Cherry Blossoms Upon a Wintry Sword Chapter 11-20

Chapter 11: Above the Sword Platform

The news about Wang Teng and Lin Rufei’s sword competition was spread throughout the entire the Kunlun Mountains in just half a day.

When Zuo Yuanbai heard the news, he was eating the most famous rice cake at the foot of the Kunlun Mountains. The rice cake was sweet and soft with crumbles of honey dates placed on top—very delicious.

Zuo Yuanbai ate another piece when he saw Tian Yun hurrying over. He sat down beside him with an excited face. He slapped the table and said that he had big news to tell Zuo Yuanbai, telling Zuo Yuanbai to take out a low-grade spirit stone to treat him to a cup of freshly brewed Dukang[1].

Zuo Yuanbai continued chewing on the rice cake. He chuckled and told Tian Yun to tell the news first. If the news was interesting, then he would definitely buy this cup of Dukang.

Tian Yun said, “Just this morning, did you know that a swordsman wearing a bamboo hat came to Kunlun with the Qiong Hua Order……”

Zuo Yuanbai was shocked at the words, “Do you mean that legendary Qiong Hua Order?”

“How many other Qiong Hua Orders are there in the world?” Tian Yun took a piece of rice cake from Zuo Yuanbai’s hand and chewed on it. He continued, “A hundred years ago, a nine-year-old child took the Qiong Hua Order and approached the then head of Kunlun, saying that he was a descendant of the Yan Kingdom and that his request was to restore his kingdom. At that time, who did not take this as a joke? The one who defeated the Yan Kingdom was the Great Chu, and at that time the Great Chu was so strong that it could only be a dream to restore the kingdom.” Tian Yun said excitedly, his spit flying everywhere, “However, who could have imagined that after only twenty years, the Yan Kingdom was actually restored……”

Although the word Kunlun was not mentioned at all from the beginning to the end, if one really wanted to say that there was no relationship with the Kunlun Sect, most likely no one would believe it.

To this day, the Qiong Hua Order was famous all over the world and everyone wanted to get a piece.

However, a hundred years have passed and no second piece of Qiong Hua Order had appeared, until today—

Zuo Yuanbai also followed the excitement: “Someone really took the Qiong Hua Order to Kunlun? What did he ask for?”

Tian Yun said: “The best part is here. The one who took the Qiong Hua Order to Kunlun is a swordsman. Once he arrived at the mountain, he said he wanted to compete with the most powerful swordsman on the Kunlun Mountains—”

Zuo Yuanbai froze: “What kind of request is that? Now that Lin Qionglou is still in seclusion, the most powerful, is it not the second son of the Lin family, Lin Bianyu?”

“If that’s all, what am I excited about?” Tian Yun’s spittle flew, “Here’s the problem, that swordsman actually said that Lin Bianyu was not the most powerful swordsman on the Kunlun Mountains.”

“Then who is it?” Zuo Yuanbai froze again.

Tian Yun said, “The fourth son of the Lin family, Lin Rufei!”

Lin Rufei? That was indeed a good name, but he had never heard of it. Zuo Yuanbai thought about it, but still, nothing came to mind.  “The fourth son of the Lin Family?” Zuo Yuanbai wondered, “How come I’ve never heard of him?”

Tian Yun said, “If you never heard of it then that’s the point! I also asked around for a long time before finally getting some information. They said that the fourth of the Lin family, ah, his body was born weak and since childhood, he has never held a sword…….But if this is true, then it’s really strange. Why would the swordsman say that he is the strongest on the Kunlun Mountains?”

Zuo Yuanbai said: “It is very strange, ah.”

Tian Yun said: “But we just have to wait until tomorrow. Then we will know what is going on! Maybe……that swordsman is not a powerful person in the first place and just wanted to grab a soft persimmon to pinch?”

Zuo Yuanbai shook his head, thinking that there was little truth in those words. That Qiong Hua Order was not something that you could just get your hands on, how could you use it to make such a joke?

Speaking of which, Zuo Yuanbai suddenly murmured: “To say powerful, I do think that, that day the swordsman who was in the loft above the sword competition was definitely strong. He was able to break the northern peak with one swing…..”

That day, their position wasn’t considered too far from the loft and they were able to clearly witness everything that had happened. The swordsman on the wheelchair, who had a pale face and was wearing fox fur, lifted his arm to swing the heavy sword. It was a light swing, but it had splitted the north peak. After this incident, it became widespread, however, no one knew the identity of the swordsman. There were rumors that he was an immortal exiled from the nine heavens. But of course, the rumors could not be trusted. Howvever, a real immortal would probably look kind of just like that. Zuo Yuanbai was lost in his thoughts. 

Tian Yun also quieted down, he was probably the same as Zuo Yuanbai, reminiscing about that day. 

Besides, on the Kunlun Mountains tomorrow, it would be the sword competition. However, Lin Rufei did not feel any restlessness, as if it was just another normal day for him.

He could hold it together, but the young Yu Rui could not. After knowing this news, she had been crying nonstop with tears like broken lines of beads. She even soaked her entire front lapel but still couldn’t stop. 

Lin Rufei didn’t know how to comfort her, so he could only take out two pieces of corn candy to coax her, however, Yu Rui said in a huff that she did not want to eat the candy. She said, ‘young master should not go to the sword competition tomorrow,’ but after she said that she realized that this request was destined to be unfulfilled and the tears came flowing out again. 

Lin Rufei could not comfort her, so he had to watch her cry with a sad face. In the end, Fu Hua came in and pulled her out, saying fiercely: “Young master is fine, why are you crying. If you want to cry, go out and cry! It’s such an eyesore!”

Fu Hua rarely was this violent, most likely it was also because she was upset about the matter of Lin Rufei being in a sword competition. 

Yu Rui went out crying, but before she left she did not forget to eat a piece of corn candy. Probably because the taste of sugar was good, the little girl could not help but release a smile. But then she quickly became sad again and left whimpering. 

Lin Rufei looked at her and had the urge to laugh.

Fu Hua sullenly said: “Today, whatever young master wants to eat, I will go to town to buy it for young master.” 

Lin Rufei turned his head to look at her: “Fu Hua, you are not allowed to go to town today.”

Fu Hua bit her lip heavily.

Lin Rufei said, “Don’t think I don’t know what you’re thinking.”

Fu Hua pouted, “Young master……”

Lin Rufei said, “Throwing a tantrum won’t work.”

As soon as the words were out of his mouth, Fu Hua began to sob heavily as well. Her aggrieved look was somewhat similar to Yu Rui’s. Normally, Lin Rufei really had no way to comfort them when they were like this, but in this case, Lin Rufei was not going to back down. He stroked Fu Hua’s head, which was one head shorter than himself, and helplessly said: “Be good, do not cry. Since that person dares come to Kunlun, he naturally has his own ways of doing things. Your cultivation is only level six, how could you be his opponent?”

“Then what about young master?” Fu Hua’s tears fell like rain, “Can we only watch as young master you go to your death?”

Lin Rufei smiled, “Why be sad about death, it is better to look at it optimistically.”

Fu Hua said with hatred, “If anyone dares to sing with a drum[2], I will break their hand!”

Lin Rufei laughed.

But how could Fu Hua laugh? Her tears were still dripping sorrowfully. Lin Rufei could not help it, so he found an excuse. He said that he was hungry and sent her out to make some food. 

Once Fu Hua left, the room quieted down. Lin Rufei sat in front of the window, propped his chin up, and looked at the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard. The tree had not changed and it was still thin and small. No branches, no leaves, and the trunk still bare, looking very pitiful.

“The year I turned sixteen, I was very sick. My second brother found Wan Yao to come and diagnose me.” Lin Rufei muttered to himself, “Both of them thought I was sick to the point of being confused, so some of the words were said openly. Second brother asked Wan Yao how much time I had left. Wan Yao replied that I had less than a year standing.” 

Thirty years old.

Wan Yao’s words were to say that Lin Rufei would not live past thirty years old.  

“I heard it all.” Lin Rufei very plainly talked about the matters of life and death, “I was still young then and I was upset for a few days but then I figured it out.” He curved his eyebrows. In his light-colored eyes, the hidden cherry blossom revealed itself slightly, “Matters of life and death shouldn’t be held in such high regards.”

The person would eventually die, fearless and also intrepid.

Lin Rufei said, “I am very happy to have such good brothers and such a good sister. I am also very happy to have met you.” That night, he would never forget. He later understood that the sword took him to where his fixation was. Lin Rufei’s body was already frail. Those days, he just wanted to be able to bully the monkeys, who had stole his rice cakes, at least once.

He just wanted to see the Monkey King’s aggrieved look, only to find that he bullied it a little too hard. 

When Lin Rufei thought of this, he couldn’t help but smile lightly.

The wind suddenly rustled in the courtyard. Upon taking a closer look, the cherry blossom tree actually sprouted a few bright green tender leaves. Lin Rufei’s eyes widened: “You……how come you haven’t bloomed any flowers but are already sprouting leaves. “

Naturally, the tree could not speak. But looking at its shaking figure, it seemed to be kind of angry. Lin Rufei quickly said: “No matter, no matter. I also like cherry blossom leaves!”  

Only then did the cherry blossom tree stop moving.

Lin Rufei looked at the tree and felt some inexplicable sadness. This cherry blossom tree was unpleasant in the eyes of his second brother. If he really died, maybe his second brother would draw his sword and cut it to pieces the next moment.

“No matter, tomorrow I will remember to talk to second brother about this matter.” Lin Rufei muttered, “Lest you be implicated with me when the time comes……”

Time flowed, the moon was sparse, and it was yet another day.

Lin Rufei reclined on the couch while smelling the cool breeze. He slept with the bright moon with a cloudless sky, it would most likely be a clear day tomorrow.

Good, Lin Rufei thought. He liked clear Spring days, the Spring breeze, the luscious plants and trees, and the cherry blossom trees with new leaves. All was well.

The next day, the sky was clear.

Fu Hua woke up early to prepare breakfast for Lin Rufei. She and Yu Rui both looked tired, probably because they had not at all slept last night.

Lin Rufei had slept well, but he was inexplicably embarrassed by the grim looks of Fu Hua and Yu Rui.

Fu Hua said: “Young master, did you have a good rest last night?”

Lin Rufei said, “Not……bad?”

When Yu Rui heard this, she sniffed and cried again, ‘young master shouldn’t try to be strong in order to keep us from worrying. You must have had a sleepless night but did not dare tell.’

Lin Rufei looked helpless, so he had to take out another piece of corn candy, and only then was he able to stop Yu Rui’s sobbing mouth.

After breakfast, it was almost time for the competition with Wang Teng. Lin Rufei summoned Fu Hua and asked her to push him to the place that had been decided on yesterday.

This time, the sword competition was not on the mountain, but rather a sword platform deep in the forest.

Most likely because of certain considerations, Lin Minzhi did not intend to make the competition public when he decided on this place.

Fu Hua walked extremely slowly, while Yu Rui followed with her head hanging down. But even though she was slow, the road still had an end. 

Lin Rufei finally arrived at the place where they had agreed upon. He saw Wang Teng standing in the middle of a clearing wearing a bamboo hat like yesterday and Lin Bianyu and Lin Minzhi were not far away from Wang Teng.

It was just that Lin Bianyu and Lin Minzhi’s expressions weren’t too good, especially Lin Bianyu’s. His face was pale and he was reluctant to look at Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei called out to his big brother and second brother.

“Xiao Jiu.” Lin Minzhi said, “You’re here.”

“I’m here.” Lin Rufei asked, “Why does second brother look so pale?”

Before Lin Bianyu could answer, Wang Teng laughed. Only this laugh was icy cold, like a snake’s hissing, “Of course that is because your second brother, for your sake, met me at night…..it’s a pity.

Wang Teng said coldly again: “It’s a pity he was half beaten to death by me.”

Lin Rufei turned back, gathered his smile, and looked into Wang Teng’s eyes—no longer with a trace of warmth.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei rolled up his sleeves: You dare to beat up my second brother, I will make you bald.

Wang Teng: ? ? ? ? ?

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[1] Type of wine, also in reference to a famous Chinese winemaker. 

[2] Ok, this gets lost in translation because of how Chinese works. So the response before Fu Hua’s, where Lin Rufei says to have an optimistic attitude, it uses the idiom “้ผ“็›†่€ŒๆญŒ,” which means to see life and death optimistically. But also at the same time, the direct meaning is like the one Fu Hua says, “Daring to sing with a drum.” So basically both sentences use the same phrase, but because of the meanings, it’s translated differently. Hope that clears things up a bit ^-^ 

Chapter 12: The Dragon kills the Dragon (I) 

When Wang Teng said this, Lin Bianyu was not angry. He simply stated calmly: “Yesterday, you said so yourself, that you wanted to compete with the most powerful swordsman in Kunlun. If you couldn’t even block my sword, how could you be qualified to face Rufei?”

If Wang Teng only knew that Lin Rufei was weak and sickly and had not practiced swordplay. And was just using him to make a name for himself, even if he died under Lin Bianyu’s sword, it would not be injustice. 

However, last night, Wang Teng proved his strength in front of Lin Bianyu.

Wang Teng was indeed powerful, and his sword style was treacherous. It was more suitable for assassins that sneaked attack rather than such an open and honest sword competition. If you say it was on the wide sword stage, Lin Bianyu still had a seven-point chance of winning, but if it came to the complex night terrain, the chance of victory would only be three points.

This was the case last night.

Lin Bianyu was defeated.

Wang Teng did not want to waste any more time. He turned his head to look at Lin Rufei and raised his hand to unsheathe his sword.

That sword, Lin Bianyu had seen it last night. It was three feet long and two inches wide. Its body was blue with a black python pattern. Held in his hand, it was like a soft green snake—able to easily take the life of a person.

Last night, Lin Bianyu nearly died under this sword. Unlike ordinary famous swords, this was a murder weapon designed to kill. Once it was unsheathed, it would always see blood.

Wang Teng pulled out the snow white blade and there was a unique foul smell coming from it, like fresh blood.

The Spring breeze carried the foul air and it smacked against Lin Rufei’s cheeks. Wang Teng smiled and said in a voice as gentle as that of a lover, “It’s named Qing Ji[1], please, Lin gongzi.”

Lin Minzhi stepped forward and stood beside Lin Rufei. He whispered, “Rufei, wait a little longer, I summoned Gu Feiyu to bring over Zhong Feng, he should be here soon.”

Lin Minzhi didn’t go meet with Wang Teng during the night. He was instead, thinking of a more tactful method.

That day, in the loft above the sword stage, Lin Rufei had used Zhong Feng to split Kunlun’s north peak, so he believed that Zhong Feng and Lin Rufei at least had some affinity.

Although he didn’t know if Lin Rufei could still use Zhong Feng, it was still better than going to the sword platform empty-handed.

But Lin Rufei knew that Zhong Feng was not his own sword. Just as he was about to say something, he felt his wheelchair being pushed by a pair of hands, and when he looked behind him, there was no one there.

“Rufei—” Lin Minzhi was stunned, he thought that Lin Rufei had slid his wheelchair by himself.

“Big brother, nothing is wrong.” Lin Rufei remembered something and softly reassured, “Don’t worry.”

“Xiao Jiu—” Lin Bianyu was anxious and even called out Lin Rufei’s nickname.

Lin Rufei turned his back to Lin Bianyu, waved his hand, and did not speak. He was afraid that if he said too much, it would let those two people worry more.

Someone was accompanying him, although that person could not be seen, his heart was reassured.  

Even Wang Teng, who was on the sword stage and could take his life any moment, wasn’t as scary anymore. 

Lin Rufei smiled lightly.

Wang Teng really liked the expression on Lin Rufei’s face. He had competed with many swordsmen and had taken many heads and all those people would show the fear hidden in their bones when they faced him.

Wild beasts were very sensitive to these emotions, and Wang Teng could see through their disguise with a glance.

But Lin Rufei seemed to be a little special. He looked handsome but was very thin and he could clearly see his neck’s fragile curvature and the hidden light blue veins on top. His white neck was very tempting. Wang Teng really liked to watch it being gently cut, splashing out bright red liquid. This imagination made him excited and also brought fear to his enemies.

However, Lin Rufei seemed to feel no negative emotions from Wang Teng. He was calm. His pupils, which were lighter than normal people, simply stared coldly at Wang Teng. He was neither fearful nor excited, as if looking at some plain roadside weed.  

This indifferentness made Wang Teng very interested. He raised his hand to remove the bamboo hat, revealing a face belonging to that of a foreign race. This face was a little too young, it was about sixteen or seventeen years old, however, the most striking was the pair of ice green eyes.

It was the first time Lin Rufei saw such cold eyes. It was like ice that sunk to the bottom of the lake and could not store a single trace of warmth.

“Twenty-three years ago, it was the birth of a son on the Kunlun Mountains. That day the sunset turned into a phoenix and flew around Kunlun and only until night did it gradually disperse.” Wang Teng’s voice was hoarse. He stared at Lin Rufei’s eyes, like staring at a long-awaited prey and the only trace of reason left in his pupils began to gradually dissipate, leaving only the excitement of a beast, “My master then told me that this world had another person who could take my life!” 

Lin Rufei’s face was expressionless.

