Chapter 24 Juxian Hall

I thought for a few seconds before diving down to get a closer look at that watch.

I had Xiao Hua’s watch, so this watch probably belonged to Black Glasses. But he was so capable that it was impossible for him to become a mummy.

Diving in the crevice was very dangerous, but I was careful not to touch those clams. Fortunately, the water was clear so that made things easier. I successfully swam up to the mummy and immediately realized that it must be Black Glasses’ watch since the corpse that had been stuffed into the clam shell was wearing sunglasses.

The watch was displaying an alarm clock that had been set to go off once an hour, and the mummy’s hand was pointing to the bottom of the crevice.

I floated up to take a breath, feeling ecstatic at the knowledge that this was a signpost left by Black Glasses. Then, without thinking too much about it, I took a deep breath, followed the direction the mummy’s hand was pointing, and dove deeper into the pool.

At this time, I didn’t know whether the herdsman was further in the crevice I had left behind or in the depths of this pool, nor did I know if I had seen this watch before, but I didn’t take the watch off that mummy’s wrist. If I happened to be affected by the heavenly gift again, this watch could definitely be used again. My principle right now was to try all possibilities as quickly as possible.

After going down, I immediately realized a problem: the powder I had put in my pockets was beginning to dissolve quickly in the water. As a result, I had to go up again, put the rest of the powder in a waterproof bag, put it close to my body, and then dive again. Holding the flashlight in my mouth, I went all the way down to the deepest part of the crevice, where I saw a stone door. Above the stone door, the words “Juxian Hall”(1) had been engraved.

Half of the stone door had collapsed, leaving an opening that was about the size of a car’s windshield. I swam in and looked around with my flashlight, immediately realizing that there should be an exit in front of me soon.

I was still a bit hesitant because I was about to run out of air soon, but at this time, I suddenly saw a stone mark Black Glasses commonly used at the bottom of the doorway on the other side.

This seemed to be a mark for me?

I thought it over for a second before making up my mind and swimming through that door. After coming out on the other side, I floated up and instantly found myself out of the water.

When I climbed out, I found that the place where I had surfaced was also a pool, but as soon as I took a step away, I almost fell—as it turned out, this pool was on a cliff. In fact, it was actually a spoon-like hollow in the cliff.

The surrounding area was still part of the same network of crevices, but when I used my flashlight to look around, I immediately broke out in a cold sweat.

Unlike the one I was in just now, this crevice was several hundred meters high. Not only was it impossible to see the top or bottom, but it was barely as wide as a person’s arm and just as cramped as the other crevice.

Interspersed throughout this crevice were rotten wooden boards, upon which countless ancient corpses were sitting. They were all ancient alchemists, lined up one by one and numbering in the thousands. It made for quite the spectacular sight.

This was the base camp for cultivating immortals. Those outside must have been pushed out due to the lack of space here.

The nearest ancient corpse was right in front of me, less than two arm-lengths away. It was so desiccated that it didn’t have any eyeballs and was basically completely carbonized.

These alchemists had been here for thousands of years, which had me wondering if their souls had achieved their dreams and they’d become immortals. These corpses must have been the first group of people in this civilization to pursue immortality. Those who eventually left here brought out the information that the Kunlun Mountains were the blissful mountain of immortals, which had long been regarded as the home of immortals.

I had always wanted to know what the reason for the relationship between this place and the immortals in early times was. Did some innocent child ask their parents, “Where are the immortals?”  and the parents, tired of the incessant questions, pointed to the snow-capped mountains in the distance and said, “The immortals are there.”

“There” was a place where humans couldn’t reach, and it was also an eternal answer that couldn’t be verified. So, the child grew up and told their children the same thing. This was then passed down from generation to generation, forming the “mountain of immortals” theory.

Or, maybe someone once saw traces of immortals in this mountain. After the news spread, countless people flocked here to practice cultivation so that they could become immortals as well.

I used my flashlight to illuminate the corpses in the crevice and found that this crevice was actually very different from the other one. The ancients had carved niches on both sides of the crevice and then put wooden boards in them to hold themselves up. They lived on these wooden boards and meditated in order to become immortals. I could also see a lot of small objects on the boards, which I had never seen before, but they were all mostly rotted through.

