Shen Mu – Volume 1 Chapter 4

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Volume 1 Chapter 4: Houyi Slaughtering Dragon

The Monolithic Snake’s tail touched the ground. Its one hundred zhang serpentine body was held upright in the air. With intimidating might, it seemed to transform into a genuine dragon.

The princess conveniently fetched a plumed arrow and nocked it to the bowstring. Exhausting all her strength, she pulled the Houyi bowstring back slightly. The pitch-black Houyi Bow began to suffuse with a faint golden glow. The golden glow, like a haze, flowed from the bowstring to the plumed arrow. The otherwise ordinary iron transformed into the essence of pure gold. The ordinary plumed arrow emanated a golden glow before being shot as a golden ray.

The wind thundered and the world seemed to pale. The golden ray seemed to tear cracks into space. In the blink of an eye, it reached the Monolithic Snake. The Monolithic Snake was incomparably startled, as if it realized that the golden arrow embodied tremendous energy. It quickly dodged towards the ground. Its massive serpentine body tried to avoid the golden arrowhead capable of paling the world. The Monolithic Snake’s entire serpentine body endlessly coiled at the mouth of the volcano.

The golden arrow brushed past the Monolithic Snake, discouraging everyone. However, with another thundering of the wind, the originally off-target golden arrow whistled back from the distance. The dazzling splendour of the arrowhead even overshadowed the celestial sun. In a flash, the golden arrow pierced into the Monolithic Snake’s body.

Pu!

A wave of blood erupted from the Monolithic Snake’s wound, and the sky above the mouth of the volcano was filled with the splattering of blood. The massive serpentine body incessantly thrashed and writhed on the ground launching a number of gigantic boulders every which way. The princess’s party rushed to evade.

After ten or so minutes, the Monolithic Snake ceased its coiling. It once again lifted itself upright and raised its head ten or so zhang above the ground. It furiously glared at the princess, but seeing Houyi Bow, it instinctively turned fearful.

The Monolithic Snake’s serpentine body had been cut open by the golden arrow, leaving a massive, bloody hole. Fresh blood chaotically poured out.

A magus-in-training said, “Your Highness the princess, use the Godly Bow again. Shooting its wound again will surely kill the Snake Demon.”

“I can’t, I’ve already used up all my strength shooting the Godly Bow once. Men, come here!”

Ten or so guards stepped forward, but none of them had the strength to pull back the bowstring of the Godly Bow.

Hiding behind a rock, Chen Nan had watched the events of battle unfold very clearly. At present, no one knew more about Houyi Bow than him. No one had the power to pull back the bowstring of the Godly Bow even the fraction of a degree. If the princess had the power to pull back the bowstring a little more, forget about the Monolithic Snake, even Monolithic Dragons would find it hard to avoid misfortune. According to ancient legends, Houyi Bow had shot down the gods of the heavens. It was Xianhuan Continent’s number one immortal treasure.

The Monolithic Snake seemed to notice that no one could wield the frightening ‘dark instrument’ again. An ominous glint flashed in its eyes and, with a quick glance at the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus in the volcano, it rushed forwards towards the nearby band of people.

Chen Nan sensed that the turn of events were not too encouraging and immediately fled down the mountain.

It was only now did the princess showed a true sense of panic. “I overestimated my own strength!”

All the guards shouted out, “Your Highness the princess, hurry and flee!”

The princess tied Houyi Bow to her back and, with a deep look at everyone in front of her, turned around and fled down the mountain.

Currently, the Monolithic Snake was already swooping down, generating massive gusts of wind. In a flash, its monolithic serpentine body arrived in front of everyone. It shot out its blood-red forked tongue, just barely falling short of everyone. The three magi-in-training quickly raised their light blue protective screen. The Monolithic Snake used its skull to violently slam into the magical screen. In just a moment, the light blue screen shattered and the three magi-in-training vomited blood. All the guards were sent flying down the mountain by the Monolithic Snake’s momentum.

The Monolithic Snake moved like lightning. In another flash, it overtook the tumbling guards. Two guards were crushed by its monolithic serpentine body, without the time to even cry out. Seeing this broke all the guards’ courage. The Monolithic Snake didn’t continue its attack on the other guards. With an ominous glint in its eyes, it shot forwards to the princess fleeing ahead.

