""Estimated Time for Arrival: Unknown""
An androgynous voice reverberated inside the strangely shaped and absurdly small celestial ship. This was the 3rd time Wen Jiayi heard the voice. The same phrase repeated every hour without fail, and even threatened to disturb her cultivation.
Wen Jiayi would've ripped the cone-shaped box that the voice was coming out of, and she even tried to do just that 3 hours ago. Sadly, she found out that the boat itself was a primordial era artifact. She couldn't even make a scratch, on anything. Even the flimsy-looking knobs did not care for her Immortal Realm power.
A true primordial era artifact that was still operational, and had a practical use, no less! It was a dream come true for many cultivators, families, sects, and dynasties. The knowledge of this celestial ship would be enough to spark a war between mid-ranged families. Dozens of secret organizations would pop out from the woodwork. Ancient families would start to swing their influence around to acquire it while desperately trying to look like they couldn't care less about it.
Of course, if they knew the celestial boat was related to the Long or Wen families, no one would dare to make a peep.
If Wen Jiayi had found this artifact on an ancient ruin, she would've been over the moon. But unfortunately, this celestial ship was a personal gift from the Long family ancestor. An engagement gift, specifically.
Wen Jiayi sent another blast on the cone-shaped metal box to distract herself from reality. And another one after that.
'Ugh. This is becoming a weird habit.'
Dealing with the primordial era artifacts seemed to have an adverse effect on her temper. To be fair, not many things could withstand an Immortal Realm master's attacks. Being able to throw things around without reserve was rather invigorating. Almost addicting, in fact! Which was why Wen Jiayi wanted to correct this behavior before it became fully ingrained.
A deep breath later, she gave up the thought of cultivating. If there was one annoyance, there was a good chance that there were others. Wen Jiayi firmly believed that there was something wrong with the minds of those primordials.
Who would design a celestial ship to be the shape of a bullet? Why did it have fins? Why was it all shiny gray both inside and outside? Why did it have small round windows? Why did it have knobs and panels that didn't do anything? Scholars would call it a mystery, but Wen Jiayi knew better. They were all a bunch of crazy, unstable people. Every last one of them.
Her thoughts inevitably went to the jade rectangle that she found in the ruins of a primordial sect. She had disarmed thousands of traps, patiently fulfilled all the requirements of the incomplete ruins, and what she got was one scroll, and one jade rectangle. Leaving the rectangle aside, the only thing that the scroll contained was a disciple acceptance ceremony. That was it.
An indestructible scroll, placed inside the main chambers who knows how many eons ago, and the only thing contained inside, was the excruciatingly detailed description of how a disciple should behave and serve tea to their master, the ceremony.
Back then, Wen Jiayi was so unbelievably angry, she painstakingly rearmed all the traps inside and removed all signs of her entry. Someone else had to feel the same frustration she felt upon reading the scroll! Someone else had to share this pain!
'It wasn't all a waste though. This jade rectangle is quite amusing at times. Hmm. Maybe I went a bit overboard. I should've left something else in those ruins as compensation.'
Wen Jiayi eventually shrugged. Going back to the ruins of that weird primordial sect was out of the question. She decided to accept this debt of karma instead.
Since she wasn't going to cultivate for some time, reading the past chapters of the:
'I Got Betrayed by Celestials, Was Cast out From Heavens, but by Using My Peerless Blacksmith Skills I Will Get Everything Back. Celestials, Feel My Wrath! Heavens, Bow Before Me! I Am the Peerless Divine Blacksmith God!'
became the most obvious choice. She started to fiddle with the jade rectangle's interface. As usual, an annoying panel that was plastered with the covers of other graphic novels greeted her.
'Vicious Marshal's Bad Wife'
'So I am a Villainess, So What?'
'Reborn on Wings of Fire'
'Perfect in Every Way!'
'CEO's Bad Wife Became Even Badder'
'Chronicles of the Unawakened One'
The annoyance didn't come from meeting an obnoxious advertisement, it came from not being able to read those graphic novels! They needed something called 'Standard Points' to unlock, but there was no way to acquire those points!
