Chapter 703 – Rebirth in Chaos, a New Journey
When the flames burnt out and the dark clouds of death enveloped them, everything returned to darkness.
Suddenly, there was a streak of light. A sliver of consciousness awakened, hazy and utterly confused.
Everything seemed to return to a long, long time ago, before Northmoon, before Li Qingshan, and even before Li Er. Back then, he still had no name, in the intersection between his past life and his current life. He curled up peacefully in his mother’s womb, waiting for the day he would be born.
He was unable to confirm whether he had actually undergone rebirth or if he had transmigrated to another world. Only when he sensed the liquid that was scorchingly-warm yet filled with life around him did he gradually become convinced that he was still alive, that he had won the gamble!
As it turned out, the phoenix’s ability could only be used in scorching fire. It was neither for attack, nor was it for defence. Instead, it was for rebirth, just like the legends.
Bathing in flames, the phoenix underwent nirvāṇa rebirth.
This made him think of Xuanyue. She possessed the ability to come back from the dead. While this ability did sound very powerful, Gu Yanying had labelled it as useless, which was not completely without reason. The phoenix’s nirvāṇa could only be labelled as such too. If he encountered any opponents he was unable to stop, his daemon core would probably be taken away. How could he still undergo rebirth calmly?
Unless the enemy’s strength completely exceeded his, he would never separate his daemon core from his body. By the time he faced such an enemy, it would already be too late, and if he did not face an enemy like that, there would be absolutely no need for this either. If it were not for Mo Yu’s curse this time that had dyed him in ink, he could have erased his aura and escaped easily. It was a special circumstance. The chance that it would happen again was negligible.
But no matter what, it had still helped him survive, so he could not ask for anything more. No matter what, it was still a legendary ability of “eternal life”, and he could vaguely feel it was not so simple. However, what he wanted to know the most right now was when he could escape from his current state!
He wanted to look around, but he could not open his eyes. He wanted to extend his arms and legs, but he could not sense his arms and legs. He discovered out of pure helplessness that he was a ball of liquid, and he was in an oval egg. He was uncertain whether it was divided into egg white and yolk.
“Life gets worse the more you jumble around” was probably referring to this exact situation! However, he jumbled around and ended up as an egg, which sure was terrible. Was this perhaps the legendary “jumbled egg”, a “bastard”?
TL: This was a really difficult paragraph to translate. The main theme of this paragraph is the Chinese character 混. 混 in Chinese has several different meanings depending on context. It can mean “just getting by” or “dawdling around” in the case of 混口饭吃 or 混日子, but by itself, it can mean to mix or to jumble. Moreover, when you combine it with the Chinese word for “egg” (which can also mean balls or testicles), 蛋, you get 混蛋, which is translated literally as “mixed egg” or “jumbled egg”, but it’s actually a curse word to call someone an asshole or a bastard. The author just used all three meanings in a single paragraph. There’s one more meaning to 混 which appears in this chapter, which is 混沌. This means chaos, but more importantly, it also refers to the primordial chaos before the world was formed in Chinese mythology. I’ll explain this part later.
He cursed inside. Although he had no fists to clench and no teeth to grit, he had still made up his mind. One day, he would go dragon slaying in the Ink sea and make that old dragon understand his power. He would hang him up on a wall as an ornament.
His future was bright, his path was winding, but right now, all he could do was stick with hatching out.
With nothing to do, he could only use his random thoughts to pass time. Suddenly, he thought of a saying, The heavens and earth were a chaotic mix, just like a chicken’s egg. Pangu was born within. Eighteen thousand years later, the heavens and earth split apart, the light and pure yang qi rose up to the heavens, and the heavy and mixed yin qi fell to the earth.
TL: This is the Chinese mythology of how the world was created, split open by Pangu. Before that, it was all primordial chaos. You can read about Pangu and the primordial chaos, 混沌, here:
Before the world had been split open, the heavens and earth were chaos, just like a huge chicken’s egg. Chaos was the beginning of all things and creatures, the source of all life.
