Volume 3 Chapter 8: Remnants of a Godly Battle
After Chen Nan returned to the inn, he carefully mulled. He gradually deduced the Little Princess’s whereabouts. Based off of her innate character, she absolutely wouldn’t be able to stay in a quiet place. Wherever there was a ruckus was wherever she would be. Most likely, she had gone off in search of the ancient god’s severed hand.
“That damn little demon can never be satisfied with peace and quiet. For God’s sake, please don’t cause me any more problems!”
The next day, he forced himself back to Shenfeng Institute. From afar, he could make out the figure of the stunning woman standing outside the great gate. Beside her stood her giant golden Roc.
“I’ll consider you tactful. You didn’t miss your appointment, or else you would have died.” The gorgeous woman was dressed in purple. An air of splendour surrounded her being.
Chen Nan said, “How could I dare? In order to prove my innocence, even if I had to brave a flurry of daggers and waves of inferno, I’d still come. Uh, young lady, how should I address you?”
“My surname is Dongfang, my name is Fenghuang.”
Chen Nan was dumbstruck. This was certainly a name with personality1. If this name were attributed to someone else, he would have laughed out loud at them, but the beautiful lady in front of him was indeed worthy of sharing a name with a phoenix.
“A good name, Fenghuang…”
“Shut up. I am not your friend. You are the prime suspect of the thievery. You may call me Dongfang Fenghuang, or you may call me Dongfang-xiaojie, but you may not address me in that way.”
Chen Nan laughed. “Understood. I’m called Chen Bei. I don’t mind if you call me Bei.” He replied with a fake name.
Crackle! Electric sparks flashed out from Dongfang Fenghuang’s body.
“I was just making a joke, you don’t have to take it seriously.”
“It is best if you don’t casually joke around with me. Hurry up and tell me that dumb girl’s personality and habits.”
Chen Nan said, “I still don’t completely understand that little girl. I have only recently come to know her while journeying, but I can still make a guess at where she probably went.”
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “You’ve guessed where she is?”
“She probably went to look for the ancient god’s severed hand.”
Dongfang Fenghuang smiled. “I didn’t expect that dumb girl to be so daring. After brazenly committing so many crimes, she even dares to steal this opportunity.”
The remnants of the two ancient gods’ battle were in an area fifty li north of the city. As they were leaving, Dongfang Fenghuang suddenly hesitated. Finally, she creased her brows and said to Chen Nan, “The two of us will ride my Great Roc, or else who knows when we’ll finally get there.”
After Chen Nan and Dongfang Fenghuang leapt onto the back of the Great Roc, the golden Roc swept up a violent wind as it rocketed from the ground. The wind pounded against the duo’s ears.
Within Shenfeng Institute, an elder dressed in purple and an elder dressed in blue were currently looking up at the sky.
The purple-draped elder said, “Old fellow, look. Your granddaughter has found a husband.”
The blue-draped elder jokingly cursed, “Damn old fool, you really are indecent…”
The purple-draped elder said, “Your granddaughter is proud and arrogant, ambitious and competitive. You really made a mistake raising her.”
The blue-draped elder replied, “Rubbish. When my granddaughter decides to be warm and gentle, she can even melt eternally frozen ice. You just haven’t gotten the chance to see it.”
The Golden Roc’s flying speed was as fast as a streak of lightning. Every lofty mountain and winding river sped passed them. As they went, because of Chen Nan’s ‘earnest’ and ‘diligent’ prodding, Dongfang Fenghuang was left without a choice but to roughly explain to him the rumours of the god’s severed hand.
Three months ago, when a wealthy family of the City of Crime was doing some construction, they excavated from the ground a metal case. Inside was an old sheepskin scroll, but no one could read the scroll’s ancient script.
Afterwards, the ancient sheepskin scroll was sent to the city lord’s residence. Several of the city lords dispatched people all over the continent to invite several experts skilled in ancient script. Finally, one month ago, the scroll’s script was finally translated. The content that was written was more or less the same as what Chen Nan had heard when he was eating at the restaurant.