“Ten thousand birds taking the form of a phoenix is the sign only when the Heavenly Ruler was born. And you Lin Rufei had this sign too. Even though you cannot compare to the Heavenly Ruler, I think you won’t be too unsatisfactory.” Wang Teng said, “That day when I saw you by the bridge, I knew I had found the right person—Lin Rufei, you are very strong!”

Lin Rufei looked at Wang Teng. He was sitting in a wheelchair, with a face as pale as the snow on the top of the mountain.

He should be afraid. If the person in front of him could beat Lin Bianyu, it would certainly be an opponent that he could not defeat. However, Lin Rufei was not afraid. Not only was he not afraid, he also raised his hand to support his chin and he simply surveyed the enemy standing opposite to him indifferently.

This was the first time Fu Hua saw this expression of Lin Rufei. Compared to his usual expression, this was much more foreign. However, currently, Fu Hua could not think about it too much since she noticed on Wang Teng’s body that increasingly strong smell of blood. It was almost as if he had just killed countless wild animals, cut open their throats, and let their blood soak in the smell of the Earth.

Yu Rui cultivation was the lowest and she already couldn’t help but vomit.

Fu Hua was also pale.

But it just so happen that Lin Rufei, who was sitting opposite Wang Teng, remained indifferent. He indeed could not smell the fishy smell. All he could smell was the light fragrance of cherry blossom. The person who was accompanying him appeared behind him and rested his hand gently on his shoulder. His voice was slightly cool as he asked: “Xiao Jiu, angry?”

Lin Rufei did not answer. He knew that everyone present could not see the person behind him, and could not hear his question.

“You’re right to be angry, what kind of cats and dogs are worthy to speak out in front of you?” The man lowered his head and came close to Lin Rufei’s ear. His black hair fell onto Lin Rufei’s neck, bringing a few tickles as he whispered, “Go ahead, I’m here.” After he finished speaking, he turned into a gust of wind, interspersed with rustling cherry blossom petals, which spread over the entire sword platform.

The sudden appearance of cherry blossom petals spread its fresh aroma over the entire sword platform, strongly suppressing the rich smell of blood on Wang Teng.

Wang Teng stared at Lin Rufei and there seemed to be a fire in his green eyes. The fire gathered and tumbled in his eyes before finally brewing into a wave of monstrous anger. Qing Jing[2] was unsheathed and Wang Teng made the first move. 

In a flash, four green sword lights spurt out. It was wrapped in the power of wind and thunder and it slashed directly at Lin Rufei. The raging sword power actually resonated with the sky and a thunderstorm soon erupted. The original clear sky was instantly covered with dark clouds, interspersed with golden threads, as if the whole world had turned upside down.

The cherry blossoms, that originally covered the sword stage, were blown into mid-air by the wind. Lin Rufei sat amidst the rain of flowers petals, without sorrow or joy—like a sitting Buddha.

The green sword Qi was like a predatory tiger and was about to pounce on his face. This sword light was more terrifying than poison, as long as it touched even the slightest bit, they would be torn to pieces.

The time in Lin Rufei’s eyes froze. Wang Teng’s movements were incomparably slow in his eyes, even the swift tiger-like green sword Qi, also seemed to just be wriggling. Lin Rufei raised his hand and his middle and index fingers gently caught a petal of cherry blossom that was blown upwards. He slightly tilted his head, then the petal in his hand flew out like a knife blade.

The petal instantly turned into blood-red sword Qi and lunged towards the green sword Qi.

The two swords Qi collided. First, a loud sound that could shake Heaven and Earth rang out, and then all was quiet. Standing at the side of the sword platform, Fu Hua’s ears were buzzing. She turned her head in bewilderment and saw Yu Rui’s mouth opening and closing, but there was no sound. After that, she felt as if something wet was flowing out her ears. She raised her hand to wipe and saw that her fingers were stained with bright red blood.

Yu Rui, at her side, did the same.

The level of this competition was not something they could watch.

It was only the first strike, yet their ears were already deafened. 

On the stage, Wang Teng’s pupils stood up, and inconspicuous scales began to faintly emerge on both sides of his face. He looked at Lin Rufei on the other side of the sword platform and his voice was hoarse: “I just wanted to know why Master would praise a person he had never met before for so many years. Lin Rufei, it’s just a name. A living human could not even compare to a name?”

Lin Rufei said, “I don’t know you, nor do I know your master.”

“You naturally wouldn’t know.” Wang Teng said coldly, “But I have known you for twenty-three years.”

But Lin Rufei laughed and looked at Wang Teng like a child who was provoking a fight: “So what?”

Wang Teng seemed to be irritated by Lin Rufei’s smile, and he hissed, “So what? Just after today, after today, your Lin family disciples, the whole Kunlun Sect, will remember my name, Wang Teng! It was I who killed you, Lin Rufei, I am the most powerful sword immortal!”

Lin Rufei said, “You have already made your move, now it’s my turn.”

He didn’t intentionally emphasize the tone of his voice but Wang Teng’s heart inexplicably shrank and his feet involuntarily took a step back. It was like a beast reacting involuntarily when it found a deadly enemy, and Wang Teng’s green pupils contracted violently.

A thin, slender cherry blossom branch appeared out of nowhere in mid-air.

Lin Rufei understood it by heart and raised his hand to hold it.

Standing beside the sword platform, Lin Bianyu’s pupils shrank slightly, and his injured cheeks turned a few shades whiter. He recognized the branch, it was the one which he had secretly broken off from the cherry blossom tree before.

Because of this, he was tripped by the tree and fell.

At this time, the seemingly unexceptional cherry blossom branch that appeared in Lin Rufei’s hand turned into a fearsome existence.

The thick dark clouds above Lin Rufei’s head began to gather into a huge storm, and the gusts of wind even began to uproot the surrounding trees.

However, Lin Rufei sat on the sword platform, as steady as a mountain. He raised his hand and lightly made a swing.

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[1] Qing Ji means Green Thorns. 

[2] No clue if this is the author’s typo but this was how it was writtened. Still means Green Thorns though. 

Chapter 13: The Dragon kills the Dragon (II) 

Gu Feiyu arrived a little late.

He was carrying Zhong Feng on his back and when finally he reached the sword platform, he only saw the cherry blossoms flying out of Lin Rufei’s hands, breaking the green sword Qi that Wang Teng had cleaved.

Panting, Gu Feiyu flew to Lin Minzhi’s side, “Finally, I found the place……the Kunlun Mountains are too big, Lin gongzi, do you need me to send Zhong Feng to the sword platform?”

Lin Minzhi said, “No need.”

Gu Feiyu frowned, “But Lin Si Gongzi[1] is barehanded……” He was only able to say half of his sentence when the rest of the words were stuck in his throat. This was because, on the stage, Lin Rufei suddenly raised his hand and pulled out a thin branch. The branch didn’t have any flowers or leaves and it looked slender and fragile. But when held by Lin Rufei’s pale hand, it vaguely let out a horrifying aura. 

Zhong Feng, which was on Gu Feiyu’s back, suddenly began to buzz. At first, Gu Feiyu thought that Zhong Feng was excited, but when Lin Rufei calmly swung down the cherry blossom branch, he realized that Zhong Feng was actually terrified.

Lin Rufei had never practiced with swords when he was young and therefore did not know any moves.

He raised his hand and waved his sword as plain as a child.

But Wang Teng, who was standing opposite him, showed a frightened expression.

Wang Teng did not understand Lin Rufei’s moves, but he felt a majestic and morbid sword intent that seemed to come out of Heaven and Earth. It gathered and boiled on Lin Rufei’s branch, flowing back and forth before finally gushing out—like a huge river and it rushed towards Wang Teng with an unstoppable momentum.

No moves, no techniques, just sword intent.

Wang Teng shouldn’t have been afraid.

However, when the sword intent actually enveloped him, Wang Teng found himself unable to stand up straight amongst this intent. This overwhelming sword intent was like a high-end god looking down on him with coldness. Inch by inch, it bent his body. At first, he could barely arch his back. Then he was forced to kneel on one knee, but soon, the special sword platform under his feet began to break and he was about to lose support.

Wang Teng vomited a mouthful of blood and raised his head in hatred. He looked at Lin Rufei, and swallowed back the blood that gushed out of his mouth again—hard. He called out, “Qing Ji—”

Qing Ji buzzed.

“Fly out of the sword platform.” Wang Teng spoke with difficulty, “As long as we leave this sword intent……”

He only got halfway through his sentence when he revealed an unbelievable look. He looked at Qing Ji, which was in his hand, with eyes full of bewilderment. 

Qing Ji, which had met countless strong enemies and beheaded countless heads, actually shrank in his arms at this time, trembling like a frightened little child.

Qing Ji was Wang Teng’s life-bound sword and he could clearly feel the fear that Qing Ji was feeling. It feared the opponent opposite of them. The one who was sitting in a wheelchair, the seemingly fragile Lin Rufei who looked unable to withstand a single blow. 

At this moment, Wang Teng remembered what his master had once said to him.

The master who had picked him up and brought him home like his own son said, ‘as long as you use Qing Ji for a day, you will never be able to beat Lin Rufei.’

Qing Ji was forged by a famous craftsman and was already one of the best swords in the world. Therefore, Wang Teng thought his master was just talking about his incompetent swordplay, but now he vaguely understood his words.

The reason why as long as he used Qing Ji for a day, he would never be able to beat Lin Rufei.

No swords would appear in Lin Rufei’s hands.

Because he was the sharpest one.

It was a pity that this sword had not yet been sharpened and his reckless self already became his first whetstone. 

Wang Teng laughed heartily.

His body was pressed hard against the green stone of the platform by the sword intent. The bones of his body were crushed by the intent one by one and it emitted a tooth-aching creaking sound. Blood spilled out from his mouth and stained the white blade of Qing Ji. 

Even so, Wang Teng did not concede defeat. In his dictionary, there wasn’t “defeat” this word.

Unlike the continent of Yaoguang, which was well endowed with the knowledge of etiquette. In the place where he lived, admitting defeat meant death. Since it was all death in the end, it was better to keep the last dignity as a loser.

Perhaps because he was so badly injured, Wang Teng’s consciousness gradually blurred, and some images of the past even flashed before his eyes. He saw himself riddled with scars as a young child and snatching food from a wild dog. But because his body was too thin, he was pounced onto the ground by the wild dog. Just as he was about to have his throat bitten off, a pair of white hands squeezed the back of the wild dog’s neck.

“Poor boy.” A gentle voice resounded. Someone picked him up and swept him into their arms, “Come with me.”

That was the first touch of softness that appeared in Wang Teng’s world.

Before that time, everyone called him a “wild child,” just because he had green eyes.

Later, that person took him onto the path of immortality and taught him how to train with the sword. He also gave him a gift—Qing Ji—which was the same color as his eyes. He thought he was all that person had.

Until a certain year, another name came out of that person’s mouth.

“That boy will certainly be a powerful character in the future. Wang Teng, you should hide far away when you meet him.”

“Who is he?”

“His name is Lin Rufei.”

“……”

“The fourth son of the Kunlun Sect, Lin Rufei.”

“Lin Rufei? Is he very powerful?”

“You have to remember that name. Stay far away, as far away as you can.”

As master had wished, Wang Teng remembered the name forever.

The memories stopped there and Wang Teng felt his strength draining away as black spots started appearing in his vision. He stroked Qing Ji, feeling its cold blade, and whispered an apology.

Sorry, ah. I was not able to let you win this round. I am a substandard master. The original buzzing sound from Qing Ji faded as if it sensed something. Suddenly it started chirping loudly and the hilt of the sword glued itself into Wang Teng’s hand, refusing to slip away. It wanted him to grab it like he had always done. 

He seemed to have sensed the reluctance of Qing Ji. The terrifying sword intent came again. Soon, fine cracks began to appear slowly on Qing Ji’s snow-white blade. Wang Teng’s eyes widened and his emerald green eyes were filled with the color of struggle. He uttered out with difficulty: “No—Qing Ji, go away—”

Qing Ji still refused.

Wang Teng’s green eyes were filled with tears, with his last strength he hissed: “Go away ah—”

Qing Ji acted as if it did not hear him.

For the first time, Wang Teng showed despair. If he died then so be it, but Qing Ji shouldn’t have to follow him. It was a famous sword, so naturally, it could meet a more powerful master. 

Wang Teng hugged the sword, with his head dead against the hilt. He murmured softly: “Qing Ji, only you guys, don’t mind me……”

Didn’t mind that he was a green-eyed monster.

The morbid sword intent came to an abrupt halt.

The powerful oppression disappeared instantly and air finally returned to Wang Teng’s lungs again. He gasped heavily, coughing up heaps of dirty blood. He looked up and saw Lin Rufei sitting in the distance.

“You’re not going to kill me?” Wang Teng asked in a dumb voice.

Lin Rufei said, “Do you admit defeat?”

Wang Teng smiled to himself, “Naturally, I have lost.”

Lin Rufei said, “It’s just a sword fight. The point is if you admit defeat, why would I take your life? However, you have to promise to agree to my condition.”  

Wang Teng’s face sank. He thought Lin Rufei was going to propose something untoward. His pupils stood up nervously like snakes and he asked, “What is it?”

Lin Rufei pointed to Lin Bianyu standing by the sword platform and calmly said, “Apologize to my second brother.”

Wang Teng was dumbfounded. His pupils then returned to normal, “It was your second brother who came to me for a sword fight last night—it’s not me who should apologize, right?”

Faced with Wang Teng’s question, Lin Rufei’s expression did not change. He raised the cherry blossom branch in his hand: “Are you going to apologize or not?” He also inherited the Lin family’s inherent protectiveness. Whatever the reason, he should apologize for hurting his second brother.

Wang Teng was left speechless. Finally, he could only twist his head with difficulty and said a “sorry” to Lin Bianyu. His body’s recovery ability was indeed very strong. The bones in his body were broken into many pieces, and within the time that he was talking, he was already able to get up from the sword platform. However, there was still a huge human-shaped crater left on the sword platform—it was a really big eyesore.  

“It’s Lin Si Gongzi who won.” Wang Teng recognized the result of the competition.

“Wang Teng.” Lin Minzhi spoke out, “You are Mr. Long’s[2] disciple?”

Wang Teng didn’t expect anyone to know his master’s name, so he was slightly surprised but still nodded his head.

Lin Minzhi added, “Is Mr. Long still well?”

Wang Teng was silent for a moment and said in a low voice, “He has been ill for a year.”

Lin Minzhi looked regretful and said sorry.

Wang Teng obviously did not want to talk more about this matter. His eyes searched the ground for a moment then limped to the corner and picked up the bamboo hat he had thrown aside before. He put it back on his head.

Then he turned his head and looked at Lin Rufei: “You spared my life, I owe you a favor.”

Lin Rufei just smiled and did not say anything.

Wang Teng said again: “But a few years later, I will come back to challenge you. I will also be stronger by then, and I also hope that by then you….” would have become a sharp blade. 

After he said this, he bowed to Lin Rufei and turned around to leave.

Lin Rufei, who had been quiet, suddenly spoke up and called out to him, “Wang Teng.”

“Hm?” Wang Teng turned his head.

Lin Rufei said sincerely, “If we meet again in the future, I will buy you a drink.”

Wang Teng was silent for a moment and did not respond. He left flying on his sword—swaying towards the direction of the front mountain.

When he left, the pair of beautiful emerald eyes took on a slight smile.

The man who had disappeared behind Lin Rufei reappeared again and came to his ear, his breath burning: “What, is that person good looking?”

Only then did Lin Rufei turn around. He looked at the man’s beautiful side profile and slightly smiled. He wanted to say something, but when he opened his mouth, a burning liquid gushed out. One mouthful after another, his white fox fur was instantly dyed into a piercing scarlet.  

“Xiao Jiu—” Lin Bianyu’s frightened cry also seemed distant. Lin Rufei’s body swayed as his nose lingered with the man’s cherry blossom fragrance. His eyes were half-closed and before he completely fainted, he answered the man’s question with a faint voice, “Naturally……it is no match against yours.”

********

The author has something to say:

Gong (seme): daily jealousy (1/1)

Shou (uke): daily coaxing (1/1)

!

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[1] Might be confusing for some but I will explain. Previously, he referred to Lin Rufei as Lin San Gongzi and now he is referring to Lin Rufei as Lin Si Gongzi (fourth young master of the Lin Family). It is not a typo and both are correct. In case you guys might have forgotten, there are 4 children of the Lin family, but only three are sons, and Lin Rufei is the third son, so the first referral is correct. But at the same time, Lin Rufei is also the youngest because he has an older sister, therefore referring to him as Lin Si Gongzi is also correct. Hope that clears things up ๐Ÿ™‚ 

[2] His surname is Long which also means dragon ๐Ÿ˜€ 

Chapter 14: The Name is Gu Xuandu

Lin Rufei completely lost consciousness.

He did not know how long he had slept, but everything around him became blurry. His eyes could only perceive darkness and his five senses plunged into a bottomless abyss.

When he opened his eyes once more, it was already a few days later.

When Yu Rui, who was guarding his bedside, saw him wake up, she burst into tears and pounced onto his bedside, calling out to her young master.

