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Chapter 1382: Feather Abyss
“There’s something wrong with this water?” Zu An asked, stunned. He had tested it out before and hadn’t noticed anything strange with it.
The Fiend Emperor didn’t say anything. He simply removed a feather from his clothes and tossed it in.
To a certain degree, the Golden Crow race were still birds. That was why they liked to use feather decorations for their clothes. The kinds of feathers that could be used for the Fiend Emperor’s clothes were naturally of the highest quality. They were incredibly light, and such clothes were warm during the winter and cool during the summer.
And yet, when the feather landed on the water’s surface, it didn’t even flutter and just sank like a rock.
“What is going on?” the others cried in horror.
The Fiend Emperor said, “Not even a goose feather can float in this water. That is more than enough to prove how dangerous it is.”
The Golden Crow Crown Prince immediately began flattering him, saying, “Fortunately, father emperor’s skills are so extraordinary that you were able to get through it completely unharmed! Otherwise, if it were the rest of us, we would have already drowned to death.”
The Fiend Emperor stroked his beard, clearly enjoying the praise. In truth, he had actually been in quite a bit of danger and almost paid a severe price. The lake water was too special. If he had been trapped inside, there really was a chance that he would have lost his life. Still, the same way eighty-year-old men still liked eighteen-year-old girls, no matter how old he was, he still couldn’t resist the great feeling of showing off.
He felt incredibly refreshed when he saw the two grandmasters Yan Xuehen and Yun Jianyue, and even that acquaintance Yu Yanluo, looking at him with praise. Wu Liang’s expression was too exaggerated and his praise seemed fake in comparison, so he ignored him.
That Zu An… Huh? What is he looking at?
Zu An was looking at the lake in front of him. He thought to himself that the words ‘Not even a goose feather shall float, none shall pass’ described the legendary Weak River. Was the water in front of him the Weak River?
However, this looked more like a lake! It didn’t seem like a river.
“What are you looking at?” the Fiend Emperor asked, wondering whether Zu An had picked up on some clues. Unknown Regions were just too mysterious, and he was experiencing heaven and man deterioration. The expedition this time was related to whether or not he could continue existing in this world, so he naturally didn’t dare to relax in the slightest.
“It’s nothing, it’s just that I was wondering how this lake water was created,” Zu An replied nonchalantly.
“Did you figure out anything else?” the Fiend Emperor asked.
“If even you couldn’t figure anything out, why in the world would I be able to?” Zu An spread his arms and shrugged, as if the Fiend Emperor had asked a really dumb question.
The Fiend Emperor was speechless. He said with a snort, “Stop wasting time and lead the way.”
He wouldn’t go so far as to get angry over something like that. Instead, his attention shifted to the great mountains off to the side. If there really was a method of immortality in the Unknown Region, that was where it would be.
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Zu An shrugged and didn’t refuse. He walked ahead of the party and scouted the way.
The three women subconsciously moved a bit closer to him. Yu Yanluo asked through ki, “Should we look for a chance to run later?”
Yan Xuehen and Yun Jianyue opened their mouths and were about to say something, but Zu An shook his head and said, “It’s meaningless. An earth immortal wouldn’t let us escape at all. Furthermore, even though we’re communicating through ki, considering how close we are, I reckon that it hasn’t escaped the Fiend Emperor’s ears either.”
Yu Yanluo jumped in alarm and reflexively looked at the Fiend Emperor.
The Fiend Emperor said indifferently, “You are still quite young, but your knowledge does not seem to match your age.” It seemed he had indeed perceived their conversation.
Yu Yanluo’s face turned a bit white. Zu An patted her hand, consoling her. However, the real reason he knew that was because previously, the Second Empress hadn’t dared to talk to him when she was on the elevated platform. That had been precisely out of the fear that the Fiend Emperor would pick up on it.
Sigh, if the Fiend Emperor knew about my relationship with the Second Empress, I would be dead for sure.
“Father emperor, please allow your son to put a seal on their bodies. That way, they will not start anything,” said the Golden Crow Crown Prince. He had fought against them before and knew that their cultivation ranks were all very high. Furthermore, now that he knew about the two grandmasters’ real identities, he suddenly felt a strong sense of danger.
“There is no need because I am here,” the Fiend Emperor said indifferently. All those beneath the earth immortal rank were ants, let alone the fact that Yan Xuehen and Yun Jianyue, the two with the highest cultivation, were both heavily wounded; that meant there was even less of a need.
“Understood…”the Golden Crow Crown Prince replied. He didn’t really agree, but he was worried that he would be perceived as looking down on his father’s cultivation if he pushed the issue further.
Zu An suddenly stopped and said, “I just noticed something.”
There was a giant tortoise-shaped boulder in front of him. In front of its head was a stone tablet. Both the tortoise and the tablet were completely overgrown with weeds, and even some thick vines. The group could vaguely make out some words written on them.