This matter caused the City of Freedom to become bustling with activity. After that, messenger pigeons spread the news all throughout the continent. Countless practitioners rushed towards the origin, all wanting to search for the ancient god’s severed hand and thereby receive whatever was being held in its palm.
Chen Nan sighed. “The mystery within the middle of Tianyuan Continent’s boundless mountains is incomparable. Last time, near the western border of Chu, a qilin appeared in the Luofeng Mountain Range. This time, a god’s severed hand has caused a disturbance in the vicinity of the City of Crime.”
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “These hundreds of thousands of mountains harbour secrets and treasures. There are many more things that you can’t even begin to imagine.”
Chen Nan asked, “Why did that qilin suddenly vanish last time? Why wasn’t Shenfeng Institute able to capture it?”
Dongfang Fenghuang answered, “The qilin is a mythical beast that surpasses the five ranks. How could it so easily be caught by others? I suppose it’s still somewhere in one of these countless mountains.”
The Golden Roc continued to soar like lightning. Fifty li was traversed in a blink. The lush blue-green hills and valleys below them offered an exquisite scenery. It was hard to imagine that a battle between gods had once occurred here.
But with careful inspection, you’d be able to discover that in the vast green, there were many deep ravines that seemed to have been carved from forceful strikes. Additionally, the apex of a few short mountains seemed to have been smoothly cleaved off. At the base of those mountains were many great boulders and rocks scattered about.
Previously, Chen Nan had doubted the rumour of the ancient gods’ battle, but now he firmly believed in it. Seeing what was left of the destruction, he could visualize how desperate and violent that earth-shattering battle was. He seemed to be able to hear the heaven falling and the earth splitting—and the sound of ghosts weeping and gods bawling.
Within the verdant mountain range, in that vast space, there were many human figures scurrying about.
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “Within a circumference of thirty li is where the two gods’ battle was held. You go down and search, I’ll stay in the sky and look.”
“A circumference of thirty li!” Chen Nan took in a gulp of cool air.
The Golden Roc spiralled down and Chen Nan leapt off of its back. He took in a great breath of air and exclaimed, “How fragrant!”
Dongfang Fenghuang heard his outburst and her face drastically took a turn. She quickly uttered an incantation and a bolt of lightning struck towards Chen Nan. Chen Nan quickly dodged several chi to the side with a leap in the air. With a bang, the lightning struck the ground. When Chen Nan landed, a scorched black ditch appeared where he had previously been standing.
By now, the Golden Roc had already flown back up. Dongfang Fenghuang coldly said, “How dare you act frivolous in my presence. Consider yourself lucky!”
Within the mountains, human figures bobbled up and down. The originally peaceful, secluded mountainous forest now had many visitors due to the ancient god’s severed hand. Within the woods, birds and animals all cried, occasionally scattering in all directions.
Chen Nan crossed over three hills and arrived in a valley. Carefully peering down, he realized that this was actually once a lake, but it had now dried up. The stream of water that had filled this lake had already been diverted elsewhere. From a winding path through the side, he found that the river had been diverted because of a boulder that had landed in its path.
Gazing at the short mountain that had lost its peak, Chen Nan seemed to be able to see the two gods battling. An ancient god chopped his hand horizontally, cleaving off the mountain’s summit. The crushed remains of the summit flew every which way, and one boulder in particular landed in this very river, cutting off the flow of water and diverting its route…
That momentary daydream made his blood boil with anger. He believed that after cultivating martial arts to the very peak, he too would be able to split mountains and rivers, because his father’s incredible power was still fresh in his memory to this day.
Just then, the conversation between two practitioners found its way to Chen Nan’s ears. He heard one of them say, “That girl is too hateful. Yesterday, she was loudly proclaiming that she had found the god’s hand, but when everyone showed up, she had already disappeared. You could say she had made a mistake, but she did the same thing again today. She’s actually just teasing all the practitioners here. She’s a hateful creature, through and through.”
The other person said, “If not for her White Tiger mount that can run like lightning through the trees, she probably would have already been caught.”
“Why do I feel like she resembles the Great Flying Tiger Thief from the City of Freedom?”
