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    Chapter 70: The Master Returns

    How could Chu Wanning be someone who could be easily subdued? A flash of golden light appeared, and Mo Ran caught a glimpse of some weapon in his hand, but it was retrieved so swiftly that it instantly severed Xiaoman's wrists, leaving him writhing in pain.

    Xiaoman stumbled backward, now crippled, having lost both his hands along with his leg.

    The hand that had been holding Chu Wanning fell to the ground. Chu Wanning stood up, his face contorted with rage as he struggled to find words. His lips moved, but in the end, he was too furious to speak, turning away with a livid expression.

    Mo Ran rushed over to lift him up. "Junior Brother, are you alright? Did you get hurt anywhere?"

    Chu Wanning shook his head silently in his arms, unable to utter a word from the disgust he felt.

    Regardless, Xiaoman was someone who had lived two hundred years ago, while this one before them was just a puppet manifestation. Chu Wanning wiped the blood from his face and whispered to Mo Ran, "You've seen for yourself. Staying here might not be safe for me. It's better if we go out together to fight. With my abilities, I won't be a burden to you."

    Mo Ran had only heard about his junior brother's skills from Xue Meng, but had never witnessed them firsthand. The recent events had truly opened his eyes.

    "You're impressive, but..."

    Chu Wanning replied, "I'm well-versed in various weapons and can guide you in their usage."


    Chu Wanning lifted his gaze. "Just trust me this once."


    "Senior Brother."

    Chu Wanning had intended to emphasize his earnestness, but the child's crisp voice ended up sounding tender and endearing, as if he were pouting. Even Chu Wanning himself was slightly taken aback by the sound.

    Mo Ran was also startled upon hearing this. He scratched his head in confusion, burying his face in his palms for a while before finally saying, "Well, it's just that... I'm afraid... you know... of that..."

    Living two lifetimes, this was the first time he had been called with such a soft, affectionate tone by someone small. It made Mo Ran feel as if they shared a bond like siblings.

    Lord Mo could hate someone with all his heart, but he was exceptionally gentle towards those he cherished. Thus, after scratching his head for a while, he squatted down to look at Chu Wanning. His ears turned red without him realizing it.

    If only he had a younger brother, he wouldn't have felt so alone.

    However, seeing Mo Ran's reaction, Chu Wanning hesitated for a moment before softly trying again, "Senior Brother."

    Seniors and senior brothers are different; they are even more intimate.

    Mo Ran held his forehead, feeling somewhat overwhelmed. "…"

    Chu Wanning gave him a meaningful glance and understood this person's weakness. Anyway, he was currently in the form of a child, and Mo Ran didn't know his true identity, so he wouldn't feel ashamed. Thus, he called out again in a soft voice, "Big Brother."


    "Big Brother."


    "Big Brother Mo Ran."

    "Aaaahhh!!! Alright, alright! I'll take you! I'll take you! Just stop screaming!" Mo Ran jumped up, rubbing the goosebumps on his arms, his face flushed as he said, "Come on, come with me. You're amazing, the most amazing. My goodness."

    Chu Wanning stood with his hands behind his back, tilting his head slightly as he smiled faintly. "Let's go."

    He strolled towards the door slowly, while Mo Ran mumbled softly behind him, "Where did you learn that trick? It's so mushy, oh my goodness..."

    Initially, seeing Chu Xun's predicament, Chu Wanning was in a terrible mood. But now, he felt the gloom in his chest gradually dissipate. Suddenly, Mo Ran asked, "Hey, right, what did you want to tell me earlier, junior brother?"

    Chu Wanning turned around and replied calmly, "Ah, that thing."


    "I forgot."


    "I'll tell Brother Mo Ran when I remember it later..."

    "Aaaah, no! Don't call me that! Just call me senior brother! That's enough!" Mo Ran waved his hands frantically.

    With eyes as deep as a pool and a faint smile on his lips, Chu Wanning said coolly, "Alright then. Senior brother, it's about time. This illusion is formed from the memories of the survivors. Since those people have already left Linan, I don't think this illusion can last much longer. The Ghost King should be coming out soon."

    "Indeed... We'll be able to leave once we defeat him, right? Later, I'll definitely investigate who it was that materialized this illusion and tried to kill us!"

