Xuan Ji was helpless and had to use a more straightforward expression, “Just asking where you're from and what business you have – you can say it in your own words, I can get a general idea.”

The puppet leaned loosely against the wall, raised his hand, and gently sniffed the fingers that had just collided with Xuan Ji's.
He calmly asked, “Little demon, with your pure bloodline, why are you mixing in with humans?”

As the puppet spoke, a few strands of loose hair hung over his shoulders.
His voice was gentle and soothing, perhaps because he struggled with Mandarin.
Xuan Ji glimpsed him out of the corner of his eye and saw that the person's gaze was unusually focused, even with a hint of indescribable fondness.
He didn't seem like a serious person.

“What do you mean?” Xuan Ji thought warily, “Are things so corrupt now that they have to resort to seduction right off the bat?”

“I'm sorry, but I'm the one asking questions now,” Xuan Ji said.
“Is 'Sheng Lingyuan' the name you gave or your real name?”

“I don't remember.”

“Where is your true body?”

The puppet either didn't understand the question or didn't want to answer, so he tilted his head slightly and smiled without saying a word.

“Where did you come from?”


“Underground?” Xuan Ji didn't know if this was a literal meaning or had some special connotation.
He felt anxious and asked, “What does 'underground' mean?”

“I woke up from a shallow coffin underground,” the person claiming to be Sheng Lingyuan said, “The coffin was rotten, so my family must have been poor before I died.”

Climbed out of the coffin…

Xuan Ji accidentally glanced at the other person's face and his heart started beating irregularly again.
He didn't dare to look again.
It was difficult for them to communicate, and they were both guessing and confused.
If he hadn't misunderstood, this person seemed to be an old ghost.
Judging from his accent, he had been dead for some years.
But what was this? A resurrection?

“Did you wake up as your true body from the coffin, or as this…puppet?” Xuan Ji asked.

Sheng Lingyuan either misunderstood or avoided the question intentionally and only said, “I was forcibly awakened by someone, and it's very noisy outside.”

“Who? Why did they wake you up?”

“The man spoke incoherently, with a tone I had never heard before.
At the time, my mind was not very clear, and I didn't understand him,” Sheng Lingyuan's thoughtful gaze remained on Xuan Ji, as he spoke slowly, “After leaving the coffin, I happened to meet those friends outside, but since I wasn’t dressed appropriately, it was inconvenient to show myself.
Therefore, I just followed them secretly for a while.
Unexpectedly, we encountered a tree demon, and I saw that my friends were completely unaware of it, so I had to imitate their appearance, transform my clothes, and lead them into the cave.”

Xuan Ji vaguely felt that something was off about this person.
He squinted his eyes slightly and played with the coin between his fingers, “You could understand what those people were saying?”

“Not entirely, but I could follow some of their words, and my friends were not very guarded against me.
By observing their expressions, I could guess the meaning of some of their words.
I was afraid that I would reveal too much by saying too much, so I just imitated their way of speaking and exchanged some simple greetings with them.
Fortunately, everyone was in a panic, and I didn't expose myself.
However, that instrument,” Sheng Lingyuan pointed to the television.
The TV was no longer stuck and was now playing a subtitled TV drama, “The speech of the people in this program is clear and concise, and every word and sentence is marked.
Is this used for children's handwriting practice?”

“Do you know simplified characters?”

“Simplified characters,” Sheng Lingyuan was very interested and repeated the phrase, mimicking Xuan Ji's pronunciation perfectly.
His ability to imitate was somewhat creepy.
He answered with a smile, “I can't read them word for word, but I can guess about fifty percent of them based on their shapes.”

Wherever this person stood, perhaps because of his jade-like body, he exuded a warm and gentle aura that made people naturally feel good about him.

“Being forcibly awakened from the coffin without any warning, confused and unable to understand a single word of what was being said.
With clothes made of grass skirts woven from tree leaves.
Yet he was just busy saving people, what kind of saintly person would do that?” Xuan Ji thought, “I almost believed him.”

Suddenly, Xuan Ji realized that something was wrong with this “Sheng Lingyuan”—his tone of voice.
Except for a few deliberately ignored questions, this person answered every question and was both detailed and patient in his responses.
His tone was relaxed, but his words were scattered, like idle chatter with a stranger while waiting in line, to pass the time.

If he really had been buried for thousands of years and crawled out of the ground, with everyone and everything being incomprehensible, shouldn't his first priority be to find the one who awakened him? Even if he couldn't find the one who woke him up, shouldn't he try to understand what era it was and search for something familiar? Instead of sitting comfortably in a hospital watching TV and chatting idly with strangers, what was he doing with his time?

Xiao Li, who was locked outside the door, probably thought something was wrong and called a field team stationed at the hospital.
At this time, the field team, who had received the notification, arrived at the door of the family rest area and knocked, “Director Xuan, do you need help? What's the situation?”

What exactly are you? Don't hide behind the puppet–

Sheng Lingyuan reacted quickly, lifting his hand to block the coin.
As he reached out to grab the coin with his five fingers, it exploded in mid-air, flames shooting out over a meter and dragging him half-way inside.
Several rows of “curse-breaking” spells were burned onto the white wall behind Sheng Lingyuan, and while the jade-carved figure was unscathed, the grass rope tying his hair was burned through.
His long hair fell down and the fake clothes made of dried leaves vanished, but he was not naked.

There was another layer inside!

The pile of illusionary clothes made from deceitful magic was licked clean by the flames, revealing a white robe with a blood-drawn totem almost taking shape, emitting a horrifying and bloody scent.
The man's once lively flesh and skin revealed a stony texture, pale with a tinge of blue.
His lips, once a tender and affectionate smile, suddenly turned strange.

Wait a minute, doesn't the “Thousand Demon Bestiary” say that the puppet won't move when hit?

Where's the Heart-Piercing spell? The source code?

What is the bloody totem on his body?

Sheng Lingyuan sighed and extinguished the flames on him with a wave of his hand, standing up slowly.
“Little guy, you're quite clever.
You broke the curse well.
Who taught you?”

As soon as he finished speaking, the long-haired man had already rushed to Xuan Ji's side like lightning.
The edge of the coin in Xuan Ji's hand was as sharp as a knife, and he blocked the man's reaching hand.
In the blink of an eye, the two exchanged seven or eight moves, the coins flying everywhere, and the black smoke in the family rest area had not yet dispersed before the sound of metal clashing filled the air.

Several coins shook loose from Xuan Ji's sleeve, bouncing and rolling around Sheng Lingyuan's feet.
Xuan Ji reached out from afar and pressed down, and the coins suddenly embedded themselves in the marble floor, forming a formation that produced several burning iron chains out of thin air, roaring and wrapping around the long-haired man in the middle.

The “Thousand Demon Bestiary” was ignored and, upon a second glance, the annotations on the “Heart-Piercing Grass Puppet” evaporated like dew under sunlight, leaving no trace.
Two bloody characters slowly rose from between the pages:

“Demon Lord.”

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