Chapter 252 - Chapter 252: Chapter 251: I didn ‘t come late, I didn ‘t!

Chapter 252: Chapter 251: I didn ‘t come late, I didn ‘t!

Translator: 549690339

“Yeah, it’s really quite a coincidence. You’re very lucky.” Jiang Li said cheerfully, raising his cup of tea and clinking it against Ah Tong’s cup of wine.

Ah Tong always suspected that Jiang Li was hinting at something in his words, but after some contemplation, he couldn’t discern any problems and simply responded with a polite smile.

“Uncle Jiang…”

“You’ve reached a conclusion?

“Mmm, I have a sort of idea.”

The village had been celebrating for ten days, and Ah Tong had stayed there for the same period, always wearing a smile on his face as he kept the village elder company.

Ten days later, Ah Tong bid the elder farewell, “Grandpa, the Nine Provinces are vast and our village is just a humble corner. I want to journey out and see the world.’

The elderly village head was reluctant to let him go, but he knew Ah Tong had grown up, and that the small Han Pool village had become a constraint for him. So, he tearfully bid him goodbye.

After Ah Tong left, Li Nian’er felt dizzy as the world around her suddenly changed. The pendant on her chest glowed and she found herself standing at the entrance of the village again.

“You two, why not come inside and have a rest?” The village head walked out of the village and greeted them.

“Chief, don’t you recognize us?”

The village chief looked at Li Nian’er and Jiang Li in confusion, “I’m sorry my memory is not very good. Where have I met you two before?”

“It’s fine.” Li Nian’er shook her head, saying nothing more.

Familiar scenes played out once again—the village chief talked about the wicked dragons, a group of young people attempting to offer a child to them.

This time, however, Li Nian’er chose not to interfere.

Perhaps the behaviour of these young people had sparked the village’s anger, causing many people to blame and stop them.

They were just Qi Cultivation stage nine, how could thousands of Qi Cultivation stage three people not be able to defeat them?

With the villagers united, the two children were saved.

The evil dragon, furious, emerged from the Han Pool and came to the village entrance, intending to devour everyone. It was killed by Ah Tong, who descended from the sky.

The villagers celebrated, wine glasses clinked together, just as before.

“Senior Tong, how many times exactly has this identical illusion been performed?” Li Nian’er finally couldn’t help but ask during the banquet.

At this point in the events, Li Nian’er could definitely discern that something was amiss.

The whole thing, from start to finish, had been an illusion—a constantly repeating illusion.

“Illusion? What illusion?” Ah Tong was taken aback, not understanding what Li Nian’er was talking about.

“Senior Tong, when the same thing happens twice, even I can see that it’s an illusion.”

“Comrade, you’ve been trapped in your own illusion for five hundred years, aren’t you willing to wake up?”

The illusion shattered, revealing the actual scene to the pair.

The entire village looked as though it had been ravaged by a hurricane. Houses had collapsed and it was a complete mess.

Decayed with time, the villagers’ corpses were reduced to mere skeletons each in different positions; some had fallen on rooftops, some had been crushed by grinding stones, some had died while attempting to protect their children.

The only commonality between these skeletons was that they all seemed to have attempted to flee the village. But it was clear that they had all failed.

Li Nian’er could imagine the terror thew ponst have felt in their final moments

In the middle of the village lay the massive skeleton of the evil dragn. The middle-aged Ah Tong, now with an aged face, was holding the skeleton of the old village chief, his face streaked with tears.

“Grandpa is still alive, uncle and aunt are still alive, everyone is still alive!”

“I didn’t arrive too late, I didn’t!”

A cultivator of the Body Integration Realm was crying like a child in front of them.

Perhaps in Ah Tong’s eyes, he was still just a child – a child who had lost his only family and was unwilling to face reality.

In reality, this was only presented to Li Nian’er. Jiang Li had seen the true state of Han Pool village with his divine sense when he arrived. The illusion happening within a several-mile radius was the work of a cultivator in the Body Integration Realm.

