Volume 1 Chapter 21 – Chongxuan Guided a Demon Serpent to the Cave Mansion (Second)
Zhang Yan’s eyes squinted slightly as he quietly closed the door, pretending as if he wasn’t aware of the unusual presence. He calmly sat down on the meditation mat as his breathing sounds faintly filled the cave mansion.
The surroundings gradually quieted down as everything seemed tranquil as usual.
After two hours, the sky had turned slightly brighter. Zhang Yan’s slightly closed eyes suddenly opened as he carefully grabbed the cauldron’s lid and walked slowly toward the cauldron. He swiftly lifted the lid on top of the cauldron and quickly buckled it up. Clanging sounds sounded as the big cauldron was tightly shut and covered.
The instant the cauldron was tightly shut, the cauldron cover emitted ‘Bang, Bang’ sounds repeatedly, as if something was struggling to get out from the cauldron.
Zhang Yan had long been aware that the Demon Serpent was hiding in the cauldron. But he didn’t rush to act. He was waiting for it to loose its guard and then suddenly shut the cauldron at the last moment.
At this time, he took two steps back toward the door while his eyes were locked tight on the cauldron. He didn’t dare to loosen his guard for a second. If the cauldron’s lid couldn’t hold that thing and was opened, he could run quickly from here.
His worry turned out to be unnecessary. The cauldron was a rare Daoist tool after all, and it was said that Shi Shoujing had personally used the cauldron to refine medicinal ingredients. It was also used to refine wild beasts. So, how would the lid be easily opened?
The Demon Serpent originally had been severely injured before hiding in this cave mansion. It was in fact on guard as it didn’t dare to move. However, because Zhang Yan didn’t act suspiciously, and because he seemed to not aware of its presence for a long time, it became bored, finally loosening its guard a bit. It never thought that that the little bit of negligence had given Zhang Yan the opportunity to act in a flash.
The Demon Serpent desperately struggled hard to get out, but the cauldron’s lid didn’t even budge a bit. It finally realized that this cauldron was not simple and had no choice but to give up as it no longer tried to struggle and waste its energy.
Zhang Yan waited until the thing in the cauldron calmed down before he went to the big cauldron’s side, “Are you that Demon Serpent?”
The Demon Snake replied, “Fellow Daoist, why did you come here and shut me in?”
“You secretly snuck into my cave mansion and also killed five disciples from my Blue Ocean Sect. Now tell me, why can’t I shut you off?”
“Originally, Fellow Brother knows this one’s origin.” The Demon Serpent sighed before it continued, “This one has been chased for a long time, and was desperately hiding in this cauldron. I don’t have any ill intentions of causing you any harm. So please let me out Brother Daoist. I will never forget your kindness in sheltering me today. I will pay back this favor in the future.”
Zhang Yan shook his head, “I can’t believe your words. Not to mention that Senior Brother Ning could also still be in this vicinity. If he were to see you coming out from my cave mansion and eventually caught you, your death is only a small matter, but this Zhang Yan would have a very hard time explaining it. Even if you said that you won’t do me any harm, I don’t have any choice or intention to let you out!”
The Demon Serpent suddenly heard rustling sounds from outside, and immediately panicked, “Hey, what are you doing?”
Zhang Yan laughed, “This cauldron is called the “Impurity Purification Cauldron”, the best utensil to cook exquisite food. Purifying all the food’s impurity and preserving its essence. But I’ve never had a chance to try this before. I’m so lucky that you came, so I’ll have some meat for a meal today.”
The Demon Serpent became completely frightened as it begun raging and struggling in the cauldron, trying to get out. However, it’s efforts were futile. It finally couldn’t help but bitterly say in a sorrowful tone, “His Excellency, what would you like me to do for you to let me off?”
Zhang Yan secretly smiled with a hint of hidden intent.
If he truly wanted to kill this Demon Serpent, why would he talk so much nonsense like this? He just wanted to confirm several matters from this demon.
“I want to ask you, why did you come to the Blue Ocean Sect’s territory?”
The Demon Serpent answered in an equivocate reply, “I only chased and killed those five disciples, I have no other reasons…”
“Humph, do you think I’m only a three-year-old kid? Do you think this lame lie can deceive me? The Blue Ocean Sect has always been battling the Three Lake’s demons for a decade. Although both sides suffered casualties, they never crossed the border of each other’s territory. But this time, you actually didn’t hesitate to pursue deep into the enemy’s line only to kill a few disciples who were even weaker than you? Who do you want to deceive?” Zhang Yan lightly sneered, “They must have seen your secret, so you cannot allow them to live. Otherwise, why would you desperately chase them?”
