Chapter 191 - Fish
"Wake up! Lu Mingshu, wake up!" Noises could be heard.
Lu Mingshu slowly opened her eyes. For a split second, she was unsure of where she was. She slowly remembered what happened before she fainted, and she abruptly sat up.
Her surroundings were outside of her expectations.
There was a river nearby, and there were two walls that measured at least a thousand meters. Lu Mingshu was lying on the river bank.
"Good thing that you can sit up. Seems like you're okay." Xie Lianzhen's voice could be heard. "Do you remember what happened?"
Lu Mingshu looked at the cliff above her. "We fell?"
After hearing the answer, Lu Mingshu rubbed her temples and checked her body.
Her breathing was normal, and there were no internal injuries. There were some external injuries, but they were all minor.
It was a miracle that she was still fine after falling from such a high place. Or rather, she should be glad that she was with Xie Lianzhen; the mechanism in his wheelchair protected them both.
She stood up and tidied her wrinkled clothes, towering above Xie Lianzhen. "Can you stand up?" she asked.
Xie Lianzhen looked like it was hard for him to explain in a few words.
She sighed and found the wheelchair that wasn't far away.
Wow. Not only is he okay, even the wheelchair is fine.
She pushed it over and helped Xie Lianzhen get on it.
"You're aware that my legs are actually fine?" Xie Lianzhen asked as soon as he got onto the wheelchair.
Lu Mingshu nodded.
"Who told you?"
Xie Lianzhen smiled bitterly. "No wonder you came. He sold me out, I guess?"
"But it's useless." Lu Mingshu looked at his legs. "You really can't stand up?"
"I heard that you suffered quite a lot due to your legs. Aren't you happy that they've recovered?"
"It's been twelve years." Xie Lianzhen looked down. "If you could fix things with a few words, why would I need this thing?"
Lu Mingshu looked down and started to think. Seeing that, he sighed. "Now is not the time for this. We are in trouble."
"I can tell." She looked up at the cliff above her.
Lu Mingshu felt that there was a special force around them once she woke up. This special force was freezing her mystic force, and this place wasn't where they fell.
"We were washed downstream?"
Xie Lianzhen shook his head. "That's the trouble. What I'm going to say now may seem out of this world, but you have to believe me."
"Say it." Lu Mingshu nodded.
"We… may have been swept up into a strange space."
Outside of his expectations, Lu Mingshu didn't look shocked at all. She didn't seem to even have a response.
"Does that not surprise you?"
This world mainly focused on martial arts, so the standard for magic was very low. The world itself was also very straightforward. Strange dimensions were things that only appeared in folklore.
However, he wasn't aware that, thanks to the Heavenly Wheel, Lu Mingshu had seen many different types of magic, even if they were rare.
She pointed to what was above her. "That cliff is where the Sky Ranking is at, right? The scenery around us doesn't have many differences. However, the part of the mountain that has the Sky Ranking doesn't look the way it's supposed to."
Xie Lianzhen sighed. "Yeah. Not only that, but where we are standing now is supposed to be a building, and now we don't see it."
"An illusion? No, the stones here are very realistic. Illusions aren't this stable." Lu Mingshu shook her head.
In the world of magic, the more capable one was, the more realistic they could make an illusion. The river bank that they were at right now was filled with sand and pebbles. To be able to reach such a stage, the creator of this illusion must be very powerful. Even an Assimilation Realm elder may not be able to create this. Perhaps a Void Realm? But a grandmaster wouldn't be so free as to scheme against them.
"How do you know about these things?" Xie Lianzhen stared at her weirdly.
"Should I not?" Lu Mingshu didn't answer his question, and she didn't plan to. "Same place, but different. There seems to be a temporal difference - duplication of space?"
The more she thought, the more convinced she was that space was duplicated at some other time and was being released now.
An Assimilation Realm elder could do such a thing. Even a Spirit Realm elder could with a powerful treasure.
"We're just some small fish in a pond - bait, right?"
"How did you know?" Xie Lianzhen was shocked.
But Lu Mingshu only smiled. "This method isn't easy to do. Neither of us are worth such a thing."
There was no need for explanation. Lu Mingshu was nobody from Nine Jade Palace, and the New Generation Ranking was nothing but a bit of reputation for the younger generation. As for Xie Lianzhen, even though he was an influential figure, his actual power wasn't that high. It would be better to just strike the queen directly instead of Xie Lianzhen.
In other words…
"If I'm not wrong, this should be directed against the king or queen," Xie Lianzhen started. "Or maybe they want to eliminate the whole Seventh Truth Platform in one go."
Qilin Peak was the territory of the Seventh Truth Platform, where all seven clan leaders were located.
Lu Mingshu bit her lips. "According to your information, the Seventh Truth Platform has a few Assimilation Realm elders protecting it, right?"
Xie Lianzhen nodded.
