The person in red with a slender silver curved blade hanging from his waist was indeed Huacheng. As he walked, he said, “Brother, you can easily find me.”

He looked the same as when he left, except that the curved blade hanging from his waist was now unsheathed and hung on his vibrant red robe, making a clanging sound as he walked, exuding an arrogant air. The silver eye on the handle of Erming had closed. Xie Lian breathed a sigh of relief, paused for a moment, and slowly said, “I originally wanted to go and see Ying, but this place is too big, and I got lost.”

He had intended to tell Huacheng about what had happened earlier, but the words changed at the tip of his tongue and he swallowed them.

The masked person’s actions were mysterious, undoubtedly to deceive someone’s ears, but whose ears exactly? Others’? Huacheng’s? Or… his?

Xie Lian hadn’t forgotten that he came to the Ghost Market to investigate the whereabouts of the missing priest. He couldn’t let any suspicious clues slip by. Therefore, he decided not to startle the snake and find a way to enter this door first. If it had nothing to do with this matter, he would immediately inform Huacheng of the abnormal behavior of his subordinate. But if it was related…

He pondered while Huacheng led him back, saying, “If you still want to see that young man, I will have someone bring him to you. Just wait at the Blissful Palace.”

Most likely because he was hiding something from the other person, Xie Lian’s tone towards Huacheng involuntarily softened as he replied, “Did you manage to handle everything so quickly?”

Huacheng’s mouth curled with a hint of disdain as he replied, “It’s taken care of. But it’s just another group of idiots making fools of themselves.”

When Xie Lian heard the word “idiots,” the tone was familiar, and he guessed, “Qinggui Qirong?”

Huacheng smiled and said, “Exactly. Didn’t I tell you? Everyone is interested in my place. Qirong has been thinking about the Ghost Market for more than a year or two, but all he can do is think and envy. That’s why he often sends his useless lackeys to cause trouble. It’s nothing out of the ordinary.”

As they walked and talked, Xie Lian carefully memorized the route. When they returned to the Blissful Palace, before long, Ying was indeed brought up by two maidens.

After some grooming and tidying up, he changed into clean clothes and white bandages. Although his head and face were still tightly wrapped, there was a sense of renewal. At a glance, this young man had slender limbs and a delicate figure, showing great potential. However, at present, he hunched his back, lowered his head, and dared not look up, which made Xie Lian feel a pang of sadness.

He pulled the young man to sit down and said, “Before Little Ying passed away, she entrusted you to me with a few words. I promised her. However, I still need to ask for your consent. From now on, are you willing to accompany me on my cultivation journey?”

The young man looked at him in a daze, seemingly unable to believe that someone would be willing to take him on the cultivation path. Xie Lian continued, “Although the conditions on my side are not the best, you won’t have to hide, steal, and suffer beatings anymore.”

As Xie Lian spoke, he didn’t notice Huacheng beside him, his eyes half-closed, coldly staring at the young man, full of scrutiny.

Ying hesitated and showed anticipation in his eyes. Xie Lian knew that he probably still couldn’t fully believe it, so he decided to talk more, to take it slowly. He patted the young man’s shoulder and thought for a moment before speaking warmly, “Remember Little Ying, and give yourself the name ‘Ying.’ That’s good, but you still need a surname. The surname of the Eternal Peace Kingdom is ‘Lang,’ so from now on, you shall have a new name, Lang Ying?”

As Xie Lian asked this, the young man slowly nodded. With the nod, a rumbling sound came from his stomach, as if he was embarrassed, he immediately lowered his head. Seeing this, Xie Lian couldn’t help but feel sorrowful. “This child is probably already several hundred years old. I don’t know if it’s a coincidence or a twist of fate that he became an undead and remained in this world. I don’t know whether he is being given a second chance at life or being subjected to suffering.” He was about to find him something to eat when many graceful maidens flooded into the Blissful Palace.

These maidens were naturally arranged by Huacheng. Each maiden held a jade tray containing various delicacies, fine wines, fresh fruits, and pastries. They walked around the palace like a revolving lantern, and whenever they passed by the ink jade bed, they would place the jade trays on the table. Although Lang Ying looked at them, he didn’t dare to touch them. Xie Lian pushed several plates in front of him, and only then did he slowly start to eat.

