Chapter 163 - System vs. System (13): Su Ji, a G.o.ddess, ident.i.ty reveal
Trigger warnings: mention of rape, slight body horror
The snake’s shadow slithered silently down the tree and disappeared without a trace.
Soon, a black-clothed scholar carrying a suitcase full of books on his back came from the East.
The swordsman and the scholar met face to face, one wearing a snake-tooth necklace and the other wearing a thin bracelet of fish scales. After meeting, the former was slightly stunned, while the latter smiled.
The scholar bent down, but he didn’t show much humility. His eyebrows were full of the arrogance of a young man. “Sir, this student extends his regards. This student’s surname is Ming, the single character is Ye (night), and origins as a scholar. But this student fell seriously ill going to the city for the exam. About to miss the exam date, this student took a detour on this mountain road. When the panic was setting in, it was a blessing to meet Sir. Could Sir see off this student for the journey?”
After speaking, he raised his eyes and winked frivolously at the white-clothed swordsman.
The swordsman in white recognized him at a glance. Probably because he was dressed as a scholar, he felt amused and pressed his fan to his lips.
Seeing him behave in this manner, Ye Jiming was momentarily dazed. He even thought that the person in front of him was his little fish and not the dashing guest who drank, cursed, and talked compatibly with him, but whose actual appearance was unknown.
The man imitated it perfectly, whether it was Duan Shujue’s expression or his usual movements.
…As real as an illusion.
Yan Jinhua was jolted.
Sure enough, everything was as written in the book, and Ye Jiming also came to the mountain.
He most likely wanted to capture the mountain ghost’s essence for the elixir to facilitate his cultivation. But after all, Yan Jinhua was his benefactor, so Ye Jiming didn’t have the standing to compete with him.
The more Yan Jinhua thought about it, the more he felt he had made a good deal earlier.
He accepted two little brothers with clever tricks. One was willing to charge into battle for him and be a p.a.w.n. Although the other didn’t have much of a conscience, he seemed to be fond of Duan Shujue.
Taking Duan Shujue’s protagonist’s halo alone, the mountain ghost was already within his grasp.
When the mountain ghost was slain, he only needed to wear down Duan Shujue with a few words. With his soft nature that didn’t compete for anything and the benevolence that Yan Jinhua had shown him, getting the mountain ghost’s essence was in the bag.
He glanced at Wen Yujing.
Wen Yujing stood quietly, holding his sword and seeming unthreatening. But Yan Jinhua always suspected that he was deliberately targeting him.
Otherwise, why did he have a series of bad luck after encountering him? First losing the Dinghai Pearl, then losing Duan Shujue.
He needed to be smart and stop competing with him for the mountain ghost’s essence. Otherwise, he would have to teach this person who should be the protagonist in this world.
Yan Jinhua was examining Wen Yujing, and so was Ye Jiming.
This person didn’t comment on his joining midway, which was beyond Ye Jiming’s expectations.
Was he so unguarded that he didn’t even ask a question about it?
Wen Yujing was here, and it wasn’t a good time for Ye Jiming to ask surname Chi about Wen Yujing’s exact origin. Under the ident.i.ty of a scholar, he swaggered into the three-member brigade and followed the crowd slowly, waiting to see how the mountain ghost intended to stir up a storm.
It was June, and the sun was getting hot. Yan Jinhua walked with scorched lips and a shriveled mouth. The bottom of his throat was on fire when a thatched hut appeared by the roadside.
A young woman picked beans in front of the house with her back to them.
Probably hearing the footsteps, she put down the beans in her hand, her voice clear and moving. “These four guests, do you need tea?”
Only after she finished speaking did she turn to look at everyone.
The woman’s appearance was mediocre, and her clothes were simple, but her clothes were clean, and her temperament wasn’t like an ordinary peasant woman.
Yan Jinhua secretly laughed.
What kind of ancient Baigu Jing catching Tang Monk routine was this?
Even if you want to bewitch people, you should become a little more beautiful, right?
Yan Jinhua’s spiritual power was the lowest among them. He only knew that this woman probably used some means to remove the spiritual power from her body. He couldn’t tell much else, so he simply pretended to be deaf and looked at Duan Shujue and Ye Jiming to see how they reacted.
Duan Shujue and Ye Jiming looked at each other and saw confusion in each other’s eyes.
Chi Xiaochi asked 061, “Liu-laoshi, is this person’s spiritual power too high, or…”
After Chi Xiaochi’s question, Wen Yujing looked up and examined the woman.
She didn’t have any “spiritual energy” that could be pa.r.s.ed.
There wasn’t any demonic energy nor immortal energy. Breathing and exhaling, just like a normal person.
061 cautiously answered Chi Xiaochi’s question. “If not a human, then they’re a G.o.d.”
