Volume 2 Chapter 3: Ancient Imperial Texts
The next day when Nalan Ruoshui saw Chen Nan again, she was positively astonished. She was shocked to discover that the man standing in front of her had seemingly transformed into a whole new person. Although Chen Nan’s appearance was still as ordinary as always, the faint smile on his face, the deep look in his eyes… it really seemed like he had a newfound, indescribable temperament.
“Did you recover your power?”
“Nope. Why do you ask?”
Nalan Ruoshui said, “I feel that something has happened in your body. Your body seems to have gained some of that kind of temperament. Isn’t it because you recovered your power?”
Chen Nan was alarmed. He quickly suppressed his power. He laughed, “How could that be?”
Nalan Ruoshui resumed her undisturbed look. “I probably made a mistake. Alright, let’s continue with the acupuncture and moxibustion.”
This time, the acupuncture and moxibustion continued for two hours. After Nalan Ruoshui departed, Chen Nan hurriedly forcibly circulated his vital qi throughout all his vessels, but the result wasn’t nearly as great as the first time.
He opened his two eyes and let out a breath of air. “It seems there truly are no shortcuts when cultivating martial arts!”
From then on, Nalan Ruoshui visited nearly every day, but not every treatment was acupuncture and moxibustion. Sometimes, she would beat the acupoints all over Chen Nan’s body, hoping to reactivate his inner vital qi. Slowly, the two of them gradually became friendly with each other. Nalan Ruoshui was no longer as cold and indifferent as before. Occasionally, the two of them would chat more than just a few sentences.
From those conversations, Chen Nan deduced that although Nalan Ruoshui was a member of the Residence of Eccentrics, she rarely lived there. Normally, she lived at home with her family. Her father was an official of the court. Furthermore, his post couldn’t be considered as too low. She and Chu Yue had been friends playing together since childhood. As a result, she could regularly go to and from the imperial library’s room of ancient texts. The majority of her medical expertise had been learned from there.
When Chen Nan heard Nalan Ruoshui mention the ancient imperial texts, a light flashed through his two eyes. He knew that place would certainly hold some precious ancient books. Maybe there were some written accounts from ten thousand years ago. Thinking of this, he became ecstatic.
“Nalan-xiaojie, you can truly be regarded as a genius. Over half of your brilliant medical expertise was gleaned from your own studying. It’s truly admirable.”
Nalan Ruoshui indifferently said, “Actually, it wasn’t much. All you need is to work hard and put in some effort. Anyone could accomplish the same.”
Chen Nan sighed. “It’d be impossible for me. I’m a person of the mountains and fields. I don’t even have knowledge of writing. How could I learn those things from books?”
Nalan Ruoshui was startled. “Y-you’re illiterate?”
“Yep. I don’t know a single character. I don’t even know how to write my own name.” When Chen Nan said this, the look on his face turned somewhat desolate. Although it was a lie, there was still some of his genuine feelings hidden within it.
“I’m an orphan who was abandoned deep in the mountains. A kind old hunter took me in and adopted me. Due to being strained for money all my life, I never went to school to learn how to read and write. When I was sixteen years old, my foster father left me. From then on, the sky was drab…
“Aside from bringing me up, foster father gave me the warmth of family, and he taught me some martial skills. But how much strength can a sixteen year old kid have? Each time I went to go hunting deep in the mountains, I would find myself under the claws of beasts and run away panicking… The winter snow drowned my knees, but I didn’t have any shoes to wear. I could only wear my flimsy clothes and hide away in my simple and crude little hut that was devastated by the icy winds, trembling…
“No warmth, no food… I could only beg heaven to put an end to the wind and the snow earlier… During the endless winter, sometimes I could only eat once every six or seven days. Even then, it was only because of the kindness of my neighbours who took out rations from their own supplies to give to me in charity…
“Starving and freezing, I fell ill. One day, my neighbours noticed that they hadn’t seen me in a while, so they barged into the crude hut that my foster father had left behind. At that time, I was already in a coma for many days. According to the neighbours, I was constantly crying out: ‘Mama… Mama…’, but I know that in this life, I don’t have a mother. I only previously had a foster father…”
Chen Nan wiped the tears off his face. “Sorry, Nalan-xiaojie, I’ve wasted your time. I’m too emotional; I let it all out all at once…”
A watery mist clung to Nalan Ruoshui’s eyes. Her voice was gentle. “It is I who should be apologizing. It was I who made you recall your painful past. Sorry, I didn’t know you had such a harsh past.”