The button that said Recharge Standard Points didn't work at all. It gave a nonsensical error every time she tried. And there was no record of a currency called Standard Points anywhere, even in the restricted sections of multiple different ancient sects. She even tried to jam an ultra-high grade spiritual stone into the jade rectangle, but the spiritual stone cracked under the pressure of her frustration.
5 years of ads whenever she used the jade rectangle, but no way of reading any of the stories that were plastered to her face.
*sigh* Which chapter should I re-read... 794 was the first meeting of the 6th wife. She definitely has potential. Hmm, 314 was the second marriage chapter. Su Lian started to get disillusioned in 1200, I should definitely review their wedding before she goes berserk.'
According to Wen Jiayi's estimates, in about 200-300 chapters there was going to be a big payback. All signs were pointing towards that direction. At least, that's how she saw it. If the main character, Yu Xian comes out of the brewing chaos unscathed, Wen Jiayi thought she might as well gift the rectangle to the Li family B#$%&.
'101 it is. There aren't many chapters that show Yu Xian losing his composure!'
Wen Jiayi smirked. There were exactly 3 chapters where Yu Xian showed true fear. All three involved the same side character. Unfortunately, that character hadn't appeared in the graphic novel so far. Maybe one day…
Chapter 101 started on the deck of a small celestial ship. Yu Xian, and the then love interest Fan Cai gazed into the stars. A panel later, the token held by Yu Xian started glowing, and a planet slowly appeared in front of them.
"X-Xian, I never thought your homeworld would be so… so different..."
Yu Xian nonchalantly nodded, but he was surprised himself. There was a giant 'SHOCKED' text behind his expressionless face.
The previous 12 chapters told the story of their journey to this place. Even though their celestial ship was ridiculously fast even by Wen Jiayi's standards, they traveled through shattered space for months. Another impossible background setting! How could netherworld and regular space intersect at a cosmic scale? However, it was still an intriguing idea, so Wen Jiayi gave it a pass. A shame, that the story never mentioned it again!
Underneath the clouds, the planet was covered with golden lines of light. In some places, the lights were orderly, sometimes aligned with a perfect sphere, sometimes with a perfect grid, while in other places it was a chaotic mess.
The second, and much more important uniqueness of the planet was the spiritual energy.
"Even though we are so far away from the surface, the spiritual energy is so thick!..."
Fan Cai's eyes were closed and seemed mesmerized as she spoke. Yu Xian touched her hand, which immediately caused Fan Cai to blush. It was hard to tell from the undetailed art, but since Wen Jiayi learned more about the idiosyncrasies of Fan Cai in later chapters, she was all but certain that this was a tactical blush.
Unfortunately, Fan Cai's efforts were wasted, since Yu Xian's attention was completely on his homeworld.
"Do not cultivate while near this world. If you absorb too much, you may never be able to leave."
Fan Cai stealthy looked at the token Yu Xian was holding. When he turned towards her, she nodded right away.
"We can't use the power of space. It'll disturb the locals and cause unnecessary trouble. Don't use your spiritual sense either. Their cultivation may be low, but their artifacts can detect fluctuations very well..."
The next panel showed Fan Cai's surprised look turn into a frown. This wasn't one of her cutesy frowns either.
"Are you telling me... to obey mortals?"
"Did you think the token canceled an illusion formation that restrained our senses? How could a simple illusion formation protect the Sword of a Thousand Truths from outsiders, or the netherworld around us?"
The Sword of a Thousand Truths was the treasure that Yu Xian was currently searching for. Oftentimes he would go on adventures to find treasures. It was the most common scenario in the graphic novel, next to rescuing loved ones, and/or getting revenge. This time he had to go deep into the breached space, other times he would go to hidden realms, or shattered worlds.
Yu Xian's cultivation was at the Celestial Realm. Treasures that could move a Celestial Realm master were rarer than phoenix feathers, yet this guy was finding them left and right. Obviously, this was a setup that the author was using for moving the plot forward. Over time, Wen Jiayi learned to accept the absurdities of the story, but initially, it was rather disruptive for her reading experience.