There were still many intact boards like this in the crevice. There were so many, in fact, that it was almost impossible to count them all. I turned my flashlight up to its brightest setting and saw even more boards far in the distance—it seemed that the number was even higher than I originally thought. I recalled the description of the Temple of Heaven(2) in ancient books and found that it was actually well founded. According to the “Biographies of Deities and Immortals”,(3) there were many immortal halls in the Temple of Heaven. The immortal halls were vertical structures where the immortals could sit on the stairs and look up or down as far as the eye could see. It was said that there were 105 of these immortal halls in total.

Was this the prototype right here?

In other words, if the “Biographies of Deities and Immortals” referred to such structures, then the immortal halls must be similar to these crevices. It was no wonder that when I came in just now, the words “Juxian Hall” had been engraved on that stone building.

I estimated that thousands of people had become mummies in this crevice, and according to the records, there were at least 71 such large crevices here.

The wooden boards were completely decayed and could hardly bear any weight, but it should be very safe here. These alchemists must have taken a lot of pills containing bronze, so it was very wise for Black Glasses to hide here. But if he was hiding here, it would be difficult for me to find him.

According to the “Biographies of Deities and Immortals”, the first hall surrounded the heavenly palace, which was located at the center. This meant that I should be able to reach a larger area from here. I was indeed close to the immortals’ abode in the Kunlun Mountains, but I didn’t expect it to be so primitive.

It wasn’t easy to climb here. Although I could put my feet on both sides to support myself, if I lost my footing and fell, all the skin on my body would be scraped off on the cliff wall next to me, just like a potato being peeled with a file.

I stood there frozen at the cave entrance for a while, pondering over a thought that was stuck in my head: how were these boards arranged? Didn’t immortals need to go to the bathroom? With so many people here on a day-to-day basis, I was sure it must have been a spectacular sight. The crevice below was extremely deep, so there should be running water below. Otherwise, after a long time, this place would no longer be an immortal hall but a dung ditch.

Before answering nature’s call, was it necessary for them to call out, “Rain falls from heaven! Watch out below!”?

The flashlight’s power began to weaken at this time—probably because I had left it on its brightest setting for too long—so the light source began to shrink rapidly. I turned it off and started charging it with the hand-cranked generator I was carrying with me.

The shock just now, coupled with the sudden darkness, made my heart beat faster and my scalp tingle. This feeling was very abnormal, especially because I rarely felt this kind of panic when it came to darkness. I suddenly realized that my subconscious must have seen something a moment ago, so although I didn’t consciously notice it, I still started to feel scared in my heart.

This kind of thing had happened many times before, so I tried to take a deep breath to calm myself down while also turning on the flashlight periodically as I charged it.

Whenever I turned on the flashlight to see the situation in front of me, I prayed that the corpse in front of me hadn’t changed.

It was the same every time, but even so, I kept expecting to see a corpse crawling right in front of my face every time I turned on the flashlight.

It required a lot of patience, but I did my best to keep turning that hand crank for about an hour. When I turned on the flashlight again, the light had finally returned to normal.

The back of my head and hands felt numb. I rubbed my face to try and get myself to concentrate, but the excessive tension just now had consumed too much energy.

I raised the flashlight again, followed the direction I had previously been looking at, and carefully looked at the crevice again, trying to figure out what details I saw before.

This time, I intentionally searched for it and saw that among the countless mummies, there was a corpse that was very different from the others—its face had been covered with a cloth.

None of the other corpses had a cloth covering their heads; this was the only one. Moreover, there were many fungus-like things growing on its body. It looked a bit like a hedgehog, which was very abnormal.

<Chapter 23><Table of Contents><Chapter 25>


TN Notes:

(1) Can mean “Hall of Gathered Immortals”.

(2) A magnificent palace in the highest part of heaven where the Jade Emperor lives.

(3) Also known as “Shenxian Zhuan” (the title has been translated in English in various ways but I just went with what Wikipedia had), it’s a hagiography of immortals and description of Chinese deities, partially attributed to the Taoist practitioner and scholar, Ge Hong (283-343). A hagiography is a biography of a saint or an ecclesiastical leader, as well as, by extension, an adulatory and idealized biography of a preacher, priest, founder, saint, monk, nun, or icon in any of the world’s religions.



6 thoughts on “Chapter 24 Juxian Hall

  1. Thank you for the chapter. Thankfully Black Glasses seems to be alright somewhere. I’m always worried might be dead.
    I seriously need Fatty or Xiao He to show up. My poor heart can’t bear Wuxie wandering around surrounded by danger anymore


    1. Oh, you mean that message he left in the snake dream? That he had to journey for thirty days in the dark and he needed water purification tablets?


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