Wen Ning slightly lowered his head, his hands hanging by his sides, resembling a marionette waiting for its puppeteer’s commands.

His face was pale and handsome, even bearing a touch of melancholic elegance. However, the absence of pupils in his eyes, replaced by a dead white color, coupled with several black cracks crawling up from his neck onto his cheeks, turned that melancholy into eerie gloom. The hem of his robe and cuffs were tattered, revealing wrists that were as pale as his face, adorned with black iron rings and chains. The clinking sound was produced by the dragging of the iron chains as he moved. Once still, everything returned to silence.

It wasn’t difficult to understand why the cultivators present were terrified. Wei Wuxian wasn’t any more composed than the others; the storm of emotions within him had already surged to the top of his head.

Wen Ning shouldn’t have appeared here, or rather, he shouldn’t have appeared in this world at all. He should have been completely annihilated long before the siege on the Burial Mounds!

Upon hearing someone call out Wen Ning’s name, Jin Ling involuntarily redirected the edge of his sword away from the soul-devouring celestial maiden. Taking advantage of his distraction, she eagerly extended her long arm and lifted him up.

Seeing her open her mouth and draw closer to Jin Ling’s face, Wei Wuxian disregarded the shock in his heart and raised the bamboo flute once again. His hands trembled slightly, causing the tone he played to quiver as well. Combined with the rough craftsmanship of the flute, the low sound was almost hoarse and unpleasant. With two mournful sounds, Wen Ning reacted to the sound.

In an instant, he had moved in front of the soul-devouring celestial maiden. Wen Ning struck out with his palm, and the celestial maiden’s neck emitted cracking sounds. Although her body remained still, her head spun around in a full circle, facing the opposite direction, yet still wearing a smile. Wen Ning then used his bare hands to deliver another strike, severing the right arm of the soul-devouring celestial maiden, which had been gripping Jin Ling.

She lowered her head to look at her cleanly severed wrist, but instead of turning her head back to its correct position, she spun her body in a full circle, facing Wen Ning with both her front and back simultaneously. Wei Wuxian couldn’t afford to slack off. He took a deep breath, manipulating Wen Ning to face the battle. However, before long, he became increasingly alarmed.

Low-level zombies couldn’t think on their own and required his commands for guidance, while higher-level vicious corpses often had muddled consciousness and lacked awareness. Wen Ning, however, was different. He was created by Wei Wuxian himself and could be considered the strongest vicious corpse in the world, unparalleled and capable of thought and strategy. Apart from being fearless towards injuries, fire, cold, poison, and everything that terrified living beings, he was no different from the living.

But at this moment, Wen Ning clearly had no consciousness of his own!

Just as Wei Wuxian was filled with doubts, cries of astonishment rang out in the field. It turned out that Wen Ning, with a combination of kicks and punches, firmly suppressed the soul-devouring celestial maiden to the ground. He then picked up a large stone, towering over a person’s height, and raised it above the soul-devouring celestial maiden. The heavy stone smashed down on her with thunderous blows, repeatedly, until the stone body of the soul-devouring celestial maiden shattered into pieces!

Amongst the scattered rocks lay a pearl emanating a halo of pure white light. It was the core formed by the souls of more than a dozen living beings that the soul-devouring celestial maiden had consumed. They were collected and disposed of with care, allowing those who had their souls devoured a chance to recover. However, at this moment, no one paid any attention to the pearl. All the swords that were originally aimed at the soul-devouring celestial maiden had shifted their targets.

A cultivator shouted hoarsely, “Surround him!”

Some hesitated to respond, while others were indecisive, stepping back. The cultivator yelled again, “Fellow cultivators, stop him from escaping at all costs. This is Wen Ning!”

This sentence awakened everyone. How could the Ghost General be compared to a mere soul-devouring monster? Although they didn’t know why he had appeared, capturing Wen Ning was worth more than killing a thousand soul-devouring fiends. After all, he was the most obedient and ferocious mad dog under the Yiling Patriarch’s command. From now on, he would gain fame and soar to the sky! Originally, they had come to Mount Dafan for the night hunt, to seize the demonic beasts and fiends, to enhance their reputation. With this shout, it was inevitable that some would be tempted. However, the senior cultivators who had personally witnessed Wen Ning’s frenzy in the past still didn’t dare to make any reckless moves. Thus, the cultivator shouted again, “What’s there to fear? Yiling Patriarch isn’t here!”

Upon further consideration, they realized, yes, what was there to fear? Their master had already been torn to pieces!