Over the next few panels, the celestial ship started to descend into the planet while Yu Xian explained the background with huge speech bubbles.
"It may sound complicated but in reality, it is pretty simple. Ehm. You see, a certain person wanted to… experiment, I suppose. Therefore, this world was sealed off to outsiders. Only a few people can come and go as they please. Even the protectors cannot enter this realm no matter how much they desire."
Yu Xian answered Fan Cai's puzzled expression with a chuckle.
"You didn't sense anyone else? How could you sense an array set by..."
The scene was abruptly cut off, and the next one showed the small celestial ship slowly entering the upper atmosphere. Yu Xian narrowed his eyes and tried to see what was on the surface. However, the panel that showed it was purposefully lacking in detail. All a reader could see was an endless forest of tall metal boxes that were towering over the bright purple surface miles below.
"An array set by who?"
Fan Cai's flat expression clearly meant that she did not care for his interest in the metal boxes.
"Ehm. My master. The array was set by my master a long time ago."
"... You have a… master? The Great God-Emperor Yu Xian... has a master?"
Question marks were all over Fan Cai. Literally. Meanwhile, Yu Xian's face was full of sweat droplets.
"Why wouldn't I have a master? I was a child once and I had parents too. Is that also surprising?! Oh look!! Those metal structures down at the surface give off a strange feeling, don't they? Their composition is unique..."
The silence between the two turned into a standoff. She kept staring at him, and he did his best to ignore her. Fan Cai escalated things further by holding Yu Xian's shoulder.
Prior to this chapter, the most intense emotion that Yu Xian had displayed was excitement towards a gigantic metal rod. Wen Jiayi thought he was going to forge artifacts out of that, but nothing happened after 5 years of daily chapters. There were many other things forgotten by the author, but Wen Jiayi thought the case of the continent-sized metal rod was the most regrettable one.
'Maybe the author was embarrassed by the made-up name they gave. Spiritual Osmium... Not very creative as far as names go.'
Even the author’s name was rather odd. “Little Blue That Hates Coffee” didn’t exactly give one confidence as far as names went!
Of course, there was a possibility that it was actually a metal produced by the primordials, but Wen Jiayi couldn't find any references to the so-called Spiritual Osmium. Since other words were translated with perfect clarity by the jade rectangle, she had to assume it was a made-up material.
There were a lot of made-up sects, dynasties, and scriptures in the graphic novel anyway. A made-up metal was far more interesting than those, but still, not surprising. A shame that it was completely ignored. Wen Jiayi returned to reading after sighing.
Two people in Daoist robes, standing uncomfortably close to each other. The discomfort was only on the male side though. Fan Cai was perfectly fine with sending her piercing gaze to the Yu Xian. Still, the one that talked in the end, was Fan Cai.
"... Is your master… a woman?"
"What? No. He is a man. A very handsome man too. In fact, one could describe him as beautiful, rather than handsome. Still, he is, or was handsome too, last time I saw him..."
Yu Xian did a phew motion from the inside, but for some reason, Fan Cai's gaze did not stop, it intensified instead. She was the very definition of calm when she asked the next question, or at least that is what the text hovering beside her was saying.
"Do you have feelings for your master?"
Finally, Yu Xian ignored the outside view and swiftly turned to face Fan Cai, who had the word calm repeated 4 times around her. This was the first chapter that Wen Jiayi became suspicious of her. Just a few pages ago she blushed at Yu Xian's touch, but now she was perfectly calm? Her mask only dropped a few times and Wen Jiayi naturally noticed every occurrence!
"No way! Are you crazy?! Do you think I could be alive if that were the cas- Don't ever mention this ever again! Fan Cai, this is very important! You have no idea what you are dealing with!"
Inside Fan Cai's head, dozens of tables were flipped while Yu Xian was sweating profusely out of panic. Their awkward silence was interrupted by the metal objects closing in on their small celestial ship.
Wen Jiayi assumed they should have detected those strangely stylistic spiritual boats long ago, but the graphic novel skipped that detail. A Celestial Realm expert should be able to detect their surroundings with ease even without using their spiritual sense. It was a minor detail anyway, so she forgave the author for this mistake.
