There wasn’t any interesting scenery by the side of the road, so Ye You simply went into the forest.
Here, the trees were high and abundant, with a cool breeze lightly brushing past, so many others were also enjoying this atmosphere. Calmly keeping watch on his surroundings, he unhurriedly walked forward.
Afraid that he’d be bullied by imprudent people, the people of Shuangji Sect were prepared to follow along. They were already aware that the Sect Master had been searching for him for ten years, and seeing how the Sect Master treasured him, they knew this Junior Brother was extremely important. Moreover, since he was injured now, they were definitely not willing to leave him by himself — thus, they kept their eyes wide open in case of any mishaps getting in the way.
“…” The scarred man callously stopped them and followed alone.
The adventurers who went drinking with Ye You were in the crowd of people. After the incident at Fengchun House, these seniors of Jianghu no longer dared to gather around him so easily, as they felt that this person was definitely somewhat unfathomable. But the adventurer who carried a monk’s spade and two other characters didn’t have that many apprehensions and went over with a smile. “Sir Xiao.”
“Good timing, I was just testing to see if I could happen upon some martial heroes.” Ye You lied through his teeth, and without even a trace of guilt, he threw a pot of blame on his Senior Brother, “Since we left the city of Suzhou, I’ve been wanting to see all of you. At that time, I promised everyone that when I had any information I would tell you, but I didn’t think that my Senior Brother would conceal things even from me. I really am…”
They hurried to say, “Since the matter is so big, Sect Master Wenren definitely has his own considerations. Besides, don’t we also know some things regardless?” Ye You sighed and nodded his head. From the corner of his eyes, he saw those four he previously came into contact with were nearby, clearly hesitant about coming forward. He couldn’t help narrowing his eyes, his heart feeling a sudden delight.
He had previously thought that if those four disappeared and no longer followed him, then they truly did recognize the wrong person. However, if they continued to secretly follow him, then there must’ve been some other reason that made them not dare to recognize him.
Just now, by adapting to the circumstances, he was able to toss his Senior Brother to the side. He did so partly because he wanted to see if he could meet them, and in the end, the harvest turned out to be quite good.
Finally seeing him alone after much difficulty, those Elders hastily hurried over.
But although they had originally thought their idea was quite good, when they really came face-to-face with the Sect Master, they immediately felt somewhat terrified, afraid that their Sect Master would be unhappy and would roll them into a ball to throw away.
So for the time being, they stood there, unmoving.
Elder Baili hesitantly asked, “There’s people over there. Should we go over… or should we not go over?”
“This… Let’s go over. We can wait on the side, and wait until the people leave before speaking. Or else are we really just going to look on helplessly as he courts disaster?”
“He saw us. He narrowed his eyes.”
“…He’s all bundled up like this, and you can still tell that he’s narrowing his eyes?”
“That isn’t important… Wait, he’s coming over!”
Ye You didn’t wait for them to stop hesitating at all, and after saying a few words of farewell to the Jianghu men, he unhurriedly walked over to them. Those Elders immediately tensed, unable to meet his eyes, and simply stared silently at the small, green grass growing underneath the enormous tree on the side.
Ye You laughed and said, “We meet again.”
Elder Baili laughed stiffly and still didn’t dare to recognize him. “Yes, how does the young sir have time these days to come out and take a stroll hahahaha…”
“I’m taking advantage of the rest period to come out to breathe some fresh air. It’s also good for my injuries.” Ye You took the initiative to bring up his situation. “I previously had an accident, and when I woke up, I remembered nothing, so by going to all these places, maybe I’ll be able to remember something.”
When they heard this, the Elders knew that this was the excuse he was using to stay by Wenren Heng’s side and to avoid them carelessly making things go awry or exposing the truth. But to tell them all this so suddenly, could it be that he knew that they were going to throw all caution to the wind and wanted to warn them against it?
That’s right, this meant that he definitely didn’t plan to recognize them at all!
Those Elders sorrowfully said, “Oh!”
Ye You gave a sound in acknowledgement and waited for their next words.
Those Elders said, “Then… then we won’t continue bothering the young sir.”
Ye You, “…”
Finally, those Elders gave him a look full of deep feeling before turning their heads and leaving. Ye You thought it was extremely strange and immediately called for them to stay. When he saw them collectively give him a look, he was prepared to ask who exactly he was as bluntly as possible, but he was stopped by the sight of Wei Jiangyue heading over. The words turned over in his mouth before he swallowed it back. He turned around and smiled. “Sir Wei.”
Wei Jiangyue looked at the people by his side and asked, “Friends?”
Ye You said, “We met once before. I didn’t think we would happen to meet again.”
It was only in front of the Sect Master that the Elders lacked confidence, while in other matters, they were extremely reliable. So they immediately changed their expressions to one of fright at meeting an important personage, both wanting to worm out some information and also not having the nerves to open their mouths.
Wei Jiangyue had met many people like this, so from the start, he had no interest in them. He was also disinclined to deal with them at this time, so he bluntly said, “I have some things to discuss with Sir Xiao.”
Those Elders had a clear view of things, so they quickly left the place to the two of them. It was only when they reached a place with no one around did they throw a fit and lament, extremely regretful that they didn’t manage to convince their Sect Master not to court disaster.
Elder Mei looked pensive. “Do all of you think… could what he’s saying be true?”
“That he was injured and so can’t remember anything.”
“Is it possible? He’s this incredible, who could injure him, unless he purposely…”
The sounds of conversation screeched to a halt, and everyone’s minds collectively flashed to the first order in the brocade bag. They suddenly unconsciously thought that if the Sect Master didn’t lose his memories, when they met, simply ordering them to hide secretly would’ve been fine. Why would he specifically tell them to act as if they didn’t recognize him? The light breeze brought over the noisy din from afar, and the cries blew through the open space. The group looked at each other in dismay, and only after a long while did Elder Baili say, flabbergasted, “It… it couldn’t be, right?”
Miao Wang gravely asked, “What if he really did contract an incurable illness? First it’s memory loss, then it’s…”
The others were so terrified they were trembling and said as one, “Shut up!”
At this time, Ye You had already arrived at a quiet place with Wei Jiangyue.
Wei Jiangyue looked at him. “Last time, at Fengchun House, I had a friend who was too excessive, and I didn’t stop him properly. I haven’t had the time to tell you.”
Ye You laughed and said, “It’s not important.”
Wei Jiangyue was just fishing for a topic of conversation and wasn’t truly trying to explain. Of course, he knew that this person also wouldn’t actually believe him, so he didn’t overdo the platitudes and quickly turned to a different matter. “I heard that after Sir Xiao was injured, you don’t remember anything from the past?”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
Wei Jiangyue said, “Anything whatsoever?”
Ye You said, “It’s not that. Occasionally, I’ll have some impressions of people or things.”
Wei Jiangyue nodded.
The scarred man was watching this from afar, and although he knew that Young Master Xiao wouldn’t be at a disadvantage, knowing that Wei Jiangyue was most likely there for the sake of his younger sister, he hesitated for only a moment before deciding to go over, finally stopping at a not-too-far and not-too-close place. But surprisingly, it seemed as if Sir Wei seemed had come over simply to chat with Young Master Xiao. From the start, the other didn’t bring up Lady Wei at all, and even when people started getting ready to return to the road one by one, that person never mentioned a single word about the matter.
Wei Jiangyue truly wasn’t here for the sake of his sister. He was simply somewhat curious about this Junior Brother.
Among the younger generation in Jianghu, Wenren Heng was undoubtedly famous.
Within only a few years, this person had managed to make Shuangji Sect counted amongst the top ten sects in the righteous faction, even managing to sit equally with some of the elders. At times, Wei Jiangyue even looked at him very respectfully.
And because of what happened to Elder Yu, after Wenren Heng entered Jianghu himself, he was taught well by their Fengxian Manor, so their own interactions were naturally many. Since Wei Jiangyue’s younger sister liked Wenren Heng and Wei Jiangyue himself also looked favorably upon him, Wenren Heng had been asked about what he thought of having a wife in the future and, in response, Wenren Heng had said that he wanted to find someone he truly liked.
What kind of person would Wenren Heng like?
Over the years, he had never seen Wenren Heng treat anyone differently, until the appearance of this Junior Brother. So he started observing, and he started suspecting. He thought that, no matter what, this was a strange youth. It was only after the incident with the spilled wine that he realized that this person wasn’t ordinary.
After he became curious, he started following the other with interest, so he came over to chat.
But of course he never forgot his sister, and the moment they stepped out of the forest, he finally said, “Although my sister is mischievous, her heart’s in the right place. If she offends during this journey, then I hope that Sir Xiao will be magnanimous and forgive her.”
Ye You laughed and said, “Naturally.”
He stepped onto the main road and lifted his head to meet his Senior Brother’s eyes.
Wenren Heng had just been waiting for him, and welcomed him in response. Lady Wei had not yet left, following closely behind, and curiously sized up the person in front of them. Her pretty eyes carried a faint light, and she was full of energy.
Ye You was also sizing her up. He privately thought that this pampered young miss was truly quite pleasing to the eye. Smiling, he said, “Hello, Lady Wei.”
Lady Wei said, “I heard from Brother Heng that you’re his Junior Brother?”
Ye You nodded. “It would be even better if you called this one89 Ah- Xiao, Lady Wei.”
“You’re Brother Heng’s Junior Brother, so there’s no need for Lady Wei this and Lady Wei that.” When the girl smiled, it was even more beautiful. “Just calling me Xiao-Rou90 is fine.”
Ye You smiled in return and said, “Then this one will call you Lady Xiao-Rou, otherwise Senior Brother wouldn’t be happy.”
Lady Wei heard the implications in his words, and her face immediately blushed red.
Wenren Heng gave a look to that certain someone and tenderly but forcefully took his hand. “Let’s go. We need to set out now.”
Ye You struggled but couldn’t get free and so, for a moment, couldn’t curb his tongue, “Brother Heng, walk a bit slower, I can’t keep up.”
Wenren Heng, “…” Wenren Heng looked at him with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile and, in the end, didn’t say a word before stuffing the person into the carriage and ordering his subordinates to set out.
At this time, they were already not far from the bottom of the cliff, but they still acted with caution, and the Alliance Leader let everyone rest for one night. Only on the morning of the second day did they return to the road and continue on, and they arrived at the cave before noon.
Junior Academy Master Ge said, “This is the place.”
The cave was pitch-black, with spiderwebs hanging messily everywhere, and the floor was sprinkled with bits and pieces of animal remains. Just looking at it made people not want to enter. Junior Sect Master Ge pointed to a place near the stone wall that had a four-sided indentation and said, “The box was found here.”
The Alliance Leader’s group looked and examined the nearby surroundings but didn’t see anything out of place. They sent out a few people to keep watch in all directions before picking out a few experts and then finally disturbing the spiderwebs and heading inside.
Wenren Heng was naturally in the lineup, and after Ye You’s outstanding achievement in seeing through the true meaning
of Pursued Until Scattered, he was also allowed to follow behind. From afar, those Demonic Sect Elders watched anxiously, afraid that the Sect Master would encounter some mishap. But right now they were “nobodies”, and the only thing they could do was wait outside along with everyone else.
The cave was big enough for only two people to walk side-by-side. Upon the stone walls, the torchlight cast shadows shaped like silent and twisted creatures. Everyone carefully moved forward step-by- step, movements extremely slow, but they quickly discovered some new worries. Other than the spiders and spiderwebs, there were no other vexing things within the cave. Moreover, the cave itself wasn’t
deep, only around seventeen to eighteen meters91 in length, and at the end was a chunk of smooth rock.
On it was carved a sentence, written with powerful force: The ones who can enter have been brought by fate, so go ahead and take away Pursued Until Scattered.
The expressions of the Alliance Leader’s group changed. Holding the torch in hand, they examined the surroundings but found nothing.
One person couldn’t help but say, “What if he’s talking about the book in Academy Master Ge’s hand?” Academy Master Ge immediately said, “Impossible, or else why would he still carve a ‘can’t see the forest for the trees’? Wouldn’t that have been entirely unnecessary?”
Another person interrupted with, “Perhaps he simply wanted to mess with people, or maybe he wanted them to rush in here to read to his hard work, and the real Pursued Until Scattered truly is that book.”
“That’s even more impossible. I’ve already tried everything, and there’s nothing special about this book. Furthermore, Pursued Until
Scattered has been passed down for so many years, but this book was written not even ten years ago!” Academy Master Ge’s tone carried a trace of gravity and urgency. If the book truly was real, then it’d be better not to let anyone know. Otherwise, if it was known across the land, then what he’s currently holding was practically a talisman of death.
He couldn’t help but look at Sir Xiao. “You agree, right, young sir?”
Ye You said, “Whether I agree or not, let’s look a bit more before speaking.”
The Alliance Leader waited first for the elders to order people to start searching. And just as he himself had finished his thorough preparations for searching the cave, it turned out that, as before, there were further considerations this time. Using only basic breathing techniques, they had discovered a small, wooden box that had been buried beneath the rock. This box was made of the same materials as the previous box containing the book.
Academy Master Ge immediately let out a breath. “Like I said, it’s impossible that it was my book.”
The cave was too narrow, and everyone couldn’t crowd around it, so they decided to turn back and exit from whence they came.
Everyone else had already raised their heads in expectation, and seeing them come out in a crowd with cheerful cries, they quickly heard that they had discovered a wooden box. Immediately, all their eyes lit up, and everyone was curious about what was inside. Although the whole thing went off smoothly, the Alliance Leader’s group still didn’t lower their guards. They opened the wooden box very cautiously, only to be met with the sight of a strip of leather. The Alliance Leader took it out and opened it, discovering that it was a letter.
The first page was the same as the one in the book that Academy Master Ge was currently holding, full of sentiments. But it had a different tone to it than the previous seasonal melancholy. This one said that it had been ten years since he had obtained Pursued Until Scattered, and he had studied it day and night, not daring to slack.
But because he was naturally slow-witted, he wasn’t able to penetrate its meaning. Now that his age was steadily getting higher, he feared that this exceptional book would be ruined in his own hands, so he wanted to gather all the heroes of the land and respectfully lend it out, hoping that a time will come when they can bear witness to such a miraculous skill reappearing under the heavens.
“Is there anyone in the world who is truly so generous?” Manor Lord Wei said, “I don’t believe it could ever possibly be this convenient.”
The Alliance Leader declined to comment. When he finished reading one side, he turned it over to the back. On it was written where the book was located: From the cave, go ten steps south, then five steps east, then one hundred steps south, then one hundred steps north, then fifty steps east.
These people weren’t idiots. After thinking about it for a bit, they knew this was a circle.
The next words on the leather also confirmed their guess: Pursued Until Scattered was within these directions.
Manor Lord Wei’s omen had come true. The group, “…”
In the surroundings, a group of people were standing on tiptoes, stretching their necks to look, while gossiping. Finally, there were some who couldn’t hold back and asked, “Alliance Leader, what does it say?” The Alliance Leader silently gave them a look. He suppressed the desire to knead his head and let out a sigh, thinking that he’d someday be tossed around to death by these strange people from Jianghu.
He then matter-of-factly told them the contents of the leather once all the way through.
At first, the people stood unmoving for an instant before some of them suddenly jumped a meter92 into the air and then excitedly rushed forward to start digging holes, with more and more people steadily joining them.
The Alliance Leader’s group looked at each other in dismay, not knowing why they all had a sort of murky feeling. As someone who had dug holes93 before, Academy Master Ge took the initiative to ask, “Do you think that whatever is dug up would be the real Pursued
The people gave him a look, none of them really wanting to speak. But the Alliance Leader also couldn’t not speak, so he sighed and said that he didn’t know. Academy Master Ge looked to the side. “What does Sir Xiao think? Is this real or fake? It’s not all a trick, right?”
Ye You smiled and returned the question, “If I said it was fake, would everyone stop and go home?”
The group knew that wouldn’t happen and could only resign themselves to fate.
That area quickly became stuffed full of people. Every single sect sent their subordinates over, and even Wenren Heng sent a few people and stood outside the circle, looking in with his Junior Brother.
Seeing the shadow of Lady Wei coming over, he took his Junior Brother with him to go to the side of those pack of scoundrels. Since this entire group were men, as a single woman, she couldn’t continue advancing. As expected, Lady Wei walked halfway before stopping and hesitantly looked for a while before going back disappointed to look for Wei Jiangyue.
Ye You faintly said, “Senior Brother, you really have a heart of stone.”
Wenren Heng had a mind to say, “Why don’t I give my luck with women to you,” but had second thoughts after realizing that this person might actually want it. Although most of what this person said were lies, the one who’d be hurt emotionally would be himself, so the only thing he could say in the end was, “Your Senior Brother unfortunately doesn’t enjoy it.”
Ye You asked, curious, “Then when will Senior Brother find me a Sister-in-Law94?”
Wenren Heng looked at him. “Let’s leave it up to fate.”
These past few days, Young Master Li had heard no end of rumors about Pursued Until Scattered. He now knew that this thing was incredible, but that it was difficult to master. Never mind owning it, barely ten people have ever mastered it, and every single one was the finest martial arts expert. He looked at the excited expressions on this crowd of people and asked, unwilling to give up, “Sect Master Ye really isn’t going to be joining in on such a big incident?”
That pack of scoundrels weren’t surprised in the least, used to this strange sight, and said earnestly and sincerely, “Your Sect Master Ye’s heart is too difficult to understand, so it’s hard to say.”
In deep thought, Young Master Li realized that that made sense and once again repeated the words about joining the Demonic Sect. After he started talking, he also took out a barrel of alcohol from his carriage and, walking around the perimeter, started to drink. The alcohol Young Master Li brought was sure to be good wine, with a
fragrance that could be smelled practically five kilometers95 away, and the neighboring drunkards all couldn’t help but look over.
From afar, Lady Wei looked at that crowd of people talking and laughing and muttered, puzzled, “Why does Brother Heng like to stay with them so much? Those kinds of people…” Wei Jiangyue also looked over.
Within that group of people was mostly children from wealthy families, not many people truly from Jianghu. They often came together to play, going wherever was the most fun, watching whatever was the most interesting, never considering propriety or reputation. Their only consideration was to have fun. However, having said that, they also had many accommodating masters. His sister was looking only on the surface and couldn’t see beneath that initial layer.
He said, “If you look more closely, you’ll understand.”
Lady Wei still didn’t understand. “What is there to look at?”
Wei Jiangyue said, “At least Wenren Heng is willing to be together with them.”
Lady Wei immediately said, “That’s true.”
“…” Wei Jiangyue kind of wished he could toss her out like the bathwater.
That crowd of people dug from the time the scorching sun was at its peak until sunset, but not even half a sheet of paper was found, and complaints filled the air. But while they complained, the allure
of Pursued Until Scattered was still too big, and no one was willing to give up easily. They were still resigned to dig more holes.
At this time, Wenren Heng had already eaten a simple dinner with his Junior Brother and was currently standing underneath a tree, looking over at the soil that had been dug beyond recognition. He asked, “What do you think?”
Ye You said, “He’s waited this many years, and used this many people, so there probably will actually be something. It’s only that his way of doing things is just begging for a spanking.”
Wenren Heng nodded his head in agreement. “And?” Ye You laughed and said, “But it’s quite interesting. I still really want to meet him.”
Wenren Heng gave his Junior Brother a look.
These past few days, he had been ruminating over the past and future, and he still couldn’t fully comprehend the reason behind his Junior Brother’s actions. So he thought of two possibilities — either his Junior Brother previously learned of this matter from who knows where and simply gave others a push in secret, or his Junior Brother was the actual person who placed the book and did so wanting to plot against someone.
The question was, who was his Junior Brother plotting against?
At the time his Junior Brother left, he had thought that there were still some secrets relating to his Master’s incident and had forced himself to go through his recollections carefully, one-by-one, but he had not remembered anything suspicious. What’s more, Martial Uncle was already an important general at that point in time. With such military power in his hands, he was certainly more than a match for any person from Jianghu. If the person who murdered Master really did have other accomplices, it would’ve been better for Junior Brother to tell Martial Uncle directly. Why would he keep it to himself?
Ye You became aware of his line of sight and asked, “What is it?”
Wenren Heng didn’t even have time to open his mouth before a shout came from faraway, “Found it!”
They looked over and saw that the person who had dug it up was from Lingjian Pavilion. Holding a muddy chest, that person went over to Pavilion Master Ding, and countless people in the surrounding area looked over at them.
Pavilion Master Ding didn’t hesitate. He took out his sword and cut open the outside lock. Underneath thousands of eyes, he opened the chest, only to see that the inside contained not a book but strips of leather, and many strips at that. The Alliance Leader picked up the uppermost strip. On it was written that because of fears that the book would be misappropriated, he thought of a good idea and hid the book in a certain location. After drawing a map, he ripped said map into pieces. With every person holding a piece, if they followed it in order, they’d be fine.
The search still had to be continued.
Everyone felt as if their breaths were stuck in their throats, unable to be dislodged.
Even the always good-tempered Manor Lord Wei couldn’t help but say, “He sure can torment us.”
Everyone collectively nodded.
The map was split up into a total of six pieces, and a number was written on each of the upper right corners. When the person said to follow in order, they were referring to this.
Those who were smart like Wenren Heng and Ye You had to think for only a moment before understanding the opposing party’s intentions
— if the map was in only one person’s hand, then they might secretly send their subordinates ahead, so that by the time everyone hurried over, the place would be empty, and so if the map was split and they didn’t bother to work with the others, then they wouldn’t know where exactly to go.
As for who would hold the map, everyone discussed it for a spell, and for the sake of fairness, they decided to pick lots to decide. But very quickly, there was someone who brought up an issue, “The first ones will wait, but what if after waiting to go through the first five pieces, the sect member holding the last piece goes ahead to steal the book. Then wouldn’t we have come all this way for nothing?”
Everyone else agreed in succession, “That’s right.”
The Alliance Leader said, “Then how about this, when it gets down to the final piece, every day, two people will eat and sleep with that person. With everyone rotating the duties, there’d be no opportunities to pass down orders to subordinates.”
Everyone thought for a bit, and none had any other ideas, so the only thing they could do was agree for now.
They then went up to pick lots, and in the end, it was the miserable Academy Master Ge who got the final piece. He immediately wrinkled his brows, thinking that this time better not be yet another trick. Or else if nothing is found and everyone ended up thinking that he was the one who took the opportunity to steal it away secretly, what could be done?
He gave a bitter laugh and asked, “Can I refuse it?” Everyone present was experienced, so no one was willing to take this hot potato, and even if someone wanted to take it in their hearts, they wouldn’t openly admit to it. Academy Master Ge was also simply asking without expectations. Whatever the case may be, this map had already passed through his hands, so if they ended up finding nothing, suspicions would fall on him regardless, so he might as well keep a hold of it.
Wenren Heng also got picked. It was one of the numbers in the middle so there was not much danger.
The sky began to darken, and everyone looked in front of them at the miserable scene of a big hole packed with little holes. They tidied up the bare minimum and went to the open area next to it to rest a little. Then while there was still the advantage of light to see the road, they decided to walk for a bit according to the map.
These pieces of the map were the same as the leather that was first found; they all followed a route to relay their information, such as first walk forward two and a half kilometers, turn southeast for five kilometers96, and so on. The actual distance wasn’t written that clearly, so perhaps it was yet another consideration from the person
who left the book.
Pavilion Master Ding was the one who held the first piece of the map.
He had a solemn character and especially hated such deceptive and mystifying tricks, so he simply threw it to his people in “Moon’s Shadow”, completely disinclined to look at it further.
And since they’ve learned from their mistakes, everyone couldn’t help suspecting the possibility of another circular path, so they walked very carefully. Anytime they found that they were walking farther away from the bottom of the cliff, they would let out a breath of relief, but anytime they found a tendency to head in the direction whence they came, they became extremely tense. Their hearts continually moved up and down, so when they stopped to rest, all of them were emotionally and physically drained.
On the way, what Wenren Heng heard the most was, “Don’t let me find out who that old fellow is, or else I’ll grab him and beat him up,” and couldn’t help but look at this Junior Brother of his and then at the angry people faraway, somewhat lost in thought.
Ye You quickly discovered that he was distracted and asked, “What are you thinking?”
Wenren Heng pulled back his thoughts from who knows where and, slightly muttering to himself, said, “Just thinking about whether that person would really have placed the book. If you were him, and you were in a situation where you never had the book in the first place, what would be your motive for putting on such an outing?”
Ye You thought for a bit and then said, “If I wasn’t just bored and wanting to mess around with people for fun, then I must be plotting against someone, and the person I’m plotting against must coincidentally be one of the people here.”
Wenren Heng said, “Oh?”
Ye You said, “And the destination must be someplace the person I’m scheming against recognizes, or else I wouldn’t go through such trouble to make the map like that in order to rouse him to go of his own volition.”
Wenren Heng nodded. He had also been thinking the same thing. Ye You said, “But I probably wouldn’t do it like this.”
Wenren Heng looked at him. “Why?”
Ye You said, all smiles, “Senior Brother, I think if I wanted to torment someone, I wouldn’t need to do so in such a roundabout way.”
That’s also true, Wenren Heng thought in his heart.
But if this incident really was caused by his Junior Brother, there definitely was some reason where there were no other options. But there was one main point in all of this, it’s that he had been guaranteed involvement at the time of the incident. So if his Junior Brother’s injuries and amnesia weren’t coincidences, then his Junior Brother definitely believed in him very much, as the other felt secure in giving his own amnesiac self to his Senior Brother.
Thinking to this point, his heart felt faintly warm, and he looked over to the person by his side. When the other turned to look over, he said, “Let’s go. Your medicine needs changing.”
Ye You touched the bandages on his face and followed the other onto the carriage.