"If that's so, we will not need to wait for long. They will sense that something's wrong in the Flying Imperial Palace and come to help. The person who did this would be aware of that; they just want some extra time."
"Yeah." Xie Lianzhen look surprised. He was preparing to explain to her, but before he could say anything, she had already summarized everything. This is really…
After understanding the whole thing, Lu Mingshu heaved a sigh of relief. "Let's reconcile?"
Xie Lianzhen smiled. "I'm amazed that don't want to keep fighting."
"Amazed at what?" Lu Mingshu sneered, "I'm not going to risk my life for a small quarrel."
She was in an unfamiliar place with an unknown danger waiting for. Xie Lianzhen wasn't the most dangerous threat right now, so if she wanted to fall out with him, now wasn't the time.
Xie Lianzhen ruminated. "Isn't what I said a moment ago bad enough? I thought that you would be itching to part ways with me!"
Lu Mingshu sneered, "Who cares how bad your words are if you can't actually back them up? If I'm determined to escape, what can you do about it? Xie Lianzhen, you're still lacking in ability to be a pervert!"
"Oh, is that so?" He looked down at his legs. "Are you looking down on my legs?"
What the hell? Lu Mingshu ignored him and walked forward.
It was fine to reconcile for now, but she was afraid that she might lose her patience and kill this pervert.
Xie Lianzhen watched her leave and caressed his legs, his expression unreadable.
Chapter 192 - Not a Joking Matter
They were all wet, and their clothes were sticking to their skin.
They fell into the river after they fell. They then climbed up to the river bank.
Lu Mingshu found a secluded area and changed her clothes.
She then walked back to the river bank. Xie Lianzhen was sitting by the river, watching the water flowing in deep thought. He had changed as well.
Lu Mingshu didn't take notice of him. She walked around and noted down the topography of the place in her heart.
Taking out a paper and a pen, she sketched out the shape of the area.
Before she knew it, Xie Lianzhen was beside her.
He looked at the map and bit his tongue.
"Is something wrong?"
Xie Lianzhen thought for a while before starting, "I once saw this layout in the library's collection of the greatest Morning Mountain past dynasties atlas. Looking at your drawing, it's from about five hundred years ago."
"Five hundred years ago?" Ly Mingshu's eyes widened in shock.
"Yes." He then pointed under his feet. "For example, there should be a Shezhou building here, which was built a hundred years ago. The Qilin Festival has been ongoing for five hundred years or more, but look at the cliff - this period should be the period where there isn't such a thing as the Sky Ranking. What a pity that the surroundings are blocked and I can't see the entrance of the Seventh Truth Platform. Otherwise, I would be able to tell the era immediately."
Lu Mingshu held her pen tight and started to contemplate. "Whoever did this should be from the Seventh Truth Platform, right?"
Xie Lianzhen furrowed his eyebrows. "How do you know?"
"It is?" Lu Mingshu nodded. "Of course, who else would be so familiar with the Seventh Truth Platform's territory to be able to plan such a precise scheme? He should know all of your sites well, that's why he dared to use this timing. And only people from the Seventh Truth Platform would be able to recreate a space from five hundred years ago."
Seeing that his expression had changed, Lu Mingshu asked, "You have a suspect already?"
Xie Lianzhen let out a sigh. "Miss Lu, has anyone told you that you're too smart?"
"Yeah." She kept her ink. "My master."
"Such a pity."
"What's a pity?"
Xie Lianzhen glanced over at her. "I imagine you're aware that your master is crippled due to someone plotting against him, right?"
Lu Mingshu furrowed her eyebrows. Liu Jizhen hated to talk about this, so she never once mentioned it in front of him. She knew that his meridians were crippled, but she wasn't aware there was a story behind it.
"Who was it?"
"The one who crippled him, or the one who plotted against him?"
"They're two different people?"
Lu Mingshu's face dimmed. From what Xie Lianzhen said, she realized there might be something rather extraordinary behind the matter.
Xie Lianzhen found it interesting. "If I told you that I could take revenge for your master, would you agree to my request?"
Lu Mingshu stared at him coldly. "Xie Lianzhen, there's a saying that suits you really well."
"A dog will never stop eating shit."
"…" Xie Lianzhen chuckled. "It's not very nice… to describe yourself in such a way."
Lu Mingshu could obviously tell that he understood. After that day that she exposed his true self, it was as if Xie Lianzhen was freed, and his skin was now extremely thick.
Recalling back, Lu Mingshu regretted that she hadn't thought about it clearly beforehand.
She calmed herself down. "Is the person who plotted against my master in Nine Jade Palace?"
"If I answer that question, you'll immediately have people whom you suspect." Xie Lianzhen smiled and shook his head. "Miss Lu, you're incredibly smart, so I can't just give you hints as I like."
"What will it take for you to answer then?"