Chen Nan truly wanted to immediately catch the Little Princess and viciously pinch her cheeks. In fact, he even had an urge to strangle her to death. This little girl was simply a troublemaker. After stealing from people in the City of Crime, she even ran to this place to pester and annoy everyone. The troubles she caused arose one after another, without any pause.
He thought, “This little girl is seriously insufferable. She should have been confined in the imperial palace for a lifetime!”
Chen Nan ran up to the two practitioners and said, “Greetings, two brothers. May I ask where that girl you are talking about appeared today?”
The two of them looked at him suspiciously. “Do you know her?”
Chen Nan smiled. “How could I know her? Yesterday, I was also swindled by that hateful little girl. I’m preparing to capture her now.”
“Oh. Well it was over by those trees up ahead.”
Chen Nan bid farewell to the two of them and went up ahead. After walking through the forest for a while, he came across some more practitioners, but he couldn’t find a trace of the Little Princess. Suddenly, the cry of a Roc echoed from overhead. Dongfang Fenghuang’s Golden Roc spiralled down in descent.
“Hey, Chen Bei, are you sure that dumb girl came here? I’ve looked everywhere in a thirty li circumference and I haven’t found any signs of her.”
Chen Nan said, “She definitely came here. Just a moment ago, someone was talking about her. I think she’s somewhere around here, but this forest is too thick; I haven’t been able to find her yet.”
Just then, a few shouts could be heard coming from up ahead: “Everyone, come quick! That hateful girl is here…”
The depths of the forest suddenly became noisy. Many practitioners went over to the origin of the call. Dongfang Fenghuang gave Chen Nan a glance and said, “Quick, mount my Roc.”
Chen Nan quickly leapt up and the Golden Roc flew through the forest like lightning, causing everyone en route to cry out in surprise. In the distance, they could spot a tiger with immaculate white fur running away. On the tiger’s back was a slender, spaciously-dressed girl. The girl’s face was covered by a veil. The muslin was occasionally blown up by the wind, and in that quick instance, one could vaguely see her exceptional beauty.
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “It really is that dumb girl and her Tiger King.”
Although the princess was currently at large, she wasn’t flustered at all. She constantly yelled to those behind her: “Hurry up! You guys are too slow. My Xiao Yu has even taken a few breaks while you guys were chasing us…”
Chen Nan was annoyed and amused. The little demon seemed to consider this a game. He really didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.
He yelled from the sky, “Little demon, you troublemaker, do you know what you’re doing?”
The princess raised her head to find a familiar-looking Golden Roc. Not only that, but she recognized Dongfang Fenghuang as the masked girl that she had previously fought. She seemed to understand something and cried out, “Xiao Yu, flee! Two bastards have come.”
Dongfang Fenghuang angrily shouted, “Dumb girl, how dare you speak so rudely towards me? Have you forgotten the lesson I taught you last time?”
“Old woman, soon or later, I’ll have my revenge.”
“Dumb girl, this time I will punish you severely.”
The Tiger King Xiao Yu bore his way through the trees like a silver arrow. The princess continuously cursed at the sky: “Damn degenerate, you actually teamed up with that old woman to catch me. Sooner or later, I’ll rip out your tendons, peel off your skin, pick off your bones…” In her eyes, although Chen Nan was incomparably abominable, he was after all still her ‘travelling companion’. Now that he had actually colluded with an ‘outsider’ to catch her, she felt beyond resentful.
Chen Nan’s teeth throbbed in anger, but he had no alternative but to repeatedly clench his fists.
The princess shouted, “You two want to catch me, don’t think I don’t know that. The two of you are bastards! Hmph! Complete trash! Just as bad as each other! Villains colluding together! A snake and a rat in the same nest! Add another bastard to the mix…”
Chen Nan had long ago become used to the princess’s ‘wise words’, but the more Dongfang Fenghuang heard, the more infuriated she became. She angrily clenched her teeth. Sparks endlessly cackled at her fingers.
A cliff appeared in front of the princess, leaving her no choice but to order Xiao Yu to unfold his wings and fly. One tiger and one bird—one ahead, one in pursuit—flew like lightning cutting through the sky.
All the practitioners in the forest were gawking up at the sky in amazement. They began discussing the scene before them one after another:
“Turns out that hateful girl is the Great Flying Tiger Thief that was causing a ruckus in the City of Crime a few days ago.”