“It’s nothing. The suffering in my past has only made me cherish the happiness I have in the present even more.”
Women are naturally kind-hearted. Chen Nan’s ‘tragic past’ made Nalan Ruoshui’s heart fill with pain. She gently said, “Chen-gongzi, do you wish to learn how to read and write? I can teach you.”
“Truly?” Chen Nan, delighted, looked at her. This was what he was waiting for, but in his heart, he felt more or less ashamed. He had used a lie to gain sympathy.
“Of course it’s true. From now on, in the morning, I’ll treat you with acupuncture and moxibustion; in the afternoon, I’ll teach you how to read and write.” Currently, Nalan Ruoshui’s face no longer had her customary indifference, that coldness and detachedness. In its place, there was a flowery smile.
Chen Nan didn’t expect this girl, who had been outwardly cold, detached, and had a faint enlightened temperament, to surprisingly have this kind of charming smile.
Women are naturally kind-hearted, full of sympathy. Nalan Ruoshui was moved by Chen Nan’s ‘sorrowful childhood’. In the following days, she changed from her previous indifference. She carefully treated him with acupuncture and moxibustion and thought of all kinds of ways to try and restore his power. At the same time, she put her heart into teaching him how to read and write.
Shame took root in Chen Nan’s heart. He held great esteem and respect for this beautiful girl.
After half a month, Chen Nan’s ‘illness’ still hadn’t improved. This left Nalan Ruoshui flabbergasted. She rummaged through all kinds of medicinal records and texts, but remained helpless in the face of crisis.
In this period of time, Chu Yue visited a few times. Every time, she would console Chen Nan and tell him not to feel anxious.
The little princess also covertly came to visit a few times. Naturally, she deliberately made things difficult for Chen Nan every visit. Perhaps she felt a bit ashamed and guilty, but she was never too excessive. Despite this, the little demon still gave Chen Nan a headache. However, Chen Nan was baffled at the way she surreptitiously came and went. Later, he heard from Nalan Ruoshui why it was like so. As it turned out, the little demon was hiding from that magic researcher, the Old Witch.
The Old Witch once wanted to accept the princess as her disciple, but no matter what, the princess was unwilling. Instead, she actually paid respects to the martial arts grandmaster Zhuge Chengfeng as her teacher. Because of this, the Old Witch grew resentful. She almost went to find Zhuge Chengfeng to have a duel. Regardless, she never abandoned the idea of taking the princess as her disciple. Every time she saw her, she’d ‘use emotion to arouse her heart and use reason to provoke her mind’. The princess was afraid of her. Every time she’d visit the Residence of Eccentrics, it would always be a covert operation.
After hearing Nalan Ruoshui’s explanation, Chen Nan laughed wildly. He never expected that little witch of endless evil to be so vehemently scared and yielding. It was simply a fantastic story.
The trace of a faint smile emerged at the corner of Nalan Ruoshui’s mouth. To be able to make this kind of indifferent girl to smile, one could imagine the little demon definitely had a ‘nasty name that spread far and wide’ in the imperial capital.
One day, the princess’s teacher Zhuge Chengfeng suddenly returned, seriously injured. The community of practitioners in the imperial capital were in an uproar. Chen Nan was also aghast. He had personally witnessed the skill of this grandmaster level martial artist. His exceptional cultivation neared Dao. To this day, the great battle between Zhuge Chengfeng and the Monolithic Snake was still fresh in his memory.
Zhuge Chengfeng had indeed seen the legendary qilin. Countless practitioners had frantically rushed towards the qilin. Everyone wanted to tame the mythological beast. Even ones who had no hope in succeeding had stepped forward one after another, hoping to push the wave and bolster the ripples, adding momentum in the effort to kill it and thereby obtain a scale and half a claw—or any pieces that they could retrieve—to refine into medicine.
