Zhao Yunlan broke through her tragic reminiscence without a trace of sympathy, rubbing his hands. “Don’t mention those past broken matters. Let’s talk about what to do now.”

Soul Slayer fell silent for a moment, and Wang Zhi moved his lips, about to speak. But Zhao Yunlan pointed at her and said, “I didn’t ask you. Shut up.”

Wang Zhi: “…”

“The Mountain and River Converge seal and capture souls. Regardless of how these people died and their unwillingness, even the souls of those who died a natural death, if captured in the Mountain and River Converge, they will eventually turn into vengeful spirits and malevolent ghosts.” Soul Slayer thought for a moment and spoke cautiously, “If I may suggest, we either destroy this sacred artifact or forcefully suppress the souls inside.”

His words were veiled, and Wang Zhi didn’t understand for a moment, looking at him with wide eyes in confusion. “Sir, are you saying…”

Zhao Yunlan said, “It means if we can’t blow up the Mountain and River Converge, then we can only cut the souls inside with a single stroke, scattering them and saving trouble.”

Wang Zhi covered her mouth with her hand.

Soul Slayer shook his head. “It is unjustifiable to wantonly sever souls.”

That leaves only one solution: blowing up the Mountain and River Converge.

The three of them fell silent simultaneously.

Zhao Yunlan sat on the ground, playing with a lighter, and suddenly, he stared at the small flame, speaking to Soul Slayer, “I remember now, on the way here, we encountered a lantern holder. We passed by on the road outside Qingxi Village. Didn’t he know about this place? Did he just pass by the Mountain and River Converge without batting an eye?”

Soul Slayer said, “He ferried over a hundred people. Perhaps he didn’t have the time.”

Zhao Yunlan glanced at him, his expression seemingly doubtful. But he suppressed his doubts and continued, “Since the Four Sacred Artifacts have been scattered in the mortal realm for so many years, why did you only start to recover them now? Last time with the Wheel of Reincarnation was a coincidence, but this time it seems like you specifically came for the Mountain and River Converge, right?”

Soul Slayer immediately realized he had misspoken and fell silent, closing his mouth. This man was too shrewd. It seemed that all his foolishness and lack of coordination were just to hide his excessive sharpness. Every time it unexpectedly emerged, it would puncture through the cause and effect of others.

Zhao Yunlan wasn’t willing to let him off easily. His gaze slowly descended, landing on the bloodstains on Soul Slayer’s wide sleeves, pointing out, “The bloodstains on your sleeves haven’t been shaken off completely.”

“I’ve never heard of a creature like a ghost animal in this world. Yet they appeared almost simultaneously with one of the Four Sacred Artifacts, the Wheel of Reincarnation. The Underworld is also tight-lipped about them. What exactly are they? They couldn’t have just appeared out of thin air. Where did they come from? The so-called sacred artifacts should have been fiercely competed for by all parties, right? Why did you let them roam in the mortal realm for so many years?”

Soul Slayer had passed judgments on others throughout his life but had never been interrogated like this. He remained silent for a long time and couldn’t find a suitable answer. Finally, he spoke in an extremely gentlemanly manner, “I’m sorry, but I can’t say.”

Using lies to deal with someone like Zhao Yunlan was basically inviting humiliation. It was better to tell him straightforwardly, “I know about this, but I don’t want to tell you.” It saved the effort of fabricating falsehoods.

Zhao Yunlan lit another cigarette, took a deep puff, and for a moment, no one knew what he was thinking. After a while, he indeed stopped pursuing the matter.

Zhao Yunlan stood up, took out an empty cigarette case from his pocket, and poured out the piece of wall skin with an octagonal symbol on it, placing it in his palm. He asked Wang Zhi, “What does this mean? In the incantations of your Han Ga tribe, does it refer to the Mountain and River Converge?”

Wang Zhi pondered for a moment. “When I was young, my father told me that it represents the meaning of a mountain, with a circle wrapped around it, which signifies water.”

“Didn’t your father fool you?” Zhao Yunlan asked. “Doesn’t your illiterate tribe have another symbol representing a mountain?”

Fortunately, Wang Zhi had a good temper and remained calm, explaining in detail, “The octagonal shape specifically represents the sacred mountain, which is the piece that the Mountain and River Converge is stuck in. During my lifetime, this was a forbidden area for our tribe. No one except the tribal chief was allowed to go up there.”