    Chu Wanning nodded. "Fortunately, from the exchange between the Ghost King and Chu Xun, it seems that this Ghost King isn't particularly powerful. He might be the weakest among the Nine Great Ghost Kings. Although this place has been materialized, I believe our opponent truly regarded me as an ordinary six-year-old child. They didn't expect me to help resolve this illusion."

    Mo Ran nodded repeatedly, saying, "You're right."

    Chu Wanning replied, "Therefore, it's more accurate to say that the person behind this didn't plan on including me from the beginning. The one they truly wanted to harm was only Senior Brother you."

    Mo Ran nodded even more vigorously, "What you said makes perfect sense."

    "After we leave, you must clarify this matter with Xue Meng. There may be danger lurking within this Peach Blossom Land; we must stay vigilant. Alright, let's not dwell on this for now. I won't hold you back, Senior Brother. Please lead the way as we break free from this predicament."

    As Chu Wanning had anticipated, it came to pass.

    By the time it was the hour of the Tiger, the massacre in the city was nearing its end.

    A bloody fissure suddenly ripped open at the edge of the sky, and a wisp of smoke drifted into the ruins, coalescing into a hunched figure.

    The man's eyes were bloodshot, his skin pale, and half his body was still flesh and blood, while the other half was nothing but stark white bones. He dragged a large black cloak behind him as he trudged through the corpses littering the ancient city of Linan, absorbing the grievances and suffering of the freshly deceased along the way.

    Mo Ran hid in the shadows, observing the man's appearance.

    "Is it him?"

    There was a hint of relief in the voice.

    Chu Wanning understood the reason for this relief, but since he had no intention of revealing his identity at this moment, it wouldn't be appropriate for a six-year-old child to know too much.

    So he pretended not to know and asked, "What?"

    "You guessed correctly. Among the Nine Kings of the Ghost Realm, their powers differ greatly. The weakest should be this one." Mo Ran stood by the window, watching the figure draw closer. He whispered, "Our luck isn't bad."

    "How much of a chance does Senior Brother have of winning?"

    "Nine out of ten. One shouldn't speak too confidently."

    Chu Wanning smiled.

    Of course, he knew that there were nine Ghost Kings in the Ghost Realm, with "Skull King" being the weakest. However, strength was relative. With Mo Ran's age and experience, even with a divine weapon at his side, it would still be a stretch for him to face Skull King alone.

    But the person who had plotted against Mo Ran had miscalculated. Despite all their calculations, they hadn't accounted for the fact that the child accompanying Mo Ran wasn't just any young disciple from Death's Peak, but Chu Wanning himself.

    "Save me..."

    Just as the two were about to burst through the door and catch their opponent off guard, they heard a faint groan coming from behind them.

    "Ahh, he's still alive?" Mo Ran widened his eyes, turning to see Xiaoman curled up into a tiny ball.

    "I don't want to die... Father... I don't want to..."

    Chu Wanning gazed upon the youth who appeared as little more than a tattered bundle of rags, shaking his head as he said, "In truth, this person should have perished upon entering the dwelling. Yet within this illusory realm, the reason he still lives is likely due to our presence here, eliminating the zombies that pursued him and thereby altering certain events within the illusion."

    Sigh... If he hadn't betrayed, do you think Chu Xun would have survived two hundred years ago? Lin'an might not have become a ruin either...


    But both understood that what was past could not be undone, and the priority now was to defeat the Skeleton King and escape the illusory realm. With no time for hesitation, Mo Ran and Chu Wanning emerged from their hiding place, slaying their way through the illusions, neither showing any weakness.

    Escaping the illusory realm proved easier than they had anticipated.

    Mo Ran moved with purpose, swiftly engaging the Skeleton King in combat. However, as he watched the fierce battle unfold, Chu Wanning sensed a growing unease.

    This unease did not stem from Mo Ran's disadvantage, for in truth, Mo Ran, guided by Chu Wanning, had maintained the upper hand. Yet, Chu Wanning increasingly perceived something –

    The person lurking in the shadows had orchestrated this situation with extraordinary precision.

    In other words, that individual had calculated that if only Mo Ran and another mediocre individual were trapped in this illusion, their chances of escape would be exceedingly slim. Yet, they hadn't employed more potent means to kill Mo Ran, clearly not wanting anyone to suspect foul play. Instead, they aimed to create the illusion that Mo Ran had perished due to an accident during his trial within the illusion.

    Who could have meticulously planned such a scheme to take Mo Ran's life?

