Chapter 6: New Year’s Festival

On August 1, 2017, Posted by , In Chen Yue Zhi Yao, tagged in ,, , With 3 Comments

“Speaking of New Year’s, are you going to beat up a ? Can we ask Lord Yin Shi to provide one? I’ll just watch as Yue Tui beats it up.” ─Fan Tong

“He’d only tell you that he has a little calico kitten, and not a Nian.” ─Ling Shi

“Return the kitten to me! Bastard!” ─Wei *** (For the sake of anonymity).

 

Upon hearing that the New Year was imminent and that the Eastern City had some special traditional activities planned in place, Fan Tong merely blinked his eyes, unable to react.

Who would’ve thought that Huan Shi also celebrates the New Year? As expected, as long as you put your mind to it, you can find things that you are familiar with even in a different world.

They had half a month’s time before the last day of the year arrived. To prepare for the New Year, they needed to clean the house, make some peace charms, and prepare their offerings… Basically, they had many things to do, especially for the debt-ridden Fan Tong. He had to work in order to pay off his debt again.

After receiving the grass green tassel, Fan Tong still owed the Eastern City 250 strings of money after deducting the sum of his salary for the month and his wages from his part time jobs. And this was after he’d borrowed money from Yue Tui. Like usual, both of them with penniless and lacking in food.

Zhu Sha had some money saved up, but he obviously wouldn’t treat them to meals. They had to make do with public rations in the end. Upon hearing that the public rations would be different during the New Year’s period, Fan Tong couldn’t help but be a little excited .

Speaking of which, Yue Tui hadn’t demanded any compensation fees from Yin Shi yet, which bothered Fan Tong for a long time. For someone rich like Yin Shi, Fan Tong felt that it wouldn’t be too extreme to scam some money out of him. But the one who’d died wasn’t him, and Yue Tui had already made his decision, so Fan Tong couldn’t say anything.

If Yue Tui could extort some compensation money out of Yin Shi, we’d be living comfortable lives─

Fan Tong knew that it wasn’t good to have a “If Yue Tui had money he would definitely take care of me so Yue Tui’s money is closely related to me” mentality, but that was easier said than done. In the end, principles were worthless in the face of poverty.

As for the “seal Chen Yue” matter, he was still feeling glum about it.

He had tried to discuss it with Yue Tui before, but he’d given up after forcing out two unintelligible and reversed sentences. Regardless, he wasn’t in any rush; he could wait until Yue Tui could read the Eastern City’s language before communicating with writing. This would make the explanation clearer. After taking some classes, Yue Tui could now understand nearly half of the Eastern City’s language. Fan Tong believed that the day he could use writing to communicate with Yue Tui would soon arrive. New Residents all had plenty of time, he could wait.

Ever since being promoted to a grass green tassel, Fan Tong’s growth had stagnated. He hadn’t advanced the slightest bit towards a dark green tassel.

It wasn’t that he didn’t want to be promoted, but rather that he’d given up after learning that he had to pass the Wu Shu Tractor Teacher’s test before he could rise to a dark green tassel.

Despite carrying a grass green tassel, he only had the ability of a white tassel. How was he going to pass the test? He’d probably end up being toyed with before being marked as a failure.

While the condition for promotion proved to be difficult for Fan Tong, it wasn’t the case for others. Compared to gathering goods, passing the Tractor Teacher’s test was evidently much easier. Thus, Yue Tui, Bi Rou, and Zhu Sha were all dark green tassels now.

Zhu Sha should’ve passed the test through the normal route. As for Bi Rou, Fan Tong wasn’t sure if she’d used her beauty as a trap, or if she’d used her connections with “high-level” people to help her pass. Yue Tui was the only one whose circumstances he could ask about, so when Yue Tui came home with a dark green tassel, Fan Tong immediately rushed over.

“How was it? Did you beat up that Tractor Teacher until he was half dead?”

If he personally had that kind of strength, he would probably use the promotion as an excuse to get revenge.

“Teacher didn’t let me make a move. He just directly promoted me,” Yue Tui replied with a wry smile.

That Tractor Teacher didn’t even give people a chance to take revenge. He was indeed a devious man. Fan Tong suddenly wondered if he was related to Mi Zhong.

Being promoted to a dark green tassel proved to be troublesome for Yue Tui; the number of people seeking to duel him had greatly increased now that grass green tassels could challenge him as well. The number of times he was stopped while walking outside increased along with the number of challengers. Even watching from the sidelines, Fan Tong found it a bit annoying.

“Yue Tui, do you want to try killing some of them? That way, the number of people that come looking for trouble will increase.”

He meant to say that after killing a few, the rest of the challengers would be intimidated and disappear. However, his words had been reversed once more.

“Exactly, I think there would be more people looking for trouble if I killed a few. It’s quite worrisome…”

Even with his words reversed, Yue Tui was somehow able to continue the conversation. Fan Tong was speechless.

In short, their lives had gotten busier because it was almost New Year’s. Yue Tui hadn’t forgotten what he’d promised before and accompanied Fan Tong to work. Fan Tong was touched by the gesture, and decided that he would definitely repay Yue Tui if he had a chance in his next life.

As for why not in this lifetime… Obviously because Yue Tui was way better than him in all aspects. There was no way he’d have any opportunity to repay Yue Tui.

“Yue Tui, Fan Tong!”

On the first day of New Year’s preparations, Bi Rou called after the two of them just as they were about to head out to work.

“Something wrong?” Yue Tui turned around, he was polite yet indifferent.

Yue Tui, exactly what do you have against Bi Rou? Just say it straight out. What kind of man faces a beautiful woman with that kind of expression? Even if the beautiful woman is taken, you shouldn’t be like this.

Ah! Did something happen between you and Zhu Sha without me knowing? If that’s the case, I can understand. Zhu Sha seems like the jealous type whether if he were a man or a woman. If you were caught cheating, it would be disastrous… But is that really the case? Probably not, right?

“Do you want to celebrate the New Year together? Yin Shi, Ling Shi-dage, and I already agreed to celebrate it together. If everyone comes, it’ll be more lively.”

Have we already become the type of people who do everything together?

Fan Tong was a bit perplexed. Why did it sound perfectly normal to him to celebrate the New Year with Lord Yin Shi and Long Ling Shi? This shouldn’t be normal, right?

“I don’t care, ask Fan Tong.”

Yue Tui didn’t look very interested, and gave the decision to Fan Tong.

“Huh? I don’t care either.” If he said “Sure,” it might be twisted to “No.” But if he said “No,” it might not be twisted to “Sure.” In the end, Fan Tong chose a reply that would be harder to mix up.

“Then we’ll celebrate together!”

Since it didn’t matter to them, Bi Rou naturally settled it herself. They’d assumed that she would let them go after agreeing, but she ended up dragging them over and discussing everything related to the event in one go, like where and how they would celebrate.

Of course, this kind of thing couldn’t be decided by a single person alone, so Bi Rou requested that they open their communication charms in order to discuss the arrangements with Yin Shi and Ling Shi.

“Ah, Xiao Yue and the mop’s master are going to celebrate the New Year with us? Then what about Xiao Zhu?”

Stop saying “the mop’s master.” I don’t even know how to retort anymore.

“We haven’t asked Zhu Sha yet,” Yue Tui replied simply.

Lord Ling Shi coughed and said that he was very busy and didn’t have time to waste. Hearing that, they went straight to the main topic.

“How do you guys want to celebrate?”

When Bi Rou asked this, Fan Tong chose to stay silent. Because he’d been alone in his original world, he’d always stayed home during New Year’s. Sometimes, he’d forget to buy food beforehand and end up running out of food because all the shops were closed… But he didn’t think that this experience was worth referencing. Anyone who wanted to celebrate the New Year that way surely had mental problems.

“I don’t really have any experience,” Yue Tui said. It was possible that he’d lived in a country that didn’t celebrate New Year’s, so not having any experience was normal.

“I normally stay by Ying’s side and organize her matters. When I don’t have any work to do, I just stay in my room.” This was Ling Shi’s response. It seemed like the New Year was any other day for him judging by the things he did.

“Ah… New Year’s celebrations are mostly the same every year. I’ve already celebrated it for many years, and it’s boring to death. Xiao Rou, how do you guys celebrate where you are from? Tell us.”

Yin Shi clearly felt that celebrations for the New Year were always the same routine over and over. He was fed up with it, and didn’t look forward to it at all. As he’d asked, Bi Rou began to talk about the Western City’s traditions.

“Hmm, I’ve never celebrated with them…but people in the Western City normally gather in small groups to exchange gifts and each person that attends must bring a handmade dish. Sometimes they choose a gathering place indoors and sometimes it’s outdoors. That’s basically it.”

When Bi Rou finished speaking, Yin Shi excitedly chimed in, “Ah, that seems really unique! We should celebrate this year using the Western City’s customs!”

Ah…?

Lord Yin Shi, you’re joking, right? Who even has the money to buy gifts? Can I gift wrap the mop and give it to someone else as a gift? Even if it was worth two hundred strings, who would be happy to receive a mop as a gift? You might be the only one who would want it, right?

“Don’t be ridiculous, can you cook?” Ling Shi mocked Yin Shi with contempt. At the same time, Fan Tong felt as if he’d been stabbed too.

That’s right, if we really need to provide handmade dishes, then I can only force everyone to accept my scary cooking skills… I can cook a strange type of porridge, but I don’t have any ingredients. Would it be ok if I just boiled the public rations and arranged it in a creative way?

“If I can’t cook, I can learn! I don’t believe that there’s something you can do that I can’t learn!”

Lord Yin Shi, your battle spirit is astounding. Exactly how many dishes will be edible this New Year?

“How well you cook doesn’t matter, your feelings are the most important.” Bi Rou was correct, but no matter what, Fan Tong still wanted to eat normal dishes.

“We don’t have the money to buy any ingredients,” Yue Tui awkwardly stated their predicament, but it clearly wasn’t a good enough excuse for Bi Rou.

“Just tell me what ingredients you want! I can help you buy them, it’s not a problem,” Bi Rou said generously. Yue Tui was rendered silent.

You obviously don’t have a problem! You have three thousand strings in savings…

“Then it’s decided!”

“Sigh, whatever.”

“You guys will need to take care of the presents yourselves, but if it’s really difficult, you can come find me and I’ll lend you money.”

After the discussion was finished, they dispersed.

Fan Tong felt greatly pressured by what they’d decided on during their discussion.

Why do I feel like we’ve been dragged into an event only upper-class rich people can afford to attend?

For today’s work, Fan Tong and Yue Tui were responsible for assisting in the production of special foods given to New Residents during the New Year’s period. Fan Tong was excited to learn that he’d be able to find out what the special foods were in advance. However, he felt uneasy at the thought of giving away the food he’d personally made; whoever received the food he’d made would be particularly unlucky.

His selfishness then kicked in and Fan Tong felt that it’d be fine as long as he wasn’t the one on the receiving end. Besides, among the people here helping out, there were bound to be some as clumsy as him. He suspected that after witnessing the creation process, he might not actually want to eat the special public rations on New Year’s Day.

As the two of them had arrived a bit early, Fan Tong started chatting with Yue Tui while they were waiting for the person in charge to arrive.

“Yue Tui, you always seem super happy whenever you see Bi Rou. Your attitude towards her is also especially cordial. Is there any particular reason?”

Oh, I meant to say that you never seem excited, and that you also treat her especially indifferently. I had no intention of sounding sarcastic…

“…Huh? Happy? Cordial?” Yue Tui’s expression slackened.

You can just say that you think I’m blind, it’s all right…

“I mean, you seem really cold to her. Why is that?”

As if God had heard Fan Tong’s pleas, he was finally able to say a correct sentence. But Yue Tui fell into a long silence at his question.

Why, why won’t you speak? If you don’t want to tell me, you can just say that there isn’t a particular reason. Although I’m really curious and that kind of answer won’t satisfy me, I would at least understand what you mean. Why are you silent?

“Fan Tong,” Yue Tui said after a long silence. However, he didn’t directly answer the question. “If you were killed by someone and then one day you came across them, what would you do?”

Fan Tong was a bit shocked by the sudden question, but judging from Yue Tui’s serious and heavy tone of voice, he knew that the other had asked it after careful deliberation.

Bi Rou killed Yue Tui? That can’t be, right? Wait, is Yue Tui also someone from this world? Ah? Oh? Huh?

“No.” Yue Tui knew what Fan Tong was thinking, and shook his head at Fan Tong’s guess. “I just want to know what would you do. I feel…a bit lost.”

Oh, as long as Bi Rou wasn’t the killer. If one of my friends killed another one of my friends, I really wouldn’t know what to do. Then again, what are you at loss for? Are you thinking about your wounds and nightmares again?

“Fan Tong, can you tell me what you would do?”

Seeing Yue Tui’s serious expression, Fan Tong felt that it would be wrong if he didn’t give an elaborate reply. He imagined himself encountering someone who had killed him and replied, “I would first point at that genius and praise him greatly. I would then gently caress his vital points and not let him go until I’ve finished expressing my happiness. Essentially, I would make him wish for death.”

While Fan Tong was speaking, he felt as if a cold wind was blowing through him while a crow was cawing awkwardly in the background. To his expectations, Yue Tui’s expression became extremely strange.

“Fan Tong, your thoughts are…very unique. However, I don’t think that’s a good idea,” Yue Tui forced out after a long silence.

You don’t have to force yourself to admonish me. Also, please, can’t you figure out that I’d misspoke? And are you saying that it’s not a good idea because my personality is twisted or because it would be bad for the person on the receiving end?

Seeing that Fan Tong made no effort to reply, Yue Tui lowered his head awkwardly. “I’m sorry, I’d probably asked the wrong question…”

Don’t be like this! Don’t apologize when you don’t understand the reply to a question that you’d asked! I was saying that I would point at the scum and curse him to the heavens. I would then ruthlessly beat him up by striking all his vital points. I wouldn’t let him go until I’d finished expressing my fury and make him wish for death. This is clearly a normal reply, isn’t it?

“Yue, Tui, then what about you?”

Fan Tong gave up on the idea of trying to reverse the horrible image he’d just given himself. More accurately, he’d lost hope ages ago. He didn’t care about his image at all, it was completely beyond saving.

“Huh?”

Yue Tui hadn’t imagined that Fan Tong would continue the topic. Faced with his own question, Yue Tui frowned, seemingly not sure of how to answer.

Fan Tong might have just used any stranger as his murderer, but Yue Tui knew the identity of his killer. Due to the different circumstances, Yue Tui didn’t quite know how to answer.

“Yue Tui, are you contemplating how you would repay your gratitude towards them or whether you would forgive them?”

I mean how you would take revenge, not repay some stupid gratitude, rotten curse…

Yue Tui looked at Fan Tong with confusion. It looked like he was unable to figure out the reasoning behind repaying gratitude.

