Chapter 229: Regular Citizen of the Underworld
Before her rebirth, Zhu Yao was worried that with Realmspirit’s unreliability, she wondered just what the hell she would reincarnate into? Who knew that she would actually reincarnate in hell!
She had not actually reincarnated at all, but had turned into an actual ghost!
Zhu Yao felt as though she could hear the sound of her rebirth cheat shattering above her head.
“Why are you spacing out again? Hurry and go!” Seeing Zhu Yao had stopped again, Sadako behind her had no choice but to push her. “The door to the Underworld is about to close, you won’t make it if you space out again. Hurry and catch up to the group.”
Zhu Yao was stunned for a moment. Raising her head, she saw a long queue ahead of her. There were several ghosts who looked like Sadako, with dishevelled hair and dressed in white cloths, and they were standing in a queue in an orderly manner. Not far ahead, a pitch-black door, that was huge to the extent of touching the skyline itself, was presently wide open. The door itself was floating above ground, surrounded by fog in all directions. On the other side of the door was pitch-black, and it unknowingly carried an attractive force, urging Zhu Yao to approach it.
Following her heart, she floated to the front and followed the group up ahead.
Zhu Yao curiously stared at the door. That’s the entrance to the Underworld? Did I really turn into a ghost?
Suddenly, a noise sounded beneath her feet, as though something had rolled over to her side.
“Haah, little missy, I dropped something. Mind helping me pick it up?” The ghost in front suddenly voiced out.
“Ou.” Zhu Yao bent her waist on reflex, and picked up the round pearl-like object beneath her feet. After taking a look, she realized a pale white eyeball was in her hands. Zhu Yao’s hands trembled, and with her hand raised, she threw it away.
With a swoosh, that eyeball disappeared from sight.
“My eye!” That ghost screamed out. He then left the group and chased after his eyeball.
Zhu Yao: “…”
Just what in the world is this place? Why are there even people throwing their eyeballs around to play?
“Little missy, good throw!” Sadako behind her came forward, and said with an excited look. “I felt that ghost was an eyesore the entire time. Just because he was a death-by-falling ghost, he would throw around his eyes and ears to play. Hmph! So what if he had his limbs broken and shattered? When I die in my next lifetime, I will definitely fall and have my body broken even worse than him.”
“Uh…” Was this really something worth flaunting?
However, Zhu Yao’s shocked little heart finally managed to calm down. Taking a deep breath, she braved herself and looked carefully at the queue of ghosts behind and in front of her. If she hadn’t looked, she wouldn’t have known, however, she was frightened to death the moment she took a peak. It was seemingly hard to even spot a single person who had his or her entire body intact. Forget about those who had broken arms and legs, there were even some who had their stomachs cut open, their appearances looked worse as she looked further on. Using ‘beyond recognition’ was even an understatement.
“Oh right, I was hanged to death. How did you die?” Student Sadako began to start a conversation.
“Uh…” I courted death. “Pained to death.”
“Oh…” He inspected Zhu Yao for a moment, then his expression sank, and said with a soft voice. “No wonder you’re so intact.”
Hey, hey, hey. What’s with that look of pity?
“Don’t be sad.” He patted on Zhu Yao’s shoulders, and said with a stern look. “Try to die more miserably in your next lifetime.”
“…” Are you certain you’re not cursing me?
Is dying miserably what’s trending in the Underworld right now?
“It’s almost our turn.” Sadako pointed to the front.
Zhu Yao raised her head, and realized that unknowingly, they had already floated to the giant door. The ghosts in front were already entering the door one after another, and their figures disappeared in a blink of an eye.
The Underworld was behind this door?
Zhu Yao suddenly recalled the various ghastly and eerie sceneries she saw on television, and took several deep breaths. After preparing her heart for quite a while, she then braved herself. Gritting her teeth, she followed after the steps of the previous ghost, and stepped through that door. The darkness that filled the openings of the door earlier suddenly fluttered like curtains. Her entire being felt as though it had sunk into quicksand, as she was immediately sucked into it.