Zhuge Chengfeng had had a detached point of view. He had been fully aware of the strength of mythological creatures. Only unordinary people may have the capability to deal with one. A Divine Snake that had failed in its draconic transformation had already made him pull on his lapels, exposing his elbows and inability, let alone legendary mythological beasts. As he anticipated, the qilin had hardly been in a panic at being besieged from all sides by several hundred people. It had opened its mouth and breathed out a vast flame. The temperature of the flame had been dreadfully high. The first people who had rushed towards it were burnt into ashes that flew away and smoke that instantly dispersed.
Zhuge Chengfeng had originally wanted to leave after that, but the qilin, against all expectations, had fixed its gaze on him. The mythological beast was capable of identifying the most powerful individuals out of a crowd. Its mind had been filled with deep hostility towards the intruders who had forcefully burst into its ancient cave and roused it from its slumber. Leaving a trail of fire, it had immediately rushed towards Zhuge Chengfeng.
The great battle between Zhuge Chengfeng and the mythological beast had been incomparably desperate. Like a pond of fish, countless people who had come for the qilin suffered calamity. Some had been killed by haphazardly soaring sword qi that pierced their bodies in the struggle. Others had been burnt to ashes by the turbulent, raging flames. Countless people died violent deaths. Ultimately, Zhuge Chengfeng proved no match for the qilin and was seriously injured, but he had been able to escape from the incredibly dangerous Luofeng Mountain Range.
There was no more than one or two per ten people who successfully escaped from the danger. This matter gave rise to a tempest in the continent. Even more practitioners with profound cultivation burst into the Luofeng Mountain Range, wishing to tame the qilin as their mount. In particular were those dragon riders from the western continent. After hearing this news, their interest in the qilin completely eclipsed their interest in Monolithic Dragons. Ten incredibly formidable dragon riders all went off on a journey from their home countries, rushing towards this Luofeng Mountain Range.
Zhuge Chengfeng only briefly discussed this matter, but one could already imagine the danger. The battlefield had been undeniably many times more intense than that involving the Monolithic Snake.
After hearing this, the princess was extremely resentful. She pouted her lips, mumbling, “This is such a great show, but I never got a chance to see it. I really regret not being able to watch it. Old fogey is seldom made a fool of. I never expected to be able to see him in such a bad state with my own two eyes, ai…”
After Zhuge Chengfeng returned and explained what had happened, he hurriedly left to a secret place to heal. If he were to hear the complaints spouted by his treasured disciple, he’d definitely be so angry he’d vomit blood.
Afterwards, the matter involving the qilin boiled for over a month. Countless practitioners returned from combat with crippled feathers and crippled morale, until the qilin disappeared into the Luofeng Mountain Range. This matter finally came to an end.
Since the time Chen Nan’s ancestral profound skill had entered the third Chongtian, he could’ve easily left at any time, but he wasn’t in a hurry. Every day, other than receiving ‘treatment’, he’d focus all his concentration and effort in studying the continent’s common script.
Time passed quickly. In the blink of an eye, two months passed. Still, there was not even the slightest bit of an indication that his power ‘recovered’. But regarding the modern script of the continent, he already grasped it very well. This left Nalan Ruoshui amazed. She never thought he’d be so talented in the aspect of reading and writing.
Chen Nan madly read all kinds of history books: true history, unofficial history… It was all overturned by him.
Whenever he thought of Shenmo Cemetery, his heart would pound. He had come back to life in that ancient graveyard, so he was particularly interested in its past. He was dying to learn of all its secrets. Chen Nan had an unusual, intense feeling that the alarming, gargantuan secret from ten thousand years ago wasn’t completely erased from history. Sooner or later, there would come a day when the water subsides, exposing the rocks—and exposing the truth.
He vainly scoured through history books looking for spider’s thread and horse tracks—any traces at all—from ten thousand years ago, but he was disappointed. All the history data only covered up to the major events that had occurred in the past five thousand years. There was simply no information dating from ten thousand years ago.