Hearing this, Chi Xiaochi had a rough idea in his mind, politely relinquished and said, “Then thank you very much, Miss.”
There was a small wooden table beside the woman with a thick porcelain teapot. She brought a few bowls with missing corners and poured tea for them one by one.
She said gently, “After drinking the tea, go down the mountain.”
Yan Jinhua secretly laughed.
This bulls.h.i.t was no different from “After Three Bowls, Do Not Cross the Ridge,” right? Wasn’t it just setting up a mystery, posturing, and pretending to wait for people to ask questions?
Indeed, Duan Shujue followed her words. “Why?”
The woman said, “Don’t go forward. There are evil spirits in the mountains.”
Ye Jiming shuddered deliberately and leaned in the direction of Duan Shujue as if he was really a weak scholar.
Wen Yujing looked at him but didn’t make a sound.
Duan Shujue asked on behalf of Ye Jiming, “What evil spirits?”
The woman said, “Don’t you know the legend of the Mountain of Time and Rain? Thousands of years ago, this was a land of exile with poor mountains and bad waters. An evil ghost who only ate human flesh emerged.”
Wen Yujing said, “I heard about it when I went down the mountain, but I didn’t listen in detail. Can Miss please tell me more about it?”
Before they came, they did some research, even more detailed than the background introduction written in the book.
Thousands of years ago, the area around the Mountain of Time and Rain was a desolate place used to exile bad men.
A young girl from a peasant family went to a neighboring town with her father to join relatives. They were robbed by several evil-doers when pa.s.sing by. When escaping with his daughter, her father panicked and accidentally slipped and fell off a cliff, perishing on the spot.
The girl was not good-looking, but she was young and unmarried. After being repeatedly raped by the evil men, they didn’t dare to kill her. They were afraid that she would report them to the officials, so they gouged out her eyes and abandoned her in the bamboo forest.
The young woman was seriously injured and died in the forest before she could get out.
No one found her body until she was covered with bamboo leaves and gradually became one with the land and decomposed.
It was unknown when the blind girl started to constantly walk around the Mountain of Time and Rain. She had a white cloth tied around her eyes and held a tattered bamboo stick.
She kept encountering people, saying she was lost and begged them to take her home.
Some people out of kindness and some out of malice agreed to her request.
The young woman then led them around the mountain. Those with good intentions would often send her before a small woodyard, receive two wild fruits, and leave in peace. After sending her to the woodshed and receiving the wild fruit, those with bad intentions asked her ill-naturedly: How can this rotten fruit be enough? What else can you give me in return?
The girl replied, “A pair of eyes, is that okay?”
After that, she took off the white cloth covering her eyes.
The face, where there should have been eyes, was empty.
The next instant, the other person’s eyes and hers would be exchanged.
Eyeless mountain ghosts often robbed other people’s eyes, but she didn’t know what kind of curse she was under before she was born. The eyes that she got in exchange would shrink and degenerate within a few days, returning to two pitch-black holes.
She would then begin to look for her next prey.
Those who recovered their lives but lost both eyes fled down the mountain in horror. Most of them couldn’t describe the woman’s appearance in detail and only brought down the girl’s name.
The girl had introduced herself to everyone who led the way, but everyone had different opinions. Some said her name was Sù, some said she was Soo, and some said her family name was Sū, and there were many differing opinions. A scholar inspired by a book about ghosts said, why not call her Su Ji?
Su Ji’s notoriety was spread by word of mouth. People nearby didn’t even dare to go up the mountain to collect firewood. They complained but didn’t know what to do.
Later, a G.o.ddess who traveled all over the world came to rest in the small town at the foot of the mountain.
There weren’t many Daoist pract.i.tioners a thousand years ago, and even fewer were Daoists immortals. People often called those who could fly through the clouds as G.o.ds.
The G.o.ddess listened to everyone’s prayers and climbed up the mountain to capture and suppress the mountain ghost.
Since then, the legend of the mountain ghost came to an end.
To thank the G.o.ddess, the people under the mountain took the initiative to build a shrine for the G.o.ddess and burned incense to worship her. The world and times changed. The town under the Mountain of Time and Rain expanded into a large-scale city. The shrine of the G.o.ddess had since become a spiritual temple for women to divine their marriages. Fortunately, the incense flourished for thousands of years.
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Perhaps because of the G.o.ddess’ blessing, the weather in the Mountain of Time and Rain gradually became better and better. The people suffered from the rain and were even more thankful for the G.o.ddess’ kindness.
As for Yan Jinhua, even he felt that he was redundant.
He didn’t expect Ye Jiming, who had always been cold-hearted, to treat him courteously. But he didn’t expect to be so alienated, as if they had never known each other.
What surprised him even more was Duan Shujue.