Lin Rufei’s eyes were half-open and it took a while before he had the strength to speak again. It was just that the words he spat out were as indistinct as smoke and dust that easily dissipated in the wind: “How long have I been sleeping?”

“Young master has been sleeping for three days.” Yu Rui rubbed her eyes and sobbed.

“Am I badly hurt?” Lin Rufei asked again.

Yu Rui said, “Dr. Wan said that young master was not injured, it’s just that your foundation is poor……” She looked at Lin Rufei sadly, wanting to say something but then stopped herself.

Lin Rufei understood her meaning, and lightly coughed twice: “You and Fu Hua’s ears are not seriously hurt, right?”

“Nothing serious, Dr. Wan Yao prescribed some medicine. Once we eat it, we will be fine.” Yu Rui dried her tears and continued brokenly: “Since young master woke up, I will go inform sister Fu Hua and the other two young masters. They were guarding you earlier.”

As she said this, she lifted the hem of her skirt and ran out in a flash.

Lin Rufei opened his eyes and looked at the overhanging beam hidden in the shadow above his head. His body was now so weak and feeble that he could hardly move. After exchanging a few words with Fu Hua[1], a layer of itchiness floated up to his throat making him involuntarily let out a low cough. His body was no longer as light as it had been when he fought against Wang Teng a few days ago; rather it was now as heavy as stone armor and it really made him want to break out from it.  

“Are you there?” Lin Rufei suddenly spoke.

No one answered, only a clear breeze filled the room.

This was not strange, but Lin Rufei’s heart felt some disappointment. He gently pursed his bloodless lips, suppressing a low cough.

“Awake?” The man’s voice suddenly came.

Lin Rufei turned his head in surprise and saw the man sitting by the window. He seemed to like the wooden chair very much as he leaned on it with a lazy look. His hand propped up his chin and he looked at Lin Rufei from afar.

“Did you lend me your strength?” Lin Rufei asked.

“Lend? No, no, no.” The man said in a slow voice, “It belongs to you.” He sighed sadly, “It’s just a pity that the blade is too sharp, I’m afraid there are not many sheaths in the world that can seal this sword of yours.”

Lin Rufei said, “What does that mean?”

“The divine soul is the sword, the torso is the sheath.” The man said, “How come you were born with such a shabby body.”

Lin Rufei lost his smile, “My parents gave me this body, I don’t have the right to dislike it”

“That’s true.” The man laughed, he suddenly turned his head and peered outside the room, “I’ll leave first, your brothers and the others are coming.”

“Wait.” Lin Rufei hurriedly spoke out, “I wonder if……I can ask the name of this senior?”

“Senior?” The man thought over this honorific and a subtle expression appeared on his face, “Well……that’s not bad.”

Lin Rufei was bewildered, “Hmm?”

Only then did the man spit out three words, “Gu Xuandu.” He smiled, “Remember, my name is Gu Xuandu.”

Someone pushed the door in, and when Lin Rufei turned back again, the man’s figure had already disappeared.

The visitors were none other than Lin Minzhi and Lin Bianyu, as well as Fu Hua who was carrying a tray full of food with a tear-stained face.

“Xiao Jiu.” When Lin Bianyu saw him awake, he hurried over to him.

“Second brother.” Lin Rufei said softly, “How are your injuries?”

Lin Minzhi sighed unhappily, “You are still in the mood to worry about your second brother. He is very strong, he won’t die even if he receives two more sword wounds.”

Lin Bianyu helplessly called out an “elder brother.”

“You still know that I am your brother?” Lin Minzhi questioned coldly.

Lin Bianyu didn’t dare argue again and obediently stood aside to listen. Luckily, Lin Minzhi was concerned about Lin Rufei’s health and didn’t say anything else. He told Lin Rufei not to worry about Lin Bianyu. His injury was serious, but his internal organs weren’t damaged so he would be fine after a few months of recuperation.

“Counting the days, your sister will be back soon.” Lin Minzhi sighed, “If she comes back and sees you in this tattered state, she’ll make a fuss for half a day.”

Lin Rufei said, “I’m not in a tattered state……” The moment he finished, he coughed up another mouthful of blood.

Fu Hua, with a crying voice, called out to her young master and she hurriedly used a silk handkerchief to wipe the blood from Lin Rufei’s lips.

Lin Rufei immediately felt guilty.

Lin Bianyu said, “Look at you, you almost coughed out all your blood, and you still say you’re not in a tattered state?” He continued brokenly, “I have remembered that Wang Teng, next time, don’t let me see him again.”

Lin Minzhi sneered, “So what if you meet him again, it’s not like you can beat him.”

Lin Bianyu: “I can’t beat him this time, but don’t be so sure about next time.”

Lin Minzhi sighed: “You’d better think about the He family first. From what Wan Yao said, their family’s Xuyu tree gave birth to six iron-gold walnuts……”

Lin Bianyu said: “So what? One iron-gold walnut can’t even compare to half a Wang Teng.”

Lin Minzhi did not bother to say anything more. He only asked Lin Bianyu to take advantage of Lin Rufei’s waking time to go to Wan Yao to get the medicine he was making. Lin Bianyu was still in the wrong so he did not dare refute anything and just obediently left to go get the medicine.

After Lin Bianyu left, Lin Minzhi sent out Fu Hua and Yu Rui. Lin Rufei looked at his elder brother and he knew that he must had something to tell him.

As expected, Lin Minzhi reached out and patted Lin Rufei’s head. His voice was low as he said, “Xiao Jiu, would you like to leave Kunlun to gain experience?”

Lin Rufei was a little surprised and even wondered if he had heard wrong: “Big brother……”

Lin Minzhi said: “It means exactly what you think.”

Lin Rufei had been on the Kunlun Mountains for more than twenty years, and the farthest place he had been was only the town below the mountain. He had read many travelogues and had fantasized about traveling ten thousand miles with his sword in the air. He imagined carrying a pot of good Dukang wine around his waist and being able to drink a cup whenever he wanted to. That would be very satisfying.

But as Lin Minzhi said just now, Lin Rufei’s body was in a tattered state and would fall ill when the wind blows. Where would he have the extra strength to leave Kunlun?

“You also know the rules of the Lin family.” Lin Minzhi said in a deep voice, “Every Lin family direct disciple, after reaching adulthood, has to go out for some travel. I went, your second brother went, and now your sister will soon return……the only one left is you.” He reached out and touched Lin Rufei’s head, and continued on sadly, “Xiao Jiu, if possible, us brothers and sister would like to protect you for life, but are you willing to be a canary in a cage?”

Lin Rufei’s light-colored eyes lit up with a layer of light, “Big brother, can I really go?”

“As long as you are willing.” Lin Minzhi said.

“I want to go.” Lin Rufei gave an answer that did not surprise anyone.

If this question had been asked half a month ago, Lin Rufei probably would have refused. He was not only weak, but also had no ability to defend himself, but after experiencing the sword competition with Wang Teng, he found that his body seemed to have a hidden power. Although he did not know how to use it, in the end, it gave Lin Rufei infinite hope. He didn’t want to be powerful, he just wanted to have the power to protect himself and be able to see all the rivers and mountains on the Yaoguang continent.

It was said that elder brothers were like fathers. Lin Minzhi and Lin Rufei’s relationship was indeed more like that of an elder. Even though considerate, he wasn’t like Lin Bianyu, who capriciously spoiled him: “If you want to, then go. The next sword competition invitations should also be sent out soon. This trip, take the invitations with you.”

Lin Rufei was overjoyed, but as soon as his emotions fluctuated, his body reacted again and he emitted a violent coughing sound. Very quickly, his cheeks rose to an abnormal shade of red.

Lin Minzhi wanted to say something but stopped himself.

Lin Rufei said brokenly, “No……cough, nothing, I cough cough cough, I’ll be fine in a while cough cough.”

Lin Minzhi looked at Lin Rufei’s appearance and became sad, not knowing if he was regretting what he had just said.

Lin Rufei coughed for quite a while before he finally was able suppress it and he leaned listlessly against the bed, like a flower that had been knocked down by the rain. Lin Minzhi touched his forehead to make sure it was just a cough. After seeing that it wasn’t a fever, his mind was at least put to ease.

Lin Bianyu went quickly and came back quickly. Soon, he hurried into the room carrying medicine and there were still beads of sweat rolling off his forehead, “Xiao Jiu, quick, drink the medicine.”

Lin Rufei dutifully drank the medicine.

Lin Minzhi saw that Lin Rufei was drinking the medicine, so he gave Lin Bianyu a look—indicating that he should follow him out to talk about something.

Lin Bianyu kind of guessed what Lin Minzhi was going to say and had a feeling that the situation would not be that easy.

As expected, within a few moments, a fierce argument broke out outside the house, and the loudest and most intense voice was that of the usually gentle and jade-like Lin Bianyu.

“Elder brother, what are you talking about? Xiao Jiu’s health is so poor, you’re sending him to his death by letting him deliver the invitations!” Lin Bianyu said in a stern voice, “Besides, you have seen his current state. He fainted for three days after using a single move, if he meets someone with no good intentions outside—”

Lin Minzhi whispered something.

Lin Bianyu gritted his teeth and continued, “No, I won’t agree, and neither will third sister—” His voice shook in vain, “Why would she agree, what the hell are you guys thinking? If Xiao Jiu met with some accident outside and never came back, will you really not regret it?!!”

It was unknown how Lin Minzhi persuaded Lin Bianyu, but after he finished his sentence, Lin Bianyu turned around and left. He angrily slammed the wooden door of the courtyard.

This was the expected reaction. How could Lin Bianyu be willing to let his younger brother, who he always spoiled, go out and see the dangerous places of Jianghu?

Lin Minzhi pushed the door in, “He agreed.”

“Second brother agreed?” Lin Rufei was a little incredulous.

“Mn.” Lin Minzhi reassured.

Lin Rufei said, “But……”

“No buts.” Lin Minzhi raised his eyes to look out the window and saw the thin cherry blossom tree, “Xiao Jiu’s destiny has arrived. It cannot be prevented by manpower. If you like the great mountains then there is no harm in going to see it.” After saying that, he revealed a helpless look, “It’s just that your second brother is really angry, when you come back, remember to coax him properly.”

********

The author has something to say:

Gong (seme): I finally have a name! I’m finally not a black account[2] ! From today onwards, I will feed the horses, chop the wood, and take the wife around the world.

Lin Rufei: ………..

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[1] I don’t know if the author meant Yu Rui instead of Fu Hua because Yu Rui just left…but that was how it was written, so it is not a typo on my part. 

[2] Kinda like being blacklisted. 

Chapter 15: Weirui Returns

Lin Bianyu rarely got angry, especially when the object of his anger was his most beloved brother, Lin Rufei.

Now that Lin Rufei was sick to the bed, he also hardened his heart and did not come to visit at all. Even after a few days, when Lin Rufei finally recovered from his illness, he still did not see his second brother’s shadow.

Lin Rufei was a little worried.

It was a good thing Fu Hua had a plan. She said, ‘the pagoda trees[1] in town have just blossomed. The second young master loves dumplings flavored with the blossom, so why not take advantage of the good weather these days and go to town to pick some fresh pagoda tree flowers.’

Lin Rufei thought about for a while. After thinking that it indeed made sense, he agreed to Fu Hua’s proposal.

This was the time when Spring was in full swing and everything was coming to life. The trees had lost their flower petals and were drawing out their bright green branches. The green grasses were long and birds were flying. It was simply wonderful.

Today the sun was just right. Lin Rufei finally changed out of the heavy fox fur and put on a single thin Spring outfit. The Spring outfit had a white base with gold patterns, and the cuffs were embroidered with a circle of fluffy white fur. The belt on his waist was a special turquoise jade sent by big brother, which was said to have the effect of calming the mind. As for the incense bag hanging on the side of his waist, it was hand-embroidered by his sister. Although the patterns were some strange shapes, Lin Weirui’s handmade pouches were a rarity.

Before leaving home, Fu Hua noticed that the wind was a bit strong so she gave Lin Rufei a black cloak to help keep the wind out. Lin Rufei did not refuse since he was clear about his own physical condition. Even the smallest wind could make Lin Rufei catch a cold.

After a long walk through the mountains, they finally arrived at the town.

But today’s town seemed different from the previous days. A group of people were around the bridge, seemingly praying to something.

Lin Rufei wondered, “What are these people doing?”

Fu Hua said, “I haven’t been to town for a few days. Young master, please wait, I’ll go over and ask.”

Lin Rufei nodded his head.

Fu Hua turned around and went into the crowd. Lin Rufei wandered around alone for a bit, but before he walked two steps, he found something strange. The placement of this town allowed people to see the northern peaks of the Kunlun Mountains. However, when he looked up, he saw that the original neat and lofty northern peak seemed to have been flattened by something, exposing bare rocks, which were abrupt and ridiculous. It was just like a handsome man in his prime, who had his hair cut for no reason.

Speaking of hair, Lin Rufei inexplicably remembered the golden-hair Monkey King in the cherry blossom forest. A little bit of guilty conscience brewed in his heart. But the good thing was that this northern peak incident certainly had nothing to do with him, so when he thought about it, Lin Rufei’s heart calmed down a lot.

Fu Hua finished inquiring about the news and returned to Lin Rufei’s side. She had a weird expression on her face and he didn’t know what she had heard. 

Lin Rufei asked: “What have you heard?”

“Well……some days ago, the northern peak of the Kunlun Mountains was suddenly cut down by a sword, many residents of the town saw the power of that sword and thought that only the gods could wield such a sword.” Fu Hua whispered, “As a result, they started worshipping.”

“Oh?” Lin Rufei was interested, “It seems that at this year’s sword competition, there were indeed some powerful people. Do you know the person who swung this sword?”

Fu Hua: “……Know.”

Lin Rufei said, “Who is it?” He was very curious about this, “But it’s strange, casually cutting down a peak of our Kunlun Mountains and second brother is not even angry.”

Fu Hua showed a difficult expression.

Lin Rufei questioned: “What’s wrong?”

Fu Hua noticed that Lin Rufei really didn’t notice anything wrong. His face was longing for the truth so she could only sighed and start explaining, “Young master, do you remember the time when second young master and Gu Feiyu had a sword fight?”

Lin Rufei smiled and said, “I do remember.”

Fu Hua said, “On that day, young master held Zhong Feng and swung from the top of the loft……”

Lin Rufei froze for a moment: “Indeed, but what does this have to do with me?”

Fu Hua looked at her young master, who still had an innocent expression, and for a long time, she didn’t make a squeak. She was thinking; if she was straightforward in telling Lin Rufei the truth—that he personally cut this peak into an unsightly flat head, would it not be too much of a stimulation for him? Luckily, Lin Rufei also noticed some clues from her subtle silence. He looked at Fu Hua suspiciously, and even more suspiciously at the distant mountains. Then, he raised his finger and pointed at himself: “Me?”

Fu Hua nodded.

Lin Rufei: “I splitted it?”

Fu Hua hummed in agreement.

Lin Rufei was shocked.

Fu Hua couldn’t help but want to laugh a little at Lin Rufei’s amazing expression. She stifled her laughter and said: “That day many people saw young master flying into the loft. And some people with really good eyesight also saw young master swing that sword….it’s just that not many people know young master so they began to spread rumors that there was an exiled immortal living on Kunlun.”

“Also a few days ago when Wang Teng and young master had a sword competition, it attracted heavenly thunder. And with young master’s swing, the thunder cloud was split into pieces.” Fu Hua softly whispered, “Although no one was present to watch the competition, that image was also seen by the people in town so….” As she said this she could not help but let out a brief chuckle. “I just went to ask, the one they are worshipping is you.”

Lin Rufei stood still for a moment, then took a few steps towards the back of the crowd. He saw that those people really were worshipping a clay statue, but the statue’s posture was formidable. It had a fierce face and the most terrifying thing was that the statue had two heads and four arms. The four arms all held a sword blade, almost like an Asura[2].

Two words emerged in Lin Rufei’s heart: who’s this?

Fu Hua was laughing back and forth, wiping away her tears she said: “Few people in Kunlun have seen young master’s appearance. The chaos of the rumors are really amazing. People say that someone who can use such a powerful sword must be gifted, unique even!”

Lin Rufei said sullenly, “Unique?”

Fu Hua chuckled, “There must be four hands to be enough, and two heads to be good!”

Lin Rufei thought about it and finally said, “That’s fine.”

Fu Hua covered her mouth and trembled from laughter.

Lin Rufei looked despondently at the statue that did not match his figure. He pondered for a moment before turning around and taking out a few copper coins from his pouch. He bought three incense sticks from the old man hawking next to him, bent down, and then proceeded to devoutly worshipped, chanting: “Next time never swing at a mountain.” Although there were many mountains, only a few were particularly beautiful. With this one swing, he was afraid big brother would be heartbroken for half a year.  

After worshipping the legendary four handed and two headed exiled immortal, Lin Rufei sat on his white horse and followed Fu Hua to pick pagoda tree blossoms.

This year’s Spring had little rainfall and the pagoda trees that bloomed were exceptionally good. They were densely clustered on the branch, looking very lively.

Fu Hua took out a cloth pouch and in a few steps, she climbed the tree and started picking. Lin Rufei was standing at the bottom looking up at her, greeting the flowers at this end and the flowers at that end.