“I think that you should inflict pain on the person who made you suffer, you shouldn’t be too kind.”

Thank god the sentence came out correctly. If it had turned into something like “bring joy to the person who made you suffer” or “inflict pain on the person who brings you joy”, Yue Tui will start  wondering if I’m a masochist or a sadist…

Upon hearing Fan Tong, Yue Tui’s expression became somewhat complicated. Another long while passed before he answered, “I’m…not actually kind.”

Fan Tong was shocked. In his mind, Yue Tui was a very kind-hearted child. He didn’t understand why Yue Tui would describe himself as unkind.

Does that mean you’ve decided to enact revenge? That’s a good thing, bad people should die a rotten death, hahaha.

Hmm? Wait, he still hasn’t answered my original question. Exactly why don’t you like Bi Rou? Also, is it possible for you to meet your murderer again? Are you really someone from this world after all? I have so many questions, but I can’t even properly ask a single one…

“Fan Tong, it’s better if we talk about something else instead. What do you plan on doing with the presents?

Oi, oi! Don’t just switch topics! What about Bi Rou?!

“You still haven’t answered my question about Bi Rou…”

“…There really isn’t an issue between us, perhaps you’re being oversensitive. Why don’t we think about what to do with the gifts?”

Do you know how obvious you are why you lie? If you’re so clumsy at lying, then don’t try to lie. But I can tell you don’t want to reply to my question, sigh.

In the end, they never discussed what to do about the gifts as the person in charge had arrived. The two of them, along with the other workers, moved to another location.

Fan Tong didn’t see Mi Zhong among the crowd, which he was grateful for. There was finally a day when he could work without being together with Mi Zhong. Being with Yue Tui was always much better than being with Mi Zhong. He could be cheerful for the whole day and not be constantly nagged at.

Despite working together with Yue Tui, Fan Tong’s expression darkened upon knowing what their job entailed.

The public rations being distributed on New Year’s Day were rice balls, so their job today was to make rice balls.

Each person had to prepare 400 rice balls, and they weren’t allowed to go home until they’ve finished.

The fact that each person had to make 400 rice balls was enough to make Fan Tong despair. While calculating how much time it would take in total if making one rice ball took two minutes without stopping in between, Fan Tong took in the 40+ ingredients that they’d been given.

The person in charge had said that they were free to choose the fillings they wanted to put inside.

They wanted each person to make 400 rice balls, yet they refused to give them simpler ingredients. Wasn’t that just asking for them to drop dead from exhaustion?

Fan Tong kind of wanted to just start wrapping plain rice balls without any fillings. Either way, it was impossible to tell from the outside what kind of filling the rice balls contained. Making plain rice balls would save him a lot of effort.

However, an evil idea started to wag its tail inside his head. With so many ingredients, it’d be easy to make some “creative” rice balls. He might not be able to see the expressions of the people eating them, but it was still amusing when he imagined how people would react upon eating something like a cilantro, chili pepper, and Chinese cinnamon combo rice ball…

Fan Tong was sure that quite a few people were thinking similar things. These public rations that were supposed to be handed out on New Year’s Day were actually terrifying bombs. He really needed to reconsider whether he wanted to stand in line and obtain a few.

But the next sentence the person in charge said dispelled all his notions of making “creative” rice balls. Aside from wages, they could also choose 10 rice balls among the ones they’d made to take back as food at the end of the day.

This was extra food. Although they could pick up more rice balls to eat on New Year’s Day, seeing as how there were 40 different fillings, Fan Tong didn’t trust others to make safe ones for consumption. It was good that he could choose from the ones he’d made himself; he would at least have a general idea of what was inside them.

Knowing that he would be eating ten out of the four hundred, Fan Tong decided to make large rice balls. He stuffed filling after filling into the abnormally large rice ball in his hand, to the point that Yue Tui stopped to stare at his outrageous actions.

“Fan Tong, you don’t need to make them so large, right?”

This is called being greedy, you wouldn’t understand.

“Yue Tui, yours are too large. You’re clearly benefiting from others’ expense.”

That’s not it! I’m saying that yours are too small and that you’re losing out that way.

“Huh? Are these too large? But yours are clearly larger than mine.”

Yue Tui looked at his own rice balls with surprise. He thought that the ones he’d made were the perfect size.

Fan Tong replied with a few indistinct grunts before focusing once again on his rice balls, hoping that Yue Tui would ignore what he’d said.

At first, Fan Tong tackled the rice balls with great ambition, but after finishing nearly 100 of them, he was starting to become impatient.

His plans for creative rice balls were starting to stir again. If he were going to make the rice balls randomly, then there wasn’t a need to make them particularly large. Fan Tong discovered that it was much more fun to make them however he pleased. He hummed a little tune to himself while working, content enough that it didn’t even feel like he was working.

Although he was enjoying himself, the amount of time required to make 400 rice balls wasn’t going to decrease. In other words, an increase in mood didn’t translate to an increase in work efficiency. By the time he’d finished 300 rice balls, ten hours had passed since when he’d first started working. Although he could steal some rice and fillings as lunch and afternoon tea as time passed, he still had to hurry up so that he could go home and sleep.

While he was stuck at 300, Yue Tui had already finished all 400 rice balls. Fan Tong didn’t know how well Yue Tui had made his, but it was a fact that Yue Tui had finished faster. Fortunately, Yue Tui wasn’t cold-hearted enough to just watch from the side while Fan Tong worked.

“Fan Tong, how many have you finished? I’m done, do you want me to help?”

Of course, Fan Tong was extremely grateful to have someone help out.

“Don’t mention it! I don’t need any help.”

Opening his mouth to reply was his greatest mistake.

As his pride kept him from trying to explain his misspoken words, Fan Tong could only continue making his rice balls alone. After another two hours, he finally finished.

“Here, these are your rice balls.”

After the two of them pushed their trolleys full of rice balls over to hand them in, they each received 10 of their own rice balls. Seeing that there weren’t any particularly large ones among the ten he’d received, Fan Tong’s expression soured. While walking back to their dorm, they tried out the results of their work today.

Fan Tong gathered up his courage and took a bite of his rice ball, at the first bite, Fan Tong felt as if he had won a prize. Of course, it wasn’t any good prize. Out of curiosity, Yue Tui also tried a bite of Fan Tong’s rice ball, and made an ugly expression as well. At that moment, all of Fan Tong’s hopes were pinned on the rice balls Yue Tui had made.

Yue Tui wasn’t stingy. Since Fan Tong wanted to try, Yue Tui passed a rice ball to him.

“Wow, Yue Tui, this rice ball of yours isn’t small, yet it’s so light…ack!”

When Fan Tong bit down on Yue Tui’s small and sturdy rice ball, he cried out.

It’s rock hard!

Yue Tui! Exactly how much strength did you use to make these?! Is this really a rice ball? I can’t get any grip on it with my teeth! They’re so small, yet so heavy; how much rice did you compress together?

Do you have something against rice balls? Why would you knead them with so much strength?

“Is something wrong?”

“It’s inedible.”

Fan Tong didn’t try to be courteous and bluntly pointed out the core issue.

If he couldn’t even bite into it, then it was obviously inedible. Maybe they could use it as a throwing weapon. A shotput?

“What’s wrong with it?”

Yue Tui tried to take a bite himself and immediately made a face.

This is great. You don’t seem human in many aspects, but it looks like your teeth are still identical to the average person’s.

“It looks like…none of these are edible.” Yue Tui smiled awkwardly. Fan Tong then suggested a horrible idea, “Why don’t we try soaking it in water?”

That way, it could turn into the porridge he normally ate.

Otherwise, what could they do, leaving them like this would be a waste.

“Forget it, I’ll just give them all to Zhu Sha.”

At Yue Tui’s suggestion, Fan Tong wanted to agree that it was a good idea. Either way, Zhu Sha could eat anything. He definitely wouldn’t have an issue eating either Fan Tong’s strange tasting rice balls or Yue Tui’s steel-like ones.

Eventually, aside from the two they’d already bitten into, they gave the rest of the eighteen rice balls to Zhu Sha as gifts. Zhu Sha was confused as to why he’d received so many rice balls, but he still accepted them with thanks.

During the New Year’s preparation period, Fan Tong and Yue Tui were busy working and earning money, while Bi Rou was happily spending the money that Yin Shi had given her to attend various New Year’s activities. The difference in how they’d spent their time only solidified Fan Tong’s belief that there was indeed a huge difference between people’s fates. Bi Rou’s were simply that of one blessed with great luck and fate; no matter what obstacles stood in her way, she could avoid the disaster and still live a happy life blessed with wealth. In comparison, Yue Tui seemed to lead a life with many obstacles, but Yue Tui’s features were too complex for Fan Tong to decipher in just one glance. If he had the chance, he felt that doing a palm or a character reading for Yue Tui would be a good idea. But Yue Tui had already died, using stuff from his previous life to determine the path of his current one didn’t seem very reliable

While they were diligently earning money, Zhu Sha was studying intently like a good student. He didn’t seem interested in moneymaking, and he’d rejected Bi Rou’s invitation to the New Year’s gathering because he thought cooking and preparing gifts was a pain. He was someone who lived in his own world and moved at his own pace.

“Should we invite Luo Shi?” Even amidst their busy schedule, Yue Tui was somehow still able to think of this.

“If you don’t want to invite him, then don’t. If you do, then go ahead.” Fan Tong didn’t care; besides, the gathering wasn’t his idea.

“Then I’ll try asking.” Yue Tui took out his communication charm and contacted Luo Shi. After exchanging a few words, he ended the connection with a regretful expression.

“How is it?”

“Luo Shi said he’s really busy over New Year’s and might not have time.”

Oh? Is he busy or is he just declining out of embarrassment? Why didn’t you speak some more with him? Based on my experience, if you ask him a few more times, he’ll surrender and say he’s free. I think you gave up a bit too early…

“When are we working tomorrow?”

“Fan Tong, we don’t have work tomorrow.”

I know, I meant to ask about today…

“I mean, when do we work next year?”

Yue Tui looked at him strangely.

“We still don’t know about next year’s work. Or have you already made arrangements?”

No! I’m…ugh, I can’t say any of it properly…

“It’s about time for our work at Shen Dian Wang, we should leave.”

In the end, he received the answer he’d been looking for. Only, the process made him feel dejected.

The day before the New Year’s gathering, they had to go to Shen Wang Dian and do some cleaning. Logically, there should be servants cleaning the palace, but it seemed that something had happened, leading to a shortage in the cleaning staff. Thus, they’d been hired to help.

Even after working hard to clean everything up until the Fourth Palace, they still hadn’t encountered Yin Shi and the others. Perhaps they knew that random people were coming to clean and had chosen to stay inside in order to avoid accidents or troubles.

After cleaning out the Fourth Palace, the person in charge stopped them from advancing to the Fifth Palace.

“Her Majesty’s living quarters is ahead. There is no need to go over there; Her Majesty doesn’t like outsiders approaching it.”

Is that the case? Don’t tell me Lord Ling Shi cleans it out alone.

“But doesn’t Lord Hui Shi also live in the Fifth Palace?”

“Lord Luo Shi has been responsible for organizing people to clean out Lord Hui Shi’s living quarters these past years. We shouldn’t meddle.”

Luo Shi?

Hui Shi isn’t here anymore, but Luo Shi still goes to clean his quarters. I wonder if I should be calling him considerate…

It was already night by the time they’d finished cleaning. However, the next night was when the gathering was going to happen. If they didn’t come up with dishes or presents right now, they’d end up with nothing, which would be bad. Fan Tong and Yue Tui dragged their tired bodies around and racked their brains for any ideas.

“Fan Tong, have you cooked before?”

“Yes, but it probably doesn’t count.”

The porridge that I can make…rather than calling it cooking, it’s probably more appropriate to call it a chemistry experiment.

“What should we do about tomorrow?”

What should we do? Even if you ask me, I don’t know either. Maybe salad?

“Should we…buy some ingredients and make rice balls?”

Did you forget that the rice balls you made were completely inedible? How many rice balls do you plan to sacrifice while you test out how much force you should be exerting?

“Either way, it should be fine as long we do it with good intentions. It doesn’t matter if it tastes disgusting or delicious, they’re different either way.”

“Disgusting and delicious are definitely different.”

Stop nitpicking at my wording… Or rather, stop making fun of me for constantly misspeaking.

At that moment, Fan Tong suddenly thought of a good idea. There was another guy they could ask.

“Puhahaha, wake up. Do you know how to cook?”

Having fallen to the point where he was asking a mop how to cook, Fan Tong felt that he could be called a genius.

Yue Tui watched blankly as he pulled out Puhahaha. Who knew what he was thinking about?

“Huha… This horsetail whisk obviously cannot. A nobleman stays clear of the kitchen.”

Who’s a nobleman… Exactly how are you like one, please tell me.

“What, you’re really useless. You can’t even cook despite living so long.”

Not bad, my complaint hadn’t been reversed. Otherwise, I’d be really annoyed.

“I don’t need to eat, why would I study cooking? I’m clearly a weapon, not a kitchen tool. Your request is unreasonable.”

Weren’t you half asleep before? Why are you suddenly speaking so clearly and fluently? Are you awake now?

“When outside the house, a weapon should help their master contend against an enemy. When at home, a weapon should act as the master’s capable wife. This is only right and proper!”

Huh? I’ve also started speaking clearly and fluently? Being able to speak two sentences in a row without any reversed words all of a sudden is a bit hard to accept.

“Hmph. This horsetail whisk doesn’t want to marry anyone, and even if I did, it wouldn’t be to you. Who would want to become your wife?”

What! You dare to hmph at me? Also, aren’t you forgetting that you’re male?

“The hell are you saying, I really want to marry you.”

As expected, happy occasions never number more than two. My words were reversed again, and it chose to do it in the worst direction.

“…Ill fate, such an ill fate. After all this time, I wasn’t able to find a master I admired. Even after choosing one that barely seems decent, it turns out that all he does is flap his lips all day and assault me. He doesn’t even have any actual skills. Why, oh why, truly, why can’t an outstanding weapon like me find a master that is good enough to match me?”

All I did was misspeak, yet you prattle on and on about my bad qualities. Aren’t you going a little overboard? You belittle me while praising yourself. Do you think of yourself as the main character of some melodrama?

“Fan Tong…”

Fan Tong wanted to reason with Puhahaha, but Yue Tui suddenly called out his name with a peculiar expression.

I’m doomed. I didn’t ask for Puhahaha to speak out loud, so Yue Tui only heard what I’d said and not what that mop said. What kind of misunderstandings have formed this time?

“No matter how good a person’s relationship is with their weapon, it’s still best if you realize the difference in species. Even if you really like it, you shouldn’t think of it as a human that you can marry.”

