These chapter summaries are based on RainbowSe7en 's translation and use terminology coined by the translator. NOTE: Rainbowse7en called the Awl "Pillar of Nature". This was later changed by the editors during the editing process.
The chapter "names" are made-up summaries neither taken from the novel nor the translation. The subscripts in this article are the original novel's chapter headings (which are really quotes from the chapter) and the translations thereof are (mostly) from RainbowSe7en's translation.
This arc deals with the Awl of Mountains and Rivers.
- 1 Chapter 21 - 36 - TODO
- 2 Chapter 37 - The Ghost Slayer Saves Zhao Yunlan and Wang Zheng Tells Her Story
- 3 Chapter 38 - Wang Zheng Continues Telling Her Story
- 4 Chapter 39 - Wang Zheng Tells Sang Zan's Story
- 5 Chapter 40 - Water Around The Mountain
- 6 Chapter 41 - Ghost Face
- 7 Chapter 42 - Drinking with Brother Lang
- 8 Chapter 43 - Shen Wei Loses Control
- 9 Chapter 44 - Zhao Yunlan Has Regrets
- 10 Chapter 45 - Zhao Yunlan Comes Up For Tea
Chapter 21 - 36 - TODO
Chapter 37 - The Ghost Slayer Saves Zhao Yunlan and Wang Zheng Tells Her Story
仿佛他抱着的是个什么脆弱的稀世珍宝，而不是那嘴贱命糙的镇魂令主一样 - He acts like he is holding a piece of fragile and precious treasure instead of the ill-tempered and crude Guardian.
The Ghost Slayer surrounds Zhao Yunlan, Wang Zheng, and himself with a funnel made of black smoke, blocking the deadly effects of the Awl of Mountains and Rivers. He gently holds Zhao Yunlan in his arms, even bending down as if he wants to kiss him, until Zhao Yunlan wakes up. He then heals him using his cold energy.
The Ghost Slayer also explains that Zhao Yunlan was born with an unstable, "ghost-handed" soul, missing the Samadhi true fire in his left shoulder, making him vulnerable to the Awl's effects. This explanation is probably not true - it's more likely that Zhao Yunlan is affected because he is Kunlun.
Once healed, Zhao Yunlan gets angry at Wang Zheng and interrogates her about why she came to the awl. The Ghost Slayer explains the history of the awl: "The Awl of Mountains and Rivers was first created to suppress ghosts. Over time, millions of evil spirits have ended up imprisoned within it." But the Hanga tribe used it to trap their own people's ghosts in it and control them using their skulls.
Wang Zheng tells them that her name used to be Gelan, daughter of the chief of the tribe. Her slave and boyfriend Sang Zan led a rebellion against the chief and freed all the slaves.
She explains that she was young and angry when she died, and her spirit took control of a living being named Wang Zheng after Gelan was beheaded.
Chapter 38 - Wang Zheng Continues Telling Her Story
被压抑了千年的民族，第一口自由的空气，几乎要呛得他流下泪来。- After his tribe has been imprisoned for a thousand years, his first breath of fresh air in forever almost brings him to tears.
Wang Zheng tells Zhao Yunlan and the Ghost Slayer how the village people hated her and decided to kill her. They have a philosophical debate about equality, and Zhao Yunlan says that equality only exists in death. Wang Zheng starts crying and her soul leaks out through her tears. Zhao Yunlan stabilizes her using a talisman and makes her go into his watch.
The Ghost Slayer drops the smoke wall and starts working on the Awl of Mountains and Rivers again, raising a storm and making the mountains tremble. Zhao Yunlan sees phantom visions of Sang Zan destroying the tablet on the awl. The wail of the untold number of souls inside the awl hurts Zhao Yunlan so much he bites his tongue and almost vomits. The Ghost Slayer gets worried and raises the wall again.
Chapter 39 - Wang Zheng Tells Sang Zan's Story
“令主情深义重，只是不知道什么人能有幸得之。” - "The Guardian is truly a romantic, one wonders who might be lucky enough to have that."