At this very moment, Chen Nan felt his soul leave his body; the little demon was following closely behind him, with the Monolithic Snake in hot pursuit.

The princess repeatedly cried, “Ah~!”

Chen Nan loudly yelled behind him, “Little demon, what are you hollering about? Don’t follow me like a bum beetle1!”

“Degenerate, smelly thief, you dare talk to me like this? Sooner or later, I’ll make you a palace eunuch! Ah~! The smelly snake is coming!” The princess no longer had a calm and collected look. Instead, she was panicking.

Hearing the princess cry out in fear, all the guards ignored their injuries and unsheathed their swords, slashing at the body of the Monolithic Snake. Their ordinary iron swords weren’t able to inflict even the slightest bit of damage to the Monolithic Snake. Its serpentine body twisted left and right, brutally crashing into the guards. The guards were sent flying away like scarecrows.

The Monolithic Snake had already reached the princess’s back. It opened its massive blood-red mouth and breathed out fire. Scorching, raging flames swept towards the princess.

The princess looked absolutely terrified and ear-splittingly shrieked, “Ah~!”

When the flames reached the princess’s back, Houyi Bow suddenly produced a faint golden glow, stopping the flames and scaring the Monolithic Snake to a halt.

At the same time, a whistle could be heard from afar. The sound rumbled like thunder and remained sounding in the air for a long time.

“Yu’er, don’t panic, your teacher has come.” The voice was deafening. It was even powerful enough to crush rocks and send them tumbling down the mountainside.

The sound blasted into Chen Nan’s ears, almost making him stumble.

In a short moment, a spaciously-clothed, middle-aged man appeared a hundred zhang away.

“Wu… Old fogey, why did you only come now? If you were late a single step, I would’ve been eaten by that smelly snake,” the princess called out.

In addition to his excessive nervousness, Chen Nan’s qi and blood were raging, forcing him to sit down.

“How could a voice be this ferocious? Could it be the Exterminating Roar Technique of the Azure Dragon? The little demon called him an old fogey. Could he be one of those rejuvenated, revitalized old guys?” He closely looked at the middle-aged man. In a flash, the old man covered the distance of over fifty zhang.

“Traversing that distance like it was an inch, his skill nears Dao! This old guy is really outstanding. It seems like his martial ability is at least at the level of a grandmaster.” Chen Nan was inwardly apprehensive.

In an instant, the middle-aged man already reached the princess. The Monolithic Snake wasn’t too far, gazing intently at this unexpected guest.

The middle-aged man seemed not to care about the Monolithic Snake. Patting the princess’s head, he laughed, “Haha, did little girl suffer too much?”

“Annoying! Don’t hit my head.” The little demonic princess slapped the middle-aged man’s hand to the side and pouted, “Hmph! Old fogey, did you arrive earlier and purposely hid to watch me and laugh?”

“If I had arrived earlier, could I helplessly watch you be chased and bitten by that little snake?”

“Fainting to the ground!” Chen Nan admired this well-matched master and disciple; he had also described that colossal monster as ‘little’.

“Hmph! Who knows if you’re telling the truth or lying?”

At this time, the guards lucky enough to survive moved around the Monolithic Snake and staggeringly went over.

The middle-aged man profoundly said, “You guys keep far away from this volcano. If you can retreat farther, then retreat farther.”

The princess wasn’t too talkative as she led the seriously injured guards down the mountain. Of course, Chen Nan had already escaped without a trace. Unexpectedly, he once again met that terrible little demon.

“Hey, degenerate, smelly thief, stop! Or else after I’ll peel off your skin after I capture you,” the princess fiercely shouted.

Chen Nan suffered endlessly as her prisoner during the past few days. Now, he viciously cursed back, “You smelly princess, keep dreaming! Sooner or later I’ll make you pay. I’ll f*cking…”

The guards that had narrowly escaped death very much wanted to rush forward immediately and capture him, but they had no strength whatsoever with their serious injuries. They could only loudly chide and curse at him from afar. The princess had not once been insulted like this. She angrily grinded her teeth, her body trembling in anger. If she hadn’t exhausted her strength, she would’ve already chased after Chen Nan and beat him senseless.