Everything instantly turned dark in her line of sight, and a moment later, the scenery in front of her shook. As though the curtains had opened, a street filled with lanterns and bright lights instantly appeared before her eyes.
The street was extremely extravagant. Bright red lanterns were hung high up in the air. Bars, inns, restaurants, and various stores filled the place. Zhu Yao felt as though she had entered an ancient city shown in those television drama shows. The entire place was brightly lit by the fire of the lanterns, and there wasn’t a single eerie and terrifying feel to the place.
On the street, there were even several people raising sparkling plates and loudly shouting.
“Come, come, come! Megalin Hall is taking in disciples! Not restricted by any ghost ranks! Not restricted by looks nor height! You will be a member the moment you join! Deep and profound cultivation techniques will be imparted on site! Famed masters will provide you with guidance and teachings, and resources will be given for free!”
“East Elegance Clan, East Elegance Clan ghost practitioners! Boundless resources! Managed by famed masters! A great disciple will be nurtured with great resources! East Elegance Clan ghost practitioners! The price is fair, and no disparity between men and women! Join now and you will even receive a basic cultivation technique. Stay on to enjoy a ghost practitioner’s extravagant set meal!”
“Seven Star Sect! Seven Star Sect’s training institution! Large reservoir of resources! Convenient location! Come for a free trial, and quit without any repercussions if you find us unsatisfactory! Seven Star Sect is your wisest choice! Join the sect now to receive free contribution points, giving you a stable ground to rely on!”
Zhu Yao: “…”
Was this really the Underworld? Not the advertising department?
While she was stunned, a man wearing a robe with two big words ‘Seven Stars’ written on it came approaching her. “Eh? Little missy, I see that you have a fine skeleton, and your ophryon is looking dark, you must possess great aptitude. Do you want to join our Seven Stars Sect?”
“…” The hell did her ophryon looking dark mean?
“This ghostly friend, she is already a disciple of our Shurluse Clan.” She felt a grip on her hand, and was suddenly pulled behind a white robed male ghost.
That Seven Stars Clan disciple looked at the two of them, before leaving with a disappointed expression and continuing with his advertising activities.
The white robed male ghost turned around, and warned her with a stern look. “I’m warning you, you must definitely not listen to the nonsense of these ghosts. All of them are small clans and sects that trick new ghosts into joining them. Some of these clans and sects only have one or two ghosts in total. You definitely mustn’t be deceived.”
Zhu Yao looked at this man who had a delicate and handsome look. “You are?” Who are you?
The man was startled for a moment, and then pointed at himself. “I’m the death-by-hanging ghost, the one standing behind you? Did you forget?”
Hanged-to-death ghost! The one who had blood flowing out from his seven orifices?
“After crossing the Door of the Underworld, one’s ghost body will naturally be restored. No wonder you couldn’t recognize me.” His face was filled with disappointment and regret. “Haah, as expected, my earlier appearance looked mightier!”
“…” ORZ Not in the least!
The corner of Zhu Yao’s lips twitched. She looked around, and just as he had said, she was no longer able to see any ghosts with broken parts on their bodies. Thank you, Door to the Underworld!
“Thank you, ghostly senior brother, for your teachings. I wonder what is ghostly senior brother’s esteemed name?” She courteously asked.
The male ghost smiled. “Our encounter is a work of fate, death-by-sickness ghostly little missy, there’s no need to be so polite!”
Death-by-sickness ghostly Zhu Yao: “…”
“There’s no need for any titles. My surname is Chen, and my name is a single word – Zhen.”
“Hello, I’m Huo Yuanjia2!”
“Huo Yuanjia? Your name is really weird.”
Not as strange as yours, alright?
Chen Zhen was startled for a moment, and then passionately continued a moment later. “Death-by-sickness ghostly little missy, from your looks, you must be a ghost who had just died not too long ago. It’s your first time in the Underworld, right? Come, this big brother shall help you sign up for a certification?”
“Aaah–” Getting a marriage certification on our first meeting? Aren’t we moving too fast?