With these few sentences, the circle of swords surrounding Wen Ning suddenly contracted. Wen Ning swung his arm, and the black iron chains swept heavily, diverting the flying swords off course. Then, with one step forward, he seized the nearest person by the neck, gently lifting them off the ground. Wei Wuxian knew that the sound of the flute earlier had driven him to become too aggressive and must be restrained. He steadied his emotions and blew another melody.

This melody emerged naturally from his mind, calm and serene, vastly different from the previous eerie and grating flute sound. Wen Ning froze upon hearing it, slowly turning towards the direction from which the flute sound came. Wei Wuxian stood his ground, his eyes devoid of pupils locked in a gaze with Wen Ning.

After a moment, Wen Ning released his grip and threw the cultivator to the ground. He lowered his arms and took slow steps towards Wei Wuxian.

His head hung down, dragging a trail of iron chains, exuding an air of dejection. Wei Wuxian continued to blow the flute as he retreated, luring Wen Ning towards him. They walked for a while and entered the depths of the forest when suddenly a scent of cool sandalwood wafted through the air.

Soon, someone bumped into Wei Wuxian from behind, causing a sudden pain in his wrist and abruptly cutting off the sound of the flute. Wei Wuxian realized it was not good and turned around, only to meet the cold gaze of Lan Wangji’s ice-colored eyes.

This was not good. Lan Wangji had witnessed him controlling corpses with the flute in the past.

Lan Wangji grabbed Wei Wuxian firmly with one hand, while Wen Ning stood motionless just a short distance away, looking around as if searching for the suddenly disappeared flute sound. There were sounds of fire and people in the distance of the mountain forest. Wei Wuxian’s thoughts raced, and he made a quick decision: So what if he had been seen before? There were countless people who could play the flute, and there were even more who had developed their own methods of controlling corpses through flute music, separate from the methods of the Yiling Patriarch. He would deny it to the death!

Without hesitation, he ignored the hand gripping him and raised his arm to continue playing the flute. This time, the tune became more urgent, almost demanding, with unstable breath and a shattered, piercing sound. Wei Wuxian suddenly felt Lan Wangji’s hand exerting force, nearly breaking his wrist. Unable to bear the pain, he loosened his fingers, and the bamboo flute fell to the ground.

Fortunately, his instructions had been clear enough. Wen Ning quickly retreated, silently disappearing into the dark forest without a trace. Wei Wuxian was afraid that Lan Wangji would go after Wen Ning, so he grabbed him in return. However, to his surprise, Lan Wangji never diverted his gaze towards Wen Ning; instead, he stared fixedly at Wei Wuxian. The two of them stood there, pulling at each other, glaring face to face.

At that moment, Jiang Cheng arrived.

He had been waiting impatiently in Fojiao Town, barely even finishing a cup of tea, when a disciple rushed down the mountain in a panic, telling him about the fierceness and ferocity of the things in Mount Dafan. Jiang Cheng’s heart trembled upon hearing this and he immediately rushed up the mountain, shouting, “A-Ling!”

Jin Ling, who had almost lost his soul just now but was now safe and sound, stood firmly on the ground and replied, “Uncle!”

Relieved to see Jin Ling unharmed, Jiang Cheng’s heart finally settled. He then scolded angrily, “Didn’t you have a signal on you? How could you encounter something like this without activating it? What’s the point of being so stubborn? Come here!”

Jin Ling, who hadn’t managed to capture the soul-devouring celestial maiden, was also furious. “Wasn’t it you who told me to take it down no matter what?! If I can’t, then don’t expect to see me again!”

Jiang Cheng truly wanted to slap this brat back into his mother’s belly, but since he had indeed said those words, he couldn’t contradict himself. Instead, he turned to the scattered cultivators around them, mockingly saying, “What kind of thing is this? You all got beaten up so nicely.”

Among these cultivators dressed in various colors, several were disciples of the Yunmeng Jiang sect who had disguised themselves to secretly assist Jin Ling, fearing that he would fail to pass this trial. Jiang Cheng had gone to great lengths for this. One of the cultivators still had a dazed expression and said, “Mas-Master, it’s… it’s Wen Ning…”

Jiang Cheng doubted if he had misheard, “What did you say?”

The person continued, “It’s Wen Ning who has returned!”

In an instant, shock, disgust, anger, and disbelief intertwined on Jiang Cheng’s face.

After a while, he coldly said, “That thing was publicly annihilated and dispersed long ago. How could it possibly come back?”

The disciple said, “It really is Wen Ning! There’s no mistake! I definitely didn’t see wrong… " He suddenly pointed in a certain direction and said, “…he summoned him!”

While Wei Wuxian was still in a standoff with Lan Wangji, in an instant, he became the center of attention for everyone present. Jiang Cheng’s gaze, as cold as electricity, slowly turned towards the direction where Wei Wuxian stood.

