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Heaven Official's Blessing
HOB MTL edited by PHeyoka
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plainheyokasworld · 4 hours ago
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HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
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I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
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CHAPTER 30: Poking the Ghost King, the Crown Prince Seeks His True Face
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"CRIMSON Rain Sought Flower?" Xie Lian asked.
"Your Highness the Crown Prince," responded Hua Cheng.
Xie Lian turned around and said with a smile, "This is the first time I've heard you call me that."
The red-robed teenager sat on the mat, propped up one leg, and likewise smiled. "How does it feel?"
Xie Lian thought about it for a moment and said frankly, "It seems that... doesn't feel quite the same as when others call me that."
Hua Cheng said, "Mm, what's the difference?"
Xie Lian tilted his head, and narrowed his eyes slightly. "It's hard for me to say, it's just..."
Others call him "Your Highness" either without emotion or as a matter of business, such as Ling Wen. And most of the time, others call him "Your Highness" with a sense of contempt, just like calling a very ugly person beautiful. It was deliberate, with a touch of sarcasm.
However, when Hua Cheng called him "Your Highness", these two words were cherished to the utmost. Therefore, although he couldn't describe it, Xie Lian felt that when Hua Cheng called him "Your Highness", it was different from when others called him "Your Highness".
"At Mount Yujun, the groom who took me away was you, wasn't it?" Xie Lian asked.
The smile on Hua Cheng's lips deepened. Only then did Xie Lian realize that there seemed to be an ambiguity in this question and hastily rephrased it, "I mean, the one who took me away at Mount Yujun in the guise of a groom was you, wasn't it?"
Instead, Hua Cheng said, "I wasn't disguising myself as a groom."
Well, if that was the way of saying it, that was true. At that time, the young man didn't lie to him about being the groom, he didn't say a word at all. He just stopped at the door of the sedan chair and held out his hand. It was Xie Lian who went with him!
"Alright," Xie Lian said. "Then, why did you show up at that time at Mount Yujun?"
"There are only two answers to this question," Hua Cheng replied. "First, I came specifically for His Highness; second, I was passing by and had time to spare. Which do you think is more credible?"
After calculating the number of days Hua Cheng had spent with him, Xie Lian said, "Which one is more credible I dare not say... but you really seem to have a lot of time on your hands."
His entire person and gaze circled around Hua Cheng, back and forth, and after a long time, he nodded. "You're... quite different from what the rumors say."
Hua Cheng changed his posture, but still with his hand propping his cheek, gazing at him. "Oh? Then how did His Highness learn that I was the Crimson Rain Sought Flower?"
Xie Lian was filled with thoughts of the rain of blood pattering down on the umbrella, that tinkling silver chains, that cold silver vambraces, and thought to himself, 'You weren't very serious about hiding yourself.' He said, "No matter how I tested you, you're impeccable, so you must be a Supreme. You're dressed in red like maple and blood, omniscient, omnipotent, and are dauntless. With such an aura, other than the Crimson Rain Sought Flower who makes the gods and goddesses of Heaven turn pale and shudder in fear at the mere mention of his name, I can't seem to think of any other candidate."
Hua Cheng smiled. "Then, should I take that as a compliment?"
'Can't you tell that it was?' thought Xie Lian.
Hua Cheng's smile faded and he added, "Having said all this, why doesn't His Highness ask me what purpose I have in approaching you?"
"If you didn't want to tell me, you wouldn't have told me if I had asked, or what you told me wouldn't have been the truth," replied Xie Lian.
But Hua Cheng said, "That's not necessarily true. Besides, then you can kick me out."
"You're so powerful," Xie Lian said. "Even if I kick you out now, if you really wanted to do something bad, wouldn't you just come back with a new skin?"
The two were looking at each other and smiling when the brief silence in Pu Qi Shrine was suddenly broken by the sound of a rattling. The two looked in the direction of the sound, and there was no one there, only a small black clay pot rolling on the floor.
That was the same small clay pot in which Banyue had been kept in. It had originally been placed on the edge of the mat casually by Xie Lian, but somehow it fell over on its own and rolled to the door, where it was stopped by the wooden door made by Hua Cheng, and knocked against it repeatedly. Fearing that it would just smash itself to pieces, Xie Lian went up and opened the door. The little clay pot then rolled all the way to the grass outside.
As Xie Lian followed it, the little clay pot rolled onto a patch of grass and stood upright. It was obviously just a clay pot, but it gave the illusion that it was looking up at the stars.
Hua Cheng also came out from within the Pu Qi Shrine, and Xie Lian said to the clay pot, "Banyue, are you awake?"
Fortunately, when they returned from the Gobi, it was already late into the night. Otherwise people would have probably made a fuss had they seen Xie Lian standing outside in the dead of night, asking "what's up?" to a clay pot.
After a long while, a muffled voice came from that small clay pot, "General Hua."
Xie Lian sat down next to it. "Banyue, you came out to see the stars? Do you want to come out of there to see?"
Hua Cheng stood aside, leaning against a tree. "She has just left Banyue City, so it's better for her to stay inside for a while longer," he said.
After all, Banyue had stayed in the Kingdom of Banyue for over two hundred years prior, so it might be difficult for her to adapt to a sudden change of place. "Then you'd better stay inside there for a while longer to recuperate," Xie Lian said. "This is where I cultivate, so you don't need to worry about anything else."
The clay pot shook twice, not sure what it was trying to express. After a moment of consideration, Xie Lian said, "Banyue, in fact, this time it's not even anything to do with you. Your scorpion-tailed snakes were..."
"General Hua, I couldn't move at that time, but I heard it all," said Banyue.
At that, Xie Lian froze. Only then did he realize that at that time, Pei Su only blocked Banyue's ability to move, not her consciousness. "That's fine."
If she heard it all, fine.
"General Hua, what will happen to General Pei Junior?" the clay pot asked.
Xie Lian had his hands tucked in his sleeves. "I don't know. But... if you've done something wrong, you have to be punished."
After a period of silence, the clay pot shook twice more. Finally, it became clear to Xie Lian this time that the shaking was actually a nod.
"Actually, General Pei Junior isn't that bad of a person," Banyue said.
"Is that so?"
"Mm," Banyue said. "He helped me once."
Somehow, Xie Lian's mind suddenly remembered more.
Banyue had often been beaten up, and in the words of the other Yong'an children, she "had a face that deserved to be beaten up".
It was only after he had known her for a long time that Xie Lian realized this. No matter how many beatings Banyue received, she would never tell anyone about them. It wasn't until one day when Xie Lian saw a group of children pushing her face into the mud that he realized where those bruises on her face had come from.
But when she was asked again some time later, all she remembered was that she had to wash and return the handkerchief that the boy who pulled her out of the mud puddle had lent her to wipe her face, and nothing else.
She didn't remember any of the people who had beaten her, but the ones who had saved her once, she remembered for the rest of her life.
Banyue added, "Although Ke-Mo always scolded me for being under his spell and that I was simply being used, whether he used me or not, I knew that it was my own will to open the city gates."
Xie Lian didn't know what to say, except that a part of his heart suddenly softened.
After a while, he patted the clay pot and said, "Alright, it's over. By the way, Banyue, Hua Xie is a fake name, and I have long since stopped being a general, so you can stop calling me General Hua."
"What should I call you then?" Banyue asked.
Well, that was also a problem. If Banyue were to call him Your Highness in all seriousness, it would feel a bit strange. Xie Lian didn't care about his address either, and hastened to change the subject. "Well, you can go ahead and call me General Hua whatever you want." Only, there was a real one here with the surname Hua, so it might be a bit confusing if Banyue kept on calling him General Hua. But on second thought, it occurred to him: Of course, "Hua Xie" was a fake name, taking the first word of the title "Flower-Crowned Martial God" as his surname. But wasn't "Hua Cheng" a fake name, too? It was also weirdly interesting that they happened to pick the same surname for their fake names.
[「花 」Huā — flower; blossoms]
At that moment, he heard Banyue say again, "I'm sorry, General Hua."
Xie Lian turned back around and said a bit glumly, "Banyue, why do you keep apologizing to me?" Did he really look that piteous in the eyes of others at first glance?
"I... want to save the common people," Banyue said.
Xie Lian, "..."
"General Hua, that's what you said at that time," Banyue said.
Xie Lian, "???"
He hurriedly pressed the clay pot down. "Wait, wait!"
"Wait for what?" Banyue asked.
Xie Lian glanced at Hua Cheng, who was standing with his arms crossed under the nearby tree, and whispered, "Did I really say such a thing at that time?"
This phrase, which he had been so fond of saying when he was a teenager, shouldn't have been mentioned at all in the following hundreds of years. When he first heard them again, Xie Lian felt that the shock was a bit too much to accept. Banyue, however, said, "General, those were your words."
Still trying to struggle, Xie Lian said, "No, I don't think so..."
"Oh no, you did say them," said Banyue earnestly and coldly. "Once, you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I said, 'I don't know'. You said, 'How come you don't know what you want to be when you grow up?' I asked, 'What about you, General Hua?' You then said, 'My dream as a child was to save the common people!'"
"..."
So that was it. "Um! Banyue, why would you remember such an offhand remark so clearly!" Xie Lian said.
"Was that an offhand remark?" Banyue said. "But, General Hua, I had thought you said those words very earnestly."
Xie Lian was helpless. He looked up at the sky and said, "Haha... really? Maybe. What else did I say? I don't even remember."
Banyue said, "You also said, 'Do what you think is right! Nothing can hold you back! Even if you fall down a hundred times into the muck, you have to be strong and get up!'. Lots of them. Something like that."
"Pfft..."
He didn't need to look back to know that it was definitely Hua Cheng under the tree who heard all that and laughed out loud.
Xie Lian couldn't even cover the clay pot anymore and thought to himself, '...What a load of crap... Why do I always say things like that? ...That's not who I am... Is that who I am?'
"But I don't know what's right anymore," Banyue said.
At those words, Xie Lian was stunned.
"I was trying to save the common people like General Hua said," Banyue said. "But in the end, I destroyed the Kingdom of Banyue."
"And it seemed like no matter what I did... it all turned out badly," she said confusedly. "General Hua, I know I didn't do a good job, but can you tell me exactly what I did wrong? What exactly am I supposed to do to actually do as you've said... to save the common people?"
"..."
"I'm sorry, Banyue," Xie Lian said. "How to save the common people... I didn't have the answer to this question back then, and even now I still don't have the answer."
After a moment of silence, Banyue said, "General Hua, to be honest, I feel that I simply don't know what I've been doing for the past two hundred years. What a failure."
Hearing her say that, Xie Lian became even more depressed, and thought, 'Then wouldn't that make me even more of a failure? I've been muddling along for eight hundred years..."
Xie Lian and Hua Cheng returned inside the Pu Qi Shrine after leaving Banyue alone in the clay pot to gaze at the stars to calm down.
After closing the door, Xie Lian suddenly said, "Banyue stayed at Banyue Pass of her own free will, not because she became a Savage and was stuck there."
She always remembered that it was she who opened the gates, and never gave the excuse that she did it for the greater good of the people. In order to let the soldiers of the Kingdom of Banyue vent their resentment and depart this world sooner, she allowed Ke-Mo to lead them to capture and kill her over and over again.
Xie Lian shook his head. "In fact, if General Pei Junior really wanted to get rid of those Banyue soldiers and didn't want to be discovered by the Upper Court, he could have secretly sent his incarnation down to the mortal realm to purge them. Why did he have to use such a method?"
"The power of an incarnation would be diminished," Hua Cheng said. "You've seen that incarnation of Pei Su, Ah Zhao. It couldn't take care of so many Banyue soldiers at once. So, it was easier and faster to dissipate their resentment by feeding them the living."
"Why did he have to do it so fast?" asked Xie Lian.
"Perhaps it was to get your little friend, Banyue, hung fewer times less painfully," replied Hua Cheng.
After a moment of silence, Xie Lian said, "What about those mortals?"
"To heavenly officials, the lives of mortals are of course no better than those of ants," Hua Cheng said indifferently. "Pei Su is a typical example of a superior heavenly official. As long as he wasn't discovered, killing a few hundred people was no different to him than crushing a few hundred bugs."
Xie Lian glanced at him. Remembering the time when San Lang had killed all the Banyue soldiers at the bottom of the pit in a split second after leaping down into the Sinners' Pit, he turned around and said, "The power of an incarnation would be diminished? I see your incarnation is quite powerful."
Hua Cheng, however, raised an eyebrow at him. "Of course. But I'm the real one."
Xie Lian turned his head and was slightly taken aback. "Huh? This is your true form?"
"Authentic through and through," replied Hua Cheng.
Upon uttering those words, blame it on the expression on his face which seemed to be saying, "Please, test it out for yourself." And so, before Xie Lian could even realize what he was doing, he had already raised a finger and poked Hua Cheng on the cheek.
After the poke, Xie Lian then jolted to his senses and cried out loudly in his heart that he was in trouble.
He was merely curious about what the skin of the Supreme Ghost King would feel like. But he didn't expect his body to react faster than his mind and poked him! How extremely outrageous!
Suddenly being poked in the face, Hua Cheng seemed to be slightly taken aback as well, but he was always calm and his expression recovered quickly. Rather, he didn't say anything, but raised one eyebrow even higher, as if waiting for Xie Lian's explanation, while the smirk in his gaze was unmistakable. Xie Lian, of course, couldn't come up with any explanation. He looked at the finger and hid it unobtrusively, saying, "...Not bad."
Hua Cheng finally burst out laughing, crossed his arms and asked with his head tilted, "What's not bad? You think that this skin of mine is not bad?"
"Yeah, it's very nice," answered Xie Lian heartily. "But..."
"But what?" Hua Cheng asked.
Xie Lian stared at his face for a while, looking at it attentively. Finally, he said, "But, can I see what you really look like?"
Since he had just said "this skin", it meant that although this body was the original, the skin wasn't the original. This teenager's appearance wasn't his true face.
This time, Hua Cheng didn't answer immediately and lowered his arm. Perhaps it was only Xie Lian's imagination, but he felt that Hua Cheng's gaze had darkened a little, and his heart couldn't help but tighten slightly.
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plainheyokasworld · a day ago
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Continuation to Chapter 29:
THE voice came from above everyone's heads, and Xie Lian immediately looked up and asked, "Which eminent lord is here?"
There was no answer, but a strange sound came. Whirring and whistling, it sounded like a howling wind. When the sound got closer, Xie Lian was finally sure — it was indeed the wind howling!
The gale came so suddenly and so intensely that before Xie Lian could figure out what was going on, his body had already lurched and he was floating up!
This sudden gust of wind blew from above straight into the bottom of the Sinners' Pit, and actually swept everyone up into the sky!
Xie Lian grabbed San Lang, who was closest to him at once, and said, "Watch out!"
San Lang turned his hand over and grabbed him too, his expression unchanged. Xie Lian only felt a moment of dizziness, his body rose at a great speed into the air, paused in the air, and then all of a sudden rapidly began to drop. He hastily tossed out Ruoye and coaxed in the midst of this chaotic moment, "It's alright, it's alright. Quick, good Ruoye, come out first and save the day!"
After a couple of gentle pats, Ruoye finally flew out. However, the surrounding area was empty and bare. Except for the large Sinners' Pit below, it was impossible to find anything to grab onto. Ruoye flew about once, and then retracted. Feeling helpless, Xie Lian had no choice but to adjust his own landing position in the air. In the past, he would probably have fallen three feet head-first again. But this time, as he was about to hit the ground, San Lang smoothly gave him a hand and he actually landed upright. He was still a little incredulous when his boots touched the ground steadily and safely. But this incredulity was soon washed away. As soon as he landed, he saw a black-clad figure stumbling over in front of him.
Xie Lian took a good look at it and exclaimed with slight joy, "Nan Feng!"
Sure enough, it was Nan Feng. Only, it was already a disheveled Nan Feng. It seemed as if he had rolled in the dust a dozen times and then thrown into a throng of beasts, and had been trampled on all night. His clothes were torn and tattered all over, and he was in such a terrible mess. Hearing Xie Lian call out to him, he only raised his hand for a moment and silently wiped his face, unable to even speak. Xie Lian gave him a hand and asked, "What happened to you? Did you get beaten up by those two girls?"
Before he could finish speaking, he saw two figures following Nan Feng, walking over. One was none other than the white-robed female cultivator, her horsetail whisk* resting on her arm, greeting him with a smile. "Greetings, Your Highness the Crown Prince."
[*Please refer here about horsetail whisk: https://daoistgate.com/understanding-the-horsetail-whisk/]
Even though he didn't know who the other person was, Xie Lian had to be polite, but he didn't know how to address her. So, he also raised his hand in greeting with a smile and said, "Fellow Taoist."
The black-clad woman, on the other hand, gave him a cold glance, not paying much attention to him. But she stalled slightly when her gaze swept up to San Lang, and stopped for a moment as if she found him very suspicious.
The gust of wind just now brought everyone up from the bottom of the pit. Those two walked past Xie Lian and headed straight towards Pei Su. When Pei Su looked at the visitors, he wasn't surprised. After all, he had already seen these two in the city once before when he was disguised as Ah Zhao. He knelt in place, bowed to the white-clad female cultivator, and whispered, "Lord Wind Master."
Upon hearing those words, Xie Lian froze.
And all this time he thought this was a demon spirit and ghost from somewhere. How could he have known that she was actually a heavenly official from the Upper Court? The same Wind Master who scattered a hundred thousand merits in the telepathic array!
But when he thought about it, there was nothing wrong. At that time, the white-clad woman said something like, "Where are all those people hiding? Do I have to find them and kill them one by one?", which made him think that they weren't good people. But in fact, this "people" really didn't necessarily refer to them, but also might be referring to the "Banyue soldiers". It was only his preconceptions that made him think that the other party's every move carried a sinister and bizarre aura.
Xie Lian inevitably held an inexplicable sense of awe and veneration for this heavenly official who offered a hundred thousand merits at the drop of a hat. He said to Nan Feng, "Why didn't you tell me earlier that this was the Wind Master? I even guessed that she might be a snake spirit or a scorpion spirit or something. That's a bit rude."
Nan Feng's face darkened a little. "How would I know that was the Wind Master? I've never seen the Wind Master looking like this before. The Wind Master has obviously always been... never mind."
Xie Lian understood. Probably this was the Wind Master's fake skin appearance, didn't dig into it, and said, "What brings the Lord Wind Master here to the Banyue Pass?"
"Here to help," Nan Feng responded. "Just now they were wandering around Banyue City, looking for those Banyue soldiers."
And Xie Lian then remembered that the first time he had inquired about Banyue Pass in the telepathic array, amidst all the awkwardness, this Wind Master had suddenly scattered a hundred thousand merits and distracted the attention of the others. So the Wind Master might have noticed what he was asking at that time.
Over here, he was pondering, and over there, the Wind Master squatted down in front of Pei Su, saying, "Xiao Pei ah, I heard everything."
Pei Su lowered his head. "Do you admit that you have lured all those passers-by into the Banyue ruins in the past two hundred years?" asked the Wind Master.
Having been caught in the act, Pei Su didn't argue and answered quietly, "It was me."
"Why?" the Wind Master asked.
After a pause, Pei Su replied, "Lord Wind Master has long suspected, can't you guess why?"
"Is it because these dead souls are ironclad proof that your hands were stained with blood when you were a human, it might turn out to be a hindrance for you to climb higher in the future one day?" said the Wind Master.
Pei Su didn't confirm or deny it. Xie Lian, who had been listening on the side, couldn't help but ask, "If anything, why didn't you just kill them? Why is it necessary for you to use the living to cast as food in order to appease their resentment? How is that any different from quenching one's hunger with another's flesh and blood?"
But San Lang said, "He couldn't."
And rightly so. In the Upper Court, every move of a heavenly official like Pei Su was watched by countless pairs of eyes. There were many things that couldn't be done directly. One couldn't descend in their true form and simply kill all these resentful soldiers, nor could one send troops to exterminate them. It was supposed to be a cover-up, so wouldn't too much commotion draw everyone's attention to it? The most that could be done was to send an incarnation* like Ah Zhao down stealthily.
[*「分|身」 fēn shēn — a derivative version of sb (or sth) (e.g. avatar, proxy, clone, sockpuppet), but here I'll just go with "incarnation" which means an incarnate being or form.]
Borrowing the scorpion-tailed snakes that Banyue was so good at manipulating to go out and bite people and lure them in to feed to the resentful spirits, so that their grievances would dissipate, was undoubtedly the perfect way to carry out the dirty work indirectly.
"Your General Pei wouldn't do such a thing," the Wind Master said. "This time, I'm afraid you've gone a little too far."
As a heavenly official of the Upper Court, he had released his alter ego to cause chaos at the Banyue Pass for nearly two hundred years, leading countless passers-by to be led astray and fallen into the hungry mouths of the Banyue soldiers, which couldn't be considered a trivial matter in any case. Pei Su hung his head and said, "This junior knows."
The Wind Master waved her horsetail whisk. "Good that you know. Run it through your own mind and let's talk about it more up there."
"Yes," said Pei Su quietly.
After she had finished talking with Pei Su, the Wind Master stuffed the horsetail whisk into the back collar of her Taoist robe, got up, and again grinned at Xie Lian with a cupped-hand salute. "Your Highness the Crown Prince, I've heard a lot about you for a long time."
This was a formal greeting. To Xie Lian, "I've heard a lot about you" wasn't a very nice word, but it was just a kind of inconsequential polite remark anyway. So, Xie Lian smiled and said, "No, no, no. Lord Wind Master is the one I've heard so much about."
"I'm sorry for what happened before," said the Wind Master.
Xie Lian was startled. "Before? What happened before?"
"Didn't you guys get caught in a sandstorm in the desert earlier?" asked the Wind Master.
Xie Lian thought of it in a trance and still felt his mouth was full of sand. "Yes."
"That was me who started it," the Wind Master said.
"..."
"The intention of starting that sandstorm was to keep you away from the Kingdom of Banyue," the Wind Master explained. "But to my surprise, you didn't get blown away. Instead, after a lot of detours, you guys still managed to find your way here."
The more Xie Lian listened, the more he felt that something was wrong. Starting a sandstorm to prevent them from going to the Banyue Pass, this thing suddenly came up again out of nowhere. What did this mean?
He remained motionless, not answering a word, listening to what the other party had to say. The Wind Master added, "But, Your Highness, you should stay out of this matter."
Xie Lian glanced at Banyue, who was curled up on the ground, and a bad premonition came over him.
He was originally worried that if this matter was brought to the attention of the Upper Court, the heavenly officials would arbitrarily add or omit a few words at will. Once they changed the truth, it would become a case of Xiao Pei's innocence and Banyue would take all the blame. At this moment, the Wind Master suddenly appeared halfway and asked him to stay out of this matter. Wasn't it more like trying to cover up for Xiao Pei?
Therefore, he calmly took a step forward without a word and stood in front of Banyue, saying in a gentle voice, "But I have already taken care of this matter, so it's no use trying to keep my nose out of the way at this point, right?"
The Wind Master smiled a little. "You can rest assured. You can take the Guoshi of Banyue with you first."
This was unexpected. Xie Lian was slightly stunned as the Wind Master added, "Well, we've heard the whole thing up there just now. Although this Guoshi of Banyue has reached the Savage level, I wandered around the city and saw her trapping the Banyue soldiers into the formation she had set up. I also saw her releasing the mortals caught by the soldiers, not harming them, but saving them. The only ones I'm going to take away are General Pei Junior and Ke-Mo, so you don't have to worry about who I'm dragging in to take the blame."
Xie Lian was relieved. "I'm deeply ashamed! It was me who was overly concerned."
"It's normal for you to be so worried," said the Wind Master. "After all, many of the common practices in the Upper Court are indeed bad."
The black-clad woman, however, looked as if she couldn't bear to stay here for another minute and said from aside, "Are you done? If you're done, then let's go."
The Wind Master exclaimed, "Boo! What's the rush? The more you rush, the more I'll talk!" Having said that, she turned back and took out a folding fan from her waist, saying, "Your Highness, if there's nothing else, shall we meet again in Heaven?"
As soon as Xie Lian nodded, the Wind Master flicked open the fan. On the front was written the character "风" in a skew, and on the back side was painted with three clear lines of flowing wind. Presumably this was the Wind Master's magic weapon. She fanned forward three times and backwards three times. Suddenly, another gust of wind arose from the level ground. The wind was blowing sand and stones, and Xie Lian raised his sleeve to shield his eyes. When the gust of wind passed, the two women, Pei Su and Ke-Mo all disappeared, leaving only Xie Lian, San Lang, Nan Feng, and Banyue curled up on the ground.