As Xie Lian watched the young man, a scene suddenly flashed in his mind. It was also a young man with his face wrapped in bandages, dirty all over, squatting on the ground, holding a tray and secretly eating the pastries inside.

This was a scene he had witnessed many years ago. Perhaps because it had some resemblance to the scene before him, it brought back the memory. Xie Lian shook his head lightly, as if trying to banish the image from his mind. At that moment, a graceful maiden dressed in purple chiffon approached with a wine cup. Huacheng raised his hand and poured him a cup, saying, “Have a drink?”

Lost in his thoughts, Xie Lian absentmindedly took the cup and was about to drink it. As soon as it touched his lips, he realized it was wine and quickly turned his attention back. However, in that split second, he happened to see the maiden who had brought the wine casting a flirtatious glance at Huacheng.

He instantly sprayed out the wine with a “pfft—”

Fortunately, he had already swallowed the mouthful of wine, so nothing came out, but he choked on it and couldn’t stop coughing. Lang Ying was startled, and the pastry in his hand fell on the table. Xie Lian coughed and reassured him, “It’s alright. It’s alright.”

Huacheng gently patted his back and asked, “What’s wrong? Is the wine not to your taste?”

Xie Lian hurriedly replied, “No! The wine is good. It’s just that I suddenly remembered that in my practice, I must abstain from alcohol.”

Huacheng said, “Oh? That’s my oversight. I didn’t consider that. I’ve caused you to break your vows.”

Xie Lian said, “It’s not your fault. I forgot about it myself.”

He rubbed his forehead and turned around, subtly glancing towards the center of the grand hall.

The maiden who had brought the wine had her back turned to him, gracefully walking away. Her figure and movements were truly enchanting. Huacheng was too engrossed in what he was doing, completely ignoring these beautiful maidens and not even sparing a glance at their faces. However, Xie Lian’s unintentional glance just now allowed him to see clearly.

Wasn’t the maiden who brought the wine none other than Feng Shi Qing Xuan???

To infiltrate the Blissful Palace, Feng Shi Qing Xuan actually disguised herself as a woman… Xie Lian was truly startled by that flirtatious look, and in his mind, he couldn’t help but think, “You should bring me wine instead to calm my nerves.” At this moment, he heard Huacheng casually say, “In cultivation, I used to think it was about being carefree and unrestrained. If you have to give up this and that, it’s better not to practice at all. What do you think?”

Xie Lian quickly regained his composure and smoothly continued the conversation, “It depends on the cultivation path. Some sects don’t pay much attention to these things. But in my practice, it’s customary to abstain from alcohol and lust. Drinking occasionally is permissible, but the latter must be strictly forbidden.”

When he mentioned “abstaining from lust,” Huacheng raised his right eyebrow slightly, showing a subtle expression that couldn’t be defined as either pleasure or a slight annoyance.

Xie Lian continued, “Actually, there’s also a need to abstain from anger. When one experiences great joy or sorrow in a gambling den, it’s easy to become angry, so it should also be abstained from. However, if one can control their mind and remain calm regardless of winning or losing, there’s no need to intentionally abstain from gambling.”

Huacheng laughed and said, “No wonder Brother is interested in going to the gambling house.”

After going around in circles, Xie Lian finally naturally led the conversation to the topic of “gambling” and said, “Speaking of which, San Lang’s gambling skills are truly extraordinary.”

Huacheng chuckled and said, “It’s just luck.”

“…,” Xie Lian couldn’t help but feel a bit bitter when he compared himself to San Lang. He coughed lightly and said, “You see, I…” He waved his hand and continued, “I’m actually quite curious. I wonder if there really is some secret method to throwing the dice?”

If there wasn’t, Huacheng wouldn’t have requested certain numbers from him in the gambling house. The masked man wouldn’t have been able to roll two sixes with just one throw. Huacheng smiled and said, “There is indeed a secret method, but it’s not something that can be achieved overnight.”