Please don’t advise me so seriously with such a worried expression. I don’t, I really don’t have that kind of preference at all, okay? Moreover, do you not know that this thing is male?

“Did you hear that? Your friend is much more sensible than you. Don’t bother trying to delude yourself any further.”

I can’t believe you’re taking advantage of the misunderstanding to insult me more. Despicable!

“Just go back to sleep. I don’t want to talk to you anymore, I can’t deal with you anymore.”

The frequency at which I can correctly talk to Puhahaha has increased. Does that mean our spirits are becoming interlinked?

“Fan Tong, you shouldn’t be too cold to your weapon just because you can’t marry it.”

In the end, after discussing the issue for a long time, they decided on some basic ingredients and requested for Bi Rou to buy them. They would wait until tomorrow to deal with it.

 

◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword

When I was really, really young, when my parents were still healthy and alive, I celebrated New Year’s with them. My memories from when I was little are blurred now though. All I remember is that there were a lot of things we had to do, and it was both busy and lively. We would be so busy that everything blended together and in the blink of an eye the New Year would have passed. Everything would end, and everyone would leave to return home.

Whenever it was time to say our goodbyes, I never wanted to leave. I’d always be crestfallen on the way home. After returning to our own house, the home I’d lived in for so long suddenly felt cold. It was then that I realized that humans were truly social creatures. Upon separating from everyone else, one would truly feel lonesome.

Then again, one could only feel lonely after experiencing liveliness, right? In reality, when I was small, I lived with my parents and I never really felt lonely. By the time I was truly alone, I’d also gotten used to it and it wasn’t unbearable anymore.

Don’t give me such a pitying look, I’ve never found myself pitiful. My father claimed himself as someone who had , and he had told us long ago that he would die the day I turned thirteen. He would emphasize that it had been decreed by fate, and that we shouldn’t feel too sad… I asked him why it had to be on my birthday, and his reply was that it would be easier to remember. If one’s father’s last day was the same day as one’s birthday, it would take less brain cells to remember. His reply had made me speechless.

After hearing something like that, I’d thought that my father was capable of choosing his own day of death, and had purposely chosen my birthday… I had a headstrong father who was determined to die on his own son’s birthday. But I can’t complain much, I still respected him very much. Before he died, he had taught all his skills to me, so that I could earn my living from the fortune-telling shop. That way, he could pass on to another world at ease without worrying about me and my mother starving to death.

However, the fortune-telling shop didn’t do well, and only improved after I had been cursed by that woman… Another world, ah, speaking of another world, my father couldn’t have come to Huan Shi too, right? Should I go find Luo Shi and ask him to check the residents list?

But he didn’t have any unfulfilled wishes when he’d died, the possibility doesn’t seem very high.

It’s probably best that I don’t check.

If I really do find him, and then discover that my weak-limbed father had been living in this world for so long as a white tassel… That’s not something that can be solved by crying a few tears. It would be too sad!

No, Dad didn’t have any speech problems after all. Even if he were a modern man with no dreams like me, a person that couldn’t learn Shu Fa, he would at least be able to use Fu Zhou! With Dad’s aptitude, I’m sure he’d be able to become a red tassel without a problem! If that were the case, maybe I should find him, and ask him to help his debt-ridden son, and get some spending money…

But with my current condition, it’s possible that I’ll call him “Mom” instead of “Dad” upon seeing him. Then he’d probably grab a broom and sweep me out the door while fiercely cursing at me.

Oh, I don’t even know if Dad really came here, yet I’m thinking so much. Aren’t I just getting upset over nothing?

Perhaps it’s because New Year’s has made me remember the past… Sigh.

 

Next:
Previous: Chapter 5: Yue Luo Territory
Return: Main Page

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Translator: TaffyGirl13
Proofreaders: Nannyn

年兽 (nián shòu). According to Chinese mythology, the Nian is a beast that comes out of hiding during the New Year to feed on crops and children. It is weak to loud noises, fire, and the color red. Hence, when celebrating the New Year, or 过年 (guò nián), people will light up firecrackers and dress up in red to intimidate and ward off the Nian.
Studying someone’s face is a way of fortune telling. Much like palm reading.
A concept of Daoist philosophy. Someone who has achieved the Dao (the way), has become unified with the Dao and has become a perfected person. It requires distancing oneself from conventional ideas and values set in place by society. A disengagement from the baggage of society, yet not a withdrawal from life.

Chapter 5: Yue Luo Territory

On February 1, 2017, Posted by , In Chen Yue Zhi Yao, tagged in ,, , With 7 Comments

“An unreasonable ruler, a rotten society, foolish citizens…” – Yiye
“Yiye, how can you be so rude to His Majesty?” – Ya Mei Die
“…and incorrigible servants.” – Yiye

 

There were only two countries in Huan Shi. One of them, the Eastern City, faced the direction of the sunrise. The other, the Western City, looked at the Eastern City from afar, always greeting the sinking of the moon.

In contrast to the Eastern City’s architecture and its residents’ social structure, the Western City flaunted its magnificent and ornate fashion. Its atmosphere was unlike the silent air of mystery in the Eastern City.

The streets of the Western City were often lively only during daytime, and all activities tended to occur under sunlight. Soon after dark, not even open businesses could be found. At most,  there were shops that required insider knowledge to find or shady businesses doing dishonest trades.

Aside from preventing businesses from running at night, the Western City also forbade people from loitering around in the streets after dark. If a resident was caught stepping out of their home, they would be taken back once found by the guards. This sort of restriction on the residents had existed for a long time. Initially, the reason for it was that the Emperor disliked people gathering and scheming at night about illegal activities. How many generations of Emperors ago this restriction was set, no more than a few people could really say.

If one had the will, they could still conspire in the daytime. It’s just that there would be more people during the day, and it’d be harder to hide from the public eye. Also, work and school were both carried out in the day. Most people who lived in the Western City would not have much free time in the daytime for other things. That’s why nighttime activities were restricted.

Logically, only guards would be strolling the streets at night. If someone received an urgent order from the government to leave at night, they would bring the appropriate documents to pass document check with the guards. The guards naturally recognized each other, so they would check all new faces they saw. It’s the law.

As for the one silently walking on the streets now, however, the guards wouldn’t dare do the usual check on him even if they had ten times more guts. Everyone agreed to just assume he was carrying out a governmental order. If they saw him, they’d just greet him from far away.

It didn’t matter whether he was actually out for a mission, bored and getting some fresh air, taking a stroll because he’s feeling unhappy, or even plotting to take down Englar – for their own safety, the guards only wanted to keep a safe distance away and not ask questions. Whose fault was it that the Magic Sword Guard had such a high social status and that Yiye himself carried a fearful air of power and attitude?

To Yiye, he did find it more comfortable that these people were too scared to approach him. It’d be best if they didn’t even say “Hello Lord Yiye.” Despite it being basic courtesy, being greeted constantly really annoyed him.

When it came to social relationships, he had utterly lacked them his entire life, and he had no plans to amend this. He enjoyed doing things alone and disliked being bound to any person or thing. Dealing with other people only irritated him.

As for why he had accepted the Young Emperor’s commendation to become a Magic Sword Guard, mostly it was because that old man at home kept nagging, telling him to honor the country. After meeting Ya Mei Die, he often suspected that the old man was actually Ya Mei Die’s father, not his, since the two of them had the exact same mental wiring. It was not even tangent to his own way of thinking.

Since that old man at home wasn’t even here anymore, Yiye was not going to be as obedient as he was before. As for whether he would get fed up with this job and resign, that would depend on how far his coworkers and supervisors pushed his limits.

His main reason for walking about in the streets at this time was to find Ya Mei Die. As for why Ya Mei Die would be out now… he didn’t want to know at all.

As for why he didn’t want to know, based on his instincts, it probably had to do with Englar again, whom he hated so much recently.

Technically, the Magic Sword Guards were the close subordinates of Englar, but in reality, ever since they saw Englar that first day they were hired, they’d never come in contact with Englar again. Englar never gave orders to them. Their usual work was only to come along as guards whenever he appeared in public –––the elders wouldn’t even let them know when it was the actual person on the seat instead of a body double again.

Yiye always felt like Englar and the elders had made loafers out of the Magic Sword Guards, whose jobs supposedly involved great responsibilities. This certainly wasn’t a good feeling, especially since none of the Magic Sword Guards were useless.

Every time they headed out together and he saw Englar decorated with the same three golden threads as himself, Yiye couldn’t help but sneer.

Why would Englar need the protection of the Magic Sword Guards? This system should only exist if the Emperor didn’t have power himself, right?

Englar didn’t need them. Even though they had never talked to each other and he could not tell what the Young Emperor was thinking, Yiye’s instinct told him such.

This was proven true five years ago. When an emergency came upon the Western City, when the Eastern City was about to break through the last bits of their army, the Magic Sword Guards were told to stay inside the city; yet, the person they were supposed to protect took up his sword and rushed straight into the battleground without wearing any armor.

It had ended with an overwhelming victory. That had also clarified one thing: Englar only needed himself. What guard or protective barrier? It was all a joke.

In the past, the elders had used the Emperor’s young age as a reason to hide his face from the public. For the supposed sake of safety, even if it was a holiday or a required ritual, they’d often have a substitute take his place. The cloth on Englar’s face also hid half his face, so the substitute only needed to have a similar vibe. The problem was that the Magic Sword Guards never knew who resembled whom.

The only thing they knew for sure was, the one who had gone out to battle five years ago was real. As for the rest, they wouldn’t know.

Actually, it was pretty odd for Englar to hide his eyes and brow with a piece of cloth. Some guessed that he was blind. Some joked this was to make it easier for the substitutes, so that their eye colors wouldn’t have to match…

These things weren’t that important anymore. If what had bothered Yiye before was the lack of contact with his superior-in-name or that he didn’t understand what kind of person Englar was, now it was because of his new “understanding.” This was a feeling that made him find never understanding much preferable.

He felt anger against a foolish ruler – what others might call dreams being crushed. Recently, Englar had appeared much more frequently, as though coming of age had led him to start taking power into his own hands. But as for some of his actions, though they could have been tests, let’s just say he’d wanted to make a fool of people. He would use his power to toy with his subordinates in order to show off his level of influence.

Yiye found that the Magic Sword Guards were among the people he toyed with. Though some believed he’s now becoming an adult, no one actually knew his real age. He had started doing some things that were outside of the elders’ decisions. For example, the task to pluck feathers last time was an order Yiye would never forget.

Receiving this sort of outrageous order was supposed to garner objection, yet he had to have an idiot of a partner who trusted the Emperor enough to die for him. Seeing that partner maddened Yiye all the more.

After Yiye had struck Ya Mei Die unconscious and brought him back that day, Ya Mei Die had still been flustered about being unable to carry out their order and had reprimanded Yiye with no restraint. Yiye had almost resorted to violence again so that Ya Mei Die would stop talking and Yiye could therefore achieve some peace and silence.

The reason why Yiye didn’t straight up obliterate Ya Mei Die was probably because of Ya Mei Die’s similarity to the old man who was no longer here. Even though Yiye didn’t like the other man, he would unconsciously let things pass and then become agitated again… It’s a terrible situation.

Winding through several passageways, Yiye finally saw a depressed Ya Mei Die on the streets and walked straight over. Ya Mei Die noticed him as soon as he approached and therefore looked in his direction.

“Yiye? Why are you here…”

“I should be asking what you’re doing here.”

Even though he did not want to know the reason why Ya Mei Die was here at all, as it’d only make him angry, Yiye still couldn’t help asking the question after seeing the person.

“You know as well. We’ve been back half a month now. His Majesty should know already, but he didn’t ask us about the task regarding the chicken feathers, and I’m too afraid to report back because we never finished our task…”

Don’t talk to me about the chicken feathers anymore––! Yiye’s face started to twitch.

“This half month, I’ve been trying to patch up the remainder, but it’s honestly so difficult to sneak into Ye Zhi without being caught. I went back and forth multiple times, but it’s still not enough to make a pillow. , so I wanted to roam the streets to see if anyone was selling Ye Zhi’s chicken feathers, but in the end…”

Yiye didn’t want to speak anymore. Ya Mei Die continued to blabber on by himself.

“In the end, it got too late and the stores closed. I walked around everywhere, and none of the stores were open. I was about to give up, but then you appeared.”

So what if the stores are closed? You’re a Magic Sword Guard. What’s wrong with booking the entire place with an order and looking at their stock?

Or have you also come to realize that using your authority to buy chicken feathers is a really embarrassing ordeal?

“Yiye, did you want to find me for something?”

No matter what, he had to take care of the matters he came here for, and so Yiye handed an envelope over from his pockets.

“I’m applying for a three-month vacation. Starting tomorrow. You go help me find someone to replace me.”

He didn’t even want to say “His Majesty” anymore. Ya Mei Die was dumbfounded for a moment before he realized something was not right.

“Wait! Three months? That long? And what about the worship ceremony tomorrow? You’re not planning on going?”

“No. That’s why I’m handing it over to you to pass on the word.”

“How can you be absent? We’re the Magic Sword Guards who are supposed to ensure His Majesty’s safety!”

“He’s so strong. Why would he need anyone’s protection?”

To be honest, Yiye’s feelings toward this so-called superior were very complicated.

On one hand, he felt useless staying, but on the other, he didn’t want to lower his head to someone weaker than himself. He wouldn’t be able to serve wholeheartedly.

Perhaps the latter made up a larger portion of his feelings, which had kept him on the job, at least until now?

Rather than acknowledging this person as his master, he’d much rather have a fight with him to see who’s stronger.

“Yiye…”

“Don’t say anything. No matter what you say, I won’t show up tomorrow. I’ve given my leave of absence to you. I’ll leave the rest to your judgement.”

His goal had been achieved, so Yiye didn’t want to dally any longer. Ignoring Ya Mei Die’s calls to his back, he easily made himself disappear with a magic spell and began his boring three-month vacation.

That’s right, a boring vacation. Even if he took a break, he had nothing else to do. It was a vacation he simply took to avoid events like this.

Boring was boring, but at least leaving this chaotic and messy place could give him some peace of mind.

The Western City held more than one type of worship ceremonies. Today, the ceremony would be held at the tomb of past emperors. As the ceremony was an event held by the royal family, the young emperor was naturally the star of the show; ordinary civilians were not allowed to participate.

The tomb of the past emperors resided outside the city limits, so the young emperor’s procession of carriages was required to leave the city. In contrast to the Eastern City where events were open to the welcoming public, in the Western City, the roads that the young emperor’s procession would take were closed off and restricted to unrelated personnel. The young emperor himself would be riding inside a carriage, concealing his face.

The protective measures could be considered excessively strict, but it’d already been this way for many years. The Western City’s residents had become mostly accustomed to the tradition. Even though the storeowners of stores located on closed-off roads bemoaned the lack of business, they did not have the power to object.