The two of them were still picking flowers when Lin Rufei heard horse hooves galloping on the green stone paved street. He turned around and saw a young girl dressed in black riding a horse the color of red dates[3] through the town. The girl looked beautiful, but her face was cold and the large blood-red gourd[4] on her back was particularly eye-catching.

When people saw the young girl riding on the horse, they all shied away to the sides to give way.

Lin Rufei, however, brightened up and called out with a smile: “Third sister…”

The young girl turned around at the sound and when she saw Lin Rufei, the coldness on her face instantly faded away and she smiled sweetly: “Xiao Jiu!!” The horse’s hooves immediately stopped. She hopped off, turned, and ran wildly to hug her brother, whom she had not seen for several years. “Xiao Jiu! Why are you here? Did you know I was coming back, but I didn’t tell you guys in advance, how did you know? Are you picking pagoda tree blossoms? Look at you, have you not been eating properly, how did you lose weight again?,…..” Lin Weirui, who never liked to talk much, was at this time like an a long-winded old mother, pestering Lin Rufei with her incessant chatter.  

One question after another made it very hard for Lin Rufei to answer. In the end, he decided to stop interrupting. He just let Lin Weirui continue on until she was tired. She wept: “Xiao Jiu why aren’t you saying anything? Big sister has been gone for only three years, and now you’ve distanced yourself?” 

Lin Rufei said: “Sister, you ask too many questions, how can I answer them. Ask slowly, ask slowly—”

Only then did Lin Weirui stop making a fuss.

Fu Hua had picked a good amount of pagoda tree blossoms, so the three of them plan to go back. But as they passed through the town again, Lin Weirui thought that the people who were devoutly kneeling were very strange. They said that they were worshipping and how that person also had four hands. Could there really be new powerful gods in this world?…… 

Lin Rufei looked helpless and he didn’t really want to explain, so he signaled for Fu Hua to speak. 

Fu Hua tried to hold in her laughter as she explained in detail to Lin Weirui. Lin Weirui, who was listening, burst out into laughter. She slapped Lin Rufei’s shoulder saying, ‘Our brother has finally grown to be outstanding. We should just announce to the public that the fourth son of the Lin family has four arms, and is an exiled immortal from the nine Heavens.’

Lin Rufei sat on the white horse, listening to Lin Weirui joking about himself. It gave him the feeling that he was back in his youth. 

At that time, he was weak and small and couldn’t even step on the stirrup. Sister Lin Weirui held him in her arms and whilst riding, she talked about all the trivialities of sword practice. Lin Minzhi walked ahead with his horse, not saying a word and Lin Bianyu stood guard at his side, with a gentle smile at the corners of his eyes and eyebrows.

Lin Rufei was unfortunate. On Kunlun, which was famous for its sword, he didn’t even have a sword of his own. But he was also fortunate, because from the moment he was born, his brothers and sister have protected him like a treasure.

Now, he had actually split a north peak with a sword and he still didn’t know how he did it. But the future days were like a cold pool being stirred up, seemingly a bit angry. 

Let everything get better, Lin Rufei thought. This was probably the happiness of mortals.

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[1] Pagoda tree. 

Chapter 16: Back to the Mountain

Lin Weirui may look as cold as ice, but she had the hottest temper. When the disciples on the Kunlun Mountains encounter her, they are eager to lower their heads and stay far away from her. Lin Weirui was not as stable as Lin Minzhi and she was also not as knowledgeable as Lin Bianyu. It could be said that she was the most spontaneous person in the Lin family this generation. If she didn’t like someone, she would hate them to the bones. If she liked someone, she would be eager to pluck down the stars for that person. 

Lin Weirui was very fond of Lin Rufei.

When Lin Rufei was twelve years old, their mother had died of an illness. At that time, the thin and small Lin Rufei almost fainted in her arms from crying so much. Lin Weirui was already a young girl at that point. She hugged her brother and what she thought in her heart during that moment was that she never wanted to see Lin Rufei cry again in her life.

If she said it, then she would do it. Lin Weirui could thump her chest and guarantee that at this time on the Kunlun Mountains, no one dared to bully Lin Rufei and no one dared to disrespect Lin Rufei.

For as long as Lin Rufei could live, they would spoil him. 

But now, the grown-up younger brother was leaving Kunlun to go on his own. After reading Lin Minzhi’s letter, a feeling of emptiness came over Lin Weirui. She spent three days—day and night—flying back to Kunlun with her sword, and finally, she exhausted all her sword Qi. In the end, she bought a good horse at a high price and rushed back. The journey was already very tiring, but all that tiredness turned into joy the moment she saw Lin Rufei.

“Did you miss your sister, Xiao Jiu?” She was like a nagging mother, “I haven’t seen you for three years, why have you lost weight again? Tian Jue didn’t look after you properly when you were eating, when I get back, I will beat him up.”

The youngest of the family listened to her nagging without the slightest impatience. She talked, he listened and the corner of his eyes and eyebrows curved tenderly.

When Lin Weirui saw this kind of Lin Rufei, her heart started to ache. She really wanted Lin Rufei to be more heartless—not kind and understanding. 

People who were heartless actually lived a more comfortable life. Lin Weirui had long understood this truth.

“Before sister returned, did you go to Moyu and see Xie Zhiyao?” Lin Rufei chatted with Lin Weirui.

“I went, but I didn’t see him.” Lin Weirui had a blade of grass in her mouth as she led her horse ahead. “His family’s servant[1] seemed to have caused a big ruckus. The whole Xie family is in a mess. I was in a hurry to come home so I did not wait.”  

“The servant?” Fu Hua said, “Is it that servant with the particularly nasty mouth, Lv Er[2]?”

“Mn.” Lin Weirui said, “That’s him.” She turned her head to look at Lin Rufei, “The Xie family is also coming to the next sword competition, in a few days you will have to send invitations in the stead of the Lin family. You can go to Moyu first.”

Lin Rufei thought about it, “That’s fine.”

Xie Zhiyao was his childhood playmate. Back when the Xie family had some trouble and because the elders had a good relationship, they sent him to the Kunlun Mountains for foster care. He and Lin Rufei’s age difference was not big, and their personality were also very steady. Only, Xie Zhiyao had a servant by his side named Lv Er. Not only did he have a bad temper, but he also had a nasty mouth. If he said ten sentences, nine of them made people want to beat him up. No one knew why Xie Zhiyao’s elder left such a person at his side. 

That year, when Lv Er saw Lin Rufei for the first time, he said: ‘Why is this person so skinny, he is like a poor monkey boy.’

Before Lin Rufei could react, Xie Zhiyao raised his hand and gave Lv Er a slap on the face. With a gloomy look, he made him kneel down and apologize to Lin Rufei. Lv Er cried and cried but refused, and finally, Xie Zhiyao kicked him in the knee, forcing him to kowtow to Lin Rufei several times. In the end, he apologized and only after Lin Rufei’s forgiveness did he stand up.

It was nothing but jokes between children and Lin Rufei did not take it to heart. But what happened afterward proved how far-sighted Xie Zhiyao was. When Lin Bianyu had learned of those words, his original intention was to go directly to Xie Zhiyao with his sword. He wanted to chop off Lv Er’s head, but later he found out that Lv Er had apologized and Lin Rufei also expressed understanding, the matter was finally forgotten. 

However, since then, Lin Bianyu never showed a kind expression towards Lv Er and also didn’t really like Xie Zhiyao too much.

Dianshan Xie family was a pretty well-known family and their family’s sword techniques were also one of a kind. It was just that, in recent years they have not produced any outstanding characters so their fame gradually declined. But the bottom line was there, otherwise, Lin Bianyu would never give Xie Zhiyao any face.

Maybe because he did not have many friends when he was younger, Lin Rufei quite liked his playmate, Xie Zhiyao. When the two were teenagers, they often played chess at the top of the mountain in the wind and snow. Xie Zhiyao’s chess style was fierce. He liked to go in for the big kill and only sometimes would he lose his direction. Lin Rufei’s chess style was tame. He never missed a beat and would kill Xie Zhiyao’s fierce moves often unknowingly. 

Lv Er did not understand how to play chess. So when they play chess, this child would feel particularly bored. He would anxiously look at Fu Hua, who was sitting next to him, wanting to talk to her. 

However, Fu Hua also did not like this little boy, who did not have a plug for his mouth. So she sat by herself and read a book. 

“Sister Fu Hua, what are you reading?” Lv Er anxiously looked at the book in Fu Hua’s hand. 

“Leisure books.” Fu Hua coldly answered.

Lv Er quietly said, “That’s nice. I can’t read and write, and no one taught me……”

Fu Hua raised her eyes to look at him. At that moment, she inwardly felt a moment or two of pity.

But who knew the next sentence of Lv Er was: “But knowing a few big words isn’t that amazing, in the end, aren’t you still here being a servant with me.” He laughed as he said this and Fu Hua’s face turned so angry—she was livid.

Those who were pitiful always had some insufferable sides. Lv Er here was a very good example of that. 

Xie Zhiyao’s self-restraint was also very good. Having such a servant at his side, nobody knew how many people he had offended. 

Lin Rufei asked him why he had picked Lv Er. 

He said with a sullen look, “He is someone mother gave me”

Only then did Lin Rufei know that Xie Zhiyao’s mother had also died. Before she died, she entrusted Lv Er to Xie Zhiyao, telling him to treat him well. Xie Zhiyao could not help but accept his mother’s will and took Lv Er with him as a servant.

No one understood why Xie Zhiyao’s mother would deliberately give her son a hard time. However, now that this was the case, Xie Zhiyao could only accept. Later, he also inquired around, and some said that Lv Er was the offspring of his mother’s friend. Thus, Xie Zhiyao’s tolerance for Lv Er also grew by a few more points. 

Most likely, Lv Er’s obnoxiousness was too deep in everyone’s heart, when they heard Xie Zhiyao’s name even Fu Hua could not help but ask a question.

“That Lv Er, ah, seems to have caused big trouble and even disappeared. Xie Zhiyao, in order to find him, has been so busy that no one knows when he will be free.” Lin Weirui said, “Let’s not talk about him anymore, your big brother and second brother don’t know that I am back, see me give them a surprise!” As she spoke, she reached out her hand. Smiling, she pulled out a soft, round package from her dimensional ring. Following the hem of her skirt, she directly stuffed it under her clothes, where her stomach was. Fu Hua and Lin Rufei were stunned at this action.

“What are you dumbfounded for?” Lin Weirui smiled delicately, “Silly brother, hurry and come help support your sister.”

Lin Rufei cried and laughed: “If you were seen by big brother, he would have your legs broken.”

Lin Weirui winked: “He dares! Now I have two lives in one body.”

Lin Rufei admired[3] his sister. He sighed and laughed helplessly: “Okay, okay, the mountain road is slippery, you have to walk carefully. Do not twist your body and hurt my nephew.”

Lin Weirui giggled and after she finished laughing, she folded a paper crane with a talisman. It was attached with a voice, telling Lin Minzhi and Lin Bianyu that she was back and asked them to wait for her in Lin Rufei’s courtyard.

After sending the message, Lin Weirui was excited and rubbed her palms.

When Lin Rufei saw his sister’s appearance, his mind would echo to when his big brother often said: ‘your sister, ah. Three days without a beating, she will scale the roof and rip the tiles!’

Half an hour later, Lin Rufei helped Lin Weirui, with her big belly, to the courtyard. The door of the courtyard was open and just as they entered, they saw Lin Minzhi and Lin Bianyu sitting in the courtyard chatting. The two men were chatting amiably, but when they saw Lin Weirui trembling with a big belly, they were very shocked. Lin Minzhi’s expression was livid, and Lin Bianyu’s mouth was slightly open, obviously wondering what kind of wrong medicine his sister had taken.

“Brother—” Lin Weirui called out delicately and sadly, “Brother, you have to stand up for me.”

Lin Minzhi gritted his teeth and almost drew his sword, “Who, who dares to do this to you!”

Lin Weirui faked cried, “It’s that Shen family’s Shen Wucui. Even though he is good-looking, he is not a good thing. He got me pregnant, but decided to marry another girl!” 

Lin Rufei listened and he almost gave himself away when he wanted to laugh out loud. 

Shen Wucui was also a regular visitor at the Kunlun Mountains. He was born handsome and beautiful and his personality was gentle and elegant—very charming person indeed. Lin Weirui seemed to be interested in him, but Shen Wucui was somewhat afraid of this sister of his, who had a jumpy personality.

Lin Minzhi said, “This Shen Wucui, a human with dog behavior. He dares to do such a shameless thing!” He took a deep breath and said, “I will immediately go and send a letter to the Shen family, this matter must not be settled like this!” After saying that, he turned around and was about to leave.

Seeing that her prank had gone too far, Lin Weirui hastily covered her stomach and cried out. Lin Minzhi and Lin Bianyu were both shocked and rushed over to surround her, asking how she was doing. Lin Weirui cried out: “Stomach, my stomach hurts…….ah….my stomach.” As she started crying vigorously, the package wasn’t held properly and poof, it slipped onto the ground. 

Lin Minzhi: “……”

Lin Bianyu: “……”

Lin Weirui looked shamefully embarrassed and whispered: “Why did it fall……brother, I just wanted to give you a little surprise.”

Lin Bianyu smiled: “It really was a surprise.”

Lin Minzhi was expressionless, “Lin Weirui, I haven’t beat you in three years.”

Lin Weirui: “……”

Lin Minzhi gritted his teeth, “Before you left, you split Wan Yao’s medicine furnace in half, I whipped you twenty times. In these three years, I have been regretting that maybe I was too mean to you, now—get your ass over to the ancestral hall!”

Lin Weirui cried and looked at Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei coughed twice and made a weak and frail appearance. When Lin Bianyu saw the opportunity, he hastily went over to support him, “Elder brother, you go beat her first, I’m taking Xiao Jiu in to go rest.”

Lin Weirui cried out and was grabbed by Lin Minzhi, who was livid, to the ancestral hall.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu looked at the fake-pregnant Lin Weirui and the ill-treated Lin Bianyu and fell into a contemplative mood.

Lin Rufei: Wait! ! Wake up! ! You’re a mannnnnn! ! !

Gu Xuandu say: That’s not a problem.

Lin Rufei: Huh ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

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[1] The word here is ๅฐๅŽฎ which refers underage male servants. I didn’t want it to be too wordy so I just wrote servant, but wanted to let you guys know he is a male servant. 

[2] Lv Er means Green Ear. I did not make a typo for Lv, in Chinese pinyin, the “u” accent mark for Green is วœ which you can’t really type on a keyboard, so in pinyin, for Green (Lวœ) it is typed as Lv (It’s actually the same thing for girl (nวœ) where it is typed as nv) However it is pronounced the same as Yu, but just with a L, furthermore Lu is pronounced similar to You but with an L which is why I’m not not using Lu. I hope this clears anything up ๐Ÿ™‚ 

[3] I don’t think there is an English equivalent to this saying (or none that I know of). The word here is ๆœไบ† which has a sarcastic meaning, like “I give in” or “I submit” but also in like an admiration way(?) It’s kinda hard to explain too but just know it’s kinda sarcastic. ^x^; 

Chapter 17: Senior Xuandu

Lin Weirui was dragged to the ancestral hall by Lin Minzhi and received ten full lashes.

In this family, she was the one that was beaten the most. As a child, she often quietly slipped away while carrying Lin Rufei; if he didn’t return sick, all was fine. But as soon as Lin Rufei returned home sick, she got a beating. Later, Lin Rufei did not want to involve her again but she still dragged Lin Rufei out with her. She would wink and say that elder brother never put too much force on the whip. It didn’t hurt when he lashed at her at all and that he was simply trying to scare her. 

“Besides, it’s boring for you to stay in the garden alone.” Lin Weirui said, “Even if Xiao Jiu does not want to see people, seeing the other sceneries on the mountain is also good.”

She had acted like that from young to old. And it wasn’t until a few years ago, when Lin Weirui went out to travel, that there was a lot of silence in Lin Rufei’s garden.

Lin Minzhi soon came back with Lin Weirui, who was limping. She was screaming with tears in her eyes and flung herself at Lin Rufei’s side. She hugged her beloved brother and cried, “Big brother, you are so cruel, I just came back and you’re already going to beat me up.”

Lin Minzhi said coldly, “Otherwise, should I give you ten more lashes to help you fulfill this wish of being crippled?”

Lin Weirui immediately stood up straight and said righteously, “It doesn’t seem to be that serious.”

Lin Bianyu and Lin Rufei chuckled lowly. Once Lin Weirui came back, the courtyard was indeed quite lively.

“Xiao Jiu, when do you plan to leave?” Lin Weirui turned around and hugged Lin Rufei, who was sitting in a chair, from behind. She noticed the unique, faint medicinal fragrance on him and said brokenly, “I just came back, you can’t leave right away. Jianghu is dangerous and there will always be some nasty people. Before you leave, ask them to prepare you some more talismans and spiritual treasures. Even if we can’t beat them, we can at least use the treasures and smash them to death!” 

Lin Bianyu, who stood by and listened, had actually nodded in agreement.

Lin Rufei was crying and laughing.