    Was it really that fake Chen Gou from Jin Cheng Lake back then...

    As Chu Wanning watched the intense battle between Mo Ran and the Ghost King, as time passed, Mo Ran had now gained the upper hand. Dawn was approaching, and the Ghost King's magical power was waning; he wouldn't be able to hold on for much longer. The outcome was all but decided.

    But at that moment, Chu Wanning abruptly spotted a human face amidst the zombies sealed by Mo Ran's spells!


    The person was far away, blending into the horde of corpses. They wore a hooded cloak, half of their face concealed in shadows, revealing only a sharp chin, sweetly hued lips, and a gently curved nose.

    In just one glance, Chu Wanning sensed that this individual's demeanor was unlike the illusory figures from two hundred years ago—this person didn't exhibit any aggressive stance, merely lingering silently beneath their hood, facing Chu Wanning and Mo Ran. Upon noticing Chu Wanning's attention, they offered a faint smile before raising their hand to make a slicing motion across their neck, mimicking the act of killing.

    Chu Wanning cursed inwardly and swiftly darted forward, intent on capturing this person.

    Yet the figure still smiled, lips crimson beneath the hood, teeth gleaming white as they mouthed a word that seemed to be "farewell."

    It vanished in a flash.


    It was futile. The sky was illuminated with rays of light, layers of fish belly white surging upwards.

    The battle between Mo Ran and the Ghost King came to a brutal end with a final strike—when the Ghost King's head was severed by Mo Ran's Ghoul Slaying Sword, a gush of dark blood spewed out, and the scene before their eyes blurred into a rapid montage. Chu Wanning and Mo Ran were suddenly tossed into the air. The two-hundred-year-old sunrise in Lin'an, the shattered walls and ruins, all transformed into surreal, distorted shadows.

    With a thud!

    When Chu Wanning hit the ground again, he had returned to the Trial Cave.

    Mo Ran was also back, landing beside him, his body stained with the spatters of blood from their battle. But despite that, he didn't seem to be severely injured. Lying on his side, he was clearly still too weak to get up. His dark eyes gazed at Chu Wanning beside him.

    After a moment, he reached out and gently touched the tip of his finger to Chu Wanning's forehead.

    "You're out."

    Chu Wanning acknowledged with a soft hum, but his expression was far from pleasant. "… I just saw someone inside."


    "It was suspicious. It must have been the one who cast the spell."

    Mo Ran shot up, his eyes wide. "You saw him? You actually saw him! Did you recognize who it was? What did he look like?"

    Chu Wanning furrowed his brow and shook his head. "He was wearing a hood, so I couldn't see clearly. But judging by his figure, he seemed to be a young man, quite thin with a sharp chin..."

    There was half a sentence left unsaid.

    He felt a faint sense of familiarity from that half-faced silhouette, as if he had seen it somewhere before a long time ago. Yet, he also suspected it might just be his imagination, after all, it was only the lower half of the face. There were plenty of people who could share similarities, and he couldn't make a judgment at once.

    Lost in thought, he suddenly felt Mo Ran patting his shoulder.

    "Junior Brother."

    "What's wrong?"

    "...Look over there."

    Mo Ran's voice was low and carried a hint of chill.

    Chu Wanning lifted his head, following the direction he pointed.

    It was Number Eighteen.

    At the entrance of the Trial Cave, Number Eighteen's bulging eyes hung from the ceiling, her feet clad in silk embroidered shoes swaying mid-air.

    She was already dead. There was no wind here, but judging from the extent of her body's sway, her killer had just left not too long ago.

    What made Chu Wanning and Mo Ran's faces turn pale with shock, however, was the weapon tightly wrapped around her neck.

    It was a willow vine.

    Its leaves were like razor blades, shimmering with a fierce red glow. From time to time, flames would burst forth, scattering sparks and blood droplets together.

    Damn it.

    It turned out that the one who had strangled Number Eighteen and hung her from the cavern's ceiling was none other than the divine weapon, Ghost Seer!

    Author's Note: Pseudonym: Eh? Didn't you rush to strip me off in the last chapter? Now, let me take it off for you...

    Chu Wanning: There's no turning back; you'd better behave on me (with an indifferent expression).

    Today, there's a preview on Weibo of Qiuqiu's first encounter with his Fish-Feeding Master under a gorgeous cherry blossom tree. Welcome to take a look!


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