Originally, the residents of the city didn’t possess much love or respect for the young emperor. The war five years ago, however, had somewhat altered their impression of their ruler. After all, the young emperor had defended their country during the war, which was equivalent to protecting the livelihood and properties of the city’s citizens. The people of the Western City harbored grateful thoughts towards the emperor for his actions, but his recent behavior had caused those who’d fantasized about the rule of a wise emperor to thoroughly lose hope once again. The fact that the young emperor had refused to use his blood to heal the heavily injured Magic Sword Guards who had recently returned only made it worse.

In everyone’s hearts, the youthful emperor’s image had been transformed from mysterious and inscrutable to willful and heartless.

However, as mere citizens, they did not have the privilege of choosing their ruler; so despite their wishes, they could not exchange the current emperor for a better one.

The Western City’s imperial palace―where the emperor and the elders resided―was called the Sheng Xi Luo Gong. The palace was built exceptionally sturdy, a far cry from the intricate and ornate architectural style of the commercial district. The towering gray palace walls prevented people from peering inside. The palace was like a city within a city, standing alone and operating independently within the Western City. Outsiders were unable to interfere and were unaware of the ongoings inside. They could only use the occasional stories and rumors that had flowed outside to satisfy their curiosity.

The preparations for the march to the emperors’ tomb had begun in the morning. The young emperor, who would be performing the ceremonial rites, was required to bathe his body and change into simple white garments. The personnel who had been selected to accompany him also needed to prepare for their own tasks. Before the start of the procession, the entire palace was awash with an unusual hustle and bustle that contrasted against its normal cheerless image.

The imperial carriage had been waiting in the plaza in front of the palace gates for a while already. As the minutes and seconds passed by, people arrived one after another, waiting for all the preparations to be finished.

Ya Mei Die had been waiting beside the young emperor’s carriage for quite a while now. However, he was not the least bit impatient despite waiting so long. He knew the young emperor disliked waiting―he would much rather have everyone wait for him instead. Therefore, the emperor would never arrive early; he’d only make his appearance at the very last minute.

As the emperor’s subordinate, Ya Mei Die felt that waiting obediently was something he ought to do.

After waiting for another long while, Ya Mei Die finally noticed signs of activity at the back. The person he had been waiting for waded through a crowd of people and headed towards him. Looking at the emperor from afar, Ya Mei Die felt a glimmering of astonishment.

According to tradition, the young emperor should have been dressed all in white; however, his slightly slender figure was cloaked in dark red instead. Although the color couldn’t be called garish or vivid, his exquisite style of dress was still a far cry from the plain clothing required for the ceremony.

“Your Majesty.”

When the youth stood before him, Ya Mei Die dropped to one knee, enacting the courteous behavior of an emperor’s subject. Even though he believed there was a slight problem with the emperor’s clothing, he was in no position to criticize. It would be exceptionally disrespectful of him, and he would never permit himself to treat the emperor with disrespect.

“There’s no need for my vassal to be overly courteous. You may stand,” the youth who had a strip of white cloth wrapped around his eyes said gently.

Having received permission, Ya Mei Die stood promptly. He pulled out Yiye’s leave of absence letter.

“Your Majesty, this is Yiye’s leave of absence notification. Starting from today, he will be on leave for three months.”

The emperor took the letter and smiled faintly, with a hint of displeasure.

“Did he give himself a vacation? He didn’t even think it necessary to request permission first before leaving on his so-called vacation? What an arrogant Joker; has he even thought about how I would feel?”

“Your Majesty, please quell your anger… Yiye is not used to handling these kinds of matters. Your humble servant believes he had no ill intent.” Seeing that the emperor’s expression had gone cold, Ya Mei Die hurriedly explained for Yiye. Truthfully, he knew better than anyone else about Yiye’s intentions; Yiye’s ill intent had already advanced to the point of loathing.

“There’s no need to say any more. Is there anything else?”

The young emperor passed the letter to a nearby attendant, as if he wasn’t interested in knowing what the letter said.

“Your Majesty… The Sword Guard of Clubs’ injuries, would you…”

The five Magic Sword Guards were titled based on playing card suits. Yiye was Joker, Ya Mei Die was Hearts, and the one who’d broken his arm this time was Clubs.

“I believe I’ve explicitly refused already. Does my vassal have a bad memory? A soul-purging weapon had created that wound. Even if I were to save the Guard of Clubs, he would never return to normal. Then why waste my blood? If a Sword Guard is injured, I’ll just select another one. He’s not an irreplaceable existence,” the emperor replied indifferently. As if he didn’t want to linger on the topic anymore, he turned around to enter the carriage.

“Ah! Your Majesty! There is one more thing…”

Even though Ya Mei Die felt it was quite rude to flag down the emperor, he’d already brought everything with him, so he’d at least deliver it to the emperor and report the matter clearly.

“Your humble servant has brought a portion of the land chicken feathers Your Majesty previously instructed me to collect. Were these the items Your Majesty desired?”

He presented the emperor with an opened bag containing cleaned and sorted feathers. At Ya Mei Die’s words, the emperor halted his steps and turned around to face him. Due to the white cloth covering the emperor’s eyes, Ya Mei Die could not see his expression or guess at what he was thinking.

“So that’s what you wanted to tell me. I’d almost forgotten.”

As the youth spoke, he reached into the bag and grabbed a handful of feathers to fiddle with.

“It’s just that, I don’t really want them anymore.”

With a faint smile, he turned his hand over and loosened his clenched fingers. The airy feathers were blown away by the wind, floating about in every direction. Soon they lay scattered messily all over the ground.

“Seeing as you’ve collected all these feathers, you might as well pick them up and bring them inside the palace. Perhaps in the future a concubine will like them?”

The emperor boarded the carriage after speaking, leaving it to his attendant to close the door. Ya Mei Die was rooted in place by shock. Even after the emperor’s procession had left, he still didn’t know how to react.

“Lord Ya Mei Die, should we help you pick these up?”

Several maids responsible for cleaning the palace had witnessed the scene earlier. Only after seeing that the procession had left did they approach out of concern.

“Mm… Please accept my sincere thanks.”

If Yiye had seen the young emperor humiliate Ya Mei Die like this, he would probably sneer and ask Ya Mei Die whether he still wanted to repeat the phrase “His Majesty is wise” even after the emperor had trampled on his loyalty.

Ya Mei Die couldn’t find an answer to that question.

Perhaps His Majesty had truly acquired a sudden dislike for chicken feathers?

At the moment, that was the only answer he could come up with.

The tomb of the emperors was not far outside the Western City. When the tomb had been in the planning stage, a crypt had been chosen over a garden after taking environmental factors into consideration. Its exterior contained only a narrow entrance to reduce damage to the tombstones from environmental effects.

The worship ceremony did not require many offerings―only fresh flowers of various colors would be placed there and allowed to decay as time passed. After the minister finished reading from the ceremonial text, the emperor needed to enter the crypt and make an offering of purified water. He would be unaccompanied for this part of the ceremony. In any case, the interiors of the tomb had been inspected in advance, and the only entrance was guarded; there wouldn’t be any problems in regards to the emperor’s safety.

“Your Majesty, here is the purified water.”

The one who had presented the dish containing the purified water to the emperor was the Sword Guard of Spades . The emperor had recently started to appear in public more often, and the Magic Sword Guard who appeared most often at his side was Ao Ji Sa. At the same time, he was the most senior member of the Sword Guards. As he had devoted most of his time to his job, he had not yet married to this day. According to the words of his companions, he was quickly approaching the age of having a mid-life crisis. However, there have been several women who insisted that although Lord Ao Ji Sa was older, he was still quite handsome and charming. Despite that, it was undeniable that the passing years had left their mark…

“Ao Ji Sa, has your rheumatism improved?” The emperor asked derisively as he accepted the purified water.

Indeed, advancing age was accompanied by disadvantages such as rheumatism.

“It has already ceased to be much of an obstacle, Your Majesty.”

Ao Ji Sa replied without changing his expression. He was also someone unfazed by ridicule.

“Really? That’s wonderful. You can finally resume your job again and carry out your duties. I feel very gratified. When I heard that you’d requested a leave of absence because of rheumatism, I sincerely felt that it was very troublesome. How do you plan on compensating?”

When the youth spoke with Ao Ji Sa, his word choice and manner of speaking were both a little different. This seemed to be closely related to how familiar he was with the person at hand.

“My apologies.”

It seemed that Ao Ji Sa did not intend to suggest a compensation method and allow the emperor to take advantage of him.

After receiving an indifferent reply, the emperor did not say any more and promptly prepared to carry the purified water inside the tomb.

However, as soon as he turned his head and saw the tomb’s entrance, he couldn’t resist smiling faintly and voicing his feelings. “Every year I come here and look at this black entrance, I always have the feeling that I’ll be sucked inside and never come back out…”

Ao Ji Sa gave a placid response to his musings. “If it’s dark inside, just light the lamps.”

Sure enough, this uncle was still the kind of uncle who didn’t understand other people’s feelings.

Despite Ao Ji Sa making it out to be optional, lighting the lamps was a necessary step. Even though the emperor’s eyes were covered by a strip of cloth, letting him enter a pitch-black area alone was a bit improper. Only after the person in charge of the tomb lighted the lamps did the youth walk inside with everyone’s eyes on him.

He had not been inside the tunnel for long before he impatiently pulled off the strip of cloth covering his eyes. Being able to use his eyes to see where he was going was much more convenient.

At the end of the tunnel was a spacious chamber. After he poured the purified water into its proper container, he began admiring the tombstones there, not in a hurry at all to go back up.

The tombstones were lined up chronologically, so it was extremely easy to find a specific person’s tombstone. He reached the tombstone of the former emperor after strolling around. Gazing at the words on the tombstone, he let out a mocking laugh.

“You had nothing during your life; you were only a chess piece controlled by the elders. Who would have known that all emperors would receive the same lavish burials after death? My esteemed father, are you happy? Are you satisfied as long as the next emperor isn’t reduced to being the elders’ tool like you?”

While facing the tombstone, he spoke with not an ounce of respect. His words oozed with intense disdain and perhaps even a little hatred.

“If that’s the case, surely you must be satisfied with the current result… It’s a pity your son wasn’t the child you were expecting, and you can’t do anything about it anymore…”

The emperor didn’t know whether if he had looked forward to this day. Wearing subdued clothing that also expressed festivity and coming to stand before this desolate tombstone, he would say whatever he wanted and no one would be able to refute him.

Because there were only dead people here.

“Ao Ji Sa, what did you come down here for?”

Hearing the sound of footsteps echoing from the tunnel, the youth turned around and fixed his gaze on the person who’d just come down.

“You’ve been down here for a while, so I came to see if something was wrong.”

“A while? Hasn’t only a little time passed? Those wily old fools really couldn’t wait any longer, could they?”

In most cases, people were supposed to go back up after they’d finished pouring the purified water. It was normal for the elders to feel that the youth had taken a while.

“In any case, there’s nothing else for me to do. I’ll go back up,” the emperor replied in a bored manner. He picked up the white cloth, about to wrap it around his eyes again.

Watching the youth wind the strip of cloth around his head, Ao Ji Sa was silent for a long while before finally asking a question he’d wanted to ask long ago.

“What exactly do you want to do? Your Majesty.”

At the question, the youth paused the hand he was using to wrap the cloth. He gazed at Ao Ji Sa with his azure eyes.

His only response was a smile. Even though the smile was beautiful, it did not reach his eyes at all.

The smile was equivalent to tossing Ao Ji Sa’s words back at him in the form of a rhetorical question.

“Fan Tong! Long time no see! Got any recent news about Lord Ling Shi?”

Fan Tong ran into Mi Zhong on his weekly day off. He hadn’t seen Mi Zhong in a while, but to Fan Tong, coming across Mi Zhong right at the beginning of the day wasn’t a pleasant occurrence.

“I’ll tell you if I have any.”

No, I meant that I wouldn’t tell you even if I had any.

“Huh? When did you become such a great friend? Has my bribery won you over?”

What exactly did you bribe me with? Aside from telling me a few stories, you haven’t done me any real favors…

“Hold on! You! Your tassel is grass green now? Even though it hasn’t been all that long since we last met!” Mi Zhong noticed the different color of Fan Tong’s tassel and shouted in a tone that suggested that he couldn’t accept this reality.

Do you really need to yell as if the world is ending? Don’t act as if skipping to the rank of a grass green tassel is an impossible feat for me. You knew that we had gone to collect chicken skins and feathers. We’d simply finished gathering them, so rising a few ranks isn’t unusual, right?

As Fan Tong muttered to himself, he couldn’t help but be glad that Mi Zhong didn’t know that Yin Shi and Ling Shi had helped them out with their tasks. Otherwise, Mi Zhong would probably say something appalling again, such as, “How could you let Lord Ling Shi use his beautiful and exalted hands to help you with that kind of task? I must punish you on behalf of the entire fan club!”

“Sigh, having a grass green tassel must be so wonderful. You can collect five strings every month. To this day, I still only have a pale green tassel…”

Sighing, Mi Zhong touched his own tassel while eyeing Fan Tong’s, his eyes filled with ill intent.

“What are you going to do?”

Fan Tong warily took a step back. Mi Zhong’s gaze looked quite sinister, as if he were calculating something.

“I say, why don’t we duel and learn from each other? Your tassel makes me very excited…”

I knew it!

You scoundrel! You only want to steal away the results of other people’s hard work! My mop is actually really powerful! If you want to duel with me, does that mean you’re not afraid that one sweep of my mop will wipe out a third of your soul?

“Why are you so nervous? Fan Tong, even your hands are shaking. Really now, it was just a joke. I’ll politely decline any opportunity that can make me a target for people’s resentment. I don’t want to make enemies. Besides, you have terrifying people supporting you; I definitely don’t want Lord Luo Shi creating trouble for me.”

Wh-whose hands are shaking? Why are you looking at me so closely… No, as I was saying, I definitely wasn’t that scared! Stop making things up!

As for Luo Shi… You’re imagining our relationship to be better than it is. If it were Yue Tui who’d been bullied, it’s possible Luo Shi would help him out, but as for me… He’d probably laugh and say that I deserved it for not learning self-defense well…and add that I shouldn’t pine for something that didn’t belong to me in the first place. If I lost it, it was meant to be…

“Oh right, since I ran into you, let me share something I heard just today. It’s piping hot!”

“Oh?”

Fan Tong had a slight interest in gossip and entertaining anecdotes; as long as the gossip wasn’t about him.

“I heard that the land chicken feathers that originate from outside the Eastern City have become a popular favorite among people. Even Luo Yue’s Magic Sword Guards have come running to snatch them up without fearing death! I got this from a victim who went to Resource Area 1 to collect chicken feathers in the middle of the night yesterday. He worked so hard to collect those feathers, only to have them snatched away in a flash. How pitiful. Sigh, what do you think? Are chicken feathers that amazing?”