"I've already stated the price." Xie Lianzhen hummed, "It depends on how important Liu Jizhen is to you. I heard that you have an extremely good relationship with him, eh? One party is crippled, while the other one is someone the Zhou Family refuses to take in. Fellow sufferers empathize with each other and assist each other. Now, how much are you willing to sacrifice for him?"
Lu Mingshu said nothing. She kept the map and walked toward the river.
But Xie Lianzhen continued, and followed behind her closely. "Actually, crippled meridians can be healed as well. If you agree, I'll give you a buy-one-get-one-free and help you research a method for his recovery, how 'bout that?"
Lu Mingshu stopped in her tracks.
Xie Lianzhen stopped too and smiled at her.
"Xie Lianzhen, my master is not a joking matter."
He could tell that she was trying to control her anger. Xie Lianzhen intended to play with her emotions, but when she was really angry, instead of feeling happy, he was unhappy about it.
"I see, that Liu Jizhen is extremely important to you." He continued to provoke her. "Since that's the case, why don't you just agree?"
Before he could finish, a ray of sword-light shot toward Xie Lianzhen.
Xie Lianzhen flicked his fingers. Ding Ding Ding! The light was like a star as it hit back at the sword.
Just one attack.
Lu Mingshu put the sword back and stared at him coldly. "Let me repeat myself one more time. My master is not a joking matter."
"You're really angry, huh…?"
"If someone jokes around with your master, what would you feel?" Lu Mingshu said coldly. "You have your limits, and so do others."
After that, she went off to do her own stuff and turned a blind eye to him.
When she came up from the river, Xie Lianzhen looked like nothing just happened.
"Is there something wrong?"
Lu Mingshu clapped her hands. "There's a barrier."
"Not only did we enter a duplicate world, there's a barrier about five or six hundred meters wide. We can't really do anything to move through it."
"A closed boundary?" Xie Lianzhen stroked his chin. "That means that the others are also like us, in this space. We're just separated by the barrier."
Lu Mingshu nodded. That was the most reasonable explanation.
"Are you able to break through?"
"Hardly. With my ability, it wouldn't even cause a ripple."
Lu Mingshu threw him a glance. "You don't seem to be very worried about the queen."
Xie Lianzhen chuckled. "Why should I be? She's more powerful than me, both in terms of ability and mind games."
"Worrying is an emotion that comes despite how powerful or invincible someone is. It's about how much affection you have." She then smiled. "Xie Lianzhen, it's indeed true that you have nothing you value."
"What about you? Don't you feel that you have too many things you value? Everyone you talk to, you keep them your heart? How tiring."
Lu Mingshu shook her head. "It's only a burden if you think it is. To you it's tiring, but how do you know I'm not just a glutton for punishment?"
They were really total opposites. When there was too much to bear in life, he chose to give up everything, but she chose to carry it all.
Xie Lianzhen wanted to say something, but he didn't know what to say. He wanted to defeat her, but he was the one being brainwashed.
He used to despise it, but seeing that she was so tenacious, he surprisingly felt that it wasn't a bad idea after all.
"If there's really no other choice, what will you do?" he asked softly.
"What can I do?" Lu Mingshu answered. "Live and find a better way out."
Chapter 193 - Taking the Initiative is Better than Being Passive
Tan Yubing opened her eyes slowly.
That was a nice nap.
Wait, what? Tan Yubing stood up in shock.
A Harmonization Realm disciple didn't need much sleep. Even when they were resting, their mystic force would continue to revolve through their body. When I woke up, I couldn't remember what happened for a period of a time. This means that, either I entered a deep sleep, or…
When she opened her eyes, something wasn't right.
The countryside… she was lying in a meadow in the countryside!
This wasn't the Flying Imperial Palace or anywhere near the mountain.
What's going on? Why am I here all of a sudden?
Rustling could be heard from the bushes.
Tan Yubing hurriedly tidied her clothes and pulled out her sword.
The sound was now clearer. It was footsteps.
Just as the footsteps got near her right by the bush, Tan Yubing leapt up and unleashed her sword-light.
Clink! The weapons clashed.
Shao Zhengyang's astounded face appeared in front of her.
"Senior Aunt Tan!"
"Junior Nephew Shao?"
Both of them were rooted to the ground. After hearing the familiar address, both of them relaxed a bit and kept their weapons.
"Junior Nephew Shao, what happened?"
"I wish to know too." Shao Zhengyang looked at her in a daze. "When I woke up, I was here. This is uncanny!"
"Same for me…."
Shao Zhengyang and Tan Yubing looked at each other in dismay.
What's going on? There were three Spirit Realm elders in their courtyard. In addition, in the Flying Imperial Palace, there was the king of Zhongzhou - an Assimilation Realm elder - to oversee things. Who could possibly sneak them out and throw them here without alerting anybody?