In just three short months, Duan Shujue seemed to have been reborn. His face was still that beautiful face, but his temperament had settled down a lot. He bore no resemblance to the eager puppy looking forward to its owner returning home from the past.
…The contrast was scary.
Especially after enjoying having the protagonist kneel and serve him, seeing the normal Duan Shujue, Yan Jinhua felt that something wasn’t right. He wanted to go up and strengthen their relationship. But on Duan Shujue’s left side was Wen Yujing, and on his right side was Ye Jiming. There was no room for him at all.
When he was getting restless, he heard his system mutter, “Strange.”
His system rarely spoke outside of announcing reward information, and the sudden sound startled Yan Jinhua.
After regaining his senses, Yan Jinhua said, “What’s wrong? Is there something wrong with Duan Shujue?”
“It’s not Duan Shujue.” The system replied, “…It’s Wen Yujing.”
The system said, “The spiritual power emanating from his body is too regular.”
Yan Jinhua couldn’t understand. “Huh? Isn’t that normal?”
“…It’s too accurate, like the result of careful calculation.” After a pause, the system said, “Host, I can’t come to a conclusion yet. I need to observe a bit more.”
Yan Jinhua shifted his b.u.t.t on the hot rock. “No. Your words are unclear, isn’t it just to tantalize curiosity? What are you trying to say?”
The system said, “I suspect that Wen Yujing is also a transmigrator like you.”
Yan Jinhua was surprised, but the more he thought about it, the more it made sense.
Of course, because he was also a transmigrator, he knew how to pick up secrets and committed to holding Duan Shujue’s thigh tightly. He suddenly rushed out at the Jingxu Sword Meeting, stole his pearl, and also robbed Duan Shujue as his disciple.
It was precisely because he was also a transmigrator that he bent over backward to please Duan Shujue. He coaxed Duan Shujue to be respectful towards him, even putting Yan Jinhua out of sight.
Because he was also a transmigrator, he knew that Duan Shujue had fate with the Mountain of Time and Rain, so he followed him to carry out the mission.
What worry about his disciple? What teacher for a day, a father for life? These were all excuses!
It turned out this was the real reason why his plans repeatedly failed!
Yan Jinhua instantly found the reason for his disappointment and defeat these days and said, full of hope, “What if it’s determined that he’s also a transmigrator?”
“Generally speaking, our system is exclusive.” After doubts arose, the system ran to check the relevant regulations. “It is clearly written in the charter that if a situation like this occurs, in order to ensure the progress of the mission on our system’s side, our upper-level system will directly intercept the signal sent by the other system, imprisoning and detaining it.”
Yan Jinhua couldn’t hide his joy, “In other words, he can be driven out directly?”
The system replied, “Not entirely. He’ll be brought to our main G.o.d s.p.a.ce to be temporarily imprisoned until he can explain where he came from. After we complete the task, he’ll be sent back to his place of origin. It is the obligation of each system to protect the host and successfully complete the task.”
Yan Jinhua hurriedly said, “Then why aren’t you doing it?”
The system replied, “Host, don’t be impatient. This isn’t my role. I need to collect considerable evidence before I can report to my superior system and submit the report.”
Yan Jinhua had no choice but to clench his fists, trying to suppress his over-excited emotions, and began to plot a better plan for after “Wen Yujing” disappeared.
Once “Wen Yujing” lost his system, he would disappear or be beaten back to his original form.
At that time, his Shifu’s prestige would be wrecked, and Duan Shujue would lose his reliance.
But he still had the sword in the stone by his side, and even if Wen Yujing was gone, Chi Yunzi might not let him and Duan Shujue be together.
…He got it.
If he could destroy “Wen Yujing,” he could also destroy Duan Shujue.
As long as he took away the system of “Wen Yujing,” the transmigrator wearing the body of “Wen Yujing” would be exposed. He only needed to control him, lure him, and let him testify with the ident.i.ty of “Wen Yujing” to ruin Duan Shujue’s reputation. Stealing medicinal pills and colluding with outsiders, his heart was impure. Any of these charges could bring down Duan Shujue, who was now highly valued by Chi Yunzi. Then, he would come forward to vouch for him, and Duan Shujue would be moved towards him.
If he wanted to play it safe, he could simply kill “Wen Yujing.”
If Duan Shujue was accused of murdering his teacher, he would be completely ruined. The whole mountain might even hunt him down. As long as Yan Jinhua came forward to give him kindness, he would gain his grat.i.tude, even possibly get back the sword in the stone and the Dinghai Pearl embedded on its hilt, and his next series of luck.
He could wait until his use-value was exhausted and then get rid of him…
Yan Jinhua was too excited, and his mind was full of salacious manipulations that he had seen in TV dramas before. So much so that when a terrifying coldness mixed with a woman’s fragrance climbed along their ankles, he failed to perceive it in time and fainted.
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