The Ghost Slayer admits that he didn't predict the ghosts' wailing, and that he is not strong enough to lift the Awl of Mountains and Rivers. Wang Zheng runs towards the awl, intending to sacrifice herself, but Zhao Yunlan binds her with a silk thread from his watch and then angrily shouts at her.
She tells the story of how Sang Zan preserved her body after her death, sewing her head back onto her body. But then he transforms from a righteous rebel leader into a cunning villain, poisoning a lot of tribespeople, his only goal to destroy the Hanga tribe. He imprisons the whole tribe in the Awl of Mountains and Rivers and lets the whole valley go up in flames.
Zhao Yunlan comments that he understands Sang Zan's rage, and that he would hate himself, too, if he let the person he loved get killed by the rules he himself set. The Ghost Slayer says that anyone loved like that by Zhao Yunlan is indeed a lucky person. The story obviously resonates with both Zhao Yunlan and the Ghost Slayer and their own obsession with protecting the ones they love.
Chapter 40 - Water Around The Mountain
斩魂使立刻发现自己失言，闭了嘴 - The Ghost Slayer instantly realises his carelessness, and remains silent
The Ghost Slayer lists their options: "either destroy the artifact, or forcefully suppress the souls within." He refuses to slay souls without a reason, so they decide to destroy the awl.
Zhao Yunlan realizes that the Ghost Slayer must have come to the mountains on purpose to find the Awl of Mountains and Rivers. He confronts him about it, but the Ghost Slayer refuses to answer. He obviously doesn't have a good excuse.
Zhao Yunlan asks Wang Zheng about the symbol he collected from a mural earlier - an octagon surrounded by a circle. Wang Zheng says it stands for "a mountain surrounded by water". They agree to try to surround the awl with water, and the Ghost Slayer melts a lot of snow to create rivers, which flow around and towards the awl.
Suddenly, the Ghost Face materializes and attacks them with an axe. Zhao Yunlan shoots it with his gun, but even though it sustains a forehead wound, it doesn't die. He wonders who it is they are facing.
He takes out his Guardian key, which is shaped like a book with the character 镇 ("G for Guardian") engraved on it. It contains Samadhi True Fire, and he uses it to light a cigarette, flipping the resulting fireball towards the awl.
Chapter 41 - Ghost Face
斩魂使森然说：“你敢碰他一根头发，我让你后悔从‘那地方’爬出来。” - The Ghost Slayer bellows in a terrifying voice, "If you dare touch one hair on his head, I will make you regret you ever crawled out of 'that place'."
The Ghost Slayer severely injures Ghost Face and cuts off his hand, but Ghost Face is unaffected. Only Zhao Yunlan's Guardian whip seems to scare him. Zhao Yunlan uses a talisman to call down lightning, and all the evil spirits supporting Ghost Face go up in flames.
Before Ghost Face vanishes, too, he tries to sow discord between Zhao Yunlan and the Ghost Slayer, insinuating that Zhao Yunlan must know more than he's saying, and that the Ghost Slayer should better watch his back.
Zhao Yunlan makes a joke about people with masks, making it clear to the Ghost Slayer that he doesn't respect Ghost Face. The Ghost Slayer is very impressed with Zhao Yunlan, and muses that he won't be able to hold on to his secret for much longer.
A fire caused by the lightning burns away most of the Awl of Mountains and Rivers, leaving only a small wedge of rock. The Ghost Slayer takes the awl with him. In it, some souls are still trapped and faintly sighing. They are now only trapped by their own sins.
Chapter 42 - Drinking with Brother Lang
沈巍晃晃悠悠地没应声，却顺势伸手搂住了他的腰，还搂得颇紧。 - Shen doesn't reply and just sways dazedly. When Zhao grabs him, he wraps his arm around Zhao's waist, rather tightly and assertively.