[*「风」 fēng — wind; breeze; air; manners, atmosphere]
Xie Lian lowered his sleeve, confused. "What's the situation?"
San Lang walked over idly. "A pretty good situation."
Xie Lian looked at him. "Is that good?"
"It's pretty good," San Lang replied. "The Wind Master is helping you by telling you to stay out of it."
Nan Feng also came over. "Yes. You've already done enough in this matter, so the only thing left to do is to go to the Emperor and inform him. You should leave the tattletale alone."
Xie Lian understood. "Because of General Pei?"
"That's right," Nan Feng answered. "This time, you've completely offended General Pei."
Xie Lian smiled. "I expected to offend at least one of them anyway, but it doesn't seem to matter much which one."
Nan Feng frowned. "Don't take this as a joke. Other than the Palace Hall of the Martial Emperor, the most powerful martial god is the Palace Hall of Ming Guang. General Pei thinks highly of Xiao Pei and has been trying to get Pei Su to kick Quan Yizhen down, so he'll definitely come after you."
"Are you talking about Quan Yizhen the martial god of the West?" Xie Lian asked.
"That's him," replied Nan Feng. "Quan Yizhen is also a newly appointed official, very close to the period when Pei Su ascended. He's young and a tad... but also pretty powerful. General Pei intended for Pei Su to take over all of his believers in the West. Pei Su is also quite competitive and has been doing well in recent years. But now you've pulled a stunt like this, I'm afraid Pei Su will be out of luck. I wonder if he'll be demoted. In case he gets demoted, you'll have to suffer great bad luck, too."
Xie Lian rubbed his forehead and inwardly decided to be more careful when eating, drinking and walking in the future. San Lang, on the other hand, disagreed. "There's no need to worry. Pei Ming is too proud of himself to play dirty."
Nan Feng gave him a look, and Xie Lian added, "What about Lord Wind Master? She told me to stay out of it, meaning she's in charge of lodging the complaint? In that case, wouldn't that mean she'd offend General Pei instead? No, it's better to call her back... Nan Feng, do you know what Lord Wind Master's telepathic array password is?"
But Nan Feng said, "You don't need to worry about the Wind Master. General Pei dares to touch you, but he won't touch her. Although she's younger, she's doing much better than you."
"..."
Xie Lian's silence wasn't so much because he received a blow, but rather, he was just thinking to himself, 'Is there anyone in Heaven who is worse than me? I don't think so.'
San Lang snickered. "The Wind Master has someone to back her up, so of course she's doing well."
"Are you talking about the black-clad woman beside her?" Xie Lian asked. "I'd say she's a powerful person, too."
"No," San Lang replied. "But the one in black is indeed a formidable figure, and should also be one of the Five Elemental Masters of Wind, Water, Rain, Earth and Thunder. It's not advisable to offend."
The Wind Master could raise a tornado on the level ground, so she naturally had great spiritual power, while the woman in black was clearly superior. Xie Lian recalled how the woman seemed to have perceived something questionable about San Lang and felt slightly uncomfortable, saying, "I agree with you."
However, there was one more thing that he didn't think he needed to say. Xie Lian thought, 'You don't always do well even if you have someone to back you up.' Back in the day, the person who backed up the Crown Prince of Xian Le was the Heavenly Emperor Jun Wu, the number one Martial God of the Three Realms in a thousand years. Yet, he was still a failure, wasn't he?
Xie Lian picked up the bamboo hat that he had dropped on the ground, patted it and sighed in relief to see that it wasn't flattened. He put it back on his back, looked at Nan Feng and asked, "Have you been chased and beaten by those two lords all the way here?"
Nan Feng answered with a darkened face, "Yes. Fought all the way."
Xie Lian patted his shoulder. "You've worked really hard." After saying that, he suddenly remembered that there was another one who had also worked quite hard, and turned back to ask, "Where's Fu Yao?"
"Wasn't he watching over those who were poisoned?" Nan Feng responded.
He hadn't seen Fu Yao since they were blown out by the gale. In fact, Xie Lian hadn't seen him since Ah Zhao had shown up. If he hadn't run off since then, he must have run off when the gale had picked up.
Xie Lian wasn't too worried about him, guessing he just didn't want to get into this mess, so he quickly slipped away. But once he heard Nan Feng mention "poisoned", he realized with a start, and both of them exclaimed simultaneously, "Shan Yue herb!"
"No hurry, dawn has just arrived," San Lang said.
However, they couldn't afford to be in "no hurry" when it came to saving lives. Even if it was still far from twenty-four hours, who knew what might happen along the way? At that moment, Xie Lian picked up Banyue on the ground and dashed madly all the way towards the palace.
When he reached the palace, he laid Banyue down and went up and gleaned a few large handfuls of Shan Yue herbs. The mud-buried face was still on the ground, only a pile of white bones and a mangled, bloody face remained.
If it were in the past, Xie Lian would probably have dug a hole and buried it. But for one thing, he was in a hurry to save someone, and for another, the man had been buried in the soil for more than fifty years, so he must have never wanted to go back. But the merchant's dead body had disappeared, too. Xie Lian stopped and was wondering when San Lang picked up a small clay pot from the palace and came out. Xie Lian took a look and immediately said, "Good, San Lang! Thank you so much!"
Right now Banyue was too weak to wake up, so Xie Lian put her away into the clay pot. The group plucked the herbs and finally hurried back. At this point, just eight hours had passed since they had encountered the scorpion-tailed snakes.
When they arrived at the place where Fu Yao had drawn the circle, several people were still honestly staying in the circle, not daring to go out and wander about. The old man had taken the pill given by Nan Feng, and his injury was under control. Then, after applying the Shan Yue herbs on his wound, he was able to walk after some rest. Only, Xie Lian thought it wouldn't be necessary to tell him what the fertilizer for the Shan Yue herb was.
After a while, the crowd settled down and began to wonder anxiously. "Where's Tian Sheng? Why aren't they back yet?"
Earlier, Xie Lian was in a hurry to pick herbs to save a life. Since there wasn't a single Banyue soldier left in the ruins, he didn't have time to care about Tian Sheng and the others. He was about to turn back when he heard a young boy's voice shouting as he ran closer and closer. When he turned around, it was none other than Tian Sheng. The boy was clutching a handful of Shan Yue herbs, followed by two merchants, both panting for breath.
When asked, it turned out that Banyue had swept a bunch of soldiers down into the Sinners' Pit, and had taken Tian Sheng and the merchants away. Tian Sheng and the merchants were originally scared half to death, but who knew that Banyue brought them down from the pit, showed them the way and let them go. They fled and hastened to pick the Shan Yue herbs, buried the merchant's body and rushed back with all their might, but they were still a little behind the pace of Xie Lian and the others.
All in all, it was only when the caravans were escorted out of the Gobi desert that the matter finally came to an end.
However, when it was time to say goodbye, Tian Sheng sneaked over to him and mysteriously said, "Gege, I've a question to ask you."
"Ask away," Xie Lian said.
"You're actually a god, aren't you?" said Tian Sheng.
"..."
Xie Lian was a little shocked and a little touched.
For, there was a time when he used to be the one shouting at the top of his voice to people, saying that "I'm a god!" and that "I am His Highness the Crown Prince!", and nobody believed him. This time, the other person actually asked him if he was a god without him even opening his mouth, which really made him a bit shocked and touched.
Immediately, Tian Sheng said, "I saw you use magic! Don't worry, I won't say anything to anyone."
'How can I say this? No one will believe you even if you tell them…' Xie Lian thought.
"Thanks to you this time, otherwise I would have been thrown down into that pit by those vicious ghost soldiers," Tian Sheng said. "When I get home, I'll build a temple dedicated to you."
Seeing him patting his chest and making a "very, very big" gesture, Xie Lian could hardly suppress a cheerful smile. "Thank you very much, then."
San Lang, who was standing to the side, gave a soft chuckle for some reason, but Xie Lian didn't feel that he was mocking the child's naive words.
Although the kid had no idea how big a deal it was to build a temple, Xie Lian was nonetheless quite happy to receive such a promise, whether it could be fulfilled or not.
After being badgered endlessly, he had no choice but to randomly leave a title of "Scrap God", waved his hand and headed the other way. Nan Feng set up another Thousand-Li Shrinkage formation, and sent them back to Pu Qi Shrine.
Opening the door, Xie Lian took out the mat and spread it on the floor, then lay down on it just like a corpse. The whole thing was done in one fell swoop. San Lang also sat down next to him, propping his cheek with one hand and watching him. Xie Lian sighed and asked, "How long have we been gone?"
"Only about three or four days," San Lang answered.
Xie Lian sighed again. "Only three or four days, why am I so tired?"
Ever since his ascension, he had often been so tired as if he was a dog, and it really wasn't an illusion. After he finished sighing, he looked up and said, "Hey, Nan Feng, why haven't you gone back to report yet?"
"Report what?" asked Nan Feng.
"Aren't you an official of the Palace Hall of Nan Yang?" Xie Lian said. "You've been gone for three or four days. Won't your general be looking for you?"
"My general isn't in the palace at the moment, so he won't be looking for me," replied Nan Feng.
Xie Lian then got up. "Good, it's good that you're staying."
"What are you going to do?" Nan Feng asked.
"I'll cook you a meal," replied Xie Lian amiably. "As a treat for your hard work."
Nan Feng's face turned pale drastically at his words. He raised his hand, put his two fingers together and pressed them against the side of his temple, as if he had received a message from someone, and got up. "Something's going on in the palace, I'll leave first."
Xie Lian raised his hand. "Ai, Nan Feng, don't go. How come there's something going on suddenly? You've worked real hard this time…"
"Something really is going on!" Nan Feng roared. Seeing him dashing out the door, Xie Lian sat back down on the mat and said to San Lang, "Looks like he's not hungry."
Before San Lang could reply, there was a "bang" and Nan Feng rushed back in, blocking the doorway. "You two..."
Xie Lian and San Lang sat side by side on the mat, looking up at him. "What's wrong with us two?"
Nan Feng pointed at San Lang, and then at Xie Lian, held his tongue for a long time before saying, "I'll be back."
"You're always welcome," Xie Lian said.
Nan Feng swept another glance at San Lang before closing the door and left. Xie Lian crossed his arms and tilted his head, mimicking San Lang. "It seems that something is seriously wrong."
He glanced again at the teenager beside him and said with a smile, "He's not hungry, what about you?"
San Lang also smiled and replied, "I'm hungry."
Xie Lian smiled, stood up again, and turned around. Casually tidying up the offering table, he said, "Alright. So, what would you like to eat, Hua Cheng?"
Behind him, there was a moment of silence, followed by a low chuckle.
"I, for one, still prefer the name, San Lang."
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plainheyokasworld · a day ago
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Continuation to Chapter 29:
THE voice came from above everyone's heads, and Xie Lian immediately looked up and asked, "Which eminent lord is here?"
There was no answer, but a strange sound came. Whirring and whistling, it sounded like a howling wind. When the sound got closer, Xie Lian was finally sure — it was indeed the wind howling!
The gale came so suddenly and so intensely that before Xie Lian could figure out what was going on, his body had already lurched and he was floating up!
This sudden gust of wind blew from above straight into the bottom of the Sinners' Pit, and actually swept everyone up into the sky!
Xie Lian grabbed San Lang, who was closest to him at once, and said, "Watch out!"
San Lang turned his hand over and grabbed him too, his expression unchanged. Xie Lian only felt a moment of dizziness, his body rose at a great speed into the air, paused in the air, and then all of a sudden rapidly began to drop. He hastily tossed out Ruoye and coaxed in the midst of this chaotic moment, "It's alright, it's alright. Quick, good Ruoye, come out first and save the day!"
After a couple of gentle pats, Ruoye finally flew out. However, the surrounding area was empty and bare. Except for the large Sinners' Pit below, it was impossible to find anything to grab onto. Ruoye flew about once, and then retracted. Feeling helpless, Xie Lian had no choice but to adjust his own landing position in the air. In the past, he would probably have fallen three feet head-first again. But this time, as he was about to hit the ground, San Lang smoothly gave him a hand and he actually landed upright. He was still a little incredulous when his boots touched the ground steadily and safely. But this incredulity was soon washed away. As soon as he landed, he saw a black-clad figure stumbling over in front of him.
Xie Lian took a good look at it and exclaimed with slight joy, "Nan Feng!"
Sure enough, it was Nan Feng. Only, it was already a disheveled Nan Feng. It seemed as if he had rolled in the dust a dozen times and then thrown into a throng of beasts, and had been trampled on all night. His clothes were torn and tattered all over, and he was in such a terrible mess. Hearing Xie Lian call out to him, he only raised his hand for a moment and silently wiped his face, unable to even speak. Xie Lian gave him a hand and asked, "What happened to you? Did you get beaten up by those two girls?"
Before he could finish speaking, he saw two figures following Nan Feng, walking over. One was none other than the white-robed female cultivator, her horsetail whisk* resting on her arm, greeting him with a smile. "Greetings, Your Highness the Crown Prince."
[*Please refer here about horsetail whisk: https://daoistgate.com/understanding-the-horsetail-whisk/]
Even though he didn't know who the other person was, Xie Lian had to be polite, but he didn't know how to address her. So, he also raised his hand in greeting with a smile and said, "Fellow Taoist."
The black-clad woman, on the other hand, gave him a cold glance, not paying much attention to him. But she stalled slightly when her gaze swept up to San Lang, and stopped for a moment as if she found him very suspicious.
The gust of wind just now brought everyone up from the bottom of the pit. Those two walked past Xie Lian and headed straight towards Pei Su. When Pei Su looked at the visitors, he wasn't surprised. After all, he had already seen these two in the city once before when he was disguised as Ah Zhao. He knelt in place, bowed to the white-clad female cultivator, and whispered, "Lord Wind Master."
Upon hearing those words, Xie Lian froze.
And all this time he thought this was a demon spirit and ghost from somewhere. How could he have known that she was actually a heavenly official from the Upper Court? The same Wind Master who scattered a hundred thousand merits in the telepathic array!
But when he thought about it, there was nothing wrong. At that time, the white-clad woman said something like, "Where are all those people hiding? Do I have to find them and kill them one by one?", which made him think that they weren't good people. But in fact, this "people" really didn't necessarily refer to them, but also might be referring to the "Banyue soldiers". It was only his preconceptions that made him think that the other party's every move carried a sinister and bizarre aura.
Xie Lian inevitably held an inexplicable sense of awe and veneration for this heavenly official who offered a hundred thousand merits at the drop of a hat. He said to Nan Feng, "Why didn't you tell me earlier that this was the Wind Master? I even guessed that she might be a snake spirit or a scorpion spirit or something. That's a bit rude."
Nan Feng's face darkened a little. "How would I know that was the Wind Master? I've never seen the Wind Master looking like this before. The Wind Master has obviously always been... never mind."
Xie Lian understood. Probably this was the Wind Master's fake skin appearance, didn't dig into it, and said, "What brings the Lord Wind Master here to the Banyue Pass?"
"Here to help," Nan Feng responded. "Just now they were wandering around Banyue City, looking for those Banyue soldiers."
And Xie Lian then remembered that the first time he had inquired about Banyue Pass in the telepathic array, amidst all the awkwardness, this Wind Master had suddenly scattered a hundred thousand merits and distracted the attention of the others. So the Wind Master might have noticed what he was asking at that time.
Over here, he was pondering, and over there, the Wind Master squatted down in front of Pei Su, saying, "Xiao Pei ah, I heard everything."
Pei Su lowered his head. "Do you admit that you have lured all those passers-by into the Banyue ruins in the past two hundred years?" asked the Wind Master.
Having been caught in the act, Pei Su didn't argue and answered quietly, "It was me."
"Why?" the Wind Master asked.
After a pause, Pei Su replied, "Lord Wind Master has long suspected, can't you guess why?"
"Is it because these dead souls are ironclad proof that your hands were stained with blood when you were a human, it might turn out to be a hindrance for you to climb higher in the future one day?" said the Wind Master.
Pei Su didn't confirm or deny it. Xie Lian, who had been listening on the side, couldn't help but ask, "If anything, why didn't you just kill them? Why is it necessary for you to use the living to cast as food in order to appease their resentment? How is that any different from quenching one's hunger with another's flesh and blood?"
But San Lang said, "He couldn't."
And rightly so. In the Upper Court, every move of a heavenly official like Pei Su was watched by countless pairs of eyes. There were many things that couldn't be done directly. One couldn't descend in their true form and simply kill all these resentful soldiers, nor could one send troops to exterminate them. It was supposed to be a cover-up, so wouldn't too much commotion draw everyone's attention to it? The most that could be done was to send an alter ego* like Ah Zhao down stealthily.
[*「分|身」 fēn shēn — sub|body or separate body. The machine translation suggested "clone" or "doppelganger", but here I'll just go with "alter ego".]
Borrowing the scorpion-tailed snakes that Banyue was so good at manipulating to go out and bite people and lure them in to feed to the resentful spirits, so that their grievances would dissipate, was undoubtedly the perfect way to carry out the dirty work indirectly.
"Your General Pei wouldn't do such a thing," the Wind Master said. "This time, I'm afraid you've gone a little too far."
As a heavenly official of the Upper Court, he had released his alter ego to cause chaos at the Banyue Pass for nearly two hundred years, leading countless passers-by to be led astray and fallen into the hungry mouths of the Banyue soldiers, which couldn't be considered a trivial matter in any case. Pei Su hung his head and said, "This junior knows."
The Wind Master waved her horsetail whisk. "Good that you know. Run it through your own mind and let's talk about it more up there."
"Yes," said Pei Su quietly.
After she had finished talking with Pei Su, the Wind Master stuffed the horsetail whisk into the back collar of her Taoist robe, got up, and again grinned at Xie Lian with a cupped-hand salute. "Your Highness the Crown Prince, I've heard a lot about you for a long time."
This was a formal greeting. To Xie Lian, "I've heard a lot about you" wasn't a very nice word, but it was just a kind of inconsequential polite remark anyway. So, Xie Lian smiled and said, "No, no, no. Lord Wind Master is the one I've heard so much about."
"I'm sorry for what happened before," said the Wind Master.
Xie Lian was startled. "Before? What happened before?"
"Didn't you guys get caught in a sandstorm in the desert earlier?" asked the Wind Master.
Xie Lian thought of it in a trance and still felt his mouth was full of sand. "Yes."
"That was me who started it," the Wind Master said.
"..."
"The intention of starting that sandstorm was to keep you away from the Kingdom of Banyue," the Wind Master explained. "But to my surprise, you didn't get blown away. Instead, after a lot of detours, you guys still managed to find your way here."
The more Xie Lian listened, the more he felt that something was wrong. Starting a sandstorm to prevent them from going to the Banyue Pass, this thing suddenly came up again out of nowhere. What did this mean?
He remained motionless, not answering a word, listening to what the other party had to say. The Wind Master added, "But, Your Highness, you should stay out of this matter."
Xie Lian glanced at Banyue, who was curled up on the ground, and a bad premonition came over him.
He was originally worried that if this matter was brought to the attention of the Upper Court, the heavenly officials would arbitrarily add or omit a few words at will. Once they changed the truth, it would become a case of Xiao Pei's innocence and Banyue would take all the blame. At this moment, the Wind Master suddenly appeared halfway and asked him to stay out of this matter. Wasn't it more like trying to cover up for Xiao Pei?
Therefore, he calmly took a step forward without a word and stood in front of Banyue, saying in a gentle voice, "But I have already taken care of this matter, so it's no use trying to keep my nose out of the way at this point, right?"
The Wind Master smiled a little. "You can rest assured. You can take the Guoshi of Banyue with you first."
This was unexpected. Xie Lian was slightly stunned as the Wind Master added, "Well, we've heard the whole thing up there just now. Although this Guoshi of Banyue has reached the Savage level, I wandered around the city and saw her trapping the Banyue soldiers into the formation she had set up. I also saw her releasing the mortals caught by the soldiers, not harming them, but saving them. The only ones I'm going to take away are General Pei Junior and Ke-Mo, so you don't have to worry about who I'm dragging in to take the blame."
Xie Lian was relieved. "I'm deeply ashamed! It was me who was overly concerned."
The black-clad woman, however, looked as if she couldn't bear to stay here for another minute and said from aside, "Are you done? If you're done, then let's go."
"It's normal for you to be so worried," said the Wind Master. "After all, many of the underhanded practices in the Upper Court are indeed bad."
The Wind Master exclaimed, "Boo! What's the rush? The more you rush, the more I'll talk!" Having said that, she turned back and took out a folding fan from her waist, saying, "Your Highness, if there's nothing else, shall we meet again in Heaven?"
As soon as Xie Lian nodded, the Wind Master flicked open the fan. On the front was written the character "风" in a skew, and on the back side was painted with three clear lines of flowing wind. Presumably this was the Wind Master's magic weapon. She fanned forward three times and backwards three times. Suddenly, another gust of wind arose from the level ground. The wind was blowing sand and stones, and Xie Lian raised his sleeve to shield his eyes. When the gust of wind passed, the two women, Pei Su and Ke-Mo all disappeared, leaving only Xie Lian, San Lang, Nan Feng, and Banyue curled up on the ground.
[*「风」 fēng — wind; breeze; air; manners, atmosphere]
Xie Lian lowered his sleeve, confused. "What's the situation?"
San Lang walked over idly. "A pretty good situation."
Xie Lian looked at him. "Is that good?"
"It's pretty good," San Lang replied. "The Wind Master is helping you by telling you to stay out of it."
Nan Feng also came over. "Yes. You've already done enough in this matter, so the only thing left to do is to go to the Emperor and inform him. You should leave the tattletale alone."
Xie Lian understood. "Because of General Pei?"
"That's right," Nan Feng answered. "This time, you've completely offended General Pei."
Xie Lian smiled. "I expected to offend at least one of them anyway, but it doesn't seem to matter much which one."
Nan Feng frowned. "Don't take this as a joke. Other than the Palace Hall of the Martial Emperor, the most powerful martial god is the Palace Hall of Ming Guang. General Pei thinks highly of Xiao Pei and has been trying to get Pei Su to kick Quan Yizhen down, so he'll definitely come after you."
"Are you talking about Quan Yizhen the martial god of the West?" Xie Lian asked.
"That's him," replied Nan Feng. "Quan Yizhen is also a newly appointed official, very close to the period when Pei Su ascended. He's young and a tad... but also pretty powerful. General Pei intended for Pei Su to take over all of his believers in the West. Pei Su is also quite competitive and has been doing well in recent years. But now you've pulled a stunt like this, I'm afraid Pei Su will be out of luck. I wonder if he'll be demoted. In case he gets demoted, you'll have to suffer great bad luck, too."
Xie Lian rubbed his forehead and inwardly decided to be more careful when eating, drinking and walking in the future. San Lang, on the other hand, disagreed. "There's no need to worry. Pei Ming is too proud of himself to play dirty."
Nan Feng gave him a look, and Xie Lian added, "What about Lord Wind Master? She told me to stay out of it, meaning she's in charge of lodging the complaint? In that case, wouldn't that mean she'd offend General Pei instead? No, it's better to call her back... Nan Feng, do you know what Lord Wind Master's telepathic array password is?"
But Nan Feng said, "You don't need to worry about the Wind Master. General Pei dares to touch you, but he won't touch her. Although she's younger, she's doing much better than you."
"..."
Xie Lian's silence wasn't so much because he received a blow, but rather, he was just thinking to himself, 'Is there anyone in Heaven who is worse than me? I don't think so.'
San Lang snickered. "The Wind Master has someone to back her up, so of course she's doing well."
"Are you talking about the black-clad woman beside her?" Xie Lian asked. "I'd say she's a powerful person, too."
"No," San Lang replied. "But the one in black is indeed a formidable figure, and should also be one of the Five Elemental Masters of Wind, Water, Rain, Earth and Thunder. It's not advisable to offend."
The Wind Master could raise a tornado on the level ground, so she naturally had great spiritual power, while the woman in black was clearly superior. Xie Lian recalled how the woman seemed to have perceived something questionable about San Lang and felt slightly uncomfortable, saying, "I agree with you."
However, there was one more thing that he didn't think he needed to say. Xie Lian thought, 'You don't always do well even if you have someone to back you up.' Back in the day, the person who backed up the Crown Prince of Xian Le was the Heavenly Emperor Jun Wu, the number one Martial God of the Three Realms in a thousand years. Yet, he was still a failure, wasn't he?
Xie Lian picked up the bamboo hat that he had dropped on the ground, patted it and sighed in relief to see that it wasn't flattened. He put it back on his back, looked at Nan Feng and asked, "Have you been chased and beaten by those two lords all the way here?"