Candles had already been lit inside the carriage, and Wenren Heng waited until his Junior Brother took off his clothes before helping him unravel his bandages. Ye You looked at the bandages in the tray on the side, and seeing that the amount didn’t seem to have changed, he asked, without any real hope, “Senior Brother, there’s no need for me to still be wrapped up this tightly, right?”
Wenren Heng’s movements paused, and he raised his head to look at the other.
Hundred-Grass Dew was a miracle medicine that had been circulating in Jianghu for many years. Since his Junior Brother had been injured, he had been applying it without consideration for the cost, not missing a single day, so that the bodily injuries had long grown smaller and turned shallow. It actually didn’t need to be wrapped so completely any longer, but that face was too likely to bring disaster to others, so he wasn’t really that willing to let it out into the world.
Thus, he calmly said, “Let’s keep it like this while you still haven’t remembered the past, so as to avoid any visits from enemies you provoked in the past.”
Ye You originally was just randomly asking, and he himself had thought in his heart that being wrapped up was safer, so he simply made a sound in acknowledgement.
The carriage was stopped on the side of the road. The scarred man was just outside guarding it with some others when he saw Lady Wei’s servant girl coming over to call the Sect Master and Young Master Xiao over for a meal. He ended up telling her that Young Master Xiao was currently getting his medicine changed and that they’d be over a little later.
This matter was something that Manor Lord Wei himself had sought out Wenren Heng to arrange for.
Over the years, with the wind coming and the rain going97, Manor Lord Wei had experienced many hardships in his life, so while today he had been messed with to the point that he was even a bit frustrated, he didn’t pay it much mind. On the contrary, he was actually in the mood to order his subordinates to catch some game in preparation for a fun meal, eating and talking, with his good friends and the younger crowd, as if they had come out to play all along.
Lady Wei was looking in the direction of Wenren Heng’s carriage. When her servant girl returned, she learned that Wenren Heng was currently helping his Junior Brother change the other’s medicine, and she couldn’t help but pout at the words. At first, she had also been happy for Wenren Heng that he had found his Junior Brother, but after recent observations, she discovered that Wenren Heng was especially good to his Junior Brother and brought the other along everywhere he went — for as long as she’d known Wenren Heng, she had never seen him treat anyone else this well.
She asked, “Dad, that’s really his Junior Brother?” Manor Lord Wei said, “Yes, been missing ten years.”
Lady Wei sulked. “Brother Heng doesn’t need to go so far as to…”
Manor Lord Wei interrupted her, “In the past, they were always depending on one another. Other than the old general from the capital, in this world, Xiao-Heng’s only other close relative is him. Being good to him is natural.”
Lady Wei still wanted to say more but was met with the sight of Wenren Heng approaching with his Junior Brother, so she hastily stood up and hurried over. Sitting on the side, having heard the whole thing from beginning to end, Wei Jiangyue finally looked to his dad and spoke, “You98 really don’t think that the way he treats his Junior Brother is a bit excessive?”
Manor Lord Wei thought back to the events ten years ago and said, “He was already like this in the past.”
Wei Jiangyue said, “Then what about little sister?”
Manor Lord Wei said, “The melon that is forcefully broken from the vine will not be sweet99.”
This youngster Wenren Heng was clever and steady, with ample ability, not to mention that he also had an important general’s house supporting him. His prospects were immeasurable, so how could this person possibly be afraid of not being able to be married. His hatred also couldn’t be incurred.
It’s only that there was some difficulty in getting his daughter to give up. He thought for a bit and said, “He treats his Junior Brother like this, but his Junior Brother doesn’t necessarily treat him the same way. Let’s try matchmaking for his Junior Brother as a test. But we can’t be too serious about it. It should be good if we simply brought his Junior Brother to meet more people. Whether we succeed or not, we should act as if we don’t care, or else we’ll be seen through… Actually, there’s no need for us to do all this. After his Junior Brother’s injuries are healed, there will be many people throwing themselves at him.”
Wei Jiangyue was curious. “Why?”
Manor Lord Wei looked at those young ones slowly walking over and said, “You’ll understand in the future. That face of his Junior Brother’s, even with one half damaged, it’s still capable of bringing disaster…”
Seeing those people getting even closer, he ended the conversation and amiably waved them over to sit down. Wenren Heng courteously gave some words in greeting, politely declined Lady Wei’s proposal to sit next to her, and brought his Junior Brother to a randomly chosen place to sit. Lady Wei had a mind to go over but also didn’t have the nerve to do so. Seeing Wenren Heng tenderly passing over food to his Junior Brother, she immediately descended into a sulk.
The Elders of the Demonic Sect were in the exact same mood as she was.
They had jumped onto a big tree nearby and were all lined up, gnawing on provisions, silently looking over at that place. Before, they had originally thought that the Sect Master had some plan so they didn’t have any issues, but now that they had guessed that the Sect Master had truly lost his memory, they were all out of sorts.
“Having seen the Sect Master’s face before, is Wenren Heng taking advantage of the Sect Master’s amnesia to make up that nonsense about being his Senior Brother?”
Elder Mei said, “I think that Wenren Heng definitely has some designs on the Sect Master!”
Elder Miao also turned solemn. “Do you think that he’ll tell the Sect Master that there had previously been something between them and then do that something?”
The group, “…”
These people tried somewhat imagining the scene and were so angry that they almost bit off the hands that were holding the provisions.
Especially Elder Miao, who almost couldn’t be stopped from going down and setting some poisonous insects. Elder Mei pressed him down and narrowed her eyes. “The next time the Sect Master is alone, let’s all directly tell him the truth, and if the Sect Master is really being tricked by Wenren Heng, I’ll definitely chop up that scoundrel!”
“Yes, let’s chop him together!”
The group continued watching, eyes looking on helplessly as the Sect Master left after eating, following behind Wenren Heng. Seeing the two going to sleep in one carriage, they all had to swallow back a mouthful of blood.
At this time, Ye You was looking at this Senior Brother of his and smiling. He said, “The next time there’s something like this, there’s no need to call for me. Tonight, your Lady Wei glared at me so much that I felt as if I was being pierced full of holes.”
Wenren Heng said, “Next time I’ll push it off.” Ye You said, “Can it be pushed off?”
Wenren Heng said, “Of course it can.”
But he didn’t think that Manor Lord Wei would always call for him. The two of them both wanted to have a good relationship, and they had always managed to maintain a certain distance. As a smooth and evasive person, Manor Lord Wei would naturally not do anything that would cause anyone to hate him.
He reached out a hand and helped his Junior Brother unravel the bandages on the face in preparation to rest. Seeing his Junior Brother continue to watch him, he asked, “What?”
Ye You said, “Senior Brother, I think you really look quite good.” Wenren Heng paused and gave his Junior Brother a look.
He had always known that his Junior Brother had never given up on sounding him out, and now seeing the Wei family’s sister and brother’s reactions, the other was probably even more suspicious of him.
He calmly said, “You aren’t the first to say this.” He put away the bandages and patted his Junior Brother’s shoulder. “Let’s sleep.”
Ye You looked at him and then obediently went to sleep.
Wenren Heng blew out the candle and also went to sleep. He had originally thought that tonight would be peaceful, but at midnight, he felt someone sticking to him, and only then did he realize that he had overthought it. He opened his eyes and hastily pressed down on a certain someone’s rebelling hand.
At almost the same time, he perceived his Junior Brother letting out a breath of warm air right next to his ear, and his pupils contracted in a flash.
Although that hand had been pressed down, the thumb took the opportunity to caress his wrist for a bit, with a slight ambiguous feeling to it. Wenren Heng couldn’t suppress the movement of his Adam’s apple and wanted to ask, “You certainly have a lot of guts; aren’t you afraid I’ll actually do something to you,” but started having second thoughts when he remembered that the outside was full of people. He was also unable to hit his Junior Brother’s acupoints, so he couldn’t easily swallow the other person down.
He knew that his Junior Brother had definitely calculated all this, and he immediately felt like both fuming and laughing.
The inside of the carriage was dark, and both of their silhouettes were fuzzy and indistinct. Ye You made a slight approach, breathing as if he wanted to wind the two of them together.
Wenren Heng resisted the urge grab the other ruthlessly into his embrace and instead let go of the other’s hand. Patting the other’s shoulder, he let out a soft sigh.
When Ye You heard his Senior Brother sigh, he put on the pretense of a smile, only it didn’t seem as if he was putting his heart into the act. And he didn’t know why, but he suddenly felt a somewhat penetrating heaviness.
His movements stopped.
“You’re truly hard to please. I treat you well, yet you still suspect me. Do you still have a conscience?” Wenren Heng said helplessly. After a while of silence, he told him a truth, “I know you’ve always suspected that I have some ulterior motives. Actually, I’ve concealed one thing from you. When you’ve fully recovered your memories, then you’ll naturally understand everything from beginning to end. We still don’t know what’s wrong with your internal energy, so don’t blindly go around tormenting me.”
Ye You asked, “It’s not convenient to say?” “You’ve known from the start. Just slowly think it over, and you’ll understand. It’s all related to the things that’s been happening recently,” Wenren Heng said, “Didn’t you say you were interested in the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison? First be obedient for a few days and see what exactly that person is planning on doing. The other things we can talk about later.”
Ye You was silent for a moment. He had been persuaded.
He then also said something that was in his heart, “Senior Brother, do you know my true identity?”
Wenren Heng said, “I know it, but I don’t want to tell you.” Ye You said, “Why?”
Wenren Heng let out another sigh. This time his tone was also like the one from before, looking pained, but also seeming as if he didn’t care all that much. He quietly said, “When Master was alive, he taught us to always stick to the proper path and not to go astray.
Before he left, he told me to take care of you properly, but I not only lost you but also witnessed you walking on a crooked path. These past few years, Senior Brother has always blamed himself.”
Ye You turned a deaf ear. “Am I part of the Demonic Sect?”
Wenren Heng said, “In any case, you aren’t part of the righteous faction. While you still have amnesia, stay by my side. Once you’ve fully recovered, if you still want to return, Senior Brother won’t stop you.”
In reality, he didn’t need to think over any of this. His Junior Brother had single-handedly created the Demonic Sect, so this person would definitely return to it. Even if he tried stopping the other, it would be of no use.
Ye You thought for a bit and reluctantly agreed.
Wenren Heng asked, “If I really had some sort of designs on you, what were you planning on doing?”
Ye You innocently replied, “I haven’t thought of it yet.” There was no way he hadn’t thought of it yet. Wenren Heng understood him too well. He would’ve coincidentally “awakened” saying that it had been a misunderstanding, and he had done everything in a half-asleep daze. But if Wenren Heng truly tried something, he’d go through all the words previously said between them and, when the time came, might even put some distance between them.
Wenren Heng truly didn’t know if, in this person’s hand, the other trusted him or not and said, “Let’s sleep.”
Ye You listened obediently and looked for a place to lean against, closing his eyes.
Seeing the other back off, Wenren Heng let out an internal breath of relief, feeling as if the extra warmth in his body had not yet dissipated. If after his Junior Brother regained his memories and still dared to tease him like this, he felt as if he’d definitely swallow the other up. But unfortunately when this person remembered everything, he’s afraid that the other would return to that aloof and untouchable, annoying and frustrating Sect Master of the Demonic Sect.
Before the sky turned bright, everyone had already woken up and continued anxiously hurrying along the road. They then quickly discovered that their worries weren’t unfounded because the map gradually abandoned the flat, open official roads, purposely going along small, winding and twisting roads, sometimes even having to climb up a hill. All of which, the carriage couldn’t traverse, so they had to go on foot.
Young Master Li had always been pampered and spoiled, so how could he possibly endure all this. But since he was afraid of missing Sect Master Ye, he managed to push on in the face of adversity
for four hours100 before giving up. He could only tearfully call it quits when advised by those pack of scoundrels. Besides, none of them were at all interested in that rare book.
Only Qin Yuemian remained. No matter how one looked at it, Sir Xiao was someone he had brought to Wenren Heng, so he was much more meticulous towards this matter. As these series of events had started happening only after Sir Xiao appeared, and he didn’t know if the two had become allies, the only thing he could do was remain to see.
That pack of scoundrels had no idea about the truth and thought that he was only here to play around. With heartfelt feelings, they held his hand and told him to take a good look at this play and, in the future, to tell them the whole thing from beginning to end. Young Master Li also instructed that if he was to see Sect Master Ye to ask the other how the Demonic Sect accepted new members.
Qin Yuemian mocked good-naturedly, “All right. Now, buzz off.”
Thereupon, that crowd of young masters buzzed off. The remaining people painfully continued struggling. Complaints were heard all around, especially when they huffed and puffed up a particularly difficult-to-climb hill and discovered, upon looking back, that they only had to follow along the official road and turn at the right moment to reach the same place. With anger as fuel, they climbed to the top in a flash.
“Fuck, this is on purpose, right! Definitely on purpose to mess with people!”
“This elder can’t endure it anymore, and it’s still just the first piece of the map! There’s still five pieces after! Five pieces!”
“I almost can’t endure it either. Is that old fellow using this kind of thing to test our sincerity?”
“No, I think he’s just bored and looking for a fight!” “You’re right! We owe him a beating!”
Everyone swore up a storm and thought countless times about pulling up their sleeves and beating it, refusing to play that old fellow’s game any longer. But then they were also afraid that there truly was that rare book, so the only thing they could do was grind their teeth and persist. And, on the way, whenever they found a tendency to go back whence they came, their heart felt suspended with worry, and they could only nervously force themselves slowly forward.
Two days passed in this way, and everyone was even more emotionally and physically exhausted. The only comfort they had was that they were moving forward overall, and they haven’t been turned back to the beginning.
Wenren Heng gave his Junior Brother a glance. “How do you feel? If you’re not feeling well, remember to tell me.”
Ye You said, “I’m all right.”
Wenren Heng unraveled the bandages on his forehead to investigate and, discovering that there was a layer of sweat, wiped it for him before asking, “Are there any near your injuries?”
Ye You replied with a simple, “No,” and stood there, unmoving, not at all disgusted with the other’s actions.
Wenren Heng thought that, after that night, this Junior Brother of his had become a bit more well-behaved, though he didn’t know if the other had properly listened to what he said. He felt a slight satisfaction and carefully rearranged his Junior Brother’s bandages.
These intimate actions made both those Elders and Lady Wei see red, the former wanting to kill Wenren Heng dead, and the latter feeling extremely wronged. Since she was young, Lady Wei had been loved dearly by those around her, and she had never before faced this kind of hardship. Seeing Wenren Heng caring so deeply for someone else, she felt even more wronged for a time, almost crying out. “Dad…”
Manor Lord Wei said, “Listen to me. Go home first, don’t stay to be tormented.”
Lady Wei said, “I won’t!”
The moment her voice dropped, she heard the person from “Moon’s Shadow” leading the group say that they now had to cross a gutter. She couldn’t help lifting her head and happened to see Wenren Heng holding his Junior Brother, not looking back while stepping over the water. This time, she completely couldn’t endure it, and her tears came flowing out. In the end, it was Manor Lord Wei who made the excuse that she had been frightened by insects to gloss it over.
In the morning of the sixth day, they finally finished going through the first piece of the map.
The Alliance Leader sized up everyone’s conditions and also checked their current position, discovering that if they walked a bit more, they’d have reached Huayang City101. He thereupon discussed for a while with Manor Lord Wei and the others and decided to first leave
a mark before going to Huayang City to rest and reorganize. The best thing they could do was think of countermeasures, as they couldn’t always be at that person’s mercy.
When they heard this, those people of Jianghu, who had previously been lying on the ground and crying out, stopped shouting and, with quivering slowness, stood up. They worried that this crowd of bosses would privately piece the map together. Although they trusted some of the people in this group who had high moral standing, they still couldn’t feel at ease with the rest.
The Alliance Leader then was forced to placate everyone and promise that they definitely wouldn’t secretly piece the map together.
Manor Lord Wei said, “I can’t keep watching this. Let’s first go to Huayang City, find a local to look at the second piece of this map, and draw out a route. Then we can cut out all the roads we don’t need to use and pick out an easy road to go directly to the destination, saving us the trouble of going such a roundabout way.”
Everyone immediately thought it was a good idea and happily got ready to set out, deciding to go to Huayang City to take a good bath and have a good meal.
Even before they entered the city, at the gates, they saw a team of people in welcome, lead by a young sir wearing a blue robe, around twenty-four to twenty-five, with pretty and delicate features, carrying a folding fan in hand, with a dense scholarly air. Manor Lord Wei laughed. “Your news travel very fast.”
The youth also laughed and said, “Rumors have abounded these past few days. There’s been such a ruckus that it’s become known by everyone. Even not wanting to know wouldn’t work. This nephew heard some people a few days ago say that they saw all of you, and that you seemed to be heading in this direction. This nephew then thought that he’d wait at the city gates to see, and as it happens, Uncle really did come.”
He walked up to Manor Lord Wei and politely greeted the crowd of elders, inviting them to stay at the Yang102 family residence.
A few people in the crowd couldn’t help but mutter, “Ah, it’s Sir Yang…”
“Yes, it’s Sir Yang.”
Ye You felt like these voices carried with it many twists and turns, with some slightly unspoken and unclear implications. Out of habit, he looked in the direction of this Senior Brother of his.
Wenren Heng slowed his pace, letting a distance form between him and the person in front, before saying, “At that time, when that monster murdered three influential families, the only one who lived was this one child. He was rescued by Manor Lord Wei and his men from a pile of corpses and was raised until adulthood. Later, Manor Lord Wei helped him rebuild the Yang family and return to Huayang City. Although the Yang family isn’t comparable to how it was before, in the end, this one sprout still remains…”
As he spoke, he noted that his Junior Brother didn’t seem to be listening and followed the other’s line of sight to the engraving of a flower on the city gates, next to the words “Huayang City”. He patiently explained, “That’s the Liuzhu flower103. The people of Huayang City all really like it. Right now it seems to be its flowering
season, so you can go see it. It’s quite beautiful.”
Ye You slowly averted his eyes and gave a sound in acknowledgment. He followed for two more steps before suddenly asking, “Sir Yang’s entire family was slaughtered by that monster, so there must be a huge debt of blood between them. When the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison resurfaced in Jianghu, why didn’t he hurry to the Wang family residence?”
“Since he received a serious injury during that time, his arterial flow is not good, so he never studied martial arts,” Wenren Heng said, “But seeing how he waited for us at the city gates, he must’ve been following this matter very closely this whole time.”
The Yang family residence was destroyed twenty years ago. The newly built residence was located on the east side of the city.
Although the place wasn’t as big as it was in the past, it still had ample space left over even after situating the group of elders and Shuangji Sect’s Sect Master. Right now, it was precisely midday, and Sir Yang had already long sent people back to prepare food. The moment they stepped into the residence, the meal was also coincidentally almost about ready.
Sir Yang lead them into the anteroom and instructed his people to bring tea. Only then did he put away his smiling expression and turned to Manor Lord Wei. “Uncle, the matter with the Lantern- Extinguishing Poison hasn’t been uncovered yet?”
Manor Lord Wei didn’t conceal it from him. “There’s a possibility that it’s the same person as the one who hid Pursued Until
Sir Yang had a somewhat faraway look in his eyes and, in a quiet voice, said, “Pursued Until Scattered… If it’s real, I really want to see it at least once.”
At that time, because of this book, that monster murdered his entire family in such a deranged way. To this day, he had never forgotten that devastation.
These people all knew about that old affair, so not a single person spoke. Manor Lord Wei had raised the other to adulthood, and at the core, they could at least be considered almost father and son, so he advised, “We saw that monster let out his last breath with our own eyes, so this matter is perhaps not even related to him. But regardless, in the end, I’ll tell you everything that happens. Your body isn’t well, so don’t follow us, rushing around all over the place.”
“I understand.” Sir Yang paused and then asked, “I heard that it apparently isn’t going very smoothly?”
That one sentence made everyone remember some unpleasant memories, with distress in their hearts.
Manor Lord Wei said, “Don’t get me started. That person is too good at tormenting people.”
Sir Yang said, “How?”
Manor Lord Wei then simply outlined for him what had happened. Hearing all that, Sir Yang was dumbfounded, inwardly thinking of his own body’s condition. If he really followed along, then he definitely wouldn’t have been able to endure it. He asked, “Just now I saw that Xiao-Rou didn’t seem very cheerful, even refusing to eat.
Was it because she’s tired?”
“Exactly,” Manor Lord Wei said helplessly, “I already advised her to return home, but she insisted otherwise. Let her stay here at your residence for a few days.”
Sir Yang had grown up in the Wei family, and he was as close as siblings to the Wei family children, so he naturally agreed. Manor Lord Wei then remembered the matter about the map and told him to find a local to take a look. Sir Yang nodded in response and immediately instructed the steward to look for someone.
Following their days hurrying along the road, everyone was somewhat tired, so after the meal, following the Yang family servants’ directions, they each went to their individual rooms to rest. Wenren Heng gave his Junior Brother a glance. He didn’t know if it was just his imagination, but his Junior Brother’s spirits did not seem to be very high. His whole person seemed to be loose and listless, not even feeling inclined to respond to others.
The two entered their room. Without even unraveling the bandages on his face, Ye You took off his outer clothes, cleaned himself up very simply, and went to bed without so much as a by-your-leave.
Wenren Heng walked to the side of the bed and sat down. “What is it?”
“I’m a little tired,” Ye You said, not knowing why he suddenly felt somewhat stuffy, which even now hadn’t been relieved. But it wasn’t yet at a level that he couldn’t endure, so he said, “Maybe it’s because of the gloomy weather that I’m so sleepy.”
Wenren Heng swept his eyes over to look outside. It really was overcast today.
He unraveled the bandages to look at his Junior Brother’s complexion while also probing for his internal energy, discovering that it was the same as it had always been, and only then did he manage to push down his sliver of worry, encouraging his Junior Brother to get a good rest.
Ye You asked without thought, “You’re not going to sleep?”
Wenren Heng looked at his Junior Brother lying on the bed delivering an invitation, and although he knew that the other didn’t have such intentions, he still didn’t have the ability to resist such temptation. He first went outside to issue orders to his subordinates to confirm the whereabouts of Miracle Doctor Ji’s disciple before returning to lie down next to his Junior Brother. With the light scent of herbs in the air, he slowly fell asleep.
In contrast to their warm comfort, the atmosphere over at the Wei family’s side was not very good.
Manor Lord Wei and the Alliance Leader had left to discuss business. Wei Jiangyue looked at his sister who had suddenly lost a bit of weight and like his father, also had thoughts of wanting her to stay behind and rest. At the dinner table, Sir Yang had seen the warm expression that Wenren Heng had towards his Junior Brother and so had also come over after dinner ended. He had just stepped inside when he saw Wei Jiangrou asking her second brother how they could possibly make that Junior Brother go away. Wei Jiangyue said, in a low voice, “So noisy.”
Choked with sobs, Wei Jiangrou said, “Isn’t his health not good? Can’t Dad think up a way to convince him not to follow?”
Wei Jiangyue said, “Do you think Dad can pay attention to everything?”
Wei Jiangrou said, “So he needs to think up a way.”
Wei Jiangyue wanted to scold her, but he was unable to speak such harsh words, so the only thing he could do was repeat that she was being too noisy.
Although he was the Wei family’s young master, since young, he had followed by his dad’s side, and from that influence, he was determined to be just like his dad, an independent, righteous martial hero who was respected by others. Thus, although he was somewhat conceited and arrogant, he also never dared use his own identity as a weapon to commit wrongdoing.
Looking at his little sister’s pitiful expression, he calmed his tone and advised, “If you send him away, Wenren Heng will also go.”
Wei Jiangrou said, “That won’t happen. Brother Heng has a piece of the map, so he can’t go.”
Wei Jiangyue reminded, “He could just give the map piece away to someone else.”
Wei Jiangrou choked, thinking that it was very possible that Wenren Heng would do such a thing, and her tears immediately bubbled forth once again.
Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang hastily went over to coax her, and meeting one another’s eyes, they both wanted to laugh bitterly.
Manor Lord Wei had a total of eight sons from his legal wife and concubines, but it was only after praying to the gods that he got a daughter, not to mention it was even a daughter from his legal wife. Thus, the entire family spoiled her rotten. Over the years, although she wasn’t raised to be arrogant and reckless, she had still been given everything she had ever wanted, so she had never experienced any grievances before.
And since time immemorial, this word “feelings” had always brought with it much suffering. Xiao-Rou had been sheltered too well, so the only thing she knew was that to like someone was to want to be together, not knowing that Wenren Heng’s heart wasn’t hers at all.
As such, no matter how beautiful or outstanding she was, they weren’t a good match for one another.
Sir Yang said, “Recently, a famous theatrical troupe has come to the city. Let’s go, Brother will take you to see a play.”
While crying, Wei Jiangrou said, “I won’t go. I just want to make that Ah-Xiao go away. Why is it that he’s only just returned and Brother Heng is already so good to him? What’s wrong with me?”
Wei Jiangyue inhaled a deep breath and didn’t speak. Sir Yang had more patience than him and had brought over a chair to sit, carefully trying to talk some sense into her, eventually managing to stop this little sister’s thoughts of trying to send the person away.
Wei Jiangrou sniffled. “Then… then do the both of you have any way to make time for me to be around Brother Heng? As long as we spend enough time together, Brother Heng will see my good points.”
Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang had nothing to say, and they especially didn’t want to refute her with, These past few years, every
opportunity you’ve had to be alone together have all been expertly avoided by Wenren Heng without batting an eye. Judging from
Wenren Heng’s skill, no matter how many ways they thought up, that person would probably never fall for any of them.
Wei Jiangrou looked at them, letting out a sob. “Can… can you?”