The four siblings had dinner together before they dispersed. Lin Rufei was also a bit tired and after bathing, he sat by the window and looked at the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard that was starting to draw leaves. The tree was thin and small, with a few sparse leaves on its branches, making it even more pitiful. It was like a child with tattered clothes, trembling pitifully with the night breeze.

Lin Rufei sent Fu Hua and Yu Rui to rest, leaving him alone in the room. He looked at the cherry blossoms in the courtyard hidden in the night, and softly opened his mouth: “Is senior Gu here?”

No one answered.

Lin Rufei was slightly disappointed, he knew that only he could see Gu Xuandu. This person’s origin was a mystery, but he seemed to have an inseparable relationship with the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard. He was still deep in thought, however, when he turned around, he saw Gu Xuandu dressed in red and sitting at the head of his bed. He was staring at the wooden rack that was placed next to the bed. The wooden rack had a bunch of peony flowers that Fu Hua had gotten and they were very flashy.

Lin Rufei took a look at the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard and gave birth to some guilty conscience

Gu Xuandu said, “Although the peonies are beautiful, they are too gaudy.”

Lin Rufei could only echo: “You have a point.”

Gu Xuandu’s phoenix eyes turned and landed on his body, “Nevertheless, cherry blossoms are more beautiful.”

Lin Rufei didn’t dare brush off the beauty’s thoughts: “Right.”

Who knew that Gu Xuandu’s next words would be, “Unfortunately, I don’t have much time to bloom them either.”

Lin Rufei almost choked on those words.

Gu Xuandu sighed and frowned: “It took several years to squeeze out such a bud, but it was blown away by the wind.” He suddenly got up and walked over to Lin Rufei. He reached out and lifted his chin, gazing deeply into his eyes, “Fortunately, there is still one left.” Lin Rufei couldn’t help but close his eyes as he felt the cold fingers gently brushing over his right eye.

“It’s also enough.” Gu Xuandu smiled and said.

Lin Rufei said, “Senior……”

Gu Xuandu said, “What?”

Lin Rufei called again, “Senior.”

Gu Xuandu gave a subtle look: “Senior what……”

Lin Rufei felt his hair stand up because of Gu Xuandu’s stare as if the word “senior” provoked a certain kind of unspeakable interest of Gu Xuandu. His lips mumbled for a moment and he said in a low voice: “Senior Xuandu, what is wrong?”

Gu Xuandu smiled and said, “Nothing, call me senior again.”

Lin Rufei: “……” Why did he get a feeling that he was being taken advantage of?

Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment and whispered, “May I ask how old senior Xuandu is this year?”

Gu Xuandu’s expression did not change: “Not too much older than you.”

Lin Rufei said, “How much is that?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Asking someone’s age as soon as they arrive, is that not inappropriate?”

Lin Rufei thought about it and felt that there seemed to be some truth to it, but obviously, Gu Xuandu’s statement that he was not much older was not very credible.

However, since he was willing to be a senior, Lin Rufei complied with his wishes: “A few days ago, I had a sword competition with Wang Teng. Thank you senior for helping.”

Gu Xuandu lazily said, “I didn’t help much. I just picked up a cherry blossom branch that was broken off by your second brother and sent it to you.”

This Gu Xuandu tone of voice was light and breezy, but the way he talked was like a child complaining. How could Lin Rufei not hear it? He was crying and laughing and said tomorrow he would go talk with his second brother.

“These days my brothers have agreed to allow me down the mountain to travel. I wonder if senior Xuandu is willing to go with me?” He knew that such a request was a bit too much and Lin Rufei’s pale cheeks floated with a sweet red from nervousness. He slightly pursed his lips and whispered, “Of course, if senior is unwilling, I will not force you. Before I leave, I will instruct second brother, and will not let him touch the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard.”

Who knew that after Gu Xuandu heard his words, he let out a faint smile: “Naturally, I want to leave the mountain with you. My only petal has fallen onto your body, if I don’t follow you, who do I follow. Furthermore……”

Lin Rufei said: “Furthermore?”

Gu Xuandu’s tone became slightly more serious: “Furthermore, I also have a favor to ask.”

Lin Rufei said: “May I know what it is?”

Gu Xuandu said, “My soul is currently weak and I can’t show up often. I want to retrieve some old items that I have lost in various places. I’ll have to inconvenience Xiao Jiu.”

Lin Rufei was surprised, “Old items? Do you know where you have lost them?”

“I can vaguely sense them, but it’s been too long, so it’s become somewhat fuzzy. I need to get closer to know.” Gu Xuandu said, “But since you’re going to travel down the mountain, it’s still considered along the way.”

Lin Rufei smiled, “Then senior Xuandu has accepted my invitation to travel? I just don’t know if I need to bring the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard with me?”

Gu Xuandu smiled lightly, “That won’t be necessary, I have other ways.”

Lin Rufei was slightly happy in his heart. On this trip, he was most worried that he would not be able to protect himself and cause his brothers and sister to worry. Although this Gu Xuandu had appeared abruptly and his origin was a mystery, in the end, he still helped him out in every way. According to his current life expectancy, if he stayed on the Kunlun Mountains he would not live past thirty and be left with a body that had no use. Being able to leave the Kunlun Mountains and traveling around had been his life’s greatest wish.

If in the morning he were to gain knowledge of the correct path in life, he would be able to die at sunset without regrets[1]. That’s probably about it.

The night was getting darker.

Lin Rufei lay down on the bed and Gu Xuandu sat on the edge of the bed, leaning against the wooden chair looking at something. Lin Rufei looked at him for a while before drowsiness started to gradually envelop him. He lowered his eyes to the halfway mark and in his daze, he seemed to have heard Gu Xuandu whisper: “Watching this scenery for a hundred years definitely gets tiresome.”

A hundred years? Lin Rufei thought confusedly. He seemed to have remembered his mother saying that the cherry blossom grove at the foot of the mountain had appeared a hundred years ago. No one knew who planted them, nor did they know when they grew. But when people found out about it, it was already in the prime of Spring and there were already a dozen miles of cherry blossom. It made the mountain cliff red. 

The next day, it was sunny.

Fu Hua washed the pagoda tree blossoms they had picked yesterday, grabbed some white flour, and decided to make pagoda tree blossom dumplings. Lin Weirui had just returned and the entire Kunlun Mountains knew. Last night she ran to the front mountain and found Lin Minzhi’s disciples. She drank with them until dawn only to have Lin Minzhi seize her and throw her back into her room. This almost earned her another lash. Lin Minzhi’s calm and steady personality was useless in front of Lin Weirui, and he almost wanted to grab the whip from the ancestral hall so he could lash out whenever. 

However, Lin Weirui also knew that Lin Minzhi was a lot of talk, but no action. When the whip strikes with a whooshing sound, it was as if her body was scratched to relieve an itch. But she was also smart, even though it did not hurt the slightest, she would still scream and even fake a limp for a few days. It was considered giving face to her elder brother. 

The dumplings stuffed with pagoda tree blossoms were a bit plain, so Yu Rui went to the kitchen to fetch a piece of pork. She also picked up two fresh cabbages, intending to make some pork with cabbage filling. 

The courtyard was very lively and Lin Rufei had nothing to do so he played chess[2] with his sullen second brother.

Lin Bianyu was as good at chess as he was at swordsmanship, but today he was obviously not thinking about the match in front of him and lost three games in a row.

Lin Rufei said, “What is second brother thinking about?”

Lin Bianyu said, “In a few days, it will rain.”

Lin Rufei was puzzled: “So what if it rains?”

Lin Bianyu said, “After the rain, the mountain road is slippery and unsafe, so you’d better go down on another day.”

Lin Rufei laughed, “Second brother, I am not made of sugar, will I melt if I stand in the rain? This trip down the mountains won’t take too long. I’ll be back after I deliver the invitations.”

Lin Bianyu was still sullen and unconsciously glanced towards the cherry blossom tree in the courtyard.

Lin Rufei hurriedly warned Lin Bianyu to not touch anything in his courtyard after he left, especially that cherry blossom tree—

Lin Bianyu said in a deep voice: “Xiao Jiu, did you know that that tree isn’t a good thing. It even made a move against me!” 

Lin Rufei’s heart was shocked: “Made a move?”

Yesterday, it was Gu Xuandu who complained, but today it was Lin Bianyu who complained. The two, who were originally calm and steady, seemed to have turned into childish children: “He deliberately tripped me and caused me to fall.” He felt that saying it this way didn’t make the situation serious enough, so Lin Bianyu exaggeratedly added a sentence. “Even now my leg still hurts badly.” 

Lin Rufei did not believe it. It was only a fall, at most, it would just be a little humiliating, and wouldn’t be a serious problem at all. But he still patiently pacified Lin Bianyu. Only until the dumplings were cooked did Lin Bianyu’s depressed look disappear a little.

When the hot dumplings were served, the hungover Lin Weirui was dragged to the table by Lin Minzhi. The four of them sat down and raised their porcelain cups first.

Lin Rufei toasted with tea instead of wine, and all of them laughed and raised their cups to celebrate.

At this time, the Spring color outside the window was very apparent, and the cherry blossom branches were trembling slightly in the wind, as if in harmony.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: Good Xiao Jiu, call me senior a few more times.

Lin Rufei: …….. Gu Xuandu! ! !

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[1] Chinese idiom meaning “The pursuit of truth or goal with great enthusiasm” 

[2] Chinese chess, not to be confused with the western one. It has kind of similar rules, you guys can search it up since explaining it will take too long. 

Chapter 18: A Trip to Moyu

(t/n: I’m still very salty about the whole situation so I’ve decided to stop publishing translations after I finish this novel. Even though this is a fan translation, I spent time and effort into it and watching people just reposting it as well as doing it without my permission is very upsetting and discouraging. Anyways sorry for the rant guys. Here is chapter 18 ^-^;)

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The date that Lin Rufei was going to leave the mountain was set.

The most beloved younger brother of the family was going away, so the older siblings naturally wanted to pile all the best things on him. Just a talisman that could transmit voice, they brought 500 of them. The price of this talisman was expensive and 500 could be worth a small sect’s one-year expenses. Lin Bianyu even wanted to find a sword for Lin Rufei, but when Lin Rufei strolled around in their family’s warehouse, he did not see one to his liking. In fact, it wasn’t that he didn’t like these swords, it was just that he couldn’t lift up any of them.  

Originally, an ordinary sword that was sheathed seemed to have been glued to the scabbard. Lin Rufei reached out to pull but it would not budge. 

Lin Bianyu was so angry that he almost broke all these swords that didn’t give his brother any face.

But even without a sword, it shouldn’t be too big of a deal. Lin Rufei felt that the cherry blossom branch was quite useful so he opened his mouth to comfort Lin Bianyu, saying that with all the spiritual treasures he gave him, it was enough. 

Lin Bianyu was still sulking, saying that the idea of letting Lin Rufei leave the mountain was suggested by Wan Yao. Wan Yao said that the Kunlun Mountains were just a pool of stagnant water for Lin Rufei and that Lin Rufei’s chance of life was at the foot of the mountain. With these words and seeing Lin Rufei defeat Wang Teng, the older siblings reluctantly agreed to let Lin Rufei travel down the mountain.

However, Lin Bianyu had something weighing heavy in his heart. Jianghu was dangerous, he was afraid that Lin Rufei would not return once he left, and that he would never see him again.  

Lin Rufei was well aware. He smiled at Lin Bianyu and said not to worry. Even with a few more Wang Tengs, he could still fight back. Furthermore, there aren’t that many Wang Tengs in the world. 

Lin Bianyu sighed and said nothing.

In these two or three days, Lin Rufei’s dimensional ring was stuffed to the brim. The clothes that he was wearing were also replaced with spiritual treasures. Even his underclothes were wrapped in soft golden armor. Making Lin Rufei feel like a fully-armored big turtle[1].  

Just from what he was carrying on him right now, if he encountered any cultivators, most likely they couldn’t even break Lin Rufei’s outermost layer of defense, let alone hurt him. 

But the older siblings were still very worried and he was warned of the rules in Jianghu. They said that if outsiders offered him wine, to not easily accept it. If he encountered any roadside travelers that could not easily be trusted or if he encountered people he couldn’t beat, to immediately run. The items inside his dimensional ring were enough to get him back to the Kunlun Mountains.  

Lin Rufei was taught a lesson by the three people in turn. His head was as big as a bucket and before he had even left, he already wilted a lot. He sat on a chair and quickly dozed off.

As a result, he was woken up again by Lin Weirui pulling on his cheek and she started reciting the lessons again.

Lin Rufei did not want to take Fu Hua and Yu Rui with him. When the two little girls heard this, they stopped talking and started shedding tears. Yu Rui was easy to send off, he just had to shove two pieces of corn candy into her mouth and she couldn’t cry anymore. But Fu Hua was not easy. She looked sadly at Lin Rufei and was crying while preparing Lin Rufei’s travel bag.

Lin Rufei’s brain hurt from their crying and asked, “What are you crying about?”

“Fu Hua has been taking care of young master for more than ten years. When young master leaves, who knows when you will return. Are you still not allowing Fu Hua to shed a tear or two?” Fu Hua choked out a sob.

Lin Rufei knew he was in the wrong and he hurriedly shut up.

Fu Hua said again: “Why doesn’t young master want to take us with him? We can also take care of young master along the way. Although we won’t be of much help, but if something really were to happen, at least there is someone there to send for help.” 

Just as Lin Rufei was about to say something, Lin Minzhi, who was sitting next to him, opened his mouth and asked Lin Rufei to take Fu Hua and Yu Rui with him. The two of them had already passed the fifth level of cultivation, so they would not hold Lin Rufei back. And if Lin Rufei was sick, they could also take good care of him.

Lin Rufei could not refuse and was forced to accept.

So the originally planned chivalrous trip turned into a noble young master’s Spring excursion. 

On the day of departure, it rained a little and the mountain path was a little muddy.

Lin Minzhi and the others sent Lin Rufei to town and watched him get into a beautiful vermillion carriage. Fu Hua was the coachman. She was wearing a bamboo hat and straw coat[2] with a sword around her waist and she ended up looking more like a chivalrous man than Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei was dressed in a white Spring outfit and his black hair was held up with an ebony hairpin. As he sat in the carriage, he lifted the curtain to look at Lin Minzhi and the two others standing on the roadside.

All three of them did not have an umbrella and the rain dripped down from their hair—reflecting shimmering light particles. They looked at Lin Rufei with a gentle expression of reluctance. 

“Xiao Jiu—come back early.” Lin Bianyu’s voice was hoarse.

“Yes, come back early!” Lin Weirui rubbed her red eyes, “If you encounter someone bullying you, send us a message!”

“Go early and come back early.” Lin Minzhi also said.

“Okay—you guys wait for me to come back.” Lin Rufei had a sour feeling at the bottom of his heart, this was the first time he had left home in twenty years.

Fu Hua cracked the whip and the carriage gradually moved away.

Lin Rufei didn’t want to let down the curtain as he watched the three figures gradually become smaller, blurred, and finally merging into the turquoise mountains and forests.

The rain gradually got a little heavier and fell onto the roof of the carriage with a crackle.

Yu Rui sat on the opposite side of Lin Rufei. No one was paying attention so she continuously ate corn candy, stuffing her cheeks into a bulge. She was like a gluttonous little mouse and vaguely spoke: “Young master, are we heading to Moyu first?”

Lin Rufei said, “Yes, we are going to see Xie Zhiyao.”

“Moyu is close to Kunlun, it takes half a day to get there by sword, but by carriage, it will take more days, maybe a day or two.” Yu Rui said, “But it’s okay, we have a lot of things prepared. Even if we walk in the mountains and forests for six months, there is nothing to fear.”

Lin Rufei said, “Your corn candy won’t last six months.”

When Yu Rui heard this, she immediately wrinkled her face. The corn candy was a specialty in the town below Kunlun. It was soft and sticky, sweet and fragrant and she liked it the most. If there wasn’t any more corn candy, it would be a big matter. However…..if she could accompany her young master, then corn candy didn’t seem as important. 

When her thoughts stopped there, Yu Rui was happy again and her mouth continued chewing on the soft candy: “No worries. If there is no more, then there is no more. If I want to eat then I just have to look at young master a few times, then I won’t be hungry anymore.” 

(t/n: smooth Yu Rui, smooth XD)

Lin Rufei laughed.

The mountain road was sparsely populated and the road was bumpy. Fortunately, the carriage had a special talisman placed on it, so those sitting inside felt that the road was as smooth as if they were on flat ground. Lin Rufei felt strange and curious about his surroundings from his first trip down the mountain, so sitting by the window, he couldn’t look away until the depths of night. Yu Rui went out to switch with Fu Hua who came inside to rest. At the urging of Fu Hua, he was ready to go to sleep. 

The wind was a bit cool during the night, so Fu Hua added bedding for Lin Rufei. She then burned a pot of charcoal and heated water for Lin Rufei to wash up.

Lin Rufei finished washing up and lay down on the bedding in his single layer. After blinking his eyes he said, “It seems to be no different from the mountains.”

Fu Hua looked at Lin Rufei’s cute face wrapped in the bedding and laughed, “It’s only the first day we’ve left. Young master, don’t be hasty.”

Lin Rufei yawned and gradually fell into a deep sleep.