After several mishaps, Chen Nan arrived at the bottom of the mountain, ignoring the curses coming from behind him. He swiftly entered the depths of a nearby forest. He didn’t leave as he wanted to watch the battle between the middle-aged man who had rushed over and the Monolithic Snake. He concealed himself in a corner of the forest.

The Houyi Bow that frightened the Monolithic Snake had already been taken away by the princess, but the Monolithic Snake didn’t launch its attack. It sensed that the feeble human in front of him was filled with boundless power. It uneasily twisted its serpentine body.

Facing the Monolithic Snake by himself, the little princess’s teacher’s imposing manner instantly changed. He now resembled the world’s proudest giant. His face was brimming with confidence, without any sense of fear.

The Monolithic Snake reigned over all the creatures in its vicinity. In a several li circumference, not a single creature dared to take a step into his territory. However, in a short half a day’s time, its authority was challenged. Now, the middle-aged man formidable manner was oppressing the snake, thoroughly enraging it. Blazing waves of fire erupted outward, hiding the sky and covering the earth, turbulently surging towards the middle-aged man.

The middle-aged man’s body was like lightning. Leaving an afterimage, he dodged five zhang to the side, and then jumped up. He delivered a palm strike to the Monolithic Snake’s previous wound. Waves of blood once again came spurting out.

The Monolithic Snake was unable to endure the tremendous pain and its upright serpentine body collapsed onto the ground. Its blood-red eyes flashed a deathly, cold gaze. Generating a massive gale, it swept its tail towards the middle-aged man. If this thrashing tail was set out onto the battlefield, it would cause total annihilation, not just in name, but also in reality. With a loud rumble, rubble violently launched forward and a sandstorm concealed the sky. The Monolithic Snake’s ‘total annihilation’ left a gigantic ditch on the mountainside.

After the dust settled, the middle-aged man already surmounted the volcano’s summit. The Monolithic Snake once again sat upright, its head at exactly the same height as mouth of the volcano. It fiercely took a bite at the middle-aged man.

The middle-aged man didn’t dodge and continued to advance courageously. Two fists were brandished outward and a great white radiance shot forward from the clenched fists. The white radiance, as if it were a tangible material, slammed into the Monolithic Snake’s bloody maw.

Hong!

A reverberating sound echoed throughout the sky.

The Monolithic Snake flipped over in the sky and collapsed, causing another round of boulders to be catapulted. The middle-aged man was also pushed back by the tremendous recoil and slammed from one side of the volcanic mouth to the other, before free-falling to the ground.

Chen Nan praised in his heart, “This middle-aged man can actually rely on his strength alone to battle the one hundred zhang long Monolithic Snake. His cultivation definitely reaches sainthood.”

Seeing the middle-aged man have enough power to battle the Monolithic Snake, the princess and the others hiding in the forest were overjoyed.

The middle-aged man and the Monolithic Snake once again confronted each other. The middle-aged man relied on his lightning-like speed and excellent skill to target the Monolithic Snake’s eyes and other weak points. The Monolithic Snake relied on its superior body to recklessly slam into the middle-aged man. One man and one snake flew around each other on the volcano. Massive rocks constantly tumbled down the mountain.

One man and one snake moved farther and farther away from the mouth of the volcano, until they eventually reached the base of the mountain. Chen Nan sensed that the situation wasn’t too good and quickly slipped away. The princess and others also felt it wasn’t right and hurriedly retreated one li.

Everyone backed off. The place they were originally hiding in was now the new battlefield. The middle-aged man and the Monolithic Snake had fought from the summit of the mountain to the base. Every time the middle-aged man brandished his fists, a brilliant white radiance would be produced. Every boulder and tree that it came into contact with was crushed.

The Monolithic Snake’s destructive power was much greater than that of the middle-aged man. Every breath of raging fire would burn down a large area of forest, leaving it as scorched earth. Every ‘total annihilation’ move would topple much of the forest.

