I don’t really know how to describe how shocked I was, but that huge tongue flicking against my nose and the squirming scales filling my vision… it felt as if my heart suddenly stopped beating and my whole body had turned to stone.
My remaining doubts were quickly swept away as I actually experienced this ability’s amazing power for the first time. I knew this huge black python had been materialized, but it was so real that every scale, the smell in the air, and even the ubiquitous sound of its scales rubbing together were absolutely flawless. I really couldn’t imagine how this thing had suddenly come into being. If the light had been on just now, would it have appeared out of thin air with a loud “bang”?
The fake Lao Yang was still shouting something outside, but I didn’t have time to pay attention to him. All I could focus on was the feel of a pair of emotionless reptilian eyes hovering over me. The rock crevice where I was currently standing had originally been small, but now that this dragon-like black python suddenly appeared, there wasn’t even any room to stretch. If the python opened its mouth and casually swung to the side, I knew I’d die right away. Everything would be over in a matter of seconds.
Thoughts raced through my mind like lightning as I tried to calculate my current situation. Pythons had a very sensitive sense of smell, as well as sharp vision, so there was no reason why it wouldn’t be able to see me. That meant that right now, my only hope was that it wasn’t interested in my body. After all, pythons wouldn’t prey on things that were too small. As long as I stood still and didn’t cause it to panic, it might just leave me alone. But if this trick didn’t work, then there honestly wasn’t anything I could do about it.
I swallowed, trying not to tremble as that huge tongue flicked my ear, leaving an extremely foul-smelling trail of saliva behind. Luckily, the python just raised its head and looked at me for a moment before turning to look at the source of light streaming in through the gaps in the rocks.
The fake Lao Yang had been hiding behind the massive rock blocking the cave entrance, but when he saw that the python didn’t attack me and had actually turned in his direction and started approaching, he immediately realized that something was wrong. The gap between the rock sealing the cave entrance and the cave wall was about as big as the python’s head, so it wouldn’t be enough to stop it at all. I heard Lao Yang curse, quickly retreat behind the rock, and then turn the flashlight off with a click.
It became dark all around, but I could see the python’s two yellow eyes glowing in the darkness. I didn’t even dare to breathe as I watched the python’s vague silhouette gently butt up against the rock blocking the entrance. Seeing that the rock didn’t move, it suddenly reared back into an attacking stance.
I was suddenly reminded of those scenes in documentaries where a python attacked its prey, so I knew right away what would happen next. In a flash, the python’s head flew like a bullet and slammed into the rock with a muffled sound. The whole cave shook and then the massive rock blocking the entrance flew away like a kite caught in the wind. I heard the fake Lao Yang scream, followed by the sounds of rocks colliding with each other.
Although I knew it wasn’t the real Lao Yang outside, this scream still sent me into a panic. The python found the newly-created hole behind the rocks, but its head was too big to fit through. As it tried to squeeze its way through, I had to dodge left and right to avoid its writhing coils. If I got caught between those scales, even the slightest movement would be enough to break all the bones in my body.
After several failed attempts, the python became irritated and slammed its head against the rock wall beside the hole. Its body already looked very scary when it was coiled around itself, but now that it was dancing like a dragon, the sight was even more terrifying. After just a few tries, the rock wall beside the hole started to crack. The python twisted to gain momentum and then forcefully thrust its head at the wall, finally managing to push the cracked section out of the way.
Its scales rubbed against the rock wall as it squeezed its way through the newly opened hole and pushed the remaining rocks out of the way. I followed the python out and saw the fake Lao Yang lying in a pile of rubble, his whole body practically trapped under the rocks and his breathing erratic. When he saw me, he coughed a few times as if he wanted to say something, but blood came pouring out as soon as he opened his mouth.
I checked his injuries and tried to move the rocks out of the way, but it only took one look to realize that his lower body had been completely crushed. It was so bad that I couldn’t even bear to look at it. I sighed and asked him, “You… do you have anything you want to say?”
He looked at me, gritted his teeth, pulled Boss Wang’s backpack from a crack between the rocks, and threw it to me.
I took the bag, a wave of incomprehensible feelings threatening to overwhelm me. He coughed a few times, spit out a mouthful of blood, and then silently closed his eyes.
I paused, wanting to ask him what had happened that day and what his ultimate goal had been, but there suddenly came a loud bang from outside, followed by the whole cave shaking violently. I lost my balance and hit the rock wall right as a long series of cracking sounds came from overhead.
Absolutely terrified, my first thought was, is that giant, one-eyed snake ramming the cave entrance again? I hurriedly bent down and got ready to crawl out of the cave, but then I heard the fake Lao Yang suddenly shout hoarsely, “Old Wu!”
I froze for a moment, wondering what else he wanted to say. But when I looked back, I only had time to see him open his mouth to say something before the place where he had been lying was suddenly covered in an avalanche of rocks. In just a few seconds, he disappeared into the rubble like he had been swallowed up by a swamp.