Nalan Ruoshui was surprised at his interest in history. She couldn’t help but inquire, “Chen-gongzi, why do you have such a passion for history? The Residence of Eccentrics has all sorts of poems and ballads, how come I’ve never seen you look at those?”
Chen Nan laughed, embarrassed. “This… Although poems and ballads are much more creative and artistic and rouse people’s sentiments, I find that history contains even more emotion. It leaves one quivering in their thoughts. Before, I was illiterate, so I never read a book and never knew that the continent has such a turbulent and magnificent past. A strong empire rises up and then perishes; an outstanding nation is prosperous then declines… The wind and rain from five thousand years ago, the dazzling glory from five thousand years ago… it can deeply move someone—it’s simply inspirational!”
A hint of a peculiar expression flashed through Nalan Ruoshui’s eyes. She smiled. “Chen-gongzi, you’ve been moved so deeply, it seems like your gains are not few!”
Chen Nan felt ashamed. He didn’t think his crazy nonsense would make it seem like he’d been so deeply moved.
“You’ve only learned to read just two months ago, yet you’re already capable of reading through the continent’s history. It’s really admirable!” Nalan Ruoshui praised. A smile was suspended on her face.
Chen Nan saw that Nalan Ruoshui’s current mood was pretty good. He decided to put into action the plan that he formulated a while ago. “Nalan-xiaojie, I’ve read all the history books in the Residence of Eccentrics. Perhaps the two of us go to the imperial library’s room of ancient texts and browse through it together?”
Nalan Ruoshui looked at him, taken aback. “Are you truly that interested in history? The imperial library’s room of ancient texts is looked after very closely. Only by relying on my status as Chu Yue’s close friend can I go in. If I were to bring someone else, I’m afraid it’d be very difficult. But we can give it a try. If we can get Princess Yu to accompany us, then the possibility of you entering may go up a bit.”
With the topic of the little demon raised, Chen Nan’s head began to ache. He promptly shook his head. “That’s okay then, I’ll continue to stay in the Residence of Eccentrics and read some of the poems and ballads.”
“It doesn’t matter. Tomorrow, I’ll go look for Princess Yu.”
“No no… I seriously can’t go. If I read that much history, I’ll get a headache.”
“Hehe…” Although Nalan Ruoshui was ordinarily as cold as ice and rarely displayed her smile, her current flowery smile was particularly touching. It was like a ripple of spring water, rippling into one’s heart.
Chen Nan became despondent. Nalan Ruoshui’s following words struck him back into reality.
“Don’t worry. I definitely won’t go find Princess Yu to accompany us. I need to find her to find Her Highness Princess Yue. Princess Yu is famous for being troublesome, why would I randomly want to cause trouble for myself.”
Chen Nan forced a laugh. “I didn’t think Her Highness the princess’s reputation was so great. I thought only I considered her a headache.”
Later that evening, Chen Nan was lying in bed recalling his experiences from the past two months, all the drama that had played out. He unexpectedly became a secret state official for the Empire of Chu. The greatest benefit he had gained in the past two months was fluency in the continent’s modern script. He had completely assimilated into society.
The next day, there was the trace of a smile on Nalan Ruoshui’s face. She said to Chen Nan, “Princess Yue has already informed the management of the imperial library. In a while, after your acupuncture and moxibustion, you can come with me together for a visit.”
Chen Nan was delighted at the unexpected good news. After a session of acupuncture and moxibustion, he followed Nalan Ruoshui out of the Residence of Eccentrics. Ten or so warriors were protecting a luxurious carriage nearby. Nalan Ruoshui told him to get into the carriage with her, and Chen Nan thanked her. Throughout the whole journey, he could smell her intoxicating, delicate fragrance. They quickly arrived at the Imperial City.
The restricted land of the imperial palace; a civil official descends from his palanquin; the military officials dismount from their horses; other than the imperial family, no one else was able to enjoy this spectacular, luxurious treatment. Within the imperial palace, the halls were lofty and high, heights irregular. A majestic scene. Chen Nan followed Nalan Ruoshui to the imperial library, a left turn here, a right turn there, until they arrived outside a grand hall.