In less time than it takes to drink a cup of tea, the entire forest was razed to the ground.

Seeing this, Chen Nan trembled in fear. It wasn’t like he’d never seen an exceptional expert before—his own father had been one of the most formidable of experts—but he had only seen such an intense battle a few times before.

The princess inwardly rejoiced. If that Monolithic Snake had unleashed its power like this to deal with them, then she’d probably be reporting to heaven. Of course, this was just her own wishful thinking; Chen Nan was convinced that she would be going to the netherworld to reunite with her devil brethren.

Currently, it seemed like the middle-aged man had the upper hand. His lightning-like figure repeatedly attacked the vicinity of the Monolithic Snake’s previous wound. His fists and his white brilliance continued to bombard the same place over and over. The Monolithic Snake was battered and exhausted, its serpentine body unceasingly twisting.

The princess immediately cheered, “Teacher, add oil2~! Quickly beat that smelly snake to death and avenge my bodyguards.”

“Aiyah~! Old fogey, you’re so foolish, how could you let the smelly snake gain the upper hand. Did you get too arrogant hearing me cheer for you?”

“Old fogey, you’re really too disappointing. Aiyah, truly foolish enough to die. How could you let that smelly snake burn your hair.”

The middle-aged man peeled off some strands of burnt hair and rapidly retreated ten or so zhang.

“Teacher, you’re such a coward! How could you run away?”

Chen Nan sniggered. The middle-aged man had this kind of demonic disciple. It was truly his life’s misfortune.

The middle-aged man gasped in a gulp of air and called out, “Little girl, don’t randomly speak up. If you keep disturbing me, when I return, I’ll punish you and make you face the wall for a hundred days.”

“Aren’t family supposed to encourage you?”

“…”

Without the ‘irritant’, the middle-aged man’s power raised greatly, while the Monolithic Snake was beaten dispirited and listless. Everyone thought that he had victory in his grasp, but the Monolithic Snake’s tail suddenly shot out like lightning and wrapped around the middle-aged man’s waist, lifting him up to a high altitude. Although only the thinnest part of the Monolithic Snake’s tail was wound only once around him, the middle-aged man’s entire chest and abdomen was being constricted.

The princess cried out in fear, pushing passed her guards and running forward.

The middle-aged man struggled with all his might. His whole body became suffused with a faint white light. The radiance grew richer and more powerful and the grip on his body from the snake tail gradually loosened. In a moment, he escaped from the Monolithic Snake’s entanglement, but at the same time, the fierce snake head opened its giant blood-red maw to take a bite of him. He hastily brandished his two fists and struck outward. His blazing white fists stopped the fierce snake head in its tracks, but the loose snake tail once again tightened around him.

The princess rushed forward and arrived less than ten zhang away from the Monolithic Snake. She chokingly sobbed, “Teacher… wu…”

“Yu’er, don’t cry. Teacher is all right. This little snake hasn’t taken my life yet.”

“Teacher, take Houyi Bow,” said the princess, who then tossed Houyi Bow and a plumed arrow into the sky.

“Wu… Teacher, I’m sorry. I wanted to see your real strength, so I didn’t give Houyi Bow to you earlier. Wuwu…” The princess began to cry again.

“Yu’er, don’t be afraid. This little snake can’t deal with teacher. Now that I have Houyi Bow in my hands, it’s dead,” the middle-aged man said as he smashed his fists towards the fierce snake head. The fists radiated blazing white light and forced the snake head back a distance of three zhang. He extended both his hands and released a soft white ray of light, bringing Houyi Bow and the plumed arrow into his hands.

“Yu’er, back up. I’m afraid I’ll injure you.”

The princess saw the middle-aged man receive Houyi Bow and calmed down. She turned and ran away.

After the Monolithic Snake saw Houyi Bow, it actually showed fear and moved its snake head away seven, eight zhang.

The middle-aged man’s body vigorously radiated. Once he nocked the plumed arrow properly, he used his absolute full strength to pull back the bowstring and shouted, “Open!” To his shock, the bowstring didn’t move a whisker.