“What are you gasping for? Hurry and float!” Chen Zhen urged. “Only by getting an identification at the Realm Definition Council Hall can you become a true ghost and freely travel about the Underworld. Otherwise, you’re just a wandering ghost.”
So it was to receive an identification.
“Thank you, big brother Chen.”
“Death-by-sickness ghostly little missy, no need to be polite!”
“…” Could we not bring up the matter of her dying from sickness?
Zhu Yao had thought that the so-called Realm Definition Council Hall would definitely be a powerful and domineering place. After all, it was the place to receive identifications, so no matter the case, it should be a government-like facility. In the end, Chen Zhen dragged her to a pool at the roadside, and said while pointing at the muddy pool of water. “This is the Realm Definition Council Hall. Place your hand inside the water.”
“…” What happened to the promised government facility? The way their identification was made was a little too easy-going, wasn’t it?
Zhu Yao reached out her hand into it with a darkened expression. However, the water in the pool did not give the least bit of wet feeling, it felt as though her fingertips had touched a pile of soft cotton. A moment later, a faint green glow suddenly lighted up at the palm of her hand. A circle slowly appeared, and within the circle was the word “Under”.
It’s green.” Chen Zhen happily patted on Zhu Yao’s shoulder. “Death-by-sickness ghost, as I thought, we’re really fated!”
“What’s the meaning of this colour?” Zhu Yao retracted her hand, and the glow on her palm slowly dimmed, leaving a green coloured word “Under” the size of a fingernail.
“There’s a total of seven colours. Every ghost who enters the Underworld for the first time will have a certain colour on their identification mark. These colours represent the city they will be living in from then on. Green represents Green City.” He reached out his hand, and she saw that there was a similar green mark on his hand. “Coincidentally, there’s an empty space next to my place, you can live there. We will be neighbours from now on.”
So these colours act as identification cards, and one could freely choose their land. I wonder if there’s certificates of ownerships too?
“Big brother Chen, don’t ghosts have to reincarnate? Why do we have to choose places to stay in?”
Chen Zhen turned to look at her with a strange face. “Reincarnate? Why do you have such a terrifying thought? Don’t you want to cultivate into a deity?”
“Ghosts can become deities as well?” You’re kidding me.
“Of course!” Chen Zhen nodded heavily, and dragged her to the seats at the side, looking as though he wanted to chat with her about dreams. “Missy, I know being a death-by-sickness ghost is a little miserable, but you don’t have to let yourself down, you know? As long as you’re able to cultivate a spiritual body, you have hopes of attaining the Heavenly Dao.”
“…” What did this have to do with dying from sickness?
But she had really never heard of ghost practitioners. Putting aside the past cultivation worlds she resided in, even in Divine Realm, she had never seen ghosts ascending into deities.
Chen Zhen saw that she still had that dubious look, so he disseminated to her some of the Underworld’s common sense.
After he was done, Zhu Yao then understood that their so-called cultivation was similar to the deity cultivation she had done. However, the cultivation here was more complicated than what human practitioners usually do. If ghosts wanted to cultivate, they first must cultivate a spiritual body, then, ascend to the Spiritual Realm and obtain a material body. They will then be able to cultivate into deities for real.
To put it simply, one must first cultivate a body, detach oneself from the identity of a ghost, and then ascend into a deity.
“Then why don’t people directly reincarnate and obtain a new body to cultivate? Doesn’t that save a lot of trouble?”
“For reincarnation, one must cross the River of Forgetfulness.” Chen Zhen said. “The River of Forgetfulness is able to wash away the memories of one’s former life, including cultivation and spirit veins. It’s impossible to predict the future, and it’s not certain that you will even have spirit veins, let alone attaining the Heavenly Dao. But ghost practitioners are different. As long as you’re able to cultivate a spiritual body and ascend to the Spiritual Realm, you will be able to regain your former cultivation. Isn’t that much better than reincarnation?”
So that’s the case, no wonder there were so many ghosts staying in the Underworld. They were taking another gamble. Furthermore, she was now a little curious of that placed called Spiritual Realm.