My heart ached, but I didn’t have time to deal with such emotions at this time. I rolled to avoid the falling rocks and rushed out of the cave, just as a massive black shadow came rushing right towards me. I quickly turned to the side right as the black shadow slammed into the rock with enough force to shake the whole cliff. Rocks went flying in all directions and cracks appeared in the cliff, extending all the way out from where I was standing.
I was surprised to see the snake exerting so much force and couldn’t help but wonder if it was tired of living. But when I turned around, I found that the situation was far different from what I had been expecting—the black python that had just slithered out of the cave was now grappling with the one-eyed snake that had climbed out of the bronze tree. It was a close fight, too. The giant, one-eyed snake might have been much bigger than the python, but it didn’t seem to be able to use that to its advantage in the fight. Moreover, the two snakes were both black, so I couldn’t tell which was which for a while. All I could see were two black whirlwinds constantly winding around the bronze tree, their flailing tails sending stalagmites and stalactites flying through the air like artillery shells.
Having never witnessed such a thrilling scene before, I stood there frozen in place, but then one of the flailing tails suddenly struck the rocks beneath my feet. The whole section of rock that I was standing on was reduced to dust in an instant. I hurriedly stretched my hand out, trying to grab onto something, but I was surprised to find that all the nearby rocks had been knocked loose. I just barely managed to latch onto one when it suddenly broke off from the cliff, sending my whole body plunging into the abyss below.
I had encountered several near-death experiences within a few minutes of each other, so my frayed mind couldn’t react right away. All I managed was a yell before I suddenly heard the rumbling sound of water. Then, my whole body went cold and all the sounds ringing in my ears went quiet—I had fallen into the water.
Shit, where the hell did this water come from?
I plunged about six or seven meters into the water before I finally stopped. The fall had caught me by surprise so I hadn’t been able to adjust my posture when I entered the water, but I remembered hearing my neck crack upon impact. I didn’t know whether it was broken or not, but my whole body had gone limp and I was sinking deeper into the water.
Just as I was at my wits’ end, a figure suddenly swam up from behind, grabbed me, and pulled me up.
When I looked back, I found that the one who had saved me was Master Liang. He must’ve been hiding in one of the caves below and was forced out by the rising water. When he saw that someone had fallen into the water, he must’ve swam over to save them.
After we breached the surface, I saw that the abyss we had climbed up earlier had now turned into a pool of water. I didn’t know where it came from, but it was full of mini whirlpools and the water level was still rising rapidly.
I looked around while thinking to myself, when they came here three years ago, did they also see this pool? But damn, if it stays like this, we won’t be able to go back.
My swimming skills were better than Master Liang’s. After he pulled me up, he had almost no strength left and started to sink so I grabbed him and pulled him to the edge of the bronze tree. I didn’t want to argue with him about the past, so I merely asked him, “What’s going on?”
Master Liang coughed a few times before saying, “It must have rained hard enough outside to cause a flash flood on the mountain. This happens often during this season. The floodwater must have flowed into the underground river we saw when we first came here. That river must be connected to several of the caves dotting the wall here. The flood rushed down from the top of the mountain, caused the river’s water level to rise, and then the water traveled through those caves and started pouring in here. Once the flash flood passes, the water level will drop right away.”
I couldn’t help but curse to myself. We couldn’t go up or down in this situation and I had no idea how we were supposed to get out of this place. I looked up and saw that those two huge black shadows were still fighting to the death. Oh God, I thought to myself. Now that the fight has reached this point, they’ll fall into the water sooner or later. If that happens, won’t this place become really dangerous? We’ll definitely be killed if we get caught in the middle of those writhing scales.
Before I had even completed my thought, there was a whistling sound in my ears and then the black python fell straight down into the pool. Water splashed everywhere as bubbles appeared on the small pool’s surface, just like boiling water.
The one-eyed snake immediately slithered down the bronze tree in pursuit of its opponent. When Master Liang saw the snake’s huge purple eye, he was so scared that he sank back into the water. I quickly pulled his shivering form up and heard him say, “My God! Where did this thing come from? This… this is a Zhu Jiuyin!”
I was unfamiliar with the term, so I pulled him behind the bronze tree and told him to explain.
Master Liang bit his lip and said softly, “Zhu Jiuyin is a dragon. It was called the Candle Dragon in ancient times, but it was actually just a huge poisonous snake. During Emperor Shun’s(1) reign, oil was refined from their bodies to make candles. But they became extinct thousands of years ago, so how could there possibly be one here?”
I had never heard of these things before, so I couldn’t help but find it a little strange. After all, since I didn’t know anything about it, it couldn’t possibly have come from my imagination. Did that mean that there really was a giant poisonous snake from ancient times living in this ancient bronze tree?