Having seen reality, Li Nian’er had a rough guess of what had transpired.

What the old village chief had told her must have been true—the evil dragon was causing chaos, devouring countless people, and Ah Tong had secretly run away and, in a secret realm, he found opportunities to learn illusory skills becoming a Nascent Soul stage cultivator.

Meanwhile, the villagers couldn’t endure the evil dragon’s tyranny and attempted to resist. Enraged, the dragon unleashed turmoil, its huge body crushing everything in its path, and spewing poison gas. The entire village was a death ground, with no survivors.

Ah Tong had arrived too late, and was unable to save anyone. Perhaps he had to watch as the old village chief was killed by the dragon, unable to lift a finger to help him.

In a fit of rage, Ah Tong fought the dragon and eventually killed it.

But Ah Tong couldn’t accept the reality of what had happened, so he created an illusion, repeating it to himself over and over again.

I didn’t arrive too late, I didn’t arrive too late, everyone is still alive.

As years passed, Ah Tong’s control of illusion magic improved from his regularly repeated illusion. This gradually refined illusion, through which he had to constantly raise his own ability, in response helped Ah Tong reach the Body Integration Realm state.

But no matter how many thousands or tens of thousands of times the illusion was repeated, it remained an illusion.

Ah Tong couldn’t change the fact that he was the sole survivor of Han Pool village.

Five hundred years had passed and the old village chief would have had many reincarnations by now.

Jiang Li had not immediately dismantled Ah Tong’s illusion. He was considering whether to break Ah Tong’s fantasy, or to allow him to spend a lifetime living in the illusion.

Jiang Li chose the former.

What Li Nian’er did not know was that she was not the only one who had been misled into the illusion. Those who had experienced the illusion just once, had their memories erased by Ah Tong, and were then sent out of the village. This was why Ah Tong’s illusion had not been exposed during these five hundred years.

As for Li Nian’er, the pendant her mother gave her blocked Ah Tong’s method, allowing her to retain her memories.

Jiang Li sighed silently to himself. If things had gone according to the system’s timeline, he would have killed the evil dragon and gained the opportunity, resolving Ah Tong’s problem and leading to a happy ending for the entire family.

The reward for this mission, the Hundred Poisons Sutra, was likely meant to be used in conjunction with a Dragon Toxin Pill.

The mission also rewarded Dragon Blood Wood. The Dragon Blood Wood could be used as firewood to boil the dragon’s blood and maximize the physical benefits from the dragon’s blood when soaked in it.

The third reward wag a Concealment Charm Tiano Ti_ through big divine sense

had discovered a unique object called the Extreme Cold Frost Mirror in the Han Pool, which was the reason for its existence.

The Extreme Cold Frost Mirror constantly released cold energy that could toughen the body when carried around. However, the cold emission was too noticeable, hence the need for the concealment charm to hide the energy.

The system was considerate, but unfortunately, Jiang Li did not find use for any of the rewards.

Also, since the dragon had died hundreds of years ago, the mission was unfulfillable.

Jiang Li didn’t know if the system had considered avoiding the tragedy of Han Pool village. If it did, he might have to reevaluate its origins and objectives.

“Fellow Daoist, have you ever thought about what expression your grandpa and your uncle and aunt would make if they saw you in your current state?” Ah Tong shuddered as though he was seeing his grandpa right in front of him and he dared not meet his gaze.

“Everyone has their moment to leave. But they all wish their loved ones would remember them, remain strong, and move forward. Time doesn’t stop because of anyone’s departure, but a person’s growth can be obstructed by that departure.”

“Do you really want to live your whole life this way, living in a non-existent past?”

Ah Tong slowly rose to his feet and thanked Jiang Li.

“Thank you for enlightening me, Fellow Daoist. I have yet to ask your name.”

“You might have heard of my name. I’m Jiang Li.”

Ah Tong hesitated for a moment, then stammered in response, “I hope Jiang Li will excuse my ignorance. This is the first time I have heard this name.” Jiang Li appeared undisturbed and did not show any awkwardness..