Nan Feng answered with a darkened face, "Yes. Fought all the way."
Xie Lian patted his shoulder. "You've worked really hard." After saying that, he suddenly remembered that there was another one who had also worked quite hard, and turned back to ask, "Where's Fu Yao?"
"Wasn't he watching over those who were poisoned?" Nan Feng responded.
He hadn't seen Fu Yao since they were blown out by the gale. In fact, Xie Lian hadn't seen him since Ah Zhao had shown up. If he hadn't run off since then, he must have run off when the gale had picked up.
Xie Lian wasn't too worried about him, guessing he just didn't want to get into this mess, so he quickly slipped away. But once he heard Nan Feng mention "poisoned", he realized with a start, and both of them exclaimed simultaneously, "Shan Yue herb!"
"No hurry, dawn has just arrived," San Lang said.
However, they couldn't afford to be in "no hurry" when it came to saving lives. Even if it was still far from twenty-four hours, who knew what might happen along the way? At that moment, Xie Lian picked up Banyue on the ground and dashed madly all the way towards the palace.
When he reached the palace, he laid Banyue down and went up and gleaned a few large handfuls of Shan Yue herbs. The mud-buried face was still on the ground, only a pile of white bones and a mangled, bloody face remained.
If it were in the past, Xie Lian would probably have dug a hole and buried it. But for one thing, he was in a hurry to save someone, and for another, the man had been buried in the soil for more than fifty years, so he must have never wanted to go back. But the merchant's dead body had disappeared, too. Xie Lian stopped and was wondering when San Lang picked up a small clay pot from the palace and came out. Xie Lian took a look and immediately said, "Good, San Lang! Thank you so much!"
Right now Banyue was too weak to wake up, so Xie Lian put her away into the clay pot. The group plucked the herbs and finally hurried back. At this point, just eight hours had passed since they had encountered the scorpion-tailed snakes.
When they arrived at the place where Fu Yao had drawn the circle, several people were still honestly staying in the circle, not daring to go out and wander about. The old man had taken the pill given by Nan Feng, and his injury was under control. Then, after applying the Shan Yue herbs on his wound, he was able to walk after some rest. Only, Xie Lian thought it wouldn't be necessary to tell him what the fertilizer for the Shan Yue herb was.
After a while, the crowd settled down and began to wonder anxiously. "Where's Tian Sheng? Why aren't they back yet?"
Earlier, Xie Lian was in a hurry to pick herbs to save a life. Since there wasn't a single Banyue soldier left in the ruins, he didn't have time to care about Tian Sheng and the others. He was about to turn back when he heard a young boy's voice shouting as he ran closer and closer. When he turned around, it was none other than Tian Sheng. The boy was clutching a handful of Shan Yue herbs, followed by two merchants, both panting for breath.
When asked, it turned out that Banyue had swept a bunch of soldiers down into the Sinners' Pit, and had taken Tian Sheng and the merchants away. Tian Sheng and the merchants were originally scared half to death, but who knew that Banyue brought them down from the pit, showed them the way and let them go. They fled and hastened to pick the Shan Yue herbs, buried the merchant's body and rushed back with all their might, but they were still a little behind the pace of Xie Lian and the others.
All in all, it was only when the caravans were escorted out of the Gobi desert that the matter finally came to an end.
However, when it was time to say goodbye, Tian Sheng sneaked over to him and mysteriously said, "Gege, I've a question to ask you."
"Ask away," Xie Lian said.
"You're actually a god, aren't you?" said Tian Sheng.
"..."
Xie Lian was a little shocked and a little touched.
For, there was a time when he used to be the one shouting at the top of his voice to people, saying that "I'm a god!" and that "I am His Highness the Crown Prince!", and nobody believed him. This time, the other person actually asked him if he was a god without him even opening his mouth, which really made him a bit shocked and touched.
Immediately, Tian Sheng said, "I saw you use magic! Don't worry, I won't say anything to anyone."
'How can I say this? No one will believe you even if you tell them…' Xie Lian thought.
"Thanks to you this time, otherwise I would have been thrown down into that pit by those vicious ghost soldiers," Tian Sheng said. "When I get home, I'll build a temple dedicated to you."
Seeing him patting his chest and making a "very, very big" gesture, Xie Lian could hardly suppress a cheerful smile. "Thank you very much, then."
San Lang, who was standing to the side, gave a soft chuckle for some reason, but Xie Lian didn't feel that he was mocking the child's naive words.
Although the kid had no idea how big a deal it was to build a temple, Xie Lian was nonetheless quite happy to receive such a promise, whether it could be fulfilled or not.
After being badgered endlessly, he had no choice but to randomly leave a title of "Scrap God", waved his hand and headed the other way. Nan Feng set up another Thousand-Li Shrinkage formation, and sent them back to Pu Qi Shrine.
Opening the door, Xie Lian took out the mat and spread it on the floor, then lay down on it just like a corpse. The whole thing was done in one fell swoop. San Lang also sat down next to him, propping his cheek with one hand and watching him. Xie Lian sighed and asked, "How long have we been gone?"
"Only about three or four days," San Lang answered.
Xie Lian sighed again. "Only three or four days, why am I so tired?"
Ever since his ascension, he had often been so tired as if he was a dog, and it really wasn't an illusion. After he finished sighing, he looked up and said, "Hey, Nan Feng, why haven't you gone back to report yet?"
"Report what?" asked Nan Feng.
"Aren't you an official of the Palace Hall of Nan Yang?" Xie Lian said. "You've been gone for three or four days. Won't your general be looking for you?"
"My general isn't in the palace at the moment, so he won't be looking for me," replied Nan Feng.
Xie Lian then got up. "Good, it's good that you're staying."
"What are you going to do?" Nan Feng asked.
"I'll cook you a meal," replied Xie Lian amiably. "As a treat for your hard work."
Nan Feng's face turned pale drastically at his words. He raised his hand, put his two fingers together and pressed them against the side of his temple, as if he had received a message from someone, and got up. "Something's going on in the palace, I'll leave first."
Xie Lian raised his hand. "Ai, Nan Feng, don't go. How come there's something going on suddenly? You've worked real hard this time…"
"Something really is going on!" Nan Feng roared. Seeing him dashing out the door, Xie Lian sat back down on the mat and said to San Lang, "Looks like he's not hungry."
Before San Lang could reply, there was a "bang" and Nan Feng rushed back in, blocking the doorway. "You two..."
Xie Lian and San Lang sat side by side on the mat, looking up at him. "What's wrong with us two?"
Nan Feng pointed at San Lang, and then at Xie Lian, held his tongue for a long time before saying, "I'll be back."
"You're always welcome," Xie Lian said.
Nan Feng swept another glance at San Lang before closing the door and left. Xie Lian crossed his arms and tilted his head, mimicking San Lang. "It seems that something is seriously wrong."
He glanced again at the teenager beside him and said with a smile, "He's not hungry, what about you?"
San Lang also smiled and replied, "I'm hungry."
Xie Lian smiled, stood up again, and turned around. Casually tidying up the offering table, he said, "Alright. So, what would you like to eat, Hua Cheng?"
Behind him, there was a moment of silence, followed by a low chuckle.
"I, for one, still prefer the name, San Lang."
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plainheyokasworld · 2 days ago
Text
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 29: White-Clad Wind Master, Sandstorm Rising From the Level Ground
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
XIE LIAN intentionally took a step forward, stopped in front of San Lang and said, "I know better than anyone else who I am."
"Then why do you still dare to stand next to him even now?" Fu Yao said.
"Because... no snake will come to bite you if you stand next to him," replied Xie Lian honestly.
"..."
Hearing this answer, San Lang "puffed" and burst out laughing. Fu Yao's face, on the other hand, turned even more blue as he said, "You..."
As he turned blue, Fu Yao's face suddenly turned pure black. Not only his face, but also Xie Lian's entire vision turned pure black.
It turned out that the flaming barrier that Fu Yao had created and the flames he had cast at the bottom of the pit had suddenly all gone out!
In the darkness, Xie Lian heard San Lang snickered twice and said, "Rubbish!" Then he felt San Lang take him by the shoulders. Immediately afterwards, Xie Lian heard a sharp and fierce "thud" sound above them, as if a torrential rain had hit the surface of an umbrella.
Needless to say, the purplish-red rain of snakes had no intercepting barrier to stop it and was falling wildly. And there was an umbrella overhead, blocking the rain of snakes!
Xie Lian smelt a strong whiff of blood and was about to move, but San Lang said, "Don't move. No ungodly thing dares to come over."
He spoke with certainty, the first sentence low and soft, but the second tinged with arrogance. Xie Lian wasn't worried, but when he heard Fu Yao's roar of anger from the other side, as if he had been pelted with snake rain, he said, "San Lang!"
San Lang immediately said, "No."
Xie Lian was at a loss whether to cry or to laugh, saying, "How do you know what I'm going to say?"
"You can rest assured. He won't die," replied San Lang.
At that moment, a roar came from the front of the two of them, "Banyue! If you want me to die, just let them bite me dead right off! What the hell is this?"
"It wasn't me!" Banyue said. Presumably Ke-Mo had been pounded awake to find himself buried in the midst of countless slippery snakes and decided that it was Banyue's doing. "Fu Yao, can you still ignite a fire? Ignite another fire!" Xie Lian said.
Fu Yao gritted his teeth. "That thing next to you is suppressing my spiritual power and won't let me light a fire!"
Xie Lian's heart sank, but San Lang said, "I didn't."
"I know you didn't, and it's because you didn't that it's not right," Xie Lian said. "Banyue and Ke-Mo are both shackled by the Immortal Binding Rope and unable to cast spells, I've run out of spiritual power and you're not suppressing his. That means there's a sixth person at the bottom of this pit?!"
"Have you lost your mind?" Fu Yao snapped. "There's no sixth person! No one's even come down from up there!"
At this point, he heard Banyue say, "Who is it?"
"Banyue, what's wrong? Did someone come to you?" asked Xie Lian.
"Someone..." answered Banyue, and before she finished her sentence, her voice disappeared. Xie Lian called out again, "Banyue?!"
Still fighting snakes, brief waves of white light exploding one after the other in pitch blackness, Fu Yao warned, "Be careful she's tricking you into coming closer!"
"Not necessarily," Xie Lian responded. "Save her first!" He was about to dash into the rain of snakes when he heard San Lang whisper in his ear, "Alright!"
Xie Lian only felt a hand wrapped around his shoulder, instantly leading him out. He suddenly realized the fact that the teenager was actually holding the umbrella with one hand and holding him with the other, advancing to attack. In the darkness, silver glints flashed accompanied by tinkling sounds. Suddenly, an ear-splitting clash of swords sound cut through everyone's ears. "Oh?" San Lang said, "There really is a sixth person. Interesting."
How he controlled the weapon, or what kind of weapon he controlled was unknown, but at that moment, the weapon he was wielding was indeed meeting head-to-head with another person's blade!
The other party didn't say a word, and Xie Lian heard the sound of a sword slashing through the air, presumably it was another launch of attack. Every now and then a dazzling spark lit up in the darkness, but it was too fleeting to illuminate the other party's face. While listening attentively to the battle, Xie Lian raised his voice and called out, "Are you still conscious, Banyue? Can you answer me?"
There was no reply. "Maybe the person he's fighting is her!" exclaimed Fu Yao.
"No, this is definitely not Banyue!" Xie Lian said.
Again, it was a battle in the dark. When he fought Ke-Mo, San Lang was relaxed as if he was teasing his opponent. This fight, however, was slightly more serious. His opponent was a skilled fighter who used his weapon with ease. Banyue, on the other hand, was small and thin. It was obvious just by looking at her arms that physical strength and weapons weren't her forte, so it couldn't be her. But who was this sixth person? And when did they show up?!
"This kind of betrayer of their own kingdom is no different from the female ghost Xuan Ji!" Fu Yao grumbled. "Why on earth do you still believe her?"
"Fu Yao, would you stop being so rash?" Xie Lian said. "You... wait, what did you just say?"
Fu Yao blasted away several scorpion-tailed snakes with another palm-strike and said, "I said why on earth do you trust her so much? It's the same as trusting that thing next to you!"
But Xie Lian said, "No, that's not what I'm talking about — you said Xuan Ji. You mentioned Xuan Ji, didn't you?!"
"So what?! That's completely irrelevant!"
Xie Lian, however, held his breath for a moment and said, "You can stop fighting now! There's no need to hide anymore, I already know who you are!"
The sound of the sword clashing didn't stop, and the other party remained indifferent. Xie Lian wasn't in a hurry, either. "Do you think that I'm trying to trick you by saying that I already know who you are? General Pei Junior?"
Fu Yao was astounded. "Who are you talking to? General Pei Junior? Don't be crazy. Who wouldn't know of General Pei's identity right away once he descended?"
"You're quite right," Xie Lian responded. "But what if he hadn't descended as his true self?"
In the darkness, the sound of blades clashing stagnated for a moment, then continued.
"I found out too late," Xie Lian said. "In fact, I should've thought of it from the beginning."
"I knew that something had been constantly stirring up trouble at Banyue Pass for nearly two hundred years, but no heavenly officials had ever paid attention to it, and everyone was reluctant to mention it either, which meant that it had to be someone who everyone dared not offend who was suppressing this matter. But because I am not familiar with all the heavenly officials who are currently in the Upper Court, and dare not make any wild guesses, I haven't ventured to speculate as to which heavenly official it might be."
It was Fu Yao's mention of the female ghost Xuan Ji that reminded him of this.
When the female ghost Xuan Ji was mentioned, it was inevitable to associate it with the two Pei generals. To the North was the territory of the two Pei generals, and Fu Yao had offhandedly mentioned that prior to his ascension, General Pei Junior had done one thing: slaughter a city.
What city was it that was slaughtered?
In all likelihood, it was the ancient city of the Kingdom of Banyue!
This kind of thing wasn't unusual among the heavenly officials of the Upper Court. After all, who didn't have to shed a little blood in order to accomplish their goals? But after all, the slaughter of a city wasn't a particularly honorable thing, and if word spread too widely, it would inevitably have an impact on the absorption of new believers. Therefore, after ascension, it was often necessary to cover-up and whitewash the situation a little. So although everyone knew about it, they didn't look into it too closely. After all, if there was no deep animosity or ill-will, who would want to dig into someone's past and offend the backers behind them?
"That mud-buried face said that one of us in this group was here fifty or sixty years ago," Xie Lian said unhurriedly. "I originally suspected that this statement was a lie that he had told to lure others closer, but it was also likely to be true.
"Earlier, out of this group, you were the one I suspected the most. That the caravan followed you and you could take them wherever you wish to take them. I had never seen a scorpion-tailed snake in all the years I had lived in the Kingdom of Banyue, but you just happened to encounter this rare poisonous creature when you found a random place to shelter from the sandstorm?
"I asked you to come with us to find the Shan Yue herbs. Before you left you even made a point of showing the others the way, telling them the direction of the Banyue ruins so that the others who couldn't wait for us to return could also go there on their own. Just now, on top of the Sinners' Pit, I had clearly said that I would go first if anything were to happen. Yet you, who was always calm, suddenly jumped in and sent yourself to a pointless death."
After a pause, he said, "You've been acting so strangely and irrationally in every way, and it's already too late for me to find out who you are until now, isn't it? General Pei Junior? Or should I call you by your current name — Ah Zhao!"
There was an abrupt, dead silence.
It was only after a long time that a voice finally responded coldly, "Didn't it ever occur to you that perhaps that mud-buried face was talking about the red-robed teenager beside you?"
No sooner had the words been spoken, a firelight abruptly lit up at the bottom of the Sinners' Pit. The bright light illuminated two crimson-colored figures that were facing each other.
One was the red-clad San Lang, who had already put away his weapon and was standing at ease; the other was a young man in plain clothing, who still held a sword in front of him, and hadn't let go of it.
Because the young man in plain clothing was covered with blood, it actually looked like he was wearing a red robe as well. His face was cold and sullen as he carried a person on his shoulder. Sure enough, it was that young man, Ah Zhao.
In fact, whether it was General Pei Junior himself or Ah Zhao, the bland, overly unruffled expression on his face remained unchanged. It was just that Xie Lian had never thought of it that way, so he didn't connect these two together.
The one he was carrying on his shoulder was none other than Banyue. He probably released the snakes to steal Banyue away during the chaos, but since his identity had been exposed, there was no longer any need to create confusion. The torrent of snakes around them ceased bombarding. In turn, he put away his sword with one hand, and laid Banyue down on the ground with the other. An astonished Ke-Mo on the other side said, "Who are you? Didn't you already fall to your death?"
Ah Zhao didn't spare a single glance at all at Ke-Mo, still staring intently at San Lang, and simply said in Banyue language, "Ke-Mo, you really haven't changed after hundreds of years."
Perhaps it was the overly familiar tone of this bland, infuriating voice that instantly brought anger on Ke-Mo's dark face upon hearing it. "...It's you!!! Pei Su?!"
If it wasn't for the Immortal Binding Rope that was firmly tying him up, very likely he would have charged at Ah Zhao to fight to the death.
"General Pei Junior, the scorpion-tailed snakes follow more than one person's orders," Xie Lian said. "Those scorpion-tailed snakes that Banyue said were disobedient and went out to bite people were all manipulated by you, weren't they?"
Pei Su was quick to admit it, "Mm. It was me."
"Did Banyue teach you how to manipulate the scorpion-tailed snakes?" asked Xie Lian.
"She didn't," Pei Su replied. "But I can learn how to manipulate them myself."
"After all, General Pei Junior is exceptionally intelligent," said Xie Lian.
After a pause, he asked, "When did you two meet? How did you get to know each other?"
But Pei Su gave him a look and said, "General Hua."
Xie Lian was inexplicably baffled. "Why are you calling me that, too?"
"Don't you recognize me, General Hua?" Pei Su said quietly.
"..."
Then, Xie Lian remembered.
There was a previous vague memory that Banyue had been ostracized by the Banyue children when she was a child, and there was only one young boy from Yong'an who occasionally attended to her. That teenager wasn't very talkative like Banyue. Many of the border children were army sons and daughters stationed at the border, and most of them would join the army when they grew up. Could it be…
"It's you?!" Xie Lian said. "I... I can't believe I only just recognized you."
Pei Su nodded his head. "It's me. I only just recognized you too, General."
No wonder. It turned out that Banyue and the enemy general had known each other for so long!
"Did Banyue really open the city gates at your behest?" asked Xie Lian.
On the other side, Ke-Mo spat and said, "Untie the rope so that I can fight this despicable Pei Su again to the death!"
"Firstly, we fought to the death two hundred years ago and you've already lost," Pei Su said coldly. "Secondly, dare I ask, how am I despicable?"
"If it weren't for you two conspiring and working from the inside out, how would we have lost?" Ke-Mo retorted.
"Ke-Mo, don't you dare deny it," Pei Su said. "At that time I only had two thousand men with me, but it was only a matter of time for me to break through the city gates."
Xie Lian couldn't help but interrupt, "Wait a minute, you were sent to attack a kingdom with only two thousand men under your command? How could that be? Wasn't that a death sentence? Were you more ostracized in the army than I was?"
"..."
Pei Su didn't say anything. It seemed that Xie Lian had been right. He added, "Since you were sure to win, why did you ask Banyue to open the city gates for you?"
"Because I want to slaughter everyone in the city," answered Pei Su.
"What do you mean?" Xie Lian asked. "If you were already going to win, why did you have to slaughter everyone in the city?" It couldn't be a hobby of his!
"It was because we were close to winning that we must slaughter the city," Pei Su replied. "And we must do it quickly, immediately, sparing no one."
The phrase "sparing no one" sounded eerie. "What was the reason?" asked Xie Lian.
"The night before the attack, many Banyue clan leaders joined together to hold a meeting and agreed on something in secret," Pei Su said.
"What was it?"
"The Banyue people are violent by nature and harbor intense hatred for the Yong'an Kingdom so much that even if they knew they were about to lose, they refused to admit it," Pei Su said. "The men, women, children, people of all ages of the entire Kingdom of Banyue were all prepared to make a batch of things as quickly as they could."
Xie Lian already had a vague guess of what that was. And the two words that Pei Su spat out were indeed what he had in mind.
"Explosives!"
Pei Su said word for word, "They planned to have the inhabitants of the kingdom hide these explosives on their bodies in case the city fell to ruin and were defeated, and immediately scattered and absconded from all directions to sneak into Yong'an, specifically mixed in the crowded places waiting for the opportunity to riot. Even if they die themselves, they would drag more Yong'an people to their deaths. Even if they perished, they vowed to disturb the peace of the kingdom that brought their ruin."
That was why the civilians had to be eliminated in one fell swoop before they had time to flee…
Xie Lian immediately turned to Ke-Mo. "Is that true?"
Without any intention of concealing it, Ke-Mo said, "True!"
At those words, San Lang raised an eyebrow and said, "Ruthless, ruthless."
He said this in Banyue language, and Ke-Mo said indignantly, "Ruthless? Who are you to call us ruthless? If you hadn't struck us first, how could we have been pushed to this point? You ruined us, and we're getting back at you in the same way? How is that wrong?"
"If that's the case, why don't we settle the score from the beginning then?" Pei Su said. "How many times had the Banyue people deliberately stirred up trouble along the border? How many merchant caravans and travelers from Yong'an to the West have been maliciously intercepted by the Kingdom of Banyue? You knew that there were horse thieves in your own kingdom who stopped and robbed and massacred Yong'an people, but you deliberately covered up for them. And the soldiers sent by Yong'an to round up the thieves were instead killed by you on the grounds that they had trespassed the border and committed crimes. How is that not ruthless?"
Though he didn't speak fast and his tone wasn't agitated, every word had a sharpness to it. "But it was you who forcibly occupied our land first, and only then did we fight back," Ke-Mo retorted.
"The border between the two kingdoms was originally ambiguous, how can it be considered forcibly occupied?" Pei Su said.
"The two sides had already demarcated the territory a long time ago. It was you who failed to keep your word!" Ke-Mo said.
"Only your side had agreed to the demarcation, but had Yong'an ever agreed to it?" Pei Su countered. "Your so-called demarcation was nothing more than that the desert was all ours and the oasis was all yours. It's ridiculous!"
"The oasis was originally ours," Ke-Mo said angrily. "The Banyue people had grown up on the oasis for generations!"
Both sides were so insistent and sticking to their own arguments. Just listening to them was making Xie Lian's head spin and recalling how he had been beaten and battered in between two opposing sides two hundred years ago. Suddenly, his face seemed to ache faintly again. Pei Su stopped paying attention to Ke-Mo and said to Xie Lian, "So, you see? There are many things in this world that are simply impossible to sort out clearly. You can only fight."
"I agree with the first one," Xie Lian said.
"I agree with the latter," said San Lang for his part.
Ke-Mo's anger subsided slightly and he suddenly said, "Yong'an people are very shameless, but you are the most shameless I've ever seen. You're an apathetic person, Pei Su. You killed us not for your kingdom, or for the sake of saving your people."
At those words, Pei Su fell silent.
Ke-Mo continued, "You, the son of an exile, are despised by everyone. You only had to win this battle in order to get a foothold in the Yong'an army and climb the ranks. Sadly, Banyue still thinks you're nice and gives you the benefit of the doubt. She was used by you, and betrayed us for the likes of you."
"But isn't General Pei Junior a descendant of General Pei's?" Xie Lian wondered. With such a reputable ancestor looking out for him, he wouldn't be in such a state, would he?
"He's not a direct descendant of General Pei, but a branch of the family tree with an unknown number of branches," San Lang replied.
So it meant that if he hadn't ascended afterwards, he probably wouldn't have had much chance to obtain any blessings from this old ancestor of his.
"Banyue was originally my subordinate, but was only ordered by me to lurk in the Kingdom of Banyue," Pei Su said indifferently. "She's of Banyue blood as well as of Yong'an. There was no betrayal at all when she chose a side and then stayed loyal to it. I have no remorse for killing those Banyue people for their evil intentions."
Suddenly, a voice from above said, "What a way to put an execution without remorse! And those travelers who have been led into the Pass by you over the years to perish at the bottom of this pit, dare you say you have no remorse for their deaths as well?"
Continuation to Chapter 29:
0 notes
plainheyokasworld · 2 days ago
Text
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 29: White-Clad Wind Master, Sandstorm Rising From the Level Ground
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
XIE LIAN intentionally took a step forward, stopped in front of San Lang and said, "I know better than anyone else who I am."
