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Ning Que continued to fall down between the cliffs. Sangsang looked at him and thought of some stories Ning Que used to tell about the human world when they were in the City of Wei. In those stories, when a bad guy was extremely furious he would normally say something like, "You want to die? No way!"

She was in charge of the most fundamental rules of this world. Nature formed according to her will. Since she was already in the human world, she thought, You want to die? No Way!

Sangsang slightly waved her sleeves. The blossoms on her green sleeves almost became real. Behind her, the Divine Hall of Light continued to collapse and crash into ruins.

Innumerable bouts of Qi of Heaven and Earth were called in and formed into chilling winds. A storm swirled outside the cliffs. Foggy clouds were smashed and reformed into something like a cotton quilt.

Ning Que was still falling between the cliffs. All of a sudden, the air around him thickened. Countless clouds surrounded and tangled around him. Thus, his falling speed was slowed down.

Among the thick clouds he sensed the power of rules, and more distinctively, her will. She did not allow him to die like this, so he will not die.

It was impossible for Ning Que to put his fate in someone else's hand, even if that someone was her. When he jumped off the cliffs he had determined to never surrender to her will again.

Pointing at the layers of clouds and fog below him, he reached out and drew a character in the wind.

His hand trembled violently due to the roaring winds between the cliffs and that his arms were broken into twenty pieces previously. Every single movement was extremely painful to him.

But he managed to draw that character very clearly and he almost carved it on the stones. Swirling winds could not blow it away and a bout of fierce Talisman Intent was released from amongst the cliffs.

The layers of clouds were set by Haotian and claimed the power of rules. Normally no one but the Headmaster of the Academy would have been able to destroy it.

However, Ning Que was an exception. It was because she was his natal item. When he was in the Secluded Pavilion in the Divine Hall of Light, whether in reality or in his dreams, he had been tortured for countless rounds. Through those bloody encounters and endless pains he learned her rules and power repeatedly.

During his days in the Secluded Pavilion, except for their rounds of caressing and torturing, Ning Que had applied all his time in learning and reviewing the rules and power she revealed.

Throughout the history of human world, he was the one who best understood Haotian. Now he had acquired the knowledge of the ruling power of this world and thus surpassed all his predecessors.

He drew a Yi Talisman among the cliffs. It was not one of his most powerful talismans, and was nothing compared to the People Talisman he once drew in the sky above Chang'an. However, this Yi Talisman carried his vague understanding of the fundamental rules for the flow of space.

Without a single sound, the layers of clouds among the cliffs were pierced into four pieces and rolled back towards the cliffs.

Ning Que fell through the clouds even more rapidly. The remaining snowflakes among the cliffs were flapped into finest powder by his flying sleeves.

In no time, he fell below the three plateaus and passed by the stone window of the Secluded Pavilion. The cliffs formed into a single-color scene and some randomly raised rocks became straight lines in his eyes. He was falling extremely rapidly.

Roaring winds resounded around him. He felt the cutting winds on his face and looked down at the darkness beyond the fog at the bottom of the abyss. However, he felt absolute tranquil, with no fear at all.

"You used to be so afraid of dying, yet today you would rather kill yourself in order to kill me?"

Sangsang stood by the handrail and watched Ning Que fall and become a black spot among the cliffs. She looked pale. He would definitely be dead if he were to fall to the bottom of the abyss. If he were to die, how would she survive?

When she made her first step in the human world, she traveled a thousand miles. It would have been easy as winking to stop Ning Que. Yet, upon her second step she was slowed down because the Headmaster had poured the world of mortals into her body. It had contaminated her Qi and made it impossible for her to leave the human world.

Sangsang's hand felt gently onto the handrail.

She did not pound on it, but the handrail broke.

The handrail broke into pieces and the cliff by the terrace collapsed and fell towards the abyss.

She walked towards the clouds among the cliffs.

Thundering sounds rang from the cliffs behind Peach Mountain.

It was actually the sound of her breaking into the air.

A green dress appeared among the cliffs. Snow and clouds were scared away. The mist that carried the resentment of prisoners in the Secluded Pavilion throughout tens of thousands of years did not dare to come close to her and fled the cliffs.

She descended to him from high above.

Mountain winds swayed her hair, but could not change her indifferent look.

She fell with Ning Que toward the bottom of the abyss.

She did not look at him but her will was placed onto him.

"You just couldn't wait to kill me?"

Ning Que looked at her in silence and spoke in his heart, "No. I just don't want to live alone. Compared with that, I'd rather we die together."

