When the chaos of the primordial world was first settled, the great sage Shennong personally descended to the mortal realm, tasting various herbs to save lives. He transformed into an old man who collected medicinal herbs and spread knowledge among the people. Kunlun Jun listened a few times while mingling with the crowd. It was mostly the same old teachings to the young ghost king, incomprehensible but enough to pass the time. However, the ignorant young ghost king dared not miss a single word, treating every word he spoke as the ultimate truth.

Gradually, a peculiar bond formed at the entrance of the desolate purgatory, as if they relied on each other for survival.

The young king remained infatuated with Kunlun Jun, but being naturally aware of shame, he refrained from speaking too straightforwardly. After hearing Kunlun Jun’s words, he understood that it wasn’t good to speak so bluntly. So, he no longer did, instead finding ways to please him every day.

Unfortunately, no matter how he changed, the variety was quite limited. The desolate purgatory offered little amusement. It was a barren land where not even a blade of grass grew. The usual pastime was to capture two low-level ghosts and put them together to watch them tear each other apart until one devoured the other.

But the young ghost king didn’t enjoy this, and Kunlun Jun certainly didn’t either.

As a result, the ghost king cunningly collected thirty-six large fangs from low-level ghosts. He believed that it symbolized the grandeur of the thirty-six mountains and rivers originating from the mouth of Kunlun Mountain. He used his own hair to weave them into a unique necklace that challenged one’s acceptance. He presented it to Kunlun Jun.

However, when Kunlun Jun received the thirty-six large fangs, his expression became extremely strange, even more peculiar than the necklace itself. It seemed as if he had a toothache, but he forced a smile, pressing his features and awkwardly expressing his gratitude through gritted teeth.

From then on, the young ghost king concluded that he probably didn’t like it—after all, Kunlun Jun had never worn it, and whenever it was mentioned, he would divert the topic with evasive words.

But he couldn’t think of anything else. One day, the young king sat on the raised root of the virtuous merit ancient tree and absentmindedly mentioned the outside world he had glimpsed. Suddenly, he said, “There’s a flower that looks like a bell, it comes in all colors. When you get close, there’s a very faint fragrance.”

Kunlun Jun turned his head and looked at him. “Hmm?”

The guileless young king showed an expression of longing. “It’s really beautiful. If I used it to make a necklace, would you like it?”

Kunlun Jun fell silent for a moment and smirked. “So, you’re trying to please me to get out?”

The young ghost king shook his head hurriedly.

Kunlun Jun playfully teased him, “Then why? I’m here to guard, not to let you all out. Nobody can escape.”

For… the young ghost king stared at him, facing Kunlun Jun’s mocking gaze. He wanted to say something but couldn’t find the right words. The emotions churned within him, but he couldn’t find an appropriate expression.

He only felt that speaking so candidly would make everything seem too vulgar, and even if he did, he might not be able to articulate his true feelings.

The ghost king struggled to speak, his sharp claws involuntarily extended from his nails, revealing a dark and somewhat aggressive expression.

Legend says that those who are born in the mortal world, besides suffering from the torment of unattainable fate, mostly suffer from thinking too much and reading too little. The sages left behind books, but those ancient sages themselves were born in chaos, without any books to read or anyone to guide them. They could only carry numerous doubts about the heavens and earth, stumbling along the way. It must have been extremely anxious and painful… even expressing one’s thoughts to their beloved was a challenge, as they couldn’t find the right words.

Finally, Kunlun Jun burst into laughter, lightly lifting the young king’s chin and giving a gentle kiss on his smooth forehead, then leaped onto a tree branch.

The young ghost king sat in a daze for a moment. Unbeknownst to him, his poisonous thorns had retracted at some point. His face turned red from his cheeks to the tip of his chin and ears. For a long time, he stood up in a daze, as if drunk, his steps unsteady, and fell off the large root of the virtuous merit ancient tree without any purpose or direction.

As a young ghost, though he had grown into a freakish member of the ghost tribe, he had only been exposed to the copulation driven by desire among the lower-level ghosts every day. He had no knowledge of what a kiss was. When he experienced it for the first time, he felt enveloped in warmth, as if floating in mid-air.

Even the Forgetfulness River couldn’t make him feel as boundless and carefree.

Without saying a word, the young ghost rushed into the uncontainable depths of the Great Forbidden Zone, disappearing for several decades.

When he appeared before Kunlun Jun again, it seemed that he had grown a little taller. His body had stretched a bit, almost reaching Kunlun Jun’s height. The soft lines of his youth had become more rugged, but his exquisite features remained unchanged, as if they were always constant.

He carefully held a cluster of golden and radiant flames in front of Kunlun.

“This is…” Kunlun Jun began.

“This is the soul fire from your left shoulder. They were originally scattered throughout the Great Forbidden Zone, and it took me fifty years to collect them all,” the ghost king carefully gathered the warm flames and affectionately rubbed his cheek with them. Then, reluctantly, he offered them to Kunlun Jun. “Here, take them back.”