“This girl is too hateful. How can she cause so many problems? She even dares to come and tease us.”
Although Xiao Yu was naturally a unique beast, his power had already fallen to merely the first rank, and now, he couldn’t fly as fast as the Golden Roc. The distance between the two became smaller and smaller. In a moment, they would fall within the range of Dongfang Fenghuang’s magical attacks.
The princess’s eyes shifted. She loudly shouted behind her, “Old woman-jiejie, I won’t run anymore. How about we stop and talk about this properly.”
Dongfang Fenghuang’s angrily replied, “Dumb girl, all you’ve been doing is trying to anger me. Let’s see what you’ll do after I catch you.” With that said, she began launched her magical bombardments. A dragon of flames pressed closer and closer towards Xiao Yu’s rear, gradually approaching.
The princess urgently said, “Jiejie, I don’t know how to address you, so I have to address you like that. Quickly stop your magical attacks, I won’t run.”
Chen Nan was inwardly puzzled. Although the Little Princess had lowered her voice, she definitely had a plan. Hearing her words, Dongfang Fenghuang’s heart warmed in triumph and she stopped her fiery spells. “Then quickly stop. Don’t run anymore.”
The three humans and two beasts were now already quite far from the ancient gods’ battlefield, about fifty or sixty li away. There were already no signs of any practitioners in pursuit of them. The princess had the Tiger King descend in a valley. The Golden Roc trailed closely behind. The valley was hemmed in by three mountains. The landscape was marvellous. A brook leisurely flowed towards the valley. Within the valley, all colours of camellia blossomed. Their flowery scent drifted boundlessly, intoxicating anyone.
The princess shouted, “The scene here is truly too beautiful! Wow, it’s so fragrant!”
Chen Nan said, “Little demon, do you know what you’ve done? You’ve caused many problems.”
The Little Princess blinked her big, innocent eyes at him. “Weren’t you the one that made me do all that?”
When Dongfang Fenghuang heard these words, she quickly distanced herself from Chen Nan. Regardless of the truth behind the dumb girl’s words, she still felt some lingering fear. After all, she had been travelling with some martial artist of unknown identity. Magi were most afraid of battling in close range with a martial artist. She immediately blamed herself for being too careless. She had made a huge mistake as a magus and a layer of cold sweat formed on her body.
The instant Chen Nan heard her words, he knew the situation was going south. The hateful princess had actually trapped him. “Little demon, what bullshit are you talking about? When did I make you do that?”
The princess, feeling infinitely wronged, said, “It was you who wanted me to go looting, and when the situation became tense, you had me hide. I’ve been following your orders all along. It’s just that in these deep mountains, I’m seriously bored, so I was playing around with those practitioners. I know what I did wrong—I shouldn’t have teased them. Just now, it was also my fault. I don’t blame you, it’s just that I thought you had wanted to make me your scapegoat and have that lady catch me, so I felt betrayed and couldn’t contain my curses…”
When Dongfang Fenghuang heard these words, she quickly withdrew a few more paces. She prepared for battle.
Chen Nan was angry enough to vomit blood. This time, even diving into the Yellow River wouldn’t cleanse him.
“Little demon, you… It was clearly all your doing. Why are you trying to frame me? Little girl, you truly are matchlessly cunning. Hmph, you think Dongfang-xiaojie is that easy to trick? Don’t waste your energy.”
The Little Princess tore off her veil. Her beauty was on full display. But now, her delicate face was stricken with the look of sadness. She faintly sighed, “Chen Nan, how can you treat me like this? I truly feel hurt…”
Dongfang Fenghuang was infuriated. “So you’re actually called Chen Nan. Before, you tricked me into calling you Chen Bei, hmph!”
Chen Nan wanted to cry foul, but this time, he was afraid it was too hard to explain.
The princess sighed, “The two of us grew up together. Luckily, I had you to regard as my elder brother. Never did I expect that once we encountered difficulties, for the purpose of self-preservation, you’d actually make me your scapegoat…”
She became angrier and angrier and more absorbed in her act. All the wrongs she had received in the past days were now being vented out. She nearly shed tears. It wasn’t that the princess didn’t want her act to be a bit more lifelike, it was just that no matter how she blinked her eyes, no tears came out.