“…”

I already knew that the Magic Sword Guards were here to pluck chicken feathers. Your intel is old news… However, they came again late last night? They truly don’t know when to give up…

My condolences to the New Resident who was robbed. For the sake of their Young Emperor’s pillow, you must accept your loss…

 

◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword

It’s been less than half a month since I switched out my tassel, but honestly, I’ve become a little afraid to go outside. When I walk on the streets, I feel as if I’m carrying around a lot of money and may run into a thief at any time. Even though grass green tassels can only collect five strings per month, after one thousand years, I’ll have collected sixty-thousand strings. That is definitely a lot of money… Don’t ask me if I have the determination to live for a thousand years. We’re just laying out the profits and demonstrating my point using numbers. We’re not going to analyze it that thoroughly, okay?

Speaking of duels, Yue Tui really has encountered quite a few of them. Even though he had used such adept techniques to deal with his opponent in his first duel, several people still came by afterwards. I can’t help but feel lucky that they were so fixated on Yue Tui and had no intention of challenging me to a duel. Otherwise, my rank as a grass green tassel would have dropped to that of a white tassel ages ago, and I wouldn’t be able to raise it up again. I don’t think anyone would be interested in helping me collect feathers and skins a second time…

The wounds on Yue Tui’s body from the rebirth mishap disappeared the next day. It was truly an occasion worth celebrating. Using the phrase “an occasion worth celebrating” doesn’t seem quite right, but in short, he seemed to have calmed down. I also felt very relieved, so it was great.

As for the meal celebrating our rise in rank, Luo Shi invited us out again three days later. As Yue Tui and I have both died before at Shen Wang Dian, it seemed a little inauspicious to go there again. We have some bad memories of it, so we went to eat at a restaurant instead. In the end, Lord Yin Shi came around, and so did Bi Rou… We just wanted to eat a celebratory meal in peace. Why did those two have to follow us around like lingering spirits and rub their lovey-dovey relationship in our faces? That’s just morally wrong!

Even though Yue Tui had shaken off the trauma from his wounds, his expression that day wasn’t very pleasant to look at. It might have been because of Bi Rou. I say, what kind of a celebration is this? Yue Tui, your cold demeanor and unfriendliness were rather obvious, especially when compared to your normal behavior…

In any case, all the dangerous incidents have been near misses so far. Continuing on like this with both feet on the ground isn’t such a bad way to live, right?

 

Next: Chapter 6: New Year’s Festival
Previous: Chapter 4: Fragments of Memories
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Nuddle, Sherry
Proofreaders: Sherry, Nannyn

奥吉萨. Chinese pronunciation of the Japanese word “Ojisan,” a casual way of addressing a middle-aged man.

Chapter 4: Fragments of Memories

On September 1, 2016, Posted by , In Chen Yue Zhi Yao, tagged in ,, , With 18 Comments

Click here to jump to the latest update. Start at the colored text.
 

“Congratulations, part of your memory will be unsealed for the first time. Are you excited?” – Luo Shi

“I’ve always thought that, in light of the general trend of my life, I would only be able to remember the last meal I ate and other such things…” – Fan Tong

 

The exhausting chicken-killing campaign finally came to an end. Originally, Fan Tong had thought they could all eat together afterwards, allowing him to get a free meal. Unfortunately, things didn’t go according to his wishes.

“It’s almost time for Ying to bathe, so I must return and make preparations” was what Ling Shi said. Being the Queen’s valet… should it really be considered an exhausting job?

“Ah, there’s still time. Xiao Rou, let’s find a place to go sightseeing” was what Yin Shi said. Maybe he had finally come to a realization and wanted a one-on-one date.

“All right~ anywhere is good~”

I don’t even need to tell you who said that. Of course, it was Bi Rou.

The people with the money went off to do their own things, so Fan Tong, Yue Tui, and Zhu Sha could only bid farewell to the two remaining cute girls and return to the dorm to eat public rations.

However, the first thing Fan Tong did when they returned to the dorm was not to eat, since he was never interested in eating public rations anyway. For him, the first thing he wanted to sort out was the matter with Zhu Sha.

“Yue Tui, what’s going on with Zhu Sha?” Even though the other person was right beside him and the person he ought to ask was the person the question involved, Fan Tong never quite had the courage to talk to Zhu Sha, so he chose to ask Yue Tui instead.

Before Yue Tui could answer, Zhu Sha spoke up. “That’s what I should ask. What’s going on with you guys? Why are you both so strange?”

“Zhu Sha, was that woman from before really not you? Are you a guy or a girl?”

Since Zhu Sha had spoken up, Fan Tong was forced to talk to him instead. Fortunately, his first sentence was understandable.

“Where did this separation between girls and boys come from, all people have a male appearance and a female appearance from birth!”

Hearing Zhu Sha’s way of speaking, Fan Tong suddenly broke out in cold sweat. Because Zhu Sha was a serious person who never joked around, did this mean that the girl Yue Tui had said was Zhu Sha was actually Zhu Sha?

“Yue Tui said I’m the only one who can do this, the rest of you guys can’t, and it would be better not to let everyone know… why can’t you guys change genders?” Zhu Sha seemed unable to comprehend that there could be such a huge difference between members of the human race. Since such a long time had passed, Yue Tui had already had time to calm down and reflect on this matter, so he was able to explain his thoughts on it.

“Zhu Sha, New Residents originally came from various worlds, after all, and every world has its own distinguishing characteristics. The people of your world all have two genders, but that is probably  a phenomenon found only in your world. None of us have that kind of ability.”

This sounded somewhat reasonable. Zhu Sha was silent, looking like he was trying to digest the theory, but Fan Tong still felt curious about his strange physiology.

“Can you change genders once so I can see? Without seeing it with my own eyes, it’s easy for me to doubt you.”

“It’s difficult for me to believe you” changed into “it’s easy for me to doubt you”… Forget it, the meaning stayed the same.

“Piece of cake. I am not like you, who always likes telling lies.”

It seemed that Zhu Sha was still deeply prejudiced against him, but Zhu Sha changed genders as soon as he’d answered. After a peng sound, he became shrouded in mist, as if by magic. After the mist dissipated, a beautiful young woman appeared before their eyes.

Wah! This isn’t a dream, right? He really changed into a woman! Upon closer inspection, “she” even has a great figure! Is it really appropriate for us to continue living with this roommate? Aren’t Yue Tui and I upstanding young men in our primes? Though, if a man actually tried to force himself on her, there’s the danger of her suddenly changing into a man and causing quite a shock… though, she really does have the kind of curvy figure that people would drool over…

“Why isn’t everyone like this? How do other people deal with this?” After Zhu Sha had changed genders, Fan Tong noted that his voice and way of speaking had also changed a little.

“Deal with what?”

“The problem of choosing a spouse!”

Hearing that, the other two were puzzled, unable to tell what the problem was.

“In my original world, everyone has a male appearance and a female appearance. When choosing a spouse, two people must find each other’s male and female appearances attractive. During courtship, they can become good friends with their spouse when they’re the same gender… But you people only have one gender! Then I can’t… I can’t…”

Then you can’t kill two birds with one stone, shoot two problems with one arrow, or accomplish two tasks at once, right? I understand. Ah, please don’t pay attention to the idioms I just used, that was just me saying whatever nonsense came to my mind. That being said, a man and a woman finding each other attractive is already difficult enough, but in your world you must approve of each other’s male and female appearances. Aren’t the odds of finding a spouse in this case a tad too low?

“Even if Fan Tong can’t change into a woman, it doesn’t matter. I don’t like him anyways, so I have no interest in his female appearance, but Yue Tui, why can’t you change genders…”

Hey hey hey, enough is enough. Why are you picking on my body for no reason? I also don’t want to fantasize about what I would look like as a woman at all, okay?… Eh? The sentence you said after that, what did it mean…?

“M-me?” Yue Tui tensed up. It seemed like he was unaccustomed to speaking with women.

“That’s right, I think you are the ideal spouse. Your female appearance should also be great, but you unexpectedly only have one gender…”

Whoa, is this a confession? Took her long enough to get around to it. So Zhu Sha, are you interested in Yue Tui?

From an objective standpoint, it should be, “you unexpectedly have two genders,” not “Yue Tui unexpectedly only has one gender,” right?

“I-ideal p-p-partner?”

Yue Tui’s frantic face was a sight to behold, and he even stuttered when he spoke. Fan Tong, the observer, thought it made a great scene, as this matter had nothing to do with him.

“That’s right! I just thought that, after I saw your female appearance, I would ask if you wanted to date me, but it turned into this kind of situation…”

It didn’t turn into this kind of situation – it was like this originally. Since things turned out this way, wouldn’t it be fine if you just tried to fall in love with Yue Tui in both genders? I’m open-minded; even if you guys want to discuss this unconventional love, I won’t look down on you.

“I…” It seemed that Yue Tui had never faced this kind of situation before. Most likely, no one of the opposite gender had ever so directly confessed that they wanted to date him, so he was completely out of his depth. He could only look at Fan Tong with pleading eyes.

Ahem, Yue Tui, even if you look at me like that, I can’t help you. You’re not going to say that you have never received any training for this kind of situation, so you don’t know how to handle it, right? This isn’t something a teacher can teach you, you have to learn and grow through experience. I believe you have the potential to.

Even if the first person to confess to you is a little unusual, I believe you can be strong and pull yourself together.

“Don’t tell me I have to act like two separate people? That’s too complicated…” Zhu Sha began grumbling to herself. It seemed that her thoughts were going in the direction of “finding a male lover for my female appearance, then finding a female lover for my male appearance.” Fan Tong didn’t think this was such a great idea.

In general, that’s called cheating, isn’t it? Plus it could also be mistaken for bisexuality. This kind of sandwich relationship… it already sounds outrageous in my head; it would be better if you don’t pursue it. It’s possible that your girlfriend would run up and slap Yue Tui, saying something like, “What a shameless man, you had the nerve to seduce my boyfriend”… Forget it, it’s better not to think about that too much.

“You can put off this kind of thing until later. New Residents can live for a long time. Isn’t it more important to study now…” Yue Tui chose to persuade her to drop the subject. He seemed to have a tendency to escape facing things down.

“Yeah It’s not wrong to say that this isn’t an urgent matter, studying is also important…” It seemed that Yue Tui had aroused Zhu Sha’s earnest passion for knowledge, and at long last, she decided to set aside her search for a spouse for now.

After that, they vowed to keep silent about the subject for Zhu Sha’s sake. After all, it was possible that Zhu Sha would no longer be able to room with them if her female appearance was discovered. As they got along decently and didn’t want to switch her out for another roommate, this matter ended up becoming their mutual secret.

***

Fuzhou communication charms were incredibly useful things. Although Fan Tong had lost his own the day before, they could still use Yue Tui’s.

Using the Fuzhou communication charm, they easily contacted Luo Shi and agreed to meet with him before school the next morning to turn in their chicken feathers and skins. If not for the Fuzhou communication charm, they really didn’t know how they would find him. After all, Shen Wang Dian wasn’t a place they could walk into as they pleased to casually look for their friend.

Luo Shi brought the materials he had been keeping safe for them as well as the replacement Fuzhou communication charm Ling Shi had made anew for Fan Tong. When he met them again at the dormitory gate, people once again cast them sidelong glances. However, Fan Tong did not feel uncomfortable like before; at most, he felt his back prickle from the stares.

“Yesterday, you all went together to kill chickens and pluck their feathers? That seems amusing…”

En route to the office, naturally Fan Tong couldn’t avoid conversation. When Luo Shi spoke, his face unconsciously revealed a slightly envious expression. It seemed he regretted not being able to participate in their group activity.

It wasn’t fun at all. Continuously chasing after Lord Yin Shi, who was running around killing animals, and bending over to pluck feathers completely tired me out. Furthermore, we even met people from Luo Yue, and because of your complete hatred for Luo Yue, you would have definitely caused a lot of trouble.

“Next time we get the chance, you can go with us,” Yue Tui said in a friendly manner. Hearing that, Luo Shi avoided their eyes, revealing how thin-skinned he was.

“I don’t necessarily have time for that! Anyway… anyway, if you want me to help, let me know beforehand, and if I have the time, I’ll consider it.”

I think that even if you did have something to do, you would put it off and come with us. No need to be so shy, really now.

“Is that so… What a pity. Luo Shi, you’re very busy, right? If you could do something with us, it would be a lot of fun…” Yue Tui wasn’t even the slightest bit aware that Luo Shi’s words hadn’t been sincere and continued the conversation like this. Luo Shi stiffened up as he was confronted with a face that resembled Hui Shi’s. After many seconds passed, he finally relented.

“Actually, I’m really not that busy… If you just let me know first, there won’t be a problem… I also, I also want to go…” His last few words were barely audible. Fan Tong really didn’t know why he was being so shy and reserved.

“That’s great!” Yue Tui smiled brilliantly. In contrast, Luo Shi didn’t know where to look and quickly turned his head away.

Obliviousness is truly a terrifying weakness as well as a terrifying natural weapon, Yue Tui.

“Fan Tong, did you not get enough sleep? You’re staring into space…” Yue Tui asked, concerned.

Fan Tong forced a laugh. “Nothing’s wrong, something’s wrong.”

“Is there something wrong or not…”

I also want to know. This goddamn curse.

The office where they would turn in their materials was located near Shen Wang Dian and seemed like a tranquil place. There was no one going in or out.

I get the feeling that they’re not getting much business… Oh, comparing it to a business isn’t fitting. In reality, they probably don’t even get one person a week coming to raise their rank, so naturally it’s pretty empty.

“You guys go in; I’ll wait out here. Ling Shi should be waiting in there; I told him you were coming.” Luo Shi’s second sentence made them pause in confusion.

“…You didn’t forget that a small part of your memory will be unsealed when you go up a rank, right?”

“Oh.” Fan Tong’s expression clearly showed that he had forgotten, while Yue Tui looked slightly surprised.

“Fan Tong, what’s up with your expression, do you think forgetting isn’t a big deal?”

Well, what’s up with your resentful tone? Must I display an astonished expression? Or say something like, “Oooooh! That’s right! There’s something like this? I actually forgot”? This is not in line with my cool and intellectual image.

“Because I don’t know what I remember anyways, it doesn’t matter if I forget.”

Don’t take my words and reverse them so that it seems like I’m in a drunken stupor, okay?

“You wanted to say… even if you remembered, you’d just forget again, so it doesn’t matter?” Luo Shi frowned as he tried to translate, already a little confused.

No! That’s not it! You got it wrong!

“I’m saying I don’t know what I didn’t forget anyways, so of course I care!”

“I don’t want to talk to you, it’s so tiring.”

Hey! Don’t do this, all right? People with language problems also have the right to speak!

“Forget it, it’ll be fine no matter what happens. Let’s leave, Yue Tui.”