Xie Lian somewhat expected this answer. Since there wasn’t much hope in this regard, he was about to think of other solutions when Huacheng said, “However, I can tell you a shortcut that will make you skilled and victorious in no time.”

Xie Lian asked, “What method is that?”

Huacheng raised his right hand. On the third finger, there was a red thread tied, and on the back of his hand, the red thread formed a small butterfly-shaped knot, which was quite vivid. He stretched out this hand and said to Xie Lian, “Give me your hand.”

Xie Lian didn’t understand, but since Huacheng said it was for him, he gave him his hand. Huacheng held his hand, held it for a while, smiled faintly, and then flipped his hand to throw out two dice, saying, “Give it a try?”

Xie Lian suddenly understood. He silently recited “double six,” took the dice and threw them. They rolled and indeed landed on two bright red “sixes.”

Looking up again, Xie Lian said, “So luck, just like spiritual power, can be borrowed.”

Huacheng laughed and said, “Next time, if Brother wants to gamble with someone, come find me. I’ll lend you as much as you need.”

It seemed that there was never daylight in the Ghost Market, always night. The two of them played dozens of rounds without much order, and Xie Lian mentioned that he was feeling a bit tired. Huacheng stood up and ordered someone to take care of Lang Ying before personally leading Xie Lian to the guest residence. Huacheng’s thoughtfulness made Xie Lian feel guilty, knowing that he would be exploring the Blissful Palace later. As he watched the figure of Huacheng in his red robes slowly walk away, he couldn’t help but feel even more remorseful. Closing the door, he sat at the table, supporting his forehead, thinking to himself, “I hope this matter has nothing to do with San Lang. Once I find out the truth, I’ll immediately apologize to him.”

After sitting for a while, he indeed heard someone softly calling outside the door, “Your Highness… Your Highness…”

Upon hearing the voice, Xie Lian immediately went to open the door, and the person outside rushed in all at once—it was Shi Qingxuan.

She was still dressed as a ghostly maiden, wearing a light and thin chiffon gown. As soon as she came in, she fell to the ground and transformed back into her male form, clutching her chest and gasping for breath, saying, “Suffocating! Suffocating! My god, I’m going to be strangled to death by this thing!”

Xie Lian closed the door behind him and turned around, only to see a man dressed in a flashy purple chiffon gown, lying on the ground, desperately tearing off the chest wrap and waistband he was wearing. It was too difficult to look directly at him, so Xie Lian covered his eyes and said, “Master Shi Qingxuan… Master Shi Qingxuan! Can’t you change back into your original Daoist robe?”

Shi Qingxuan said, “Am I an idiot? How can I wear a bright white Daoist robe in the pitch-black night and become a target?”

Xie Lian thought to himself, “No… dressed like this, you’re an even more eye-catching target in a sense…”

He didn’t see Lang Qianqiu and squatted down to ask, “Where is Prince Taihua? You left him alone outside. I hope nothing happened to him again.”

Shi Qingxuan tore off the chest wrap as well, finally catching her breath and slumping to the ground, saying, “Don’t worry, I ordered him as his senior not to move, so he shouldn’t get into trouble again.”

Although Xie Lian still had some concerns, he couldn’t worry about it now. He quickly seized the time and explained the masked man and the secret door that required rolling a double six to Shi Qingxuan. When Shi Qingxuan heard about the curse shackles on the masked man’s wrist, she exclaimed, “Ah,” and said, “In these years, there have only been a few exiled officials from the heavenly realm. I probably know who this person is.”

Xie Lian asked, “Who is it?”

Shi Qingxuan crawled up from the ground and said, “This person you saw is probably the former Western War God, Prince Yin Yu.”

Xie Lian was taken aback and said, “Former? Are you saying he is the previous Western War God before Quan Yizhen?”

Shi Qingxuan finished tearing off the chest wrap and looked heroic once again. She adjusted her chiffon gown and sat across from Xie Lian, saying seriously, “That’s right. But what I’m about to tell you is just what I’ve heard. Listen and take it as you will. The previous guardian of the West was Prince Yin Yu. He was Quan Yizhen’s senior brother and chose Quan Yizhen as his successor after ascending, providing him with much guidance. The relationship between the senior brothers was said to be quite good. However, not long after, Quan Yizhen also ascended and gained great momentum, taking over his senior brother’s position in the West.”