In the middle of the night, the rain gradually grew heavier. The mountain wind was cold, making the woods rustle.

However, amid the rain and wind, there seemed to be another sound mixed in. This sound was like the sound of human music, it wasn’t unpleasant, just that in this dark night, it felt kind of ghostly. 

When Lin Rufei, who was already a light sleeper, heard the sound, he immediately woke up. He saw Yu Rui lying on the table sleeping soundly, so he softly called out to Fu Hua, and the maid answered, “Why did young master wake up?”

“Do you hear anything?” Lin Rufei asked

Fu Hua was silent for a moment and then whispered, “It seems like the villagers, who live around the mountain path, are holding a funeral.”

Lin Rufei raised his hand and lifted the carriage curtain. Indeed, on the dark mountain path, he saw a string of bright and flickering fires. The figures walking through the lights were dressed in white, holding torches as they walked on the dark mountain path. And a few people up ahead seemed to be carrying a black coffin.

“The pattern on the mourning clothes that these people are wearing look somewhat familiar.” Fu Hua murmured, “I seem to have seen it somewhere.”

Lin Rufei questioned: “Familiar?”

“Yes.” Fu Hua said, “The Xie family’s pattern is very special. Many years have passed and I still remember it exactly……the corners of those people’s clothes are indeed embroidered with such a pattern.”

The Xie family was a large family. They had strict discipline and a lot of rules. Especially when it came to the main family. Food, clothing, everything was strictly in accordance with the regulations. Since this group of people had the Xie family’s pattern embroidered on their clothes, most likely they had a relationship with the Xie family.

As the two were still talking, the funeral mourners on the mountain road noticed them and the firelight stopped for a moment before quickly gathering towards them.

Fu Hua frowned. She gripped the sword at the side of her waist and said: “Young master, wait a moment, I’ll ask them what they want to do.”

Lin Rufei said, “There’s no hurry, just let them come over.”

Those people indeed quickly arrived at the front of the mountain road and surrounded Lin Rufei’s carriage.

“Who are you guys?” The man at the head of the group asked in a stern voice, “Why are you still on the mountain road at this time.”

When Fu Hua heard his questioning tone, she knitted her brows and frowned heavily. She was about to attack, but she notice Lin Rufei shaking his head, signaling her to back off. Lin Rufei lifted the carriage curtain and looked at the person who had stopped the carriage, “I am Lin Rufei, the fourth son of the Lin family of Kunlun Sect. I was ordered by the Sect Leader to deliver the invitations for the next sword competition to the Xie family.”

Hearing this, the man looked slightly startled and looked carefully again before he balled his hand and bowed, “Sorry, Lin gongzi. It was our rudeness, but recently this area is not peaceful, so remember to be careful on your way.”

Lin Rufei raised his eyes and looked at the dark coffin. He asked, “If you don’t mind me asking, you guys are……”

The man hesitated, seemingly unsure whether to say or not.

Lin Rufei also did not force him to say: “It’s fine if you don’t want to say. You guys can continue on, I’ll just continue on my way.”

The man gritted his teeth and opened his mouth anyway, “We are burying the family’s eldest son, Xie Kongcheng.”

Lin Rufei was stunned: “Xie Kongcheng?”

“Yes.” The man affirmed.

When Lin Rufei heard this, he knew that the Xie family must have gotten into big trouble this time.

Xie Kongcheng was Xie Zhiyao’s elder brother. He was arguably the most powerful person in the Xie family’s younger generation, and with a cultivation level like theirs, it was never possible to die of illness and only possible to be injured by external forces.

And looking at the wretched funeral the Xie family was holding in the middle of the night, most likely this bloodshed was not a simple rivalry feud.

After bidding farewell to the Xie family, the carriage was once again on the road. The rain was still falling, making the Spring day somewhat cold.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: What exactly happened to Xie Da Gongzi?

Gu Xuandu: A person lies down, covered by a white cloth, the whole village and children wait to be served?[3]

Lin Rufei: …………

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[1] Hehe, so the word here is ๅคง็Ž‹ๅ…ซ which can mean big turtle or….it can have another meaning which is not a good meaning. I’m assuming the author means the first because it makes more sense.  

[2] Straw coat. 


[3] This is part of a Chinese couplet. I couldn’t really find the meaning. If you guys know the meaning please leave a comment ^-^ here is original line: ไบบไธ€่บบ, ๅธƒไธ€็›–, ๅ…จๆ‘่€ๅฐ็ญ‰ไธŠ่œ? 

Chapter 19: Inside Moyu City

The carriage traveled for another day before arriving at Moyu territory.

If it was said that the Lin family was in charge of the Kunlun Mountains, then Moyu was the territory of the Xie family.

After a few days of traveling on the mountain road, there was finally a wide avenue. The surrounding desolate mountains and forests receded and gradually there were people.

When they entered the city, the speed of the carriage also slowed down. Lin Rufei lifted the curtain and surveyed the stores and the people walking along the road.

Moyu City was a prosperous business town with many merchants passing by. It was the westernmost commercial town on the Yaoguang continent. Lin Rufei saw a lot of unique things on the street that he had never seen before and the two maids also couldn’t stop looking at them, especially the younger Yu Rui, who couldn’t stop swallowing down her saliva.

The Xie residence was located in the middle of the street and the entrance had two tall and lofty stone lions. Fu Hua went to call open the door. Lin Rufei stood aside to wait but found that the two stone lions had their heads slightly deviated towards him.

“Ah, why did the stone move?” Yu Rui exclaimed.

Lin Rufei observed for a moment and laughed: “This is probably not stone. It’s a stone beast.”

“Stone beast?” Yu Rui didn’t understand.

“Mhmm. Auspicious beasts to guard the house.” Lin Rufei said, “Normally, they look similar to stone but it can ward off some evil spirits.”

As the two were talking, the door to the Xie residence opened. Fu Hua explained their reason for arrival, but the doorkeeper looked hesitant and stared down at the three of them.

Among these three, Lin Rufei was obviously the most conspicuous. He looked calm and was wearing a white-based Spring clothing with flowing cloud patterns made of gold silk. His right thumb had a turquoise jade and an incense bag, with a pattern that no one could understand, hung on his waist. He looked handsome but had a pale face and seemed to not be in good health. However on his face, the most striking was the pair of lighter than normal color black eyes. When the doorkeeper saw these eyes, he seemed to recall something and immediately asked: “May I ask if this is the fourth son of the Lin family?”

“Precisely.” Lin Rufei said.

“Please, please—” The doorkeeper hurriedly said and instructed another person to help Fu Hua bring the carriage in.

It turned out that after Lin Rufei and the Xie family met on the mountain road that day, someone sent a message back and the Xie family was prepared to receive a valuable guest.

It was just that when Lin Rufei had just entered the Xie house, he noticed that there was something wrong with the atmosphere inside the house. In the large Xie residence, he only saw a few people. Even if someone walked by, they looked terrified. After seeing Lin Rufei and his companions, who were strangers, their expression changed dramatically, as if they had seen a ghost.

The doorkeeper took the three of them, Lin Rufei and his maids, to a room and said that the Xie family head had some business to take care of so he went out and would only return at night. He said that they should rest for a while and when the time arrived, he would come to greet them.

Lin Rufei thanked him and then hesitated for a moment. He asked if Xie San Gongzi was at home.

When the doorkeeper heard Lin Rufei’s inquiry, his expression stiffened and he sighed: “Yes, he is here, it’s just that……”

Lin Rufei said, “Just what?”

The doorkeeper said, “Just that he is still being punished in the ancestral hall.”

Lin Rufei said, “Punished? What did he do wrong?”

The doorkeeper smiled bitterly, “Sorry, Lin gongzi, it’s not something we servants can talk about. If you want to ask, please ask our master or you can wait. In a few days, third young master should be out.”

Lin Rufei did not continue to make things difficult for him, so he let him go.

“I always felt that the Xie residence was strange.” After putting away the luggage, Fu Hua and Yu Rui also came to Lin Rufei’s room. The two maids apparently also felt that the atmosphere in this house was weird, muttering, “Something is strange.”

“Indeed it’s not quite right.” Lin Rufei sat in a chair with a cup of hot tea in his hand. He picked up the cup of tea and took a sip, whispering, “The Xie family’s eldest son died suddenly and the entire Xie mansion didn’t even hold a funeral service—not even a white lantern was hung.”

If he remembered correctly, Xie Kongcheng was the Xie family’s most valued junior. He suddenly passed away and was hastily buried overnight and there was not a trace left in the entire Xie residence.

“No matter, let’s wait until nightfall.” After a few days of travel and hardship, Lin Rufei also developed some tiredness, “Rest first, wait until the invitation is handed to the Xie family head before talking about other matters.”

Fu Hua and Yu Rui said yes before they withdrew obediently.

Lin Rufei casually ate some food, then casually flipped through some books that were placed inside the room and read them.

A breeze swept through the window, and the man suddenly appeared beside Lin Rufei as usual. He opened his mouth: “It’s been hundreds of years, why is the Xie family still the same old?”

Lin Rufei was almost used to his sudden appearance and continued to look at the book without raising his head: “The same old? Senior has been to the Xie family before?”

“No.” Gu Xuandu lazily leaned against the window, looking at the desolate scene in the courtyard, “But I have heard a thing or two about it.”

Lin Rufei let out an “oh,” and continued: “Then senior knows what happened to the Xie family?”

Gu Xuandu said, “I can guess some of it.”

Lin Rufei blinked his eyes, then raised his head with some curiosity: “Is it convenient to say?”

Gu Xuandu forced out a smile: “It’s fine to say……just……”

Lin Rufei said: “Just what?”

“It’s just that these things are all nasty things, your ears will feel dirty after hearing them.” Gu Xuandu said.

Lin Rufei laughed: “No matter, it’s hard to tell how clean the ears are anyways.”

Gu Xuandu stood up and walked to Lin Rufei’s side in a few steps. He bent down close to Lin Rufei’s cheek and whispered, “From what I can see, isn’t it quite clean?”

The breath that was exhaled onto Lin Rufei’s ear brought about some itchiness and Lin Rufei reflexively wanted to move away, however, Gu Xuandu had already straightened up his body: “Every family that can pass on their legacy for hundreds of years always has some methods of their own. Your Lin family has the unparalleled sword technique and the art of sword-making, their Xie family also has its own method.”

“What method?” Lin Rufei asked.

“Do you know how the Gu King was refined?” Gu Xuandu asked.

Lin Rufei instantly understood Gu Xuandu’s meaning and was a little incredulous: “Isn’t such a method too harmful to the harmony of Heaven?”

“What is Heavenly Harmony?” Gu Xuandu asked, “For some people, the family’s continuity and prosperity is the Harmony of Heaven.” His tone was lazy, “There are many bones buried under the high position. There are many filthy things and it’s better to get used to it earlier.”

Lin Rufei was silent. He had seen some of these situations in books, but only text descriptions. How could it compare to the shock of seeing it with his own eyes? Plus, there was also the situation about his childhood playmate.

He flipped through a few pages of the book and felt a little bored inside the house, so he casually picked up his cloak, put it on, and left the courtyard. He wanted to go to Moyu’s streets for a walk.

When the doorkeeper saw that he was going out, he eagerly opened the door for him and asked if he needed someone to accompany him. Lin Rufei refused his kind offer, saying that he just wanted to walk alone.

Gu Xuandu followed Lin Rufei’s side, but no one could see him except Lin Rufei.

The streets of Moyu were flat and wide and it was a very different scene compared to Kunlun. Lin Rufei strolled around the street and soon found some interesting things. Things like painting small people on stone slabs using sugar water, crispy dough balls fried in the frying pan—which seemed to be something that children like—Lin Rufei’s eyes shone and he couldn’t even move his feet.

The vendors were very smart. When they saw a noble gentleman stopped at the door of their stalls, they shouted loudly. Some enthusiastic vendors greeted Lin Rufei to first try a bite, if it wasn’t delicious, he did not have to pay.

Lin Rufei couldn’t resist the temptation, and from his pouch, he took out a few silver coins. He bought some snacks and other knick-knacks and then went to the stall selling sugar painting[1], asking the vendor to draw a cherry blossom. 

“Hey, it’s for you.” Lin Rufei took the sugar-painted cherry blossom branch, found a place where no one was around, and handed it over to Gu Xuandu who was beside him. “Can you hold it?” He didn’t know if Gu Xuandu could touch physical objects.

Gu Xuandu did not speak. He simply reached out and took it before taking a few bites with a crunch. After some chewing, he swallowed it. Because he ate too quickly, the dark sugar crumbs left some noticeable traces on his lips. Lin Rufei raised his hand and pointed to the corner of his own mouth and said: “Here…..”

Gu Xuandu raised his head and looked at him.

“Right here.” Lin Rufei continued, “There is……”

Before he could finish his sentence, Gu Xuandu’s face actually came closer. His cold lips swept over the corner of his mouth, as if it were a feather, startling Lin Rufei, who couldn’t help but take two steps back. His pale face immediately flushed red: “You—what are you doing—”

Gu Xuandu was full of innocence: “Otherwise, what did you mean?”

Lin Rufei was helpless: “I mean you have sugar crumbs at the corner of your mouth—”

Gu Xuandu let out an “oh.” He stretched out his tongue and licked the corner of his mouth. He was born extremely beautiful and doing this kind of action also brought in some sexual feelings. Lin Rufei couldn’t help but avert his eyes and he even forgot to pursue the matter that had happened earlier and therefore missed the smile in Gu Xuandu’s eyes. 

Lin Rufei had lived for more than twenty years. Those that had come into long-term contact with him, besides his relative, were only the two maids Fu Hua and Yu Rui. But he had never had any other thoughts about them, the feelings could be said to be blank.

As he was being teased by Gu Xuandu, he felt embarrassed and also gave birth to some shame. He didn’t know whether Gu Xuandu was unintentional or deliberately teasing him for his own amusement. 

Gu Xuandu’s attitude was still the same as before. He pointed to the dragon’s beard candy[2] on the vendor’s stall and said that it was delicious and to remember to buy some back.

Lin Rufei then proceeded to buy two boxes. When the two of them finally finished shopping on the street, Lin Rufei’s hands were full of large bags of snacks and all kinds of strange-shaped gadgets. Even after this much, the two were still not done. If it wasn’t for the fact that they couldn’t carry anymore, they would have continued to buy some more stuff. 

The day was also getting a little late and Lin Rufei slowly wandered back to the Xie residence. Fu Hua and Yu Rui, seeing Lin Rufei return from a rewarding journey, showed surprise. They rushed forward to take the things in his hand and said, ‘young master, you went out, how come you didn’t call on us.’

“I just want to go around by myself.” Lin Rufei said, “You guys don’t need to be so nervous.”

“Just now, a servant from the Xie family came over and said that Master Xie had already set up a banquet, so if you come back you can go there directly.” Fu Hua said, “Is young master going to go now?”

Lin Rufei said, “Going.”

It was only a matter of time.

At this time, it was dusk, and the entire Xie residence was covered in the dusky sunlight of the evening. Except for the servant who led Lin Rufei to the main hall, there was not a single person in the large Xie residence, and it was terribly silent.

Above the eaves, there were a few blackbirds. They looked like some type of crow and they did not chirp. They just quietly gazed at the Xie residence from high above, as if waiting for something.

As they walked, Lin Rufei casually asked the servant a few words. The servant was docile and answered in a whisper. But any question about Xie Zhiyao would not receive an answer. Furthermore, after hearing the name Xie Zhiyao, his face even showed some trepidation, as if the name Xie Zhiyao was something ominous.

“If Lin gongzi has anything he wants to know, then you can ask the family head.” The servant said trembling, “There are things that are not meant for us underlings to say.”

Lin Rufei nodded his head and said alright.

The Xie residence was so big that walking inside was like entering an endless maze. After walking for a quite while, they still did not reach their destination, and in the meantime, they even passed through a beautiful garden.

The Spring garden should have been the most beautiful, but unfortunately, the Xie family’s garden was not taken care of. It was overgrown with luxuriant weeds and it covered the planted flowers and trees. It was so deserted that even the pathway was almost flooded.

The servant walked on it carefully, reminding Lin Rufei to be careful of the slippery ground.

“How much longer until we arrive?” Lin Rufei asked.

“Soon, soon. It’s just up ahead.” The servant said, “A few more steps and we will be there.”

After he said this, he turned two more corners, and only then did Lin Rufei see the Xie family head and a group of family members sitting in the middle of the light waiting quietly.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: So sweet.

Lin Rufei: The sugar painting is indeed sweet.

Gu Xuandu: I mean you.

Lin Rufei: …………

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[1] Sugar painting, they can get really detailed ๐Ÿ˜€ 

Chapter 20: Deceased Two Three

The Xie family’s banquet was laid out in the back garden.

When the Xie family head saw Lin Rufei for the first time, his attitude was very eager and he enthusiastically invited Lin Rufei to sit at the main seat. 

“Lin gongzi personally came to deliver the invitation, it is really a great fortune for my Xie family. It’s just that these days our family has had some accidents, so our hospitality is a bit inadequate. Do please forgive us.” The Xie family head’s cultivation was at the eighth level. He was more than two hundred years old and had a modest nature. He didn’t have the slightest arrogance of an elder and his smile was harmonious.  

