No Mere Stone is the second act of Zhongli's Story Quest, the Historia Antiqua Chapter. In order to unlock this quest line, the player needs a Story Key and must have completed the former's Sal Flore and We Will Be Reunited, and reached Adventure Rank 40.
During the act, the Traveler need Zhongli's help in solving a certain commission, both unaware that it's involved the archon's long lost former friend.
List of Quests
- Strange Sights, Stolen Souls
- Truth in the Stones
- Shifting Earth and Lost Threads Come to Light
- Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved
Strange Sights, Stolen Souls
Arriving at Liyue, the Traveler and Paimon head to the local Adventurers' Guild branch and speak to Katheryne. She tells them that she has a commission for them; Uncle Dai is looking for someone to help him find workers. Dai tells them that he has an expert coming in to assist in ores and geological logistics. Paimon, skeptical of the claim, decides to bring Zhongli over. They find Zhongli at the Third-Round Knockout listening to the storyteller and ask him to come, which he accepts.
Returning to Dai, his expert, Kun Jun, finally arrives. The Traveler introduces the two to Zhongli, which surprises both men, as Zhongli is acclaimed for his knowledge in everything. Kun Jun takes out a rock, which Zhongli recognizes as a rare rock with water inside it. Dai also tells them that he found Kun Jun by the side of the road, much to Paimon's surprise, but because he knew more than him, decided to take him in for the upcoming job. Kun Jun suggests to Dai that he take Zhongli in, as it would help operations go a lot smoother. He accepts, and the group sets out to The Chasm.
Truth in the Stones
Arriving at the mine, Dai explains the incident; he and nine others were working at the mine, when he and half of his crew left to oversee other matters. When they returned, they found four miners — Long, Bold Cen, Brave Cen and Mao to be missing. He and the others tried to search for them, but could not find them, hence why he put a commission in. Zhongli asks Dai if the men had left, but he tells him that there are no lodgings or other mines in the area. Zhongli then decides to look around for clues.
They learn that the missing men had taken only their pickaxes and mining baskets when they disappeared, while neglecting all of their other essentials. Another miner who remained behind, Bravo, had fallen asleep when the miners had left, and was unaffected by whatever befell the others. Finally, they find Kun Jun, who is next to a deposit of Cor Lapis. He reveals that he has the ability to see the memories of stones, something which Zhongli compliments. Looking at the mineral's memory, he tells them that the four miners had been led away from the mine by a young girl.
With all the evidence in hand, they return to Dai. Dai is surprised that a child had led his men away, but is convinced by the three that it is not false. Dai initially tries to chase after his men, but Zhongli discourages him from doing so, as it had been six days since the incident. He realizes the mistake and agrees with Zhongli, instead opting to ask nearby settlements if any of them hosted his men for the night with the rest of his group. He tells them to meet at Wangshu Inn the following day if they have anything to share.
Paimon suggests they resume their investigation, but Zhongli reminds her that they're missing Kun Jun. They find him not too far. He reveals that he is also looking for a stone called Dragonfall, and also that his memory is very hazy, but finding Dragonfall will allow him to remember what he needed to do. Zhongli agrees to help him acquire some if he does find some. He also tells them that they'll be heading to Lingju Pass, believing they'll find traces of the missing miners there.
Shifting Earth and Lost Threads Come to Light
Arriving at the Lingju Pass, Paimon spots one of the miner's baskets in the distance. Zhongli tells them that they will continue following the tracks wherever they go. However, the tracks quickly end, so they ask the people in the area if they've seen the miners. The last person, Ling, tells them that she saw the miners, all lifeless and following a small, blue-haired girl who looked extremely serious.
Following the tracks, they soon find a woman being attacked by Pyro Slimes and Geovishap Hatchlings. Clearing the monsters, the woman thanks them for the rescue, and introduces herself as Wanyu. Paimon asks her that they were looking for miners. Wanyu tells her she did, but could not recognize them while departing from Nantianmen. Skeptical of the new lead, Kun Jun notices another outcrop of Cor Lapis and confirms that it is the group they are looking for. Zhongli notes that the Geovishaps were unusually aggressive and leaves behind a mark in case Dai follows them.
Arriving at Nantianmen, they find one of the collapsed men, who is muttering about his ability to continue working. They bring him to a nearby camp. Kun Jun notices some fragments in the man's pocket, confirming him to one of the missing miners. He gives the Traveler and Zhongli special stones in thanks as he is slowly regaining his memory. During this interaction, Zhongli appears hesitant to accept the gift, stating that he had not expected to receive anything at such a time. When Kun Jun leaves to check the other rocks, Zhongli proceeds to tell the Traveler how Dragonfall is forged; rather than heat, it is created by elemental reactions, and that it was mined to obscurity a few centuries ago. Kun Jun's interest in finding the mineral is thus unusual for a person of this day and age. Paimon and the Traveler raise the concern that Kun Jun may have harmful intentions, but Zhongli advises that they can do nothing other than watch and wait.