This is totally outrageous!
"Where are the others?" Tan Yubing asked.
Shao Zhengyang shook his head. "The first person I found is you, Senior Aunt Tan."
"Shall we search around? To see if there are any others."
With the company of someone familiar, both of them had calmed down, and their minds were clearer now. They found three younger disciples during their search.
Following that, they found the boundary.
"Are we locked in here?" After many tries, Tan Yubing still did not succeed in passing through.
"Looks like it." The stream in front of them looked like it was unreachable - a formless barrier that locked them in the middle.
"Which genius is playing around? What does he or she want by shutting us in here?" She face-palmed.
Seeing the younger disciples all trembling, Shao Zhengyang went forward to pacify them. "Senior Aunt Tan, please calm down. At least it seems like there's no danger. Maybe they locked us in as a prank. We'll be let out soon I suppose."
"I hope that's the case…."
The same situation happened to the others as well.
Lu Mingshu sat crossed-legged on a rock by the river bank. She held her chin and stared at the pebbles in front of her.
She moved them left and right, up and down. There was nothing on first glace, but when she looked closely, there seemed to be something.
The wheelchair slowly rolled over and stopped beside her.
"How long has passed?"
"An hour, I guess?"
"Notice that the sky has turned dark?"
Lu Mingshu glanced over at him. "Say whatever you have to say."
"Should we start a fire?"
"Boil some water?"
Lu Mingshu snickered. "Xie Lianzhen, can you just get to the point? Will you die if you don't speak directly?"
Xie Lianzhen kept quiet for a moment. "I'm thirsty."
"Hmph!" Lu Mingshu took out a water sack and threw it to him. "I'm lazy. Drink this if you're thirsty."
Catching the water sack that she threw over, he took a look and asked, "How many days have you had this water? Was it boiled? Unboiled water isn't good for consumption, I-"
"Does my life seem that bad to you?" Lu Mingshu clenched her fists to stop herself from choking him. "The Flying Imperial Palace's servant girl filled it up for me this morning. I don't know if it's boiled or not."
Xie Lianzhen sighed in relief.
Lu Mingshu continued to stare at the pebbles and fiddle with them, moving them around with a branch from time to time to change their direction.
"What are you trying to do?"
Seeing that she was messing with the pebbles, Xie Lianzhen asked.
"Trying to find loopholes."
"You want to break the barrier by yourself?" he asked weirdly.
Lu Mingshu nodded. "Taking the initiative is better than being passive."
"Didn't you say there was nothing we could do about barrier?"
"That's why I'm thinking of a way!"
She softly rapped her head and looked up at the sky. "I wonder how long we were unconscious. Shouldn't the Seventh Truth Platform elders have been here by now?"
"Yes. When something happens to Qilin Peak, even if there's some trick, they would only take an hour at most."
"Not even counting the time that we were unconscious, hasn't it already been an hour?"
Xie Lianzhen nodded. "If there are others in the same situation, the space will be especially unstable."
After he finished, he saw that Lu Mingshu's eyes shone. She placed a piece of paper and pen on the rock and started scribbling.
"What have you come up with?"
"Shut up!" She didn't even spare him a look and continued to work on her own thing.
Xie Lianzhen shifted to Lu Mingshu's side. The paper was filled with strange characters.
After a while, she turned to look at the pebbles and shifted some of them again. She then continued to scribble.
Seeing her so focused, Xie Lianzhen felt like he was being completely ignored. He was also someone who read a lot, but he couldn't understand the things scribbled on her paper. After thinking about it, he guessed that she may be doing some calculations due to the frequency of the characters. This type of calculation was simple and convenient. He was unaware of where she learned it.
Time passed by quickly. Because she was putting her heart and soul into it, beads of sweat could be seen on her forehead, and her ears had turned red.
Xie Lianzhen sat at the side silently, looking at Lu Mingshu work. This side of Lu Mingshu made him feel like… admiring her. Just like when she was on stage giving it her all. This serious and hardworking side made her shine even brighter.
People in the dark always yearn for the light. Perhaps this is why I'm attracted to her?
"Done!" Lu Mingshu put her pen aside and let out a breath,
Lu Mingshu's eyes shone. The happiness couldn't be hidden.
"What result did you get from your calculations?"
"Just as you said, this space is unstable." She kept her pen and quickly rearranged the pebbles. "This space, which is unstable to start with, just needs an additional spark to break it. We don't need to do it head-on."
Something suddenly struck her. "You knew that I was calculating something?"
Xie Lianzhen nodded. "The things you wrote on your paper are numbers, right? It's just a more simple and exquisite form, as if they've evolved. What do you call that? And where did you learn it?"
Hearing that, Lu Mingshu became more alert. That was a mistake. I should never use techniques from other worlds in front of others. If he can tell, they could too.
"That's not important. Right now, we need to break the barrier."