The Demon Serpent was quite startled and secretly sighed deeply since it never thought that this Blue Ocean Sect’s junior disciple would be so hard deal with. He was even able to correctly guess about 70-80% of the whole truth. It had been severely injured, coupled with it expending a massive amount of Qi to change its body, it was now like a dried oil lamp. Much less to exert another strand of its strength to struggle. It could only helplessly wait for the mercy of this youth.
The Demon Serpent felt adamant and refused to reveal the truth, it felt relieved that it could evade him. After all, the truth would touch the two faction’s secrets and it hoped that Zhang Yan would no longer pay attention to this matter. But Zhang Yan remained unmoved as he fired up the firewood and continued adding more under the cauldron.
Shortly after, the temperature in the tripod gradually rose.
When Zhang Yan was quenching himself, the cauldron was opened, but he still had to struggle hard to endure the heat. Although this Demon Serpent’s cultivation was far higher than his, at this moment, its Qi, because of its severe wound and it’s transformation, was almost exhausted. And now, it had to endure the unceasing heat in the cauldron. The Demon Serpent finally was unable to hold on much longer before loudly begging, “Don’t add more fire, don’t add more fire, I’ll tell you, I’ll tell you…”
Zhang Yan’s hands still continued moving and coldly spoke, “Say it!”
The Demon Serpent couldn’t help but say everything it knew.
It turned out that this Demon Serpent was called Luo Xiao. In the last battle, a disciple sent by the Blue Ocean Sect accidentally found a cavern and explored it out of curiosity. However, he didn’t expect that he had found a Radiant Cloud Shellfish Field, of which made him greatly overjoyed.
However, the site was unfortunately also spotted by five other disciples who tracked him. This was the true reason why this demon serpent desperately chased these disciples and even broke into the Blue Ocean Sect’s territory to kill these disciples. But, it accidentally ran into Ning Chongxuan, which then gave hot pursuit and almost killed it. The Demon Serpent, due to panic, didn’t know its direction and chose to hide here.
“Shellfish Field…” Zhang Yan’s eyes shined, this field was the place that produced the Spirit Shellfish!
Spirit Shellfish produced Golden Pearls, which was the essential material in concocting pills in alchemy. The shell powder, which was ground from its outer shell, was also commonly used for refining materials to craft many Daoist tools and devices. Moreover, the Spirit Shellfish also produced a luster and glossy jade which contained a large amount of spiritual qi. The jade’s appearance was also very beautiful. These characteristics made the jade a common currency between cultivators.
The Blue Ocean Sect had long been engaging in constant battle for almost a decade, wasn’t it only to seize this Shellfish Field?
Having full control of the Shellfish Field was equal to the mortal world’s customs of having a gold or silver mine. It was very difficult to send those precious things back home. Each Great Sect or family usually had one or several shellfish fields to support them, and strictly guarded it.
It’s no wonder this Demon Serpent took a big risk to kill those five disciples. Even Zhang Yan felt tempted.
Thinking about it to there, he asked, “About this matter, aside from you, who else knows about this field?”
“No one, no one.” Luo Xiao hurriedly replied. As if it thought that it said those words in an improper way, it anxiously added, “Besides this one, nobody can find out about that place again.”
Zhang Yan thought for a moment, “I might let you free, but how can I believe you?”
Luo Xiao hurriedly replied, “I’m willing to swear an oath…”
Zhang Yan shook his head, “Nah, you cannot eat dishes without rice, wine, and empty teeth. Words are too difficult to trust!”
“I’m willing to form a contract agreement!”
“It’s too troublesome, I don’t want that!”
Zhang Yan knew about the contract agreement law. But firstly, he didn’t have the deed paper, and secondly, he didn’t have cinnabar and the enchanted pen brush to write the contract with. Thirdly, he didn’t dare to let the Demon Serpent out, so he immediately refused.
The Demon Serpent became more anxious, “Then, what do you really want?”
Zhang Yan slowly said, “You have to take a Soulblood Contract!”
The Demon Serpent almost shouted, “What?!!”
Zhang Yan pressed further, “Could it be that you think that this is not feasible?”
The Demon Serpent shrunk in the cauldron and didn’t reply.
