Bian Qingxuan's right hand was dripping with blood, but she didn't immediately stop the bleeding. Seeing Bian Lingyu's gaze fall on the bowl of noodles on the table, her heart tightened.

She suppressed her resentment and smiled charmingly. "Brother, you can't really believe that little idiot cares about you? You probably don't know, but a few days ago when Senior Brother Changyuan returned to the sect, he had a quarrel with her over the matter of pretending to be sick."

Bian Lingyu remained expressionless, Bian Qingxuan smiled sarcastically, "Senior brother Changyuan must have reprimanded her to protect my reputation. Feeling uncomfortable, she came to find solace with you. Have you forgotten the lesson from a few months ago? She only comes looking for you when she is angry with me."

Bian Lingyu glanced at her. "Done talking?"

Bian Qingxuan frowned.

"Leave when you're done."

Seeing his extremely calm expression, Bian Qingxuan couldn't tell if he had been provoked or not.

She couldn't figure out if Bian Lingyu really didn't care or was pretending not to care. Seeing his cold gaze on her and her own hand really hurting, she could only cover the wound and go back to apply medicine.

Bian Lingyu sat down at the table.

The window was half-open, faintly revealing the new year lights and festive atmosphere outside. The night breeze blew against him, bringing a slight chill to his scorching hot body.

He stared at the noodles on the table for a long time before picking up the chopsticks and silently eating the cold lumped noodles.

The first rooster crowed as the sky was just barely lighting up. Han Shu prepared to continue the journey with the disciples.

Shi Luoyi had been cultivating all night. Before leaving, she looked at the sky. It was still the hour of Yin (3-5 am), not yet the hour of Mao (5-7 am). She wondered if Bian Lingyu, who had been severely ill last night, would be able to continue the journey with them today.

Unexpectedly, when she arrived at the lobby, she saw Bian Lingyu already drinking tea by the window. A few other scattered disciples were also in the lobby.

Bian Lingyu had a unique temperament among the group. And as a mortal, he also couldn't fit in well with the cultivators.

Shi Luoyi heard a male disciple whisper, "Why is a mere mortal, with a weak and sickly body even coming along with us?"

"Forget it, he's the little junior sister's elder brother. Since she brought him, there must be a reason. I overheard the little junior sister tell Elder Han Shu that he seems to have seen this kind of monster before as a child, so he might know how to deal with it."

The other disciple was half skeptical, but just then, Bian Qingxuan came downstairs and both disciples' eyes lit up. They eagerly crowded around her.

Their conversation was just idle chatter about the upcoming journey. Bian Qingxuan patiently listened to them talk and even gave them a few bottles of ointment and pills she had concocted.

Bian Qingxuan said, "My brother is in poor health, causing trouble for all senior brothers. Please take care of him."

The two disciples refused to accept her pills, repeatedly saying, "Junior Sister, you're exaggerating. Since he's your brother, he is also a member of our Hengwu Sect. If he needs any help, we will definitely not hesitate to help him."

After a bit of back and forth, Bian Qingxuan still insisted on giving them the bottles. Unable to decline further, they could only accept.

Shi Luoyi, with her Divine Meteor Sword on her back, tilted her head. She was not good at pleasing people and didn't have such a delicate heart as Bian Qingxuan. It was no wonder she wasn't well-liked by others.

Unlike Bian Qingxuan, Shi Luoyi stood in the morning breeze like an upright bamboo or a proud poplar.

Princess Wan Xun died young, and Shi Luoyi's father was a genius sword cultivator who doted on his daughter to death. Being cut from the same cloth, both were straightforward, carrying the righteousness and pride of sword cultivators.

When Bian Qingxuan pacified the dissatisfied disciples, Wei Changyuan and Elder Han Shu also arrived in the main hall.

Bian Qingxuan held up the hem of her skirt and greeted them with a smile.

“Master,” She greeted Han Shu with a bow, “Senior Brother Changyuan.”

Han Shu took a headcount and seeing everyone had arrived on time, said: “Let’s set off.”