In the next panel, a metal cone that was similar to the one that annoyed Wen Jiayi earlier appeared. The dialog bubble that came from it was surrounded by wavy lines. Some sort of mortal voice transmission, was Wen Jiayi’s guess.
"Yutani Corporation General Liu Guo greets esteemed guests. As per the chairman's protocols, we will escort you to the general headquarters. Please be advised. Over."
"Yu Tani? Is that one of your relatives? Why is he speaking our language? Didn't you say you hated this world's language? The voice seemed rather off too."
The utter shock caused Yu Xian to delay his answer for a few panels.
"... All my relatives have died long ago. I am the last of my bloodline. Wayl- No. Yutani Corporation has nothing to do with me. The name is just a coincidence."
Of course, Fan Cai didn’t seem to believe him since she had dubious expression plastered all over her face.
This kind of superficial answer from Yu Xian always caused Wen Jiayi to roll her eyes in annoyance. He had 13 wives, but he would not trust a single one of them!
In the next panel Fan Cai seeming wanted to say something, but only a sigh came out of her lips.
"It's fine. I am an outsider after all, am I not?"
"Of course not! You know my intentions, don't you? Have I ever wavered in resolve all this time?"
His intention was, of course, making Fan Cai his 3rd wife. His so-called resolve was helping the Fan family with some hidden realm to get the family's approval. This part would usually annoy Wen Jiayi, but today it was something else. The word 'approval' felt particularly offensive after remembering what her father did to her! She curbed her urge to throw the jade rectangle to the floor.
"So building a wall is your intention as well? How long are you resolved to keep me outside?"
*Sigh* "I'm sorry. Anything related to my master can be dangerous. Keeping things secret is for your own safety, not because I want to keep you at bay."
"... This is something you should've told me before we embarked, isn't it?"
"... I apologize."
Yu Xian looked guilty, but his posture was firm. Fan Cai looked away and continued to watch the descent of the celestial ship. In the next panel, she nodded to herself before speaking.
"Fine. I'm sure you have your reasons."
Though Yu Xian was surprised at her response, in the next panel, he had a guilty expression. Finally, in another panel, he caved.
When Wen Jiayi read this chapter first, Yu Xian talking about his past didn’t surprise her. Coming back after nearly 1800 chapters though, she was amazed that this one paragraph had more information about his past than the rest of the graphic novel combined!
"My biological mother died shortly after birth. At that time cultivation of this world was primitive. They forced breakthroughs with their bloodlines and sacrificed their potentials. They didn't know any better. I tried, but my foster father's body was too far gone due to the years of forced cultivation. He couldn't even enter the Foundation Establishment realm.
Master… I owe a lot to him, but he is not someone I consider as family. He is my master, and I am his disciple. We treat each other respectfully, and that is the extent of our relationship. I don't even know where he is right now, nor do I want to. I haven't seen him in over fifty thousand years..."
Yu Xian blurted the last one unintentionally, but it seemed his efforts paid off. Fan Cai nodded, but this time she nodded with a slight smile. Though this wasn’t included in the novel, Wen Jiayi imagined she gave herself a thumbs up inside her head.
Both got closer to each other and waited for the celestial ship to arrive at its destination. The 16-panel art showed the night sky in full detail, with a less detailed neon-colored city below it. They were finally close enough to see the billboards plastered all over the buildings with their cultivator eyes.
Most of the billboards were text-based signs written in a foreign script. Wen Jiayi assumed it was that world's script, but Yu Xian never commented on it, and the script was never seen again. The ones that featured pictures, or some sort of low-quality illusion, mostly featured scantily clad bodies. In fact, some of them were naked. Even though the art style of the graphic novel, Wen Jiayi thought it was highly indecent!
Fan Cai's elbow swiftly lodged itself into Yu Xian's stomach. She was blushing furiously while shouting. The word 'ecchi' was written on the side as an exclamation, but Wen Jiayi didn't know what that meant.