“Oh, okay.” Yue Tui seemed like he had just come back to his senses after being lost in thought, so he gave a one-word response.

…Were you daydreaming? I said “let’s leave” instead of “let’s go,” and you still agreed?

Fortunately, his sentence was comparatively easy to understand, so after Luo Shi explained it to him, Yue Tui obediently followed him in.

Turning in their chicken feathers and chicken skins was a simple process. The person in charge identified them using the marks New Residents possessed and counted up the materials they’d brought. Afterwards, they were finally able to trade in their white tassels for brand-new grass-green tassels. This signified that they had reached a rank where they would earn a salary and that they were no longer classified as worthless people.

“Lord Ling Shi is waiting inside to lift the seal on your memories. You can go in now.”

Ling Shi was already their waiting for them, making Fan Tong feel like an honored guest.

Lifting the curtain that led to the inner room, they saw Ling Shi’s beautiful figure sitting quietly in the middle of the room. He gave them a formal explanation after seeing them enter.

“I am responsible for sealing and unsealing people’s memories, as you should already know. In other words, every time you rise in rank, you will come here to see me. However, you two saw me yesterday as well as today, so this shouldn’t be a novel experience for you.”

Indeed. We are already used to seeing important people now, uh, except for the Queen.

If Mi Zhong had all those chicken feathers and chicken skins, he would definitely take two trips to bring them in in order to see Ling Shi twice…

“Let’s get this over with. Who’s first?”

Fan Tong didn’t really care who went first. When he looked towards Yue Tui to find out his opinion, Yue Tui somewhat hesitantly opened his mouth to speak.

“That is… Fan Tong can do it by himself. I don’t want to go through with this.”

Hearing such a direct refusal, Ling Shi and Fan Tong were both a little surprised.

“This is the first time I’ve heard of someone who doesn’t want their memories unsealed… Why don’t you want to?”

“Yeah, Yue Tui, why? I feel that giving up on this is profitable, and getting your memory back is still worse than not getting it back.”

I’m saying that you’ll lose out if you give up on recovering your memory, and getting your memory back is still better than not getting it back…

“I am satisfied with my life right now. I don’t want things to change,” Yue Tui answered, eyes half-lidded. This reason sounded rational, though a little conservative.

“I will respect everyone’s choice. Since you don’t want me to unseal your memory, I won’t force you.” Ling Shi agreed to his request, then looked towards Fan Tong. “How about you? If you also don’t want to, that will save me some trouble, and I can just go home now.”

…How come it sounds like you hope I’ll also give up on recovering my memory? What, because my memory must be worthless, lifting the seal on it is wasting your time? Even though I feel that memories are the type of thing where forgetting them won’t bother you at all, it’s not like that, all right?

“You have to do it!”

Wah! What is this? This mistake is the kind that could make someone want to beat me to death!

After the curse twisted the words he had blurted out, Fan Tong felt far from good. Sure enough, Ling Shi’s gaze immediately became several degrees cooler.

“Contrary to expectations, you’re actually talking big. You’re trying to order me around?”

“I, I, you were just too laid-back and spoke wrong…”

I’m saying that I was too nervous! Too nervous! Even though that’s not the true reason… Is it necessary to explain my language barrier to Lord Ling Shi, whom I rarely encounter? Perhaps he wouldn’t believe me either, like Zhu Sha…

“Fan Tong’s mouth is sometimes disobedient. I think he only wants to express that he does want to recover his memory…” Yue Tui kindly helped him explain. Fan Tong looked at him with grateful eyes.

“This time, I won’t bicker with you about it. If you run into Wei Shi, you’ll want to drop this kind of bad habit.”

Even if I don’t run into Lord Wei Shi, I also want to drop this bad habit. However, this isn’t something I can change even though I want to… Auntie from back then, can’t you remove your curse! It hasn’t disappeared, even after all these years!

“Come over here, I’ll remove part of the spell on your memory.”

Fan Tong complied and walked over to stand in front of Ling Shi, a little nervous as his imagination ran wild.

I don’t know what technique is used to unseal memories. Is it Fuzhou or Shufa?

In fact, it doesn’t matter if it’s Fuzhou or Shufa. Although Lord Ling Shi is the rector of Fuzhou Xuan, that doesn’t mean his Shufa isn’t strong. It’s not necessary to have the person with the strongest Shufa abilities do this kind of thing, right?

Furthermore, suppose Yin Shi, Shufa Xuan’s rector, has the strongest Shufa abilities. Letting him deal with matters related to people’s memories would only make people feel even more uneasy. Perhaps he would throw memories into disarray while unsealing people’s memories, causing utter chaos…

The procedure to unseal his memories was more or less the same as the procedure to seal them. Ling Shi gracefully moved his hand in a circle, causing a watermark-like seal to invade Fan Tong’s mind. The spell immediately started to take effect.

It was as if the originally shut-off memories flowed out of an open gate. The entire process felt subtle; because he had originally forgotten those few things, he had to remember them once again, but he didn’t know whether to let them batter his mind or to naturally accept them. All in all, these memories were originally his, and welcoming them as they returned wasn’t something difficult.

Those memories slowly flowed out and emerged in his mind, trivial matters jumping around. Some were trifling matters about his daily life, some were things he had learned in the past; basically, his recovered memories were as he had thought they would be – insignificant matters. It seemed that whether he remembered them or not didn’t make that much of a difference.

However, when he recalled his fortune-telling abilities, Fan Tong was startled for a moment. He’d remembered what his job was the entire time but hadn’t remembered how to do it, yet he hadn’t noticed at all that something was wrong. He’d lived like this for such a long time… This was just too tragic.

Ling Shi didn’t restore his full memory, only the memories obtainable from rising two ranks. Because that amount wasn’t very much, the memories were able to circle around his brain during the process, allowing him to thoroughly understand them. The unsealing process had almost reached its conclusion; afterwards, it would be his job to organize the incoherent memories that were a bit of a mess.

The light emitted by the spell gradually faded from his body, and just before it faded completely, a final phrase flowed out from the nearly sealed memory gate, causing his eyes to widen.

That phrase echoed from some portion of his memory, but at that moment, the spell to unseal his memory lost effectiveness. The entire process ended there, but he found himself confused and puzzled. With no relevant memories to assist him, he was unable to analyze that final piece of memory that was so striking it caused him to ignore the voices of the other memories. What did it mean?

That phrase was actually quite short, just three words.

“Seal Chen Yue”… 

Fan Tong couldn’t understand it.

Why did that phrase appear in his mind?

What was its meaning? Its purpose?

***

“Fan Tong, what happened? Did you lose your soul when you went in there?”

Waiting outside, Luo Shi thought that Fan Tong seemed very strange as soon as he saw them come out. “Other people have their memories unsealed, but was your soul stolen instead? Hurry and wake up!”

Seeing that Fan Tong didn’t respond, Luo Shi simply slapped him on the back of the head, making him sorrowfully cry out on the spot.

“That feels great! Why did you hit me?”

“…If I didn’t know about your problematic mouth, I would truly believe you were a pervert.”

Eh? That’s too excessive, your hateful mindset can hurt people!

“Just now, after the seal on Fan Tong’s memory was lifted, he became a little absent-minded… I wonder, did he remember something important?” To date, the extent of Yue Tui’s knowledge of Fan Tong’s language barrier was that it was only to the degree of “he often speaks incorrectly.” After he finished speaking, Luo Shi looked disapprovingly at Fan Tong.

“Was it because your mouth made several girls reject you? Or did you suddenly remember that you have a fiancée from an ?”

Hey! Why are you so fixated on male-female relations in this situation! Don’t tell me that you think I consider this the only important thing in life!

Despite being a little annoyed at the misunderstanding, he didn’t intend to explain what was upsetting him; after all, he couldn’t make heads or tails of it himself.

Perhaps he could discuss it with Yue Tui when they returned home? Two heads were always better than one, and Yue Tui should be quite good at keeping secrets, right? As he thought that, Fan Tong’s head subconsciously turned towards Yue Tui, and he was startled by what he saw.

“Yue Tui! Today, your is white. Your luck is very good, and many good things are possible!”

S-slow down, I’m saying his yintang is black… Ah! How hateful! How can he avoid calamity? Will the seal on my memory not let me recall it?

Nn? So it’s like this?…” Yue Tui didn’t seem to pay much attention to Fan Tong’s words; after all, the definition of “good things” was far too vague, so he had no idea what it really meant.

“Yue Tui, Fan Tong, after class today, let’s meet again at the school’s gate.”

“…?”

“To celebrate your promotion, I’ll treat you to a meal.”

Oooh! So there’s this kind of “good thing”!

Oh no… This won’t do. When I heard there would be good food, I got all worked up. Generally speaking, I’m very cool and intellectual, cough, cough cough cough cough.

“All right, thank you for your kindness.” Yue Tui agreed for both of them. In any case, anyone could tell Fan Tong really wanted to go just by looking at his expression.

“Then you guys should go to class. I’ll leave first.”

Naturally they knew the way to school, so they parted ways with Luo Shi there and began walking to their destination.

After they returned to the lively main road, people all around them cast unfriendly gazes towards Yue Tui’s Western appearance. Like usual, Fan Tong and Yue Tui pretended not to see them; normally, people only glared and talked about them behind their backs. Today, however, the situation was different.

When they were midway to their destination, many people suddenly showed up to block their path. From their expressions, Fan Tong and Yue Tui could tell these people harbored malicious intent.

W-what is this fuss about? Ordinarily, aren’t their actions only as bad as purposely bumping into us on the road? Except last time’s robbery was more serious… But right now, we don’t have anything worth stealing?

Furthermore, and it’s not me who said this, the faces of you gents make you look like the type who’ll never become anyone important. I get the feeling that you’ll be nobodies for your entire lives, so even if you have some impressive-sounding name, other people won’t remember it… But even if that’s the case, don’t give in to despair and abandon your lives! Turning into third-rate bullies is unlikely to help your futures! Go take a look at your reflections in the mirror right now and realize how unattractive you would look on camera!

“Excuse me… Is there something wrong?” The people in front of them clearly would not let them pass, so Yue Tui hesitantly spoke to them, maintaining a tone of basic courtesy.

Have you guys truly not realized that by standing here, you’re only serving as plain scenery to enhance Yue Tui’s handsomeness? Even if you successfully gang up on someone, no girls would blush and squeal for you, so I’d like to trouble you to move. We have to get to school.

Hearing Yue Tui’s question, the person who stood at the very front of the five or six people, seeming quite determined, held his tassel out towards Yue Tui.

“I request a duel.”

After hearing those words, Yue Tui widened his eyes slightly. Fan Tong’s eyes widened even more, both of them skeptical about whether they had heard wrong.

Upon closer inspection, all of these people hold either white tassels or pale green tassels… So they’re planning to beat Yue Tui, then “fairly” snatch away the results of his efforts, making him drop back down to a white tassel?

However, isn’t there an error in your scheme? Did you think that we could only ascend a rank because Lord Yin Shi took care of us and brought us out to kill chickens and pluck their feathers, and that in reality we have no strength of our own? …All right, maybe I don’t have any strength, but have you talked to the people who are Yue Tui’s classmates in Wushu Xuan and asked them if they know how they were defeated? You are only members of the two lowest ranks, after all, what reason do you have to believe that you have any odds of success? Don’t tell me it’s because Yue Tui looks like he’s ?

“Duel? Me?” Yue Tui seemed to think that this was inconceivable. In other words, he simply had never anticipated that his kind of thing would happen in his lifetime, so he couldn’t help asking for confirmation.

Right, it’s you, hurry up! Show them what you’re made of! How do you say it in English… “?” But I don’t know if Yue Tui understands English… However, regardless of whether or not he understands it, my low level of English is useless…

“That’s right. Too scared to accept? If you refuse, you’ll directly drop down a rank.”

“…” Yue Tui’s brows furrowed. He wasn’t too fond of the current situation.

“If you’re afraid, then refuse. It will save you the hundred strings of another rebirth!”

As that person spoke, the group started laughing. Seeing this kind of arrogant manner, Fan Tong could not help whispering in Yue Tui’s ear.

“Yue Tui, slowly deal with him. We’ll be early for school!”

I’m trying to tell you to immediately make him look bad and just kill him quickly… It will conveniently give the crowds a show of your strength.

“I know.”

You know? W-what do you know? Are you certain you understood what I said?

“I accept your challenge. We’ll begin the moment your tassel comes into contact with my hand.” Yue Tui looked serenely at the hunk in front of him and extended his hand, fair-skinned palm facing upward.

The other person casually placed his tassel in the outstretched hand. A split second later, before he could even make a move or assume a fighting stance, there was a sudden “whoosh” sound followed by a muffled thump. Practically no one had seen anything, but the challenger had fallen over with his eyes wide open, unconscious.

This situation naturally caused an uproar. Fan Tong had seen a vague flash of shadow earlier, which should have been Yue Tui’s hand moving at an abnormally high speed as he struck his opponent on the head, knocking him down. This kind of rapid dispatch was indeed at an unmatchable speed.

“Who’s next?” Yue Tui tossed the tassel in his hand onto the person’s body, then looked at the others obstructing the road with a smile that wasn’t quite a smile.

Because their comrade had been knocked down too quickly, they had yet to react. After they had finally made sense of what had happened, another person, enraged by Yue Tui’s leisurely manner, walked up to stand in front of him.

“That was nothing more than you catching him off guard! What’s so extraordinary about it?”

“There’s nothing extraordinary about it.” Yue Tui responded indifferently, extending his hand. “You also want to try?”

That person angrily seized his tassel and, seeming to find a greater distance between them more advantageous, tossed it to Yue Tui from afar. The distance did not prevent Yue Tui from catching it, and he reached out his left hand to grab the tassel that was flying through the air. A split second after the tassel met his hand, his shadow flickered again, and the challenger fell to the ground once more with a thump.

Yue Tui was still standing in his original place, as if he hadn’t moved at all.

“Anyone else?”

The remaining few people displayed fear and incredulousness, and the watching crowd began discussing the situation profusely.

Oh, Yue Tui, this is all wrong, you don’t know how to play around. If you want to stir up the atmosphere, you need to make timely concessions: for example, announcing that you’ll allow the next challenger to attack first, that you’ll give the one after that ten seconds to attack, or that you won’t move your hands. Only if you create more and more disadvantageous situations for yourself will you be able to entice people to continue challenging you. Isn’t there no show to watch like this? If you use this method that is too fast to be seen to dispose of them, no one will be able to see what really happened, so they won’t be deeply convinced of your strength…

Seems like it was me who wanted you to quickly dispose of them, but compared to this kind of fun, what does it matter if we’re late to class–

Tsk! We won’t forget this!” Even though the villains were about to depart, they still had to leave behind some fierce words in order to demonstrate that they hadn’t lost too badly. In any case, their public provocation ended like this. Fan Tong was a little disappointed; after all, an opportunity to hide behind his friend and watch that friend teach people a lesson was hard to come by. He didn’t need to exert himself and could just happily watch the show.