The person in charge here was an imperial secretary of about forty years of age. Thanks to Chu Yue’s prior message, he didn’t say much.
Within the hall, the ancient records were like mountains, beautifully chaotic. Every row and every column was stacked neatly and tidily.
Within this ocean of books, Chen Nan passed over the poetry, passed over the astrology books, passed over the medicinal books… He arrived directly at the door of a storeroom with a labelled sign: History. Peering inside, there appeared to be close to ten thousand books. He grew dizzy. With this many books, it would take him how many years and how many months to be able to read all of them? This was just too many.
He patiently went searching in the ocean of books. He only scanned the first page of every book. If its contents were from within the past five thousand years, then he’d uniformly ‘return it home’.
In the following days, Chen Nan and Nalan Ruoshui would back and forth between the Residence of Eccentrics and the room of ancient texts at the imperial library every day. He uninterestingly browsed through history books daily.
One day, Chen Nan extracted a book from the bookshelf in passing. He opened it up and saw that the calligraphy was modern. He thought for a moment, and then went to return it to its original position. But the four words of the cover, ‘The Ranks of Practitioners’, roused his interest. As he was in the middle of pushing it back into its place on the shelf, he took it back out.
He flipped open the book, hoping to skim over it once, but he shortly found that it piqued his interest. This book pertained to the ranks of practitioners and how their strengths were divided. Daoists, magi, eastern martial artists, and western martial artists all had their own standards in regards to dividing their strength. But in order to compare their levels of strength, no matter how weak or great, they were all divided into five ranks. However, the lowest rank described was still an expert of experts. People who were able to ascend to one of these ranks were truly of a class of tyrannical strength. Ordinary experts were simply not included within the scope of this book.
After reading through the book’s introduction, he definitely understood the profound strengths of the practitioners on the present day continent.
Daoists were the most mysterious. Because they very rarely took action, there was some controversy within the outside world regarding the divisions of strength among them. Their level of cultivation was simply divided like so: Zhuji, Yangqi, Ninghua, Jiedan, and Yuanying. However, the book also explained that there may also be an even higher level above these. The highest level of legends led directly to the realm of immortals. This was nothing more than conjecture; no one had ever seen these kinds of people in action.
The strength of magi could be divided like so: Amateur Magus, Intermediate Magus, High Magus, Grand Magus, and Magic Daoshi.
Eastern martial artists’ levels of cultivation could be divided like so: Refining Essence into Qi, Innate Condition, Sword Qi Beyond the Body, Refining Qi into Spirit, and Concentration of Spirit and Consolidation of Qi. Additionally, the book also mentioned that there has been someone who had surpassed these five levels. Their body’s unrivalled power was unfathomable by others. They could even be said to be a god.
The strength of western martial artists could be divided like so: Sword Craftsman, Sword Expert, Sword Adept, Sword Saint, and Sword God. Aside from these, western martial artists also possessed the classification of a unique practitioner—dragon riders. These tyrannical practitioners and their awe-inspiring dragons were bound together. They possessed their own stifling, terrible, destructive strength that could be divided like so: Land Dragon Riders, Flying Dragon Riders, Auxiliary Dragon Riders, Monolithic Dragon Riders, and Holy Dragon Riders.
The distinct classes of practitioners were all divided into five ranks. In this way, their strengths could be compared with one another. Generally speaking, there wasn’t much of a difference between the strengths of equivalent ranks. However, Daoists and magi clearly dominated over martial artists. When their opponent was weaker—when their opponent was of a lower rank—then they’d exhibit their unique strengths to directly manipulate the world’s original vital qi, to conduct large-scale attacks, or to indiscriminately attack many different opponents simultaneously.
If it was according to what the book states in the way it divides up the levels of strength into ranks, then the majority of martial artists were still blocked off from the ranks of experts. Although martial skills could be cultivated by anyone, the overwhelming majority of practitioners did not have a very profound level of cultivation. Only a small number of talents were capable of becoming a ranked expert.