Wei Jianyue was silent while Sir Yang continued trying to reason with her, tactfully telling her that Wenren Heng wouldn’t come out.
Wei Jiangrou bit her lips, at a loss for a while. Finally she said, unresigned, “If we invite Ah-Xiao directly, will Brother Heng also come?” This was actually a possibility. The two were speechless.
The local Sir Yang found was an elderly man who had already lived here for some decades and so was extremely familiar with the surrounding areas of Huayang City. In the afternoon, he came to the large residence, and at that time, Wenren Heng and Ye You had already woken up. However, seeing that his Junior Brother was still apparently in low spirits, Wenren Heng originally planned to go by himself, but thinking it would otherwise be boring, Ye You ended up following along.
The Alliance Leader and the others had already arrived long ago. They gave the second piece of the map to the elderly man and relayed their reason for coming once more.
The elderly man nodded in understanding, and he drew while looking at the map. At first, there was a sense of everything going smoothly, but as time went on, he began hesitating.
The person who placed the book perhaps predicted that they would find someone to draw a out a route and so had picked a particularly tricky path where usually no one would ever go. The elderly man looked for a long while before sighing and shaking his head.
Through the sound of this sigh, the Alliance Leader and the others felt as if their hearts had been dragged into a swamp, with desires to struggle as much as they could, but simply sinking deeper into the waters the more they tried. Sir Yang said, “Uncle Liu, how is it?”
The elderly man pointed at a map showing all of Huayang City. “From the place they’d previously stopped, that map piece leads them first to Huayang City and then after they continue from there, they reach this place…” He pointed at a place outside the city and then continued with, “Although this is also within the boundaries of Huayang City, I’ve never been there. Alas, I can’t detail it properly.” The Alliance Leader’s group turned to look at each other, and their expressions were all very funny.
They absolutely did not want to be tossed around in the same manner again, so they sent their best people from “Moon’s Shadow” and “Heaven’s Firmament” to scout out the route ahead, at least beyond the boundaries of Huayang City. After that, they’d try to find someone else to try and draw another route from the next directions. No matter how much was drawn, it’d still be better than going themselves to find the route.
Since this needed two or three days worth of time, the people scattered.
Wenren Heng looked at his Junior Brother. “Still tired?” Ye You said, “I’m all right.”
Wenren Heng once again told him to say immediately if he was feeling unwell and, once he obediently nodded his head, brought him back to the room.
Two days passed in the blink of an eye.
On this day, Sir Yang saw that the weather was quite good, so he invited some of his fellow youths to go out and play, and Sir Xiao happened to be in the lineup.
Sir Yang said, “Those searching for a route are about to return, and everyone is on the verge of setting out again. Why not go out to play, with my assuming the honor of acting as the host.”
In actuality, it was him who had finally given in to his little sister’s beseeching cries, and Wei Jiangyue had remembered that that father of his had mentioned introducing Sir Xiao to new people, so they decided that they might as well take this opportunity to call the person out.
The ones who were going on this trip were famous young sirs and young ladies with good-repute from Huayang City, some Junior Sect Masters who had come to the city with the troops, and even a few of the ones who had been drinking wine with Wei Jiangyue back at Fengchun House. The relationship between them were all quite good. Over the past few days, they had been concerned only with hurrying along the road and complaining, so they haven’t had the opportunity to have a good chat.
Sir Yang said, “Second Brother Wei is also going to be there. If Sect Master Wenren happens to be free, then why not also come along?”
Wenren Heng looked at his Junior Brother. “Are you going?” Ye You was not very interested, but he still asked, “Where?”
Sir Yang didn’t wait for Wenren Heng to look over and took the initiative to say, “We’re going outside the city. It’s been the flowering season for the Liuzhu flower recently, and there’s quite a few blossoming outside the city. There’s even a valley filled with Liuzhu flowers; it’s especially beautiful.”
Ye You was still hesitant, but Wenren Heng had some interest in participating. Recently, this Junior Brother of his had been quite listless, though even having a doctor come over to examine him had found no issues. If he went outside and walked around, maybe it’d be good for him.
Sir Yang observed the other’s body language, and seeing that Sect Master Wenren wasn’t against it, he hurriedly described the scenery with untold eloquence, eventually succeeding in arousing Sir Xiao’s interest.
The party thereupon got on a carriage and unhurriedly went outside the city gates. When they reached a small road, the carriage stopped at the side, and everyone set off on the road on foot. Both sides of the small road were blossoming with white flowers, flowing together like pearls, following along the city for a vast stretch, winding to and fro, as beautiful as a dream.
Ye You asked, “Did someone grow these?” Sir Yang said, “Not exactly. Us people of Huayang City all love the Liuzhu flower, so we’ll occasionally scatter some flower seeds.
Whether they grow or not is all up to the will of the heavens, so over time, it’s become this vast stretch. In the valley up ahead, the Liuzhu flower has grown the best.”
Ye You followed them with slow steps, feeling as if the stuffy feeling of the past few days seemed to be vaguely spreading, pressing down on him so his entire chest felt sore. He swept his eyes over to see that his Senior Brother was currently speaking to Wei Jiangyue and that the circles of people in the surroundings were all looking quite happy, so he didn’t have the heart to dampen their spirits. He instead tried to circulate his internal energy in an attempt to suppress the smothering pain he was feeling and, in this way, arrived at the valley without paying attention.
Everyone couldn’t help but let out a sound of admiration. Ye You lifted his head, and the only thing he saw was that the entire valley was completely covered by the Liuzhu flower, so beautiful that it almost seemed like an illusion. It was a scenery that plainly warmed the heart and delighted the eyes. Unfortunately, it was at this time that his internal energy finished circulating, and the pain not only did not disperse but also increased in force, ferociously dashing outwards.
He felt an acute pain spreading throughout his limbs, and together attacked his heart. He couldn’t help stepping back a few steps to lean against a tree, layers of cold sweat soaking him through.
Wei Jiangyue had intentionally pulled Wenren Heng into a conversation, wanting the others to have more chances to chat with Sir Xiao. Those Junior Sect Masters weren’t idiots, so they naturally understood his intentions, and since Sir Xiao was Wenren Heng’s Junior Brother, they were also interested in getting to know the other, so all of them went over.
But if Wenren Heng was that easily tricked, then he wouldn’t be Wenren Heng. Especially in such a beautiful place as this, he naturally wanted to stand by his Junior Brother’s side. Thus, with only a few sentences, he sent away Wei Jiangyue, ignored the Wei Jiangrou on the side with the tearful expression, and turned around to look for his Junior Brother.
He hadn’t yet approached when he heard those people shouting, “Sir Xiao,” and feeling a sting in his heart from nowhere, he hastily ran over.
Ye You felt as if the surrounding sounds were all fuzzy and indistinct, like they had been separated with a layer of water. He faintly perceived a crowd of people circling in front of him and powerlessly waved his hand in an attempt to get them to back off slightly so that he could more easily breathe. But opening his mouth, he merely felt a sweetness in his throat before he suddenly spat out a mouthful of blood without warning.
Wenren Heng had just walked over, and having witnessed this, his expression immediately changed. “Ah-Xiao!”
Ye Ye could no longer support himself, and he crumbled forward. Wenren Heng caught him and drew him rigidly into an embrace. Wei Jiangyue and the others also got a fright and quickly crowded over.
Wenren Heng probed his Junior Brother’s internal energy, and feeling his entire palm covered with cold sweat, he didn’t dare
to transfer energy104 to the other heedlessly, becoming increasingly anxious.
Ye You coughed a few times and, upon seeing that a Liuzhu flower by his side had been stained with drops of blood, thought it was truly a pity. But his train of thought was clear for only this one instant. In the next moment, he started feeling as if the color of that blood was boundless, spreading from the bottom of his eyes upwards, combining with the distant mountains full of Liuzhu flowers, hiding the skies and covering the earth, taking up his entire world.
Afterwards, all of it together reversed and warped. He finally closed his eyes.
Before he completely lost consciousness, he suddenly heard a familiar sound, and within its ordinary depths was a bit of a voluntarily disorganized air, as if it was something that had been repeated over a thousand times, resounding in one’s mind, “Concentration, meditation, without anger, without
passion, maintain inner peace and expel distractions, clear the mind and protect the thoughts105…”
He had the instinctive thought that these words were coming from his previous self, right before sinking gradually into the abyss of unconsciousness.
The Elders of the Demonic Sect were all in the vicinity.
Those who had gone to the city of Suzhou had learned from their mistakes. Fearing that these great leaders would sneak off and leave in secret, they thereupon agreed that even if it was only a housefly that had flown out of the Yang family residence, they would still send people over to keep watch. Thus, on this day, when Sir Yang brought a party of people outside, they had sent several people to follow.
When those Elders saw that the Sect Master was among the party, they naturally also went.
Now, seeing Wenren Heng holding the Sect Master and hastily rushing over to the carriage, they felt their expressions change and ran over. “What happened?”
Wenren Heng originally didn’t want to pay them any mind, but in an instant, he had differentiated Miao Wang’s voice among them, and only then did he look more closely at them. Finding that it actually was the Demonic Sect’s Elders, he immediately stopped and pulled the person over. Cleanly throwing away all his previous refined mannerisms, he shouted, “Quickly come examine him!”
At once, Miao Wang examined the Sect Master’s condition and, feeling that there were no ailments other than the weak internal energy, couldn’t help but furrow his brows. Seeing the bloodstain on the bandages next to the mouth, he suddenly thought of that third order from the brocade bag, and his hands immediately shook.
Wenren Heng asked, “How is he?”
Miao Wang didn’t answer and instead turned around silently to look at those three people behind him. Elder Mei and the others looked at him face to face for one moment. Quickly recalling that matter, they all collectively startled in horror, so that their first response was to back away half a step, not wanting to do such a thing. Miao Wang also didn’t want to do it and silently stared at them.
The four were in a deadlock and, as one, looked at the Sect Master. Just as they were about to reach the point of no return106, they saw the Sect Master’s eyelashes move and the other slowly opening his eyes. The four’s expressions immediately eased, and they wiped their
cold sweat, feeling as if they had just been on a trip to the underworld.
Wenren Heng didn’t have the time to pay them any mind. Looking at his Junior Brother, he asked, “How do you feel?”
Ye You propped himself up. “Nothing’s wrong.”
He examined himself for a moment, finding that his chest felt much lighter, as if all the stuffiness from the past few days had been expelled with that mouthful of blood.
Wenren Heng said, “Even though you spat out blood, there’s nothing wrong?”
Ye You wanted to say that there truly was nothing wrong, but it was at this time that Sir Yang’s party caught up to them, and the entire group looked at him with worry. Internally, he thought that he still inadvertently ended up dampening everyone’s spirits. He then moved to stand up but was pushed back down by Wenren Heng.
Wenren Heng indicated that the others should continue playing, while carrying his Junior Brother, he prepared to return to the Yang family residence.
Ye You said, “Senior Brother, I can walk by myself.”
Wenren Heng didn’t even lift an eyelid. “Obediently stay still.”
Ye You sized up his expression and said, “It was only that my chest was feeling somewhat stuffy a moment ago.”
Wenren Heng said, “Why didn’t you say so?” Ye You said, “I thought it was nothing.”
Wenren Heng wanted to give him a beating and, with an insincere smile, gave him a look. Ye You could guess that he had irritated his Senior Brother and obediently stopped moving, instead contemplating how he could remedy the situation. Seeing his Senior Brother’s footsteps stop, he looked and saw the four people sneakily trying to follow them from behind.
Those Elders stopped, not knowing why it seemed as if Wenren Heng’s gaze felt cold to the bone.
Wenren Heng said, “All of you come over.”
Those Elders blinked and mutually turned to look at each other. They internally pondered if this person had seen through their identities, wanting to make them scream, so that he can keep the Sect Master all to himself? Their hearts felt a burst of anger, and they immediately felt like pulling up their sleeves and fighting with this lecherous wastrel as if their lives depended on it, until they swept their eyes and saw the Sect Master carelessly lifting up a hand. With one wave of that hand, they immediately had a flash of realization, turned around, and ran off.
Wenren Heng, “…”
Wenren Heng silently looked at the person in his arms. Ye You’s eyes were the picture of innocence, calmly looking back at him. Wenren Heng pushed down his anger and, lifting up the corners of his mouth, tried to ask as tenderly as possible, “Are you thinking that I’ve seen through that you and them are companions and so I wanted to capture them?”
Ye You didn’t have his memories, and he didn’t know what his situation used to be, so he really was thinking like this.
He put on an act of ignorance. “Hm?”
Wenren Heng said, “They really do know you, but I only wanted to ask if they knew what happened with your internal energy.” Ye You looked in the direction where those people’s shadows had long disappeared and, for the first time, felt somewhat uneasy.
Rubbing his nose, he said, “…Next time then.”
Wenren Heng lowered his eyes to look at him. “Remember, I’m your Senior Brother, I’d never hurt you. Next time if you still suspect that I’d harm you, I’ll throw you away and stop looking after you.”
Having heard the anger from this Senior Brother of his, Ye You had a clear view of things and said, “I understand.”
Wenren Heng made a sound in acknowledgement.
The scarred man had always been guarding the carriage. Seeing the Sect Master’s silhouette wildly rushing over in this direction, he knew that something had happened so hastily drove the carriage over. He looked over Young Master Xiao’s situation and felt a burst of alarm in his heart.
Wenren Heng told his subordinate to return to the Yang family residence and, carrying the other, entered the carriage. Today, he had truly been unbearably frightened by his Junior Brother and so he’d probably have carried this person forever if it had been possible. But he knew that it wasn’t, and so he forced himself to set the other down.
Ye You slowly thought over recent events and asked, “Senior Brother, just now you said that those people know who I am?”
Wenren Heng said, “What do you want to say?”
Ye You said, “I once heard them call me Sect Master.” Wenren Heng didn’t open his mouth to respond.
Ye You looked at him. “Senior Brother?”
Wenren Heng still wanted to beat the other up, but reining in his temper, he gently asked, “You don’t worry about why you spat blood and instead worry about this?”
Ye You said, “I feel like I’m pretty good right now.” The other really did look pretty good, at least it was clearly obvious that the other’s spirits were better than it had been these past few days. If that bloodstain on the bandages didn’t exist, Wenren Heng would’ve been quite happy. He pushed down the unease in his heart and asked, “If I said they recognized the wrong person, would you believe it?”
Ye You didn’t refute him and earnestly said, “Of course I’d believe the words that Senior Brother says.”
Wenren Heng then tenderly told the other, “They recognized the wrong person.”
Ye You nodded. “Yes, I believe you.”
The two people looked at one another for a moment and came to a tacit understanding not to look too deeply.
The scarred man was outside driving the carriage and felt a faint desire to wipe his sweat.
Young Master Xiao had even spat blood, and when the Sect Master returned just now, his expression had already become that bad. Now, after the urgency had passed, how can these two people still fight and scheme against one another!
Sir Yang and Wei Jiangyue had originally planned this day to manufacture an opportunity for Wenren Heng and Wei Jiangrou. With this matter happening, they no longer had the heart to play and so returned after a short while. Then they lightly asked around a bit, hearing that Wenren Heng had invited a doctor but that the doctor hadn’t found any problems.
Wei Jiangyue actually knew some things, so he was not surprised. After all, even Miracle Doctor Ji didn’t have any ideas, so how could any other doctors possibly have a solution?
Wei Jiangrou asked, “What happened to his Junior Brother?” Wei Jiangyue simply explained the situation and said, “Who knows what kind of illness it actually is.”
Wei Jiangrou’s eyes flashed. “Even Miracle Doctor Ji can’t cure it? Then…”
Wei Jiangrou’s heart shook, and even she was scared of the thought she just had. In her fear, she looked at him. Wei Jiangyue let out a sigh in his heart and patted his little sister’s shoulder, telling her not to wish disaster on other people. Wei Jiangrou shook her head at once. “I didn’t!”
She simply thought that it would be good if that person died for a mere split second, and holding her chest, she continued to feel some lingering fear. Wei Jiangyue looked at her for a while, and only when he confirmed that she really was telling the truth did he feel satisfied.
The people who were out searching for a route returned that night. The next day, the Alliance Leader’s group crossed off the extraneous paths and prepared to inform the ones outside to set out.
Wenren Heng said, “Everyone, elders, please go ahead first. This young one will catch up in two days.”
The group turned to look at him together. Manor Lord Wei said, “Because of your Junior Brother?”
Wenren Heng made a sound in acknowledgement.
When they first set out, Miracle Doctor Ji had said he would send his disciple over. The only issue was that the other party had never caught up with them. Last night, he finally learned of the other’s whereabouts and so decided to wait two days. The other reason is that he wanted to find an opportunity to make contact with the members of the Demonic Sect to see if they know something.
Luckily, Manor Lord Wei had not yet convinced his daughter to stay behind, so he ended up saying that everyone should wait together.
After all, no one could know what they’d encounter in the future, so people should be allowed to have a chance to prepare, and they shouldn’t leave in such a rush. In the end, they decided to leave after three days.
Wenren Heng knew that as soon as the number of people increased, it’d become much more difficult to meet those Elders. But he had plenty of patience, so he agreed and returned to accompany his Junior Brother.
Miracle Doctor Ji’s disciple arrived at the Wang family residence on the night of the second day, and he was immediately invited to Wenren Heng’s small courtyard.
As the head of the household, when a guest arrived, Sir Yang would naturally be the first informed of it by the servants. At that time, Wei Jiangyue happened to be sitting in his room, so the two decided that they might as well go over together.
A few days ago, Sir Xiao spat blood, and although it wasn’t their doing, they didn’t know if it was related to their going outside, and with Wenren Heng being that terrifying, they tactfully didn’t go and bother the two these past few days. Now that the Miracle Doctor’s disciple had arrived, they fortunately could go and see Sir Xiao’s condition.
At this time, Ye You was about to rest, and since the bandages on his face had just been unraveled, he was too lazy to reapply them. Thus, when Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang entered the room, they saw that the “lantern” had disappeared, and they both faintly stared, distracted.
They followed their consciousness closely, and uniformly looked in the direction of the young sir behind Wenren Heng.
Ye You walked to his Senior Brother’s side and politely smiled at them.
He put out a not quite negligent air, casually wearing a sleeping robe, looking disorganized and laid-back. Half his face carried burns, but they were already quite light. The other half had a floating beauty that pressed down upon people, so beautiful that it shook one to the core. Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang were immediately dumbfounded and blankly stared at that half-undamaged face.
Wenren Heng’s eyebrows rose, and he pressed his Junior Brother back into the chair and looked towards the young sir that had entered with the other two.
This person looked to be around eighteen, with a round face and big eyes and dimples on his face, looking very soft. He was Miracle Doctor Ji’s last disciple, Young Miracle Doctor Fang. Although this person’s innate skill was very high, he was neither arrogant nor impatient, and his temperament was very good. Even Miracle Doctor Ji had once said that his future accomplishments would probably be higher than his master’s.
Young Miracle Doctor Fang hadn’t been stunned by Sir Xiao’s face, and his heart seemed to be entirely filled with thoughts of saving people. His first words were, “Is this young sir the patient that Master mentioned?”
Wenren Heng nodded. “A few days ago, he spat out a mouthful of blood.”
Young Miracle Doctor Fang’s expression changed slightly, and he hastily went over to take the patient’s pulse.
When Young Miracle Doctor Fang opened his mouth, Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang returned to themselves in a flash, feeling as if their faces were red, and awkwardly looked for a place to sit. Wei Jiangyue once again glanced at Sir Xiao before suddenly remembering the words his father spoke, finally understanding what the other meant.
The room was quiet. Afraid of disturbing the Young Miracle Doctor, no one opened their mouths, and even their own breathing became deliberately light.
A short while later, Young Miracle Doctor Fang retracted his hand and said, “He doesn’t have any issues.”
Wenren Heng had already become numb to those words. He internally thought that, for this matter, it seemed that he had to find the members of the Demonic Sect. He wanted to exchange a few pleasantries and hurry these three out the door, but the Young Miracle Doctor immediately followed by gravely saying, “But if he spits out blood twice more, it’ll become troublesome. From today onwards, I’ll have to stay by his side and watch him.”
Wenren Heng felt his spirits shake and wanted to ask the other if something had been found but then heard the Young Miracle Doctor add on another sentence, “Including the time spent sleeping at night.”
Wenren Heng, “…”
Young Miracle Doctor Fang’s mind seemed to contain only medical books and patients.
After saying that he was going to monitor Sir Xiao constantly, he decided to start staying with them immediately, starting tonight.
When the scarred man went to send off Sir Wei and Sir Yang at the door, he didn’t dare to look in the direction of his Sect Master’s face.
Both Wei and Yang knew that Wenren Heng had always been living together with his Junior Brother, so upon their departure, they couldn’t help first giving a look of admiration to the Young Miracle Doctor. The Young Miracle Doctor was sitting very straight and, having just brought out a medical text, was also diligently studying it. They internally thought that even if one’s thoughts were pure, it still didn’t mean that one would be free from trouble.
Wei Jiangyue had a mind to look at the expression on Wenren Heng’s face, but when he turned over to look, through some supernatural occurrence, he somehow found himself drawn to Sir Xiao’s person instead.
Ye You seemed to have somewhat felt that gaze and lifted his eyes to look at the other.
Ordinarily, he was covered in bandages, with only a few open holes left on his face, so no one ever felt the desire to look at him closely. Now that his bandages were gone, contrasted with his black hair, Wei Jiangyue suddenly realized that the color of his pupils was very light. Although his expression seemed disorganized, his eyes were penetrating, appearing mixed together with a sliver of indifference, looking for all the world as if he could see through one’s soul.
Aloof and remote, untouchable by human hands.
Wei Jiangyue’s breathing turned slightly sluggish, and he hastily averted his eyes in discomfort. After the people left, the room became quiet.
Seeing Wenren Heng return, Young Miracle Doctor Fang lifted his head from the medical text and said to the other, “Your health isn’t good. It’s better if you go to sleep early. Sect Master Wenren, if there’s nothing urgent, we can talk about everything else tomorrow.” The meaning was that the other could leave and go to sleep.
Wenren Heng smiled in a refined way. “I live together with my Junior Brother.”
Young Miracle Doctor Fang looked at him, then looked at Sir Xiao. Foolishly, he took a while to react before understanding his meaning. He persevered with, “I’m still going to stay here.”
Wenren Heng examined him closely a few times, eventually deciding to pass over this topic for now. He asked, “Young Miracle Doctor Fang, you said that it’d become troublesome if my Junior Brother spat out blood two more times, but what exactly is it that you discovered?”
Now that they were on the topic of illnesses, the Young Miracle Doctor quickly regained his previous solemn and earnest expression. “My Master’s letter had previously mentioned his condition. It said that his internal energy comes and goes and that it can’t be found, but when I was taking his pulse just now, I found that his internal energy was somewhat unsteady, most likely caused by his spitting out blood.” He looked at Sir Xiao. “When you spat blood, did you first feel as if your energy was stuffy?”
Ye You said, “Yes.”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “As expected.” Wenren Heng asked, “Do you know the cause?”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “He’s previously suffered from an internal injury, though I haven’t figured out the exact details of how it happened. But he can’t spit out blood anymore, which is why he needs to be watched.” Wenren Heng finally didn’t feel as opposed to the other’s decision to stay behind and instructed his subordinates to make up another small bed in the room.
The Young Miracle Doctor’s temperament was extremely good, and he was able to feel at home wherever he was. Hugging his medical text, he gladly and diligently walked over. After checking the patient’s condition one last time, he indicated that they should go to rest early.
Wenren Heng pulled down the bed curtains and laid down. After a short while, he suddenly thought of something and asked, “After he got injured, he lost his memories. Does this have to do with his internal injuries?”
The Young Miracle Doctor stared in the direction of the large bed. “My Master’s letter only roughly explained the issues with his internal energy, telling me to examine it properly. It didn’t say anything else. Did he hit his head?”
Before Wenren Heng could even open his mouth, the Young Miracle Doctor had already stood up with a clatter and hurriedly walked over to them. He pulled open the bed curtains and told Wenren Heng to move over. Then, he sat at the side of the bed and took Sir Xiao’s pulse. He furrowed his handsome brows. “From the pulse, I can’t see that it has anything to do with the internal energy. Give me your other hand.”
Readily listening to the other’s words, Ye You switched his hands.
The Young Miracle Doctor carefully took his pulse for a while before tucking him in and pensively walking back, all the while muttering, “Still can’t see anything wrong… But if it really is related to the internal energy, what could it be…”
As he spoke, he nestled into the small bed, and from a pile of junk, he quickly pulled out a medical text, immersing his whole self into studying it, leaving the two other people to cool down on the side.
Wenren Heng, “…” Ye You, “…”
Wenren Heng had somewhat sussed out this child’s personality, secretly thinking that, in the future, he’d probably be interrupted from many things by this dense, little fool. He restrained himself and went back to lie down, telling the Young Miracle Doctor to also sleep early.
The Young Miracle Doctor answered in the affirmative, not forgetting to leave the instruction, “If there’s anything wrong with his condition, remember to tell me.”
Wenren Heng mildly agreed. After reminiscing a bit, he said, “That’s right, that day, we…”
Ye You gave an indistinct look to his Senior Brother.
Wenren Heng’s voice stopped. Internally, he thought that if he spoke of going to see the Liuzhu flower that day, then that little fool outside would run over to take his Junior Brother’s pulse once again to investigate whether the two were related.
The Young Miracle Doctor looked at the big bed. After waiting a bit, he asked, “What about that day?”
Wenren Heng gently said, “It’s not very important. Let’s talk about it tomorrow.”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “All right.”
Wenren Heng turned his head to look at his Junior Brother, and almost simultaneously, the two began laughing silently, both made somewhat helpless by this little fool.