"Then why do you still dare to stand next to him even now?" Fu Yao said.
"Because... no snake will come to bite you if you stand next to him," replied Xie Lian honestly.
"..."
Hearing this answer, San Lang "puffed" and burst out laughing. Fu Yao's face, on the other hand, turned even more blue as he said, "You..."
As he turned blue, Fu Yao's face suddenly turned pure black. Not only his face, but also Xie Lian's entire vision turned pure black.
It turned out that the flaming barrier that Fu Yao had created and the flames he had cast at the bottom of the pit had suddenly all gone out!
In the darkness, Xie Lian heard San Lang snickered twice and said, "Rubbish!" Then he felt San Lang take him by the shoulders. Immediately afterwards, Xie Lian heard a sharp and fierce "thud" sound above them, as if a torrential rain had hit the surface of an umbrella.
Needless to say, the purplish-red rain of snakes had no intercepting barrier to stop it and was falling wildly. And there was an umbrella overhead, blocking the rain of snakes!
Xie Lian smelt a strong whiff of blood and was about to move, but San Lang said, "Don't move. No ungodly thing dares to come over."
He spoke with certainty, the first sentence low and soft, but the second tinged with arrogance. Xie Lian wasn't worried, but when he heard Fu Yao's roar of anger from the other side, as if he had been pelted with snake rain, he said, "San Lang!"
San Lang immediately said, "No."
Xie Lian was at a loss whether to cry or to laugh, saying, "How do you know what I'm going to say?"
"You can rest assured. He won't die," replied San Lang.
At that moment, a roar came from the front of the two of them, "Banyue! If you want me to die, just let them bite me dead right off! What the hell is this?"
"It wasn't me!" Banyue said. Presumably Ke-Mo had been pounded awake to find himself buried in the midst of countless slippery snakes and decided that it was Banyue's doing. "Fu Yao, can you still ignite a fire? Ignite another fire!" Xie Lian said.
Fu Yao gritted his teeth. "That thing next to you is suppressing my spiritual power and won't let me light a fire!"
Xie Lian's heart sank, but San Lang said, "I didn't."
"I know you didn't, and it's because you didn't that it's not right," Xie Lian said. "Banyue and Ke-Mo are both shackled by the Immortal Binding Rope and unable to cast spells, I've run out of spiritual power and you're not suppressing his. That means there's a sixth person at the bottom of this pit?!"
"Have you lost your mind?" Fu Yao snapped. "There's no sixth person! No one's even come down from up there!"
At this point, he heard Banyue say, "Who is it?"
"Banyue, what's wrong? Did someone come to you?" asked Xie Lian.
"Someone..." answered Banyue, and before she finished her sentence, her voice disappeared. Xie Lian called out again, "Banyue?!"
Still fighting snakes, brief waves of white light exploding one after the other in pitch blackness, Fu Yao warned, "Be careful she's tricking you into coming closer!"
"Not necessarily," Xie Lian responded. "Save her first!" He was about to dash into the rain of snakes when he heard San Lang whisper in his ear, "Alright!"
Xie Lian only felt a hand wrapped around his shoulder, instantly leading him out. He suddenly realized the fact that the teenager was actually holding the umbrella with one hand and holding him with the other, advancing to attack. In the darkness, silver glints flashed accompanied by tinkling sounds. Suddenly, an ear-splitting clash of swords sound cut through everyone's ears. "Oh?" San Lang said, "There really is a sixth person. Interesting."
How he controlled the weapon, or what kind of weapon he controlled was unknown, but at that moment, the weapon he was wielding was indeed meeting head-to-head with another person's blade!
The other party didn't say a word, and Xie Lian heard the sound of a sword slashing through the air, presumably it was another launch of attack. Every now and then a dazzling spark lit up in the darkness, but it was too fleeting to illuminate the other party's face. While listening attentively to the battle, Xie Lian raised his voice and called out, "Are you still conscious, Banyue? Can you answer me?"
There was no reply. "Maybe the person he's fighting is her!" exclaimed Fu Yao.
"No, this is definitely not Banyue!" Xie Lian said.
Again, it was a battle in the dark. When he fought Ke-Mo, San Lang was relaxed as if he was teasing his opponent. This fight, however, was slightly more serious. His opponent was a skilled fighter who used his weapon with ease. Banyue, on the other hand, was small and thin. It was obvious just by looking at her arms that physical strength and weapons weren't her forte, so it couldn't be her. But who was this sixth person? And when did they show up?!
"This kind of betrayer of their own kingdom is no different from the female ghost Xuan Ji!" Fu Yao grumbled. "Why on earth do you still believe her?"
"Fu Yao, would you stop being so rash?" Xie Lian said. "You... wait, what did you just say?"
Fu Yao blasted away several scorpion-tailed snakes with another palm-strike and said, "I said why on earth do you trust her so much? It's the same as trusting that thing next to you!"
But Xie Lian said, "No, that's not what I'm talking about — you said Xuan Ji. You mentioned Xuan Ji, didn't you?!"
"So what?! That's completely irrelevant!"
Xie Lian, however, held his breath for a moment and said, "You can stop fighting now! There's no need to hide anymore, I already know who you are!"
The sound of the sword clashing didn't stop, and the other party remained indifferent. Xie Lian wasn't in a hurry, either. "Do you think that I'm trying to trick you by saying that I already know who you are? General Pei Junior?"
Fu Yao was astounded. "Who are you talking to? General Pei Junior? Don't be crazy. Who wouldn't know of General Pei's identity right away once he descended?"
"You're quite right," Xie Lian responded. "But what if he hadn't descended as his true self?"
In the darkness, the sound of blades clashing stagnated for a moment, then continued.
"I found out too late," Xie Lian said. "In fact, I should've thought of it from the beginning."
"I knew that something had been constantly stirring up trouble at Banyue Pass for nearly two hundred years, but no heavenly officials had ever paid attention to it, and everyone was reluctant to mention it either, which meant that it had to be someone who everyone dared not offend who was suppressing this matter. But because I am not familiar with all the heavenly officials who are currently in the Upper Court, and dare not make any wild guesses, I haven't ventured to speculate as to which heavenly official it might be."
It was Fu Yao's mention of the female ghost Xuan Ji that reminded him of this.
When the female ghost Xuan Ji was mentioned, it was inevitable to associate it with the two Pei generals. To the North was the territory of the two Pei generals, and Fu Yao had offhandedly mentioned that prior to his ascension, General Pei Junior had done one thing: slaughter a city.
What city was it that was slaughtered?
In all likelihood, it was the ancient city of the Kingdom of Banyue!
This kind of thing wasn't unusual among the heavenly officials of the Upper Court. After all, who didn't have to shed a little blood in order to accomplish their goals? But after all, the slaughter of a city wasn't a particularly honorable thing, and if word spread too widely, it would inevitably have an impact on the absorption of new believers. Therefore, after ascension, it was often necessary to cover-up and whitewash the situation a little. So although everyone knew about it, they didn't look into it too closely. After all, if there was no deep animosity or ill-will, who would want to dig into someone's past and offend the backers behind them?
"That mud-buried face said that one of us in this group was here fifty or sixty years ago," Xie Lian said unhurriedly. "I originally suspected that this statement was a lie that he had told to lure others closer, but it was also likely to be true.
"Earlier, out of this group, you were the one I suspected the most. That the caravan followed you and you could take them wherever you wish to take them. I had never seen a scorpion-tailed snake in all the years I had lived in the Kingdom of Banyue, but you just happened to encounter this rare poisonous creature when you found a random place to shelter from the sandstorm?
"I asked you to come with us to find the Shan Yue herbs. Before you left you even made a point of showing the others the way, telling them the direction of the Banyue ruins so that the others who couldn't wait for us to return could also go there on their own. Just now, on top of the Sinners' Pit, I had clearly said that I would go first if anything were to happen. Yet you, who was always calm, suddenly jumped in and sent yourself to a pointless death."
After a pause, he said, "You've been acting so strangely and irrationally in every way, and it's already too late for me to find out who you are until now, isn't it? General Pei Junior? Or should I call you by your current name — Ah Zhao!"
There was an abrupt, dead silence.
It was only after a long time that a voice finally responded coldly, "Didn't it ever occur to you that perhaps that mud-buried face was talking about the red-robed teenager beside you?"
No sooner had the words been spoken, a firelight abruptly lit up at the bottom of the Sinners' Pit. The bright light illuminated two crimson-colored figures that were facing each other.
One was the red-clad San Lang, who had already put away his weapon and was standing at ease; the other was a young man in plain clothing, who still held a sword in front of him, and hadn't let go of it.
Because the young man in plain clothing was covered with blood, it actually looked like he was wearing a red robe as well. His face was cold and sullen as he carried a person on his shoulder. Sure enough, it was that young man, Ah Zhao.
In fact, whether it was General Pei Junior himself or Ah Zhao, the bland, overly unruffled expression on his face remained unchanged. It was just that Xie Lian had never thought of it that way, so he didn't connect these two together.
The one he was carrying on his shoulder was none other than Banyue. He probably released the snakes to steal Banyue away during the chaos, but since his identity had been exposed, there was no longer any need to create confusion. The torrent of snakes around them ceased bombarding. In turn, he put away his sword with one hand, and laid Banyue down on the ground with the other. An astonished Ke-Mo on the other side said, "Who are you? Didn't you already fall to your death?"
Ah Zhao didn't spare a single glance at all at Ke-Mo, still staring intently at San Lang, and simply said in Banyue language, "Ke-Mo, you really haven't changed after hundreds of years."
Perhaps it was the overly familiar tone of this bland, infuriating voice that instantly brought anger on Ke-Mo's dark face upon hearing it. "...It's you!!! Pei Su?!"
If it wasn't for the Immortal Binding Rope that was firmly tying him up, very likely he would have charged at Ah Zhao to fight to the death.
"General Pei Junior, the scorpion-tailed snakes follow more than one person's orders," Xie Lian said. "Those scorpion-tailed snakes that Banyue said were disobedient and went out to bite people were all manipulated by you, weren't they?"
Pei Su was quick to admit it, "Mm. It was me."
"Did Banyue teach you how to manipulate the scorpion-tailed snakes?" asked Xie Lian.
"She didn't," Pei Su replied. "But I can learn how to manipulate them myself."
"After all, General Pei Junior is exceptionally intelligent," said Xie Lian.
After a pause, he asked, "When did you two meet? How did you get to know each other?"
But Pei Su gave him a look and said, "General Hua."
Xie Lian was inexplicably baffled. "Why are you calling me that, too?"
"Don't you recognize me, General Hua?" Pei Su said quietly.
"..."
Then, Xie Lian remembered.
There was a previous vague memory that Banyue had been ostracized by the Banyue children when she was a child, and there was only one young boy from Yong'an who occasionally attended to her. That teenager wasn't very talkative like Banyue. Many of the border children were army sons and daughters stationed at the border, and most of them would join the army when they grew up. Could it be…
"It's you?!" Xie Lian said. "I... I can't believe I only just recognized you."
Pei Su nodded his head. "It's me. I only just recognized you too, General."
No wonder. It turned out that Banyue and the enemy general had known each other for so long!
"Did Banyue really open the city gates at your behest?" asked Xie Lian.
On the other side, Ke-Mo spat and said, "Untie the rope so that I can fight this despicable Pei Su again to the death!"
"Firstly, we fought to the death two hundred years ago and you've already lost," Pei Su said coldly. "Secondly, dare I ask, how am I despicable?"
"If it weren't for you two conspiring and working from the inside out, how would we have lost?" Ke-Mo retorted.
"Ke-Mo, don't you dare deny it," Pei Su said. "At that time I only had two thousand men with me, but it was only a matter of time for me to break through the city gates."
Xie Lian couldn't help but interrupt, "Wait a minute, you were sent to attack a kingdom with only two thousand men under your command? How could that be? Wasn't that a death sentence? Were you more ostracized in the army than I was?"
"..."
Pei Su didn't say anything. It seemed that Xie Lian had been right. He added, "Since you were sure to win, why did you ask Banyue to open the city gates for you?"
"Because I want to slaughter everyone in the city," answered Pei Su.
"What do you mean?" Xie Lian asked. "If you were already going to win, why did you have to slaughter everyone in the city?" It couldn't be a hobby of his!
"It was because we were close to winning that we must slaughter the city," Pei Su replied. "And we must do it quickly, immediately, sparing no one."
The phrase "sparing no one" sounded eerie. "What was the reason?" asked Xie Lian.
"The night before the attack, many Banyue clan leaders joined together to hold a meeting and agreed on something in secret," Pei Su said.
"What was it?"
"The Banyue people are violent by nature and harbor intense hatred for the Yong'an Kingdom so much that even if they knew they were about to lose, they refused to admit it," Pei Su said. "The men, women, children, people of all ages of the entire Kingdom of Banyue were all prepared to make a batch of things as quickly as they could."
Xie Lian already had a vague guess of what that was. And the two words that Pei Su spat out were indeed what he had in mind.
"Explosives!"
Pei Su said word for word, "They planned to have the inhabitants of the kingdom hide these explosives on their bodies in case the city fell to ruin and were defeated, and immediately scattered and absconded from all directions to sneak into Yong'an, specifically mixed in the crowded places waiting for the opportunity to riot. Even if they die themselves, they would drag more Yong'an people to their deaths. Even if they perished, they vowed to disturb the peace of the kingdom that brought their ruin."
That was why the civilians had to be eliminated in one fell swoop before they had time to flee…
Xie Lian immediately turned to Ke-Mo. "Is that true?"
Without any intention of concealing it, Ke-Mo said, "True!"
At those words, San Lang raised an eyebrow and said, "Ruthless, ruthless."
He said this in Banyue language, and Ke-Mo said indignantly, "Ruthless? Who are you to call us ruthless? If you hadn't struck us first, how could we have been pushed to this point? You ruined us, and we're getting back at you in the same way? How is that wrong?"
"If that's the case, why don't we settle the score from the beginning then?" Pei Su said. "How many times had the Banyue people deliberately stirred up trouble along the border? How many merchant caravans and travelers from Yong'an to the West have been maliciously intercepted by the Kingdom of Banyue? You knew that there were horse thieves in your own kingdom who stopped and robbed and massacred Yong'an people, but you deliberately covered up for them. And the soldiers sent by Yong'an to round up the thieves were instead killed by you on the grounds that they had trespassed the border and committed crimes. How is that not ruthless?"
Though he didn't speak fast and his tone wasn't agitated, every word had a sharpness to it. "But it was you who forcibly occupied our land first, and only then did we fight back," Ke-Mo retorted.
"The border between the two kingdoms was originally ambiguous, how can it be considered forcibly occupied?" Pei Su said.
"The two sides had already demarcated the territory a long time ago. It was you who failed to keep your word!" Ke-Mo said.
"Only your side had agreed to the demarcation, but had Yong'an ever agreed to it?" Pei Su countered. "Your so-called demarcation was nothing more than that the desert was all ours and the oasis was all yours. It's ridiculous!"
"The oasis was originally ours," Ke-Mo said angrily. "The Banyue people had grown up on the oasis for generations!"
Both sides were so insistent and sticking to their own arguments. Just listening to them was making Xie Lian's head spin and recalling how he had been beaten and battered in between two opposing sides two hundred years ago. Suddenly, his face seemed to ache faintly again. Pei Su stopped paying attention to Ke-Mo and said to Xie Lian, "So, you see? There are many things in this world that are simply impossible to sort out clearly. You can only fight."
"I agree with the first one," Xie Lian said.
"I agree with the latter," said San Lang for his part.
Ke-Mo's anger subsided slightly and he suddenly said, "Yong'an people are very shameless, but you are the most shameless I've ever seen. You're an apathetic person, Pei Su. You killed us not for your kingdom, or for the sake of saving your people."
At those words, Pei Su fell silent.
Ke-Mo continued, "You, the son of an exile, are despised by everyone. You only had to win this battle in order to get a foothold in the Yong'an army and climb the ranks. Sadly, Banyue still thinks you're nice and gives you the benefit of the doubt. She was used by you, and betrayed us for the likes of you."
"But isn't General Pei Junior a descendant of General Pei's?" Xie Lian wondered. With such a reputable ancestor looking out for him, he wouldn't be in such a state, would he?
"He's not a direct descendant of General Pei, but a branch of the family tree with an unknown number of branches," San Lang replied.
So it meant that if he hadn't ascended afterwards, he probably wouldn't have had much chance to obtain any blessings from this old ancestor of his.
"Banyue was originally my subordinate, but was only ordered by me to lurk in the Kingdom of Banyue," Pei Su said indifferently. "She's of Banyue blood as well as of Yong'an. There was no betrayal at all when she chose a side and then stayed loyal to it. I have no remorse for killing those Banyue people for their evil intentions."
Suddenly, a voice from above said, "What a way to put an execution without remorse! And those travelers who have been led into the Pass by you over the years to perish at the bottom of this pit, dare you say you have no remorse for their deaths as well?"
To be continued. This chapter is too long...
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plainheyokasworld · 3 days ago
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Daily update of Heaven Official's Blessing SIMPLE translation😊. For the love of HuaLian❤️...
All chapters so far:
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
PLEASE SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
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plainheyokasworld · 3 days ago
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HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 28: Ambiguous Hua Lian Trapped in the Sinners' Pit at Night (V)
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"I REALLY don't remember!" Xie Lian said.
Even though he couldn't die, he couldn't stand such a hacking and thought to himself, 'I can't go on like this!' He immediately decided to lie down on the ground motionless and pretend to be dead, but even then he was stomped and trampled on so hard that he passed out. When he woke up, he was choking on water, because after the war, they cleaned up the battlefield, and all the corpses were thrown into the river. Xie Lian was washed back to Yong'an like a rag along the river. After that, he recuperated from his injuries for three or four years, picked up a compass that hadn't broken and set off again, finally reaching the South of his original destination as he had hoped, and paid little attention to what was going on in the Kingdom of Banyue.
"I'm sorry," Banyue whispered again.
"Why does she keep saying sorry to you?" asked Fu Yao, frowning.
San Lang suddenly said, "Ke-Mo said that it was only after a sudden upheaval broke out that the Guoshi of Banyue went to the Central Plains. Did this upheaval have anything to do with you?"
After he reminded him, Xie Lian recalled the content of the stele, and vaguely recalled something. "Ah, it seems..."
"It was to save me," Banyue said.
Everyone looked at her and she whispered, "General Hua was trampled flat to save me."
"..."
Xie Lian instantly recalled the agony of being trampled by hundreds of thousand feet, and couldn't resist wrapping his arms around himself. Seeing the other two also staring at him with an unfathomable expression, he hastened to let go of his arms, saying, "Not flat. Really, I'm not flat!"
Fu Yao didn't know what was so displeasing about it, but he said grimly, "Well, you're really sacrificing yourself for others."
Xie Lian waved his hand. "I don't think so. It's like I was just gonna grab the child and run away immediately. Who knew it was too late to retreat? So, I turned around and ran into the fight between the two sides..."
"If that's the case, how can you not even remember such a thing clearly?" asked Fu Yao.
"You don't even look at how many hundreds of years old I am," Xie Lian said. "A lot of things can happen in a year, and a whole person can change in ten years, let alone hundreds of years. It's impossible to remember every single thing clearly. And a lot of things are better forgotten. Instead of remembering being slashed and stomped on hundreds of times hundreds of years ago, why not remember the delicious meat bun you ate yesterday, no?"
"I'm sorry," Banyue said.
Xie Lian sighed. "Banyue ah, it was my own choice to save you, it wasn't your fault. If you want to say you're sorry, perhaps you should say it to someone else."
Banyue was stunned and bowed her head in silence.
Xie Lian added, "But... maybe my impression of you is still stuck in two hundred years ago. I always felt that you weren't the kind of kid who'd go out of your way to get revenge and betray people... Are you willing to tell me what's really going on? Why did you open the city gates?"
Banyue thought for a moment, shook her head and continued to be silent.
"Then, why did you set the snakes free to bite people?" asked Xie Lian.
This time, however, Banyue said, "I didn't set the snakes free."
Xie Lian was stunned. "What?"
"I didn't set the snakes free, they ran off on their own," Banyue said. "Somehow, they don't listen to me anymore."
At these words, Fu Yao's face showed impatience. "General Hua, I'm not lying," said Banyue.
Before Xie Lian could say anything, Fu Yao said nonchalantly, "Isn't that what anyone would say after being captured? It's no use even if you say you didn't do it on purpose, I've heard that one too many times. Those who crossed the Pass were indeed bitten by your snakes. Hold out your hands to be taken away."
Banyue shut her mouth and really held out her hands. Fu Yao immediately threw out an Immortal Binding Rope from his sleeve and bound her and Ke-Mo, saying, "Alright, the purpose of this trip has been accomplished. This matter can be closed now!"
At that moment, San Lang, who was standing by, said, "She has no reason to lie."
Feeling the need to ask again, Xie Lian said to Banyue, "Are you unable to summon the scorpion-tailed snakes at all now?"
"I can summon them," replied Banyue. "Most of the time they listen to me, but sometimes they don't. I don't know why."
"Summon the snakes and show us," Xie Lian said.
Earlier, Banyue had been kneeling in front of him, and now she finally got up and nodded her head. In a short time, a purplish-red scorpion-tailed snake slithered out from underneath a corpse, raised its upper body and coiled on top of the pile of corpses, silently flicking its tongue to them. Xie Lian was about to take a closer look at the snake when he saw Banyue's eyes widen slightly with a peculiar expression. Seeing this, Xie Lian's heart sank and he said, "Something's amiss."
Sure enough, after the scorpion-tailed snake had finished flicking its tongue, it unexpectedly opened its mouth wide, and suddenly bounced at him in attack!
Though the snake's attack was sudden, Xie Lian was prepared and saw it clearly. He was about to seize it, but before his hand could touch it, there was a "bang", as if something exploded. When he looked again, the snake had fallen limply to the ground and burst into pieces. And, the explosion was extremely measured, without any venom splashing out.
It occurred to Xie Lian immediately that a scorpion-tailed snake had also died in this way before they entered the Banyue ruins, and it was self-explanatory as to who had done it. Before he could raise his eyes to look at San Lang, he saw an arrow-sleeve attached to a red coat stretching out and stopping in front of him, barricading him from Banyue. From the other side Fu Yao said coldly, "Sure enough, she's lying to you. Did you think the snake could have bitten him under these circumstances? Foolish."
Banyue, whose face had already turned pale at the sight of the snake, snapped her head up at the words and said, "I didn't. I said there are snakes that don't listen to me, and that one was just now."
Fu Yao was all but unconvinced. "Who knows whether it disobeyed you or listened to you?"
"That one wasn't even summoned by me," Banyue said in a deep voice.
Xie Lian was about to speak when he saw two more purplish-red scorpion-tailed snakes creep out from underneath the corpse, flicking their tongues at them in a triumphant manner. Then, a third, fourth, and fifth... countless scorpion-tailed snakes slithered out of the mountain of corpses from every corner!
Everyone looked at Banyue, who was kneeling on top of the pile of corpses. An orb of white light conjured in Fu Yao's hands. He shouted to Banyue, "Tell them to back off, they can't all disobey you!"
Banyue's brow furrowed as she seemed to be trying to find a way to drive them away. Yet, more scorpion-tailed snakes continued to appear, squirming and wriggling as they approached. Even if one or two snakes couldn't kill them, it was hard to tell if hundreds or thousands would, and even if they didn't die, it would probably be ugly. Xie Lian raised his hand and was about to summon Ruoye, but he saw those snakes stop when they were still a few feet away, hesitating and forming a weird circle.
Xie Lian had an epiphany and glanced up at San Lang beside him, who was looking down at the scorpion-tailed snakes with contempt in his eyes. As if reading his gaze, the scorpion-tailed snakes dared not approach any closer and retreated a little further, drooping their hideous heads continuously as they did so, laying them on the ground in a submissive manner.
However, it was as if some force was driving them, not allowing them to abandon their attack and simply leave, so many of the scorpion-tailed snakes turned around and slithered towards Fu Yao. With a casual wave of his hand, flames shot out of his sleeve, burning to death a circle of snakes and forcing a circle back.
But this wouldn't last long, so Xie Lian said, "Let's go up and get out of here first."
At his voice, Ruoye flew upwards with a "whoosh". Unexpectedly, it didn't take long for it to return with a "whoosh". Xie Lian was slightly surprised and said to the white silk that was wrapped back around his wrist, "What are you doing back here? The formation has been removed, there's nothing to stop you. Go, quickly."