Although the required constitution for Daoists and magi was comparatively high, it meant that the number of practitioners was very low, but the great majority of these practitioners were ranked experts. It was obvious that a practitioner’s constitution and their future accomplishments were heavily related. Overall, there was little difference between the numbers of ranked experts of the four kinds of practitioners.
Chen Nan closed the book and let out a long breath. He finally figured out the ranking of the strength of modern practitioners. But he was sure that the highest level of practitioners was definitely not limited to these five ranks. According to his limited knowledge, that year, his father Chen Zhan’s cultivation had already surpassed Concentration of Spirit and Consolidation of Qi, the fifth rank of eastern martial artists.
He objectively estimated the rank of his own strength. His ancestral profound skill had already reached the third Chongtian. He should just be capable of sending his sword qi out of his body. It was just enough for him to be considered a practitioner of the third rank. According to the continent, he was already a genuine expert.
To be able to accidentally discover this book, Chen Nan felt that he had benefited not lightly.
In the next several days, he became familiar with a strange, old man in the book room. The old man was abnormally old. His two eyes were turbid and lacked liveliness. His teeth had lost their glow long ago. His skin was as wrinkled as a crumpled up ball of paper. His glowing bald head had few sparse hairs—only ten or so.
When Chen Nan had first seen the old man, he had jumped back in fright. He had even thought he was a departed ghost that had suddenly escaped from his coffin and was looking for vengeance. In order to be polite, every time he’d see the old man, he’d smile at him in greeting, but they had yet to speak a word to each other.
One day, Chen Nan was just browsing through some dusty, old, history books when the old man’s voice suddenly sounded from behind him: “Youngster, do you like history?”
Chen Nan was so startled he almost jumped. The strange old man resembled a specter, soundlessly arriving not even one chi behind him. He secretly blamed it on how engrossed he was in the books.
“Ah, yes. I prefer it, but it seems like there aren’t many ancient works here. The earliest they date back to is only five thousand years.”
“Oh, you like reading ancient books? Can you understand the writing?”
“En, I have some academic achievements in ancient writing. I can read most of the ancient text.” He raised the book in his hand and said, “Look, this is the writing from four thousand years ago. Although it’s more complicated compared to modern writing, I can still figure it out.” Chen Nan absolutely did not lie. He was actually quite sensitive to written languages. Besides, the modern common writing on the continent had originated and evolved from Xianhuan Continent’s ancient writing, so it wasn’t hard to compare the two. It also wasn’t too hard to distinguish the writing in between the two ages.
Chen Nan seemed to be seeing things. It seemed like he saw a trace of a green light flash out of the old man’s turbid eyes.
The old man asked, “Why do you like reading ancient books?”
Chen Nan answered, “I’m rather interested in the legends and myths from ancient times and want to learn a thing or two.”
The old man laughed out loud. Hearing his laughter, Chen Nan felt that it was remarkably awe-inspiring.
“Youngster, if you are truly capable of understanding ancient writing, I can take you to another room of books. Genuine ancient documents are located only in that room. Those books are much older than the ones here.”
Chen Nan was delighted. At the same time, he began to guess the old man’s identity. He could already see that the old man was definitely not some ordinary fellow. Otherwise, there’s no way he’d be able to take him to another storeroom of books.
Passing through the main hall, the two of them headed towards a back hall. The back hall was especially quiet. Pushing open the big, thick door, row after row of bookshelves presented themselves to Chen Nan’s eyes. The bookshelves were filled with various historical books.
After taking his first step into the ancient book room, Chen Nan sensed a trace, subtle difference. It undulated and trickled in fine streams, like a faint, cool breeze. It was indistinct, elusive.
“Fainting to death! Are the books here turning back into energy or something? How can there be this sort of undulation?” Now that the obstruction within Chen Nan’s body was purged and his spiritual awareness had recovered, his awareness of the external world was much keener and sharper than that of ordinary people.