Ye You wanted to add some assessing words, but when he lifted his eyes, he unexpectedly collided with his Senior Brother’s line of sight, and he couldn’t help but pause. As they had gotten to know one another, he had looked at the other face-to-face countless times.
There have been looks of calculation, pretense, and investigation, but it seemed like the first time that they’ve ever looked at one another in such a simple and pure way. As he looked at the tenderness in his Senior Brother’s eyes, he felt an uncontrollable, sliver of a feeling rising in his heart.
For a while, neither spoke.
In the room, a lantern was lit, and the glimmers of light shone through the bed curtains, slowly permeating the air, bringing with it a layer of hazy and indistinct ambiguity.
The emotions in Wenren Heng’s eyes deepened by degrees, as he felt the sudden desire to kiss the other.
After ten years, he’d already forgotten how it felt to kiss this person.
He was just about to try approaching a little when he heard the Young Miracle Doctor outside closing his book and muttering, “How strange, what exactly is the reason…” — Although the voice was very quiet, with the two’s hearing ability, everything could be heard extremely clearly.
In a flash, that gentle atmosphere that had been lingering indistinct in the background was obliterated without a trace, and the expression in Ye You’s eyes also cleared.
Wenren Heng, “…”
Sure enough, a good thing was interrupted.
With his premonitions confirmed so quickly, Wenren Heng felt like simply picking up that little fool and tossing him outside.
Ye You shifted his eyes away as he began examining those feelings just now. He couldn’t really be attracted to men, right? Then what about Senior Brother? He couldn’t help but once again look at his Senior Brother, this time with a much more probing eye.
Wenren Heng recovered his gentle appearance, lifted his hand to rub the other’s head, and noiselessly said, “Let’s sleep.”
If this person kept looking at him, he really wouldn’t be able to endure it anymore. Ye You didn’t argue and obediently closed his eyes. Wenren Heng looked at him for a while, suppressing a heart full of sentiments, while in his heart letting out a sigh of regret, before also going to sleep.
After a short moment, Ye You once again opened his eyes and looked over at Wenren Heng.
The words he said before weren’t lies. His Senior Brother did indeed look quite good, and what’s more, he was of the category that looked progressively more and more good-looking, particularly with how outstanding he was. Ye You felt that as long as Senior Brother was willing, in this world, there were not many people who would be able to refuse his Senior Brother.
He earnestly sized up Wenren Heng for a while and reluctantly admitted that he didn’t hate this person. Or else, if it had been someone else sleeping by his side for this long, he would’ve long thought of a way to get rid of such a person.
Then how exactly was the relationship between his past self and Senior Brother?
If it had been good, then Senior Brother wouldn’t have had to hide so many things from him. But it couldn’t have been bad, since Senior Brother truly treated him quite well. Senior Brother said that one thing had been concealed from him. What exactly was it?
Ye You was pensive, and only after giving his Senior Brother one last look did he fall asleep.
As the next morning came, Ye You was once again bandaged into a “lantern”. Although the Young Miracle Doctor interrupted with a sentence, reminding Wenren Heng that he didn’t need to bandage the other so tightly, those words weren’t able to stop Wenren Heng’s determination.
Wenren Heng tied a knot and cheerfully said, “Done. Let’s go eat.”
Wei Jiangyue and Sir Yang had already arrived at the dining hall, and now watched as the three entered the dining hall. Their gazes were unconsciously drawn to Sir Xiao’s person, and upon seeing him, they were a bit regretful, feeling as if they now understood why that person was completely covered up even though only half his face was injured.
It indeed needed to be covered up, they thought, or else it’d harm too many people.
The three days passed very fast, but no matter what Manor Lord Wei said, he wasn’t able to convince his daughter to remain, so much so that he had a mind to lock her up. He said, “There’s still five pieces of the map left. Anytime something happens, I’ll have to go discuss it with the Alliance Leader and the others, so I most likely won’t have the time to take care of you… And don’t even mention Xiao-Heng.
There’s no way he’ll pay attention to you.”
Wei Jiangrou bit her lips and said, aggrieved, “Then I still have Second Brother.”
Manor Lord Wei asked, “Are you so insistent on following because of the matter with Xiao-Heng?”
Wei Jiangrou didn’t reply. Wenren Heng had always treated her like this, and she had never thought it unbearable before, believing that as long as they spent enough time together, their relationship would become good, so no matter what, she was willing to wait. But with the sudden appearance of Ah-Xiao, it made her feel unprecedented unease. She feared that if she left now, they would never have a chance.
Manor Lord Wei looked at the top of her head and was silent for a while before finally agreeing.
Wei Jiangyue looked at his little sister going to pack up her luggage before turning, puzzled, to look at his father. Knowing what he wanted to ask, Manor Lord Wei sighed and said, “It’d be good to let her see the situation clearly so that she can give up. You should watch over her a bit more on the way.” Wei Jiangyue nodded.
The people of Jianghu in Huayang City had already long finished their preparations, and seeing the Alliance Leader’s group leave the Yang family residence one after another, they once again set out together.
After that night, Wenren Heng had wanted to create more opportunities for ambiguity between him and his Junior Brother, wanting to feel out the other’s attitude. However, he quickly received a rude awakening, as the Young Miracle Doctor was true to his word, and wherever his Junior Brother went, the doctor followed. Now that they’ve sat down in the carriage, the Young Miracle Doctor also came in and sat down with them, unselfconsciously opening up his medical text. With the guarantee that the patient would always be under his eyes, he was rigid in adhering to his own words.
The scarred man stared fixedly ahead as he let down the carriage’s curtain, not daring to look inside at all.
He was about to turn around when he suddenly felt a person approaching, so he couldn’t help but look back and saw that it was Qin Yuemian.
Qin Yuemian blinked his beautiful, expressive eyes and confidently smiled at the other, passing over to also enter the carriage.
“…” The scarred man already didn’t even want to contemplate the Sect Master’s expression. Emptying his head, he earnestly concentrated on driving.
Wenren Heng looked at his good friend and raised his brows.
Qin Yuemian took the initiative to say, “I was bored, so I came here to sit with all of you.”
That previous route didn’t just toss people around but was also extremely dull. Several times, he had wanted to find that pack of scoundrels and go carousing, but he couldn’t stop his unease, so he could only follow. At that time, Wenren Heng’s entire attention was on Sir Xiao’s person, and Qin Yuemian tactfully didn’t move forward with them, instead following alone with the troops. Now since he had seen a person fearlessly coming over, he naturally also came over.
He smiled at the Young Miracle Doctor, directing an enormous amount of sincere goodwill towards the other. “Sir Fang is reading?”
The Young Miracle Doctor was diligently reading, so it took him a while to react and realize that someone was referring to him.
Vacantly, he lifted his head to look at Qin Yuemian and foolishly asked, “Who are you?”
Qin Yuemian, “…”
After investigating the route, the Alliance Leader’s party made straight for the official roads and arrived at their destination after only two days. This area was already past the boundaries of Huayang City, and the second piece of the map had only a few more lines, so as they walked, they also looked for a nearby village. Luckily, they found another local to draw another map and managed to omit no small amount of trouble.
Midway, the carriage was once again unable to be used, and they could go only on foot, slowly entering a mountain range.
“We have to go through the forest.” The Alliance Leader looked at the color of the sky. “We’ll probably have to spend the night in there.”
Manor Lord Wei said, “No matter. We’ll organize a night watch.”
They were all people who have practiced martial arts, so this matter was easy to deal with. The Alliance Leader was very reassured and, nodding, brought everyone inside the forest. It was only when the road could no longer be seen did he stop them to rest and reorganize.
The moonlight was cool and clear, the color of the night peaceful.
The forest rang faintly with the sound of extremely light rustling. Ye You suddenly opened his eyes and sat straight up. Wenren Heng had already awoken, and the two looked at one another, simultaneously listening for movements within the trees. After a moment, the only thing they heard was a person suddenly shouting from nearby, “What is this!”
These people who had already been on guard immediately got up, looking over with single-minded focus, but the only things they saw were two shadows quickly fleeing into the forest. Before they had the time to figure out what kind of animal it was, they heard Wei Jiangrou shrieking in alarm, “Ahhh——!”
This time, even those who slept like the dead woke up and, quivering, climbed out of bed.
At the same time, the shadows also got a fright, squeaking as they brandished their sharp claws here and there, and in a flash, the forest turned into a complete mess.
From time to time, there were people screaming, people cursing, people falling, and also people angrily telling others not to panic. Ye You stood unmoving, concentrating amidst the noisy clamor in an attempt to identify the subtle movements and then quickly perceiving that there was something scuttling over in their direction.
Before he could even react, he heard a sound popping in the air. Wenren Heng had thrown a copper coin and hit the creature to the side. In the gradually brightening light of the flames, Ye You identified what it was and said, astonished, “Monkey?”
That creature was tenacious. After it had been hit to the ground by Wenren Heng, it immediately turned over and crawled up, fleeing into the dark forest. Wenren Heng didn’t kill it and said, “It simply looks alike. Its claws are sharper than a monkey’s, and its head is also bigger. I also don’t know what it is.”
These animals didn’t have much guts. With just a shout, they startled badly enough that they’d all ran, without a trace of their shadows to be seen.
The confusion gradually settled. When the Alliance Leader’s group examined the scene, they found that other than a few people who had gotten scratched by the claws, the only losses were that one package of provisions was gone and two had been opened, confirming that the animals had been here to steal something to eat.
Manor Lord Wei was so busy he was sweating. He said, “Ah, it’s a false alarm.”
A few people looked over at him and almost laughed out loud. They saw that both of Manor Lord Wei’s sleeves were scratched into strips and looked as if they were hanging off his body, making him look pitiful to no end.
The Alliance Leader also couldn’t endure it. “What happened to you?”
With his suffering, Manor Lord Wei found it difficult to speak. Fearing she’d be unaccustomed to the food on the road, that precious daughter of his had brought along many snacks, drawing over a crowd of things. Since he rushed over for the sake of protecting her, he had been scratched by those things to this extent. But in the end he had experienced much upheaval in his life, so he simply laughed out loud and explained that he had a moment of carelessness. As he spoke, he handily ripped off his sleeves and threw the tatters away, continuing to arrange for future matters with the group, all without changing his expression.
Under the faintly trembling light of the torch, a long107, thick scar could be clearly seen hanging on his left arm. Although it had already healed, what remained showed what a harrowing ordeal it must have been at that time. It almost looked as if, just by applying a bit more pressure, that arm could still be cut cleanly in half.
The people in the vicinity who had remained to watch this comedy all saw this and immediately stowed away their own thoughts, feeling a deep respect. Even Pavilion Master Ding, who had originally wanted to use this opportunity to say a sentence or two in derision, moved his lips in indecision before swallowing the words back.
Ye You keenly noted this point, and when he returned to rest, he looked towards his Senior Brother. “Manor Lord Wei’s scar…”
Wenren Heng said, “It was inflicted seven years ago.” Ye You raised a brow.
Wenren Heng moved slightly closer and lowered his voice to explain, “At that time, there was a madman who learned the Absorbing and Plucking Skill108. This martial art was certainly incredible, but every night when the full moon came around…”
Ye You lightly let out a breath. “It needs to absorb the blood of young boys and girls, sometimes even requiring the plucking of yin to absorb the yang109.”
Wenren Heng said, “You remember this?”
Ye You nodded and asked, “What happened afterwards?”
“That person’s miraculous skills were already complete, and his power was obviously formidable. That year, he harmed a number of children in a row,” Wenren Heng said, “The people begged Fengxian Manor and Lingjian Pavilion for help, and Manor Lord Wei’s party brought people to block the roads for more than two months, finally managing to corner the person on the edge of a cliff, and it was then that the scar was inflicted. It’s said that that person’s weapon caused disastrous damage, and in the end, it was Manor Lord Wei’s willingness to sacrifice an arm that finally pushed the person off the cliff.”
Ye You asked, “Dead?”
Wenren Heng said, “Dead. The corpse was found at the bottom of the cliff.”
Ye You made a sound in acknowledgment and looked in the direction of Manor Lord Wei.
People had already gone to rest one after another, and the light slowly dimmed.
Wenren Heng looked at the distance between them and abruptly thought of trying to see if he can once again change the atmosphere into something more ambiguous. Even with nothing to say, he said, “Reportedly this is only one of his injuries. Pavilion Master Ding also has many on his body. It’s not easy being a great power within the righteous faction. The fact that Fengxian Manor and Lingjian Pavilion have stood tall for so many years without being toppled means that they not only have many people but also convinced the masses.”
In these past few days, Ye You had just about sussed out the position of Shuangji Sect in Jianghu.
Nowadays, within the young people in the righteous faction, Wenren Heng’s position was the highest. If, in the future, Fengxian Manor and Lingjian Pavilion both don’t have worthy successors to carry on their names, then his Senior Brother would be the most likely candidate to achieve the same heights as them.
He asked, curious, “Does Senior Brother want to become a great power in the future?”
Wenren Heng stared fixedly at him. “Do you want me to be?”
Before Ye You could open his mouth, the Young Miracle Doctor in the vicinity was walking over in their direction while rubbing his eyes, with a careless tone reminding Sir Xiao that the other needed to sleep early.
In a flash, Qin Yuemian couldn’t help but let out a pfft.
The scarred man didn’t dare overstep, pretending that he hadn’t heard a thing.
“…” Wenren Heng’s plans were immediately ruined. He looked at the people around him and internally thought that he had been too impatient; this really wasn’t a good location. Giving up, he said, “Let’s sleep.”
Having been disturbed by the animals, everyone slept uneasily and woke up before the sky had even lightened, once again returning to the road.
Of the remaining roads on the second piece of the map, the hardest route to walk was through this forest. After they had successfully passed through, with just expending one day’s time, they had finished walking the remaining roads. Following that, it was time for the third piece of the map.
This piece was in Wenren Heng’s hands. Having no interest in leading the way, he gave it directly to the Alliance Leader, telling the other that they should follow what they did with the second map and first find a place to rest for two days, as well as someone to draw a route, before setting out.
Everyone then once again returned to the official roads and eventually ended up at Luohua Lake110.
The sky gradually turned overcast, looking like rain. The Alliance Leader looked every which way before bringing them into the woods, wanting to find a place to avoid the downpour. At this time, they heard the melodious sound of a qin passing by, incredibly pleasant and moving.
Among the group, an unknown person said, in a low cry, “Ah, it’s Lady Tao!”
“What, Lady Tao? Where?”
“Ah, we can actually meet Lady Tao…” Ye You looked towards the front.
Wenren Heng’s eyes twitched.
Of the people that his Junior Brother knew, if he wanted to line up his most hated in order, at the very top would be these three names
— Wuwang Temple’s Temple Master Xie Junming, the Demonic Sect’s Elder Mei, and this Lady Tao!
Ye You didn’t forget that time at Xunliu Manor when he heard about the matter of Lady Tao willingly dancing the Fengqi Dance for the Demonic Sect’s Sect Master. And since that time he spat blood,
he had mostly guessed that he was probably this Demonic Sect’s Sect Master. He asked, “Who’s this Lady Tao?”
Wenren Heng really didn’t want to respond. Smiling, Qin Yuemian helped clear up the confusion. “She’s the most beautiful person in Jiangnan.”
Qin Yuemian often messed around together with those pack of scoundrels, so he was very familiar with matters involving beautiful people.
He asked, “Does Junior Brother Ah-Xiao have any impressions of Suoxin House111?”
Ye You made a guess, “Lady Tao is related to Suoxin House?”
“Yes, Suoxin House’s House Master is Lady Tao’s blood-related older sister,” Qin Yuemian said, “Suoxin House accepts only women, and the house itself has one rule, that one can’t fall in love. A few years ago, there was a disciple who secretly promised herself to another, so by all rights, she should’ve gotten punished. On this, Lady Tao disagreed with her sister, and while no one knows the exact course of events, in the end, Lady Tao left Suoxin House. That woman was released by the House Master, and now her children are even old enough to run.”
Ye You asked, “Suoxin House didn’t change that rule?”
“They didn’t change it,” Qin Yuemian said, “But some say that Lady Tao made a bet with her sister, to prove that intimate relationships between men and women won’t always end in suffering. If she wins, then her sister will change the rule. But even now, this remains conjecture, as Lady Tao has never admitted to it. In short, since that time, she has wandered the world and never returned to Suoxin House…”
Before his voice had even stopped, within the forest, the sound of the qin suddenly turned sharp, as if it could cut skin, even inducing some stabbing pain in the chest.
Wenren Heng got somewhat closer to his Junior Brother and told the other not to listen. Ye You didn’t need the reminder, as his body automatically reacted, using his internal energy as a shield.
Meanwhile, the Alliance Leader raised his voice to report his name and the purpose for coming, and only then did the qin’s sound slow. Everyone let out a breath and patted their chests.
Ye You asked, “Does she practice the sound-killing technique112?” Qin Yuemian nodded. “She learned it from her sister.”
Ye You was interested in feeling this person out so as to see if he can remember anything, so he ended up asking for her real name113.
Qin Yuemian couldn’t help but wink at him. “This is also something no one knows. We all refer to her as Lady Tao. There have been many people who have asked her this before, and she always replied that only her future husband had the qualifications to know. Junior Brother Ah-Xiao, why not try asking?”
Wenren Heng gave him a look.
Qin Yuemian startled and hastily added, “But it’s probably too late if you go now. Everyone has guessed that Sect Master Ye already knows it.”
“…” Wenren Heng had some regrets about giving him that look. In the next moment, a certain person suddenly gained an interest.
Ye You asked, “Why is that? I remember that she was willing to dance the Fengqi Dance for Sect Master Ye?”
“Yes, it’s said to be extremely beautiful. Only a mere glimpse of its graceful qualities will become an unforgettable experience for a lifetime.” Qin Yuemian clicked his tongue and said, “I really don’t know how Sect Master Ye did it. Anyway, I always thought that Lady Tao was moved by him, that she fell for him.”
Ye You repeated the words, “Moved by him?”
Qin Yuemian laughed and said, “Of course, if Sect Master Ye wants to seek someone’s favor, his tricks aren’t lacking. Oh, that’s right, it was originally right here at this Luohua Lake. You see that there are many peach trees growing over there, right?” Ye You looked over, and past a few pines and cypresses were, sure enough, a row of peach trees by the lakeside. Only, it’s a pity that right now their flowering season was already over, so the beautiful scenery of blooming peach blossoms114 was unable to be seen.
Just by listening, the scarred man knew what Qin Yuemian wanted to say and couldn’t help but interrupt with, “We’re almost there, so don’t let Lady Tao overhear.”
Ye You said, all smiles, “No problem, we can walk slower, and speak more quietly.”
The scarred man didn’t dare to say too much and surreptitiously looked at the Sect Master. Seeing that the other’s expression was the same as usual, even turning somewhat gentler, he couldn’t help but break out in cold sweat. He thought that the Sect Master was clearly not happy, so why wasn’t he trying to stop this conversation?
Wenren Heng never thought to stop this conversation because whenever this Junior Brother of his wanted to know something, he’d definitely think of a way to learn it. But although he couldn’t stop it, he also didn’t want to say it himself.
At this time, Ye You was already beginning to ask about the matter with the peach blossoms. Upon learning that these were all newly planted later, he laughed and said, “It can’t be Sect Master Ye who planted them, right?”
Qin Yuemian said, “It’s not, but they’re here only because of Sect Master Ye.”
He pointed at the lakeside. “Can you see them? Within those peach trees are also some pear trees. Before, there were originally only pear trees. At that time, Sect Master Ye and Lady Tao met there, and for the sake of obtaining a beautiful person’s smile, he painted colors onto the falling pear blossom petals. All the petals that had fallen into the lake were painted, not a single one was white; he had dyed all of them pink, just like peach blossoms. It’s said that afterwards many others also tried but not a single one succeeded. This is how incredible Sect Master Ye’s lightness skill is.” Ye You thought about that scene.
Qin Yuemian continued with, “This lake was originally called Small Hut Lake115, since there’s a small hut village nearby. Sect Master Ye said that such a beautiful place might as well be called Luohua — Falling Flowers — Lake. After the matter got out, everyone ended up calling it by this name, and some people even planted peach trees.
Every spring, it now draws over many people, and now it’s become a lake for destined marriages.”
Ye You gave a laugh. “Oh, so it turns out that Sect Master Ye has even done such an…”
Wenren Heng finally couldn’t help but look at his Junior Brother.
“…unconventional thing.” Ye You’s words had changed in his mouth from “incomparably worthwhile thing” into “unconventional”, with no idea what had compelled that change. Laughing again, he then tacked on, “Seeing how Lady Tao can make Sect Master Ye treat her this way, I must meet her at least once.”
Wenren Heng turned away, not wanting to bother giving the other any further attention.
Qin Yuemian was completely unaware of the tensions bubbling to the surface. He said, “What’s more, since Lady Tao likes watching the rain, Sect Master Ye even once extravagantly rented Qinlou’s Rain- watching Terrace for the sake of watching the rain with Lady Tao. At the time, it truly made many people envious to death.”
Ye You’s expression changed subtly, as he couldn’t imagine himself ever doing things to such a degree for another person. He asked, “So it looks like this Sect Master Ye really likes Lady Tao?”
Qin Yuemian said, “It’s unclear. Both of them say that they’re only close friends, but even close friends aren’t like this, isn’t that right?”
Ye You laughed and said, “That’s true. What does Senior Brother think?” I think you need to be taught a lesson. Wenren Heng lifted his head to look at the other. In his gentle voice, not a single drop of anger could be heard, “That’s something only the person in question can answer. We’ve arrived. Let’s stop talking for now.”
Ye You observed his face for a moment and, not seeing anything wrong, listened obediently.
Within the woods was a pavilion, which had been built by people after Luohua Lake’s reputation had been established.
Right now, Lady Tao was in the pavilion practicing her qin.
She was wearing white clothes and a peach blossom hairpin atop her head. The image she gave off was picturesque, as if free from the constraints of the world, completely deserving of the title, “The Most Beautiful Person in Jiangnan”.
Just now, she had heard the noisy clamor of people along with a few excited “Lady Tao”s mixed in, so thinking she had been disturbed, she added some internal energy into her qin’s sound. Upon learning that it was the Alliance Leader’s party, she retracted her hostility.
Naturally, she was also aware of the major events that had recently occurred in Jianghu, and she politely nodded her head at them. “Alliance Leader, did looking for that rare book bring you here?”
The Alliance Leader felt somewhat like sighing.
Now, the entirety of Jianghu knew that they had gotten a map, and even the demonic faction had a few members secretly following along with them. Although matters were indeed very urgent, to such people like Lady Tao who were indifferent to worldly affairs, she probably thought that they looked very silly. But there was no helping it. Both the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison and Pursued Until Scattered were extremely important matters, and they absolutely must be investigated until the end.
He said, “We’re simply passing through. Since the lady is here, we won’t disturb the lady any further.” Lady Tao originally also didn’t want to yield the space to them, but at this time, she suddenly swept her eyes over and pinpointed Ye You among the crowd. Immediately, she said, “Wait.”
The scarred man and those Elders saw that her gaze was in the direction of the Sect Master, and their hearts rose, afraid that a certain someone’s identity would be exposed, leading to a chaotic fight.
Lady Tao lifted her qin. “I just so happen to be leaving. If all of you want to avoid the rain, I’ll leave the pavilion to you.”
The Alliance Leader said, “But since it’s about to rain, wouldn’t it be better for the lady leave later?”
“It’s not necessary.” Lady Tao stepped out of the small pavilion and directly headed towards Wenren Heng and Ye You. The hearts of the scarred man and those Elders had risen all the way to their throats, and they were already making preparations for a fight when they heard, simply, “Sect Master Wenren, since we hadn’t finished our
discussion about the qin’s score116 last time, why don’t we talk about it now?”
The group collectively stared, wide-eyed.
Wenren Heng was very calm. Underneath everyone’s envious gazes, he laughed and made an “after you” gesture.
The two thereupon walked off, speaking as they went, quickly traveling a distance away from the small pavilion.
Even if Wenren Heng was irritated deep down by the presence of another, even going so far as to wish fervently for the opposing party to disappear right this instant, he still wouldn’t show a trace of it on his face. It simply manifested as a complete lack of interest in exchanging pleasantries with the other person. He thus went straight to the point, “Lady Tao, what’s your reason for calling me out here like this?” Lady Tao asked, “What happened to him?”
Wenren Heng was surprised. “I don’t understand what the lady means. Who is this ‘him’ referring to?”
Lady Tao stared at him for a few moments and said, “Before, he wanted me to give him a certain something. If you don’t know, then forget it.”
Wenren Heng politely said, “Yes, I hope the lady takes care117.”
“…” Lady Tao stiffened. She thought that her previous niggling suspicions hadn’t been wrong, and that this person definitely bore some kind of hostility towards her. Although it usually wasn’t visible, it was still sometimes deadly enough to choke. She gave up on resisting, pulled out a bottle, and handed it over. “Give it to him then.”
This time, Wenren Heng didn’t play ignorant. Opening it, he sniffed and asked, “This is?”
“Suoxin House’s Concentration Dew118,” Lady Tao said, “Since young ladies are often prone to indulging in flights of fancy, the Concentration Dew is something Suoxin House devised to use for meditation. Last time he said he wanted a bottle. I also don’t know what he wants to do with it.”
Wenren Heng asked, “When was this? He didn’t say anything else?”
“During the third month. At the time, he said he was just about to go do something.” Lady Tao looked at her own qin and let out a faint sigh. “It’s too difficult to guess that person’s thoughts. If he has something he doesn’t want to say, then no matter how much someone asks, they’ll never get an answer. When I saw he didn’t wish to speak, I didn’t press any further.”