Xie Lian remained silent. Shi Qingxuan continued, “Two tigers cannot share the same mountain. Originally, things were fine, but Quan Yizhen surpassed his senior brother and became the center of attention in the West. The faction led by Prince Yin Yu gradually declined, with a decrease in followers. They weren’t very happy and felt that Quan Yizhen had done something unclean and deliberately schemed to seize his senior brother’s position. Over time, their relationship became more strained.”

Xie Lian asked, “So why was Prince Yin Yu demoted?”

Shi Qingxuan said, “I’m just getting to that. It seems that their conflicts in the West escalated, and in a fit of anger, Prince Yin Yu wanted to harm Quan Yizhen? I’m not sure of the details, but it was exposed. It caused quite a stir, and Prince Yin Yu was then demoted by the Emperor, and later, his whereabouts were unknown. Unexpectedly, he ended up in the Ghost Market…”

Xie Lian remembered that when Nan Feng commented on Quan Yizhen, the Western War God, his words were vague and there was a sense of dissatisfaction in his tone. He didn’t know what kind of person the other party was, so he asked, “Master Shi Qingxuan, from your perspective, what’s the deal with these two?”

Shi Qingxuan tugged at the hem of her chiffon gown and said, “How would I know? Although I’m familiar with many people, I’m not that close to the Western side, and we’ve only exchanged a few words. But based on those few words alone, I think Prince Yin Yu is a good person, quite modest. As for Quan Yizhen, well, he’s younger and has a strange temper, but apart from not understanding social norms, there doesn’t seem to be any major issues. I won’t go into the specifics of their situation. Besides themselves, who knows what exactly happened?”

Xie Lian shook his head and said, “It’s better not to say. Whether or not the masked man is Prince Yin Yu and why he is here, let’s first see if we can open that door and what’s inside once it’s opened.”

The two of them left the door quietly. Xie Lian, who had gotten lost during the day once before, learned his lesson and carefully remembered the way this time. Relying on a few vague impressions, they surprisingly managed to find the splendid small door after passing by the Two Incense Sticks. Xie Lian approached the statue of a court lady, took out two dice he had brought from the room, held his breath for a moment, and gently rolled them. They heard a light “clink clink” sound, and sure enough, both dice landed on two vivid red “sixes”.

Xie Lian breathed a sigh of relief, but the luck was actually borrowed from Huacheng, who had taught him personally back in the Blissful Palace. This realization made him feel even more uneasy, thinking to himself, “They’ve been so kind to me, yet here I am sneaking around in their home like a thief.”

Seeing his expression, Shi Qingxuan patted his shoulder and said, “Just try to take it easy now. I have to say, this Blood Rain Fragrant Blossom is really putting in effort for you. If I were you, I wouldn’t accept the Emperor’s request this time, so as not to make things difficult for myself.”

Xie Lian shook his head, thinking that Shi Qingxuan didn’t really understand Jun Wu, which was why she said that.

Indeed, Xie Lian was in a difficult situation, and Jun Wu knew that. Based on Xie Lian’s understanding of Jun Wu, in this kind of situation, Jun Wu wouldn’t even mention this matter to him but would directly send another priest to carry out the mission.

However, Jun Wu, knowing that Xie Lian was in a predicament, still asked for his opinion. This could only mean one thing: Jun Wu couldn’t find another suitable candidate for this trip and had no choice but to ask Xie Lian. In that case, Xie Lian naturally couldn’t refuse.

Moreover, the missing priest sent a distress signal seven days ago, and Huacheng also left seven days ago. Xie Lian couldn’t ignore this coincidence no matter what.

Xie Lian let out a sigh and thought, “San Lang, I hope I have a chance to apologize to you.”

He put away the dice and pushed open the door. Behind the splendid small door was no longer the ordinary little room from before, but a dark underground passage with stairs leading deep underground. Cold wind rushed up from below, chilling the surroundings.