Hearing this, Chen Nan was left wide-eyed and slack-jawed. He inwardly shouted at the princess for being so cunning and sly to put on such a play. He really couldn’t explain his way out easily.
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “Dumb girl, although you’ve said a lot, I still don’t completely believe you. In order to prove your innocence, you must return with me to Shenfeng Institute for some time. Do you dare?”
The princess nodded. “I’m willing to follow jiejie back in order to prove my innocence.”
“Good. Let’s depart.” Dongfang Fenghuang leapt up onto her Golden Roc.
The princess said, “Today I really am too heartbroken. I didn’t expect him to treat me like this. Jiejie, I still have a few words I wish to say to him.”
“Fine, go talk to him.”
The princess walked up to Chen Nan and lowered her voice. “Damn degenerate, smelly bully, you got what you deserved.”
Chen Nan really felt like going insane. Today, in his fight with the princess, he had been slandered at the key moment. He had no way to explain his way out.
“Wu… Little demon, you’re killing me.”
“You deserve it. Who told you to bring that old woman here to catch me.”
“She threatened me. She was going to post my wanted poster all over the City of Crime as the Great Flying Tiger Thief for everyone to see. This disaster is all because of you.”
“Then you still shouldn’t have sold me out.”
“You have the identity of a princess. Even if you’re caught, it won’t matter. As long as I drop them some hints, they’ll release you.”
The princess giggled. “Of course. Who told you to repeatedly offend me, a princess? How about you go wait for the City of Freedom’s people to catch you.” With that said, she flew to the Tiger King Xiao Yu’s side and let herself up.
The Golden Roc and the Tiger King Xiao Yu soared through the sky. Chen Nan loudly shouted, “Hey hey hey… Little demon, Dongfang-xiaojie, I still haven’t gotten up yet. How could you guys forget me?”
Up in the air, the princess sighed, “You treated me so cruelly, yet you still want me to give you a ride?”
Dongfang Fenghuang said, “You stay here and reflect upon your actions properly, whatever your name is.”
“Hey, little demon, Fenghuang… you guys can’t just leave me here.”
When Dongfang Fenghuang heard his address, she brandished her magic wand and shot a fierce flame at him. Following the flame were several bolts of lightning streaking towards him.
Chen Nan hid from the lightning behind some boulders in the valley. When her chain of attacks finally ended, the Little Princess and Dongfang Fenghuang had already disappeared into the horizon.
“F*ck…!” Chen Nan wanted to cry, but no tears came out. He was unexpectedly abandoned by the two of them within these mountains. There was a great distance of at least a hundred li from the City of Crime. If he were to cross each and every mountain to go back, only heaven knew how long that would take.
“Gods, devils, help me punish those two women. They are too cruel, especially that little demon. She’s simply a little…”
Chen Nan walked through the mountains. Despite the fact that the way was filled with the scent of flowers and the songs of birds, and perhaps even an occasional unique beast making an appearance, he wasn’t in the mood to go sightseeing. He wanted nothing more but to return to the City of Freedom before sunset, or else when nighttime fell, how could he possibly make progress on his way back.
“I was already acting very passively. I wasn’t even at the scene of the crime! If that little demon goes off and fabricates as many lies as she wants, then if that old monster finds out, even if I had a hundred mouths, I still wouldn’t be able to explain anything! F*ck!”
Chen Nan seemed to already be able to visualize his portrait being posted all over the City of Crime and how the countless experts from Shenfeng Institute would pursue him. He would have to always be on the run. When he thought of this, a shiver ran down his spine. If he returned to the City of Freedom in this fashion, it was extremely probable that he truly would be pursued like he had just imagined.
The faint notion of fleeing from the City of Freedom gradually arose in his mind, but whether he fled or not, he would still have to pay the city one last visit—because in these boundless mountains, he wouldn’t be able to find that strip of path connecting the eastern and western continent.
1 東方鳳凰/Dongfang Fenghuang literally means ‘Eastern Phoenix’.