After a while, Jiang Cheng’s mouth curled into a twisted smile, and his left hand involuntarily began to touch the ring as he whispered, “Oh… so you’ve come back?”

He released his left hand, and a long whip dropped from it.

The whip was extremely thin, as its name implied. It emitted a sizzling purple electric current, like a streak of thundercloud crawling across the sky. Jiang Cheng firmly grasped one end of the whip in his hand. When he swung it, it was as if a swift and unrivaled lightning bolt had been unleashed!

While Wei Wuxian had yet to make a move, Lan Wangji had already flipped his guqin into his hands. With a flick of his fingers, he stirred up countless ripples in the air, clashing against the purple lightning. The two forces competed, each gaining and losing ground.

Jiang Cheng’s earlier considerations of “not rashly engaging in a fight” and “not antagonizing the Lan family” seemed to have been completely forgotten. In the night sky of Mount Dafan, the forest occasionally radiated purple light, sometimes shining as bright as daylight, thunder roared, and qin music echoed. The other cultivators quickly distanced themselves, watching from the sidelines with both trepidation and unwavering focus. After all, it was rare to witness a clash between two prestigious and influential families. They couldn’t help but hope for a fiercer and more intense confrontation. This included some unspeakable expectations, secretly wishing for a genuine rupture in the relationship between the Lan and Jiang families. Meanwhile, Wei Wuxian seized the opportunity and bolted.

Everyone was shocked. If it wasn’t for Lan Wangji standing in his way, Wei Wuxian’s escape would have been futile, leading him straight into a dead end!

Sure enough, Jiang Cheng, as if he had eyes on the back of his head, didn’t miss the chance when he saw Wei Wuxian leaving Lan Wangji’s protection. He raised his whip and lashed out diagonally, sending forth purple lightning like a venomous dragon. It struck Wei Wuxian squarely in the back!

Wei Wuxian was nearly thrown off his feet by the whip, but fortunately, the donkey blocked his path, preventing him from crashing into a tree. However, despite landing a successful hit, both Lan Wangji and Jiang Cheng stopped in their tracks, wearing astonished expressions.

Rubbing his lower back and propping himself up with the donkey, Wei Wuxian roared from behind it, “So impressive! Your family’s power and influence really know no bounds! Just feel free to attack people! Tsk, tsk, tsk!”

Lan Wangji: “…”

Jiang Cheng: “…”

He was shocked and angry, demanding, “What’s going on?!”

“The Purple Lightning” possesses a peculiar ability. If it strikes a person who has undergone body-possession, their body and soul are instantly separated. The possessor’s soul is forcefully expelled from their physical form, without exception. However, this person, despite being struck, continued to move unaffected, as if he hadn’t undergone body-possession. There was no other explanation except that he wasn’t the one being possessed.

Wei Wuxian thought to himself, “Of course, the Purple Lightning can’t extract my soul. I wasn’t possessed; it was a sacrificial offering. A forced sacrifice!”

Jiang Cheng, filled with suspicion, was about to strike Wei Wuxian again when Lan Jingyi shouted, “Jiang Sect Leader, that’s enough. It’s the Purple Lightning, after all!”

An immortal treasure of this level can’t be effective only once or twice. If it didn’t work the first time, then it didn’t work. If there was no possession, then there was no possession. Otherwise, it would be a hollow reputation. Lan Jingyi’s exclamation forced Jiang Cheng, who valued his own reputation, to refrain from taking action.

However, if it wasn’t Wei Wuxian, who else could have summoned Wen Ning?!

Jiang Cheng pondered left and right but couldn’t accept it. He pointed at Wei Wuxian and sternly asked, “Who exactly are you?!”

At this moment, an onlooker finally chimed in, coughing before speaking, “Sect Leader Jiang, you might not be aware of this, but this Mo XuanYu… cough… he was once an external disciple of the Lanling Jin sect. However, due to his weak spiritual power and lack of diligence in cultivation, coupled with his… harassment of fellow disciples, he was expelled from the Lanling Jin sect. I heard he even went mad. In my opinion, he probably couldn’t succeed in cultivating the righteous path and became resentful, thus deviating onto the wrong path. It’s highly unlikely that he was possessed by… the Yiling Patriarch.”

Jiang Cheng asked, “That person? Who?”

“That… well, it’s that person…”

Someone couldn’t help but mutter, “Homosexual tendencies!”

Jiang Cheng’s eyebrows twitched, and his disgust toward Wei Wuxian deepened. There were a few more comments, but no one dared to say them in front of Jiang Cheng.