“Yu’er, did someone previously use Houyi Bow?” yelled out the middle-aged man.

“Yes, old fogey. That bloody hole on the smelly snake’s body was from when I shot it. Are you happy this time? I can finally pull back the Godly Bow.”

“What? You little muddlehead, Houyi Bow can only be used once a year. You really killed me this time.”

“Ah~! Teacher… wu…”

The Monolithic Snake seemed to notice that the middle-aged man was incapable of using the Godly Bow and fiercely chomped towards him. The middle-aged man swung Houyi Bow. The black back of Houyi Bow clashed with the thick white teeth, causing several of the half-meter venomous fangs to be blown off in a cloud of blood. The Monolithic Snake endured the pain and slashed at the middle-aged man with great strength, sending him flying.

The middle-aged man, battered and exhausted, flipped in the air and fell onto the ground. He took a long gulp of air, gripped the Godly Bow, and rushed forward toward the Monolithic Snake.

Chen Nan was slack-jawed and wide-eyed watching the princess’s teacher actually use Houyi Bow as a club. It truly pained his heart.

“This crazy man would go as far as to… He’s recklessly wasting heaven’s gifts!”

The princess’s brows were raised in delight, eyes laughing. “Haha, old fogey is really amusing!”

The middle-aged man leapt up and with a black flash, the Monolithic Snake’s scales as hard as pure steel were crushed into pieces by Houyi Bow. Blood gracefully rained. The Monolithic Snake was furious and its entire serpentine body twisted and turned. Its massive tail swept across and chopped down. The earth quaked.

What could be done? The princess’s teacher’s figure was like lightning, sometimes dodging, sometimes delivering deadly blows. Wielding Houyi Bow, he continuously attacked, bashing the Monolithic Snake until it was drenched in blood.

The Monolithic Snake suddenly stopped. Its upright serpentine body began to emit a dim golden light. An astonishing change occurred to the Monolithic Snake’s body. The multi-coloured scales on its serpentine body transformed into golden scales. Four protrusions appeared on its abdomen. A pair of sparkling gold antlers sprouted out of its head. The roar of a dragon thundered from the Monolithic Snake’s mouth, shaking the highest of the heavens. Powerful dragon qi emanated from the Monolithic Snake’s body. In a one hundred li circumference, every creature cowered on the ground.

Everyone was stupefied.

“A dragon! I’ve finally seen a legendary dragon!” Chen Nan excitedly called out.

The princess alarmingly shouted, “Heavens! We’ve been battling a dragon!”

While everyone was in their stupor, the princess’s teacher, however, was mournful. Only he knew that the Monolithic Snake had not yet successfully completed its transformation; its dragon claws still hadn’t extended out from its abdomen. A dragon failing to successfully transform meant only one thing—death.

He quietly said, “Snake-xiong, I apologize. I thought your cultivation as a Snake Spirit was without merit. I never thought you were this proud, cultivating a genuine dragon body for thousands of years. If you weren’t still stuck at such a pivotal point in your draconic transformation, I think we would’ve died without having burial sites.”

The golden scales on the Monolithic Snake’s body began to peel off. The blood and flesh now exposed by the peeling scales was disfigured. The Monolithic Snake gave a solemn, draconic roar. It spat out a spangling neidan which abruptly exploded in the air into a shower of dispersing golden specks. After failing its draconic transformation, the Monolithic Snake transformed into a golden ray of light that shot into the mouth of the volcano. In the blink of an eye, no one remained inside the volcano.

The princess’s teacher was disappointed and frustrated, as if he had failed. If he had killed an ordinary Snake Spirit, he would by no means feel such an incomparable sense of loss. But he had killed a Divine Snake that had the promise to transform into a dragon. He had a heavy heart.

“What’s right? What’s wrong? Perhaps this world never had a difference between right and wrong,” he sighed.

With a heavy heart, the middle-aged man arrived at the mouth of the volcano. He flew down to the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus and plucked off a single petal. Then, he ripped up the entire plant and threw it into the depths of the volcano.

“Snake-xiong, this was probably the will of heaven. If the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus matured an hour earlier, maybe you would have already finished your draconic transformation. That Immortal Lotus will protect your soul from extinguishing. I hope you can cultivate into a genuine dragon in your next life.”