Lin Rufei nodded and said in a warm voice, “Family head, you are courteous.”

The Xie family head and Lin Rufei chatted about some Kunlun Mountain matters with smiles on their faces. Most likely he was curious about why the Lin family would send the seemingly frail fourth young master to deliver the invitation. So after a few more inquiries, Lin Rufei said that the Lin family had always had the rule that direct disciples must travel down the mountain. When the Xie family head heard this, he smiled and showed an expression that showed “so that was the case,” and said, “No matter, no matter. Moyu City is very safe. Lin gongzi can stroll around as he pleases……” 

Lin Rufei nodded with a smile and then asked why he hadn’t seen Xie Zhiyao around.

The Xie family head knew that Lin Rufei and Xie Zhiyao were childhood playmates. So when he heard Lin Rufei ask about his third son, he was not very surprised and only had a slight frown. He sighed and said: “Zhiyao, this child, violated the Xie family’s ancestral training. He was punished to kneel in the ancestral hall for a few days. However, since Lin gongzi is here, I will release him tomorrow so that he can catch up with Lin gongzi?”

Lin Rufei said, “Then I will trouble the family head.”

The two of them were eating and chatting, and the atmosphere was not bad. However, the women of the Xie family seemed very formal. From the beginning to the end, they simply lowered their heads to eat and didn’t talk. 

After having a good meal, Lin Rufei took out the invitation and handed it to the Xie family head, saying that this was the invitation to the next sword competition. But who knew that when the Xie family head saw the invitation, he hesitated. 

“What’s wrong?” Lin Rufei was slightly surprised, “Is the family head not going to participate in the sword competition?”

“No, no, no.” The Xie family head said, “It’s just that I remembered some things from the past.” He smoothly took the invitation and tucked it into his bosom. He then personally escorted Lin Rufei back to the room he was staying in, saying, ‘the night is cold and windy, Lin gongzi should try not to go out at night and be careful of catching a cold.’

Lin Rufei said yes, and only then did everyone turn and leave the table.

When he returned to the room, Lin Rufei felt that the Xie family was really strange. Xie Kongcheng obviously died, but his father actually did not show a bit of sadness. No one in the residence was even mourning. It was as if Xie Kongcheng was a transparent person. At the banquet tonight, he also did not see any of the Xie family juniors, it was almost all women and on those women’s faces, he could see a few colors of fear.

Fu Hua made a cup of hot tea for Lin Rufei and asked softly: “What is young master thinking about?”

Lin Rufei said, “I’m thinking about how strange the Xie family is.”

“It is indeed quite strange.” Fu Hua said, “The whole atmosphere in the residence is very strange.”

Lin Rufei remembered some of the secret things Gu Xuandu had told him during the day, and after a moment of thought, he told Fu Hua and Yu Rui to go and rest first. He thought that he would talk about it tomorrow when he met Xie Zhiyao.

Fu Hua said: “Looking at this weather, it seems that it will start raining again. Young master remember to cover up at night.”

“Yes, yes, it’s chilly.” Yu Rui joined in, “If it’s too cold, should we burn a pot of charcoal for young master in the middle of the night?”

Lin Rufei said, “No need, it’s not that cold. You guys go rest, I’ll call you if something happens.”

Only then did the two of them retreat. When they left, they considerately closed the doors and windows for him. 

After Lin Rufei washed up, he didn’t feel that sleepy anymore, so he sat on the edge of the bed with a candle and casually flipped through the books in the room. About a few moments later, the sky was really like what Fu Hua said. It had started raining.

It wasn’t even the 17th hour yet, but the courtyard was already empty and no one was in sight. 

(t/n: I will be putting all the times in the 24 hour format so the 17th hour is 5PM. This makes it easier for people to understand if it is AM or PM since putting “1 AM” and “12 PM” feels weird in a historical novel ^~^)

Lin Rufei read a book for a while before taking out the trinkets he bought on the street during the day and fiddling with them. The town at the foot of the Kunlun Mountains was so small that there were almost no craft items for sale. For example, this mantis made of bamboo in front of him looks to be alive and breathing, as if it were real.

“Is it very interesting?” Gu Xuandu’s voice suddenly came from behind him.

Lin Rufei laughed and said, “I have never seen it before.”

“Oh.” Gu Xuandu said, “I remember a place in Jianghuai, there is a very famous ghost market. The objects sold there are very interesting, if you have time to pass by there, I will take you to see.” After he said this, he remembered something else and paused for a moment, “I just don’t know if that place is still there after so much time has passed.”

Lin Rufei smiled, “I hope it is.”

The two of them chatted about other interesting things. Soon it was getting late and Lin Rufei was also getting a little tired. He was about to put down the things in his hand and go rest on the couch when he saw a black figure outside the window, slowly walking through the gurgling rain. Although it was a bit far away, Lin Rufei still recognized the person’s identity, he abruptly got up and called out the person’s name: “Xie Zhiyao—”

The person in the rain paused and slowly turned their head.

It was indeed Xie Zhiyao. It was just that at this time, standing under the night rain, he could no longer see the childishness and confusion from the time of his youth. He was dressed in black and looked cold like hard ice. Only this ice melted slightly after seeing Lin Rufei. Xie Zhiyao opened his mouth with some hesitation: “Lin……Rufei?”

“It’s me!” Lin Rufei laughed, “I haven’t seen you for more than ten years, you’ve changed a lot.”

Xie Zhiyao also revealed a smile. He slowly walked towards Lin Rufei and raised his hand to push open the door. He looked up and down at his childhood friend whom he had not seen for a long time: “You have not changed much.” When he finished, he smiled slightly. “Why have you come here at this time?”

“Isn’t it the custom of the Lin family to have its direct disciples travel down the mountains?” Lin Rufei laughed, “My sister has returned so it’s my turn.”

Xie Zhiyao wanted to say something else but stopped himself.

He was aware of Lin Rufei’s physical condition. His body was too weak to practice swords and was almost the same as a mortal. No, it was even more fragile than a mortal at some times. If Lin Rufei was born to another family with this body, most likely he would have become a pawn at the mercy of others. But in the Lin family, he was like a pearl in the palms of their hand, and no one dared to bully him at all.

“Don’t worry about me.” Lin Rufei said in a warm voice, “After all these years of recuperation, my body is better, and there are still two maids following me, it shouldn’t be a big deal.”

Xie Zhiyao nodded and his expression eased a bit.

“I asked your father about your whereabouts during the day. Your father said that you were in the ancestral hall for punishment and I would be able to see you tomorrow.” Lin Rufei said, “But……what happened?”

Xie Zhiyao slightly pursed his lips. He seemed to be hesitating on whether to answer or not.

It was raining outside and Xie Zhiyao was also not like the general sword cultivator, who used sword Qi to block the rain, so his hair and shoulders all have traces of wetness. Luckily, he was wearing black, so the traces were not as obvious. However, there were still vaguely visible water droplets dripping down his cheeks and slowly towards his chin. His face was pale, but his eyes were dark to the point of frightening and his hand gently held the silver-white longsword at the side of his waist. This longsword was quite unusual in appearance. On its scabbard, there were sharp protrusions and the blade was long and slender. It wasn’t even unsheathed yet it carried an eerie coldness, along with Xie Zhiyao’s calm temperament, it seemed very out of place. 

“If it’s not convenient to say, then you don’t need to say it.” Lin Rufei also did not want to make things difficult for his best friend and continued, “This time I came here, one is to deliver the invitation, and the second is to see you.”

Xie Zhiyao sighed: “It’s not that big of a deal, it’s just that my servant, Lv Er, has caused some trouble.”

Lin Rufei said, “Lv Er caused trouble?”

Xie Zhiyao nodded his head.

Lin Rufei said, “Why don’t I see him with you, is he being punished?”

Xie Zhiyao exhaled a breath and said calmly: “He ran away after he got into trouble, probably because he was afraid of being punished. The Xie family is in a lot of chaos these days, I wanted to wait for things to calm down before looking for him.”

Lin Rufei was sensitive and he immediately noticed that Xie Zhiyao’s cold expression had some softness to it when he mentioned Lv Er’s name. This was not strange, after all, it was a servant that had been by his side for so many years, naturally, their deep feelings were normal. However, Lin Rufei vaguely remembered that the young Xie Zhiyao didn’t really like Lv Er, after all, when the servant spoke, the words that came out were not very good.

He didn’t know what had happened in the past ten years to make him change his mind.

Xie Zhiyao raised his eyes to look out the window: “Today is a bit late, why don’t we talk more tomorrow?”

Lin Rufei said, “Sounds good.”

Xie Zhiyao nodded slightly and then intended to leave, but when he was leaving, he paused at the door and turned back, “It’s raining heavily tonight, so it’s better for Rufei to rest early.”

This was no different from what the Xie family head said. It was as if they were hinting at something.

Lin Rufei has always been a sensible and considerate person. He nodded his head at the words, responding to Xie Zhiyao’s good intention of reminding him.

Xie Zhiyao turned and left. His black clothes gradually merged into the dark rain, and the courtyard became quiet once again.

Lin Rufei closed the window, extinguished the candle, and intended to go to bed to rest. Who knew that when he turned his head, he saw Gu Xuandu lying on his side at the head of the bed. His hand propped up on his chin and he looked at him with interest.

He openly listened to Lin Rufei and Xie Zhiyao’s catch-up and said, “This Xie Zhiyao, he’s a bit interesting.”

Lin Rufei said, “A bit interesting?”

Gu Xuandu said, “That sword of his, it’s not an ordinary sword.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “Aren’t all the swords used by the Xie family not ordinary?” 

Gu Xuandu shook his head, “That sword isn’t your usual iron sword.”

Lin Rufei was curious, “Then what kind of sword is it?”

Gu Xuandu did not answer the question, instead, he patted on the soft bed and smiled teasingly: “Come, come, come, lie over here and I will tell you slowly.”

Lin Rufei had long discovered that this senior always liked to tease him, so he helplessly called out a “senior Gu.”

Who knew that when Gu Xuandu heard the word “senior,” he seemed to be more excited. He raised his hand and grabbed Lin Rufei’s wrist, pulling him down. Their faces almost collided with each other.

Lin Rufei propped himself up on the bed with his elbows and tried to move back, but Gu Xuandu leaned up and the tips of their noses touched. His thin lips opened slightly and he said, “If I am not wrong, that sword of Xie Zhiyao should be made of the spine bone of a foreign beast.”

When Lin Rufei heard the words, he was frozen in place for a moment: “The spine of a foreign beast? But there are not many foreign beasts left in this world, how did the Xie family find it? Besides, in the Xie family’s situation, even if they could find the spine of a foreign beast to make a sword blade, it wouldn’t be Xie Zhiyao’s turn…….”

Their situation was completely different from his family. Xie Zhiyao’s family had a hierarchy. The most valued was still his elder brother Xie Kongcheng, and because of this, almost all the resources of the Xie family were put into Xie Kongcheng’s pocket. From the year Xie Zhiyao was sent to Kunlun and was accompanied by a not very good servant, Lv Er, Lin Rufei understood a thing or two about their situation.

“That I don’t know.” Gu Xuandu said, “But that sword of his is not easy.”

Lin Rufei fell into deep thought.

Gu Xuandu looked at his slightly drooping light-colored eyes and suddenly blinked, “Don’t you feel uncomfortable when I’m so close to you?”

Only then did Lin Rufei return to his senses and hurriedly moved back a bit: “Yes……a little uncomfortable.”

Gu Xuandu hooked his lips up into a smile: “Really, since it is uncomfortable.”

Lin Rufei thought he would back up a little, but who knew that his next words would be, “Then come a little closer, so you can get used to it sooner.”

Lin Rufei was speechless.

Fortunately, Gu Xuandu was just joking, “Okay, let’s not talk about it anymore. You’d better rest early. Even though it has been so long, why is this Xie family still so troublesome.” After he said this, his body faded away, leaving only a room full of the light fragrance of cherry blossoms.

Gu Xuandu’s figure could not be seen by others and even the fragrance couldn’t be smelled by others. Only Lin Rufei could see his shape and hear his voice. 

This was probably what Wan Yao had said, the destiny that belonged to him alone. 

Lin Rufei yawned. He listened to the sound of rain outside the window and fell into a deep sleep.

It was a dreamless night and the next morning, a ray of sunshine woke up the sleeping Lin Rufei.

Unlike the quiet Kunlun. It was very lively below the mountain. The day had just begun and there were already all kinds of small sounds. 

The Spring rain had been falling all night, but it finally stopped in the morning. A thin puddle of water had accumulated on the green stones in the courtyard and the servants had started to move around.

Fu Hua and Yu Rui prepared hot water for him early and the Xie family brought over a hot breakfast.

Everything was as usual and there didn’t seem to be any difference. He didn’t know if it was because of the words Gu Xuandu said yesterday, but Lin Rufei felt that this Xie residence had a strange smell everywhere. 

After breakfast, Xie Zhiyao sent a maid over to invite Lin Rufei to his bedroom for a chat. Lin Rufei did not bring Fu Hua and Yu Rui, and simply followed the maid with his umbrella.

Before entering the room, Lin Rufei smelled a strong smell of medicine. He pushed open the door and saw Xie Zhiyao nestled at the head of the bed. The upper half of his body was wrapped in thick bandages and his face was even paler than when he had seen it last night. His lips did not have any color, as if he had just been very ill and although his expression was poor, his spirit was still good. He leaned on the bed with a smile and greeted Lin Rufei: “You’re here?”

“How did you get hurt?” Lin Rufei said in surprise. He took a few steps forward and went to Xie Zhiyao’s side. He then noticed that he also had a few blood marks on his cheeks, as if they were bruised by sword Qi.

“Mnn, I met a few little thieves last night.” Xie Zhiyao smiled and said, “Just a few superficial injuries, it’s not a problem.”

Lin Rufei did not feel that it was that simple. Xie Zhiyao’s internal breath was weak and it was quite obvious that he was injured very seriously. However, he seemed to not care. His demeanor, compared to last night, seemed even more relaxed as if he had let go of something important. 

“Is that so?” Lin Rufei said, “Have those little thieves been caught?”

Xie Zhiyao said quietly: “They have been killed.”

“Oh, that’s good then.” Lin Rufei said.

Xie Zhiyao said: “You’ve come at a bad time. The Xie family has been in turmoil these past few days so I cannot provide you with good hospitality. If you are not in a hurry, you can stay here for a few more days, and when things are settled, I will show you around Moyu. Would that be fine?”

Lin Rufei said, “I’m not in a hurry. But just looking at your body injury, it doesn’t seem very convenient.”

Xie Zhiyao laughed, “It’s just a small injury.”

The two of them talked about the old times, like the times that they had spent on the Kunlun Mountains when they were younger. Seeing Xie Zhiyao’s nostalgic expression, Lin Rufei smiled and asked him if he wanted to go back to those days, however, Xie Zhiyao shook his head and said, “No. It was hard to come this far, I don’t want to do it again.”

Lin Rufei said, “That’s true.”

“There is a restaurant called Yue Lai outside the Xie residence, the lion’s head[1] there is a masterpiece. If you have nothing to do, you can go and try it.” Although he was in good spirits, in the end, he was still injured. Xie Zhiyao recommended some famous stores near the Xie residence before showing some tiredness. 

Lin Rufei was not an insensitive person and soon got up to say goodbye in order to let Xie Zhiyao have a good rest.

When he came out from Xie Zhiyao’s place, Lin Rufei saw that the sky had cleared up, so he planned to go out for a walk. Who knew that when he reached the front door, he would bump into a group of people.

This group of people seemed to have appeared suddenly. They were more than two dozen and were all dressed in white mourning clothes, the most eye-catching was the huge coffin in the middle of the crowd. 

The rest of the Xie family also saw this sudden group of people, but no one cast a glance at them. They all lowered their heads and pretended not to see it. The group of people carried the coffin and were silent on their feet—like a ghost, as they hurriedly walked past Lin Rufei.

Gu Xuandu’s sly voice suddenly sounded in Lin Rufei’s ears and he whispered, “Want to see who’s in the coffin?”

Before Lin Rufei could say anything, a stone on the ground beside him shot out and hit the front man carrying the coffin straight in the arch of his leg. The man who was struck by this blow, shouted, staggered a few steps, and flung to the ground. The wooden coffin was extremely heavy. Once this person fell, the coffin would lose its center of gravity and would slide towards the front.

“Not good—” in the crowd’s cry of alarm, the coffin fell to the ground, making a loud noise. The coffin lid was not sealed, so when it landed on the ground, it would directly slide open and the person contained inside would also fall out.

It was an ugly dead man in grave clothes. Logically speaking, the dead should be ugly, but this one in front of him was so ugly it could kill. His body was thin and was only about the size of an eight or nine-year-old child. The body was tightly curled up and his exposed skin was full of exaggerated wrinkles to the point that the face had become indiscernible. And the most appalling was that person’s eyes. It was wide open, as if they were two unwilling black holes. Its stare was absolutely terrifying.

Lin Rufei had seen dead people before, but he had never seen such an ugly dead person.

The whole courtyard was frighteningly quiet because of this sudden accident until the voice of the Xie family head rang out.