Amidst Chaos, the Rock is Unmoved
Fully rested, the Traveler catches up to Kun Jun. He had investigated the rocks but found nothing interesting from them. He explains that while the rocks hold many memories, they only keep the most prominent ones; the rest eventually become forgotten. They then decide to check the massive tree nearby. The group separates, with Zhongli going one way and the Traveler, Paimon and Kun Jun going the other. Kun Jun finds a tablet and gets a headache from viewing its memory, before Paimon suggests the Traveler scale the tree. She then remembers she could fly, but before she does so, Zhongli calls them over.
Zhongli has discovered a tunnel, advising the Traveler to be prepared before entering. With preparations complete, they head inside, finding the remaining miners, engulfed in a malevolent aura. The miners soon spot the group and attack. Zhongli uses his skills to create a barrier to push the miners back, but the aura simply leaves the miners and slips underneath the barrier, transforming into the girl who attacks from behind. Kun Jun blocks the attack, but parts of it are redirected to the seal in the process, dragging the entire group into the domain.
Inside, the group is met by Azhdaha, who immediately recognizes Zhongli as Morax's vessel and declares he will get his vengeance for his supposed "betrayal". The Traveler and Zhongli manage to subdue and reimprison Azhdaha, who returns to its form as the little girl. Zhongli deduces that Azhdaha had been waiting for an opportunity to break free of his prison, just as Kun Jun arrives with a white aura engulfing him. He reveals himself to be a fragment of Azhdaha, his benevolent consciousness, much to the corrupted's shock. The corrupted Azhdaha asks his other self why he has sided with the betrayer. Zhongli admits that he had his suspicions when he mentioned Dragonfall, but would be more certain if he had more power. Kun Jun asks Zhongli if he wishes to tell the story of Azhdaha, but Zhongli allows him to tell it instead.
Kun Jun explains that as a whole, Azhdaha was a friend of humanity and the Geo Archon. However, as time passed, he began suffering from "erosion" and slowly began to forget Morax's face and his purpose and became aggressive. The corrupted side insists that it was because humanity disturbed the Ley Lines of the Chasm, which the benevolent side confirms. This caused Azhdaha to split into two; his physical body, crazed and savage, and his consciousness, benevolent and kind. Despite Morax's attempts to stop the erosion, it ultimately failed and he was forced to seal his old friend away with the help of his benevolent consciousness, Mountain Shaper, Moon Carver and a third unknown adeptus.
The benevolent consciousness reminds his corrupted self that his fate is an inevitable misfortune, just as the corrupted self's strength expires and is re-sealed once more. Zhongli immediately takes note that the benevolent side's strength is nearly spent, but reminds him of the miners that his corrupted self brought into the fray. Returning outside, they find Dai, who had followed the clues Zhongli left behind for him. Kun Jun asks Dai to be taken back to the harbor, who agrees despite noticing the aura around him. Azhdaha's benevolence thanks Zhongli for his assistance and learns that he has stepped down as the Geo Archon. He worries that no one will be prepared to deal with his corrupted self if he awakens once more, but Zhongli reassures him that Liyue will be prepared should that time ever come. The benevolent consciousness soon leaves Kun Jun's body, leaving him unconscious in front of the trio.
As Zhongli reminisces over the past, a story is told in which Azhdaha wished to see the surface and the life up there. Morax granted Azhdaha a form and sight to do so, but warned him that if he were to disturb the order, he would seal him back underground. Zhongli then explains to the Traveler and Paimon about his fight with the crazed Azhdaha at the Chasm and his experiences with "erosion".
The Traveler then remembers their travel with Dainsleif and asks Zhongli if he knows anything about the fall of Khaenri'ah, feeling that he may know something. Zhongli states that he is aware of the incident, but refuses to disclose anything, as he had been bound by a contract to not speak of it well before the Traveler came. The Traveler believes him and does not pry further. Zhongli however, reminds them that they still have a long road ahead of them, and that there have been many secrets hidden and forgotten underneath the earth that only they can bring to the light.
|Part||Quest Name||Chinese Quest Name||Chinese Translation|
|1||Strange Sights, Stolen Souls||世多古怪, 横生盗匪||There are many strange things in the world, and many bandits appeared|
|2||Truth in the Stones||事出有因, 矿山奇石||There's a reason for everything. It's a wonderful mine stone|
|3||Shifting Earth and Lost Threads Come to Light||易地则明, 失线则弗||If you change the place, you will be clear; if you lose the threads, you will not|
|4||Amidst Chaos, the Rock Is Unmoved||变乱似流, 磐石不转||Chaos is like flow, rock does not turn|
- Taking the first word of each of the Chinese quest names forms the phrase 世事易变 (Things of world are changeable). Taking the last work of each of the Chinese quest names forms the phrase 匪石弗转 (It's not a stone, it can't be turned).
- 匪石弗转 from《柏舟》(Cypress boat) of The Book of Songs (诗经) which is the earliest collection of poems in China. The poem in 《柏舟》 is 我心匪石，不可转也 (my heart is not a pebble, it can't turn around). There was a couple who were very affectionate and had vowed that their love would last forever. After her husband died, her parents wanted her to remarry. His wife resolutely refused, so she wrote a poem "柏舟" to prove their love and let her parents give up the idea. One of the words is that my heart is not pebbles, can not come back and forth to roll back and forth to roll, used to express their strong love.