When the Golden Crow Crown Prince saw that, he quickly sent some Golden Crow flames over, burning away all of the weeds and vines to reveal the stone tablet underneath. They didn’t know what the material of the stone tablet was made of, but it remained completely fine beneath the Golden Crow Sacred Fire.
There were two characters carved vertically on the tablet. However, they resembled some kind of decorative design. Even after looking for a long time, the group couldn’t figure anything out. They looked at each other in dismay.
The Fiend Emperor pondered the situation, concluding that they seemed to be characters from ancient times. He had seen them once by coincidence. Unfortunately, he didn’t understand them either. He looked at Wu Liang, asking, “Do you know these characters?”
Wu Liang moved over and studied the tablet closely before saying, “These seem to be some characters from ancient times, but they’ve already become a lost language. I’ve only seen them before in some ancient tombs…”
The Fiend Emperor impatiently cut him off, saying, “Stop wasting my time.”
Wu Liang shivered and quickly said, “I only recognize a single character. This one seems to be ‘feather’. The other character is too complicated. I’ve never seen it before.”
“Feather?” The Fiend Emperor’s brows furrowed slightly. What did that mean?
The others all began to make their own guesses. Only Zu An had a strange expression on his face. The characters were oracle bone inscriptions, an early form of Chinese script. Because he had already visited several secret dungeons, even though he didn’t dare to claim that he knew them all, he recognized about seventy to eighty percent of them.
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What was carved on the stone tablet were the two characters ‘feather abyss’.
It seemed that the massive lake was none other than the so-called Feather Abyss.
“Feather Abyss…” Zu An silently mouthed the two words. He felt that the two words were somehow familiar, but he couldn’t think of where he had heard them, no matter how he tried.
The Fiend Emperor asked Wu Liang, “Are there any mechanisms here?”
Wu Liang looked around. He shook his head and said, “There aren’t. This is just an ordinary stone tablet and statue. There aren’t any secret paths or rooms.”
“Ordinary?” The Fiend Emperor sneered. Not even the Golden Crow Sacred Fire could leave behind any traces on the stones’ surface, so how could they be called ordinary?
He then looked toward Yan Xuehen, who shook her head. There weren’t any signs of rune formations there.
“Let’s continue then,” the Fiend Emperor said with a frown.
The Golden Crow Crown Prince opened his mouth, as if he had some thoughts, yet didn’t dare to speak.
“When did you become so fearful and cowardly?” the Fiend Emperor asked, feeling a bit dissatisfied.
The crown prince then replied in a strange tone, “That stone tortoise seems to be looking at me.”
The others were surprised. They turned around to look at the stone tortoise and saw that its eyes were shining a bit. It seemed to be turning around and looking at them. They immediately felt a chill run down their backs.
The Fiend Emperor said coldly, “It is nothing more than the angle we are looking at it from and how the sun is hitting it. I am certain that the stone tortoise is an inanimate object.”
At the same time, he inwardly marveled at the mystical nature of Unknown Regions. There was actually something like a sun inside.
“If father emperor says that it is not alive, then there should be no mistake,” the Golden Crow Crown Prince said, sighing in relief.
The Fiend Emperor gave the stone tortoise a look. Even though it was an inanimate object, it indeed gave him an indescribable feeling. Suddenly, he raised his hand, unleashing a streak of golden light. A crack opened up on the giant stone tortoise’s back.
“Hm?” the Fiend Emperor exclaimed in surprise. Even though the stone tortoise was large, normally, with his cultivation, he could easily cleave open a mountain peak with a single attack. And yet, he had actually only left behind a single crack on its back!
He harrumphed and waved his hand again. This time, the golden light was even more dazzling.
How powerful was the full-strength attack of an earth immortal? The crack in the stone tortoise’s body began to grow larger and larger. With a loud crash, the tortoise broke in half, and the two halves fell to the ground.
Soon afterward, the group saw what was inside. Their expressions changed.
“Bones! There are so many bones!”
1. The Weak River, also known as the Weak Water or Ruoshui, is an important feature in the mythical geography of Chinese literature, including novels and poetry over the course of over two millennia, from the Warring States to early Han dynasty era poetry of the Chuci onward. The Weak River is one of the mythological rivers flowing near Kunlun, home of the Western Paradise. The Weak River flows with ‘water’ so lacking in specific gravity that even a feather will not float in it, thus being a protective barrier against the unworthy, who would otherwise profane the paradise on Kunlun, and perhaps even climb up to Heaven and disturb the deities and other inhabitants residing there. In the novel Journey to the West, the Weak Water River forms one of the obstacles the fictional version of the monk Xuanzang, the magic monkey Sun Wukong, and their companions must cross over on their mission to fetch Buddhist scriptures from India and return them to Tang China. ☜