But Ruoye remained wrapped around his wrist and trembled, as if it had encountered something terrible up there. Xie Lian was about to coax it again when something fell down and hit Fu Yao's shoulder with a "pa". Fu Yao grabbed it smoothly with his hand, but his expression changed drastically and he held his hand up in front of him to see — what had fallen from the sky was also a scorpion-tailed snake!
Momentarily unprepared, Fu Yao was bitten, and hurled the snake fiercely at Banyue's face. Banyue's hands were bound, but she still subconsciously raised her hand to grab it, and caught it squarely. The purplish-red snake coiled itself around her pale wrist and didn't attack. At that moment, there was another "pa" and a second scorpion-tailed snake landed on the ground!
Xie Lian could roughly guess why Ruoye refused to go up there. He raised his head, and with a little help from the moonlight, he could barely make out the scene. Hundreds of purple and red dots were falling rapidly from the top of the Sinners' Pit.
Snake rain!
Seeing those purple dots getting closer and closer, Xie Lian said, "Fu Yao! Fire! Shoot a shield of fire up and finish them all off in mid-air!"
Fu Yao bit his palm and waved his hand. A drop of blood flew upwards, turning into a blazing barrier of flame that flew at full speed upwards to greet the snakes head-on. The fiery barrier rose up dozens of feet and suspended in the air, burning any scorpion-tailed snake that encountered it, instantly turning them into ashes and intercepting the falling rain of snakes.
Temporarily escaping danger, Xie Lian breathed a sigh of relief. "Good job! Fu Yao, it's all thanks to you."
Such a spell was bound to consume a great deal of spiritual power, and after shooting it out, Fu Yao's face turned a little pale. Turning around, he set another ring of fire to burn away the snakes on the ground, and snapped at Banyue, "And you say they don't listen to you? If it wasn't you who controlled them, how come these scorpion-tailed snakes didn't attack you?"
San Lang laughed. "Maybe it's just your bad luck? They didn't attack us, either."
Fu Yao turned his head and swept his eyes over the two with a stern gaze. Xie Lian had a bad hunch in his heart. He had some clue in his mind of what was going on, but didn't have time to sort it out. Not wanting to see them fight first, he said, "Let's figure out what's going on with these snakes first and get out of here."
Fu Yao sneered. "What's going on? Either this Guoshi of Banyue is lying or that one next to you is up to no good!"
Xie Lian glanced at Banyue, then at San Lang and said, "I don't think it's them."
His tone was mild but very firm. This was his conclusion after much reflection, while Fu Yao must have thought that he was intentionally trying to shield them. The light from the fire made Fu Yao's expression look particularly unpleasant, unknown whether he was angry or smiling. "Your Highness, don't pretend to be a fool," he said. "Do you remember who you are? I think you should've known what the hell that thing next to you is. I don't believe you haven't realized it by now!"
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plainheyokasworld · 4 days ago
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Poor Dianxia😢...
"If that's the case, how can you not even remember such a thing clearly?" asked Fu Yao.
"You don't even look at how many hundreds of years old I am," Xie Lian said. "A lot of things can happen in a year, and a whole person can change in ten years, let alone hundreds of years. It's impossible to remember every single thing clearly. And a lot of things are better forgotten. Instead of remembering being slashed and stomped on hundreds of times hundreds of years ago, why not remember the delicious meat bun you ate yesterday, no?"
Chapter 28 of Heaven Official's Blessing
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plainheyokasworld · 4 days ago
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HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 27: Ambiguous Hua Lian Trapped in the Sinners' Pit at Night (IV)
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AFTER jumping down, the Guoshi asked in Banyue language, "Ke-Mo, what's going on?"
When she started to talk, her voice was rather different from what Xie Lian had imagined. It did sound cold, but small, as if a sullen child was muttering to herself, not the kind of merciless, powerful voice. Had it not been for Xie Lian's good hearing ability, perhaps it would have been impossible to hear at all.
"What's going on? They're all dead!" Ke-Mo spat.
"How come they're all dead?" asked the Guoshi.
"It's because you pushed them all down, and locked them up in this hellhole!" replied Ke-Mo.
"Who's here? There's another person," said the Guoshi.
In fact, there should be two other "people" at the bottom of the pit besides Ke-Mo. However, San Lang had neither breath nor heartbeat, so the Guoshi of Banyue couldn't detect his presence at all. It was also so chaotic on top of the pit earlier that it was impossible to keep track of who had fallen and who had run away. Therefore, she thought there was only Xie Lian.
"They're the ones who killed my soldiers. Are you happy now?" roared Ke-Mo. "Finally, they're all dead!"
There was a moment's silence from the Guoshi of Banyue. Then, a tiny light suddenly flared up in the midst of the darkness, illuminating a young girl in black holding a small palm flame.
This girl looked like she was only seventeen or eighteen years old and dressed in a plain black garb. Her eyes were also dark. It wasn't that she was unattractive but her appearance looked very unhappy. The bruises on her forehead and at the corners of her mouth were clearly visible in the firelight.
Had it not been confirmed beforehand, no one would have imagined that the Guoshi of Banyue would actually be such a pale young girl.
The flame also lit up her surroundings. All around her feet were the corpses of armor-clad Banyue soldiers.
Xie Lian couldn't help but glance to the side.
Because the flame held up by that Guoshi was very small, it didn't illuminate the entirety of the bottom of the Sinners' Pit, they remained hidden in the darkness. But by that distant bit of firelight, he could see a red-clad figure next to him.
Maybe it was merely his imagination, San Lang was already taller than him originally, but now he seemed even taller. Xie Lian's gaze slowly moved upward to the teenager's throat, pausing for a moment before continuing upward and resting on that beautifully shaped chin.
The upper half of the teenager's face was still hidden in the darkness, and the lower half of this face, too, seemed subtly different from before. It was no less handsome, but the outline and contours seemed a little more defined. As if noticing Xie Lian's gaze, the face tilted slightly to one side, and the corners of his lips curved shallowly.
Perhaps it was too strong of a desire to see clearly, much closer, and unwittingly, Xie Lian took another step closer towards him.
At that moment, a distant loud cry was heard from Ke-Mo, presumably he was greatly provoked by the sight of this tragic scene. Xie Lian suddenly jolted to his senses and turned back to see Ke-Mo clutching his head. When the Guoshi heard him yell, without joy or sorrow, she only nodded and said, ''Good."
Ke-Mo was grieving and was furious upon hearing that. "Good? What good? What do you mean?!"
"Good means that we're all finally freed," replied the Guoshi.
She turned to Xie Lian who was hidden in the darkness and asked, "Did you kill them?"
"It was an accident," Xie Lian answered.
"What lies are you spewing with your eyes open?!" snapped Ke-Mo.
"Life is full of accidents!" Xie Lian said boldly.
The Guoshi glanced at him, unable to make out his appearance, and asked again, "Who are you?"
The words turned out to be spoken fully in Han dialect*, and not in an interrogative tone either. "I'm a heavenly official from the Upper Court, and this is... my friend," Xie Lian replied.
[*「汉语」 Han language (Han was an ancient Chinese dynasty, which was strong and thus widely used to represent "Chinese people or culture"). 「汉语」 mean Chinese, including both dialect and Mandarin, but if it's not pointed out particularly, in most cases they just means Mandarin.]
Ke-Mo couldn't understand, but could hear that they weren't quarreling and said warily, "What are you talking about?"
The Guoshi's gaze slowly swept over Xie Lian, lingering on San Lang for a moment, then withdrew. "No heavenly official has ever come here before. I thought you guys were done with this place a long time ago."
Xie Lian originally expected a fight with this Guoshi of Banyue, but was slightly surprised to find that she had no desire to fight at all. She asked again, "Do you two want to go out?"
"Of course I want to go out," replied Xie Lian. "But there's a formation set up around here, so there's no way to get out."
Hearing this, the Guoshi walked over to a high wall in the Sinners' Pit, reached out and simply slapped on the wall, then turned back. "I've undo the formation, you can go now."
"..."
This was too good to be true!
Xie Lian no longer knew what to say. It was at that moment that the voice of a man came from far above, saying, "Hey! Is there anyone down there? If there's no one, I'm leaving!"
It was Fu Yao's voice.
Xie Lian seemed to hear a "tsk" from San Lang beside him, and he immediately looked up and indeed saw a black-clad figure looking down. He shouted, "Fu Yao! There's people down here! I'm down here!"
After shouting, he even waved. Fu Yao yelled from above, "Why are you actually down there? What else is down there besides you?"
"There's a lot of stuff down here... besides me, or you can see for yourself," Xie Lian responded.
Fu Yao also seemed to think that it was better to listen to him and to see for himself, so he released a huge fireball and hurled it downwards with a loud "boom".
All at once, the entire bottom of the Sinners' Pit was illuminated by a mass of flame as bright as daylight, and Xie Lian finally got a good look at what kind of place he had been standing in.
Surrounding him on all sides was a mountain of corpses piled to the peak in a sea of blood. The corpses of countless Banyue soldiers stacked in overlapping piles, their dark faces, upper limbs, and shiny armors, smeared with purplish red blood. And where Xie Lian's feet stood was the only empty space without corpses at the bottom of the entire Sinners' Pit.
All this, all done in a split second, in the darkness, after San Lang had jumped down.
Xie Lian turned his head once more to look at the teenager beside him.
Just now, in the darkness, he vaguely noticed that San Lang seemed suddenly taller, and there were subtle differences in some of his features as well. However, at this moment, in the bright fire light, the same handsome young man stood beside him, smiling faintly when he saw Xie Lian looking at him.
Xie Lian looked down at his wrists and boots, and sure enough, they were just like before. They weren't adorned with anything that could make a light tinkling sound.
At that moment, there was a muffled sound of Fu Yao jumping down. Xie Lian said, "Weren't you looking after the merchants?"
Fu Yao had just come down and was still not used to the reeking of blood at the bottom of the pit, frowning and fanning the air with his hand, he said casually, "I've waited for three hours and haven't seen you guys come back, so I guess something happened. I drew a circle for them to stay and told them not to wander elsewhere, then come over to check it out first."
"A drawn circle won't hold up for long," Xie Lian said. "And with you gone like that, they'll inevitably suspect they've been left behind. What if they leave the circle and run around?"
"If a man is eager to seek death, even eight horses can't pull him back, so can't do anything about it," Fu Yao said. "What's up with these two? Who and who?"
He was very vigilant of the other two at the bottom of the pit, but was soon surprised to find that Ke-Mo battered and bruised, lying on the ground with difficulty moving, while the Guoshi of Banyue drooped her head, sullen and silent. "This is the general of Banyue, and this is the Guoshi of Banyue. Right now, they're..." Xie Lian said.
Before the words left his mouth, Ke-Mo suddenly leapt to his feet. He had been lying on his back for so long that he had finally accumulated enough strength. With a loud bellow, he rose to his feet and slapped the Guoshi of Banyue. A burly and strong man beating up a little girl, such a scene was something that Xie Lian would never allow to happen in front of him in the past. But Ke-Mo had a very good reason to hate the Guoshi, who clearly could have dodged but didn't, and was thrown around like a broken doll by him. "Where are your scorpion-tailed snakes?" Ke-Mo said angrily. "Go on, let them bite me to death! Quickly, give me relief too!"
"Ke-Mo, my snakes won't listen to me anymore," the Guoshi said sullenly.
"Then why don't they bite you to death!" Ke-Mo spat.
"...I'm sorry," whispered the Guoshi.
Ke-Mo said, "Do you really hate us that much?"
The Guoshi shook her head. But Ke-Mo was even angrier. "You're pissing me off! You don't hate us, so why did you betray us? You disgraceful undercover, treacherous, unscrupulous thing!!!"
Seeing that Ke-Mo was striking harder and harder, and that the beating was still one-sided, Fu Yao frowned. "Hey, what are they talking about? Should we go up and stop them?"
Xie Lian couldn't stand watching any longer and went up to grab Ke-Mo, saying, "General! General! I think, why don't you tell us who that Yong'an thief really is, and we'll..." Suddenly, the Guoshi grabbed his wrist.
This grab came abruptly, and the grip was deadly tight. Xie Lian's heart sank at first, thinking she was going to seize the advantage of the situation to secretly attack him. Yet, unexpectedly, when he looked down again, this Guoshi was on the ground, with a little bruise at the corner of her mouth, looking up at him. She was apparently silent, but her two dark eyes were glowing with an almost scorching vivacity.
This appearance overlapped with a tiny figure in his memory from an extremely long time ago. Xie Lian blurted out, "It's you?"
The Guoshi also said, "General Hua?"
This came and went, and everyone at the bottom of the pit was stunned. Fu Yao took a step forward and knocked Ke-Mo unconscious with one hand, saying, "You know each other?"
Xie Lian, however, had no time to answer. He knelt down, grabbed the Guoshi's shoulder and examined her face carefully.
The distance between the two of them just now didn't allow him to see her real well. And the fact that the young girl's appearance had changed since she grew up, plus more than two hundred years had passed, for various reasons, made him not recognize her at first. But when he looked at it again, it was clear that this face still looked like the one he remembered!
Xie Lian was unable to speak for a while, and only after a long time did he say, "Banyue?"
The Guoshi grabbed his sleeve all of a sudden and actually looked a little excited. "It's me! General Hua, you still remember me?"
"Of course I remember you. But..." Xie Lian said.
He gazed at the young girl for a moment and sighed. "...But how did you get yourself into such a state?"
Hearing him say that, a few hints of pain suddenly overflowed the Guoshi's eyes.
"I'm sorry, Captain... I messed up," she whispered.
How could this "general" and "captain" not be detected by onlookers? Fu Yao was slightly shocked. "Captain? General? You? How could this be? And the general's tomb is...?"
Xie Lian nodded. "My tomb."
"Didn't you say you came here two hundred years ago to collect junk???" asked Fu Yao.
"It's... hard to explain," Xie Lian replied. "Originally, I intended to do so."
The story goes that one certain day, two hundred years ago, for some reason, Xie Lian could no longer hang on living in the East, so he decided to lie low and planned to cross the Qin Mountains and go South to break into a new world of collecting junk. So, he took his compass and set off South.
The whole way, he was depressed. Why did he feel that the scenery on the road wasn't quite right? Why was it getting more and more desolate when it was supposed to be lush with greenery and densely populated?
Puzzled as he was, he kept on walking persistently until he came to the Gobi desert and was blown by a strong wind and ate a mouthful of sand, before he realized that the compass he was carrying had long since broken.
The directions he was given along the way were all wrong!
He couldn't do anything about it. With the idea that he might as well have a look around the desert, Xie Lian continued on, only to change his destination to the Northwest at the last moment. Finally, he made it all the way to the border and settled temporarily near the Kingdom of Banyue.
"At first, I was only collecting junk and stuff around here," Xie Lian said. "But the border was in turmoil and there were often army deserters, so the army seized people indiscriminately to fill the ranks."
"So you were forced to join the army?" asked San Lang.
"Yes, I was seized," Xie Lian replied. "But whatever I did was more or less the same, so I became a soldier. Later, I drove away bandits a few times, and somehow made it to the rank of captain. Those who gave me a face also called me General."
Fu Yao wondered again. "But why did she call you General Hua? Your surname isn't Hua."
Xie Lian waved his hand. "Don't mind that. I thoughtlessly made up a fake at the time, I think it was Hua Xie."
Hearing this name, San Lang's expression changed slightly and the corners of his lips curled in a faint manner. Xie Lian didn't notice and continued, "There were many orphans at the war-torn border, and I played with them occasionally in my spare time. One of them... is named Banyue."
When there were bandits, Xie Lian was surely the bravest soldier. No one dared to block him or even stand next to him. But when there were none, it seemed as if anyone could boss him around.
One day, he found a wall of sand, build a fire and cooked with his own helmet. As he cooked, the smell wafted out, so much so that some angry soldiers came over and kicked over the stuff he was cooking. Xie Lian went to pick up his helmet with an aching heart. When he turned around, he saw a dirty and unkempt child crouching behind him, picking up something that had fallen to the ground and eating it, despite the fact that it was hot, which stunned him. "No! Wait, kid. You!"
Sure enough, that little child huffed and puffed and ate a few lumps of stuff she picked up from the ground, gagged, and wailed, scaring Xie Lian into carrying her upside down and ran about in a frenzy for a good while before she finally emptied what she had eaten. After that, Xie Lian crouched down and wiped his sweat. "Are you alright, kid... I'm sorry, but please don't tell your parents about this. Next time don't pick up anything off the ground to eat... Wait, what are you doing again!"
The child actually went to pick it up again with teary eyes, and even tried to eat it. It was only when Xie Lian grabbed her that he realized that the child's belly was practically pressed to her spine.
One could eat anything when hungry to this extent. Even though it was disgusting to the point of tears, the child still wanted to eat it.
Xie Lian had no choice but to go back and bring her the last of his rations. Then later, the child could often be seen spying on him from the shadows nearby.
As far as Xie Lian could remember, this child named Banyue always looked so unhappy and always carried bruises on her body and face. When looking at him, that was how she would grab the hem of his clothes and stare up from below. Because she was ostracized among the Banyue children, apart from Xie Lian, only a young Yong'an boy who lived on the border occasionally paid any attention to her, so she spent her days following these two around.
She rarely spoke, but she spoke Han dialect, so Xie Lian was never able to figure out where she was from. Anyway, when he saw unattended children wandering about, he would just take them with him indiscriminately. In his spare time, he taught her to sing, wrestle and occasionally show off his "breaking boulders on the chest" act. It was a good relationship.
"I thought that the word 'Banyue' in Guoshi of Banyue referred to the kingdom," Xie Lian said, "but I never thought that the name of the Guoshi was really Banyue."
"What happened afterwards?" Fu Yao asked.
"Afterwards... it was pretty much the same as what the stele on that general's tomb said," replied Xie Lian.
After a moment of silence, San Lang said, "The stele said that you were dead."
At the mention of that stele, Xie Lian felt depressed.
Weren't inscriptions in general supposed to sing the praises and glorify memory of the person to the utmost? It didn't matter if they wrote down about his continuous demotion in rank, but how could they write down such a humiliating way of his death in a serious manner?
When he read this paragraph while sheltering from the wind, he could hardly look straight at it. If it weren't for the fact that San Lang could read Banyue script and was also watching, he would have pretended that the paragraph about how he died wasn't written on the stele. How could he blame others for wanting to laugh when they saw it, when even he himself sputtered at the sight of it? It was a bit depressing when people came to his memorial tomb to take shelter from the sandstorm, and when they saw his deeds on the stele, they had to make frivolous remarks about them and have a good laugh, and he was embarrassed to ask people not to laugh. Xie Lian felt like his forehead was getting red from rubbing it as he said, "Ah, that, of course I'm not dead. I played dead."
Fu Yao looked at him in disbelief. Xie Lian argued, "I've been trampled on so much that I couldn't get up, so I couldn't help but play dead."
In fact, Xie Lian couldn't remember exactly how he "died", nor could he remember exactly why the soldiers of the two kingdoms fought that battle, except that it was over some silly and petty stuff that he really didn't want to fight at all. However, by then he had already been demoted beyond demotion and no one would listen to him. Both sides were fighting to the death. As soon as Xie Lian rushed out, and when both sides saw that it was him, somehow their swords and knives were hurled violently at him. Fu Yao questioned, "Must be the fact that you always stuck your nose in the middle and got in the way that raised the hatred from both sides, right? Otherwise, why else would people chop you when they see you? And you knew you were hated so much, right? If so, why didn't you avoid all those people and charge in? You could certainly dodge if you wanted to."
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plainheyokasworld · 6 days ago
Text
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 26: Ambiguous Hua Lian Trapped in the Sinners' Pit at Night (III)
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THE more Xie Lian listened, the more curious and puzzled he became. "General, I'd like to ask..."
But Ke-Mo said, "Don't ask anymore! What else do you want to ask after killing my soldiers? I won't answer, so let's fight!"
"I killed them, he didn't do it," said San Lang. "You can answer him and then fight me."
That made perfect sense. "You're both her subordinates, all the same!" Ke-Mo said angrily.
Xie Lian immediately said, "General Ke-Mo, you've misunderstood something. How can we be her subordinates when we originally came to this Gobi to eradicate the Guoshi of Banyue?"
Upon hearing him say that they were here to eradicate the Guoshi of Banyue, Ke-Mo fell silent. After a while, he asked, "If you weren't sent by her, why did you kill my soldiers?"
"Isn't it because you tried to throw us down here that we had no choice but to defend ourselves?" Xie Lian replied.
"Nonsense, I wasn't even going to throw you. I just clearly caught you," Ke-Mo said. "You were the ones who insisted on jumping down yourselves!"
Xie Lian could only say, "Right, right, right, we were the ones who wanted to jump into the pit. General, now that we're all trapped at the bottom of this pit, let's just call it a truce for now. Why did the Guoshi of Banyue open the gates and lead the army to slaughter the city?"
Ke-Mo wasn't going to listen to his reasoning, and was still grudging. "You two are despicable, you beat me together."
Xie Lian was helpless. "I really only smacked you once. I didn't do much."
He didn't mind being called despicable and slick or whatever. If the situation was critical, not to mention two against one, he wouldn't be ashamed to bring a hundred to fight one. Who would care about fighting one-on-one? But just now, San Lang was obviously holding the upper hand, and had told Xie Lian not to fight. Yet, it turned out that Ke-Mo seemed to think that he could beat San Lang in a solo fight, and Xie Lian really felt miserable for him. However, judging by Ke-Mo's character, he should be able to talk easily, so Xie Lian could take his time, no problem. However, San Lang had little patience and said idly from aside, "For the sake of your soldiers, you'd better answer him."
"They've already been killed by you," Ke-Mo said. "It's futile using them to threaten me."
"But their bodies are still here," said San Lang.
Ke-Mo seemed to be unable to stay down and asked warily, "What do you want?"
"That's for you to ask, what do you want?" replied San Lang.
By the sound of his voice alone, Xie Lian could already imagine his eyes narrowing as he said it, "Do you want them to be well in their next life, or do you want them to be reborn as a puddle of blood?"
Ke-Mo froze at first for a moment, then understood. "You?!"
The people of the Kingdom of Banyue placed great importance on funeral rites. They believe that what the body of the deceased looked like at the time of their death was what they would look like in the next life. For example, if one dies with one arm missing, they would be reborn in the next life as a one-armed cripple. If the corpses at the bottom of this pit were really crushed into a puddle of blood, wouldn't it be better to have no next life at all?
Ke-Mo was a pureblood Banyue native, and couldn't help but be afraid. Sure enough, he could be heard grating his teeth on the other side of the darkness for a while, and then, finally said helplessly, "You don't touch their bodies! They were good and gallant soldiers, and it's already unfortunate for them to have stuck at the bottom of this Sinners' Pit for so many years. I don't know if it counts as a merciful release to have them wiped out by you today. But they must never again be subjected to such an insult."
After a pause, he added, "Are you really here to kill Banyue?"
"No deception whatsoever," Xie Lian answered gently. "As the saying goes, if you know your enemy, you will win every battle. The deeds of the Guoshi of Banyue are little known to outsiders. There's no way to deal with her if we don't know where to start. But General Ke-Mo, since you have worked with her, you should be able to give us some pointers."
Perhaps it was because they were facing the same enemy, or because of falling into an abyss from which it was impossible for him to climb out of, sitting on top of a mound of his soldiers' corpses, disheartened, Ke-Mo seemed to have put away his hostility for the moment. "Don't you know why she opened the gates and let the Yong'an people in? Because she just wanted to get back at us. She hates the Kingdom of Banyue!"
"What do you mean she hates the Kingdom of Banyue? Isn't the Guoshi a citizen of Banyue?" asked Xie Lian.
"Yes. But not entirely," replied Ke-Mo. "She's of mixed-blood, and half of her is of the Yong'an citizen!"
"Ah..."
It turned out that the Guoshi of Banyue was born to a woman from the Banyue Kingdom and a man from Yong'an. In this borderland, where the citizens of the two kingdoms loathed each other, this couple of different nations lead an extremely difficult life. After a few years, the Yong'an man could no longer tolerate this kind of life and left the border to return to the prosper and peaceful Yong'an.
The two had agreed to separate, but not long after, the woman from the Kingdom of Banyue also died of depression due to her heartbreak. They left behind a daughter of six or seven years old, who grew up unattended and constantly hungry. The parents were looked upon with disdain, and so their daughter, too, received the same treatment. The Banyue people were all tall, and both men and women were considered to be strong and active. Yet this girl, who was of mixed-blood, looked extremely skinny and feeble among the Banyue children. As a result, she was often bullied, and her character gradually became more and more gloomy and peculiar. No children of Banyue would play with her, but some of the Yong'an children were still willing to pay attention to her.