Wenren Heng knew as much from experience and made a sound in agreement.
Lady Tao said, “He also said that if in the future I saw you two together to just give it to you. What happened to him?”
Lady Tao immediately asked, worried, “Is it serious?”
“I’ll take good care of him,” Wenren Heng sidestepped the question and then burned the bridge after he crossed it, saying, “If the lady has nothing else, then I’ll now take my leave.”
Lady Tao was silent for a while. Before the other left, she said, “Sect Master Wenren, although I don’t know the precise relationship between you two, I could tell that he’s always paid attention when it came to your matters.”
Wenren Heng watched as she walked far away and slowly stroked the porcelain bottle in his hands. As he walked back, he also considered her words, not daring to think too deeply — he and his Junior Brother had spent so many years together in their master’s sect, and many things happened during that time, so his Junior Brother would inevitably somewhat care about him. That’s a very normal thing. If he thought about it too much, then he’d be the one who’d end up with internal injuries.
But according to what Lady Tao said, his Junior Brother knew that the events taking place now would happen, and probably also anticipated his own memory loss, having already made the decision to deliver his amnesiac self.
After thinking this through, the worries in Wenren Heng’s heart lessened by quite a bit. That Junior Brother of his had always been clever; since he already laid out the chessboard, he probably already had a scheme prepared to resolve everything.
A short time later, the rain started falling pitter-patter down.
The female adventurers all went inside the small pavilion, while the men casually built a makeshift grass shelter to block the rain for a bit.
With a goatee stuck on her face, some tattered hemp clothing on her body, and a morning star119 in hand, Elder Mei said, “I want to enter the pavilion.”
Elder Mei said, face solemn, “I’m also a woman.”
The Elders were silent for a long while before feebly changing the subject, “…What’s that… Ah, that’s right, what was Lady Tao doing, seeking out Wenren Heng? Was their relationship really that good?”
“As if, who have you ever seen Wenren Heng worry about…” Elder Mei got caught by their changed subject and, after pausing a moment, added, “That’s right, he and the Sect Master have fought before. If we look at it this way, then wouldn’t that mean it’s even more likely that there’s something between him and the Sect Master?”
The remaining people deeply felt that this made some sense, and they couldn’t help looking in the direction of Wenren Heng. Seeing this person carrying a shallow smile and conversing with the Sect Master, looking for all the world as if he was in a good mood, they felt that the more they looked, the more problems they had. And after a while, they started feeling like giving him a beating.
Ye You also found that his Senior Brother had become quite happy upon returning and so asked, “What did you two talk about?”
Wenren Heng’s face didn’t change. “Didn’t you hear it just now? We were talking about a book of qin scores.”
Ye You asked, “Which scores?”
Wenren Heng responded with, “A surviving page from a difficult to find book.”
Ye You maintained his suspicious attitude and tried asking a few more sentences, but upon discovering that they kept going around in circles, he shut up. Wenren Heng laughed and had his subordinates find an outer garment for the other to block the rain while standing alongside the other. Ye You glanced at the color of the sky. “It probably won’t stop anytime soon.”
Wenren Heng said, “They’ve already started looking for boatmen. Spending a bit more money isn’t an issue.” The map said that after passing through Luohua Lake, going all the way around would be quite a distance, so they might as well just directly take a boat. While the Alliance Leader helped everyone avoid the rain, he also sent a team to go look for boatmen in the nearby village, and the team would return before long.
For a while, Ye You listened to the swishing sound of the rain hitting the trees before suddenly asking, “Before, was there a mountain where we lived, and on the mountain, there was a road paved with flagstones that led directly to a pavilion?
Wenren Heng was faintly startled. “There was. You remembered it?”
Ye You shook his head. He simply remembered the dream that he previously had.
Right after losing his memory, the only dream he had during that time was of a verdant mountain and a small pavilion, with rain coming down outside just like this. He asked, “Did I use to go there often?”
Wenren Heng said, “You’d go there to read occasionally. After you fell ill, I’d bring you there every day to sit for a while.”
Ye You looked at him. “In the end, how did my illness get cured?” Wenren Heng said, “They’ve returned.”
“…” Ye You internally thought that the way you changed the subject was really too obvious and lifted his head to look, finding that those who had gone to look for boatmen had indeed returned. Everyone then rushed to the river bank and got on the boats according to the Alliance Leader’s group arrangement.
As before, the female adventurers went first. As Manor Lord Wei’s daughter, Wei Jiangrou took the initiative to request to go last and let the other young ladies go in front of her. At first, Manor Lord Wei felt very gratified by this act, but reality quickly slapped him in the face, because the only reason his daughter did such a thing was to sit in the same boat as Wenren Heng. Wei Jiangrou looked at the empty space in the boat and waved to Wenren Heng, “Brother Heng, you and Ah-Xiao come over. Ah- Xiao’s injured, so it’s better not to let him get rained on.”
Everyone in the surroundings all hurried to agree, urging Sir Ah- Xiao to go over, since after all the man looked far too miserable. Helplessly, Manor Lord Wei also spoke up in support. Thus, Wenren Heng couldn’t refuse and brought the person on the boat. After not speaking with him for a long time, Wei Jiangrou felt her heart gradually warm as she watched him come over, and she immediately threw aside the “lantern” that she had used as an excuse, turning all her attention on his person.
Just as she was about to sit a bit closer, who knew that another person would get on the boat from the shore, directly crossing over where she was sitting, with not a single hint of politeness.
Wei Jiangrou, “…”
The Young Miracle Doctor became aware of someone staring at him, and he returned her gaze blankly.
Ye You’s policy was that a good man didn’t fight with women. So as to protect the little fool from that burning glare, he grabbed this person by the back collar and sat the other down next to him, patting the other’s shoulder to indicate that no questions should be asked.
Afterwards, he did his best to erase his presence, quietly looking at the surface of the lake, feeling the parts of his bandages that have gotten wet.
In a blink, Wenren Heng noticed his movements. “Is it uncomfortable?”
Ye You said, “It’s all right.”
Wenren Heng said, “Has it reached your injuries?” Ye You said, “A little.”
Wenren Heng faintly furrowed his brows. He elegantly threw the Young Miracle Doctor back and sat in the other’s seat. After a few short breaths, the Young Miracle Doctor was once again sitting face to face with Wei Jiangrou, even more at a loss.
Wei Jiangrou, “…”
Wenren Heng didn’t pay attention to them. He held his Junior Brother’s shoulder and had the other turn his back to face him, unraveling the bandages to look at the injuries. On the boat sat five or six female adventurers. Although they were all somewhat curious about the state of Sir Xiao’s injuries, they were all tactful enough upon seeing this scene that they didn’t look, instead softly talking amongst each other.
Wei Jiangrou bit her lips. Feeling unresigned, she rushed over, wanting to see what this person looked like at least. She asked, “How is Ah-Xiao? Nothing’s wrong, right…”
She had spoken only halfway when she suddenly came into contact with that villainous face. Her pupils contracted, and at once, she let out a sound, moving back half a step, looking at the other in astonishment. The others immediately turned to look at her.
Fortunately, with Sir Xiao’s back to them, they didn’t know the specifics of what happened, believing that she had simply been frightened. They also felt somewhat disapproving, thinking that she was much too lacking in manners.
They couldn’t help but steal a glance at Wenren Heng’s expression.
Wenren Heng carefully helped his Junior Brother rewrap the bandages. Without lifting his head, he said, “He’s fine.”
It took Wei Jiangrou a long while to react and realize that this was a reply to her previous question. Pale-faced, she sat back down and, from then on, didn’t speak another word. Thus, after everyone had crossed the river, Wei Jiangyue found that his sister looked somewhat dazed and hastily asked, “What is it?”
Wei Jiangrou looked at him in despair, with a tearful expression. “I saw Ah-Xiao’s face…” Wei Jiangyue startled and heard his sister, choked with sobs, adding, “Why does he look like that.” At the same time, that same face flashed through his mind, and feeling his heart soften, he patted his sister on the head, internally thinking that you ought to give up after this.
After coming ashore, everyone found a place to rest for one night. On the second day, they continued hurrying along the road, not stopping to rest.
During this time, Wenren Heng found the opportunity to give the Young Miracle Doctor the medicine that Lady Tao had gifted, asking if it would help his Junior Brother with his illness. After learning that apparently it did provide some help, Wenren Heng felt his heart ease a bit, more and more certain that his Junior Brother had made advance preparations.
Unwittingly, they also successfully completed the third piece of the map. After was the fourth piece of the map, and they followed the previously established way of drawing routes to continue their journey. When they came to the fifth piece, other than getting rid of the extraneous paths, they also had to go through a tunnel constructed by human hands.
Among the crowd, the well-traveled sized up both sides of the stone wall and were extremely suspicious that this was a dug-out tomb.
Everyone immediately felt an intermittent chill in the air, afraid that a jiangshi120 would suddenly jump out in front of them.
Luckily, this road wasn’t long. With their hearts in their mouths, they finally managed to get through it without injury. Everyone raised their heads and saw that in front of them was a valley encircled by a mountain range. Other than the tunnel, there were no other paths, and they couldn’t help but look at the Alliance Leader.
The Alliance Leader said, “The fifth piece ends right here.”
Everyone took a deep breath, hands tightly gripped into fists, and, with eyes shining, looked towards Academy Master Ge. Academy Master Ge didn’t impede their efforts and pulled out the sixth piece of the map — the person who placed the book perhaps also considered that the person holding the last piece might send people ahead, thus only a few lines were written on there. The approximate meaning was that they’d reach the destination after climbing up to the top of a mountain, and this person would be waiting right there for them.
Everyone had bottled up an entire journey’s worth of anger. Upon hearing Academy Master Ge read out the sentence, “This old man will patiently wait for the arrival of everyone’s imperial carriage,” they unconsciously moved their fists, internally thinking wait for us, we absolutely must give you a beating!
They felt as if their entire bodies had been energized, and after inquiring about the direction, they immediately began climbing the mountain.
After the mountain was a forest. After walking forward a hundred or so steps, they saw a small, stone-paved road, winding and stretching far off into the distance. They all felt that they’d definitely find that old fellow by following this road and so wanted to quickly hurry over, full of joy and expectation. But right at this time, they heard the faint sound of footsteps, and a person came walking over from a corner up ahead. They shouted, “Who?”
Everyone halted and collectively looked at him.
That person looked around forty, very slender, with somewhat pale cheeks, as if there was no vitality in his face. With the addition of his slanted eyes, he gave off a sinister and incisive feeling. Seeing a group of people suddenly appear, he immediately startled.
Within the crowd, a few people’s expressions changed. “It’s Blood- sucking Ghost121!”
“Ah, it’s Blood-sucking Ghost!” “What, Blood-sucking Ghost?”
Ye You looked inquiringly at his Senior Brother. Wenren Heng had long narrowed his eyes to look at his Junior Brother, not knowing what exactly this had to do with the other.
Ye You asked, “Who is this?”
Wenren Heng said, “Blood-sucking Ghost is the one I previously told you about who absorbed the blood of young boys and girls. This is him.”
Ye You was astonished. “Didn’t you say he died?”
“At that time, he certainly did die,” Wenren Heng said and looked ahead.
The Manor Lord Wei who had taken the lead also rigidly looked at this person, feeling as if the old scar on his arm was suddenly throbbing with pain, disturbing him so much that even his expression seemed somewhat warped. Clenching his teeth, he said, “…You actually didn’t die?”
Wenren Heng had previously discussed the goal of the person who placed the book with his Junior Brother.
His Junior Brother’s original words had been that if he wasn’t doing it out of boredom, then he was scheming against someone, and the person he was scheming against definitely was in this group of people. Even cutting the map into pieces was to lure the person cluelessly over.
What followed certainly lent evidence to this theory.
This whole way was one long and arduous journey of climbing mountains and crossing rivers, and the map was frustratingly opaque in its directions, inciting them to avoid the official roads and take the ones seldom traveled, obviously wanting to cause people to lose their bearings. Although at first they were still able to get people to draw paths for them, as they walked farther and farther, the number of people able to do so became smaller and smaller. With the surroundings filled with verdant mountains, as time passed, it became increasingly unclear where precisely they had wound up, and so the only thing they could do was to continue walking by following the map’s guidelines.
And even then, it wasn’t over. The person who placed the book had even made an underground tunnel at the end of it.
They had to make their way through it, and they weren’t able to see the situation on the surface. And when they came out, a crowd of mountains surrounded them, so it became even more unclear where they were — and even that person being schemed against probably never expected that, after climbing a mountain, in the valley below, they’d meet Blood-sucking Ghost.
Rope after rope, and the trap tightened.
It was certainly like his Junior Brother’s handiwork.
But the question was, with his Junior Brother’s skill and ability, when taking revenge against someone, would the other really need to spend all this time to lay out this enormous chessboard? He didn’t understand.
However, as he was pondering these clearly ill-timed events, Blood- sucking Ghost had finished listening to Manor Lord Wei’s question and was now giving off a cold, short laugh. His sinister aura deepened as he said, “How can an insignificant little cliff claim my life?”
Manor Lord Wei said, “Then let’s have you die one more time!”
After he spoke, he let out a low shout, hands clenching into fists, shooting out from his side. With his sleeves and back infused with his inborn energy, a faint layer flowing outward, his lofty manner was extremely powerful and unyielding.
Blood-sucking Ghost’s gaze darkened. He wasn’t a fool. Seeing their strength in numbers, he didn’t hold his ground and quickly ducked into the woods. Neither urgently nor slowly, his voice drifted back, with a gloomy and cold undertone that couldn’t be dispersed, “Everyone says that one needs only to put down one’s blade in repentance so as to be absolved of crime. It’s already been seven years since I’ve committed any wrongdoing, but all of you still want to murder me indiscriminately?”
“Stop talking nonsense! How could we let those children you killed die for nothing!” Although Manor Lord Wei was plump, his skills were agile, and he simply had to change his direction slightly before once again giving chase. At this time, only the clang of metal was heard, and a sharp sword light pierced the heavens. Pavilion Master Ding had also moved to pursue.
With these two great experts of Jianghu fighting together, everyone’s morale received a boost. Added to that the bellyful of anger that they had previously swallowed down, with a loud clamor, they shouted for a forward rush, wanting to chop this old ghost underneath their blades.
The Alliance Leader felt that, in only a blink of an eye, this entire crowd of people were crying out and hurling themselves forward, so much so that it was already too late to stop anything. At such an impasse, the only thing he could do was remind them, “Be careful, don’t fall for any ambushes!”
His voice was instantly drowned out by shouts calling for blood. Probably because he had been subjected to too many burdens, he had long already gotten used to these kinds of scenes where a single distasteful word would push the crowd to act. The only thing he could do was wrinkle his brows before hastily following after.
The only ones remaining were those whose martial arts weren’t up to par or those who dealt with matters more prudently.
Wei Jiangyue wanted to go help his father, but before he went, he had a part of “Heaven’s Firmament” remain behind. While being protected by them, Wei Jiangrou looked at Wenren Heng and couldn’t help but go to his side.
Wenren Heng and the Wei family have had many years of good relations, so he naturally couldn’t simply ignore her. He gave her a look and didn’t say much of anything.
Wei Jiangrou was very steadfast and couldn’t help but move a bit closer. At this time, out of the corner of her eyes, she saw Ah-Xiao standing alongside. Biting her lips, she felt her expression darken before she then started worrying about her father and second brother’s safety, beginning to peer repeatedly at what’s ahead.
Ever since being tricked, Academy Master Ge was naturally more cautious and didn’t recklessly rush forward. While walking ahead with them, he also mulled over this situation. Thinking that it was altogether too strange, he asked, “Sir Xiao, what do you think is going on here? Didn’t the person who placed that book say he was going to wait for us here? Where is he?”
“Maybe some mishap happened midway,” was Ye You’s analysis, “The words on the book were written eight, nine years ago, while Blood-sucking Ghost appeared seven years ago. When the person who placed the book made all these preparations, it’s unlikely that he would’ve been able to guess that such a monster would appear in Jianghu. So when he wrote down this location, perhaps even he couldn’t have imagined that his nest would’ve been forcefully stolen by another.”
Academy Master Ge nodded. “Right, right. Then where is he?”
Ye You said, “We could capture Blood-sucking Ghost and ask. Maybe we can get some clues from his lips.”
On the side, there was someone who was worried enough to interrupt with, “If there really is a rare book, could Blood-sucking Ghost have already taken it?”
Some inwardly took a breath. “Then could that old fellow have already been killed by Blood-sucking Ghost?”
Ye You said, “This is also something we’ll know only after catching that person.”
“Yes, yes,” the group agreed before immediately following with an additional line, not knowing if they’re trying to comfort themselves or those around them, “Don’t worry. Even if that old ghost had the book, he can’t learn anything anyway, since he’s like that. Tsk.”
“That’s right. Since he’s like that, he can’t learn it.” “Exactly right!”
Ye You asked, curious, “How is that?”
They were astonished. “Sir Xiao doesn’t know?” Ye You said, “Know what?”
Wenren Heng patiently dispelled the confusion for his Junior Brother. “Generally, there are very few people who can succeed in learning Pursued Until Scattered. And, from the records, those who succeeded were all pure of mind. Those who are clever, on the contrary, don’t succeed.”
Academy Master Ge said, “That Blood-sucking Ghost clearly doesn’t seem to be pure of mind, so he’s definitely unable to learn it.” Ye You understood, while internally adding that it was still difficult to say if there was actually a rare book at all.
But if the book was a pretense from the start, then having worked this into their schemes, the opposing party’s intentions must have some significance… He narrowed his eyes slightly, somewhat hoping that his train of thought was correct, since it was much more interesting than a simple book.
The group followed the stone path into the forest, and their field of vision immediately expanded. They saw a large rock garden122 complete with a pond, a large pavilion, and verdant mountains far afield, with towering vegetation dotting along their distant ranges in
blue-green. This was actually a villa hidden deeply in the depths of a large mountain!
Right now, Manor Lord Wei and Pavilion Master Ding were standing in front of a section of the rock garden, and all traces of Blood- sucking Ghost seemed to have disappeared.
The two both weren’t easily driven to impulse, so seeing as they were unable to capture the person in a short time, they didn’t rashly give chase, and instead led people here to stop for a while.
Academy Master Ge asked, “How was it?”
“He escaped into the rock garden. Maybe there’s a secret path. Let’s all be more careful.” Manor Lord Wei indicated for them to be more mindful of movements in their surroundings. He looked at the building ahead and decided to step foot in the villa to investigate, but some sect masters quickly brought up questions, fearing that that old ghost remained hidden in the rock garden.
Pavilion Master Ding said, “If we delay, that person might escape.”
During major events, both Wei and Ding were very clear on their positions, and they seldom had moments where they argued. Manor Lord Wei followed up those words with, “Then why don’t we do it this way. Let’s split our forces in two. Old Ding, you lead people on ahead, while I’ll lead people to search behind. If we don’t find anything, then we’ll directly go to look for all of you.” At this, no one had any other objections, and they began distributing people.
And it was right when they were moving people around that a flash of gray shadow was seen darting out from within the rock garden before it quickly pounced on “Heaven’s Firmament”. Everyone startled, but before they could even get a good look, Manor Lord Wei had already shouted out an, “Old ghost!”
“Hahahaha!” Blood-sucking Ghost’s voice was extremely coarse, sounding like rocks upon a grindstone. Hearing him laugh like this made a person feel unwell from head to toe, trembling incessantly as if in frigid weather. He recognized the uniform of “Heaven’s Firmament” and feverishly watched the Wei Jiangrou who was being protected within their circle. “Surnamed Wei, is this your precious daughter? The debt you owe me for pushing me off that cliff, why don’t we have her pay it!”
The moment his voice dropped, he struck out with a palm.
At this, besides Manor Lord Wei, everyone else’s expressions also changed.
Seven years ago, even with Manor Lord Wei leading a crowd of elite experts against this one man, it still ended up as a desperate struggle. Now, seven years later, this Blood-sucking Ghost’s martial arts were undoubtedly even better than before, and not something that could be stopped by a few “Heaven’s Firmament” soldiers!
As expected, in the next moment, when Blood-sucking Ghost’s palm struck down, the “Heaven’s Firmament” members were immediately sent flying.
Wei Jiangrou let out a shriek and threw herself at Wenren Heng. “Brother Heng, save me!”
Wenren Heng completely trusted in his Junior Brother’s lightness skill, so that the moment he caught her, he stuffed her into his Junior Brother’s hands. Wanting his Junior Brother to also leave the area, he succinctly said, “Take her and go.” Just as Ye You received Wei Jiangrou, Wenren Heng was already facing off against Blood-sucking Ghost.
In the blink of an eye, with one jump backwards, Ye You was already a fair distance from them, and then without the slightest hesitation, he made straight for Manor Lord Wei and the others.
Blood-sucking Ghost saw through this plan and coldly snorted. He threw a careless palm strike at Wenren Heng before flashing over to bar the other’s way, clearly intending to capture Wei Jiangrou so as to threaten Manor Lord Wei.
Ye You, with calm and composure, began a backwards retreat.
Blood-sucking Ghost had originally thought that it would be a small matter to catch up with him, only to discover that this little rascal’s lightness skill was very high, and his expression turned sinister. He threw out a hand to suck, and a nearby female adventurer, unable to even resist with her martial arts, was sucked into his hands123.
He clutched her neck. “Nobody move! Including you, little rascal!”
While all these unforeseen events had happened within the span of a few breaths, Manor Lord Wei, Pavilion Master Ding, and Wenren Heng had already caught up. Seeing the patient leave his side, the Young Miracle Doctor had also hastily run over. Those Demonic Sect Elders were also worried about their Sect Master’s safety and so were doing their utmost to move as close to the other as possible.
Upon seeing this moment, all these people’s footsteps came to a stop.
At this, in the blink of an eye, without even seeing if they were moving or not, Blood-sucking Ghost went ahead and broke the female adventurer’s neck, kicking her body in the direction of Manor Lord Wei and the others, before rushing forward at Wei Jiangrou.
While everyone’s expressions changed yet again, Manor Lord Wei was startled into fury, and dodging the body, he continued to give chase. Blood-sucking Ghost had already completed his miraculous skill, and although his lightness skill was not as high as Ye You’s, it was also only slightly inferior. Thus, by interrupting the other’s martial art like this, he was able to shorten the distance between them very quickly.
Ye You once again leapt back. He quickly swept his eyes over his surroundings, checking to see where he can reunite with the others.
Blood-sucking Ghost said, “Brat, if you obediently hand her over, I’ll spare your little life.”
Ye You laughed and said, “Senior, every wrong has a wrongdoer and every debt has a debtor124, so isn’t it inappropriate to take your revenge on such a young lady?”
Blood-sucking Ghost said, sinister, “If you still won’t hand her over, every time I count, I’ll kill someone.”
He was definitely able to do as he said, so those in the surroundings who had initially moved forward, intending to provide support, all hesitated. Seeing that, while speaking, he wanted to suck yet another person over, Ye You stopped in place, deciding to wait for the other to catch up before running again.
Wei Jiangrou was so frightened she began struggling. “What are you doing!”
“Don’t move!” In this interval, Ye You saw Blood-sucking Ghost stop his hand movements to give chase, and so he hastily pressed her down, wanting to take her and dodge. But Wei Jiangrou was already scared out of her wits. Hearing these words, she thought that he wanted to give her to the other party and so she struggled even more ferociously.
In these few short breaths, Blood-sucking Ghost once again moved slightly closer. Seeing this distance, his eyes suddenly shone, and he spread out his fingers, extending a hand towards them.
Wei Jiangrou had seen for herself this move’s ability and was afraid that she herself would end up in the same condition as that woman just now. Furthermore, without her father, her second brother, or Wenren Heng by her side, she felt a thick sense of unease when it was just her and Ah-Xiao. Her mind blanked, and without even thinking, she lowered her head and gave his hand a big bite.
Ye You was completely caught off guard and unconsciously loosened his hand.
Wei Jiangrou twisted her hands behind and pushed him towards Blood-sucking Ghost, shrieking as she dodged away.
With this one push, Ye You was coincidentally pushed right into Blood-sucking Ghost’s skill. The only thing Ye You felt was an extremely strong force drawing him over, so boundless that it rendered people incapable of resisting.
Seeing the other escape, Blood-sucking Ghost furiously said, “You bastard!”
Having been sucked over, Ye You’s first reaction was that he was finished. This old ghost was clearly extremely angry at him, and killing him on the way wouldn’t even cost that much ability. His eyes tightened.
Wenren Heng had already caught up and was ten meters125 away. Upon seeing this scene, he felt all the blood drain from his face.
Within the crowd of people, the Young Miracle Doctor’s mouth was hanging open in vain. Those Elders also saw what happened, and their heads buzzed. Elder Mei immediately followed with staggering forward one step, pushing aside those in the front, and shooting out a piece of broken silver.
Water rapidly misted across her eyes, and she trembled from head to toe. Soon enough, someone collided into her so that she fell on the ground, but she was completely oblivious to her own well-being. In equal parts fear and despair, she lifted her head, and the remaining Elders all had similar expressions, with the same phrase flashing through their heads — if any of you see that I’m in danger midway, or we reach that place, then all of you think of a way… They were all motionless, staring blankly at that piece of broken silver passing through the crowd, resolutely striking the Sect Master’s death acupoint126.
This was the third order — to give his death acupoint a little hit.
If it wasn’t for being forced into these circumstances, none of them would’ve dared to make a move.
Wenren Heng was very close and so saw everything extremely clearly, and his bloodless face turned even more deathly pale.
— That’s the death acupoint! If hit, all skills will disperse and death is immediate!