The smile at the corner of Kunlun Jun’s mouth gradually faded. After a while, he looked at the other person and asked, “So, what do you want from me?”

“Well…” The ghost king hesitated for a moment, seemingly unsure how to express himself. After a while, he timidly pointed to his own forehead. “Well… can we do it again?”

Kunlun Jun observed him for a long time. The young king became somewhat uneasy and restless before him. Suddenly, Kunlun Jun reached out and lifted his chin. This time, he kissed the young king’s lips very gently. Then, he gently took hold of the ghost king’s hand, allowing the slender fingers to grasp the shimmering soul fire.

Kunlun Jun seemed casual yet deep in thought. After a long pause, he seemed to sigh softly and said, “I possess famous mountains and rivers throughout the world. It’s nothing extraordinary, just a bunch of worthless stones and wild river water. But from top to bottom, perhaps only these few ounces of sincerity can be sold on the scales. Do you want it? Take it.”

In that instant, the young ghost king suddenly felt enlightened. He realized that the thing he had longed for but couldn’t articulate had such a term—“sincerity.” Just two words could make one experience countless tribulations.

Although the ghost tribe was not living beings, during that fleeting moment, he seemed to hear the sound of his nonexistent heartbeat.

“And this, if you like it, keep it,” Kunlun Jun patted his hand back, “My blood has turned into the wick of the soul lamp, and my body has become the lamp stand. Only the divine soul remains here. Even if I were to take it back, it wouldn’t be of any use. Is that tendon I gave you last time still there?”

The young king nodded eagerly.

“Take it out and let me see,” Kunlun Jun said calmly.

The ghost king fumbled with his clothes, pulling them in all directions like a wild man, and took out the tendon from a close-fitting place.

“I originated from Kunlun Divine Mountain, and if we go further back, it can be traced to the Pangu Divine Axe,” Kunlun Jun gently caressed the bone and tendon he had torn from his own body as if forgetting the excruciating pain. With a moderate tone, he said, “My bones are connected to the veins of Kunlun, and with a single shake, I can make the world change.”

As he spoke, he suddenly made a series of complex hand seals. Then, the divine tendon transformed into a golden light, flowing through his fingers and directly entered the ghost king’s forehead. In that moment, the young king felt as if he heard the roar of a vast ocean and saw countless mountains and rivers rise and fall.

Kunlun Jun’s voice came through, neither heavy nor loud but extremely penetrating. “From now on, the ten thousand mountains will obey your command. Although you may find it difficult to shed your ghost identity, you are at least half immortal and half ghost. You can freely traverse the three realms, and I will no longer control you.”

The young king interrupted, “I’m not leaving!”

After a moment, he hesitantly added, “I don’t want to go anywhere as long as you’re here.”

“I won’t stay for long,” Kunlun Jun said, turning his head and gazing at the boundless waters of the Forgetfulness River that couldn’t be seen its peak. “I am only a divine soul. I can’t leave, and I wasn’t meant to stay long anyway. Lately, I suddenly feel that my time is running out.”

The young ghost king hurriedly asked, “What time? Where are you going?”

“I’m not going anywhere. I’m going to die,” Kunlun Jun said calmly.

“That’s impossible. How could a god die?”

“Even gods can die. Didn’t Pangu, Fuxi, Nüwa, and Shennong all die?” Kunlun Jun said. “Now, it’s just my turn.”

Sometimes, the young ghost king was like a round, fluffy little wolf, resembling a puppy. His habits seemed to follow the past. When you raised your hand and smoothed his fur, he would obediently roll over and expose his belly. However, his mouth always held sharp fangs. If you weren’t careful, he would bare them and go for your throat, aiming for a bloody bite.

Kunlun Jun had long been accustomed to it, so he didn’t mind. He raised his hand and placed it on the young king’s head, whispering, “Undying, always alive… Child, even the stones in the void are immortal, but they are still just stones. Do you understand? Shen Nong said that without death, one cannot become a god. I always thought he was talking nonsense, but now I understand it a little.”

The ghost king slapped his hand away, not wanting to know what he had understood. “How dare you!”

Kunlun Jun opened his hand, which suddenly appeared somewhat transparent. The enraged youth was taken aback and grabbed his hand, nervously examining it in his palm repeatedly, as if confirming that he was still there. He stubbornly said, “What if I chop down the Virtuous Deed Ancient Tree?”

Kunlun Jun smiled. “You’ve inherited the authority of the Great Wilderness Mountain Saint. You can chop even the divine trees in the Forbidden Land. What is the Virtuous Deed Ancient Tree?”

The ghost king said again, “Then I can also break the Great Seal, break this stone left by that woman!”

Kunlun Jun sighed bitterly. “You can, but I will probably die even faster.”

“I can…” The ghost king’s voice paused, then he said fiercely, “I can kill everyone in the world. I can slaughter all living creatures, leaving no green on the mountains, no flowing water, only corpses covering the ground, with no signs of life for miles.”

Kunlun Jun raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Oh, impressive.”

The ghost king tightened his grip on his hand. “You’re not allowed to die. I can do anything, accomplish anything!”