Zhang Yan smiled and continued adding more firewood under the cauldron.
A few moments later, the Demon Serpent couldn’t bear it anymore as it finally shouted, “Once I pledge the Soulblood Contract, my soul will be linked to yours. If you die, then I will also die… I… I might as well die now!”
“This is the only method that could make this Zhang Yan feel at ease“, Zhang Yan sneered, “If you are not willing, I’ll immediately cook you up and turn you into a snake soup. Don’t ever think that I won’t dare to kill you because you know the location of that Shellfish Field. For I, Zhang Yan, has always been taking and eating things within my reach. Those which are too far away, or anything that I cannot touch and see, are not worth mentioning.”
Hearing the “eating” word, the Demon Serpent’s body violently trembled. It could feel that Zhang Yan was putting more firewood outside. It couldn’t help but anxiously scream out, begging, “Don’t add more fire, don’t add more fire, I’ll comply, I’ll comply. Please open the cauldron’s lid first and I will form the Soulblood Contract with you!”
Zhang Yan loudly laughed. Teasing, he said, “Do you think that I know nothing? This Zhang Yan has read the book about it. Forming the Soulblood Contract is restricted by the Heavenly Laws as the witness. Why should I open the cauldron’s lid? If you spit out another deceitful trick again, I have no choice but to skin you to the bone.”
Seeing that Zhang Yan didn’t reveal any weakness, Luo Xiao had no other choice but to comply and extract a thread of its soul and blood essence, performing the law’s secret method and solemnly vowing the Soulblood Contract.
Zhang Yan’s body jolted. It was as if a mysterious power had branded an invisible mark deep into his soul. He could clearly feel and see the Demon Serpent’s each and every move within the cauldron. He could also feel the Demon Serpent’s mood and feelings. Zhang Yan was aware that it was the effect of the Soulblood Contract between him and the Demon Serpent.
After that, he walked two steps forward and lifted the cauldron’s lid. He ignored the Demon Serpent and calmly sat to meditate.
A moment later, a foot-sized golden snake crawled out from the cauldron. The snake slithered along the cauldron’s edge before lifting its head and looking around. It glanced back and forth at several things around Zhang Yan before finally locking it’s sight onto the book in Zhang Yan’s hands. It couldn’t help but say, “Hey, is that ‘Exquisite Records of the Inner Qi Profound Origins’ manual? Is there anyone who wants to harm you?”
Zhang Yan eyebrows twitched. He opened his eyes, “What do you mean?”
Luo Xiao chuckled, “I know about this Dao manual’s origin, although I have never read it. But nevertheless, I have heard from a supreme cultivator that this manual contains an authentic cultivation law from ancient times. The method in this manual could make the person who practices it open their meridians in ten days. However, there is a pile of disadvantages… practicing it would incite the heaven’s wrath. Within a month, after successfully opening the meridians, you must not hear the sounds of thunder. Otherwise, it will shake your soul, break your vital meridians, and you will have no hope to continue your cultivation henceforth.
It also bitterly continued, “Had I not vowed a Soulblood Contract and my soul is not linked to you, I would be disinclined to tell you this!”
Upon hearing this information, Zhang Yan was greatly startled as cold sweat immediately poured out from his back. Should the words Luo Xiao had said were true, even if he had the Broken Jade in his hand, it would be almost impossible for him to escape from this evil scheme when that time came.
He had never thought that a grave had been waiting for him…
After thinking for a while, Zhang Yan asked, “How do you know about this matter?”
“My demon race’s cultivation method is very different than that of a human’s. We have to face countless heavenly tribulations since the first realm. Because of this, we have to learn the methods to avoid this tribulation ever since we were born. Thus, the elder had mentioned about this manual to us.”
Zhang Yan nodded, “Since I already know about the profound laws written in this manual, and you clearly know about the method to avoid it. Could you tell me that?”
Seeing Zhang Yan asked earnestly, Luo Xiao felt elated and couldn’t help but show off, proudly saying, “You have asked at the right place, perhaps others don’t know about this. But I, Luo Xiao, have a deep knowledge about this. When you have successfully opened your meridians, just dig a deep pit. Before the heavenly thunders descends and moves, you must quickly shut your ears and mouth and immediately bury yourself in the pit for seven days and nights to avoid the tribulation.”
I use “it” for the demon serpent and not s/he in the last two chapters because the demon’s gender hasn’t been found yet. I will change “it” to “she” or “he” after the gender is revealed.