The Xie family head, who appeared behind Lin Rufei at some point, scolded, “What are you doing, quickly clean this mess up.”

The people who were carrying the coffin woke up from their dream-like state and hurriedly put the corpse back into the coffin. They carried the coffin again and hurriedly left through the back door.

Lin Rufei looked up and saw the smiling expression of the Xie family head. But this smile, compared to the previous few days, was fake. It was as if he was wearing a mask.

“Lin gongzi.” The Xie family head spoke out.

“Family head Xie.” Lin Rufei answered.

“It’s going to rain soon.” The Xie family head said, “When you go out, remember to bring an umbrella.”

Lin Rufei said lightly, “Thanks for your concern.”

The Xie family head nodded and turned to leave.

Lin Rufei stared at his back and murmured under his breath, as if he was talking to himself, “What was that?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Naturally……that was a person.”

Indeed, it was a person, but how could someone die in such an ugly way?

Once the day cleared, the stores around the Xie family were bustling with activity. Lin Rufei stepped on the green stone and slowly walked on it. That day it was late and he shopped a bit carelessly. Today he had nothing to do so he could slowly look around. 

As Xie Zhiyao said, the lion’s head in the old Yue Lai building next to the Xie family was indeed delicious. It had a strong and soft texture with a rich and fresh taste. However, Lin Rufei had always had a weak appetite. So after he tried it out, he placed the chopsticks down. He propped up his chin with one hand and slowly rubbed the tea cup on the table with the other, saying in a slow voice, “Did the family head do this?”

“Perhaps.” Gu Xuandu sat beside Lin Rufei, soothing the seemingly frightened Lin Rufei. “Don’t be too afraid, it’s just a dead man.”

“I’m not afraid of a dead man.” Lin Rufei said.

“Really not afraid?” Gu Xuandu seemed to have doubts and tilted his head. He stared at Lin Rufei, as if he wanted to see traces of lies on his face.

However, Lin Rufei’s expression remained unchanged. His light-colored black eyes were calm like a deep lake as he stared straight back at Gu Xuandu, “I’m just worried about Xie Zhiyao, will he be the next one?”

Gu Xuandu said, “No clue.”

Xie Zhiyao was suddenly seriously injured last night and today a strange corpse appeared in the Xie residence. Looking at the attitude of the Xie family, this person obviously had some status in the Xie residence, otherwise, there wouldn’t be so many people preparing for his funeral.

Lin Rufei said again: “Or……that person was killed by him?”

Gu Xuandu said, “It is not entirely impossible.”

The two looked at each other for a moment and Lin Rufei blinked: “Can’t senior provide some of his opinions?”

Gu Xuandu smiled and said, “If you call me senior Xuandu again, I will give you my opinion.”

Lin Rufei got up and left.

Gu Xuandu sighed behind him, “Senior and senior Xuandu. It’s only a two-word difference. Why are you angry?” 

Lin Rufei said, “You probably don’t understand.”

Gu Xuandu said, “Hmm?”

Lin Rufei’s face was expressionless: “What you said is indeed true, it’s just your expression when you say it. It always looks like you are molesting a girl who is not yet married.”

Gu Xuandu was silent for a moment: “You’re right. You are not a girl.”

The corners of Lin Rufei’s mouth hadn’t even had time to curl up when Gu Xuandu continued: “And it’s true you’re not married yet……” Lin Rufei felt gloomy. The longer the two of them got along, the more he found Gu Xuandu’s mouth to be very powerful. At least, in the matter of quarreling, he was not able to take advantage. Well……not only could he not take advantage, but he was also taken advantage of.

After tasting the good taste of the lion’s head, Lin Rufei went to a few more antique stores that looked closer. It was just that this store sold objects that ordinary people liked since most of them had little spiritual aura.

The shopkeeper’s eyes were vicious and after looking Lin Rufei up and down for a while, he greeted him with a smile and enthusiastically introduced the store’s contraptions.

“This young master, you’re not from Moyu, right? I haven’t seen you before.” The shopkeeper enthusiastically said, “This young master, the dragon cloud brocade you’re wearing is beautiful……That year I saw a similar one afar in Kyoto, I didn’t expect to see it again in the remote area of Moyu.” 

Lin Rufei’s food and clothing were always taken care of by his maids, so he didn’t understand anything about clothing materials and whatnot. However, he simply nodded his head casually to the shopkeeper’s words. 

Although the store was small, the items were very complete. Lin Rufei spent some silver money and picked a hairpin for both Fu Hua and Yu Rui. The shopkeeper smiled brightly and helped Lin Rufei wrap the items up.

When he was wrapping the items, Lin Rufei asked in passing about the Xie residence, saying how the Xie residence was so indifferent these days.

“Yo, you don’t know this, right?” The shopkeeper lowered his voice, “A few days ago, someone in the Xie residence caused big trouble.”

“Big trouble?” Lin Rufei said, “What kind of big trouble?”

“I have only heard about it.” The shopkeeper looked left and right to make sure there was no one else around before continuing, “It is said that a certain Xie family’s son’s servant ran away with the Xie family’s heirloom. This was such a big deal at that time and the whole Moyu City was closed for several days.”

Lin Rufei said: “Has the person been found?”

“I don’t think so.” The shopkeeper said, “But there are also rumors that they have been caught and brought back. Hey, we just take it as interesting gossip to listen to, no idea if it’s the truth or not.”  

After obtaining the news, it was obvious that the servant the shopkeeper was talking about, the one that stole the heirloom, was Lv Er. It was just that he didn’t know if he was related to the strange events that were happening in the Xie family these few days.

“Is this young master going to the Xie family?” The shopkeeper asked again.

“Mnn.” Lin Rufei said, “To visit some old acquaintances in the Xie family.”

The shopkeeper said, “Oh…..o that’s how it is.” He wanted to say more, but in the end, he didn’t. He just handed the wrapped hairpins to Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei picked up the hairpins and got up to leave the store.

The lively street in front of him and the gloomy Xie residence formed a stark contrast. Lin Rufei spent the whole day wandering outside and only until it was getting dark did he then returned to the Xie residence.

The Xie residence had already prepared dinner, but both Xie Zhiyao and the Xie family head were missing, and the entire courtyard was empty. It was as if Lin Rufei and his maids were the only ones here.

Lin Rufei had eaten a lot of snacks on the street beforehand and had little appetite now. He picked up the chopsticks and ate a little before putting them back down. He turned his head to look at Fu Hua: “Is there something you want to say?”

Fu Hua bit her lower lips and whispered: “Young master, during the time you went out, I asked around about the Xie family. Finally, I know why the Xie residence is so strange.” 

Lin Rufei said, “Oh? Tell me about it.”

Fu Hua said: “The Xie family head seems to have suffered some kind of disease, his body doesn’t seem to be able to hold on much longer. They want to take advantage of the fact that he can still direct, to elect the next head of the family.”

Lin Rufei fiddled with the porcelain cups on the table and said carelessly, “The next head of the family should have been Xie Kongcheng.” However, Xie Kongcheng had died.

“Yes.” Fu Hua said, “This accident was very sudden and because of this, the Xie family is in chaos. However, I also heard……that this matter seems to also be related to Lv Er.”

“Lv Er?” Hearing this name, Lin Rufei stopped moving, “Continue.”

“The Xie family head’s study has a particularly powerful treasure. Lv Er took advantage of the fact that he had a good relationship with Xie Zhiyao, snuck into the study, and stole the treasure.” Fu Hua said, “It was such a big deal that the whole Xie residence knew about it.”

“He hasn’t been caught yet?” Lin Rufei was puzzled.

Fu Hua shook her head, “No.”

That was a bit strange. Lv Er doesn’t know how to use a sword and was just a servant, in such a strict Xie family, there was no way he would be taught martial arts. Such a mortal with no strength could sneak into a heavily guarded study and steal the treasure?—Unbelievable. 

Lin Rufei’s fingers gently traced circles on the table.

Fu Hua continued, “But it was the same thing that young master was puzzled about. The Xie family is very strange, they even started to suspect Xie San Gongzi—whether or not he was involved with Lv Er.” 

If they didn’t suspect then that would be strange. Lin Rufei thought.

Fu Hua said, “Because of this incident, the whole Xie residence was purged and many servants were expelled, thus it became so deserted.”

Lin Rufei said: “Did you ask how Xie Kongcheng died?”

It seemed that the shopkeeper at the store today did not know the news of Xie family’s eldest son’s death.

Fu Hua shook her head: “They were all very alert about this and I wasn’t able to get a thing or two out of them. When the servants heard the name Xie Kongcheng, they would all bow their heads and walk away immediately.” 

“Got it.” Lin Rufei said, “You guys should be careful these days.”

Fu Hua and Yu Rui nodded their heads and said yes.

After Lin Rufei had eaten, he sent the maids off and smiled at the empty room: “I was wondering why the Xie family head didn’t accept my invitation. It turns out he is here to trip me up.” 

Gu Xuandu’s voice came from overhead. Lin Rufei looked up and saw him sitting on top of the overhanging beam. He was looking out the window and said, “Huh, why is there a fight?”

Lin Rufei looked in the direction Gu Xuandu was looking but saw nothing.

Gu Xuandu leaned down to look at him and reached out his hand, “Come.”

Lin Rufei felt his body lighten and he floated straight towards the beam. Gu Xuandu’s hand that stretched out from above, naturally wrapped around Lin Rufei’s waist and swept him into his arms.

Lin Rufei’s eyes widened and said, “You—”

But Gu Xuandu shushed him and pointed to the distance: “Look.”

Lin Rufei looked up and saw a blaze of fire that rose into the sky. As the mountain wind spread into a vast ocean, the clouds were also reflected in a brilliant fiery red and there seemed to be a human figure sprinting in the clouds. The sword light swung in layers and seemed to have torn out a dark wound in the sky. Logically speaking, such a big movement should have attracted the attention of a crowd. However, the entire Moyu City was silent. Those majestic scenes were like a pantomime—only being able to see the movements but unable to hear them. 

Gu Xuandu said, “It’s your friend, want to go see?”

Lin Rufei said, “Xie Zhiyao?”

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Lin Rufei said, “Who is he fighting with?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Don’t recognize.”

“Can we go and see? Or will we give him trouble instead?” Lin Rufei slightly hesitated.

Gu Xuandu looked at Lin Rufei, who was in his arms, and laughed: “Trouble? You, Lin Rufei, want to see him, that is giving him face.” After saying that, the scenery beside the two of them backed away rapidly. In a blink of an eye, they had reached the place of the fight.

Before, when Lin Rufei had looked from afar, he saw a fiery red, so he thought it was a sea of fire. However, when he got to the scene, he realized that it was not a sea of fire at all. Rather it was just a deep lake of emerald green, and swirling on top of the lake,  was a fire-like sword Qi. 

Xie Zhiyao was above their heads and was fighting a person to the point of wind and water rising.

Gu Xuandu suddenly said, “By the way, you haven’t met them yet.”

Lin Rufei froze slightly, then understood what was going on and looked down at the two blades, one long and one short, hanging on the side of Gu Xuandu’s waist.

“Gu Yu[2] is long, three feet and seven inches, and weighs around eight pounds and seven taels. Shuang Jiang[3] is short, only half a foot, and weighs around thirteen pounds and eight coins. Both have been with me for several hundred years.” Gu Xuandu gazed at Lin Rufei, tenderly introducing his beloved swords.

Gu Yu and Shuang Jiang, that were hanging on his waist, also faintly buzzed as if to echo in response.

Gu Xuandu continued in a soft voice: “I also had another most beloved sword named Da Han[4], but it was a pity that it was lost that year and was never found again.”

Lin Rufei’s heart was slightly moved and said softly, “You……”

Gu Xuandu’s eyes wavered and then he heard Lin Rufei say: “You have so many swords, can your waist hold it?”

When Gu Xuandu heard this, his gentle expression instantly faded. He clenched his teeth in anger before finally squeezing out a sentence: “If I can’t hang it on my waist I can carry it on my back!” 

Lin Rufei was puzzled by Gu Xuandu’s glare. He thought that this senior’s temperament was a bit unpredictable and made it hard for people to figure out. 

While the two of them were talking, the fight overhead was nearing its end.

Xie Zhiyao had the upper hand and the other person was losing. After another roundabout, Xie Zhiyao’s sword pierced into the man’s chest. And just like a falling star, he fell straight into the deep lake swirling with sword Qi.  

However, Xie Zhiyao still pursued. Following the trajectory of the man’s fall, his sword flew into the lake, and then, from the bottom of the lake, picked up a half-dead man.

“Xie Zhiyao……spare, spare my life.” The man’s face was white and his breath was weak like a candle in the wind, “I……in the end, am still your brother……”

Xie Zhiyao’s face was expressionless. He used his hand to wipe away the blood-stained on his face and said indifferently: “Xie Duyi, where did all this nonsense come from?” After he finished speaking, he raised his sword and swung, cleanly cutting off one of the man’s arms.   

Xie Duyi let out a miserable cry as blood gushed out from his severed right arm.

“Shut up.” Xie Zhiyao said again.

Xie Duyi immediately closed his mouth and looked at Xie Zhiyao in terror and despair. He seemed to have understood something and said in a trembling voice: “Don’t……Don’t kill me, I know where Lv Er has gone!”

Hearing the name Lv Er, Xie Zhiyao’s lips pursed up into a taut arc and his eyes narrowed slightly: “What did you say? You know where Lv Er has gone?”

“Yes, yes, I know where he went.” Xie Duyi endured the severe pain and said with difficulty, “That day, he stole father’s treasures and was chased to Canglan Mountain. Afterward, he was rescued by someone. That, that group of people, they seem to be your mother’s clan members.”

Xie Zhiyao questioned, “My mother’s clan?”

Xie Duyi continued, “Yes, your mother’s clan.”

Xie Zhiyao said, “How can my mother’s clan be related to Lv Er!”

Xie Zhiyao’s mother had long since broken off with her clan in order to marry his father. In the past twenty years, there was hardly any communication at all. Even when his mother had passed away, they didn’t send anyone to come visit. Until recently, when the Xie family was in turmoil, did they suddenly and quietly contacted Xie Zhiyao and gifted him with a very precious sword blade made of a foreign beast’s bones. Without this sword, he would never have survived this struggle.

However, according to Xie Duyi, they had actually saved Lv Er. Could it be that the treasure stolen from his father’s study had something to do with them as well?

It was said that the treasure was very special. It was just that since young, Xie Zhiyao had an average relationship with his father, so he had never seen it before.

“You’re not lying to me are you?” Xie Zhiyao coldly asked.

Xie Duyi smiled bitterly: “I am already like this, what is the point of lying to you? However, at that time, father did not know that those people were from your mother’s clan, until these few days when he finally found out……”

Xie Zhiyao said: “So that means that Lv Er is still alive.”

Xie Duyi said: “He should still be alive……your mother thinks so highly of him……” As he got to this point, his tone rose in indignation, “So obnoxious that brat, only you would protect him for so many years—” When he finished, he seemed to have realized something and started to openly mock,  “No wonder, no wonder. Even though he harbors such disgusting thoughts for you, in the end, in this entire Xie residence, the only person that likes you is him…….” As he said this he actually laughed out loud. It was just that this smile carried a madness that would soon die.

Xie Zhiyao was still expressionless: “I wanted to leave you with a whole body, but now it seems that it is not necessary.”

The next moment, Xie Zhiyao raised his hand and swung his sword and after a few sword lights, blood rained down from the sky. Xie Duyi’s body just fell into the lake in pieces.

Xie Zhiyao looked down at the green lake stained red with blood and slowly turned his head to look in Lin Rufei’s location. He coldly said: “After watching for so long, it’s time to come out.”

Gu Xuandu removed the camouflage and Lin Rufei’s figure was gradually revealed.

When Xie Zhiyao saw Lin Rufei, his expression showed amazement. He remembered that Lin Rufei always had a weak body and could not practice with the sword. But the person in front of him was dressed in all white, standing on a sword, and his long sleeves were billowing—like an exiled immortal. 

“Xiao Jiu?” Xie Zhiyao arrived in front of Lin Rufei and said, “When were you……able to use the sword?”

Lin Rufei said, “Not long ago, I met a senior and he gave me some guidance. After that, I was able to use the sword.”

Xie Zhiyao said, “So that’s how it is. How long have you……been here?”

Lin Rufei said, “A while ago.”

Xie Zhiyao laughed: “I’m really sorry to make you see such a family scandal.”

Lin Rufei shook his head and asked, “How are your injuries?” When he saw Xie Zhiyao this morning, he was still pale and lying on the bed. And not long ago he had fought with someone, he was afraid that his injuries would deepen.

But Xie Zhiyao simply said, “It’s not a serious injury. I have taken medicine and have gotten much better.” He casually shook the bloodstains on his shirt and tsked, “Let’s go. I will go back to change my clothes and then we can slowly talk about it.”

********

The author has something to say: 

Gu Xuandu: Since Xiao Jiu married me, he is no longer a young unmarried girl, but a beautiful young man with a lot of charm.

Lin Rufei: ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] Lion’s head (not an actual lion’s head lol). 

[2] Gu Yu means Valley Rain. 

[3] Shuang Jiang means Falling Frost. 

[4] Da Han means Great Winter/Cold. 

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