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Chapter 164 – Illusion

Refining the Mountains and Rivers

    The vine was extremely fast. The originally difficult and long path here was now reduced to a short time. After a moment, the stone door was in sight. Then, as if it were restricted for some reason, the vine stopped far away. Qin Yu stepped down and glanced at it.

    The vine hadn’t left; it seemed as if there was something else it wanted. It had delivered him here and it didn’t have any dark intentions either, so his gaze was calm. After several breaths of silence, the end of the vine split apart, and a light black chip emerged.

    Qin Yu’s eyes flashed. He didn’t sense anything sinister. So, after a brief hesitation he reached out and took the black chip. At this time his complexion changed, because after that black chip touched his skin, it simply dissolved and drilled into his flesh and blood. His eyes turned cold, but in the next moment he was startled. He looked thoughtfully at the vine and then shut his eyes, sensing the additional memories now circulating through his soul.

    These memories were a series of strange, incomplete sounds. Though Qin Yu didn’t understand what they meant, he still felt an inexplicable tremor pass through him.

    As if some invisible dignity was leaving his soul trembling, awe emerged from his most basic instincts.

    But soon, Qin Yu discovered that this trembling wasn’t because of awe, but because something was gushing out from his soul.

    Shua –

    A sea map began to unfold above his head. Islands dotted the billowing waves, and at this time light seemed to pour out from the islands, making this sea map look like the starry skies. Those syllables stirred in his soul, gradually turning into an impulse. So, Qin Yu raised his hand and after a brief hesitation, he pointed to somewhere in the sea.

    Hum –

    There was a loud shaking. The light above the islands instantly vanished from sight.

    It was like it had been extracted out, completely exhausted.

    A brief spell of vertigo passed through him, followed by clarity. Then, images began to appear.

    In the boundless blue sea, a great sun hung high above the splashing waves, sunlight sprinkling down and reflecting against the clear waters below. This was a rare day of good weather. A giant ship shuttled across the waters. A man who was tanned nearly black by the breeze and sun shouted out to workers to pull up a fishing net from the sea. As the fish fell onto the ship’s deck, they all opened their mouths to reveal blinding white grins.

    At this time, in the great vault of heaven below the great sun, space suddenly twisted and was broken through from the inside. A beam of light shot straight down, crashing into the sea. It pierced through the seawater, forming an unfathomable hole. The surrounding seawater was pushed aside, unexpectedly unable to fill this empty space. Thus, the opening grew larger and larger until it reached a shocking several thousand feet.

    A terrifying shockwave spread outwards, raising up dreadful waves that blotted out the skies. In an instant, the beautiful weather turned into an apocalyptic scene. The fishermen were all thrown off of the ship. Their faces were full of abject horror as they tried to grab onto objects around them.

    A man who seemed to be the captain began to shout out commands. He forced himself up and loudly shouted as if guiding everyone to continue dodging. But all of a sudden, another giant wave struck. The boat violently quaked once more. A turtle was sent flying out from the sea and ruthlessly struck the man’s head, leaving him bloodied.

    Then, the images stopped.

    There was another brief bout of vertigo before it scattered. Qin Yu opened his eyes, his gaze darkening. He checked himself and found that everything was normal, without the smallest loss. His thoughts stirred and the sea map appeared once more. However, those illuminated islands were restored to how they were originally. Was everything just now…an illusion?

    Mm, it should have been.

    Perhaps it was because of those strange syllables…looking at the vine in front of him, it seemed that it wanted to use this thing to impress Qin Yu. But unfortunately, if nothing went wrong, he wouldn’t return here again.

    He felt no guilt. He cupped his arms across his chest and said, “Goodbye.”

    Rumble rumble rumble –

    The vine quickly retreated, soon vanishing without a trace.

    He arrived in front of the stone door. And as he was hesitating, unsure of what to do, the stone door seemed to sense his aura and slowly open.

    Soupman was standing on the other side. He seemed surprised but even more excited. He cupped his hands together and said, “Honorable Ning, I owe you a favor today. I will be sure to repay it in the future.”

    Qin Yu walked out. Listening to the sound of the stone door close, he forced a smile. “Soupman, I hope that you never look for me again.”

    “I know that today Honorable Ning was wronged. But, please believe that everything you have done will be repaid.” Soupman’s smile seemed to have another meaning. “It looks like Honorable Ning doesn’t have a favorable impression of me. Well, let me lead you out of here.”

    Qin Yu nodded. When they walked towards the transmission array, he could smell blood in the air; it hadn’t yet dispersed. A brief light flashed in his eyes but his expression didn’t change, nor did he ask why.

    Hum –

    The transmission array flashed and the two of them disappeared from sight. When they reappeared they were once again in that magnificent ‘golden gilded’ mansion. Four beautiful seafolk women were gracefully standing there, each one holding a tray covered with a red cloth. It was unknown what was beneath them.

    Soupman’s smile widened, but there was a bit of reluctance behind it. He lifted a finger, “Honorable Ning, please choose one; consider it a thank you gift for today.”

    Qin Yu didn’t refuse. He looked around and pointed towards the leftmost woman. “I’ll take that one.”

    The corner of Soupman’s eyes twitched. “Ning…Honorable Ning has good eyesight.” He waved his hand dismissively and the other three women bowed and drew back. He lifted the red cloth from the tray to reveal a translucent crystal box within a thumb-sized bead inside. There was the phantom of a giant snake roaring within.