"Such filth!! Like master, like disciple!! You dare to bring me to this indecent place?!"
"-Wait! This isn't… My master wouldn't… Argh… No, he disappeared more than fifty thousand years ago! Urgh… This world wasn't like this when I last visited! You've got to believe me!"
35 chapters ago Yu Xian achieved Celestial Realm with his body as well. As far as Wen Jiayi knew, Fan Cai didn't practice body cultivation at all. Of course, there was no way of knowing if that was true. She disappeared from the story after their marriage, her cultivation level was mostly a matter of speculation! Still, Wen Jiayi had doubts about Yu Xian's painful grunts while pleading towards Fan Cai.
"Your master disappeared? Then wh-"
"I don't know. No one can figure out what could be going on in master's head."
The next few panels showed the indigenous population. Their clothing, the metal contraptions attached to their limbs were all displayed. Wen Jiayi skipped these sections as they were mostly useless expositions from Yu Xian. She stopped flicking just before the meeting with the local official.
The celestial ship stopped right in front of the tallest building in the vicinity. Only a handful of towers were above the clouds like this one. The metal gates in the middle of the tower opened and revealed a tastefully decorated office.
<This metal gate and the interior walls are made out of star iron. A material that can't be found in this world. Keep your eyes open for anything out of the ordinary and do not use your spiritual sense. These people may seem fine, but their cultivation could be too low to trigger traps if there are any.>
<Was this here the last time you visited?>
<No. Nothing was out of the ordinary last time I visited this place. There must be a formidable concealment formation inside since neither of us can sense anything after all.>
A moment later a woman greeted them. Upon seeing her, Yu Xian inwardly evaluated her to be perfect in three sizes. Aside from the long black hair, her most notable feature was the metal arm. She bowed deeply from a respectable distance.
"I am the CEO of Yutani Corporation, Elanor. As instructed by the chairman, we will do everything in our power to accommodate your wishes. Please, make full use of us!"
Both Fan Cai and Yu Xian looked at each other with skeptical expressions. The former was concerned because of the tendencies of the latter, while the latter was unsure because none of this fit the character of his master.
"And, welcome home, Jade Emperor."
Elanor bowed yet again and missed the reaction of the two cultivators she was welcoming. The words Jade Emperor caused both of them to flinch. Then, Fan Cai immediately stared at Yu Xian with a deep frown. She didn't even bother to use voice transmission.
"Jade Emperor? Really?"
Yu Xian ignored her and focused on Elanor instead.
"Where did you hear that name?"
"The token used for entry was identified as the Jade Emperor’s token. Was there a mistake?"
Confidence was written all around Elanor. Yu Xian frowned, but Elanor continued.
"According to the chairman's instructions, the carrier of the Jade Emperor token must receive the utmost hospitality, never be offended, never be interfered with, never be questioned. If the identity of the carrier is in question, we are to ask the person the color of his jade pendant."
An unrealistic amount of sweat appeared all over Yu Xian, and he looked positively constipated. It was Fan Cai that answered the question in his stead.
"Isn't it green?"
Fan Cai’s question seemed innocent, but it multiplied the sweat on Yu Xian by an order of magnitude. He spent maximum effort to control himself and ask a question.
"Where is your chairman right now?"
Elanor smiled sweetly for the first time.
Wen Jiayi liked the style of her character. This was one of those moments where the author had outdone themselves. So different, yet consistent. It was obvious a lot of thought had gone into the character's design. The environmental art was quite unique too. All that effort was for a simple throwaway world!
It was quite unfortunate that this world was the only exception in the entire graphic novel! None of the later chapters could come close to this one in terms of character and world design!
"The records of the last confirmed contact with the chairman were lost several millennia ago. For a time we believed to have made contact, but later discovered that it was an automated messaging system."
Yu Xian breathed a sigh of relief. By the time Elanor finished her answer, he had made 13 different escape plans already. Elanor continued while still smiling.
"Rest assured, even though we haven't made direct contact in many, many years, we are still loyal subjects to /£#$% /!+$?* of the Imperium."