Blood-sucking Ghost was also flabbergasted, not understanding who would scheme against this little rascal, though this small matter wouldn’t impede his desire to kill. Looking at this person who had been sucked over, he made to clutch the other’s neck.
This flash of time seemed to stretch on boundlessly, and everyone rigidly looked at them, even feeling as if they were hearing
the crack of a bone breaking. Then in the next moment, the only thing they heard was the sound of a bang, and a person was flying away, smashing hard into the ground, with blood flowing out of all the orifices. In fact, this person was the one with miraculous martial skills, Blood-sucking Ghost.
Everyone opened their eyes wide in disbelief. They first looked at that old ghost, then at the Sir Xiao who had sent that person flying. Following that, the only thing they saw was a flash of that person’s shadow, as Sir Xiao, as swiftly and unexpectedly as a thunderbolt, darted in front of Blood-sucking Ghost and, in one breath, pressed a countless number of his acupoints, thoroughly incapacitating him.
What’s this situation? Just this and everything’s under control? Everyone openly stared once again.
Ye You waited until this was over to open his mouth and spit out a mouthful of blood. Crumbling to the ground, he was caught in Wenren Heng’s embrace.
Wenren Heng felt as if his Junior Brother’s internal energy was flowing outward, out of control, as if the other couldn’t retrieve it. He couldn’t stop the trembling of his hands as he raised his Junior Brother’s chin so the other can look at him. “Ah-Xiao! Ah-Xiao!”
Ye You coughed out a few more mouthfuls of blood. Grabbing the other’s hand, he wanted to say a few things, but in the end, he wasn’t able to say a single word. His head fell to the side, and as he closed his eyes, his overflowing internal energy also disappeared.
Wenren Heng had the frightening feeling that he was about to lose the other right at this moment, and he almost couldn’t breathe.
Grabbing the other’s shoulder, he said, “Don’t sleep!”
“Don’t shake him!” Rolling and crawling, the Young Miracle Doctor also ran over, even falling once midway. He didn’t bother checking his own body for any injuries before hastily taking Sir Xiao’s pulse.
It was only then that Wenren Heng took notice that his Junior Brother was still breathing. Grabbing hold of this lifeline, he watched the Young Miracle Doctor with reddened eyes, not daring to speak.
The Young Miracle Doctor paled. “His internal energy is… empty.” Wenren Heng’s voice was stretched taut. “And then?”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “What ‘and then’, his internal energy is empty.”
Wenren Heng took a deep breath to steady his full-to-bursting nerves before hoarsely asking, “There’s nothing else wrong with him?”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “Nothing else.”
This was impossible! His death acupoint was hit, so how could he not die!
Blood-sucking Ghost opened both his eyes, but unfortunately, he wasn’t able to speak a single word. Wenren Heng felt the stone in his heart lift, and he carefully embraced his Junior Brother, carrying the other up.
Manor Lord Wei and Pavilion Master Ding and the others moved forward only at this time. The former said, “Xiao-Heng, he…”
Wenren Heng shook his head, with no desire to speak. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw the fearful Wei Jiangrou nestled by the side of Wei Jiangyue. He gave her a cold and indifferent look before turning around and leaving.
Wei Jiangrou’s heart trembled. In all their years of acquaintance, Wenren Heng had never before used such an expression to look at her. Never before.
She hastily moved to call him back, but her shoulder was restrained by someone. She lifted her head, and upon seeing the profound look in her second brother’s eyes, she couldn’t help but swallow down the words in her mouth.
After walking two steps, Wenren Heng suddenly stopped. He lifted the head of Blood-sucking Ghost who was lying on the ground and instructed his subordinates, “Tie him up and bring him over.”
The scarred man answered in the affirmative and brought people over to do so.
Manor Lord Wei hurried to say, “Xiao-Heng, you can’t kill him right now. We need to ask how he survived and why he’s here.”
“I know. Weren’t the elders first going inside the villa to look around? First, he…” Wenren Heng paused. He originally wanted to say “will remain behind for me to look after,” but when he remembered that this matter might have been planned by his Junior Brother, he wanted to walk through this entire chessboard at least once and so said instead, “will be escorted by me. Let’s go.”
Manor Lord Wei saw that his mood was distinctly terrible, even his tone was unyielding, and so could think of nothing to say. He and Pavilion Master Ding set aside some people to guard Blood-sucking Ghost’s surroundings before they set off together into the villa. The ruckus just now had long startled the people here, and by the time they arrived, the place was deserted.
The villa was located within a large mountain, and a hidden path led outside the mountain. Those people had used this hidden path to escape.
Everyone carefully and meticulously searched the manor. In the basement, they discovered four or five small children, both boys and girls. Besides that, a certain bedroom had the corpse of a young girl, naked from head to toe, body black-and-blue, miserably lying on the bed, all her blood already sucked dry. There probably had not been time to take care of the body.
It had already been seven years since Blood-sucking Ghost fell from the cliff.
In these seven years, there was no telling how many young children silently fell prey to his vicious attacks.
Everyone’s expressions turned very ugly. Before they could even curse, they heard someone say that they had discovered a dungeon and that locked within were three missing Jianghu adventurers, though all were already dead.
“They haven’t been dead long.”
After Pavilion Master Ding examined them, this was his verdict. The Alliance Leader said, “What exactly happened?”
Academy Master Ge said, “To silence them?” The group wrinkled their brows.
It was really obvious that there were people other than Blood- sucking Ghost living in this villa, and it was very possible that it was them who saved Blood-sucking Ghost at the time. Moreover, because of certain plans, they even captured some famous adventurers. Now, everyone who needed to be silenced was silenced, and the only one left was Blood-sucking Ghost. They couldn’t help but look at the person who had been trussed up like a chicken.
Blood-sucking Ghost twisted his mouth and sneered at them. Wenren Heng’s pupils contracted. “Don’t let him bite off his tongue!”
The scarred man had been continuously guarding Blood-sucking Ghost, and the moment he heard, he immediately grabbed the other’s chin, but he was ultimately slow by a step. Because Blood- sucking Ghost wasn’t biting his tongue but was, in fact, breaking apart the poison in his mouth, directly poisoning himself to death. Even if the Young Miracle Doctor once again ran over, rolling and crawling, it would still be impossible to revive that person, and the man quickly stopped breathing.
Everyone’s hearts were shaken. Just a moment ago, his expression had been so arrogant. Such an uninhibited, unfettered martial arts expert, for the sake of the one backing him, would so willingly commit suicide?
Both Manor Lord Wei and Pavilion Master Ding’s expressions turned heavy. The latter hit the table with his sword and coldly said, “This matter must be thoroughly investigated!”
Wenren Heng closed his eyes and seriously pondered for a moment before calling for his subordinate, telling the other to bring people to search the study and the bedrooms immediately to see if any letters had been left behind. Then he didn’t stay any longer, immediately getting up and leaving to go to his Junior Brother’s side.
Right now, they also didn’t have any better methods. Seeing that it was almost time to eat, the Alliance Leader and the others began arranging a series of business that’d come afterward. After Manor Lord Wei finished discussing it with them, he returned and saw his daughter. He immediately walked to a deserted place and said to his son, “Arrange for people to send her home. Do it now.”
Wei Jiangrou cried out, “Why? I won’t go!” “This time you must go.” Manor Lord Wei rarely showed her such a heavy face. “For the sake of saving you, Ah-Xiao almost lost his life, and now all his internal energy is gone. If you don’t go, are you just going to wait for Wenren Heng to kill you?”
Wei Jiangrou’s entire body trembled. “Brother Heng wouldn’t do that. Don’t blame me. It’s Ah-Xiao. He’s the one who wanted to throw me away to that monster.”
Wei Jiangyue coldly said, “If he wanted to throw you away, he would’ve done it long before then. I only saw you pushing him.”
Wei Jiangrou’s face turned pale, and she ferociously shook her head. “No no no, I didn’t do it on purpose, I…”
Manor Lord Wei didn’t wait for her to finish and just directly hit her acupoint, causing her to faint, before handing her over to his son. He told the other to hurry and find people to send her home.
Wei Jiangyue said, “Over at Wenren Heng’s side…”
Manor Lord Wei sighed. “First let’s see about Ah-Xiao’s condition.”
Wei Jiangyue pursed his lips, nodded, and left carrying his little sister.
The Demonic Sect Elders had been guarding Ye You’s side all this time. Wenren Heng knew, so he was at ease when he left just now. When he returned and saw that they were secretly trying to run, he said, “Come in, I have some things to ask all of you.”
Who are you? You say come in, and we’ll just come in? Careful or we’ll beat you up!
Those Elders gave him a long stare before turning their heads and running away, faster than even a rabbit could run.
Wenren Heng, “…” Wenren Heng suddenly remembered that during the last time this Junior Brother of his spat blood, upon waking, the other had stopped them from approaching. He now understood that, as before, these people were following their Sect Master’s words, refusing to interact with him. He helplessly kneaded his forehead and sat down on the side of the bed, looking at his Junior Brother.
He unraveled Ye You’s bandages, and while the face was pale, the other’s breathing was steady.
Wenren Heng looked for a while. Holding the other’s hand, in the end, he couldn’t restrain himself and leaned over to place a kiss on the other’s lips.
Ye You’s consciousness drifted in and out, from waking to sleeping, aimlessly floating for a while before sinking into a deep sleep.
He felt as if he was walking alone down a pitch-black road lined with thorns, not knowing where he had come from and where he was going, but since there was a road under his feet, the only thing he could do was vacantly continue to walk forward.
After a very long time, he suddenly saw a beam of light. Immediately following, he heard the sound of laughter.
Pampered, indulgent, lively, satisfied… Many people’s voices were gathered together. Like a cup of warm tea on a cold winter’s night, with one sip, the warmth spreads throughout the body, softly and gently embracing the spirit.
He also wanted to laugh, but the moment he lifted his head, he saw that the sky was blood-red, and those sounds abruptly changed in tone, like the mountains were screaming and the waves were roaring127, engulfing everything, so desperate as to make people not dare to listen carefully. He futilely stretched out his hand, only to be
grabbed resolutely by another. “Ah-You, run!”
He was pushed out of a hole, and behind him, that woman’s voice had shouted itself hoarse. Confused, for a moment, all he could do was listen to that blood-curdling cry smashing against his eardrums.
“Continue running, don’t turn back! Go to Heji Mountain and find Elder Yu. He loves those who are skilled, so he’ll definitely shelter you. Remember, don’t tell anyone your name! Remember what we talked about before! Ah-You, you have to live on! Live on!”
Within the cold and gloomy winter night, Ye You wildly rushed forward, falling and staggering as he went, and hot tears bubbled forth from his eyes, out of his control. But before the heat from them even dissipated, bouts of cold wind had already frozen his face.
The night was pitch-black. The only source of light behind him had already fallen to a sea of flames.
In the middle of the night, Wenren Heng suddenly opened his eyes. Lifting his hand, he felt around and found a hand full of cold sweat.
He hastily sat up and looked at the person beside him in the faint candlelight, only to see his Junior Brother’s brows knitted together, sweat dripping from the other’s forehead, breathing also more labored than usual. He patted his Junior Brother’s face. “Ah-Xiao? Ah-Xiao? Wake up.”
The Young Miracle Doctor heard the noise and, from the newly set- up small bed, ran over. “What’s happened to him?”
Wenren Heng indicated for the doctor to light the lantern beside the bed and tried once again to wake his Junior Brother, but no matter what he did, he couldn’t get the other’s eyes to open. The Young Miracle Doctor moved over to try as well but also couldn’t do it.
Seeing him shake his head, Wenren Heng asked, “What is it?”
“He’s most likely having a nightmare,” the Young Miracle Doctor said, “His body is still very weak and disoriented, so he can’t be woken… Ah, the Concentration Dew you gave me before could be useful!”
He dug out the small porcelain bottle and handed it over to Wenren Heng, indicating that the other should just directly feed the patient. Seeing the other holding and feeding Sir Xiao a mouthful, he said, “If it still can’t be done, we can only leave it like this.”
Wenren Heng nodded and suddenly thought of something. Tenderly, he pulled his Junior Brother into an embrace and then softly patted the other’s back.
The Young Miracle Doctor became dazed upon seeing this intimate action and blankly stared at him. Wenren Heng said, “He also often had nightmares when he was little, and this had always helped. You should put out the light now.”
The Young Miracle Doctor hesitated for a moment until he realized that there’s nothing much he could help with and so told the other to call for him if there was any change in Sir Xiao’s condition before returning to his own bed, still full of worry.
Ye You’s consciousness was still trapped in that cold and endless dream.
Beset by hunger and cold, he walked for a very long time. His hands and feet were frozen with frostbite, and every time the cold wind blew, it felt like his whole body was being cut by thousands of knives.
In winter, there were truly not many fruits available, so if he was in a rural area, he would dig out tree roots to eat, while if he was in the city, he’d wait outside a restaurant for the diners’ leftovers. But in those cases, he rarely got to eat, only occasionally would he happen upon a kind person who’d give him a mouthful of food. More often than not, he went hungry.
If his luck was good, he would be able to beg a carriage on the road for a lift, saving him much walking.
He passed by one city, then another, from midwinter all the way until New Year’s Eve128.
During the New Year, the city was strung with bright lanterns and colorful silk, and smiling children wearing brand-new clothes were running every which way, incredibly lively. He squatted in a corner watching them, taking this period of time to rest and bask in the midday sun.
On the side, an uncle selling mantou129 gave him many looks. Whether it was out of goodwill or because it was the new year, when it came time to close the stand, this uncle handed him a piping-hot mantou. Ye You hurried to take it and gave a word of thanks. As if bemoaning the state of the world, the uncle let out a small sigh and left pushing his cart.
Ye You watched the other walk far away before lowering his head to take a bite of the mantou. Out of the corner of his eyes, he saw that a few beggars were approaching him from nearby, and feeling a bad premonition in his heart, he stood up and ran away.
But no matter how fast a child ran, how could they run faster than an adult? He was quickly surrounded, and panting, those people gave him a kick, swearing all the while, “Running so fucking fast! Run then, you little shit! Why aren’t you running?”
Ye You curled up into a ball, rigidly gripping the mantou in his hand. Seeing that he was unwilling to open his hands, those people were so angry that they kicked him a few more times. Ye You gritted his teeth and bore it, not letting out a single sound. Right as he was about to give up, he suddenly heard screams echo through the air, and the feet on top of him all disappeared at once. He lifted his head and saw an uncle holding a sword had beat away those beggars.
The old man crouched down in front of him and kindly asked, “Anything wrong?”
Ye You shook his head and quietly said, “Thank you.” The old man asked, “Your parents?”
Ye You’s heart trembled, and he once again shook his head.
The old man didn’t ask any further and helped him up from the ground, and then immediately paused before carefully feeling his bones. With some astonishment in his eyes, the man asked, “It would be a pity if you don’t practice martial arts. If you have nowhere to go, why not follow me in the future?”
Ye You looked at him and was about to refuse when the other said, “I live on Heji Mountain, surnamed Yu. Although it’s not a large sect, but it’s still a sect in Jianghu that no one would dare to take advantage of. How about it?”
Ye You stared. In confirmation, he asked, “Heji Mountain?” The old man thought that he had never heard of it and so explained, “It’s a mountain that’s not far from here. I came to the city to buy some items for the new year and will be going back soon. Will you come with me?”
The tip of Ye You’s nose ached130, and he felt as if those moments of bleak pain, suffered in hopelessness and isolation on those distant roads, were all falling away. That pitch-black, ice-cold journey had finally reached its end. He opened his mouth, doing his utmost to suppress the choking sobs bubbling up from his throat, and said, “… Yes.”
The old man was very happy and asked, “What’s your name?” “…Ah-Xiao,” Ye You heard himself say, “I’m called Ah-Xiao.” The old man asked, “Your surname?”
Ye You used all his remaining strength to make his voice sound normal, “I don’t… I don’t have a surname.”
The moment he finished speaking, his vision turned black. The exhaustion accumulated from the past several months overpowered him with overwhelming force, and he immediately lost consciousness.
The next time he opened his eyes, he felt as if he was lying in a warm embrace. It had already been a long time since he had felt such warmth.
“Awake?” The old man reached over to check. “You have a fever. Oh, it’s receded a bit. Come, drink some water.”
Ye You felt as if his whole body was fresh and cool, thinking that he had already been wiped clean or given a bath. He obediently opened his mouth and drank a mouthful of water, and only afterwards did he realize that there was another person present.
Right now, they were in a carriage, and inside the carriage was filled with items for the new year. He had nowhere to lie, so he had been held in the old man’s embrace for the whole journey. That person was sitting next to the old man, seemed to be older than himself by a few years, and was also currently looking at him.
The old man noticed his line of sight and used that hand full of warmth to wipe away the sweat on his forehead before introducing them with a smile, “He’s called Wenren Heng. In the future, he’ll be your Senior Disciple-Brother.”
Ye You’s mind was muddled, and he didn’t wake for long before once again falling back asleep.
Wenren Heng quickly perceived that his Junior Brother’s breathing was gradually evening out, not knowing whether it was due to the efficacy of the Concentration Dew or if it was due to his placating movements, but he hoped it was the latter and lightly patted the other a few more times.
Wenren Heng originally thought he was fantasizing, and it was only with the second repetition that he finally moved to listen attentively. Hearing his Junior Brother’s quiet sleep-talking, he couldn’t help holding the person a bit tighter and giving the other a kiss on the forehead.
The next day, as soon as the sky turned bright, Ye You woke up.
Wenren Heng didn’t sleep very deeply, so the moment he perceived the other moving, he opened his eyes and met his Junior Brother’s line of sight.
Ye You had been pulled entirely into the other’s embrace, and raising his eyebrows slightly, he looked at their positions. Before he could open his mouth, Wenren Heng calmly gave an explanation, “Yesterday, you weren’t sleeping very well and had a nightmare.” He released his hand and asked, “How do you feel?”
Ye You said, “I can’t exert any strength.” Wenren Heng was silent for a moment. Although his Junior Brother’s martial arts didn’t count amongst the highest-ranking, it could probably still rank in the middle of the top ranks. And in particular, in the entirety of Jianghu, there were few people able to match that ghost’s martial arts. Moreover, with his Junior Brother’s natural disposition for practicing martial arts, now that his internal energy had completely disappeared, who knew what the other would think.
He had originally wanted to ask those Elders yesterday if they had been the ones to throw that silver, but those people ran away, so for now he was unable to judge the effect this matter would have on his Junior Brother.
Ye You said, “Senior Brother?”
Wenren Heng patted his shoulder and said, placating, “You’re injured, so rest well first. We can talk about the rest later.”
Ye You obediently said, “Yes.”
He looked at his Senior Brother getting out of bed and dressing. Slowly remembering the situation before he fell unconscious, he asked, “What about Blood-sucking Ghost? What happened afterwards?”
Wenren Heng said, “He committed suicide.” Ye You was surprised. “Committed suicide?”
“Yes, he drank poison.” While dressing, Wenren Heng gave an account of what happened yesterday, and looking at his Junior Brother, he said, “What thoughts do you have about this matter?”
Ye You said, “Let’s first determine whether that rare book really exists.”
Wenren Heng said, “If it doesn’t exist?”
Ye You said, “Then the person who Blood-sucking Ghost wants to protect, who is the true owner of this villa, is most likely within this group of people.” Wenren Heng nodded. When he saw the other wanting to get up, he moved to block the movement. “What?”
Ye You said, “I don’t want to lie in bed. You should help support me outside so I can sit for a while.”
Since the season had just turned into autumn, the summer heat still remained, and the mornings were neither hot nor cold, so getting some fresh air would indeed be very good. Wenren Heng didn’t refuse, and seeing his Junior Brother reach out a hand to him, he instead reached over to carry the other in his arms, not at all acting as just a support.
He earnestly found an excuse, “You shouldn’t wear yourself out right now.”
Ye You gave a fleeting smile, though by the time the other looked back, he had resumed his well-behaved appearance, acting docile, without a word of opposition.
Wenren Heng instructed his subordinates to bring the soft couch outside and placed his Junior Brother on it. While putting in order the breakfast that they were to have together, he noticed that the other was quieter than usual. Thinking that his Junior Brother might have perceived the issue with his internal energy and unable to determine the other’s thoughts, Wenren Heng decided to just ask directly, “What are you thinking about?”
Ye You earnestly said, “Thinking that this meal is quite tasty.”
In hearing that, Wenren Heng knew that he wouldn’t be able to get any useful replies from his questions, so he simply said to eat a bit more. And, after eating, the only thing he could do was diligently accompany the other. At this time, the scarred man returned from outside and told him that, this morning, someone had found a letter that hadn’t been completely burned away as well as a bit of drug powder, though its use was still unknown.
“Oh?” Ye You’s interest returned, and he was finally no longer quiet. Wenren Heng pushed him back, not letting him move. “I’ll go look. You rest.”
Because there was drug powder, Young Miracle Doctor Fang was also called away. Having received the Sect Master’s orders, the scarred man was guarding Young Master Xiao when he saw those Demonic Sect Elders dressed in battered clothing slowly making their way over. Seeing them, he felt the corners of his mouth lift, and he made the excuse that he was going to bring over some fruits in order to leave temporarily.
Ye You also saw those same people, and he waved them over.
Those Elders hastily ran over. Seeing the Sect Master still alive, all of them almost burst into tears.
Yesterday when Elder Mei threw out that piece of silver, they all felt as if the sky was falling, and they never wanted to feel such a thing again!
Elder Baili didn’t hesitate and grabbed the other’s hand. “Sect Master, you truly don’t remember anything, right? Let us tell you, you’re actually our Demonic Sect’s Sect Master. Your surname is Ye, first name You. Your name absolutely isn’t Ah-Xiao!”
Elder Miao asked, solemn, “Sect Master, what has Wenren Heng told you? Other than saying that you’re disciple brothers, has he said any other terribly shameless, roguish words?”
Elder Mei said, “No matter what he says, you definitely can’t believe him! Your relationship with him definitely isn’t that good!”
The last Elder, Elder Ji, also added words of agreement, “That’s right, you two have even fought before! He truly isn’t a good person! You should return with us to the Demonic Sect!”
Ye You laughed and said, “This lord131 is already aware of all this.”
These Elders had spent an entire night thinking of how to advise the Sect Master to return home with them, and they had even made preparations to use force and abduct this person. But upon hearing the words “this lord” from him, they collectively choked back down those earnest and well-meaning words, and their expressions all turned a bit stiff.
They bit their fingernails and looked at him, feeling him out with a, “…Sect Master?”
Ye You, all smiles, made a sound in acknowledgement.
Elder Baili said, “You… In the end, do you remember things or not?”
Ye You raised his brows with some devilish feeling. “Why don’t all of you guess?”
This, they didn’t need to guess! This was definitely their Sect Master!
They took a deep breath. And unable to worry about whether there would be any consequences for disobeying the first order, they instead grabbed his shoulder and indignantly started an interrogation, “Where exactly did you go while you were missing for so long,” “Did you know that we were all worried to death,” “What exactly is the big thing you want to do,” “How did you get injured,” “Why are you together with Wenren Heng,” “Why do you call him Senior Brother,” “Why are you participating in this matter,” “Why did you want us to hit your death acupoint,” “After hitting your death acupoint, how are you still alive and well,” “Why why why why.”
And before they even had the time to show how truly angry they were, they saw the Sect Master give them a “quiet down” signal. Following his line of sight, they turned around and saw that Wei Jiangyue had come. They immediately stilled and sat upright.
Wei Jiangyue gave them a look and indifferently said, “So it’s all of you.”
Elder Baili said, with adoration, “Yesterday, all of Sir Xiao’s internal energy disappeared when he defeated that old ghost in one move. All of us were filled with such admiration that we especially came to visit him for a bit.”
Catching the Sect Master’s eyes, Elder Mei hastily followed with, “Since Sir Wei has come, then we won’t continue disturbing you.” Wei Jiangyue nodded and watched them leave before sitting down on the chair on the side, sizing up the person in front him.
This person wasn’t wearing his bandages, and his face looked somewhat pale, but his expression was still easygoing along with a hint of indolence. There weren’t much signs of despondency at all.
“You…” The moment he opened his mouth, there was some hoarseness in his throat. After clearing it, he finally asked, “How are you?”
Ye You said, “Besides not being able to exert any strength, I’m otherwise quite good.”
Wei Jiangyue silently counted his breaths before saying, “I came today to give my thanks and ask for forgiveness for the sake of my little sister. Thank you, Sir Xiao, for saving my little sister’s life, and I humbly beg forgiveness for the harm that Sir Xiao has suffered because of my little sister. I’ve already sent her out of the villa, and she’ll soon be sent home to ruminate over her wrongdoings. Right now, she’s still close by, at the nearest small county town. If Sir Xiao truly can’t forgive her, then I’ll personally go and destroy her martial skill myself before I send her away.”
Ye You laughed. “Destroying that little bit of martial skill probably wouldn’t even tickle her. Why not destroy yours?”
Wei Jiangyue stiffened slightly. He looked towards the other’s light pupils to see if the other was serious only to hear a light sigh.
“I’m just messing with you,” Ye You said softly, “My Senior Brother has had such a good relationship with your Fengxian Manor for this many years, so my saving Lady Wei is just par for the course. How could I let such a small thing come between all of you? I just hope that from now on you’ll more strictly discipline Lady Wei, and not let her continue to be so headstrong.”
“Absolutely, I…” Wei Jiangyue had originally wanted to say a few more words about what he’d do next time she did something wrong, but then he saw this person looking elsewhere. While the emotions in the other’s eyes were light, and there was no sign of any pain, he still found himself unable to say any of the words in his mouth.
For the people of Jianghu, with how vital martial skill was, if it was suddenly destroyed, thinking of it from the other’s perspective, even he would be unable to bear it. Not to mention even having to put on a show of being blithe and carefree?