Clouds gathered again among the cliffs and covered the fall of Ning Que and Sangsang. At the bottom of the abyss it was completely quiet, as it has been throughout the tens of thousands of years.

The Hierarch, Zhao Nanhai, and the rest came to the edge of the cliff. They looked down solemnly but could not sense anything. A moment later a violent quake came from deep down the abyss.

Something had plonked to the bottom of the abyss.

The horrifying power of the crash soared and smashed the clouds again among the cliffs. Even the cliffs that were covered by various Taoist arrays were cracked.

The Hierarch and others seemed very worried. Who could survive such a horrifying crash? Of course Haotian would be safe and sound, but how would she come back from such an abyss?

From a corner in the half-ruined Divine Hall of Light, a horse suddenly neighed and rushed out like a storm. The big black horse knocked over a few black-robed deacons and galloped down the mountain.



The bottom of the abyss was covered by a foul fog. Even the brightest sunlight could not penetrate.

Ning Que opened his eyes and looked at the grey sky. It felt like he had traveled back in time to the City of Wei in the Ninth Year of Tianqi, when they went through the worst sandstorm ever.

He felt dizzy. It took him a long while to realize that he was in the abyss behind Peach Mountain, and that he was lying in a pit.

He jumped off from the peak of the mountain. It was not surprising that he had plonked into a pit on the ground. However, he did not understand why he was still alive. If it was Sangsang who let him survive, then where was she?

The trees at the bottom of the abyss were different from ordinary trees. Their roots were clearly stronger than the branches. They were mostly vines with tiny and scattered leaves. Probably no one had ever visited this place. Layers of fallen leaves rotted over and over throughout the years.

Ning Que was not fully recovered from the dizziness and felt cozy lying on the soft rotten leaves. He did not want to stand up and even preferred to lie like this forever.

Right then he heard Sangsang's voice coming from amongst the fog.

"Are you going to lie down here forever?"

She still seemed indifferent, cold and awe-inspiring. Yet the words she said had become somewhat mortal. Ning Que felt that her voice coming from somewhere in the fog, yet it also sounded like it was right by his side. Being far away as well as in my ear, you are indeed Haotian. Ning Que sighed.

"Get up."

Sangsang's voice became increasingly indifferent.

Ning Que's expression froze. Now he confirmed that her voice was indeed by his side. He turned in great pain and found her right there beneath him.

There was a huge hole on the ground in the foggy forest, carpeted with rotten leaves.

Sangsang was lying on the rotten leaves. Her giant and plump figure seemed like mother earth among the leaves and the fog. He was lying in her embrace like a child.

Ning Que rolled away from her. When he tried to stand up, he felt overwhelming pain all over his body because of countless broken bones. Dark blood gushed out of his mouth.

Sangsang stood up. Her body was perfect and divine. Falling down from high above could not do her any harm or crack her clothes. There were only some leaves that hang on her dress.

She gathered her black hair and placed them behind her shoulders. "You could never escape from my palm," she said indifferently to Ning Que, who was stooping in pain and coughing blood.

Blood kept gushing out of Ning Que's mouth and nose. He was wretched but could not help laughing at her words. He said bitterly, "I'm not that Monkey*. No one could stop me if I'm determined to die."

Sangsang squinted and resented his answer. "You are not able to die when I'm here."

Upon these words, she placed her right hand on him. Clear light came out of her fingers and brightened up the foul fog, as well as Ning Que's face.

When the clear light grew brighter, Sangsang turned pale and Ning Que's wounds started recovering visibly. His broken bones were fixed and ruptured organs healed.

Even the cut she made on Ning Que's cheek last night was gone. His dimple deepened and the clear light shone in it like some vintage wine.

Upon finishing the healing, she stood up, held her hands back and stepped into the deep fog.

Ning Que gazed at her back for a long time, then got up and followed her into the fog.

He wanted to die but she neither allowed nor wanted him to. Therefore, she left the Divine Halls of West Hill together with him and dived into the fog and the abyss.

Though they did not have a rope and he could not tie it on her, there had always been an invisible rope of fate holding them together.

Deep down at the bottom of the abyss, they walked in line and kept a few miles of distance. The fog was thick. They stepped on the soft carpet of rotten leaves without creating a sound. It was frighteningly quiet.

They kept walking. The sceneries around them looked alike — dry ivy, ancient trees, and sometimes a few crows. More and more moss clung onto their shoes.

Ning Que asked behind her, "Where to?"

Sangsang stopped and replied coldly, "It has always been your call, hasn't it?"



* Note from the translator: The Monkey refers to the Monkey King in the novel of Pilgrimage to the West.

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