Shen Wei returns with the excuse of having gone to get firewood. When he asks about Wang Zheng, Zhao Yunlan gives him his own excuse of having sent her ahead back home. Meanwhile, Zhu Hong secretly helps Wang Zheng out of Zhao Yunlan's watch and into a small woollen doll.
Zhao Yunlan remembers the night before, and his heart turns soft and aching when he thinks of Shen Wei's eyes watching him. Nothing happens the rest of the night. Zhao Yunlan wakes up with a sprained neck, which Lin Jing fixes with a painful massage.
Once they get back to the small town where Brother Lang lives, they have to spend the evening drinking with him again. Zhao Yunlan is not looking forward to it, but doesn't dare refuse.
After having drunk a lot of liquor with Brother Lang, Zhao Yunlan starts turning pale, but his team is no help. They all either refuse to drink or have already passed out.
Chapter 43 - Shen Wei Loses Control
“我可打算放过你的，这是你自己投怀送抱。” - "I was gonna let you go tonight, but you asked for this yourself."
When he goes to the bathroom to fetch wet towels, Shen Wei follows him and pushes him against the wall, starting to kiss and bite him.
Zhao Yunlan protests the rough treatment and manages to wrench free, but at that moment, Shen Wei slumps on top of him and stops moving. When Zhao Yunlan realizes he has stopped breathing and has no heartbeat, he panics and calls an ambulance.
Only later does he start thinking logically again and suspects that the events might not be completely natural. He casts an identification spell on Shen Wei, using one of Shen Wei's hairs, and the spell tells him that Shen Wei is "a soulless menace from the Underworld".
The doctors' efforts to resuscitate him are futile, but Zhao Yunlan is no longer worried, aware that the body has just been temporarily vacated and that Shen Wei is in no real danger. Before they can declare him dead, Zhao Yunlan surreptitiously starts making soul-summoning spells, and by the fourth one, Shen Wei reappears/wakes up.
Chapter 44 - Zhao Yunlan Has Regrets
“没有。”沈巍说，“那只是我的私心，只是……为了一个人。” - "No," Shen Wei says, "It's just for personal reasons. It's just... because of someone."
All the way home to Dragon City, Zhao Yunlan sinks into self-recrimination for having shamelessly thrown himself at Shen Wei for half a year. He is very embarrassed to have made a fool of himself and to have treated the Ghost Slayer like that. It's not helping that Chu Shuzhi and Lin Jing relentlessly mock him for it.
Back in Dragon City, he drives Shen Wei home, and finally asks him why he is on Earth in a human body. Shen Wei confesses that it's "for personal reasons" and Zhao Yunlan correctly guesses what that means.
Chapter 45 - Zhao Yunlan Comes Up For Tea
赵云澜嬉皮笑脸，内心沉重 - Zhao Yunlan is all smiles, but his heart sinks.
Shen Wei immediately regrets having handed his heart to Zhao Yunlan on a platter. But Zhao Yunlan can't bear seeing him in pain and asks to come up for tea, despite knowing he cannot pursue the Ghost Slayer.
He ruminates on the fact that all denizens of the Underworld are evil, except for one: the Ghost Slayer has risen from the Underworld to become a god, and he undoubtedly has an "unfaltering heart".
Shen Wei makes him tea in his inhumanly immaculate apartment.
Shen Wei is afraid of Zhao Yunlan's intellect, of how much he has already put together that he didn't want him to know. He asks Zhao Yunlan if he did anything "inappropriate" when he was drunk, and Zhao Yunlan tells him the truth, that he threw himself at Zhao Yunlan, making him feel both "flattered and in shock".
At home, he puts that theory to Da Qing, and Da Qing inadvertently confirms his suspicion: the Guardian Order isn't just taken up by anyone, generation after generation, but always by the same person, and Da Qing has always known him. He also confirms that Zhao Yunlan's previous incarnation lost the true fire in his left shoulder, but not how, only that he made "a god-awful mistake" and handed Da Qing the Guardian Order. After that, Da Qing searched and waited for him for centuries to give it back to him.