Master Liang continued, “I don’t know how many years this Zhu Jiuyin must have lived to get so big, but did you notice? From here, it looks like it only has one eye. The Zhu Jiuyin’s eyes are said to be located vertically on its head. The one you see now should be its main eye while the other eye grows right above it. This other eye is called a ‘yin eye’. Legend has it that the thousand-year-old Zhu Jiuyin’s yin eye is connected to hell. If you look at it, you’ll be possessed by evil spirits and eventually turn into a monster with a human head and a snake’s body.”
I suddenly recalled how Lao Yang’s expression before had looked kind of like a snake and felt a chill in my heart. I secretly took a look at the Zhu Jiuyin, but fortunately, its attention wasn’t on us at all. At this time, I suddenly felt the water swirling chaotically below me and knew that the black python was still underwater. The Zhu Jiuyin stared at the water, probably afraid that the giant python would launch a surprise attack.
As the water level kept rising, we were slowly getting closer and closer to the Zhu Jiuyin’s body. Master Liang was extremely nervous, but I focused my attention above us—there should be an exit at the top of this cave. As long as the water level rose high enough, we could climb to it and get out of this place. The only problem was, I didn’t know how high the water level would go. After all, this place was very close to the top of the mountain. Plus, when we passed through that coffin array earlier, there were no signs that they had ever been immersed in water. This meant that the water level would not rise higher than the cave on that side, but I didn’t know where it was in relation to our current location. As a result, I had no other choice but to gradually float up and see where the water level stopped.
I whispered my thoughts to Master Liang, but he didn’t seem to hear me at all. Instead, he seemed focused on several white masks that floated up from beneath the water’s surface—they were the masks containing those Deadly Dragons! I suddenly had a bad premonition and picked one up. After turning it around, I found that the mouth cavity where the bug should have been was empty, and the bug inside was gone.
“Shit!” I cursed as I suddenly realized why the python didn’t come up after falling into the water for so long. I turned on my flashlight and dove into the water to take a look, only to see countless bugs that looked like crab legs—some still wearing masks, and some without them—attached to the black python’s body like leeches. A shining white mass surrounded the writhing black python, which was now on its back. But it was obvious to see that there was no way for the python to rid itself of these bugs. Its body crashed into a rock, sending some of the masks flying, but the bugs themselves still stayed firmly attached to the snake. The whole thing made for a strange sight.
Some of the Deadly Dragons couldn’t find a position on the python’s body and swam around it, moving both quickly and deftly. Unfortunately, when they saw the flashlight in my hand, all the bugs suddenly froze and then quickly released the python. Before I even had time to react, they all came rushing right towards me like a huge school of fish.
These things swam very fast, so by the time I realized that my situation was bad, it was already too late to do anything. Out of pure desperation, I jerked back and bit the palm of my hand hard. I didn’t know why I bit it so hard, but it certainly did the trick—blood suddenly started gushing out, so I waved my hand in the water to spread it more evenly.
The Deadly Dragons were so afraid of my blood that they all suddenly swam away, not daring to get too close. As they lined up in front of me like a wall, I vaguely felt that their undulating movements formed the outline of a human face.
Master Liang was so terrified that he started climbing to the top of the bronze tree without saying a word. Knowing that staying in the water was no longer an option, I resurfaced and looked back—the Zhu Jiuyin had finally noticed us. As that huge snake head turned in our direction, I saw that its purple eye was closed and in its place was a blood-red eye, which was staring at us with bitter resentment.
<Chapter 38><Table of Contents><Chapter 40>
(1) Emperor Shun was a legendary leader of ancient China, regarded by some sources as one of the Three Sovereigns and Five Emperors (said to be the last of the Five Emperors). Tradition holds that he lived sometime between 2294 and 2184 BC. Info here.
5 thoughts on “Chapter 39 Zhu Jiuyin”
This is far more scary! And Wuxie attracting the bugs and snake with his light and movements 🤦 he’s really a magnet for trouble.
How many pages to go?
And as always thank you so much for translating
8 pages to go til we finish part 1 of this book but it looks like NPSS really wraps this up in the first chapter of Part 2 (which is 10 pages) so I say a total of 18 to go. I’ll probably do that and put the Heavenly Palace stuff on pause while I work on NPSS’s latest stuff
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So the volume ends on a cliffhanger!
I’m dying to know what happened to the What are they doing now stories, so it’s fine for me if you put Heavenly palace on hold (though that’s one of my favorite books from main story and I really want to know if there are many differences)
I was really curious to know what Lao Yang had to say. I thought Wu Xie was sitting in front of python to make him look smaller. And this Zhu Jiuyin has two eyes!! I don’t remember reading about the second eye. (Some parts have been deleted and some part s have been changed in the licensed version) It makes sense now.
thank you for the chapter 🙏🏼