The place next to Chen Zhen was still empty, so he allowed her to stay there.
When Zhu Yao took a look, she realized the place next to his house was really still empty… an empty plot of land.
An empty plot of land filled with lush green weed!
Flips table! What’s the use of giving me a piece of empty land to live on? Do I have to dig a hole?
Zhu Yao looked at Chen Zhen’s single household manor, and then looked at the empty land in front of her again. The corner of her lips twitched. “… Big brother Chen, a ghost… can’t live here right?”
“Of course you can. The place is rather big too?” Chen Zhen said kindly.
“There’s not even a room here!”
“Oh right.” Chen Zhen scratched his head, and then passed her something. “Here, this is for you.”
“…” What’s the use of giving me a shovel? Dig a hole and bury myself inside?
“This spot is good.” Chen Zhen stomped on the empty land a few times and stopped at a certain spot. Then, he waved her over. “Dig over here then! Dig out a larger portion, it will be more comfortable when you lie down.”
He really was thinking of having her burying herself in the ground!
“The sun is about to rise. I’m going home to sleep now, I won’t accompany you any longer.” Chen Zhen waved his hands at her. “See you tomorrow, death-by-sickness ghostly little missy.”
“… Wait a minute~” First settle problem of my residence first. What happened to the promised love between neighbours? Did it all amount to a shovel?
Chen Zhen however did not turn back, and simply floated back to his own courtyard. Then, he took out a white cloth, tied it to a tree in his courtyard with a dead knot, and after that…
He hanged himself!
Zhu Yao: “…”
Was this… the correct sleeping posture for a death-by-hanging ghost?
What should she do? She suddenly felt that digging a hole and sleeping in it was more normal than that.
Zhu Yao silently picked up the shovel.
Currently, she was just a normal ghost. Even if her mind was filled with cultivation techniques, she was unable to wield them. She had no choice but to shovel out the earth one at a time. The sky was beginning to brighten up. The surroundings which was still a little dark earlier, could now be clearly seen.
Houses were scattered all around. Compared to the city she entered earlier, this place was much quieter. It was most probably because the rest of the ghosts were sleeping, as her surroundings were very silent.
Zhu Yao was curious as to where the sudden source of light came from. Raising her head to take a look, what was hanging in the sky was not sun, but layers of aurora-like lights, and they were constantly dancing in the sky like fluttering ribbons.
She reached out her hand to feel the air for a moment, yet she was unable to sense the last bit of warmth. The lights were just bright, but not sources of heat.
Zhu Yao dug for a total of two hours, before she was able to shovel out an adult-size hole.
Strangely, she was not the least bit tired. She was basically not feeling any fatigue from doing a high-intensive activity. Thus, she decided to finish everything in one go, and put in even more effort into her shovelling. As though she was creating an underground cave, she dug herself a basement. Then on, she added a bed, tables and other household items made with soil. When she was done, an entire day had already passed, and the sky had begun to turn dark.
Zhu Yao then floated to her bed and laid down. Initially, she had thought that she wouldn’t feel any fatigue, but a sense of tiredness then assaulted her, and she immediately fell asleep.
This type of sleep was different from a regular sleep as well. She still held onto her consciousness, but was unable to feel anything in her surroundings. It felt as though her entire body was floating in water, experiencing an unbelievably gentle sensation. In her surroundings, there seemed to be white string-like substances floating about, looking a little similar to those auroras she saw in the daytime, however these were even thinner than the auroras. She subconsciously wanted to grab them, but they disappeared in the end.
Suddenly, she felt as though someone was nudging her. When she opened her eyes, she saw Chen Zhen’s eager expression, and he said. “Huo Yuanjia, the sky has turned dark. Let’s go out and scare some people!”
- Chen Zhen: A character in the Chinese movie ‘Fist of Fury’, and a student of martial artist Huo Yuanjia. After realizing that Huo Yuanjia was poisoned to death by his Japanese rivals, Chen Zhen departed on a journey of vengeance for his master, and to restore his legacy.