“Shen Nong was right about one thing,” Kunlun Jun said with a stern face, looking at him coldly. “I should have killed you a long time ago to eliminate future troubles.”

The defiant young king stared at him with pursed lips.

But suddenly, Kunlun Jun laughed. It was a gentle laugh, like the first ray of sunshine after winter, reflecting the faint greenery of the surroundings as it flowed along the river. “From when Shen Nong borrowed the soul fire from me… No, from the divine-demon war, Nüwa creating humans, and even Pangu opening the heavens, all of this was destined. It was destined for me to die at this time, in this place. Even if you were to close heaven and earth again, it would only make my death senseless and wouldn’t stop anything.”

“You don’t understand.” The handsome Great Wilderness Mountain Saint spoke with rare patience and a gentle voice. “Fate, in fact, isn’t some mystical convergence of different paths leading to the same destination. It’s not something secretly binding you. It’s simply that at a certain moment, even though you know you have countless choices, to ascend or descend, you will forever choose only one path… I didn’t understand these things when I was young, but when you grow older, you’ll probably understand.”

Finally, the young ghost king had nothing to say. It was the first time he realized his own powerlessness. All his abilities were about killing, destruction, and devouring. He truly could sever everything in the world, living or lifeless. It was a shocking and awe-inspiring display, making gods and ghosts tremble. But what was the use?

He still couldn’t keep the person he loved the most.

As the youth’s face, filled with murderous intent, gradually softened, Kunlun Jun, unable to learn the subtleties and restraint of containing all emotions within his heart, was momentarily stunned. Then, with a sudden cry, he burst into loud sobs.

Kunlun Jun looked at him with an almost tender gaze, regretting that he wouldn’t be able to see the little beauty grow into a great beauty.

In an instant, it had been five thousand years of wind, frost, rain, and snow, of everything changing.

Zhao Yunlan seemed to be shocked and released the seal stone, suddenly aware of someone behind him. That person chuckled, and before Zhao Yunlan could turn around, he had already taken out the Soul Suppressing Whip, stepped back two steps, and leaned against the Great Seal stone, watching the ghostly face ten steps away.

The ghostly face observed him and tilted its head slightly. A false smile appeared on the ghostly face, “I heard that it contains Nüwa’s complete memories. What did you see?”

Zhao Yunlan sneered, still not in a good mood, and replied with a hostile tone, “Why should I tell you?”

The ghostly face slowly approached him, imitating his actions, reaching out to touch the Great Seal stone. “Five thousand years ago, I was the ghost king, clearly a pair of twins with him, but he won the favor of your Kunlun Jun. Five thousand years later, one of us is inside, and the other is outside. One is in prison, and the other is the prison warden.”

The corners of the ghostly face drooped, then he turned his head and lowered his voice, speaking each word deliberately, “But the Great Seal is also going to be destroyed. That’s why I can come and go freely. In the end, everything will die. Your Kunlun Jun, if my foolish brother hadn’t suddenly made a move and trapped your divine soul, forcibly sealing you into the cycle of reincarnation, making you suffer as a mortal for a generation, you would have long since vanished like those ancient gods. Was Shen Nong foolish? In this world, everything forcibly twisted cannot last long. Only death endures.”

He spoke and gently extended his icy fingers, touching Zhao Yunlan’s cheek. Suddenly, he sighed like a moan, “But ‘death’ itself has been ignited by your soul fire, giving birth to us… these entities that are neither alive nor dead. Isn’t it a twist of fate?”

Zhao Yunlan furrowed his brow and slightly tilted his head, evading the touch. He had already heard several versions of his soul fire’s origin and wasn’t sure which one was true.

So he asked, “Wasn’t my soul fire borrowed by Shen Nong? Why did it later appear in a highly disrespectful place? And why do you say that ‘death’ itself was ignited by me?”

The ghostly face froze for a moment, the blank mask momentarily showing confusion, as if not understanding what Zhao Yunlan was asking. Suddenly, the ghostly face burst into loud laughter, throwing his head back and laughing heartily, “Hahaha! I thought he was so pure and innocent, a saintly appearance, but it turns out…”

His words abruptly stopped because the Soul-Slicing Blade descended from above, carrying the killing intent that could split him in half. The ghostly face swiftly dodged, and the remaining blade wind forced Zhao Yunlan to take a step back involuntarily.

Zhao Yunlan: “Shen Wei?”

Shen Wei raised his hand to grab him. “You must be crazy to come to a place like this alone!”

But before he could touch Zhao Yunlan, the ghostly face suddenly emerged, raising its hand to block Shen Wei’s arm. It transformed into a black mist and violently plunged into Zhao Yunlan’s arms, effectively immobilizing the whip in his hand.

Then, the ghostly face transformed into numerous streams of black smoke, enveloping Zhao Yunlan from head to toe, while emitting a series of laughter.

However, in the next moment, the laughter abruptly ceased. The black smoke dissipated, and the ghostly face reformed, but the space was now empty.

The ghostly face paused, seemingly stunned, and murmured softly, “Someone took him away. Who?”