Right now, he had returned to chaos, tracing back to his source, like a towering tree that had turned back into a seed and was undergoing the process of sprouting and growing once again. However, it definitely would not be a simple repetition. Having experienced it all once before, the tree would definitely be able to grow even taller and thicker.
Legends had it that after undergoing nirvāṇa rebirth, the phoenix would become even more powerful and magnificent. Li Qingshan seemed to understand something and began channelling the Phoenix’s Scripture of Nirvāṇa, waiting for the day he would break out of his shell in the state of an egg.
Time passed by bit by bit. In the depths of the magma, within the fire-red phoenix’s egg, Li Qingshan realised he was no longer a jumble of liquid. His body was gradually taking shape. Slender bones, tender skin, and flowing blood was growing inch by inch. He had developed into an embryo.
His thoughts became clearer; they had never been so clear before. During the process of rebuilding his body, his soul sense had been refined. Under his control, every single bone and meridian in his new body was condensed with the most logical and perfect structure. Although it was still very immature, it contained great potential.
Moreover, this was not even the part that left him the most overjoyed. All this time, various conflicts existed in his body, not just the intolerance between the spirit turtle and the phoenix. The spirit turtle, the tiger demon, and the ox demon were also in a relationship of suppressing and being suppressed. Ever since he reached the fifth layer of the ox demon, suppression became extremely difficult.
Even the relationship between the ox demon and tiger demon was actually disharmonious. The ox demon was as steady as a mountain, while the tiger demon roared like the fierce winds, so how could there be no conflict and counteracting? It was just not as obvious before even greater conflict.
Each transformation of the Nine Transformations of the Demonic and Divine was an extremely powerful creature. They possessed a clearly distinct will. The ox demon had the persistence to never change itself, the tiger demon wanted to challenge everything, the spirit turtle submerged in the sea abyss, and the phoenix soared through the sky. The stronger they were, the more their differences and conflicts stood out. As they brought him strength and abilities that surpassed other daemons, it also led to an extremely great internal toll unknowingly.
As for the demon heart, the Ocean pearl, and the Divine Talisman of Great Creation that represented different paths of cultivation, they were also riddled with conflict, interfering with one another. This was a price that had to be paid. Unless he spent vast amounts of time to balance them out, the higher his cultivation became, the greater the internal toll would be. Many times, once he had progressed to a certain stage, he would not even have the opportunity to balance them out.
In other words, he should have been even stronger. He clearly had a hundred percent of strength, but he could only use seventy to eighty percent of it in the end. This missing twenty to thirty percent of strength could not be underestimated. If he possessed it before, then he would have been able to kill Mo Yu extremely easily. In a clash among the powerful, even a fraction of strength could make all the difference in the world.
The Dragon King of Ink Sea would have never been able to force him into these circumstances either, as he would have been able to fly faster and clean off the ink faster, enough for him to remove all traces and hide his aura, vanishing into the vast jungle of the Mist province before the Dragon King of Ink Sea caught him.
Though, better late than never.
His past body had gone up in flames. While this body reborn in chaos was still very young, it was an unprecedented opportunity. Only with the old destroyed could there be the new. He would have the opportunity to retrieve this lost strength.
The phoenix’s nirvāṇa was not supposed to be used to feign death and slip away when he had reached the end of the road under an enemy’s pursuit. Instead, it was for a new life that was even more glorious.
Li Qingshan dismissed his thoughts and cast aside everything else, preparing himself for the day when he would hatch out of the egg.
Perhaps due to him gathering the flames of the earth, the eruptions of the volcanoes above him became extremely frequent. Magma constantly erupted and gushed forth while ash obscured the volcanoes all day long. Before he knew it, the phoenix egg and the Asura Field were slowly moving upwards.
With a deafening rumble, the volcano erupted again. Countless pieces of scorching rock were hurled hundreds of meters into the air, thrown into the distance along arcs. Among them was an oval phoenix egg that shone with a weak, scarlet glow. As the lava around it rapidly hardened in the wind, he already seemed no different from a regular piece of rock apart from his shape.
Although he was still a mindless and senseless egg, a new journey had already begun!