    “In this crystal box is the inner core of a deep sea snake monster. Because it refused to accept the authority of the royal palace, it was suppressed and killed 30 years ago. This snake monster possessed an extremely high cultivation and touched upon the edge of a flood dragon transformation. If it succeeded, it would have been able to wander freely through the sea region and would have been far more difficult to kill.”

    Soupman sucked in a deep breath. He tore his eyes away from it and waved his hand, “Take it, take it, it’s yours now!”

    Qin Yu had a helpless expression. He thought about who could give a gift and do so with such an expression; there probably wasn’t anyone that could be so shameless. Of course, he wouldn’t refuse. He could tell from Soupman’s complexion that this snake monster’s inner core was very precious.

    It was definitely at the Nascent Soul rank!

    While he didn’t know how he could use this inner core...well, it was best to just take it first.

    Soupman watched with wide, blinking eyes as Qin Yu reached out a hand and then brought it back. The inner core and the crystal box both vanished from sight. Instantly, he felt his heart wrench and found it hard to breathe. His face paled and he weakly waved. “Just leave…” He couldn’t say the following words, but Qin Yu could guess them: before I go back on my promise…

    This Soupman was indeed like the rumors said he was; he regarded wealth as importantly as his life. Qin Yu suddenly rejoiced that he had casually accepted the gift just now. If he had done anything like modestly declining once or twice, he feared that Soupman would really have kept the inner core. Qin Yu looked at Soupman’s pained expression, cupped his hands together, and turned to leave.

    He hadn’t wanted to stay in the royal palace for too long from the start. Moreover, who knew what would happen in this situation? This old bastard might renege on his promise.

    Sure enough, that person knew how to make good use of people. That lofty and untouchable ruler of the sea races had assigned Soupman to guard the treasury, and by doing so it would be difficult for the treasury to not grow richer with every passing day.

    While Qin Yu complained, he was also somewhat happy. Although he had suffered some troubles, he did receive a harvest and most importantly he didn’t expose his identity. Even now, Qin Yu only considered that terrifying underground vine to be a powerful force hidden below the royal palace; he had never associated it with any person. Otherwise, if he knew the truth, he would have realized he had been too optimistic.

    The doors to the mansion opened and Qin Yu stepped out. Before he could even smile, he stiffened. Outside, he encountered the young man who had brought him here. The man respectfully bowed and then turned, quickly walking away. “Grandmaster Ning, I will send you back.” This man seemed to faintly understand something. Unconsciously, there was a bit more veneration in his voice.

    Qin Yu nodded. Without saying anything he stepped into the carriage. After several breaths of time, it began to slowly move.


    Outside the mansion stood a noble figure. She was a beautiful young girl with delicate scales shining between her eyebrows. Her name was Sea Lushy: Sea representing the great sea, Lushy representing all the verdant lush growth in the sea.

    “Princess, Soupman has invited you in.” A young maid came out and informed her in a respectful tone.

    The princess nodded, but after taking several steps towards the mansion, she paused again. She looked at the gradually departing carriage and turned towards it, gently frowning.

    Thinking a little, she turned and whispered something into the ears of a court lady.

    The court lady revealed an embarrassed look.

    The princess had a light expression. “I’m not ordering you to do anything, I’m just a bit curious.”

    The court lady rolled her eyes; she was familiar with the princess’s character. If she didn’t mean this then she shouldn’t have said it, but now that she said it, the court lady could only brace herself and do it. She quietly dismissed herself and hurried away. She thought of waiting for a good time to make arrangements, and she definitely couldn’t stir up trouble.

    The carriage drove out of the royal palace and into a large street. The sounds of a radio shell transmitted through the air, coming into the carriage through a window that hadn’t been fully closed.

    “According to news that this station just obtained, the Array Symbol Family’s Southern River Office is being investigated for evasion of taxes by the Taxation Department. At this time, the Southern River Office has been sealed away and all related materials confiscated. It is reported that the Southern River Office evaded a tremendous amount of taxes and is facing imminent punishment. This station will continue reporting on this news for you. This spiral station reports the newest and fastest news, make sure to subscribe…”

    The young seafolk man in the carriage smiled and explained, “This sort of matter happens every year. There are always rich and powerful families and companies that do this. Though they earn a massive amount of wealth every year, they still want to smuggle goods and avoid taxes. It seems that this time they are really in trouble.”

    The young man didn’t gloat at all and he spoke with a light and unusual calm, perfectly in sync with his bearing. But, the explanation itself was superfluous and thus suspicious, so while no matter how naturally the young man spoke, this could only be a cover up.

    Qin Yu thought about the rich smell of blood he encountered when he left the underground space. Although it had been cleaned up, it had still been extremely thick.

    Many people should have died.

    He nodded, completely expressionless beneath his black robes.

    When it came to the internal affairs of the sea races, especially those that concerned the dangerous royal palace, he didn’t want to be involved in the least.

    Soon, he arrived at Sea Spirit Pavilion.

    After stepping off the carriage, the young man didn’t say anything more. He cupped his hands and boarded the carriage before leaving. It was just that before the carriage went too far, the young man pushed open the curtains and looked at the black-robed figure, a bit of annoyance in his eyes. He seemed to realize his own overreaction just now. He bitterly smiled and comforted himself. Honorable Ning should be very tired at this time, so he shouldn’t have realized anything.