He had the profound thought that it’d still be better to just destroy Wei Jiangrou’s martial skill.
He inwardly took a breath. “Sir Xiao…”
“There’s no need to say any more, and you don’t need to take this thing to heart,” Ye You lifted his hand to interrupt him and then said to him, “If you truly feel apologetic, then why not spend some more time helping the elders look into why Blood-sucking Ghost was still alive. If it wasn’t for him, I also wouldn’t have ended up like this, so right now, I just want to find the main culprit behind these incidents so that I can get some answers from him.”
Wei Jiangyue immediately said, “Yes!”
Ye You lazily listed to the side. “I’m tired, so I won’t show you out.” Wei Jiangyue, “…”
This person didn’t even ask him if he had any other matters and was just so frankly chasing out a guest?
Wei Jiangyue looked at him and suddenly felt that his expression now was similar to the one he had when he asked “Why not destroy yours”. It wasn’t like the previous normal, good-natured courtesy, and it instead contained slivers of sharpness, mystery, and high- ranking power, all mixed together, spilling out from that pair of penetrating, pale eyes, so penetrating that there was even a trace of evil energy.
Could it be that he was provoked because of the disappearance of all his internal energy? That’s right, that definitely must be it. Wei Jiangyue felt even more guilty, and he decided that he must think of a way to make up for it. Before he left, he resolutely promised, “Sir Xiao if, in the future, you have any use for me, just say the word, and I will absolutely risk life and limb to help out.”
Ye You asked, curious, “Including taking off all your clothes and dancing naked in the streets?”
Wei Jiangyue, “…”
Seeing his Senior Brother and the scarred man return, Ye You exchanged his expression for one of slight melancholy and said, “I’m teasing you. I already said not to take this thing to heart. It’s a human life, after all. Even if it had been someone else, I would’ve still saved them.”
Wenren Heng stepped into the small courtyard and gave Wei Jiangyue a look.
The always popular, arrogant, and conceited Second Young Master Wei had stiffened in place. Seeing Sir Xiao completely change temperaments, he had absolutely no idea what to do. Unable to find the words, in the end, the only thing he did was absentmindedly nod at Wenren Heng before taking his leave.
Wenren Heng looked at his Junior Brother. “He came to apologize?”
Ye You faintly said, “Yes, he said if I couldn’t forgive them, then he’ll go and destroy Lady Wei’s martial skill.”
Wenren Heng unhappily narrowed his eyes. “That skill of hers, what difference would it make to destroy it?”
Ye You especially approved of the other’s words and wanted to bring up an even better idea, but he knew he couldn’t.
He didn’t care if, in front of others, he let out some of his true personality. In any case, he was sick right now, so it didn’t matter. But the only one he couldn’t show was his Senior Brother. His Senior Brother was too incredible and was also too aware of his personality. If he let any indications show, then he was finished. So the only thing he could do was lightly let out a breath, lower his eyes, and not continue speaking.
Wenren Heng suddenly realized that they had gotten on the topic of the other’s internal energy. He hesitated for a while before finally asking, “Yesterday, you… what happened? Do you still remember?”
Ye You said, “I felt someone hit my death acupoint and then my internal energy just spilled over. Who hit it?”
Wenren Heng said, “I’m also not sure.”
Ye You guessed, “Could it have something to do with those people who recognize me? Do they know something?”
Wenren Heng sat down beside him. “They just came to find you. You didn’t ask?”
Ye You said, “I didn’t have the time before they started speaking first.”
Wenren Heng said, “What did they say?”
Ye You looked at him. “They said that I’m their Sect Leader, that I was tricked by you and that I’m not your Junior Brother, that our relationship before was not good and that we’ve fought before, and also that you’ve always had some designs on me, once even coming to the sect to ask about marriage. Did this actually happen, Senior Brother?”
Wenren Heng, “…” The scarred man, “…”
Wenren Heng looked at his subordinate. The scarred man placed the freshly-washed fruits down on the table and innocently looked at the Sect Master to show that he had walked away the moment they had come, so he hadn’t heard a single thing.
Ye You observed Wenren Heng. “Senior Brother?” Wenren Heng wasn’t able to grasp if this was his Junior Brother once again trying to test him, and he said, “No, or else you would’ve long heard this thing from the mouths of Young Master Li and the others. The things I said to you before were all true. You’ll understand everything after you recover your memories.”
Ye You asked, “Then what if I never recover my memories?”
Then you can stay by my side your entire life and not leave, Wenren Heng answered in his heart, but from his mouth, he said, placating, “That won’t happen. When Miracle Doctor Ji comes, let him try again. If it’s still not all right, I’ll help send you back and see if your people can find a way.”
Ye You let out a sound in reply and, using the soft couch as support, stood up.
Wenren Heng steadied him, “What?” Ye You said, “I want to go to the toilet.”
Wenren Heng didn’t let him go and once again carried him, putting him down only once they reached the toilets. “Can you go by yourself?”
“Yes. I just can’t exert much strength. I haven’t been injured to that extent.” Ye You gave him a look. “For such a thing as going to the toilet, I can’t have you holding onto me.”
Wenren Heng watched this person go in. He didn’t know if it was his misconception, but he felt as if the words his Junior Brother said just now seemed to have another meaning. When Junior Brother said “holding onto”, what area was he talking about holding?
He stood in amazement for a while. When he saw his Junior Brother weakly walk back out, he returned to normal, thinking that it was definitely due to his desires being left unfulfilled that he had begun thinking so crookedly. And thereupon, he pushed down those strange thoughts.
Ye You had long thought that his Senior Brother had returned a bit too quickly. After he went to the bathroom, he asked for the reason and learned that that letter had almost been completely burned away with only a small section left, so the other had left the moment it was shown. Ye You then asked, “What was written on the letter?”
After putting this person down on the soft couch, Wenren Heng brought over a towel and had him wipe his hands and said, “It had only a few lines, relating to the drug. It said that the efficacy wasn’t bad and that the owner was very satisfied.”
“Drug, owner…” Ye You softly repeated the words. Lifting his eyes, he asked, “What about the Young Miracle Doctor? Is he still there examining the drug powder?”
Wenren Heng said, “Yes, we’re guessing that the owner of this villa captured those Jianghu adventurers to test this drug, so we’re having him see what exactly this drug is used for.”
Ye You reminded, “That person who is being schemed against might be here, so you should send some more people to watch over the Young Miracle Doctor. Don’t let anyone harm him.”
Wenren Heng said, “I know.”
Ye You let out a sound in acknowledgment and leaned back to rest against the soft couch, slightly lowering his eyes.
He had long eyelashes, so with his eyes lowered, most of his pupils were immediately hidden, and it became even more difficult to understand his innermost thoughts. Wenren Heng had long been incredibly familiar with this appearance, and just by seeing it, he could tell that the other was thinking of other matters, so he couldn’t help but take the other’s hand.
Ye You looked at him.
“Don’t keep your thoughts bottled up in yourself. Tell me,” Wenren Heng said, “What are you thinking about? Your internal energy?” Ye You said, “No.”
Wenren Heng turned a deaf ear to that and gently said, “Why don’t I go find those people and bring them here so you can ask them about the situation? If you don’t want me to listen, I won’t listen.”
The reason why he didn’t put forth any effort when he went over to Manor Lord Wei’s was that he was afraid of something happening to his Junior Brother.
It was such a huge blow to have one’s internal energy destroyed, yet his Junior Brother unexpectedly didn’t even let show the slightest hint of emotional disturbance, having clearly suppressed it all with force. He understood this person too well; the more quiet his Junior Brother was, the more the other was preparing to do mischief.
Ye You said lightly, “No need. If we really find them and learn that I have no relationship with them, then wouldn’t I just be left with no hope at all. I’m only a bit tired.”
Wenren Heng was silent for a while. Not forcing him, Wenren Heng carried him back to the room and indicated for him to sleep for a bit. Upon seeing the look directed at him, Wenren Heng couldn’t help but stroke the other’s head.
Ye You pressed down the other’s hand. His mind whirled, and he said, “Senior Brother, yesterday night, I had a dream.”
Wenren Heng thought of his painful expression last night and asked, “What did you dream about?”
Ye You said, “I had another dream of that small pavilion, and it was raining.”
Wenren Heng immediately stiffened, and in that moment, even his breathing seemed to be tense. He calmly asked, “Is that so?”
Although the other didn’t show it, Ye You was keenly aware that the other was somewhat unnatural, and he internally sighed, deciding not to bring up that old incident to test his Senior Brother. At random, he made up, “Yes, and then a black bear suddenly ran out from the woods. At that time, we were still children, and you pulled me and kept running and running. But no matter what, we couldn’t throw it off our trail. In the end, you made me run ahead and went back alone to draw it away. Did this actually happen?”
Wenren Heng’s breaths eased, and he said, “No, it was only a dream.”
Ye You asked, “Then is the small pavilion still there?”
“Yes, on Heji Mountain.” Wenren Heng pulled over the blanket and tucked him in. “After this matter is over, let’s go light some incense for Master. I’ll bring you to the small pavilion to sit for a while.”
Ye You obediently closed his eyes. When he heard the door opening and closing, he once again opened them and exhaled out a long breath. Thinking of his next plans, he gradually became unable to keep the weariness from bubbling forth and was eventually swallowed by his own drowsiness.
He suddenly heard the pitter-patter of that light drizzling rain, falling in thin, continuous lines upon that verdant mountain’s small pavilion. The tranquility seemed to permeate heaven and earth, with the entire scene looking akin to a painting. That smart and bright youth sat in front of him on the stone bench, holding a towel and wiping his hands, while at the same time speaking to the lifeless him about a variety of things, all without a trace of impatience.
After Wenren Heng closed the door, he directly left the small courtyard.
The scarred man furtively stole a glance, knowing that, with the condition that Young Master Xiao was currently in, the Sect Master was absolutely not in a good mood. He waited for the other’s orders, only to hear the command to stay behind and guard Young Master Xiao. He couldn’t help but ask, worried, “What about you, Sect Master?”
Wenren Heng said, “I’m going out for a walk.” The villa was built very carefully, and upon the lake was placed wooden walkways, winding and twisting over a portion of the lake.
Water lilies were planted in the lake, and carps were cavorting within, inspiring people’s envy at their carefree play.
Wenren Heng looked at the wooden planks neatly arranged underneath his feet, and after walking from one end to the other, he felt his heartbeat, erratic from the words that his Junior Brother just said, gradually return to normal. After pulling himself out of that sliver of helpless dejection, he calmly reviewed yesterday’s incident.
Blood-sucking Ghost appeared only when they were about to search the villa. While he said he did so for the sake of revenge, the reality was that he must have been simply stalling for time, so as to let those within the villa escape. That old ghost had practiced a miraculous skill, so if he chose not to fight against them recklessly, then it’d be quite easy to preserve his life if he was simply stalling for time. The only miscalculation was the existence of that Junior Brother of his.
Thinking of it like this, he knew then that silver was something his Junior Brother had arranged ahead of time, so everything appeared relatively reasonable and fair.
But even though he could comprehend this logic, seeing his Junior Brother like this, Wenren Heng still felt his heart ache uncontrollably, so he had wanted to ferret out those Demonic Sect Elders and ask them a few questions. But even wandering around the villa for a while gave him not even a glimpse of their shadows.
After slightly thinking it over, he realized that those people were deliberately avoiding him, and he had half a mind to call more people to search. But upon further consideration, with how headache- inducing those Elders’ tempers were, if his people were careless and accidentally drew their notice, then everything would become a mess.
He didn’t know how many times he had wondered how exactly his Junior Brother normally taught those people. Helplessly, he turned around and went back. When he returned, the small courtyard was piled high with things, each bag stacked on top of the other, looking even more prosperous than things were during the new year. In such a remote and desolate place, these things had probably been bought from the nearby towns and cities this very night.
He asked, “Did Manor Lord Wei send these?”
The scarred man said, “Yes. He originally wanted to look in on Young Master Xiao, but he left when he heard that the other was sleeping.”
Wenren Heng wasn’t surprised. Both Manor Lord Wei and Wei Jiangyue wanted to make it up to his Junior Brother, but where they differed was that the former’s heart would soften for Wei Jiangrou while the latter’s heart could harden enough to punish her.
“Manor Lord Wei is famous the world over, but yet he raised such a daughter.” Wenren Heng didn’t bother to see what the gifts were before pushing open the door to enter the room.
The Young Miracle Doctor had already returned, and he had brought a chair over to the head of the bed and was currently sitting there, hand in chin, staring at the person on the bed. Perhaps he was too focused in his attentions for he didn’t even notice Wenren Heng coming into the room. It was only when the other walked up to him that he was startled into waking, so surprised that he almost fell off the chair.
Wenren Heng pressed him down and covered his mouth, not letting him make a sound. Only after making sure that he’d recollected his thoughts did Wenren Heng let go and ask, “What are you doing?”
The Young Miracle Doctor pointed at the large bed. “He seems to be having another dream, and he looks quite nice smiling like that.”
Wenren Heng turned to look. He didn’t know what this Junior Brother of his was seeing in these dreams, but the other’s mouth was curled up in a faint smile; it looked like quite a good sleep. He softly agreed with the Young Miracle Doctor’s words before putting down the bed curtains, using his actions to tell this little fool that even if it was a nice sight, he wasn’t going to let the other look. The Young Miracle Doctor didn’t understand at all, instead thinking that the other was afraid that he would disturb Sir Xiao, so he returned to his own small bed and put all his focus into examining the drug powder he had brought back.
Wenren Heng went over to look. “Can you tell what it’s used for?” The Young Miracle Doctor earnestly said, “I’ll do my best to test it.”
Ye You slept until the afternoon before finally waking, and he seemed to have recovered some of his vitality. The Young Miracle Doctor took his pulse and then announced that there was no longer any need to keep watch at his side. Since Sir Xiao spat blood because of his unstable internal energy, now that all that internal energy was gone, there was no need to worry about him spitting out blood anymore.
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “He originally had some internal injuries, and along with the serious injuries inflicted this time, his body is still somewhat weak. Resting a bit more for the next few days will be good for him.”
Wenren Heng asked, “Then what about his missing memories?”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “It seems it doesn’t have much to do with his internal energy. Perhaps it’s that he hit his head before. This kind of situation requires a gradual recovery. Maybe it’ll heal, or maybe it’ll remain like this in the future.”
Wenren Heng also didn’t know which sort he would prefer. Seeing the Young Miracle Doctor beginning to tidy up, for the sake of the other’s safety, he arranged a place for this little fool within their small courtyard.
Ye You honestly and obediently stayed put for an entire day. On the second day, although he still felt as if he was unable to exert any strength, he didn’t want to remain curled up in the room, so he unhurriedly followed his Senior Brother to look for Manor Lord Wei and the others, wanting to hear the progress made on this case so far. On that day, when the critical moment happened, other than those who were close by, the majority of people did not notice that a piece of broken silver had struck Sir Xiao’s death acupoint. Thus, the only thing everyone knew was that Sir Xiao had displayed an incomparably formidable skill, and along with an apparent willingness to sacrifice his martial arts, he brought Blood-sucking Ghost to heel.
This was truly too bold! Too manly!
They felt endless admiration and, in turn, even more profound regret at the loss of Sir Xiao’s martial arts, so now upon seeing him appear, they all couldn’t help giving a respectful greeting.
Ye You laughed and said, “Does this mean my name has risen in Jianghu?”
Wenren Heng gave him a look. “You’re happy?”
With swift adaptability, Ye You immediately put away those joyful thoughts and said, “No, I was simply moved for a bit.”
The two quickly entered the study, and when Manor Lord Wei and Wei Jiangyue saw who had come, the first thing they did was stand up. Manor Lord then walked over with quick steps and asked in concern, “Ah-Xiao, how is your health? Ah, it’s all because I failed to educate her properly. When this incident is over, I’ll definitely give you a reckoning.”
Ye You said, “Little Miss132 Xiao-Rou is still young, so it’s unavoidable that she has some willfulness. She’ll change as long as you discipline her more in the future.”
Manor Lord Wei was startled, surprised by the fact that he didn’t hear a single trace of unvoiced suffering or anger within these words. He gave the other a searching look but wasn’t able to see anything from this face covered with bandages, so the only thing he could do was ask, “That won’t do. There needs to be a reckoning for this matter. How are your injuries?” “It’s already no longer a major issue. It’ll be fine after resting for a few more days.” After saying this, Ye You looked at the other elders and courteously greeted them before finally turning to look at the talkative Academy Master Ge. “How have things been?”
Academy Master Ge said, “We’re all waiting for Young Miracle Doctor Fang’s conclusions.”
Ye You asked, “What about the matter with Blood-sucking Ghost? Was there any investigation done about why he was still alive?”
Academy Master Ge said, “It’s still being investigated.”
Ye You swept his eyes over the study and saw that there was a chessboard133. He walked over and sat down in front of it,
randomly picking up a chess piece to twirl in his fingers. He said,
“Seven years ago, Manor Lord Wei brought an entire crowd of martial arts experts to block off Blood-sucking Ghost on a cliff. After he was pushed off, who was the one that searched the dead body?”
Pavilion Master Ding said, “It was me.”
He wasn’t the least offended by this youth’s blunt question, and his voice was still as coldly indifferent as always. He gravely said, “At that time, the Alliance Leader and I hurried over with our people to regroup with that fatty. We were halfway there when we saw him being carried down by someone. The moment we heard that that old ghost had fallen off the cliff, we immediately went to search for the body.”
In response, the Alliance Leader said, “By the time we arrived, that old ghost had already been turned into a pile of soft flesh by the fall, but the clothes he was wearing was the same clothes he had on before, so we all thought he was dead. If we hadn’t met him this time, we wouldn’t have known he had been saved by someone.”
“Hm, so there’s two possibilities. The first is that the person who saved him just happened to be passing by, and that person also happened to have a corpse on hand which just so happened to have a similar stature to Blood-sucking Ghost. The second is that the person knew Blood-sucking Ghost would fall from there, so had made advance preparations already.” Ye You circled around to look at the group. “Which does everyone think is more possible?”
The group took a small breath. No one answered. Pavilion Master Ding coldly swept his eyes over to Manor Lord Wei.
Manor Lord Wei didn’t want to hear the other’s infuriating words134 and so took the initiative to say, “Then the suspicions on me are the greatest. There’s the possibility that I purposely forced that old ghost onto that cliff and then sent people to wait at the bottom of it for him.”
The Alliance Leader frowned. “It can’t be you. Even putting aside the fact that you almost lost your arm that time, if we consider only what that old ghost did to your son…”
Manor Lord Wei hastily tried to stop those words, but it was already too late. Wei Jiangyue immediately looked at Manor Lord Wei in astonishment, asking, “Father?”
The others also collectively looked over.
Manor Lord Wei stiffened for a moment before his tense back collapsed, looking as if he was about to be crushed by the weight.
Little by little, he said, “At the time, when I took over this matter and sent people all over to catch that old ghost, most likely for the sake of taking revenge against me, that old ghost took advantage of the time when my son was playing in the backyard to kidnap him.” He stopped before continuing, with difficulty, “Then, after all his blood was sucked away… he was tossed away, into my house’s pond.”
One by one, the group’s expressions changed. Wei Jiangyue said, “Sixth Brother didn’t drown?”
“He didn’t.” Manor Lord Wei tried to push off his sorrowful mood before saying, “I don’t know if you still remember, but at the time, your seventh brother had just received a big fright and was sick with a high fever for several days, so I didn’t dare to mention it, fearing that it’d just cause everyone in the house to feel overly anxious. The only thing I could do was secretly set some more people as guards. The only one that knows about this is the Alliance Leader.”
Wei Jiangyue clenched his hands into fists, feeling his hatred for Blood-sucking Ghost rise another level. With that old ghost now dead, the enmity he felt on behalf of his younger brother and Sir Yang was now directed entirely on the head of that criminal ringleader.
The remaining people sniffled and sighed to no end; they had no idea such a thing even happened.
Ye You didn’t follow along with the sniffling and sighing and said, neither too fast nor too slowly, “If it also isn’t Manor Lord Wei, then we can understand one thing.”
The group couldn’t help but ask, “What?”
Ye You said, “Regardless of who saved him, or whether that person was at the scene, at least we know that Blood-sucking Ghost had purposely lured Manor Lord Wei and the others to that cliff and pretended that he had lost to fall off the edge because he knew that someone had prepared a corpse at the bottom to replace him.”
The group first nodded their heads in agreement before wrinkling their brows in dismay, thinking that if this was in fact the case, then anyone could be the culprit.
Ye You amiably said, “Everyone seated is an elder, so I originally would’ve had no room to speak, but since I’ve been pulled into this matter, there are some things I can’t simply leave unspoken. Let’s first put the matter of Blood-sucking Ghost to the side. Perhaps some of you here have already guessed what I want to say but simply haven’t spoken it out loud up until now.”
The group turned to look at him. Wenren Heng as well also turned towards his Junior Brother and faintly narrowed his eyes. He especially liked watching the other looking as if in complete control of the situation. As if sensing these thoughts, Ye You also gave his Senior Brother a glance.
At once, Wenren Heng pulled back his somewhat piercing stare and exchanged it with an appearance of a “good Senior Brother”, giving the other a gentle and encouraging look.
Ye You didn’t have time to suspect him and turned back to the matter at hand, saying, “If we look at this matter from the very beginning, it was about an old man who wasn’t able to comprehend a secret martial arts book and wanted to pass it on to others but, when things came to a head, met a setback. He wanted to wait here for us but didn’t know that his nest had been stolen by another, and now whether he’s still alive or not is unclear. However, when we searched this residence thoroughly, we learned that this matter was clearly not that simple. In particular, this place is far too well concealed. Even if the old man wanted to gift a secret book, he wouldn’t need to also expose his own residence. Thus, I suspect that book never existed in the first place.”
He took a few chess pieces and walked over to the seat at the head of the table, putting down a black piece with a light clack. He said, “First of all, a person set out a chessboard and endured for almost a decade before making a move; this was taken as proof that he had the book.”
Academy Master Ge couldn’t help but say, “My son only went to the bottom of that cliff on complete accident.”
Ye You asked, “What if what the Junior Academy Master thought was a ‘complete accident’ was actually a series of coincidences orchestrated by someone to make him think as much?”
“This…” Academy Master Ge hesitated.
Wei Jiangyue asked, “Then why would someone want to set up this chessboard?”
“Sir Wei’s question is the crux of the matter,” Ye You said, “Before we answer this question, there’s no harm in considering why that person chose this place as the destination. The words on the book were written eight, nine years ago, and Academy Master Ge confirmed that the writing on the map was also roughly around the same year. Regardless of whether this so-called Blood-sucking Ghost would’ve appeared or not, at the very least, this place already existed. If this place existed, then the owner of this place also existed.”
Wei Jiangyue said, “Then that person felt some enmity towards this place’s owner?”
“It’s a possibility.” Ye You laughed for a bit, though his smile was shallow. Before Wei Jiangyue had the time to determine if the other was laughing at him, he saw the other leisurely put down a white piece and say, “It’s even more possible that this owner is among us right now, and his position is high and power great.”
Like a rock being thrown into water, this sentence caused enormous waves.
No one even had time to voice their thoughts when they heard him continue with, “Because of this high position and great power, this person was forced to endure for ten years in order to accomplish the step of calling all the people of Jianghu over.”
Academy Master Ge couldn’t help it, “How can you say this?”
“The crucial point is on that map.” Ye You explained the mysteries of the map to them and said, “When he wrote the map, he knew that that person had this residence and, even moreso, knew that that person was most likely going to use this residence to do some unspeakable things not fit to be seen by others. Thus, he wanted to make a situation so that that person wouldn’t be able to perceive what was going on before being dragged along.”
Wei Jiangyue understood his words and said, “So then even his misbegotten gains could be confiscated, and everyone could also attack him together?
Ye You said, “If our luck was good, that person would’ve been captured along with his misbegotten gains, and even if our luck was bad, at least we’d know of the existence of a person with such evil intentions. But this still doesn’t count as finished.” He pointed at that black chess piece. “Because the person who placed the book is still here. He’s set up so much of this board; he definitely has some followup moves.”
Everyone felt as if an intangible mountain had just fallen down on their heads.
If Sir Xiao’s guess was correct, then among them was a wolf disguised in human skin, and even that person who placed the book was no ordinary human being. All of them had been dragged onto this board, and they completely didn’t know what would happen next.
Academy Master Ge didn’t know how many times he had wanted to go and cut off the hand of that son of his. He said, “Then… then what should we do?”
“We wait and see. If the black piece manages to unmask the white piece successfully, then everything will become known to the world. If the white piece manages to eliminate the black piece secretly, then a scapegoat will probably be thrown out to take the fall.” Ye You lowered his eyes to hide the flash of sharpness in his pupils before lifting up the corners of his mouth and saying, “But we don’t know if some clues would inadvertently be left behind in the middle of all this for us, so that we’d first be able to uncover the truth.”
Pavilion Master Ding, as always, didn’t bother to control his temper and said, coldly, “Regardless of who is playing at being a ghost135, or who saved that old ghost, we have to uncover it all.”
Ye You was very satisfied. “Yes, this young one also doesn’t like to be toyed with, so I’ll talk a bit more.”
Ye You once again placed another white piece down. “That letter mentioned the drug. I already asked Senior Brother, and I heard that this villa doesn’t have a drug dispensary136, and only a bit of drug powder was found in the search. Then this means that the drug was actually made somewhere else. Ordinarily, it’d be more convenient to
make the drug and test it in the same place, so I’m guessing that this owner doesn’t have only this single residence. At least, he’d also have a main base of operations, and the dispensary would be accompanied by a place to imprison people.”