When the mixed-blood girl was in her teens, a riot broke out along the border and the armies of both sides fought. Many people died in this battle, after which the little mixed-blood girl disappeared.
She originally had no relatives or friends in the Kingdom of Banyue and disappeared for several years without anyone caring to ask. However, things would be different by the time she reappeared.
In the past few years, she had actually traveled thousands of miles and trekked through the Gobi desert by herself to Yong'an. No one knew what strange encounter she had there, but she learned a very evil magic skill and came back with the ability to manipulate the most feared poison of the Banyue people — the scorpion-tailed snake.
To see her return wasn't only awe-inspiring, but also frightening to some of the Banyue people. For the young girl's character hadn't changed in any way; still being as gloomy and withdrawn as ever. Many of the Banyue people had bullied her back then, but now she had entered the palace to serve and became a mage* of great status. If she ever wanted to get back at them one day, wasn't she going to trouble them?
[*「法师」 fǎ shī — Master (title of respect for a Buddhist or Taoist priest, one who has mastered the sutras (Buddhism), or magic arts)]
"I'm sure there were quite a few Banyue people who spoke ill of her," Xie Lian said.
Ke-Mo grunted. "Not only did they speak ill of her, they went straight to the palace to speak to the king, saying that she was a messenger sent by the venomous scorpion-tailed snake to wreck the Kingdom of Banyue, and should be hanged. But none of them succeeded."
"Did she have those people hang first?" Xie Lian guessed.
Ke-Mo was even more disgusted. "You Yong'an people, why are you full of such insidious and malicious thoughts? No! It was I who protected her."
Xie Lian said helplessly, "I've told you that I'm not from Yong'an... Alright, forget it."
At that time, Ke-Mo was already a general. On one occasion, he took his soldiers to besiege the desert bandits, bringing along the young lady who was the palace mage.
The bandits were very thorough, and had built a nest below the sand. Both sides were killed and wounded in the battle, and Ke-Mo won. However, the battle caused the nest below the sand to collapse, coupled with the fact that the storm was coming, making it impossible to stay long. Ke-Mo withdrew with some of his soldiers, but some of them, including the mage, didn't make it out in time.
After retreating to safety and waiting for the sandstorm to pass, Ke-Mo returned to dig out the soldiers for burial, only to discover that the mage had dug a sizable underground hole with her own strength and dragged all the surviving and wounded soldiers inside to shelter them from the wind.
The bodies of the deceased had also been dug out and laid down neatly. She had done all this with her bare hands. When they arrived, the mage was covered in blood, yet she remained silent at the mouth of the hole, waiting for them, hugging her knees, as if she were a little lone wolf.
"After that incident, I thought she was very kind and did the right thing, and definitely had no intention of wreaking havoc on the Kingdom of Banyue, so I vouched for her and refuted all those malicious voices," Ke-Mo said.
The fact that Ke-Mo had been bullied by his peers as a child because of his frailty, it was only natural that he was quite empathetic towards this young girl, and also paid a lot of attention to her. The more he paid attention, the more he found out about the mage's great abilities, and so he recommended her all the way up to the position of Guoshi, and as later recorded — became the most loyal advocate of the Guoshi of Banyue.
That is, until another great war broke out and the Yong'an Kingdom sent an army to besiege the Kingdom of Banyue.
"The two kingdoms had been engaged in a long drawn out war," Ke-Mo said. "She conducted a sacrificial ritual to pray to Heaven, and said that it would offer our Banyue soldiers protection."
Thus, the soldiers' murderous spirit and will to fight was greatly boosted as they guarded and defended the city gates to the death. The battle was fierce with flying arrows, gigantic rolling boulders, boiling oil and clash of swords.
Unexpectedly, this Guoshi suddenly opened the city gates at the most intense moment of the battle.
In a split second, tens of thousands of enemy troops swarmed into the city in a frenzy with the gates wide open. The armored horsemen trampled through the entire city and instantly turned it into a sacrificial altar of blood!
Ke-Mo, who was fighting hard against the enemy, was furious when he heard that the Guoshi had opened the gates of the city. He alone, however dauntless and courageous he may be, was ultimately powerless to reverse the desperate situation.
Ke-Mo gritted his teeth. "Only then that I realized that she had long conspired with the enemy's general, and agreed to let them in directly at that time," he said. "But even if I was doomed to die in battle, before I die, I must kill that traitor!!! So I had a troop of soldiers rush up to the city tower, seized her and dragged her down and hung her to death over the Sinners' Pit. Just hanging from that pole!"
The entire Kingdom of Banyue had transformed into a dead kingdom by the time the enemy troops left. Neither the general and soldiers who died in battle, nor the hanged Guoshi could leave the ruins, yet they still hated each other.
"So, General Ke-Mo, you led the Banyue soldiers under your command to search everywhere for that Guoshi, and every time you capture her, you'd 'hang' her again over the Sinners' Pit?" asked Xie Lian.
"It wouldn't be enough to hang her dead a thousand times, ten thousand times over!" Ke-Mo spat. "Because she's also been going around capturing these Savage soldiers under me and throwing them into the Sinners' Pit! She has set up an extremely powerful formation around this pit that only she can break, and once you fall in, you'll never be able to climb back up again. My soldiers who have been betrayed by her and died in vain in battle, have a deep resentment that they can only feed on the flesh and blood of the Yong'an people in order to dispel their grievances and gradually depart. Otherwise they can only wail loudly night after night without relief!"
"So you just keep catching people and throwing them into the pit to feed them, huh?" said Xie Lian.
"What else can I do?" Ke-Mo asked. "You want me to just listen to them howl and wail down there?"
"The people you threw down, did you capture them yourselves, or...?"
"We can't stray too far from the Kingdom of Banyue. But it's a good thing her snakes are so demonic that they often crawl out of the ruins and bite people everywhere. Those merchants that got bitten would come into the ruins in search of the Shan Yue herbs."
"Was it you who buried that mud-face in the palace?"
"That's right. That man buried in the soil came to steal the treasures of the palace. But all the treasures of our kingdom were all looted by the Yong'an people two hundred years ago."
"Why did you just bury him instead of just throwing him down the pit?" asked Xie Lian.
"There has to be fertilizer to grow the herbs, or else we wouldn't be able to control those scorpion-tailed snakes?" answered Ke-Mo. "We don't want to run into those creatures either."
'That's not right,' Xie Lian thought.
The fact that the Ke-Mo's side had taken it upon themselves to plant the Shan Yue herbs, even using living people as fertilizer to grow them, showed that even though they were no longer human, their fear of the scorpion-tailed snakes hadn't diminished in the slightest.
If so, this fear must have been even greater when they were still alive. If the Guoshi of Banyue could manipulate those deadly scorpion-tailed snakes, how could she have been dragged down from the city tower and hung to death by a group of soldiers so easily?
According to Ke-Mo, in these two hundred years, they had captured the Guoshi time and time again, and she had been hanged dead by them again and again. Anyway, Xie Lian felt that if he were the Guoshi, with such a killing weapon at his disposal, he would definitely never let his enemies have a chance to get halfway closer to him.
Then there were those scorpion-tailed snakes that crawled out of the ruins to bite people. Was it an accident? No. It was more like a deliberate attempt to lure someone into the Pass. Was that a deliberate act on the part of the Guoshi? Wouldn't that be like opening the door of convenience for Ke-Mo to capture live people and feed them to the soldiers? Wouldn't the narrative of hostility between the two sides be contradictory?
So, they were pretending to be hostile? But what was the point of pretending to be hostile?
And before this flurry of confusion, there was another mystery — the identity of the white-clad female cultivator and her companion. Xie Lian decided to ask a few more questions, "General, when we entered the city earlier, we saw two women, one in black and one in white, in the street. Do you know who these two are?"
Before he could receive an answer, San Lang whispered, "Shh."
Though he didn't know what was going on, Xie Lian immediately closed his mouth. A strange instinct made him tilt his head and looked up.
It was the same four-square black and blue night sky, the same cold, white half-moon.
However, next to the half-moon, he caught sight of a person from afar. A small, black-clad figure was leaning out and peering down.
After looking for a moment, that person's small half body suddenly became a whole body — and jumped down.
As the figure fell, Xie Lian could see clearly that this person was none other than the Guoshi of Banyue, who had been hanging from the long pole earlier!
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plainheyokasworld · 8 days ago
Text
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 25: Ambiguous Hua Lian Trapped in the Sinners' Pit at Night (II)
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"SAN Lang, are you sure you're alright?" Xie Lian asked. "Put me down."
But San Lang said, "Don't get down."
Xie Lian was in a daze and thought to himself, 'What's going on? Is there something on the ground?'
That pair of arms was still holding him tightly, showing not the slightest intention of letting go at all. Xie Lian was going to raise his hand and give San Lang a gentle push on the chest. No sooner had he placed his hand on it, however, Xie Lian remembered that when he fell and was caught, he had fumbled around and felt up the teenager's Adam's apple, so he surreptitiously withdrew his hand.
He didn't know why, but after hundreds of years of not caring much about what was "awkward", this time there was a voice in his mind that kept warning him that it was better to keep his hands to himself and behave.
At that moment, a roar of anger and grief was heard, and a piteous cry came from the other side of the pit, "What happened to all of you?"
It was shouted in the Banyue language, and from the sound of the voice, it was none other than General Ke-Mo whom Xie Lian had dragged down with him. He was already dead, so of course he hadn't fallen to his death, but the impact of the fall had been so hard that he'd probably smashed out a human crater and was embedded in it. When he climbed up, he started yelling, "What's going on? Soldiers! My brothers, what happened to you?"
When he shouted down from the top of the high wall earlier, there were obviously hundreds and thousands of voices responding to him, as if the bottom of the pit were crowded with raging and starving evil spirits waiting to be fed. Yet, at this moment, all that Xie Lian could hear in his ears was nothing but a dead silence, except for the furious roar of Ke-Mo. He couldn't even hear the breathing and heartbeat of San Lang, who was close at hand.
Xie Lian's breath caught in his throat and he suddenly realized that something was wrong.
Yes, he was right next to San Lang, but he didn't hear the teenager's breathing or heartbeat at all!
"Who killed you, who killed you?!" Ke-Mo yelled.
When Ah Zhao had fallen, Xie Lian could still hear the horrific sounds of gnawing from below. But after San Lang had jumped, there wasn't any noise anymore, so who else could have killed them?
Ke-Mo must have realized this right away too and said, "Killing my soldiers, damn you, I want you dead!"
Though he couldn't see anything, Xie Lian could sense that danger was rushing towards them, so he moved his body and said, "San Lang, be careful!"
But San Lang said, "Don't worry about him." Still holding him, San Lang shifted his feet slightly, as if turning around.
In the darkness, Xie Lian heard an extremely delicate "tinkling" sound, which was very nice, crisp and intense, but it was gone in a flash. Ke-Mo pounced to strike again, but when his attack missed, he lunged at them again, but San Lang turned lightly and deftly, and dodged it. Xie Lian's arms involuntarily climbed up again, wrapping tightly around San Lang and unconsciously clutching the clothing on his shoulders.
Nevertheless, these hands held him very securely, dodging and shifting, but still holding him steady. Only, every now and then, Xie Lian felt something cold and hard pressed against his hands, so he couldn't help being baffled. In the infinite darkness, there was a silvery glint, and the sound of sharp blades flying in all directions, as well as the successive angry roar of Ke-Mo was heard.
The Banyue general seemed to be badly wounded, yet he was extremely brave and still didn't retreat, attacking again with a gust of fury. "Ruoye!" Xie Lian yelled.
The white silk shot out in response to his call, and with a "pa", it seemed to send Ke-Mo somersaulting through the air and crashing onto the ground. The fall caused Ke-Mo to growl, "You two! Two against one, vile!"
'You were going to kill us, what do you care if it's two against two against one? Vile or not, it's about saving your life. You have to kill first,' Xie Lian thought. But San Lang scoffed without a smile and said, "You don't even stand a chance of winning one-on-one. You stay out of it." The latter line was addressed to Xie Lian, in a lower tone, and the sarcasm in the previous line disappeared. Xie Lian said, "Alright." Having said that, he reminded him again, "San Lang, why don't you put me down first? I'm in your way like this."
But San Lang replied, "You're not in the way. Don't get down."
Xie Lian couldn't help but ask, "Why on earth can't I get down?" This teenager couldn't possibly like to cuddle while fighting, could he? It wasn't necessary to look down on his opponent like that?
The teenager's answer was only one word, "Dirty."
"..."
Xie Lian never thought that he would give such a reason, but he also said it with such seriousness that it was a bit funny, but also a bit strange to describe. He felt an inexplicable slight warmth in his chest and said, "You can't keep holding me like this."
"Not impossible," responded San Lang.
Xie Lian's question was just a joke, but San Lang's answer wasn't meant to be a joke at all, so he didn't know what to say next. Between a few words, Ke-Mo once again launched an attack in the darkness, tenacious and unyielding. San Lang clearly held Xie Lian with both hands, but somehow he managed to beat Ke-Mo back repeatedly. As Ke-Mo retreated, he yelled, "That bitch told you to..."
Before he could finish his words, there was a loud "thud" and a huge body collapsed with a bang, actually being knocked to the ground and didn't get back up. At the sound, Xie Lian said, "San Lang, don't kill him yet. I'm afraid we still have to ask him questions if we want to get out of here."
San Lang really didn't make another move, and stood still. "I had no intention of killing him either. Otherwise, he wouldn't have made it this far."
Once again, the dead silence reigned at the bottom of the Sinners' Pit.
After a moment's silence, Xie Lian said, "San Lang, did you do all this down here?"
Even though nothing was visible in the darkness, the overwhelming smell of blood and murderous aura, as well as the bouts of grief, anger and frenzied state that had engulfed Ke-Mo, clearly outlined what had happened down here. It was after a little while before Xie Lian finally heard San Lang's reply, "Yes."
The expected answer. After a while, Xie Lian sighed. "How should I say this..."
He pondered for a while, and finally, said in a serious tone, "San Lang ah, next time you see a pit like this, you mustn't jump down into it randomly. I can't even stop you, I really don't know what to do."
As if he hadn't expected such a remark, San Lang seemed to be rendered speechless for a bit.
When he spoke again, his tone was somewhat odd. "Don't you want to ask me something else?"
"What else do you want me to ask?" asked Xie Lian.
"For instance, whether I'm human or not," replied San Lang.
Xie Lian rubbed his forehead. "Well, I don't think it's necessary to ask."
"Hm? Not necessary?" said San Lang.
Xie Lian said, "Mhm. Is it necessary? It doesn't matter if you're human or not."
"Oh?" said San Lang.
Xie Lian crossed his arms while in the crook of San Lang's arms and said, "When we meet someone, we look at whether we're compatible or not, it's based on our like-mindedness, not on our identity. If I like you, I will like you even if you're a beggar; if I hate you, I will hate you even if you're an emperor. Shouldn't it be like this? It's simple logic, so there's no point in asking, right?"
San Lang chuckled. "Well, that's a very good point you made."
"Right?" said Xie Lian. He also followed suit with a couple of chuckles. As he smiled and laughed, he kept feeling that something was wrong, and suddenly, it finally hit him.
He had actually still been held by San Lang in this way, and the scariest part was that, unbeknownst to him, he had gotten used to this position!
This was a hell of a lot to take in. Xie Lian coughed softly. "Um, San Lang ah, we'll talk about such trivial matters later. You might as well put me down first?"
San Lang seemed to smile a little. "Hold on."
He carried Xie Lian in his arms and seemed to walk downwards a little, before gently setting him down. Xie Lian stepped onto a solid patch of ground, saying, "Many thanks."
San Lang didn't say anything. After thanking him, Xie Lian looked upwards.
There was a bright moon hung in the deep blue sky, extremely beautiful, but framed within a four-square patch of sky, reminiscent of the frog sitting in a well watching the sky*.
[*「坐井观天」 zuò jǐng guān tiān (lit. to view the sky from the bottom of a well) — is an idiom, a metaphor for having limited outlook and little insight.]
He tried to prompt Ruoye again to leapt upwards. Unsurprisingly, Ruoye was stopped by something invisible in mid-air and rebounded, unable to go higher.
"There's a formation set up around this Sinners' Pit," said San Lang.
"I know," Xie Lian said. "It's just a test, you can never give up on trying. I wonder what happened to the others up there, whether the black-clad girl will sweep them down, too."
He told San Lang about the sudden attack of the young girl hanging from the pole, which had swept the group of soldiers down into the pit. After saying a few words, he tried to take a few steps forward, and Xie Lian stepped on something that appeared to be an arm. He nearly tripped over and quickly steadied himself, but San Lang helped him anyway, saying, "Be careful."
He added gently, "I told you, the ground is dirty."
Xie Lian finally understood what he meant by "dirty" and said, "It's alright. I want to ignite a palm flame to see what's going on down here before making any plans."
San Lang didn't say anything. At that moment, in the distance, Ke-Mo's voice was heard again, "You will be cursed by the millions of souls of our kingdom who died unjustly for doing that bitch's deed!"
Xie Lian turned back and said in Banyue language, "General Ke-Mo, the one you're talking about... who is it?"
Ke-Mo said in a hateful voice, "Why bother to ask? That evil Taoist sorcerer!"
"Is it the female cultivator that roams the city?" Xie Lian said.
Ke-Mo spat spitefully. It looked like it. "Aren't you loyal to the Guoshi of Banyue?" Xie Lian said.
Infuriated by his words, Ke-Mo said, "I'll never be loyal to her again! I won't spare that bitch!"
This was followed by a long string of gibbering curses. Ke-Mo spoke so fast in his moodiness that Xie Lian couldn't understand any of it and was already dumbfounded and confused by the end of his words. He could only say sneakily, "San Lang, San Lang."
San Lang then said, "He's cursing. Saying that Guoshi betrayed their kingdom, opened the gates to let the armies of the Central Plains slaughter the city, and pushed his brothers into this hellish pit. He wants to hang her to death a thousand more times, ten thousand times."
Xie Lian quickly said, "Wait, wait!"
How could this be so? There were two things that were completely wrong!
First of all, when Xie Lian said "the female cultivator who roams the city", he was referring to the woman in white. But now, Ke-Mo had called the Guoshi of Banyue a "bitch" and said that the Guoshi had pushed his brothers into this hellish pit. When that black-clad girl had swept the soldiers down from the high wall, he heard Ke-Mo cursed her as the same thing. Add to that the last phrase, "Hang her to death a thousand more times" — Xie Lian suddenly realized that they weren't talking about the same person at all.
Secondly, the Kingdom of Banyue, was actually betrayed by the Guoshi of Banyue?!
Xie Lian interrupted him, "General, the Guoshi of Banyue you're talking about, is it the black-clad girl hanging from the pole over the Sinners' Pit?"
"Who else could it be if not her?!" answered Ke-Mo.
"..."
That girl in black hanging like a corpse on a long pole was actually the real Guoshi of Banyue!
But if that was the case, then who was the white-clad female cultivator who was loitering about in Banyue City and saying she wanted to kill them all, and the black-clad woman who was with her?
That black-clad girl had a strange unpredictable magic stance, capable of sweeping dozens of fierce and brave Banyue soldiers off the high wall in an instant, but why was she hung above the Sinners' Pit?
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plainheyokasworld · 8 days ago
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HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
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I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
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CHAPTER 24: Ambiguous Hua Lian Trapped in the Sinners' Pit at Night
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THE more he did this, the more Xie Lian felt threatened and said, "Everyone stand back, don't approach it, and don't pay any attention to what it says."
The crowd hurriedly listened to him and scattered in panic. The mud-buried face was trying to hem and haw, and laughed as it said, "Oh, don't go, why are you doing this? I'm a human being too, I won't harm you!"
'You're overthinking it, you don't look like a human being at all!' Xie Lian thought.
At this very moment, however, something unexpected suddenly occurred. One merchant, probably thinking that he still had to bring back some herbs to save a man's life, surreptitiously took a few steps forward and bent down to pick up a bunch of Shan Yue herbs that he had dropped in fright. The eyes of the mud-buried face rolled over and spotted him, there was a gleam of bright light flashed in those eyes.
Xie Lian's heart screamed, 'Oh, no!' He rushed over and yelled, "Don't pick that up! Come back!"
However, it was already too late. The mud-buried face suddenly opened his mouth and a bright red thing slithered out.
What a long tongue!
Xie Lian grabbed the merchant by the back of his collar and kept going backwards, but the thing that flew out of the mud-buried face's mouth was so incredibly long that it shot into one of the merchant's ears with a squelch!
Xie Lian felt the body he was holding jerking violently, and the merchant let out a short, blood-curdling shriek, his limbs convulsing as he dropped to his knees. But the long tongue darted out of his ear and pulled out a large chunk of something bloody, and retracted back into the mud-buried face's mouth. The mud-buried face laughed as he chewed, his mouth dripping with blood. He laughed so hard, almost to the point of overturning the roof of the ramshackle palace. "Hahahahahahahahahaha! Yummy, yummy, yummy, yummy! So tasty, so tasty, so tasty!!! I'm starving, I'm starving!" he screamed.
The voice was both shrill and sharp, and those bloodshot eyes were so gross!
This man had been buried here for over fifty years and had been assimilated by the soil of this evil kingdom, turned into something other than human entirely!
Xie Lian released his right hand gripping the merchant's back collar and was about to split the disgusting thing in half with his palm, when he heard the mud-buried face scream again, "General! General! They're here! They're here!"
With a howl more ferocious than a wild beast, a black shadow descended from the sky and landed heavily in front of Xie Lian.
The moment this dark figure landed, almost the entire ground was trembling with a tremor. By the time he slowly rose to his feet, the crowd was enveloped in the huge shadow he cast.
This "man" was far too tall.
His face was dark as iron, his features fierce and boorish, as if he had the face of a beast. His chest and shoulders were clad in armor and he was over nine-feet-tall, more like a giant wolf walking upright rather than a man. Behind him, one, two, three... more than a dozen "men" jumped down from the roof of the palace.
Each of these "men" were all tall and of comparable build, and all carried a mace densely covered in sharp teeth on their shoulders, giving the illusion of a wolf pack personifying human beings. After they landed, they surrounded the few people in the garden like an enormous circle of iron towers.
The Banyue soldiers!
These soldiers emanated a burst of dark aura around them, and certainly had long since ceased to be living people. Xie Lian's whole body was tense, with Ruoye poised and ready to strike.
Yet, at sight of them, the Banyue soldiers didn't immediately attack and kill, instead burst into hysterical laughter and shouted at each other in a foreign language. The speech sounds were so strange, the pronunciation so tricky, and heavy in tongue-rolling. It was exactly the language of the Kingdom of Banyue.
Although Xie Lian's Banyue language was pretty much forgotten, he did go over it with San Lang at the general's tomb. Plus, these soldiers, with their loud, rough pronunciation and simple vocabulary, weren't difficult to understand.
He heard all the Banyue soldiers calling the first man "General", and the conversation was interspersed with words such as "escort" and "no killing for now". Taking a deep breath, he whispered, "Everyone don't panic, these Banyue soldiers won't kill anyone for now. They seem to be taking us somewhere else. Don't do anything rash, I can't guarantee I'll be able to beat them. Let's act according to the circumstances."
These soldiers were extremely difficult to deal with at first glance, each of them were rough and tough. Even if he had Ruoye at his disposal, it would take a little while to strangle one of them, and with dozens of them coming at once, not easy to deal with. There were a few ordinary people present as well, so for now, he could only analyze and observe the situation calmly.
San Lang said nothing. The others originally had no idea what to do. Even if they wanted to do something rash, they didn't know how to do it, so they could only nod tearfully. Only the mud-buried face screamed, "General! General! Please let me out! I helped you detain the enemies here, let me go home! I want to go home!"
Upon seeing the group of Banyue soldiers, he looked extremely excited, shrieking, gagging and shouting, interspersed with some unfluent Banyue words he must have picked up haphazardly during the fifty or sixty years he spent here serving as a fertilizer. As if he too felt disgusted seeing something constantly wriggling and shrieking in the soil, the nine feet man known as "General" hammered down his mace, piercing the head of the mud-buried face with several sharp spikes. The mud-buried face screamed. When he lifted his mace, the spikes embedded in the face of the mud-buried face, uprooting him and bringing him out of the soil, granting his wish of "let me out".
But even from the neck down of this mud-buried face that was unearthed, wasn't a human body at all, but a ghastly white skeleton!
Several merchants screamed in terror at this gruesome sight. And the head of the mud-buried face, dislodged from the spikes of the mace and covered in blood, seemed startled at the sight of his own body and gasped. "What is this? What is this?!"