Maintaining their previous pace, they arrived at Cangshan Village on the fifth day at noon.

Cangshan Village was right next to Qingshui Village. From their names, one could tell one was close to the mountain while the other was by water, both blessed with picturesque beauty within a ten-minute journey.

At this time, Cangshan Village’s chief, along with a large group of people, eagerly awaited for them. Seeing Han Shu’s group arrive, they quickly knelt down to the cultivators, crying out, “Immortal masters, please save us!”

Han Shu raised her hand, and an invisible force held up everyone's knees, preventing them from kneeling down.

“No need for that. We came to Qingshui Village precisely to eliminate evil spirits. What has happened? Speak in detail.”

The elderly village chief wiped the sweat from his forehead and spoke with a grave expression, recounting the events of the past few days.

It turned out that after the strange happenings in Qingshui Village, the commoners of neighboring Cangshan Village also didn’t dare go near Qingshui anymore.

The two villages were adjacent, separated by a boundary stele (stone tablet).

Previously, there was a thin layer of mist lingering at the border of Qingshui Village. The mist was very strange, it seemed faint and harmless, but anything thrown into it would disappear without a trace.

Several days ago, the fog had started spreading continuously toward Cangshan Village. Villagers living on the village outskirts fled in panic.

The mist was like a greedy mouth, it not only devoured Qingshui Village but was now expanding towards the neighboring Cangshan Village.

Many villagers had already fled in fear, taking their families with them.

The village chief's white beard quivered, his face was filled with fear and despair. "The remaining villagers only dare huddle in the areas furthest from the fog. Our ancestors have lived in Cangshan Village for generations. This is our root. If not for having no choice, who would want to be forced to leave... sigh..."

Moreover, if Qingshui and Cangshan were just the beginning, who knew what lay inside the spreading mist, how terrifying would it be.

Han Shu also didn't expect such a major incident to occur in just a few days of their journey.

Initially, they had planned to directly enter Qingshui Village but now had no choice but to temporarily stay in Cangshan to investigate what was so strange about the fog that could "devour" the village and what tricks it contained.

"Village chief, could you guide us to see the mist?"

"Of course, of course! Immortal Masters, please follow this old man."

The village chief led the group to the junction of the fog and the village. "Immortal Master, please look, it's right here."

Indeed, as the village chief said, the fog looked vast and white yet transparent, even vaguely revealing some of Cangshan's houses shrouded within.

Wei Changyuan murmured in contemplation before performing a True Fire spell. "Go!"

As a swordsman with a natural sword bone, his spiritual power was pure and abundant. His True Fire should have immediately dispelled the thin fog upon contact.

But shockingly, not only did the fog not disperse, the True Fire burning it also vanished without a trace.

Like a drop of water merging into a pond, silently submerged. And the mist, far from dispersing, continued to expand silently.

Now, the expressions of all the disciples turned grim. If even True Fire couldn't dispel the mist, could this still be just mist?

Everyone instinctively took a few steps back.

Shi Luoyi had expected this long ago. In their previous lives when trying to enter Qingshui Village, they had also been blocked by similar fog.

Back then, they were trapped in Cangshan Village for days before coming up with a way to enter. By then, Qingshui Village's situation had already worsened.

Shi Luoyi said, "The fog first appeared in Qingshui Village and although it has spread, it is very slow. It likely isn't omnipotent but needs certain conditions to spread. If we can find what it relies on, we may be able to dispel it."

Han Shu said, "What do you think it is?"

Everyone looked over. Shi Luoyi said, "Water. The biggest difference between Qingshui Village and Cangshan Village is that Qingshui is built over water surrounded by rice paddies everywhere. Cangshan Village is far from being as damp as that, so the spread is hindered and slow."

Seeing that no one was refuting, she continued, "If this reasoning is true, the mutual restraint of the Five Elements can explain why Senior Changyuan's true fire has no effect on the mist."