He faintly let loose a breath, and before he could open his mouth again, Wenren Heng had already walked over to support him, letting him sit down before speaking again.
Ye You internally thought that as expected, nothing gets past Senior Brother, as he obediently sat down. He reached up to wipe away some of the thin sweat on his forehead beneath his bandages before finally continuing, “This person has a high position and great power and has done who knows how many terrible things. If he always caught people to test his drug, then sooner or later, the matter would cause a ruckus. If I was him, I’d definitely choose a place where it didn’t matter regardless of how I was doing my tests.”
Wei Jiangyue asked in astonishment, “Is there such a place?” Ye You said, smiling, “There is. A prison.”
The group was startled.
Ye You said, “May I ask if there is a place in Jianghu that everyone knows that’s used to imprison people?”
Academy Master Ge immediately shouted out, “Bodhi Prison137!” Ye You feigned ignorance and looked at his Senior Brother.
Wenren Heng poured him a cup of tea and indicated that he should drink a mouthful of water before explaining, in a low voice, “Jianghu has its own rules to follow. Those who have committed wrongdoings that aren’t terrible enough to be put to death are all imprisoned in Bodhi Prison, and the cells are guarded by Wudang and Shaolin. It was named Bodhi in the hopes that those locked within will one
day achieve enlightenment and become honest characters138.” Ye You was thereupon enlightened.
Those sitting down had some hesitations. “But who would dare to mess around in Bodhi Prison? Couldn’t he have waited for a while and then caught one or two ordinary civilians to lock up somewhere else? This way also wouldn’t draw any suspicions from people.”
Ye You said, “This young one is simply guessing and is not completely certain, but the possibility can’t be ruled out.” He suddenly changed the topic, “But if that person can truly use the people of Bodhi Prison to test drugs, then his influence can’t be easily overlooked.”
This sentence ruthlessly hit directly at their nerves, and on the spot, there was one uneasy sect leader who said that regardless of whether it’s true or not, they have to go to Bodhi Prison to take a look at least, which caused quite a few people to also voice their agreement.
Afterwards, Ye You no longer needed to interrupt. Since the minority had to comply with the majority, at this time, anyone who disagreed would be seen as having a guilty conscience.
He waited for a bit before hearing the Alliance Leader make the final decision, “We’re going to Bodhi Prison.”
He felt as if all the tension was leaving his body, fully prepared to retire after a job well done after having sat for a while. As he walked back with his Senior Brother, the more he walked, the slower he got.
Wenren Heng looked at him. “Really tired?”
To the best of his ability, Ye You let a sliver of brave pretension creep into his voice. “Still all right.”
Wenren Heng asked, “I’ll carry you there?”
Ye You continued to try and “act brave”, saying, “No need, I can walk fine by myself.”
He again purposely walked a bit slower. Wenren Heng patiently walked for a while longer with him and, upon seeing no one in the surroundings, stopped him in place before carrying him in his arms. Before he could “struggle”, Wenren Heng said, “Don’t move.”
Ye You took a moment when the other wasn’t looking to smile before obediently leaning into the embrace, resigned to fate.
The drug powder that had been found was only a small bag.
The Young Miracle Doctor painstakingly examined it for an entire night and in the end, was able to reach only a vague verdict. He told them that this thing probably wasn’t a finished product and that it was related to those that could muddle people’s judgment since it contained two other drugs with this same effect.
The Alliance Leader’s party was once again sitting together.
They weren’t idiots. After digesting the information for a night, they all thought that if it was them, rather than taking the risk to move against Bodhi Prison, it’d still be safer to grab some people secretly. Yesterday night, how much of it was Sir Xiao intending to start something?
They couldn’t help but look at this person. Ye You asked, surprised, “What is it?”
Academy Master Ge’s relationship with him was not bad, so despite moving lips, the other held back his words.
In a calm and even-tempered way, Qingcheng Sect’s Sect Master Han139 asked, “After thinking it over, I still think it’s better to just capture a few random people. Why does Sir Xiao think they’d be at Bodhi Prison?”
Ye You calmly said, “I was just guessing.”
“We definitely must go check on Bodhi Prison.” Pavilion Master Ding looked at him and frankly said, “But I remember that yesterday you asked about a prison that everyone knows. Why would you guess from that? Isn’t the usual reaction that someone is kidnapping people in secret?”
Ye You pursed his lips and didn’t reply. With one glance, Wenren Heng knew that his Junior Brother was pretending, so he considerately matched the other in putting on an act and gently said, “Ah-Xiao, if you have something to say, just say it. Everyone sitting here is an elder, so if you say something wrong, they won’t blame you.”
Academy Master Ge said, “That’s right. Sir Xiao shouldn’t worry about speaking his mind.”
Ye You hesitated for a moment before sighing and saying, “All right.” The group looked closely at him.
The reason why they felt compelled to force Sir Xiao to speak the truth was that they all felt that he knew something, so they wanted to get it out of him quickly to resolve the current situation and avoid disaster.
Sighing, Ye You said, “I’m just a bit worried.” Wenren Heng asked, “Worried about what?”
Ye You looked at them. “Yesterday, the most important part of what I said was about it being a Jianghu prison. I added ‘that everyone knows’ because that means it’ll definitely have many people locked within it. Those who died in this villa were Jianghu adventurers.
Have all of you thought about why they captured adventurers specifically and not just some common civilians? What’s the difference between Bodhi Prison and an ordinary prison?”
“The difference…” Academy Master Ge spoke only halfway before the inside of his eyes almost exploded with a flash with light. “The difference is that the people within are all those who’ve practiced martial arts!”
Ye You said, “And that is exactly what I’m worried about.” The group sank into silence.
They not only were unable to find more clues but also became even more struck with the gravity of the situation. If that owner really wanted to use those who practice martial arts to test drugs, and if there had already been results, then this was really much too terrifying.
Internally thinking about this matter, Academy Master Ge felt that this was even more serious than the issue with the book and said, with difficulty, “But then… but then this isn’t certain, right? What if he took ordinary people to test his drug and then used it on martial artists?
“I’m simply stating a worry. Because in the letter, it said the efficacy was quite good, and in the end, there are differences between an ordinary person and a martial artist,” Ye You said, “I’m afraid he used the people inside the prison to test his drug, and even finished testing it, but since those people would never see the light of day, he also went and captured a few adventurers to test himself.”
In deep thought, the Alliance Leader furrowed his brows. “No matter how it is, let’s go look in on Bodhi Prison first.”
Manor Lord Wei nodded. “Then let’s first finish investigating this matter, and obtain some concrete evidence, before speaking any further. But…”
Pavilion Master Ding coldly said, “It’s true that the owner of this place was kidnapping people. Tell everyone outside to be more careful.”
Seeing the words taken right out of his own mouth, Manor Lord Wei restrained himself from rolling his eyes and, with a chuckle, gave the other a glance, not taking it to heart. He and everyone else quickly decided to set out the next day. Just in case, on the day of departure, everyone carefully searched through the villa once more, confirming that there weren’t any further clues, before leaving the area.
A hidden path led the way out of the villa, and outside was a large mountain. There were only one or two villages in the surroundings, and they were both faraway; it could be said that the area was entirely secluded. If it wasn’t for the map, no one could have imagined that there could be another world hidden away here. Everyone walked until almost noon before they reached a small county town. After resting for only a short while, everyone began hurrying towards the nearest large city.
Wenren Heng prepared a carriage and looked inside at the Young Miracle Doctor and his good friend Qin Yuemian.
The Young Miracle Doctor was too foolish, and as he was used to riding in their carriage, he simply came over on his own, carrying that pile of miscellaneous items on his back. Qin Yuemian didn’t want to stay by himself, so he followed closely behind the Young Miracle Doctor when the other got on the carriage. At this moment, perceiving his good friend’s stare, he innocently turned to look back.
Wenren Heng asked, “You’ve been too idle recently?”
Qin Yuemian’s beautiful, expressive eyes creased as he laughed and said, “Yes, there’s not much to do at home. If I’m idle, I’m idle, so why not go look at some fun things.”
Wenren Heng had some suspicions.
He knew that, from the beginning, Qin Yuemian worried that the matter with his Junior Brother was a setup that’d prove harmful to him, so the other decided to follow along. Thus, on the way, he had honestly told this person that Ah-Xiao truly was his Junior Brother so that his good friend could go and play, at ease. Following that, right now, Qin Yuemian should’ve gone to look for that pack of
scoundrels to go carousing, admiring flowers and teasing birds140. So why was he still following along?
Ye You also gave Qin Yuemian a look before moving his eyes away to find a place to lean against and close his eyes.
Wenren Heng tossed aside his good friend’s stare. “If you’re tired, you can lean against me to sleep.”
Ye You said, “I’m not really tired.”
Wenren Heng turned a deaf ear and motioned for the other to rest by his side. Following readily along, Ye You leaned over, found a comfortable position, and returned to sleep. Wenren Heng’s expression immediately turned soft, as warm as a breeze in the third month.
“…” Qin Yuemian felt his eyes hurt, as if he had happened to see something appalling.
In all these years, he had truly never seen Wenren Heng treat anyone like this before.
He dared to use that brain of his to make a bet: as long as they’re familiar with Wenren Heng, when seeing these two together, their first reaction would be that Wenren Heng had fallen for the other. But the truly strange thing was in Wenren Heng’s way of handling matters. If Wenren Heng had truly fallen for someone, that person would’ve been won over long ago. But from his observations over this period of time, these two people really haven’t made any moves to be more intimate. This was really too strange.
Even if Sir Xiao was difficult to handle, Wenren Heng couldn’t possibly be too afraid to make any moves, right?
In the end, why was it? It couldn’t be that the other person was being treated as a child being raised!
Qin Yuemian felt as if there was a mischievous cat scratching about incessantly in his heart, and he especially wanted to find someone to ponder about this matter together, but that crowd consisting of Young Master Li and the others all weren’t here. The only one by his side was a little fool, and just by looking, he could tell the other would be of no use.
With some grievances, he looked at the Young Miracle Doctor and asked, “Miracle Doctor, you don’t get tired of reading books every day?”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “No, I’m used to it.” Qin Yuemian asked, “You don’t go out to play?”
The Young Miracle Doctor asked blankly, “Play where?” Qin Yuemian looked at the Young Miracle Doctor who was like a blank sheet of paper. In his thoughts, he felt somewhat sympathetic but also somewhat mischievous. Smiling, he patted the other’s small shoulder and benevolently said, “How about this, when we reach our destination, this brother will take you…”
Wenren Heng said lightly, “Ji.”
Qin Yuemian’s words were suddenly stuck in his throat. Remembering that this little fool was Miracle Doctor Ji’s beloved disciple, he realized that if he truly led the other astray, then Miracle Doctor Ji would likely kill him. In Jianghu, one could offend anyone as long as one didn’t offend the doctor. He thereupon stiffly stowed away any improper intonations in his voice and said, “This brother will take you to a bookstore and buy you some other medical books.”
The Young Miracle Doctor said, “Other books?”
Qin Yuemian said, “We’ll go look. Maybe there’s some you haven’t seen yet.”
The Young Miracle Doctor was very happy. “Yes!” Qin Yuemian rubbed his nose, not wanting to look.
From the small county town to the big city, the party expended almost half a day’s worth of effort.
The sky was heavily overcast, and they hadn’t entered the city for long before it started raining. They hastily found a restaurant to hide from the rain and decided that they might as well eat a meal while they’re there. But before they could even step inside, they heard a person loudly shout, “Master,” and run directly over from across the way. As the person neared, he stumbled and piteously fell down in a puddle on the street.
The Wang family head turned his head to look and said, astounded, “What happened?” From the fourth piece of the map onwards, those who were able to draw paths became steadily fewer in number, so they’d spend countless days in places so desolate that birds won’t even poop, and every time they came out, there was a feeling as if it’d been lifetimes ago when they went in. Thus, from then on, they developed the habit of sending a few subordinates to wait for them ahead at big cities where they’d probably arrive. These subordinates could then learn of any urgent matters waiting at home, and their masters could conveniently handle it when they arrived.
And so every time they arrived at a big city, they’d stay for two or three days in order to handle matters relating to their sects.
The household servant who had come this time was one of those left behind by the Wang family.
While walking the path set by the fifth piece of the map, they spent many days within the large mountain, and even more days in the villa, and so it had already been quite a while since they’ve had contact with the outside world. The Wang family head guessed that there was probably some incident and told the servant not to hurry and to relay it slowly.
The servant lifted his head, the rain mingling with the tears on his face, and said, choked with emotion, “The Old Master, he… he passed.”
The Wang family head saw black before his eyes. He immediately forgot his previous order to the servant not to hurry and rushed over, taking two steps in one, to grab the other by the collar. “Say it again!”
“The Old Master, he passed,” the servant said, crying, “The news came four days ago. It was caused by that Lantern-Extinguishing Poison!”
The moment these words were said, the expressions on the Alliance Leader’s party all changed.
“Nonsense!” the Wang family head roared. “When we left, the poison in my dad was about to be completely removed!” The servant said, “He was poisoned again some time ago, and by that time, Miracle Doctor Ji had already left. By the time he rushed back, the Old Master had already lost all strength and returned to the heavens. Miracle Doctor Ji said that this time he had been given too much poison.”
The Wang family head’s mind buzzed, and his body swayed, almost falling to the ground.
He had left home this time for the purpose of catching the ringleader behind the poisoning in order to avenge his dad, but in reality, while he was being tossed left and right like a fool by that person, his dad had once again been subjected to poison.
What exactly did he do?
He believed in them this much that he easily ran off following behind them, leaving a gap for that poisoner to enter, and without even giving himself a final chance to see his dad’s face!
The Wang family head felt a mouthful of blood blocking his throat.
He forcefully swallowed it back down and, with reddened eyes, looked at the crowd of people standing in front of the restaurant. He had to grind his teeth before he could get his voice to come out normally. He asked, “Wasn’t… wasn’t it said that the poisoner had some other scheme?”
“You don’t understand?”
Ye You didn’t wait for anyone else to speak and took the initiative to put forth the question. He stepped through and extricated himself from the crowd to stand in front of the Wang family head.
Wenren Heng faintly wrinkled his brows and was just about to have his subordinates provide an umbrella only to see Wei Jiangyue running over, umbrella already in hand, to place it over his Junior Brother’s head.
Wenren Heng, “…” Wei Jiangyue looked at the person beside him, feeling as if the other’s eyes had shown with some cold light just now, but it was barely a moment before it was stowed away, as if it had never been. He hadn’t the time to think on it when the Wang family head opened his mouth to ask, “Understand what?”
Ye You said, “Understand that the black piece isn’t the poisoner.”
The Wang family head almost violently ended him right then and there before forcefully pushing down the anger and asking, “What do you mean? Wasn’t it all of you who originally said that this was a chessboard set by that black piece?”
Ye You said, “That’s right, it’s the black piece that set this chessboard, but we said it was only a possibility that he set the poison; it’s not entirely certain that’s the case.”
The Wang family head’s breathing became abruptly coarse and heavy. Wei Jiangyue felt his unused arm stiffen with tension, afraid that this person would end up killing Sir Xiao. He again looked at the person beside him and saw that the other was still as calm as ever, those light eyes appearing as if immersed in this rainwater, carrying with it traces of a cold chill.
He suddenly had a kind of ridiculous notion.
It seemed as if this young sir, who looked so delicate as to be toppled by a mere push, was the one who was truly seated on high, and conversely, this Wang family head, who had led his family for many years already, seemed to be shorter than the other by half a head.
Even while currently displaying enormous anger, the Wang family head’s loftiness was still beneath the other party’s.
“Still don’t understand? The black piece set the board. The white piece set the poison.” Ye You matched the Wang family head’s oppressive line of sight and said, “The board the black piece set was the rare book. After the book was taken by someone, he thought of a way to let the white piece know of the book’s existence. The white piece wanted to obtain Pursued Until Scattered and so sent people to poison and then openly went to the city of Suzhou to wait for an opportunity to steal the book.” The Wang family head angrily said, “Didn’t that rare book contain further mysteries? Then what reason would he have to still poison my dad!”
“We’ve been outside for more than two months, and with this many opportunities, if the poisoner truly had a grudge against your dad, why would he wait until now to set the poison?” Ye You looked at him. “Let me tell you. Because although the map was a complete mess, there was still a general idea of the direction we were heading towards. The white piece didn’t know where we were ultimately going to end up, but this issue made him feel uneasy. Since he was uneasy, he definitely wanted to drag the matter on for a bit, so he did something to mislead and obscure the truth so as to draw away people’s attentions, thus your dad became a ghost beneath his blade. This order must’ve been given while we were at the last city, and when it reached Suzhou, the assassin simply waited for an opportunity and succeeded.”
With both eyes a scarlet-red, the Wang family head asked, “Where’s the evidence? Black piece this and white piece that, but do you have evidence?”
“Intuition,” Ye You said, “If I didn’t guess wrong, when we were successfully drawn over to the villa, the black piece would’ve already made his next move. If you don’t believe me, then wait…”
Before he could finish saying the phrase, “then wait for the news,” he saw an adventurer braving the rain and running over, saying, “Alliance Leader, finally found all of you. A few days ago, some people were injured by ‘Colorless Blood’ and ‘Lone Wolf’!”
The Alliance Leader’s expression changed slightly. “What?”
Academy Master Ge also shouted out, “You’re sure you haven’t made a mistake? Those two people had long ago been locked up in Bodhi Prison!”
“It’s definitely them, no mistake,” that adventurer said, “After they beat those people, they even said that Bodhi Prison was theirs now, that it wasn’t able to keep them locked up at all, and that they can do whatever they want. Wudang and Shaolin’s people have already gone over. Alliance Leader, all of you should hurry over to look as well. Many people are locked within Bodhi Prison, so what can be done if something really did happen?”
The Alliance Leader, Academy Master Ge, the Wang family head, and everyone else in the surrounding crowd all immediately turned quiet and stood there stiffly.
The only sound remaining in heaven and earth seemed to be the pitter-patter of the rain, and an enormous dark cloud seemed to be unfolding, spreading out before them, wordlessly enveloping them in its depths.
In that moment of deathly stillness, Ye You’s calm voice rang out, “See, this is the black piece’s next move. He thought of a way to stir up an incident so as to draw people over to Bodhi Prison. Since the destination is Bodhi Prison, then my earlier worries weren’t uncalled for.”
No one opened their mouth, but they all deeply felt the chill of the autumn rain.
Ye You looked at the lifeless person in front of him and quietly said, “Head, restrain your grief.”
The Wang family head felt his head clear then, and while doing his utmost to suppress his grief, he said, in a hoarse voice, “I don’t understand. The black piece clearly knows the white piece’s true identity, so why doesn’t he just directly say it? Why go in circles like this?”
Ye You lowered his eyes and said, in conjecture, “It’s possible that he had no other way and could only entrust his hopes to the entirety of Jianghu. Another possibility is that he has no evidence, so even if he said so, no one would believe him, and they might even seek him out for a fight.”
The Wang family head turned silent.
Ye You said, “After all, the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison reemerging in Jianghu is not a small matter. If the white piece wins in the end, then with his status as a person of high-standing and virtue, he’ll definitely have a scapegoat confess and let you believe that everything was done by this scapegoat.”
The Wang family head’s face suddenly stiffened. “Investigate! This matter isn’t over!”
As he said this, he no longer looked at anyone, and he also paid no attention to the falling rain. He simply took his servant and left.
The Wang Patriarch had been murdered, so he must hurry home, but when the funeral arrangements were complete, he would probably return.
Academy Master Ge opened his mouth, but he ultimately couldn’t say that he was also returning to Suzhou and, in the end, simply sent his son to go along with the Wang family head. Their Dingtian Academy and the Wang family had always been friendly, so now that Elder Wang had passed, they must send someone over, but he himself couldn’t go.
Whatever the case may be, Elder Wang must be given an explanation.
Ye You watched the Wang family head walk far away and only then did he turn around and enter the restaurant, but just as he stepped onto the first step, his body couldn’t help but sway. Wei Jiangyue’s expression changed, and he hurried to support the other, but there was a person on the side who was even faster.
Wenren Heng half-carried his Junior Brother and lectured, “Stop trying to act brave when your body isn’t well.”
Ye You gave a bitter smile and said quietly, “I’m just worried.”
“I know you want to quickly discover the truth.” Wenren Heng sighed. “But there’s still me. You focus on getting better.”
Ye You lowered his eyes and gave a small, “Yes.”
Wenren Heng supported his Junior Brother into the restaurant and asked for a private room. Following the waiter up to the second floor, after two, three steps, the two collectively turned back to look at Wei Jiangyue, who had been following behind them the entire time.
Wei Jiangyue had many things weighing on his mind, and his entire head was filled with Sir Xiao’s presence just now.
This person had an outstanding intellect and could quickly understand the current situation, easily seeing through every move’s intentions from both sides. He was also cool and composed, carrying an air of eminence about his person, making it so that others couldn’t help but look at him, willing to have their hearts won over.
But this kind of person had actually lost his martial arts, and at that time, he originally could’ve successfully fled but didn’t because of Wei Jiangrou.
Wei Jiangyue didn’t dare to imagine how confidently and willfully at ease he’d live if he still retained that monstrous lightness skill, so seeing him leave, Wei Jiangyue unconsciously followed along and only now returned to the present.
He looked at the two people in front of him. Wenren Heng and Ye You also looked at him.
In the next moment, Wei Jiangyue acted as if, “I just happened to be following behind you two; I was also preparing to eat,” and putting on an arrogant face, he stepped past them to go upstairs.
Wenren Heng didn’t expose the other and simply brought his Junior Brother to the private room. Seeing his Junior Brother go to sit down alone, as if nothing was wrong, he knew that the small swaying at the entrance just now had all been an act. Even as he felt relieved, he still couldn’t help but say, “You enjoy showing off too much.”
Ye You said, “I know, but didn’t I save it in the end.”
Wenren Heng still wanted to lecture some more, but he restrained himself, and in the end, he couldn’t say it out loud.
Because he thought that this was normal; the abolishing of his martial arts had caused all of his Junior Brother’s sharpness to come bubbling out. If his Junior Brother had truly maintained indifference, then that would’ve counted as a problem.
It was at this time that Qin Yuemian and the Young Miracle Doctor also entered the room, and after the group ordered, a conversation started.
Qin Yuemian said, “I think the incident this time is really too scary. One black and one white fighting it out, and we’re all stuck on the same chessboard. If only we were simply watching on the sidelines. I’m afraid that in the future we’ll also be pulled into this messy business. What does Junior Brother Ah-Xiao think?”
Ye You said, “Who knows, but I’ve already been pulled in once before.”
Qin Yuemian realized with a start that he shouldn’t have mentioned it and gave a dry cough. “Ah, why isn’t the food here yet, I’m starving.”
Ye You laughed and said, “It’s all right, I didn’t take it to heart.” Qin Yuemian gave a short laugh and no longer spoke arbitrarily.
Wenren Heng gave his Junior Brother a look. Ever since they were on the fourth piece of the map, his Junior Brother had always been in his line of sight, and those Demonic Sect Elders had also been following close behind them, so this matter with Bodhi Prison was probably done by someone else.
Was this something his Junior Brother had instructed prior to losing his memories, or was another accomplice helping his Junior Brother move this chessboard forward?
Who could it be? Wuwang Temple’s Xie Junming?
Wenren Heng was suddenly extremely dissatisfied. When looking for an accomplice, he didn’t look for his own Senior Brother and instead actually went to look for another man. Did Junior Brother really think that his Senior Brother was so unreliable? Ye You didn’t know why he felt a cold chill in the air. He looked at his Senior Brother but failed to understand a thing.
Qin Yuemian also felt somewhat cold, and looking at Wenren Heng, he thought that it was due to his ill-timed topic of conversation. He had the profound thought that he was about to be out of luck, so he decided to pretend as if he didn’t exist and lowered his head to study the teacup in his hands. He decided to take the little fool to the bookstore the moment they finished eating, even if knives started raining from the sky.
During the period of time these people were eating, the subordinates had already found an inn and put everything in order.
Ye You was following his Senior Brother to the inn but, after a few steps, said, “Senior Brother, I want to walk by myself for a bit.”
Wenren Heng gave him a look. “To go where?” Ye You said, “Wherever.”
Wenren Heng didn’t ask him if he wanted to meet up with those Elders of the Demonic Sect or if he simply wanted to get some air, hesitating for only a moment before agreeing. “Then come back early.”
Ye You said, “I know.”
After he finished speaking, he took the umbrella from his Senior Brother and slowly walked ahead following the main road. As per usual, the scarred man followed him but, as per the Sect Master’s orders, didn’t dare get too close and could only protect him secretly.
Those Elders of the Demonic Sect were always following their Sect Master’s movements, so seeing him this time, they were immediately eager to meet up. But then they saw their Sect Master vaguely raise his hand and thereupon understood that he didn’t come to look for them. Suspicious, they said, “What does the Sect Master want to do?” “Ah, I don’t know. If he’s not looking for us, who else can he look for?”
“It couldn’t be that his martial skill is completely gone, so he’s in a bad mood?”
“Is that possible, it was the Sect Master himself who wanted us to act, how could he be in a bad mood… Wait, why is he going into a male brothel?”
Miao Wang said gravely, “Sure enough, he’s in a bad mood, so he wants to get drunk?”
The group, “…”
After a moment of deathly silence, someone suddenly had the thought. “Wait, why is it a male brothel? He likes men?”
The group, “…”
Their thoughts were exactly the same as the scarred man, who was thinking that Young Master Xiao wanted to get drunk, and also possibly wanted to visit a prostitute. He wiped away his cold sweat and hurriedly went to inform his Sect Master, or else it might be too late.