Furrowing his brow, Zhao Yunlan said, “But I didn’t see any water around the mountain.”

Wang Zhi hesitated for a moment. “It’s been so many years; the topography and feng shui might have changed.”

Zhao Yunlan immediately rejected it. “That’s impossible. It’s understandable for a circle to represent water surrounding a mountain, but it’s impossible for it to represent water alone. There is no such vague precedent in the incantations passed down by the Han Ga tribe.”

Dumbfounded, Wang Zhi looked at Zhao Yunlan. She had always thought that the leader, although very good, was somewhat neglectful of his duties. She never expected that in just a few days, he would have such an understanding of the Han Ga tribe.

Zhao Yunlan looked up and gazed in the direction of the Mountain and River Converge. “The spirit of the mountain, the essence of water… The Han Ga tribe has utilized the Mountain and River Converge to achieve the forbidden technique of Luobula. It has been passed down for countless generations, and they must know deeper secrets. If putting a corpse into the water allows it to escape the Mountain and River Converge, then their use of a circle enclosing an octagon to represent water is quite subtle.”

Following his train of thought, Soul Slayer considered for a moment. “The mountain remains motionless, and the flowing water doesn’t decay. So, does the Master mean that water can overcome it?”

Zhao Yunlan smiled. “Why not give it a try?”

Soul Slayer stood up as soon as he heard that. Zhao Yunlan waved his hand towards Wang Zhi like calling a dog, and with a bossy gesture, impatiently tapped his own wristwatch.

Wang Zhi’s figure flickered and disappeared from the spot.

Soul Slayer waved his hand, dispersing the haze. Then, with his finger, he drew a visible circle of ice and snow around the Mountain and River Converge. The circle gradually transformed into a thin layer of water, growing larger and larger within the frigid snowy mountains. Slowly, it seeped through the thick snow, resembling a series of snakes that approached the Mountain and River Converge with a hissing sound.

Zhao Yunlan heard a buzzing sound. The moment the haze dissipated, he heard that sound. At first, he thought it was the influence of the Mountain and River Converge that hadn’t completely disappeared. But later, he heard intermittent words within that buzzing sound.

“Not old… Already withered…”

He had a familiar feeling, as if it was the sudden tremor that occurred after the earthquake.

Zhao Yunlan carefully distinguished the voice. In a moment, he almost went into a frenzy and involuntarily blurted out, “The stone of already withered, the water of already frozen, the body of already dead, the soul of already burned…”

Soul Slayer suddenly turned his head, and although his face couldn’t be seen, his gaze seemed as if it could pierce through a person.

Zhao Yunlan shook himself, immediately snapped back to his senses, and forcefully pinched his brow, suspecting that he was allergic to something, almost on the verge of having hallucinations. For a moment, he felt as if the large stone named the Mountain and River Converge was establishing some kind of connection with him, drawing him over.

In the moment he lowered his head, his eyes were briefly dazzled by a flash of white light reflected from the snow. From Zhao Yunlan’s perspective, he could clearly see a person appearing out of thin air behind Soul Slayer. A gigantic axe descended straight from above, splitting down onto the back of Soul Slayer’s head.

Since entering this valley, Zhao Yunlan’s hand that was inserted into his pocket had almost never left his gun. At this moment, he reacted quickly, raising his hand to prop his gun on Soul Slayer’s shoulder, and without blinking, fired a shot.

Through the Silence·Sound·Device, the bullet hit the intruder right in the forehead. Simultaneously, Soul Slayer swung his Soul Slasher horizontally, resembling a pitch-black whirlwind that stirred up a gust of fierce wind in place. The blade of the Soul Slasher rubbed against the scabbard, emitting a sharp, grating sound as its tail collided with the gigantic axe.

Both of them took three steps back simultaneously. It was only then that Zhao Yunlan saw that the person holding the axe had a pale, ghostly mask on their face. There was a bullet hole on their forehead, from which dark fluid oozed out.

Zhao Yunlan looked at Soul Slayer and then at the person, unable to figure out what was going on for a moment. He had never heard of such a character before.

The person with the ghost mask slowly raised their hand, wiping away the black blood from their forehead. They turned to face Zhao Yunlan, and as they moved, the features “drawn” on the pale mask twisted into an expression that was almost a smile.