Currently, the princess and everyone had already run forward. “Teacher, what happened just now? How did that smelly snake transform into a dragon?”

The middle-aged man replied, “You saw wrong. How could it transform into a dragon?”

“It was a dragon. Everyone clearly saw it was a dragon. You guys speak, just now you saw it was a dragon, right?” the princess asked the guards.

“It was a dragon.”

“Right, it was a dragon.”

“It was definitely a dragon. I saw it very clearly.”

The guards all confirmed.

The middle-aged man indifferently said, “When people are too tense, they will see illusions. Just now, you guys were too tense.”

The princess replied, “Hmph! Old fogey, you’re acting so weird today. You must be keeping something hidden from me.”

The middle-aged man laughed. “Little girl, you always love to let your imagination run wild. Here, this is the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus you wanted to pluck.”

“Ah, why is it only a single petal?”

“You’re really too greedy. With this grade of Immortal Lotus, getting just one petal is already not bad. The rest of the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus already fell down into the depths of the volcano.”

“Ai, that’s a pity,” sighed the princess.

“Ai, teacher, what about that snake? Was it killed by you?”

“It already died under Houyi Bow.”

“Oh. Old fogey, you’re really acting too weird today. You clearly killed a dragon—no—a Monolithic Snake. Why are you still so dispirited and dejected?” The princess blinked her two big eyes and took a deep look at the middle-aged man.

The middle-aged man pinched her nose and changed the subject, laughing. “Little girl, you actually escaped from the imperial palace. You don’t know that you almost worried your father the emperor to death.”

“Annoying.” The princess swatted the middle-aged man’s hand away. “I came out to look for the Blazing Inferno Immortal Lotus for father. It’s his sixtieth birthday; I wanted to give the Immortal Lotus to him as a gift. He’ll definitely be super happy.”

“Little girl, you’re really too crazy. Don’t you know your way of doing things is much too dangerous? How could you—”

“Alright, alright, I know. You don’t have to act as my grandmother and nag me. Teacher, I’ve heard others say that in your youth, you were secretly in love with my grandmother. Is that true?” the princess badly joked.

“Y-you don’t change the subject.”

The princess giggled. “Right, I’ll follow your orders. Your disciple will immediately return to the imperial palace.”

The middle-aged man looked helpless and said, “You’re too naughty, I’m not sure if you’ll return smoothly.”

The princess gave him an odd look. “Old fogey, aren’t you going back with me?”

The middle-aged man replied, “After finding you, I intended to make you comply and ‘escort’ you back, but when I was on the road, I heard someone say that in the Luofeng Mountain Range, a mythical qilin appeared. This is an unusual matter so I need to go take a look, but I’m worrying about you!”

“Isn’t that the qilin of legends? Does this world really have a qilin?” The princess’s two eyes shone and her face was filled with excitement. “I want to go too.”

“No. You’ve already been gone from the imperial palace for over a month. Your mother the empress is worried for your wellbeing and has fallen ill. You must immediately return.”

“Ah, my mother’s ill? Then fine, I’ll return right away.” The princess looked disappointed.

The middle-aged man returned Houyi Bow to the princess and said, “Yu’er, how could you snatch Houyi Bow? You should know that this is the Empire of Chu’s national treasure. Its use is to act as deterrence against the experts of other countries.”

“What’s wrong, didn’t I only borrow it for a while? It’s not like I won’t bring it back,” the princess said, not in the least bit concerned.

“You truly don’t know what’s good for you. The Godly Bow was sealed and can only be used once a year. How could you needlessly use it like that? Fortunately the Empire of Chu isn’t currently in a war, so it doesn’t need to be used.”

“I kno~w!” The princess dragged on and on that last syllable.


1 跟屁蟲/bum beetle; meaning ‘somebody who tags along’.
2 加油/add oil; a cheer meaning something like ‘keep going!/you can do it!’.


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One Response to Shen Mu – Volume 1 Chapter 4

  1. Jack Nathaniel Mikahil says:

    Thanks for the chapter!

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