“How come no one came to duel you? That group of people must be blind…”

The sudden sentence caused Fan Tong, puzzled, to look for its source. He then realized that it was his mop causing mischief… no, speaking.

No one coming to duel me is a bad thing? Don’t tell me you want to show off your abilities that much? Do you really believe that I know how to wield a mop under ordinary circumstances?

There were people nearby, so Fan Tong didn’t want to answer Puhahaha, since it would look like he was talking to a mop. That scene would be all too embarrassing.

“How boring, I’m going back to sleep…”

No one asked you to wake up, mister. Such a self-important weapon, where did you get this arrogance from…

After getting through the morning’s flavorless Shufa class, at Yue Tui’s suggestion, Fan Tong finally decided that he would attend the Wushu hands-on combat class again with Yue Tui.

In fact, if not for his own small desire to go, Yue Tui couldn’t have persuaded Fan Tong to, even if Yue Tui talked until his mouth bled. The reason he wanted to try Wushu again was that, in addition to the matter where he’d previously used Puhahaha to kill people, he had also experienced a setback with Fuzhou.

That being said, he truly had no other option. He was completely hopeless in Shufa, and his mouth kept him from using Fuzhou. Because of these reasons, he had no choice but to carefully consider whether to pick up Wushu again, a subject he had previously dropped. Honestly, he still didn’t think he possessed any natural talent with regards to Wushu, but for his future, he had to force himself to try a subject he didn’t like. No matter how he thought about it, he still felt miserable.

The experiences from the last two days already made him wonder whether or not his memory had issues. Although it wasn’t a very deep feeling, this lack of trust in his memory felt wrong. It would be best if he could get all his memories back at once.

Of course, that was impossible. Ling Shi could not make an exception for him and let him cheat the system. It was said that, if a New Resident wanted to unseal all of their memories, they had to ascend to the rank of a pure black tassel – simply put, no matter what they did, they would never completely recover their memories. In the Eastern City, the only two people with pure black tassels were the Queen and Yin Shi, so it seemed that, for an ordinary citizen like him, ascending to the rank of a pure black tassel was just wishful thinking.

Even though he had no hope of ascending to the rank of a pure black tassel in his lifetime, looking for ways to increase his strength was still important.

The main reason Yue Tui hadn’t dragged him to Wushu hands-on combat class until today was that Tractor Teacher had taken a leave of absence for quite a while, only starting to teach again today. Furthermore, Tractor Teacher clearly did not welcome Fan Tong and Yue Tui, who had come to join on the first day class started, and made a face as soon as he saw them.

“Student, you are in the wrong class. Switch to a different one, okay?” He directed his words at Yue Tui. He evidently didn’t fancy having this troublesome student whom he couldn’t control in his class.

After all, this teacher’s hobby is bullying students, especially new ones, so it’s inevitable that he would consider Yue Tui a thorn in his side.

However, every time Fan Tong saw him, he really wanted to ask, “Teacher, while on the road, how come you’ve never been hacked to death by a former student who’s become strong? Or do none of your students have any future prospects?”

When Tractor Teacher showed an unwelcoming manner towards him, Yue Tui looked at Fan Tong, then shook his head. “Teacher, I want to attend class with Fan Tong.”

He probably wanted to go to class with Fan Tong because he wouldn’t feel at ease

if Fan Tong went to Wushu hands-on combat class by himself.

After Yue Tui spoke, Fan Tong felt the nearby students look over with somewhat contemptuous gazes. It was probably a look that meant, “you found someone to support you, hmm? Shameless.”

“Oh, student Fan Tong, you need another person to protect you that much? You don’t have the courage to come to Wushu hands-on combat class on your own?” Tractor Teacher immediately ridiculed him, and, completely lacking any sense of shame, Fan Tong shook his head.

“I don’t.” This time, the curse didn’t act up, but he didn’t know if he should tell it “good work.”

Of course I don’t have the courage to come to this class on my own. I don’t want to increase my debt again; Teacher, you simply don’t understand the problem. All right, being afraid of pain and death is part of human nature, so even if there’s no need to worry about money, I still wouldn’t enjoy dying. Although it’s impossible to become a bigwig without going through pain and suffering, I think that you, Tractor Teacher, will inflict unreasonable and unnecessary suffering on us purely for your own joy.

“You unexpectedly admitted it. Don’t you have any of the courage a man should possess?”

Oh… This is a serious question. Once you bring up the courage a man should possess, the situation seems to become much more serious. Let me carefully think about my reply for a bit.

“Unbelievable, you still need time to think about your answer?”

What’s up with this, you won’t even allow me some quiet to decide on the general direction of my life? Not everyone’s path is that clear-cut, okay?

“Fan Tong’s virtuous character should not be squandered on enduring unreasonable treatment,” Yue Tui said unhappily, seeming dissatisfied with Tractor Teacher’s aggressive question. “Thank you, Teacher, for your recommendation. I believe there really is nothing that I could learn in your class. Fan Tong, let’s go.”

Hmm? Huh? What? Go? This soon?

Fan Tong meekly followed Yue Tui and left, unable to make heads or tails of the situation.

“Yue Tui, you didn’t say, are we going to class?”

Let me translate: Yue Tui, I say, are we not going to class?

“I’m sorry, it was me who urged you to come, but in the end…” Yue Tui apologized with a regretful look on his face. Fan Tong wanted to say that he didn’t blame Yue Tui at all, but he honestly didn’t know how to say it so that the other person would understand.

“Fan Tong, I think there must be many other ways for you to strengthen your Wushu skills, so let’s not go to that teacher’s class again. If there’s really no way, I also know a little about the subject, so perhaps I could teach you.”

You’re calling that “only knowing a little”? Aren’t you being excessively modest? I would be satisfied to have one tenth of your skill!

Having Yue Tui teach him Wushu actually seemed like a pretty good suggestion; it was just that he didn’t know if Yue Tui had any teaching skills. Last time, Yue Tui could not explain pure imagination clearly…

The most important thing is, does Yue Tui know how my mop should be used?

“Since you have a self-aware weapon, nurturing a good relationship and mutual understanding is important, as doing so can greatly increase your battle strength. Try to interact with your weapon more, at least until you can use your thoughts to communicate with each other. It’s a good weapon.”

Yue Tui told him this with good intentions, but when he heard Yue Tui praising Puhahaha, Fan Tong felt out of sorts. How would you know whether it’s a good weapon? Do you know that it sleeps all day long, and when its master encounters danger, it tells him to commit suicide? What are your criteria for good weapons? High price?

“I don’t think it has any bad points…” Damn it, the curse changed my words into praise for Puhahaha once again.

“You also like your weapon? That’s good.”

I have no idea how to reply to that.

“Yue Tui, can I try out your weapon?” He finally managed to put forward a normal-sounding request. Yue Tui was equipped with what Yin Shi had traded for his “broken knife” – a similarly broken weapon, but to Fan Tong its design was much more attractive. At least it was normal.

“You want to try it out? There’s no reason you can’t, but I don’t think you’ll like it…” As Yue Tui spoke, he took the knife out and handed it to Fan Tong.

Fan Tong happily extended his hand to grab it, but when Yue Tui released the knife, Fan Tong’s expression immediately became ashen. The knife fell to the ground with a clattering sound, as Fan Tong was unable to hold it.

How much does this weigh? People are supposed to hold this? Yue Tui, you ordinarily carry such a heavy thing with you and can even brandish it in battle? Are you even human?

“Broken weapons are all heavy, so I said you wouldn’t like it.” Yue Tui picked the sword up from the ground, slowly explaining, and Fan Tong’s mood became even gloomier.

It seemed that, aside from the mop that had reluctantly formed a contract with him, he really had no other options…

***

Once school was dismissed, they met up with Luo Shi in front of the gate as planned, then followed him towards their destination… However, the direction they were going in was a little strange. Midway there, Fan Tong couldn’t help speaking up.

“Luo Shi, is the restaurant not near Shen Wang Dian?”

“I’m too lazy to figure out what you originally wanted to say. We’re currently going to Shen Wang Dian.”

After Luo Shi answered, Fan Tong and Yue Tui both exclaimed, “Eh?”

“There’s no need to go to Shen Wang Dian to treat us to food, right…” Yue Tui seemed to be of the same mind as Fan Tong – neither wanted to go near that establishment, which was too far above their social status.

“That’s right! Although eating at home will waste more money, what will we do if we run into Lord Wei Shi?”

Fan Tong felt that if his own home provided food, then eating out was wasting money, but it seemed that it wasn’t the same for princes.

“This isn’t my idea! Originally, I also wanted to go to a restaurant, but Yin Shi found out and absolutely insisted on butting in. How could I take him out to make a disgrace of himself! We talked and talked, and finally I just said that we’ll go eat at Yin Shi’s pavilion,” Luo Shi answered, sounding flustered. It seemed that he also felt quite angry over things turning out like this.

A disgrace, huh… This is truly a big problem. If we got a private room, no one would be able to watch him make a fool of himself, right? Or is he the kind of awful customer who will look at the menu and then tell the server, “Give me the minced pork rice, but without minced pork”?

“You listen to Lord Ling Shi that much, huh? It’s not like he’s Lord Yin Shi…”

…Wait a moment, what did I say? What on earth is going on with this curse? Is Lord Yin Shi the antonym of Lord Ling Shi? Just how are those terms related? Why not Lord Wei Shi?

“I still don’t understand what you’re saying.” Luo Shi had become impatient with Fan Tong’s incoherent words, so Luo Shi simply explained himself. “In any case, whenever that senseless guy Yin Shi doesn’t have anything to do, he loves to butt into other people’s business, so he nagged at me for two hours. I was truly pestered beyond endurance and was forced to go along with his idea.”

Two hours… Wow, a full two hours, Lord Yin Shi is truly senseless… I mean, persistent!

“He also insisted that I tell you to remember to bring your mop.” Luo Shi looked at Fan Tong’s waist. “You brought your mop with you? That’s good.”

“…”

Fan Tong was not happy. Whether it’s a mop or a horsetail whisk, it’s clearly unremarkable and unworthy of mention, so why was it more important than its master…

After arriving at Shen Wang Dian, they directly walked over to the third palace. This time, they didn’t encounter any obstructions on the way there, so before they knew it, the entrance to Yin Shi’s pavilion was right in front of them.

Ah, ah, everyone says that the first time you go somewhere, it’s new, but the second time you go, it has already become familiar. Sure enough, I don’t feel as nervous coming here the second time. However, even though the palace feels familiar, that doesn’t mean I’ve become a mighty person who has anything to do with the palace, so my feelings are really complicated…

I remember when I practiced Feng Shui for people in the past. However, I currently can’t remember how to practice it, so even though I was thinking of appraising the palace, I can’t. Having my memories locked away feels so horrible…

“Xiao Luo Shi, you’re here – ” Yin Shi greeted them from the entrance with a brilliant smile. It looked like he had already waited there for a long time.

With so much free time, why didn’t you go find your Xiao Rou to play?

“Yin Shi, don’t wear that armor again, okay?” Luo Shi looked as if he had the urge to roll his eyes when he saw Yin Shi. The latter adopted an innocent expression, touching the armor he was wearing.

“It doesn’t look good? Xiao Rou says I look handsome in it…”

Stop mentioning Xiao Rou every three sentences. Xiao Rou said you look handsome, Xiao Luo Shi thinks you look idiotic, whose opinion will you listen to?

“Forget it, forget it, it’s not important at all. Lead the way.”

“Okay, okay, come with me.”

Leading them in, Yin Shi walked in front of them, probably intending to bring them to the same hall as last time. He opened the door, crossed the doorway, and very naturally walked in, but as soon as Yue Tui tried to follow him in, the situation unexpectedly changed.

A flash of gold light coming from all sides passed through Yue Tui’s body, so quickly no one had time to react. Before everyone else had time to cry out or shriek, Yue Tui had already limply collapsed, not breathing.

Aaaaah! Yue Tui! Yue Tui! Wake up! It’s murder –

Fan Tong, alarmed, wanted to crouch down to examine Yue Tui, but Luo Shi deftly pulled him away.

“Idiot! The defensive mechanism hasn’t been removed yet. Do you want to go over there and die together with him!”

What? Defensive mechanism? No wonder this scene is so familiar, isn’t this the same thing that I lost my life to last time? I just wasn’t paying attention, that’s all, of course I don’t want to die together with him. I don’t have the money, reasons, or passion to be that sentimental…

That’s not the important thing! Lord Yin Shi, what kind of murderous haunted house do you have here! You better compensate Yue Tui for his life!

I was just saying that his black yin tang couldn’t lead to anything good! However, not every person with a black yin tang will encounter a disaster and die, right? Yue Tui, why are you particularly unlucky? Could it be that you’ve spent too much time with me and thus became unfortunate?

“Yin Shi! Why can you never be careful! Don’t forget the defensive mechanism’s existence just because you are this house’s owner and aren’t affected by it!”

Luo Shi’s anger was apparent from his roar. Yin Shi actually wore a fearful expression for once, as if he knew he’d done something wrong, and he seemed not to know what to do.

“Ah, I forgot…”

Can you return a human to life just by saying “I forgot”?!

…All right, maybe you can with New Residents. Think carefully and you’ll find that, even though Yue Tui encountered an unimaginable disaster, when all is said and done, he can still be reborn. This is truly great fortune in the midst of misfortune. Yin Shi, with your forgetful habits, you better not invite your Xiao Rou here to play, in order to avoid an irreversible tragedy.

“Fan Tong, come on, let’s go to the pond to retrieve him.”

“Okay.”

“Ah, I’ll also go with you…”

In the end, they hadn’t even started eating their celebratory meal before the atmosphere was ruined, and they even had to do before-meal labor.

Should I say, sure enough, this is Lord Yin Shi’s style?

***

“You must remunerate him! This time it’s your fault, you must remunerate him!”

They were on the boat, and Yue Tui still hadn’t appeared yet, so Luo Shi firstly quarreled with Yin Shi about the problem of remuneration.

“I know, I’ll take responsibility…”

Take what responsibility? This phrasing is misleading. Do you want to take responsibility by looking after him for the rest of his life?

“How are you going to take responsibility?”

 

fan-tong-v03c04-insert

 

Luo Shi didn’t suggest a remuneration plan. He was waiting for Yin Shi to say it himself as a test of his sincerity.

“I can cover the cost of a new body for him. Afterwards, if he’s still angry, I think… I should let him stab me once with a knife, but no more than that.  I am unable to trade a life for a life, since I wouldn’t be reborn…”

Tsk tsk tsk. When compensating someone, isn’t money the most important thing? If you have money, it’s easy to negotiate, and that nonsense about stabbing would be unnecessary. Paying him three thousand strings of money should be enough, don’t you think?

