a hidden immortal land. The grotesque rocks on the mountaintop looked as though they had descended from another world, and the red clouds only added to the strange appearance.

Legend went that immortals lived on the mountain, but of course, no one had ever seen one. The red clouds had become a phenomenon that people would talk about over a cup of tea, and apart from the occasional visit from obsessed immortal-seekers, this mountain was just as common as any mountain out there.

It was the middle of the night.

A teenager slowly climbed up to the top of the mountain and stood there in a trance-like state just outside a pile of grotesque stones.

He wasn't searching for any immortals but was only a common villager living at the foot of the mountain.

The strangest thing was that ever since he turned 16 this year, he was occasionally overwhelmed by a strange impulse as though something was waiting for him on the mountain. He would come here and stare blankly into the air when the impulse became too strong, but nothing had ever happened.

The stones had a rough texture with some ancient-looking patterns on them, but the lines seemed chaotic. Whenever the teenager caressed them, he got a very familiar feeling that he couldn't explain. He had known these stones since he was a little boy, but he hadn't felt anything like this before.

"I wonder if it has something to do with my parents, but whenever I ask Uncle Xu and the others, they just tell me that I'm dreaming." Looking up, the teenager watched the moon and stars above. Through the red clouds, the moon seemed to have turned red as well.

Just then, he heard someone talking from inside the circle of stones. "We were so damn unlucky. While we're here on this lousy mountain, I bet some other guy has picked Peachy's cherry in Red Delight Pavilion."

Another man said, "Shut up. The master teacher said…"

Two men walked out of the rocks as they spoke, and both were surprised to see the teenager. The second man stopped talking mid-sentence, and both of them grinned viciously before striking out at the teenager with their swords.

The teenager was an unsophisticated countryman who hadn't seen much of the world. The immortal-seekers he had met so far had always been very polite with the locals. It had never occurred to him that someone would kill other people for no obvious reason, and he was still confused when the two swords pierced through his body.

The two men left, laughing as they went, leaving the teenager bleeding out on the ground. He stared in their direction and wanted to ask why they had treated him so.

They had underestimated him and thought there was no way he was going to survive. But in fact, the teenager had been practicing martial arts since he was little, and they wouldn't have injured him so easily if he hadn't let his guard down. As the teenager lay there, he saw that after his blood spilled over the rocks, they gradually started changing.

In the moonlight, a rock began to glow a mysterious blue color which looked very eerie when the blue light mixed with the red blood. The glow seemed to be contagious, and the other rocks started glowing as well. Before long, all the rocks on the mountain top were glowing in that blue color, and the teenager suddenly vanished.

His field of vision twisted, and suddenly, he was in a world filled with a blood red color. The land seemed to stretch endlessly in all directions, and everywhere he turned, he could only see a ground covered by bones. A stench filled his nostrils.

Among the bones were broken pieces of stone tablets, shards of all kinds of blades, and fragments of hilts and sheaths. Countless twisted human faces seemed to be enshrouded by the red fog, either bellowing or wailing.

"Am I… in hell?" The teenager was drifting in and out of consciousness. "I hate them…"

What he didn't notice was that the special spiritual essence here seemed to be repairing his body. He had been dying from bleeding out, but his wounds were slowly closing up. Unfortunately, his soul was too weak and his consciousness was too far gone for him to be revived.

From all the screaming and wailing came a faint voice. "That bloodline… no wonder he was able to come here…"

"What bloodline?"

"Are you dying?" That voice sounded delighted. "And your soul is already so weak. Lucky for me!"

Before the teenager knew it, a sinister and cold sensation rushed toward him, penetrated his body, and entered the deep recesses of his mind. All he could see was a terrifying grimacing face closing in before his mind went dark and he was devoured.

"You're taking my body…" That was the last thing the teenager thought.

This had to be the most unlucky day of his life. He was stabbed first then something tried to rob him of his body. Before he died, his soul bellowed, "I'd like to ask my master teacher why this thing is taking my body? Why?!"

Just then, another soul came out of nowhere and made its way into this twisted space.

As though it was attracted by the body that had just lost its own soul, the newcomer inserted itself into this new shell.

The terrifying creature was in the middle of occupying the body and was surprised by the visitor. It then realized that the new soul didn't seem to be a strong one either, so it decided that it would devour the latter as well.

The next second, an exceedingly large amount of information rushed into the terrifying creature, overwhelming it. The next second, it was kicked out of the body by the new soul.

The setback seemed to have significantly weakened the creature. It had even lost its shape and had to leave the body like an ebbing tide.

The new soul was left alone in the teenager's body.

He then opened his eyes and looked around in bewilderment.

"So hell is real, and this is what it looks like."

There was only silence.

A moment later, he heard a quiet voice. "What are all those things that have filled your mind? Computers, mobile phones, videos, fiction, and AV—what are they?"

The teenager said, "What? You still don't have those in hell? After all this time?"

The voice went silent for a long while before asking in resignation, "Who are you?"

"I'm Qin Yi."

The voice sounded sarcastic when it said, "What a coincidence. I've just learned from the soul that was devoured that the original owner of this body was called Qin Yi as well."

Those words alarmed the teenager. "Wait. This isn't hell… Who are you?"

"You can call me Liusu," the voice said slowly. "This isn't hell, but there's nothing wrong with calling it that… do you want to leave this place?"


"Pick me up, and you'll be out of here."

"Pick what up?"

"There's a spiked club stuck on the ground next to you, and that's me."

Qin Yi was speechless.

The moment he pulled the spiked club out of the ground, the space twisted, and the place vanished. When he opened his eyes again, he was on the mountaintop. The moon was bright, the stars were few, and the red mist still lingered in the air.

Meanwhile in the small village at the foot of the mountain.

An old farmer sat up in bed.

A woodcutter opened the door to watch the moon.

A yellow dog at the entrance of the village turned its head toward the top of the mountain.

"Is the gate open?"


"That's because I'm guarding the gate, whereas you only guard the tomb."

"Actually, I don't want my job."

"Then why don't you leave?"

"This place would no longer be a tomb when it's gone."

"That's the most reasonable thing you've ever said."

In the palace of Nanli.

"Father, my beloved king, I hope you're all well."

"Qinglin and Qingjun, you're just in time. I took the pill of immortality the master teacher gave me last night, and I already feel much younger. Have a look. Do I have only a few white hairs now?"

After a long moment of silence, the prince spoke in a low voice, "Your Majesty, there's no…" He stopped mid-sentence when he saw his father's darkened face and switched the subject. "We received a report from the general of our army last night. The kingdom of Xihuang has deployed their troops to the Stone City, and that's very unusual."

The king waved him off impatiently. "You can take care of it yourself."

"Yes, Your Majesty." The prince left without saying another word.

He turned to look at the palace after he came out before looking at the magnificent Taoist temple to the west. The place was teeming with worshippers who prostrated on the ground and lost themselves in the music playing in the temple. From far away, the curling smoke made the temple look like a residence of immortals.

The look in the prince's eyes grew cold.

"Brother, do you dislike Donghuazi as well?" a melodious voice asked.

"As well?" The prince turned to his younger sister. "I thought you admired the immortals."

"I do, but aren't they supposed to be living in the wilderness and making trips up to the nine heavens and beyond? None of them would work as the master teacher of a kingdom of mortal men."

The prince chuckled. "That's very true."

"So many places are rumored to be the home of immortals and we ought to find a real one. When we do, I'll go away with them and become a cultivator myself…"

The prince stared at the temple for a while before replying with a smile. "Sure. I'll go with you and look for them when I'm free."

Next chapter