Han Shu pondered for a while and said, "Your speculation isn't groundless. There is no water around Cangshan Village, only mountains, and forests. So it's possible that the fog is drawing water from the trees."

Then, to stop the fog from continuing to erode Cangshan Village, they had to find a way to dissipate the water from the fog. Among the five elements, metal restrains wood, wood restrains soil, soil restrains water, water restrains fire, fire restrains metal."

Seeing no other options, Hanshu decided to give it a try. She led her disciples to the surroundings of the fog and set up a soil-draining spell formation around the fog.

This formation could draw water from a radius of several dozens of miles into its center.

Whether it would work or not would be revealed by morning when they see if the mist retreated or not.

While the others were setting up the formation, Bian Lingyu simply stood aside. His black eyes were icy as he gazed into the thin fog in the distance, as if trying to see into the Qingshui Village.

Taking advantage of everyone's inattention, Bian Qingxuan went over to him and asked softly, "How is it?"

"Dragon veins," he replied succinctly.

Bian Qingxuan was somewhat surprised. This rundown place, Qingshui Village, actually harbored dragon veins? She crouched down, pressed her palm against the ground, and faintly sensed the majestic spiritual power.

Bian Qingxuan's heart sank. She cursed under her breath, "Looks like that ghost thing is really transforming into a toad demon. It sure knows how to pick its location, it found a place with dragon veins in such a desolate little village."

She asked Bian Lingyu, "How confident are you now in dealing with them now?"

Bian Lingyu fell silent for a moment. Under his wide sleeve, icy sharp silver bone spikes protruded uncontrollably agitated by the thin fog. "Thirty percent."

Bian Qingxuan's heart sank further. Her gaze turned deep as she looked at Shi Luoyi. She opened her mouth, wanting to say that if worse came to worst, she would take some of Shi Luoyi's blood. However, seeing his silent and cold expression, she said nothing in the end.

Thirty percent was definitely not enough.

Since he was unwilling to take action, she would find an opportunity to take it herself!

Drawing water from soil required several days. The Cangshan villagers were anxious, afraid the cultivators would abandon them and leave. They quickly invited the cultivators to stay in their homes.

The village chief was also busy, saying, "There are still a few households in the village where people can stay, it can provide a temporary rest for the immortal masters."

Cultivators could rest anywhere for a night. But Han Shu's gaze swept over the anxious, exhausted faces and she sighed inwardly, "Alright."

It seemed everyone was afraid of being swallowed by the fog in their sleep and had been unable to rest for days. The remaining villagers were mostly those who had nowhere else to go now.

The villagers breathed a sigh of relief and eagerly invited the immortals to stay in their homes.

With so few houses left habitable now, Han Shu said, "Let's follow the village chief's arrangements."

The village chief nodded repeatedly and quickly assigned the accommodations.

Most of their group were men. Including Han Shu, there were only four women.

The other three were Shi Luoyi, Bian Qingxuan, and Sword Pavilion's deputy pavilion master, Li Feilan.

The village chief, seeing only two young girls, thought they got along well and arranged for Shi Luoyi and Bian Qingxuan to stay together. Shi Luoyi pursed her lips together, extremely unwilling.

The smile on Bian Qingxuan's lips deepened, and she said with a bright smile, "Great, I'd love to accompany Sister Luoyi."

However, both Wei Changyuan and another icy voice spoke at the same time, "No."

Wei Changyuan knew they didn't get along well and feared they would cause trouble at this critical juncture. He said, "Luoyi can stay with Elder Han Shu. Junior sister, is it fine if you stay with Elder Li?"

Now, everyone fell silent.

Bian Qingxuan looked at Bian Lingyu. Seeing his cold gaze on her, she could only reluctantly say to Wei Changyuan, "I'll listen to Senior Brother Changyuan."


"It's fine. I have no objections." As long as she didn't have to face Bian Qingxuan day and night, she was fine. Shi Luoyi disliked Bian Qingxuan and feared she wouldn't be able to control her old grudges, chopping her down with a sword in the dead of night.


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