"This is your body," Xie Lian reminded him.
Considering this man had been buried in the desert soil for fifty or sixty years, the flesh and blood of his body had long since been reduced to the nourishment of those Shan Yue herbs, eaten down to a mere skeleton of bones.
The mud-buried face still refused to believe it. "How can this be? My body isn't like this, this is not my body!!!"
His voice was incomparably mournful, and this image was horrendous and tragic. Xie Lian shook his head, but San Lang scoffed. "Only now you can't stand the sight of your body? Then what was that thing sticking out of your mouth just now? You think there was nothing wrong with that?"
The mud-buried face immediately retorted, "What's wrong with that?! It's just... it's just a little longer than a normal person's tongue!"
San Lang's sideways glance was full of jeers. "Yeah, nice, just slightly too long. Haha."
"That's right! It's just slightly longer!" said the mud-buried face. "That's just because I've been trying to survive on flying insects and creepy crawlies over the years that my tongue slowly stretched longer and longer before it became like this!"
When he was first buried in the soil, he was probably still alive, and in an effort to survive, he stretched his tongue out hard to eat those flying insects and creepy crawlies. Gradually, as he ceased to be human, his tongue grew longer and longer, and the "food" he ate changed from flying insects and crawling worms to something far more horrific.
But because he had been buried in the soil and hadn't seen what his body looked like for so many years, he simply couldn't accept it and didn't want to believe that he was no longer a human being. The mud-buried face tried to justify it by saying, "Some people have longer tongues than others!"
San Lang snickered. Looking at him, a chill inexplicably ran through Xie Lian's heart. The teenager's smile really gave off a sense of ruthlessness like he was about to peel the skin off someone's face.
"Do you think you're still human?" asked San Lang.
After being asked such a question, that mud-buried face seemed to have a sense of crisis. Suddenly irritated, he said, "Of course I'm human. I'm human!"
He cried out as he struggled to move his limbs, which were now white bones, and tried to crawl on the ground. Perhaps because he was finally out of the soil, he felt genuinely glad and laughed maniacally, "I'm going home, I can go home now! Hahahahahahahahaha..."
CRACK!
His laughter was so ear-splitting that it finally annoyed the Banyue general. With a single stomp, the skull of the mud-buried face shattered instantly. His shriek of "I'm human" could no longer be heard.
After the "general" had crushed the annoying mud-buried face, he yelled loudly to the soldiers. The Banyue soldiers then brandished their maces and roared at the group of people, and began to herd them out of the palace.
Xie Lian walked in the lead, with San Lang still following behind him. Even when he was being escorted by a group of malicious-looking Banyue soldiers, the teenager's pace was still unhurried, as if he were taking a stroll. Since the get-go, Xie Lian had been looking for a chance to talk to him, and after walking for a while, seeing that the group of Banyue soldiers were talking to each other again and not paying much attention to them, he murmured, "They call this Banyue leader 'General'. I wonder what kind of general he is."
Sure enough, when he asked the question, San Lang answered anyway, "When the Kingdom of Banyue fell, there was only one general. His name, translated into Hanzi¹, was called Ke-Mo²."
[¹「汉字」Hànzì (lit. 'Han characters'), are logograms developed for the writing of Chinese. Chinese characters, also called Hànzì. The term that used here is actually 「汉文」 Hànwén — meaning Chinese language (or writing). Read more about Hànzì here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinese_characters]
[²「刻磨」 kè mó — Engraving and grinding]
"Ke-Mo?" said Xie Lian.
What a strange name. "That's right," said San Lang. "It is said that because he was frail as a child and was often bullied and humiliated, he vowed to become stronger and used a stone grinder to train and build up his strength, hence his name."
Xie Lian couldn't help but think, 'Then he could actually be called Dali*...'
[*「大力」 dàlì — mighty; powerful]
San Lang added, "Rumor has it that Ke Mo was the bravest general in the Kingdom of Banyue through the ages, nine feet tall and super strong, and was a loyal supporter of the Guoshi of Banyue."
"Even after his death?" asked Xie Lian. "Now he's sending us to the Guoshi of Banyue?"
"Perhaps," answered San Lang.
In case there were more Banyue soldiers there, how would they escape? What about Nan Feng who lured the other two away? Now that they had obtained the Shan Yue herb, how were they going to deliver it to the poisoned person within twenty-four hours?
As he walked, Xie Lian pondered, noticing that General Ke Mo had taken them further and further to a remote location. Finally, he brought them to a spot at the extreme edge of the Kingdom of Banyue before stopping. When Xie Lian stopped and looked up, an immensely tall, earthen wall stood before him like a giant.
Their destination, surprisingly, was the Sinners' Pit.
Although having lived near the Kingdom of Banyue for some time, Xie Lian hadn't actually entered Banyue City very often, and certainly had never been near this Sinners' Pit. Looking at this Sinners' Pit up close, his heart inexplicably palpitated.
On the outer side of the wall was a staircase, and as he slowly climbed up these humble stairs, Xie Lian looked down and constantly observing with his naked eyes, finally understood what the palpitations were about.
It wasn't because he was creep out at the thought of this place being used for torture, nor was it because he was worried about whether the group would be pushed into the bottom of the pit, but rather it was a palpitation that was purely due to the presence of magic power formation field.
The terrain and layout surrounding this Sinners' Pit had been deliberately set up as an extremely formidable formation.
This formation had only one purpose — to prevent those who fall into this pit from ever climbing back up again!
The so-called "couldn't climb back up again" meaning that even if someone had let down a rope or set up a ladder, the person at the bottom seized this chance to climb up, halfway up, the formation would activate and that person would be knocked back down. Xie Lian held his hand to the wall without a sound and after walking the whole way, he roughly figured out the material of the wall. It seemed to be made out of earthen-based material from afar, but it was in fact built from incredibly hard stone. It probably might have been enchanted with some kind of spell that was bound to be difficult to break.
By the time they had climbed all the stairs to the top of the Sinners' Pit and stood on the eaves of the yellow walls, the first sight they saw could only be described as "shocking".
The entire Sinners' Pit was enclosed by four high walls. Each wall was more than thirty zhang¹ in length, twenty zhang in height, and about four chi² in thickness, towering and precarious-looking. In the middle of the four walls, a vast, four-sided space was enclosed, without any platforms to stand on, or even railings.
[¹「丈」 zhàng — a traditional unit of length, equivalent to 3.33m]
[²「尺」 chǐ — a traditional unit of length, equivalent to 0.333m or 1.094 ft]
It was late in the day, and the pit was pitch-black that it was impossible to see down to the bottom, except for the occasional gusts of chill and the whiff of blood, which wafted up from the bottomless darkness.
Few dared to look down as they walked on the eaves of the high wall without any guardrails, at a height of dozens of zhang above the ground. After walking for a while, they came upon a long vertical pole with a corpse hanging from it, the same one they had seen below earlier. The corpse was a very tiny one, a young girl dressed in black, her clothes torn and tattered, her head drooping low.
Xie Lian knew that the pole was specifically meant to hang criminals whom the soldiers intended to humiliate maliciously. Usually, the guards would strip the criminals of their clothes and hang them naked, leaving them to die of starvation or dehydration. After death, their bodies would sway in the wind, be exposed to the sun and rain, and air-dried, while their limbs would rot and fall down, leaving the corpse in an extremely unsightly state.
The body of the young girl hadn't yet rotted, so it must have not been long since she died, perhaps a nearby resident. How cruel and vicious of these Banyue soldiers to hang the body of a little girl in such a place. When Ah Zhao, Tian Sheng and the others saw the situation, they all turned pale and stopped dead in their tracks, not daring to move forward. Fortunately, Ke-Mo didn't push them to go any further. He turned and gave a long, loud howl toward the bottom of the Sinners' Pit.
'Why is he howling loudly like that?' wondered Xie Lian. The next moment, his question was answered.
As if in response to his loud howl, torrents of growling sound came from the bottom of the pitch-black pit. Like tigers and wolves, like monsters and beasts, like a tsunami of growls, snarls and howls, hundreds and thousands of them, deafening. Several people on the eaves were almost knocked off their feet by the roar, and Xie Lian also heard the sound of sand and debris being shaken off the walls. The sound was so clear and crisp.
Only criminals would be thrown into the Sinners' Pit. Could it be those were the dead souls of the sinners responding to Ke-Mo from the bottom of the pit?
At this point, Ke-Mo roared again toward the bottom. Xie Lian listened attentively and identified that this time he was no longer howling meaninglessly, nor was he cursing, rather, it was supposed to be the roar of encouragement. Xie Lian was pretty sure that he had heard the word "brothers".
When Ke-Mo had finished roaring, he yelled at the Banyue soldiers who were escorting Xie Lian and the others. This one phrase, Xie Lian heard distinctly.
What he said was, "Throw only two of them in."
Although none of the others understood what he was talking about, they could probably guess what he was intending to do, and their faces went white in unison. Seeing that they were so scared that they could barely stand, Xie Lian took a step forward and whispered, "Don't worry, I'll go first if anything happens later."
In case anyone had to be thrown in later, then he would just have to brazen it out and go down first to check it out for himself. Anyway, it was nothing new but a bunch of poisonous snakes, ferocious beasts, and malevolent ghosts and spirits. Since he couldn't die from falling, being beaten, bitten or poisoned, he shouldn't look too ghastly if he jumped as long as it wasn't blazing lava or some corpse-transforming water*.
[*「尸毒水」 shī dú shuǐ — Corpse-transforming water, as the name implies, is a liquid that can directly turn a corpse into a puddle of poisonous water. It originated from the Spring and Autumn Period to the late Qing Dynasty. Its existence is impossible to ascertain, but it has been featured prominently in recent martial arts novels. Source: https://baike.baidu.com/item/%E5%8C%96%E5%B0%B8%E6%B0%B4]
Besides, he still had Ruoye. Even if he couldn't use it to climb back up due to the magic formation, it was still possible to catch the others in case these Banyue soldiers threw them down again. When Ke-Mo said, "Take the others away and keep an eye on them", that meant the others would be safe for the time being. After all, it wasn't easy to capture living people in the Gobi desert. They couldn't just let everyone be eaten all at once, so they probably want to hoard them and let them be eaten one at a time.
Xie Lian was thinking clearly, but who knew there was someone beside him who wasn't so calm.
Since reaching the top of the Sinners' Pit, everyone was trembling except for Xie Lian and San Lang, who looked as normal as ever. Everyone was trembling, especially Ah Zhao.
Perhaps because he felt that he was bound to die, he might as well fight to the death, so with his fists clenched, Ah Zhao suddenly sprang into action and charged towards Ke-Mo!
He was aiming to knock Ke-Mo down with him, and seemed to be determined to die together. Even though Ke-Mo was as tall as an iron tower, he was knocked back three steps by Ah Zhao's resolute lunge and almost lost his footing. On the spot, he was so furious that he roared and flipped his hand over and lifted Ah Zhao off the ground.
As they watched the young man plunge into the darkness of the pit, the crowd cried out in unison. Xie Lian also exclaimed, "Ah Zhao!"
At that moment, roars of joy came from far below the bottomless pit, as well as the brutal sound of tearing and gnawing, as if ferocious spirits were vying with each other for food. From the sound of it, it was clear that this young man named Ah Zhao had no chance of survival.
Xie Lian, too, didn't see this coming and was greatly shocked.
He originally had a strong suspicion that Ah Zhao was a subordinate of the Guoshi of Banyue, who purposely lured the passers-by into entering the ruins of the kingdom, and that he was also the one who the mud-buried face said "had seen here fifty or sixty years ago". But Xie Lian didn't foresee that this young man was the first one among them to be killed. How could he possibly survive such a plunge?
Could he be faking his own death? But their group was already the captives of the Banyue soldiers. If Ah Zhao was really a subordinate of the Guoshi of Banyue, he could simply tear off his disguise, and stood tall and proud when he had the upper hand. Why would he bother to go through the extra trouble of faking his death in front of them? It was simply pointless. But then, why did Ah Zhao charge towards Ke-Mo? Wouldn't that also be a pointless way to die?
While Xie Lian's mind was still in a tumult of thoughts, the Banyue soldiers over there started looking for the next living person to push down. Ke-Mo raised his hand and pointed at Tian Sheng. A Banyue soldier reached out with his palm and came to grab him, and Tian Sheng cried out in fear, "Ah! Help! Don't grab me! I'm..."
Xie Lian had no time to think further and stepped forward, saying, "General, wait."
Hearing him speaking in Banyue language, a look of surprise came over Ke-Mo's dark face. With a wave of his hand, he stopped the soldier and said, "You speak our language? Where are you from?"
"I'm from the Central Plains," answered Xie Lian gently.
He didn't mind lying that he was from the Kingdom of Banyue, but it wasn't a feasible move. He didn't know exactly how many percent of the Banyue language he had picked up, and a long conversation with Ke-Mo would eventually expose him. In fact, his appearance clearly showed where he was from, and the Banyue people hated lies, deceit, and so on. If he was uncovered, the consequences would be even worse.
"The Central Plains? Descendant of Yong'an?" asked Ke-Mo.
"No," Xie Lian replied. "The Kingdom of Yong'an was destroyed a long time ago. There are no more Yong'an people left now."
However, to the people of Banyue, anyone from the Central Plains was pretty much the same, all descendants or relatives of the Yong'an people. They had been wiped out by the army of Yong'an. As soon as they heard where he had come from, a fury flashed across Ke-Mo's black face. The crowd of Banyue soldiers also shouted curses and derogatory words. As Xie Lian listened, he heard nothing but "despicable", "impostor", "throw him down", but it was neither hurtful, nor itching.
"Our kingdom has disappeared in the Gobi desert for over two hundred years," said Ke-Mo. "You're not from our kingdom, yet you know our language. Who the hell are you?"
Xie Lian couldn't help but glance at the calm and relaxed teenager beside him, thinking to himself, 'Hopefully, later on, just in case things doesn't work out, I'll be able to put a bold face on and ask San Lang to save me.' He was all set to start spouting nonsense when, just then, there was another overwhelming roar coming from the bottom of the pitch-dark pit.
Whatever was down there seemed to have finished feeding on Ah Zhao's body. But they were still hungry, and in unison they used the sound to convey their craving for fresh flesh and blood. With a wave of his hand, Ke-Mo seemed about to go for Tian Sheng again, when Xie Lian added, "General, I'll go first."
Ke-Mo must have never heard of anyone asking to go first. With eyes widened like bells, he said in amazement, "You go first? Why?"
Xie Lian, of course, couldn't answer truthfully that it was because he wasn't afraid, and chose a conventional answer, saying, "General, these are just unlucky passing merchants, with a child among them."
Hearing this, Ke-Mo sneered grimly, "When your Yong'an army massacred our kingdom, it didn't occur to you that there were many innocent merchants and children here, too?"
It had been two hundred years ago since the fall of the Kingdom of Banyue, and now both sides had long since changed their dynasties. However, they were the dead whose time had long since ceased, and animosity wouldn't fade with the change of dynasties. Ke-Mo added, "You're suspicious. I need to question you. You're not going down there. Throw someone else in!"
Then there was simply nothing to be done. Xie Lian was determined to go the whole way and took all the risks, and was about to jump first. But then, on the side, he saw San Lang stepped forward. His heart skipped a beat and he turned back.
The teenager crossed his arms, and thoughtfully surveyed the bottomless Sinners' Pit with a nonchalant gaze.
A bad premonition spontaneously came over Xie Lian and he said, "San Lang?"
Hearing Xie Lian call out to him, San Lang turned his head, and smiled faintly. "It's alright."
He took another step forward, and his entire body was already standing in an extremely dangerous spot. Xie Lian's heart and eyelids both thumped and fluttered as he said, "Wait, San Lang, don't move first."
At the edge of the Sinners' Pit, at such height, the hem of the teenager's red robe was flapping furiously in the night breeze. San Lang glanced at him, smiled a little. "Don't be afraid."
"You... come back here first," Xie Lian said. "If you come back here, then I won't be afraid."
"No need to worry," San Lang said. "I'll be gone for a bit. We'll see each other again soon."
"Don't..." Before the words were out of Xie Lian's mouth, the teenager with his arms still crossed, took another step forward, leaping lightly and instantly disappearing into the unfathomable darkness.
The moment he jumped, Ruoye flew off Xie Lian's wrist, turning into a streak of white flash that tried to reel in the teenager's figure. However, the drop was so swift that the white silk retracted dismally without even catching the corner of the lower hem of his robe. Xie Lian immediately fell to his knees at the edge of the high wall and yelled down, "SAN LANG!!!"
Nothing. No response.
After the teenager jumped, there was no sound of anything!
Beside him, on top of the high wall, the many Banyue soldiers shouted at each other, all in shock. What was going on today? In the past, they had to grab people and throw them down. But today, the people were taking turns and vie with each other for the chance to jump. And if they weren't given the chance to jump, they'd actually jump down themselves?
Then, General Ke-Mo bellowed at them to calm down. When Xie Lian saw that Ruoye didn't manage to catch San Lang, he didn't think twice before withdrawing his white silk and jumped into the Sinners' Pit himself. Unexpectedly, when his body was already in mid-air, the back of his shirt collar suddenly tightened and he was left suspended in the air. Looking back, Xie Lian discovered that General Ke-Mo had seen him jumping down too, so he reached out with his long arm and grabbed him, preventing him from falling!
'If you want to come too, so be it. It's better if we go down together,' Xie Lian said in his heart. Urged by his mind, Ruoye was like a white snake, swiftly crawling up around Ke-Mo's arm and coiling his entire body. When Ke-Mo saw this white silk was weird and unpredictable, as if it had magical powers, the black veins on his forehead bulged, and the bulky muscles on his body had instantly increased in size, as if he wanted to rip apart Ruoye that was binding him. Xie Lian was at a standstill with him, when suddenly, out of the corner of his eye, he saw something extremely strange.
The corpse that was hanging from the long pole suddenly moved and raised its head slightly.
The group of Banyue soldiers also noticed the corpse moving and began to shout, swinging their maces at it. And after the girl in black moved, it wasn't known how she managed to untie the rope that was hanging her, she suddenly jumped off the pole and dashed towards them with great speed.
She was like a black wind blowing over the eaves of the high wall, both fast and wicked, and the soldiers were instantly knocked backwards and forwards, screaming and falling off the high wall. Seeing his soldiers being swept down and falling into the Sinners' Pit, Ke-Mo hurled curses in fury. His curses were extremely vulgar, probably using a lot of street slang, which Xie Lian didn't understand very well. However, he did understand the first one. What Ke-Mo was cursing was, "It's that bitch again!"
The next moment, he couldn't utter a single curse anymore because, with sudden force, Xie Lian dragged him down into the Sinners' Pit with him.
The Sinners' Pit that he couldn't climb back out of once he fell down into it!
On the way down, Ke-Mo's roar almost shattered Xie Lian's eardrums. He had to reel in Ruoye, kicking Ke-Mo in the process to keep him away and protect his ears. Immediately afterwards, he prompted Ruoye upwards, hoping to grab onto something to cushion his fall, or at least hit the ground without a nasty fall.
However, the Sinners' Pit was so well built, and so was the formation that not only was it impossible for Ruoye to explore higher, it had nowhere to rely on within these high walls. Just when he thought he was going to land again like he had done countless times before and become a flattened human pie stuck in the ground for days and unable to dig himself out, suddenly, in the darkness, there was a flash of silver.
The next moment, a pair of light hands caught him gently.
The person caught him with uncanny accuracy, almost as if he had been waiting at the bottom specifically to catch him. One hand went around Xie Lian's back and wrapped around his shoulders, while the other hand under the bend of his knees, easily deflecting the fierce momentum of Xie Lian's fall from the height.
Xie Lian had just fallen from such a height before abruptly coming to a jolting stop. Still a little dizzy, he subconsciously lifted his hand and tightened it around the other person's shoulders, saying, "San Lang?"
With darkness all around him, it was impossible for him to see anything, and he certainly couldn't see who the person was, yet he blurted that name out of the blue. When the other person didn't reply, Xie Lian felt around his shoulder and chest a few times, trying to confirm, and asked, "San Lang, is that you?"
Perhaps the reeking of blood at the bottom of the pit here was so strong that it could make people swoon, but Xie Lian didn't know what was going on either. He haphazardly continued to grope his way up, and suddenly realized with a shock when he touched the hard Adam's apple of the person, thinking, 'I've sinned, I've sinned! What am I doing?!' He immediately withdrew his hand and asked, "It's San Lang, right? Are you alright? Are you hurt?"
After quite a while, he finally heard the teenager's response in a deep voice, coming from extremely close to him, "I'm fine."
For some reason, it seemed to Xie Lian that his voice was subtly different from that of his usual voice.
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plainheyokasworld · 11 days ago
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HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 23: Shrinkage of a Thousand Li, Lost in the Sandstorm (IV)
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"AAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!!!"
Xie Lian withdrew his hand, speechless for a moment. He discovered that whenever he saw or touched something in the dark, in the face of such a creepy scene, often the other person had already screamed out first before he could utter a word. In fact, the one who should be most afraid should be him, right?
The shrubs in this garden were so high and dense. A person had been sneaking around in the bushes and been touched by Xie Lian on the shin. As the leg swiftly jerked away, the grass in front of him rustled and a person called out, "Don't hit me, don't hit me! It's me, Gege!"
When Xie Lian took a good look, he couldn't have imagined that the person who shouted "Don't hit me, don't hit me" was the big-eyed teenager with thick eyebrows, Tian Sheng. Tian Sheng was relieved to see that he recognized him.
However, after seeing that it was him, Xie Lian didn't breathe a sigh of relief, but became more wary. He held up an arm in front of him protectively and said, "Didn't you stay behind with the others to look after the wounded? Why are you here? Are you really Tian Sheng?"
In circumstances like these, it was more likely that something else was pretending to be something else to impersonate him. "It's me! It's really me!" Tian Sheng hastily replied. "I'm not the only one here. Three uncles came with me too! They're in there! Look if you don't believe me!" He pointed towards the inside of the palace. Sure enough, within a few moments, three men came running out of the crumbling hall. It was a few of the merchants in that same group. They were all taken aback at the sight of Xie Lian, and then looked embarrassed.
Xie Lian sighed, then rose to his feet, patted the hem of his white robe and said, "You guys, what's going on?"
When he asked this question, the merchants shamefaced and didn't say anything. After quite a while, Tian Sheng stammered, "Not long after you guys left, Uncle Zheng's poison flared up again. He's really in terrible pain and we... didn't know when you would be back, worried that you wouldn't be able to find it or would be late. Ah Zhao Ge said that if we follow that road, we can find the Kingdom of Banyue. We thought it'd be better if there were a few more people to help so we could find it faster, so we came here too..."
No matter how he had explained, they still regretted letting them go after all. Fearing that Xie Lian and the others would find the Shan Yue herb, take Ah Zhao and slip away on their own, they were still uneasy, so they came after them as well. Xie Lian could well imagine that if Fu Yao couldn't persuade them, he might simply not bother to stop them, for those who were determined to die and insisted on having their own way couldn't be stopped.
"You guys are too bold," said Xie Lian helplessly. "It's not like you don't know what might be in this city, what might happen, and you dare to come?"
It couldn't be helped. In matters of human life, it was only natural to be extra careful. And to be willing to risk your life to get herbs for the sake of someone else was quite a feat of comradeship. Not wanting to say much, Xie Lian rubbed his forehead and said, "You guys are lucky that you haven't encountered anything on your way to this ancient city. By the way, how did you know you needed to come to the palace to look for the Shan Yue herb?"
Presumably, Tian Sheng also knew their actions clearly showed how distrustful they were, and felt a bit guilty. He didn't dare to say anything earlier when he jumped into the bushes, probably because he felt embarrassed, and said, "I'm sorry, but this concerned someone's life. When you're anxious, you..."
Tian Sheng scratched his head. "We don't know where to look, either. But, didn't the Gege in red tell the story about the Shan Yue leaf plucked by the queen? A queen isn't allowed to leave the palace at will, right? So I thought that we should come to the palace and try our luck."
'This kid is a good thinker, and he actually got it right,' Xie Lian thought. Just then, San Lang, who was on the other side, said, "Found it."
He glanced back and San Lang raised his hand. What he held in his hand was a turquoise leaf with a few roots still attached at the stems.
The leaf was about the size of a baby's palm, peach-shaped, with extremely thin roots, and a pointy leaf tail. There was no need to confirm with Ah Zhao at all, Xie Lian intuited that this must be the legendary Shan Yue herb. Before he could say anything, San Lang had already grabbed his injured hand.