The old man appeared not to feel anything at all. “Look, everything here is ancient books. Most of them are priceless, lone works. If you can read them, this place is undoubtedly a precious deposit of treasure.”
“A precious deposit of treasure?” Chen Nan was a little puzzled.
The old man explained, “Many of these books pertain to martial arts, magic, medicine, the art of poison, and so on. Many of them are even describe special skills that had never been passed down. The imperial family sent specialists here to sort, translate, and edit these ancient books, but they could only translate a small portion. I don’t know how deep your achievements are in regards to ancient writing, but if you surpass those specialized, graduated scholars…”
Chen Nan didn’t wait for him to finish speaking. He penetrated deep into the pile of books.
Day after day, he wandered around the ancient history books. This left Nalan Ruoshui astonished. After she unintentionally discovered that Chen Nan could read the ancient writing, her jaw dropped. When Chen Nan sorted out an ancient record discussing ancient medicine and gave it to Nalan Ruoshui, she was moved and sharply cried out, “My God! ! I’m not dreaming, am I?” She ecstatically embraced Chen Nan.
Feeling her soft body against him, Chen Nan became enchanted. He returned Nalan Ruoshui’s hug, but her delicate, soft body quickly left his embrace. From a distance, she gave him a gentle smile.
From then on, whenever Chen Nan saw Nalan Ruoshui’s smile, his heartbeat couldn’t help but quicken.
“Should I find another medical book for her today?”
“Boy, what are you so infatuated about? Looking at your immature appearance, it really makes my old self ashamed to be a man with you,” The Old Poison Devil timely said. His arms clung to the courtyard’s wall. He poked his head up from behind it.
“Damn old man, you were peeping on me again. You’re seriously too perverted and disgusting. Watch me go buy a bunch of firecrackers, set them off, and throw them over into your courtyard.” As the two of them became more and more familiar with one another, Chen Nan and the Old Poison Devil gradually began cracking jokes. Now whenever they saw each other, they even spoke sarcastically. However, just like before, he didn’t dare to joke around with the Old Witch. The Old Witch continuously moved to the east of his courtyard and to behind his courtyard, scaring him senseless.
“You dare! If you light firecrackers, I’ll have you take Seven Step Heartbreaker, Ten Step Soul Breaker, Thirteen Step Flesh Decomposer, and Fifteen Step Bone Disintegrator.”
“F*ck, you damned, old, perverted man.” Chen Nan turned cold. He quickly walked out of the Residence of Eccentrics. Today, Nalan Ruoshui wasn’t going to help him with acupuncture and moxibustion. She had said she wanted to carefully study the and treat his illness afterwards.
After Chen Nan arrived at the ancient book room, he found that old man already present.
“Youngster, you’re not bad. It seems like you actually do have some achievements in ancient writing. You can actually understand that ancient script. Today, my old self has to trouble you with something.”
“Oh, old man, please speak. If I’m able to help you, I definitely will.”
From his bosom, the old man fished out a yellowing ancient book. He placed it on the table. He fetched a brush and began transcribing it. After a while’s worth of time, the entire piece of paper was filled with a copy.
“Here. Can you help me translate the content written on this piece of paper?”
Chen Nan received it and took a look. The writing wasn’t very clear or coherent at all. “Old man, this writing doesn’t make much sense. Are you sure you didn’t copy it incorrectly?”
The old man said, “As long as you translate it accurately, it’s alright. You don’t have to worry about it making sense. Every day, I’ll have you translate three sheets, is that okay?”
“Sure, no problem.” Chen Nan inwardly said, “This old guy seriously suspects me. He actually broke up and scattered all the words, yet he is still making me translate it. Why does he need to keep it so secretive? What is this book?”
The favourable opinion of the old man he had held previously had now utterly vanished. He knew that the strange, old man had wanted to court his favour all along. His goal had been simply to have him translate this book.
According to Chen Nan’s estimations, the writing on the paper seemed to be of a calligraphic style from six or seven thousand years ago. There were very few words, but among them included ‘god’, ‘corpse’, and so on, arousing Chen Nan’s sensitive vocabulary. This just made him even more curious about the book.