/£#$% /!+$?* was presumably the name of Yu Xian's master. There were 2 more occasions where he was mentioned, and every time his name was written in gibberish characters. At first, Wen Jiayi thought there could be a hint in those symbols, but disappointingly, the second and third occasions displayed different characters with different lengths.
"I-Imperium? It must be a different one, isn't that right Yu Xian?"
Yu Xian was rubbing his temples and muttering to himself.
"50000 years and he's still… Maybe he divined this. No, there is no maybe. He definitely divined it..."
The shout came from Fan Cai. She was only arm's length away from a panel ago, but now there was half a dozen step distance between her and Yu Xian.
It was a familiar sight to Yu Xian. He inwardly expressed his surprise that she hadn't run away completely.
Fan Cai switched to voice transmission. <Is it that Imperium?>
Yu Xian nodded. <I am one of the great elders. My master is the founder of the Imperium of Light.>
Fan Cai took a step back instead of responding. Yu Xian continued with a regretful smile.
<I was afraid that if you found out you would be scared.>
While the two cultivators were making a wordless exchange, Elanor narrowed her eyes and watched the situation with interest. The last panel of the chapter showed her hidden smirk.
Wen Jiayi dropped the jade rectangle. She didn't feel like re-reading how Yu Xian regained Fan Cai's trust over the next 14 chapters. In the end, the cunning woman said "Yu Xian is Yu Xian", which lit the serial scumbag's passion and resulted in them getting married 4 chapters later. Utterly disgusting.
Of course, in the classic fashion, neither the Imperium of Light nor its master was mentioned again for over a thousand chapters. Their next mentioning coincided with Yu Xian getting engaged to the Nine Colored Plum Tree princess.
An unhappy groan escaped from Wen Jiayi's lips. She did not want to hear or remember any real or fictional engagements, but the damage was already done. She cursed her perfect memory for the first time in her life.
'Ugh. Since when did I start procrastinating?'
Wen Jiayi shook her head to clear her mind.
'There are two possible outcomes. Either I marry him, or I call it off. Simple as that.
At least Shen Xing was somewhat useful in preventing other idiots from chasing me. No one knew where he was and that became a convenient excuse. The Shen family was also overconfident and did not care for anything.'
The Long family though, was different. They wouldn't leave the matter alone. She could make demands to delay, but more demands would only make the rope tighter. The window for refusal was a tight one. It wouldn't bode well for Wen Jiayi to offend a family of similar size before she even became the matriarch of her own family.
'What do I gain from the marriage anyway?
The support from the Long family? If the Wen family falls into a state that would require their help, the situation would be unrecoverable anyway. At that point, promises would become meaningless words.
Political support is useful, but it doesn't solve the underlying problem...'
She already had the 'support' of 5 uncles and 3 aunts. Her grasp over their weakness was near absolute and betrayal was impossible. Number wise they were at a disadvantage, but their power and influence more than made up for it.
She was a true Wen, and knew how to take advantage of this fact.
'Long term alliance from the descendants of the marriage would decrease the burden on my eventual successor, but that is hundreds of thousands of years from now, if not more. No use in making uncertain plans for that.
No, this is too little. Old freak, I don't know what you got from the Long family, but you are on your own on this one. Who told you to sell your daughter for the highest bidder? You better don't repeat that mistake thrice...'
She wasn't against marriage, she just wanted it to be on her own terms. There was no shortage of people chasing her, yet none of them managed to move her. Leaving aside her heart, she would seriously consider marriage if a person had managed to move her mind.
There were no other alternatives than a swift refusal. If she would yield her future for the benefit of some old freaks, why was she cultivating immortality in the first place?
""Estimated Time for Arrival: Unknown""
Wen Jiayi jumped to chapter 812, which featured Yu Xian crafting a never-before-seen spear. The techniques he used were almost... almost plausible to Wen Jiayi. Due to the influence of the graphic novel, she had even increased her knowledge of forging arts. However, a story was a story in the end. There was no such thing as Heaven Devouring Illusory Chrysanthemum, nor was there a bloodstone that could effortlessly absorb tribulation lightning.