Despite his bad reputation, it must be acknowledged that before Wei Wuxian betrayed the Yunmeng Jiang sect, he was a widely acclaimed handsome young man, a cultured and refined individual, ranking fourth among the young masters in terms of appearance. People often described him as “handsome and elegant.” Jiang Cheng, with his volatile temperament, barely ranked fifth, just slightly inferior. Hence, others didn’t dare to mention this comparison. Wei Wuxian was known for his flirtatious nature and had a particular fondness for beautiful women, causing countless fairy maidens to be plagued by his mischievous advances. However, no one had ever heard that he was interested in men. Even if he wanted to possess someone or return from the dead… given Wei Wuxian’s taste, he would never choose someone like this flimsy sleeve-wearing lunatic, who resembled a hanged ghost!

Someone murmured, “It doesn’t seem possible… And his flute playing is so unpleasant… Even if he’s imitating, he does it so poorly, like Dongshi Xiaoping.”

During the “Sunshot Campaign,” the Yiling Patriarch had played his flute on the battlefield, its sound piercing through the long night, controlling the ghostly soldiers and generals, unrivaled in its might. His flute music was like heavenly melodies, incomparable to the feeble tunes played by this Jin family reject just now. Even if Wei Wuxian had a terrible personality, he didn’t deserve such a comparison. It was too insulting.

Wei Wuxian felt slightly frustrated: …If you haven’t practiced for more than ten years, produce a broken flute with three carvings and two cuts, and play a tune for me to listen to. If it sounds good, I’ll kneel for you!

Previously, Jiang Cheng was convinced that this person was Wei Wuxian, and his blood boiled with anger. But now, the Purple Lightning in his hand clearly told him otherwise. The Purple Lightning would never deceive him or make a mistake. He quickly calmed down and pondered to himself: It’s not a big deal. I’ll find an excuse to bring him back and use every means to extract something from him. I don’t believe he won’t slip up. After all, I’ve done similar things before. With this realization, he gestured, and his disciples understood his intentions, surrounding Wei Wuxian. Wei Wuxian hurriedly led the donkey and jumped behind Lan Wangji, covering his chest and exclaimed, “Ah, what are you going to do to me?!”

Lan Wangji glanced at him, enduring his extremely rude and noisy behavior.

Jiang Cheng, seeing that Lan Wangji showed no intention of stepping aside, said, “Young Master Lan, are you intentionally opposing me?”

It was widely known that the young head of the Jiang family was becoming increasingly obsessed with capturing Wei Wuxian. He would rather catch the wrong person than let him escape. If someone resembling Wei Wuxian, a potential host, was found, they would be taken back to the Yunmeng Jiang sect and subjected to severe torture. If Jiang Cheng were to take this person back, he would undoubtedly make their life a living hell. Lan Sizhui interjected, “Sect Leader Jiang, the truth is right in front of us. Mo-gongzi hasn’t been possessed. Why make things difficult for an insignificant person?”

Jiang Cheng coldly replied, “Then, may I ask, Young Master Lan, why have you been protecting this insignificant person since earlier?”

Wei Wuxian suddenly chuckled.

He said, “Jiang Sect Leader, well, I find it difficult with you constantly hounding me.”

Jiang Cheng’s eyebrows twitched, instinctively sensing that this person wouldn’t say anything to please him.

Wei Wuxian continued, “You’re too enthusiastic, thank you. But you’re also overthinking. Even if I like men, I don’t like just any man, and I definitely wouldn’t follow someone who beckons with a wave of their hand. Someone like you doesn’t interest me at all.”

Wei Wuxian deliberately disgusted him. Jiang Cheng despised being compared to others, no matter how trivial the comparison was. If someone claimed that he was inferior to someone else, he would feel angry and couldn’t focus on anything else until he had proven himself superior. As expected, Jiang Cheng’s face turned green. “Oh? Then please tell me, what kind of person do you like?”

Wei Wuxian replied, “What kind? Well, someone like Hanguang-jun, I would really like.”

Lan Wangji, on the other hand, couldn’t tolerate such frivolous and senseless jokes. After being disgusted, he would definitely take the initiative to distance himself. Two people disgusted with one another—killing two birds with one stone!

However, to their surprise, Lan Wangji turned around.

Expressionless, he said, “That’s what you said.”

Wei Wuxian: “Huh?”

Lan Wangji turned back, maintaining his etiquette but not allowing any interference, and said, “I’m taking this person back to the Lan family.”

Wei Wuxian: “…”

Wei Wuxian: “…Ah?”

※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※

Author’s Note:

Things have taken an unexpected turn~~~

Even without a membrane, a flute can still produce sound, but it will sound really unpleasant…

I know you all hate my junior brother, but don’t worry, he’ll apologize to you while crying and say sorry (Hey!)