“Master,” the voice of the person behind the ghost mask sounded muffled, “it’s been a thousand years, but you haven’t changed a bit.”

“… " Zhao Yunlan felt slightly unaccustomed to this way of reminiscing.

The eyebrows on the ghost mask suddenly drooped, and the thing revealed an expression that was both smiling and crying. The person behind the ghost mask continued, “However, the Master used to be not so merciless toward me. But it doesn’t matter, how you treat me is up to you. In return for your help, I am willing to die a hundred… "

Soul Slayer didn’t let him finish speaking. The blade of the Soul Slasher condensed into a dazzling light. When it sliced through the air, it almost emitted a sharp whistle. Although it wasn’t quite clear who was who, Zhao Yunlan immediately took the hint and moved aside, so as not to let the two powerful beings fight in a confined space and hinder each other.

He had never seen Soul Slayer so enraged before.

The voice of Wang Zhi came from his wristwatch, “Zhao Chu, who is that person?”

Zhao Yunlan held his cigarette, tucked his hands into his sleeves, squatted to the side, and muttered in a vulgar manner, “How would I know? I don’t know everyone… Do I look like someone who enjoys promiscuity?”

If Wang Zhi’s personality were a bit more audacious, faced with this situation, she would probably have no words to say except, “Can you have a little dignity?” Unfortunately, she was naturally gentle and reserved, so she could only remain silent.

Zhao Yunlan, with the mood of watching a 3D blockbuster, leisurely observed the scene for a while. Then, he extinguished the cigarette butt in the snow, exhaled between his hands, and rubbed his frozen hands together.

“The stone of already withered, the water of already frozen,” he said, glancing to the side. He reached out and tapped his wristwatch. “You know what, I suddenly have an idea and want to give it a try.”

Wang Zhi was afraid that he had an idea and hurriedly called out, “Zhao Chu, Zhao Chu!”

Zhao Yunlan ignored her. He took a bunch of keys from his belt. The keys were attached to an old keychain in the shape of a book, with the patterns on it worn out. On the back, there was a crooked character “Zhen” with a gap in the middle, presumably hollow.

Carrying the keys, he walked towards the direction of the Mountain and River Converge. Suddenly, several monstrous beasts emerged from the surging ground, surrounding him with fierce and watchful eyes.

Zhao Yunlan swept his gaze over them. The monstrous beasts didn’t attack him proactively, but stood menacingly in his way, preventing him from approaching the Mountain and River Converge.

Zhao Yunlan crossed his hands and stretched lazily, dragging out his languid tone as he said, “Oh, I think I understand now. So, he’s the ‘Master,’ and you’ve taken the Reincarnation Hourglass. But what do you plan to do with the Four Sacred Artifacts?”

The monstrous beasts naturally didn’t answer. They just took a step forward in unison, attempting to scare him away.

Zhao Yunlan sneered. He took out a cigarette from his pocket, opened the book-shaped keychain, which held not family photos but a small cluster of fire. It was like a delicate lighter, making a soft sound as it ignited the cigarette in his hand.

Zhao Yunlan snapped the pendant shut with a “smack” and didn’t put the cigarette in his mouth. Instead, he held it between two fingers, letting out a gentle sigh. “In my life, I hate ugly people causing trouble, and I hate vicious dogs blocking the way. You guys are truly the good soldiers of the new era—specializing in finding someone else’s minefield…”

As soon as he finished speaking, the cigarette in his hand was like a small firecracker. With a “whoosh,” it flew out. The moment it left his fingers, the thin cigarette turned into a large fireball, trailing a long tail. It was like an approaching meteor, heading straight for the monstrous beasts.

One of the monstrous beasts screamed, “Samadhi True Fire,” but the two that couldn’t dodge in time were instantly engulfed by the flames. The Bifang fire was extraordinary. In an instant, it burned these demons and evil creatures to ashes.

In the glow of the fire, Zhao Yunlan revealed a smile. “What true fire or fake fire? You ignorant bumpkins. Have you never seen the top weapon in the arsenal, the first hidden weapon in the martial arts world, known as the ‘Sky-Drilling Monkey’?”

The stylish fireball named “Sky-Drilling Monkey” dashed straight towards the base of the Mountain and River Converge.