The hand that had been stung originally swollen to a frightening degree. After San Lang had sucked out the poison for him, the swelling was much reduced, although the toxin hadn't yet been cleared. Right now, San Lang was holding his injured hand in one hand, and the Shan Yue herb in the other. Without him appearing to not have exerted any strength, he closed his five fingers on the herb, and when he reopened them, the leaf had crushed into a heap of green powder. He applied the pile of green powder carefully onto the back of Xie Lian's hand. Feeling a gentle cooling sensation slowly spreading up from the wound, Xie Lian said, "Thank you so much, San Lang."
San Lang, however, didn't reply. After applying the herb, he let go of Xie Lian's hand. There was this atmosphere between them again. Xie Lian kept feeling that there was something strange about it, but he didn't know how to ask, and it just didn't feel quite right to ask in any way. But no one else was aware of the subtlety. "Are you feeling better, Gege? Does this herb work?" Tian Sheng asked anxiously.
Xie Lian came back to his senses and replied, "Much better, it should be the right herb."
At these words, the others were very excited and all said, "Quick, look for more." Shortly after, Ah Zhao also held up a handful of green leaves and said, "I found it on this side, too."
The Shan Yue leaves in his hand were much larger than the pitiful little piece that San Lang had found just now. When the crowd took a look at it and saw the shape and characteristics were all correct, they all flocked over and exclaimed with surprise:
"There's an entire patch here!"
"There are so many!"
"Let's pick more."
"Can we sell them if we pick more?"
As they were busy picking herbs, Xie Lian looked back at the back of his hand and sought for words to start a conversation with San Lang. "You seemed to have searched the area they were looking for earlier, didn't you find it then?"
Having said this, he himself thought it was a rather tedious question. However, San Lang shook his head and said, "You shouldn't use the herbs over there."
Xie Lian wondered, "Why?"
Who knew, before San Lang could tell him why, there came a cry of anguish, "Go away!"
The crowd was instantly puzzled and their movements stalled.
"Who was that shouting?"
"It wasn't me ah!"
"It wasn't me either..."
Again, the voice was heard saying harshly, "Go away, you're stepping on me..."
It was then that the crowd noticed — the voice was coming from near their feet!
In an instant, the few people who had gathered in that patch to pick the Shan Yue herb dispersed. Xie Lian had long been used to going up and taking the lead at such times. When anyone else retreated, he stepped forward. So, he walked over to where the cries had come from, reached out and slowly pushed aside the dense clump of grass. With this, several people's breaths hitched right then and there.
Beneath the grass was a man's face, buried in the mud.
In this field, there was a living person buried under the soil, with only his face exposed!
This image was truly beyond eerie that several merchants suddenly hugged each other and screamed in horror. Xie Lian again comforted them tactfully, "Don't panic. Calm down, everyone. It's just a face. It's no big deal. Everybody has a face, right?"
The face chuckled. "Scared you guys? Ai... I often scare myself, too."
Xie Lian half-crouched down and examined the face buried in the mud closer.
It was the face of a man, flat when he wasn't smiling and with many wrinkles when he did. It was impossible to say whether it was old or young, or whether it was ugly or beautiful. Xie Lian looked at it for a long time, but couldn't make out what it was, so he had to ask directly, "Who are you?"
"And who are you?" responded the mud-buried face.
"We're merchants passing by," Xie Lian replied.
The mud-buried face sighed. "Ai. Merchants passing by. I was once part of a group of merchants passing by, too. However, that was already fifty or sixty years ago."
The image became even more bizarre when he said that.
It was appalling that this man actually had been buried in the soil of this ancient city ruins for fifty or sixty years. Was he still a human being?
A merchant asked with trepidation, "Then how... how did this elder... end up here... ah? "
The mud-buried face coughed a few times and grimaced. "I... I was captured by the Banyue soldiers. I accidentally entered the city and was caught by them, so they buried me in this soil and made me the fertilizer for these Shan Yue herbs..."
It turned out that these Shan Yue herbs were grown using a living human as fertilizer, no wonder they were so lush!
Several merchants hurriedly threw their large clumps of Shan Yue herbs in their hands onto the ground, feeling that it was no different from grabbing a corpse. Xie Lian also couldn't help but look down at the back of his hand, but he heard San Lang say, "That one was fine."
No wonder that just now San Lang had obviously searched this field, but didn't pick those lush Shan Yue herbs. He probably had spotted this mud-buried face just then, suspected that all these herbs grew using human fertilizer, and simply ignored them, turned round and walked away until he found clean herbs growing normally in a remote place, which he then applied to Xie Lian's hand.
"San Lang is very considerate, thank you so much," Xie Lian said.
San Lang shook his head, still with a sullen face.
Ever since Xie Lian had been stung by the scorpion-tailed snake's before entering the Kingdom of Banyue, this had been his attitude all along. When the two of them were together a few days before, he kept calling out Gege this, Gege that, but now he didn't call him Gege even once. Aside from sucking out poison and applying remedy, San Lang seemed to be avoiding physical contact with him as much as possible as well, which really made Xie Lian feel strange, incomprehensible of his attitude and a little uneasy.
At this point, the mud-buried face began to speak again, "I haven't seen a living person for years. Come... come closer, all of you, and let me have a good look, will you?"
The crowd looked at each other and unanimously felt that it would be better not to do what he said. After a while, seeing that no one responded, that mud-buried face murmured, "What, you guys don't want to? Ai... ai, it's too bad..."
Xie Lian turned his head and asked, "What's too bad?"
"From the moment you all came in, there has been one thing I've been very, very concerned about," said the mud-buried face. "I've been dying to confirm it with my own eyes before telling you, and that's why I asked you all to come closer. Because I want to take a closer look at all of you, one by one to make sure."
"To make sure of what?" asked Xie Lian.
The mud-buried face laughed strangely and said, "I told you not to be afraid... among you, there's one person whom I have seen fifty years ago."
As soon as he said this, the hair on everyone's back suddenly stood up on end.
If there was a person among them whose mud-buried face had seen fifty years ago, they would be at least sixty or seventy years old today. But of the few people here, the oldest one definitely looked not more than forty, so how could this be possible?
Unless... that person wasn't a "person"!
Xie Lian's gaze swept over everyone's face, starting with Ah Zhao and ending with Tian Sheng, the slightly alarmed, the fearful, the bewildered, tongue-tied. Everyone reacted in a way that made perfect sense. If there had to be anyone whose reaction was out of the ordinary, it would be the completely unresponsive San Lang. But, for this teenager, probably no reaction was the normal reaction.
He turned around and asked, "Who is this person you speak of?"
The muscles of that mud-buried face twitched a few times, revealing an oddly inexplicable, eerie smile. It was as if he was doing his best to look a little more reliable, but he couldn't mask the sinister grin that leaked from the bottom of his heart. He said mysteriously, "You... come a little closer, and I'll tell you."
When those words came out for the first time, Xie Lian believed him by eighty percent. But after these words, only fifty percent was left.
How could one know that this creature wasn't trying to trick people into approaching and then suddenly strike?
Of course Xie Lian wouldn't listen to him and got up to back away. "Are you sure you don't want to know who that person is?" that mud-buried face said hastily. "He'll kill all of you, just like he had killed us!"
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plainheyokasworld · 11 days ago
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MASTERLIST UPDATED
(June 1st, 2021)
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING
Chapter 1 – Chapter 22
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plainheyokasworld · 12 days ago
Text
HEAVEN OFFICIAL'S BLESSING by Mò Xiāng Tóngxiù
SUPPORT THE AUTHOR: http://www.jjwxc.net/onebook.php?novelid=3200611
MTL edited by Plain Heyoka
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
I DO NOT OWN the copyrights to Tiān Guān Cì Fú. This fan translation is strictly NOT FOR PROFIT.
━━━━━━━━━━━━━━━
CHAPTER 22: Shrinkage of a Thousand Li, Lost in the Sandstorm (III)
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THE scorpion tail!
However, after this sting, Xie Lian also grabbed its tail and caught the entire scorpion-tailed snake, and with a strong hand, he squeezed it until it fainted. He was stung, but his expression remained unchanged at all. He just threw the unconscious snake to the ground and said, "Everyone be careful, there may be more snakes around..."
Before he finished speaking, he felt a tight grip on his wrist, and looked up to see that San Lang had grabbed him. Xie Lian was slightly stunned. "San Lang?"
The reason he asked was because the expression on the teenager's face at this moment was so unpleasant that he didn't know how to describe it, and it was almost unsettling.
San Lang was staring intently at the tiny wound on the back of Xie Lian's hand, which had originally been similar to a pinprick, but the venom had flared up so rapidly that the back of his hand instantly swelled up to a massive purplish-red lump, and the tiny wound had been stretched to the size of a knife cut.
San Lang's face was sullen. Without saying a word, he grabbed Ruoye and used it to tie a tight knot around Xie Lian's wrist, preventing the poisoned blood from spreading further. Although Ruoye was pampered by Xie Lian, it wasn't that well-behaved either. But in San Lang's hands it was as obedient as if it were dead.
Xie Lian had never seen such an expression on his face since they had met, and was about to speak when San Lang pulled a dagger from the waist of a merchant. Seeing this, Nan Feng immediately understood what he was going to do and with his right hand, he ignited a palm flame. San Lang didn't even look at him, he just put the tip of the knife on the fire to disinfect it, then turned back to Xie Lian. He made a light and quick cross cut on the wound on the back of Xie Lian's hand and was about to bend down, but Xie Lian quickly said, "No need. The scorpion-tailed snake's venom is too strong, it's useless to suck it out. You should be careful not to poison yourself..."
However, the teenager ignored him, firmly grasped Xie Lian's hand and pressed his lips to it without a second thought. Somehow, Xie Lian felt his arms tremble slightly as he held it.
On the other side, Fu Yao said, "I can't believe you got yourself stung, too. He won't necessarily get bitten at all, so why'd you have to go and catch it? You're just adding to the mess."
This was the truth. In fact, when Xie Lian thought about the way San Lang casually tried to tie the snake into a knot as he pleased, he also felt that he would probably not be bitten. Perhaps even if he was bitten, he wouldn't care about it at all. But better be safe than sorry, just in case. What if the teenager really didn't notice the snake and was bitten, wouldn't it be useless to regret it then?
Xie Lian waved his other intact hand. "It doesn't hurt, and I won't die from it anyway. So, don't worry about it."
"Are you sure it doesn't hurt?" asked Fu Yao.
"Really. I don't feel pain anymore," Xie Lian replied honestly.
This was true. Xie Lian, being very unlucky, eight times out of ten, he would step on a poisonous snake or startle a poisonous insect or something when traversing in the deep mountains. He had been bitten and stung by every kind of venomous creature a thousand times, but remained remarkably resilient. At most, he had a fever for three days and nights, and when he woke up, he was still as good as new. He was also so insensitive to pain that he got used to any pain as it came.
When he had said this, San Lang finally lifted his head. The swelling on the back of Xie Lian's hand had subsided, and there was a stain of blood on his lips. His gaze was extremely cold, and shifted to the side, to the scorpion-tailed snake on the ground. There was a harsh "bang" as the purplish-red snake burst into a purple puddle of pulp.
The crowd was shocked to see that the snake had actually exploded, but they didn't know who had done it. Even though the blood hadn't splattered onto them, they were terrified. Tian Sheng remembered that Xie Lian had also been stung, and asked anxiously, "Gege, you've been stung too, huh? What are you going to do?"
Xie Lian tightened the bandage on his wrist and smiled. "Good boy, I'm fine. As originally planned, next we'll go into the city to find the Shan Yue Herb."
A merchant quickly said, "You guys are going? What about us? Shouldn't we send someone, too?"
"You guys don't need to," said Xie Lian. "I'm afraid the Banyue ruins are a dangerous place to be. If there's one more person, it'd be riskier. After we find the Shan Yue Herb, we'll bring it to you guys within twenty-four hours."
Several merchants have said:
"Is this... true?! That would be much appreciated..."
"How can we possibly..."
However, as soon as Xie Lian spoke his next words, their expressions changed. He said, "In order to find the Kingdom of Banyue as soon as possible, I would also like to trouble you guys to lend us this young fellow for a while to lead the way."
The one he wanted to borrow was, of course, Ah Zhao. If it was said that the expressions of the merchants were of gratitude and gladness just a moment ago, most of them were now hesitant. Xie Lian was also well aware that the merchants feared they would run away with their guide once they found the Shan Yue Herb. Even if Ah Zhao had a conscience to not run off with him, and was still willing to come back, time would still be significantly delayed. But they really didn't want to go to that hellish place where "half people go missing with every passing", so they were very much torn.
Human nature was understandable, so Xie Lian added immediately afterwards, "But I'm also afraid that something else might come and attack you, so Fu Yao, you stay here and look after them."
Having left one man here, the merchants all finally nodded. "Alright. As long as Ah Zhao is willing to go with you."
Xie Lian then turned to Ah Zhao and asked, "Would you like to do me a favor, young fellow? It's fine if you don't want to."
Ah Zhao nodded. "Yes. But, actually, Banyue ruins are actually easy to find, just follow this direction and you're there."
After bidding farewell to the merchants, he walked ahead and led the way, with Xie Lian, San Lang and Nan Feng following closely behind. After walking for a while, Xie Lian asked, "Ah Zhao, are scorpion-tailed snakes often found in this area?"
"Scorpion-tailed snakes aren't commonly found," replied Ah Zhao. "This is also the first time I've seen one."
Xie Lian nodded and asked no more questions. As a matter of fact, he had lived near the Kingdom of Banyue for some time, and this was the first time he had ever seen a scorpion-tailed snake. Therefore, there was nothing wrong with this answer.
Sensing something, Nan Feng whispered, "You suspect this Ah Zhao?"
Xie Lian also whispered, "Just keep an eye on him, since we've brought him out anyway."
In the past, it would have been San Lang who spoke to him first. Perhaps it was because of that incident earlier that the teenager's face still didn't look too good at this moment, and he didn't even utter a single word. Xie Lian didn't know what was going on and couldn't talk to him, so he just walked.
The four of them traveled for half an hour through the vast Gobi desert. The windstorm had long passed, there was no sandstorm to stop them, and they were able to walk fast. Gradually, some weeds could be seen on the road, which had survived with great difficulty, growing in the crevices of sand and the rocks. When the sun was about to set, Xie Lian finally saw the ancient city on the horizon.
The ancient city was difficult to see because it was earthy yellow, blending in with the boundless expanse of yellow sand. Its city walls crumbled and several sections were buried in the sand. As they got closer, they realized that the walls were extremely high, some thirty meters at their highest point, so it wasn't difficult to imagine the magnificence of the past.
After passing through the barbican, the four of them officially entered the territory of the former Kingdom of Banyue.
Beyond the gate was a main street, still wide and empty, lined with broken walls, ramshackle houses, broken stones and broken wood on both sides. Perhaps in the habit of cautioning, Ah Zhao said, "All of you be careful and don't wander off." Of course, these three didn't need him cautioning them.
Probably because this ancient city was far from the Kingdom of Banyue he had in mind, Nan Feng wondered, "Is this the Kingdom of Banyue? How come it's so small, it's even smaller than a city."
"A small desert kingdom, as big as the oasis, and so is the kingdom," Xie Lian said. "In its heyday, the Kingdom of Banyue had only about ten thousand people, so it's really only this big. It's not bad when it's crowded, it's quite lively."
Nan Feng observed a bit and said, "It probably took only a few days to defeat this kingdom."
Xie Lian shook his head. "Not necessarily. Nan Feng, you shouldn't underestimate the Banyue people. Although they only had a population of about ten thousand, their army remained above four thousand all year round. There were more men than women. Excluding the elderly, the sick, the disabled, and the farmers who worked the land, almost all of the remaining men joined the army. Besides, the Banyue soldiers were practically all nine feet tall, full of valour and vigour, belligerent, and carrying maces. They dared to charge forward with a sword stuck in their chests, making them too tough to beat."
Ah Zhao seemed to be slightly surprised, and glanced at Xie Lian. "This Young Master seems to know a lot."
Xie Lian kept smiling and was about to make a casual remark, when Nan Feng asked again, "What is that wall?"
What he was referring to was a huge yellow building in the distance.
It didn't seem quite right to call it a building, because technically it could only be described as a thing enclosed by four tall earthen walls, with no doors and no roof. There were only four earthen walls, each of which was over a hundred feet high. A pole stuck on the top of the wall, with a torn, tattered flag or something flapping in the wind. Somehow, it was slightly chilling to watch.
Xie Lian turned around, glanced at it and answered, "That's the Sinners' Pit."
As soon as he heard the name, he knew it was definitely not anything good, and Nan Feng frowned. "Sinners' Pit?"
After a moment of contemplation, Xie Lian replied, "You can consider it as a prison. It's a place specifically for imprisoning criminals."
"How can they be imprisoned without even a door?" Nan Feng said. "Just throw them down directly from top?"
Xie Lian was wondering whether to say anything when San Lang suddenly said, "Throw them down. Besides, at the bottom is full of venomous snakes and scorpions, and hungry beasts."
Hearing him finally speak, Xie Lian was relieved and glanced at him. However, San Lang met his gaze for a moment, but then looked away. "That's not a fucking prison!" Nan Feng cursed. "That's simply torture, so cruel! The Banyue people are either sick in the head or savage as hell."
Xie Lian rubbed his forehead. "Not all of them. There are some pretty lovable ones among the Banyue people, too." At this point, he suddenly paused and said with a frown, "Wait a minute."
The rest of the three did stop, and Xie Lian raised his hand and said, "Look at that pole above the pit, is that a person hanging from it?"
The sun was setting in the west, night had fallen, and the distance was so great that it was hard to discern what was hanging from that pole. However, when they got a little closer, they could see the silhouette of the hanging object was clearly that of a small, thin, black-clad person with torn and tattered clothes, hanging above the Sinners' Pit like a broken doll, swaying about in the wind.
"Yes," responded San Lang.
Ah Zhao's face turned slightly pale at the sight of the person dangling there. The scene was so harrowing and eerie that even a calm man like him couldn't bear it. Just then, San Lang gave a slight sideways glance and said in a quiet voice, "Someone's there."
Not only did he perceive it, but Xie Lian also heard the faintest of footsteps. The street was lined with crumbling houses on either side, so the four of them immediately dispersed and went into hiding. Xie Lian and San Lang hid in the same dilapidated house, while Nan Feng and Ah Zhao hid in the one across the street. Shortly after, at the end of the crumbling street, a white-clad female emerged.
The woman, dressed in a light, snow-white Taoist robe and holding a horsetail whisk on her arm, walked buoyantly down the street, glancing left and right, with her eyes shining brightly. She acted as if this wasn't an ancient city that had been abandoned for years, but rather a small backyard garden that she could rotate at will. Not far away, a black-clad young woman walked slowly behind her with hands clasped behind her back.
The black-clad woman's features were beautiful and cold, with a dagger-like gaze, and her long hair was loose, as if her entire person exuded a slight chill aura. Although walking behind this white-clad lady official, no one would regard her as anyone's subordinate.
It was the two people whom they had seen at noon outside the abandoned building.
At that time, these two figures had passed by in a flash, and the one in black was tall and slender. Xie Lian didn't see whether they were male or female, but now he realized that they were both women. The one in white could only be the Guoshi of Banyue, but who could this one in black be?
The Guoshi of Banyue leisurely waved her horsetail whisk. "Now, where have those people gone? If you're not looking, they all disappeared. Do I have to find and kill them one by one?"
Xie Lian thought, 'Sure enough, as soon as we entered the city, we were immediately targeted.'
The black-clad woman came up and walked past her with no expression, saying, "You can call your friends to help you kill them."
These "friends" could only refer to the group of Banyue soldiers who were so superbly deadly. The Guoshi of Banyue laughed. "Ha! I don't like calling other people, I like calling you. Aren't you glad?"
The woman in black, however, didn't give her any face at all and said coldly, "What's there to be glad about being called here by you to do such a thing. Hurry up, let’s go."
The Guoshi of Banyue raised an eyebrow and indeed walked away quickly. Listening to their conversation, it looked like they were old acquaintances who were quite close.
Both of them were certainly not ordinary people, and this black-clad person was certainly reputable. Who was the woman who knew the Guoshi of Banyue well? A mysterious fellow disciple? Or that the Kingdom of Banyue actually had a queen or a general?
Xie Lian held his breath as he thought fast. He didn't want to be discovered at this point, for it seemed that the Guoshi of Banyue was very unpredictable. In case she got excited at the sight of them, and called the legendary nine feet tall, mace-wielding Banyue soldiers, then it would be a tussle again against time. Twenty four hours, an hour wasted would be risky. Who knew that, with his luck, the more he didn't want something to happen, the more likely it would happen. As the black-clad woman walked past the house he hid in, she suddenly halted and swept her gaze sharply over.
The Guoshi of Banyue had already taken a few steps forward. When she saw her companion stop, she leaned back her body. "Hey, are you going?"
"You, back off," said the black-clad woman.
"Oh," the Guoshi of Banyue said. Sure enough, she backed away. The black-clad woman seemed to be about to raise her hand when suddenly, across the long street, there was a loud bang!
Across the street, the house in which Nan Feng and Ah Zhao were hiding suddenly collapsed, and the rows of buildings to the left and right caved in with it. In a split second, the streets were billowing with clouds of dust. A black shadow sprang out of the flying dust and rocks, striking out a streak of flames towards the Guoshi of Banyue. The black-clad woman turned around and stopped in front of the Guoshi of Banyue to intercept. With her left hand remained behind her back, she conveniently seized all the flames in her right hand and sent them straight back to him. The black shadow was also swift, dodging and moving with great agility, and dashed away with a cloud of dust. The Guoshi of Banyue immediately gave chase, while the black-clad woman took one glance at their side before she too followed after her.
It all happened in a matter of seconds. 'Good job, Nan Feng!' said Xie Lian inwardly. He knew that Nan Feng, who was hiding across the street, must have seen that they were about to be discovered and had helped them to distract the enemy away. He leapt out alone, so Ah Zhao must still be in the house. Having made sure those three were gone, Xie Lian pulled San Lang out and said, "Ah Zhao, you're still alive? Are you hurt?"
In a moment, a muffled voice came from beneath the collapsed house, "...I'm fine."
Xie Lian was relieved and said, "I'm glad you're alright."
Although he trusted Nan Feng was capable of using the utmost control when collapsing the house, and leave space for another living person to stay safe, he had to confirm before he could rest assured after all. He lifted a rotting beam with one hand, and after a while, Ah Zhao crawled out from under the house with difficulty. His head and face were covered with dust, and after casually patting himself off a couple of times, he resumed his cold expression.
"Now there are only three of us left," Xie Lian said. "Nan Feng is being chased. So, we need to move faster. Ah Zhao, do you know where the Shan Yue Herb grows in the city?"
Ah Zhao, however, shook his head. "I'm sorry. I only know the location of the ancient city and have never been here before, so I am not sure where the Shan Yue Herb grows."
On the other hand, San Lang said, "It is said that the Shan Yue Herb likes shade, is short and small, has very thin roots and large leaves, and like a heart-shaped peach. Why don't you look for it near a tall building?"
Xie Lian mused for a moment. "A tall building?"
Speaking of tall buildings, what building in a kingdom would be taller and more grander than a royal palace? Moreover, in that myth and legend, the queen plucked a Shan Yue leaf after the banquet, which also suggested that Shan Yue Herb could possibly grow in the royal palace.
The three of them looked out into the distance and indeed saw a palace built of brick and stone in the centre of the city.
From a distance, the palace looked quite imposing, but up close, the degree of decay was only marginally better than the other houses on the street. Through the gates of the palace was a large garden. Perhaps in the old days it wasn't a garden, but a square or something, but now years of desolation, only a piece of land covered with various types of greenery.
It wasn't sand underfoot, but mud, probably the only remaining vestige of the oasis. The Shan Yue Herb was probably hidden among the many plants. "Let's hurry up and find it," Xie Lian said. "We only have twenty four hours. Still, be careful of the scorpion-tailed snakes."
Ah Zhao responded, and San Lang also gave a "hm", and the three of them all looked down and searched. However, suddenly it occurred to Xie Lian that the Half Moon Master could manipulate the scorpion-tailed snakes, so once they arrived at her territory, more scorpion-tailed snakes should appear. But after the group had entered the Banyue ruins, there wasn't a single scorpion-tailed snake to be seen anymore.
He straightened up and was about to speak when he suddenly touched a cylindrical object in his hand.
When he looked down, he saw that it was a human leg.
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