“Who wants to stab you! Use something tangible as compensation!”

Sigh – When I accidentally died, you probably weren’t this proactive about getting Lord Yin Shi to compensate me, right, Luo Shi? Humans would die if they constantly compared themselves with one another…

“Ah, Xiao Luo Shi, you’re saying I should just compensate him with money? But if I use money to resolve the matter, it seems very, very, very, that’s, wouldn’t it give people the wrong impression? That’s what I’ve heard recently.”

Who told you that? Although using money to resolve everything is rude and even makes you seem rich and overbearing, money is exactly what we need, so you don’t need to mind that nonsense!

“I better wait until we pick up Yue Tui and get his opinion, but we don’t know where he’ll regenerate…”

Actually, Yue Tui’s swimming abilities were pretty good, so there was no need to worry about being too late to save him from drowning. They brought the small boat to a stop in the middle of the pond, watching the surrounding water for signs of activity. When New Residents were reborn, they more or less took the same amount of time to regenerate, so Fan Tong knew from experience about how much time it would take for Yue Tui to appear.

They’d already prepared a net and clothes, two essential items that they knew to have ready from last time’s experience. When it was almost time for Yue Tui to revive, they searched the water’s surface with increased vigilance. However, it seemed that Yue Tui had seen the boat’s shadow first from underwater. When they noticed the boat shaking, they looked over and saw Yue Tui’s hands grabbing the side of the boat, his head sticking out of the water.

“Ah! Xiao Yue! You’re okay, aren’t you!”

It’d be good to directly pull him onto the boat, which will omit the hassle of fishing for him with the net.

“I’m fine…” Yue Tui held onto the side of the boat and decided that the weight of the three people on the boat was enough to counterbalance him. He exerted strength to pull himself up.

“Yue Tui, clothes…” Fan Tong was originally about to hand the clothes to Yue Tui, but after he saw the condition of Yue Tui’s body, his voice caught in his throat. It wasn’t only Fan Tong; Luo Shi and Ling Shi were also dumbfounded.

Noticing their gazes, Yue Tui looked down to see what was wrong with his body. After one glance, his face became deathly pale, and he pulled on the clothes as quickly as possible to cover up his body, not even paying attention to whether he was putting them on right.

“What was that? Why do you have…” The first to recover his voice was Luo Shi, who was clearly unable to understand why the recently reborn Yue Tui had those injuries.

“It seems that every once in a while, the pond makes a mistake, and after rebirth, New Residents will bear the marks of their first death…” Yin Shi explained. Yue Tui pursed his lips tightly.

Fan Tong recalled the wounds he had seen, and in his mind Yue Tui’s description of his first death surfaced:

‘The first blade, cut me from here, to the side of my stomach.

‘The second blade, stabbed through here.

‘The third sliced off my two legs. He then used the sword and pierced the palm of my right hand, nailing me to the floor.

“He then clenched my neck with his two hands, squeezing it tighter, inch by inch…”

At that time, just hearing a description had already caused him to feel the cruelty and the terror. However, he had seen the evidence of the marks left behind just now: the huge, slanted cut across Yue Tui’s body, the holes where his chest and right hand had been run through, the cuts from where his hamstrings had been severed, and the imprints on his neck… The remaining marks might have been the results of struggling. Seeing these wounds with his own eyes, Fan Tong truly didn’t know what to say, or if seeing these marks again would make Yue Tui recall the scene of his death. What would Yue Tui be feeling now?

At least to Fan Tong, Yue Tui looked like he was about to cry.

It was just like a time of vulnerability from Yue Tui’s past that he was unwilling to disclose had inadvertently been seen by others – like the memories he had, with great difficulty, set aside had been unearthed without warning, causing a shock… In short, he didn’t look good, neither his body nor his soul.

“Yue Tui, are you in pain? W-with your injuries like this…”

If the pond occasionally made a mistake, did that mean that this time’s rebirth was a failure? That being the case, wouldn’t it be better to be reborn again for a normal body?

“…” Yue Tui looked towards Fan Tong after hearing his name, but he didn’t seem to have clearly heard what the latter had said. He appeared to have no desire to speak at all.

“Ah, this kind of abnormal situation should disappear after about a day. After that, your body will go back to normal. It’s possible that this problem arose because of psychological factors. Although the wounds exist, they won’t cause you any pain or affect you, so you can still move around normally…” Yin Shi explained again.

It looked like the injuries wouldn’t make Yue Tui die again, but this fact still couldn’t make Fan Tong feel happy. Yin Shi said that these wounds wouldn’t hurt Yue Tui or affect him, but Fan Tong believed that Yue Tui was in a lot of pain. These wounds didn’t have to trigger a nerve response. Their very existence was enough to trigger pain.

Because Yue Tui hadn’t spoken, no one knew what to say. This didn’t seem like the right time to discuss who was to blame, but they couldn’t find a way to comfort him. Blood from the wounds had already seeped through the clothes draped haphazardly over him. The bloodstains kept spreading, as if the memories were suffusing him with more and more darkness.

“Yue Tui, I’m sorry you had to experience this kind of thing…” Although it was Yin Shi’s carelessness that was at fault, Luo Shi still couldn’t help apologizing. He always felt that he shared some of the blame.

“…” Yue Tui remained silent again, but this time, he heard Luo Shi’s words. He forced his stiff face into a smile with much difficulty but said words that still made them feel sad. “It’s fine. I’m perfectly fine. You didn’t go in first, which is truly a good thing.”

Luo Shi was a Natural Resident. If he had gone in first today, a life would really have been lost. The surprising fact that Yue Tui was still thinking about this kind of thing in this situation, however, caused Luo Shi to lapse into silence as well.

“Should we go back and eat? Or… Xiao Yue, do you want to go back to the dorm to rest? If you sleep uneasily in the dormitory, coming to stay at my place is also fine…”

Aaaaaah – although I really want to eat a lavish meal, in this kind of situation, the mood isn’t right! Lord Yin Shi –

“I want to calm down a bit. If I return now, I might scare Zhu Sha. Lord Yin Shi, could I trouble you to accommodate me for the night?”

…Yue Tui, you unexpectedly picked the option that I feel is the most unlikely; you’re really strange… Furthermore, don’t adopt this calm appearance again that’s so calm it’s like no one’s inside. You seem very difficult to get close to like this, really difficult…

“Isn’t going to Yin Shi’s place too dangerous? He can’t even remember whether the defense mechanism has been removed or not! Wouldn’t it be better to stay at my place?”

What’s this? Are you fighting over him? Can I also stay over? After all, I’ve never stayed at a palace before; it’d be a novel experience…

“Both are fine; I’ll have to trouble you.” Yue Tui didn’t have an opinion. That pair of previously clear sky-blue eyes now looked considerably dull.

In the end, they returned together to Shen Wang Dian, ate a haphazard meal, and decided to stay over at Luo Shi’s pavilion.

As he’d just gone through unexpected psychological torment, Yue Tui looked as if he wanted to retire early. He dimmed the lights and lay down in bed. When asked why he didn’t just put out the lights, he shook his head and only said that he didn’t like the dark.

“Yue Tui, are you not going to sleep?” Because he was worried about Yue Tui, Fan Tong also stayed over. In any case, there was no shortage of rooms in Luo Shi’s pavilion, and Luo Shi didn’t mind an additional person.

“…I’m worried about dreaming.” After a long pause, Yue Tui gave that answer, astonishing Fan Tong.

How come? On the whole, I quite look forward to dreaming. Normally, dreamland is very fascinating! Although there’s a chance I’ll have nightmares, it’s not a very high chance… If I have a lot of interesting dreams, but you only have nightmares, then why do I completely fail at pure imagination?

“It’s not okay; if you scream in the middle of the night, roll out of bed, or talk in your sleep, I will definitely ridicule you.”

I was saying that I… bah, this curse has no conscience; it won’t even let me comfort a traumatized person.

“…Last time when you snored, giggled, and fell out of the top bunk, I didn’t ridicule you,” Yue Tui said morosely. When reminded of past disgrace, Fan Tong immediately wanted to dig a hole in the ground to hide.

“Anyway, sleep and everything will be over; resting properly is also better for your body. We can go back tomorrow.” This time, the curse finally didn’t prank him, allowing him to finish speaking properly, which was truly gratifying.

“Go back?… Which place is the one I should go back to?” Yue Tui suddenly said. Fan Tong was unable to understand what he was thinking.

“Wherever is fine; anyway, I’ll accompany you.”

So, you don’t need to be afraid of Zhu Sha, although I certainly am.

“You’ll accompany me?” From Yue Tui’s tone, it sounded like he was trying to confirm a different matter entirely. Although Fan Tong didn’t really understand, he still nodded his head.

“Is that so? That’s really great…”

Fan Tong still didn’t understand what was his “great” actually meant, but Yue Tui had finally smiled, and it looked like he was in a better mood. Since this really was something to be happy about, Fan Tong cheered up as well.

Thus, they said good night to each other and let the night pass them by, along with the sleep that came after their eyes closed.

 

◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword

It feels like my life has become a huge, jumbled mess, and everything has become complicated.

First, there’s the gap in my memory. The fact that I’ve begun to recall my money-making ability is pretty good, but that “seal Chen Yue,” what’s that about? What seal? Chen Yue is that highly revered place, and it’s the mechanism that maintains the New Residents’ lives, right? This is telling me to commit suicide, isn’t it?

Then, there’s the matter with Yue Tui. Who on earth could be that cruel, to use such a heavy-handed method to deal with such a kindhearted child? Exactly what happened to him? I’m getting more and more worried; I wonder if I could ask about it?

After I left Yue Tui’s room, Luo Shi came to find me, asking about Yue Tui’s wounds. I wrote down everything that I had heard about the cause of Yue Tui’s death for him; he looked quite sad, but basically, anyone with even a little bit of empathy would feel sad, right?

Anyway, Yue Tui has rebuilt his mental state before… This time, maybe there won’t be any problems?

Before we said good night, at least he revealed a happy smile, making me feel relieved. I think I probably said something that he wanted to hear…

As a result of this accident, I didn’t have an opportunity to discuss the gap in my memory with Yue Tui. I originally wanted to ask him if he had any views or insights on the phrase “seal Chen Yue.”

Also, I suddenly became afraid of finding out how I originally died.

What if I die once and, because my rebirth is a failure, I accidentally find out from my body’s condition why I died in my original world? What would I do then?

By all means, don’t let me have died in a stupid way! That will leave a shadow over my heart! If I died in a stupid way, I don’t want to know! I’m begging you!

I hope that tomorrow morning, when I wake up, everything will be restored to normal.

And… I also hope that, after we didn’t return for the night, Zhu Sha won’t think I stole his sweetheart and throw a tantrum…

 

Next: Chapter 5: Yue Luo Territory
Previous: Chapter 3: Misunderstandings Can Still be Peacefully Resolved
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Saviesa
Proofreaders: InkedSx, Sherry, Syrra

The phrase used here is指腹為婚 (zhi fu wei hun), which is when parents arrange a marriage for their daughter while she is pregnant with child.
The yintang is the spot between the eyebrows. In traditional Chinese medicine, a yintang that looks unhealthy (black) could signify lung disease, digestive disorders, or cerebral vascular disease. Black yintangs are also viewed to signify misfortunes.
弱不禁風 (ruo bu jin feng), an idiom meaning fragile
Fan Tong literally translates his Chinese sentence, “Show them what you’re made of,” word-for-word into English.

Chapter 3: Misunderstandings Can Still be Peacefully Resolved

On August 2, 2016, Posted by , In Chen Yue Zhi Yao, tagged in ,, , With 6 Comments

“There’s so many misunderstandings: that Ling Shi is a woman, that the Magic Sword Guard came with evil intentions, about Zhu Sha’s gender, and so on.” – Bi Rou

 

“Yiye! What are you doing?!”

“Ah, we finally found you, Xiao Rou! I missed you so bitterly!”

“Lord Yin Shi, didn’t you go looking for Lord Ling Shi…”

Leading his troops, the blonde man who had spoken first approached from behind Yiye, while Yin Shi showed up near Ling Shi and Bi Rou. Yue Tui, who was at Yin Shi’s side, could not help asking Yin Shi that last question. After setting down Zhu Sha, Fan Tong went to find a place with everyone else.  Because of the sudden influx of people, everyone was unsure how to react. Bi Rou, too, was among those at a loss. Yin Shi evaluated the situation but was confused for a moment.

“Eh? What’s going on here?” Yin Shi asked, looking from one side to another, then suddenly seemed to come to a realization. He immediately pointed at Ling Shi and laughed uproariously. “Pu, puhahahaha! Old man, you’ve encountered retribution! Even you might be killed one day! Hahahahahahahaha!”

His excessively cheerful laugh turned everyone’s faces dark. This shouldn’t be your attitude towards your friend, right? Lord Yin Shi, in the end, who are you helping? Fan Tong was deeply puzzled. Just what type of friendship existed between Yin Shi and Ling Shi? He could only be certain that this sound was pure laughter and not Yin Shi calling his mop’s name.

“I’m not dead yet” was all that Ling Shi said. His face took on an ugly look, and he delivered a fist to Yin Shi’s stomach. Although the punch encountered armor, Yin Shi still had the breath knocked out of him and shouted in pain.

Fan Tong was not interested in their . Moreover, he thought that if the four characters that made up “flirting” came out of his mouth, his curse would make it seem like he was asking for a himself. Right now, he was more curious about the other party. They looked like they were Western City’s people, but what kind of people were they? Moreover… three golden threads? Three golden threads? He carefully looked over at that little demon and unexpectedly saw three golden threads. Wasn’t that the same rank as Luo Yue’s legendary monster of an emperor?

“Yiye, we have an important mission to finish. You shouldn’t keep creating complications here!” The blonde man’s criticizing tone held a certain degree of blame.

Already agitated from being continuously bombarded by various events, Yiye replied impatiently, “Don’t stop me from killing people!”

What, people from both sides have come to stop their comrades from killing? Although, one from our side has already forgotten his original intentions. But, Yiye? This name seems… a little nuanced…I’m also getting a sense of familiarity…Why? I can’t possibly know him, right?

“We are not at war with Ye Zhi right now, so killing their people as you please is disputable at best. This was not the mission His Majesty gave us!”

“Ya Mei Die, do not mention His Majesty in front of me!”

“Pu! Ack! Kekekekeke!” The moment Yiye said his comrade’s name, Fan Tong’s breath exploded out of him, and he choked on his own saliva, crouching as he coughed incessantly and nearly sinking to his knees.

–! –! What is this? “Don’t” – “stop” –? No wonder it sounds so familiar! You guys are clearly Westerners, but your names are pronounced as if they’re Japanese, what’s up with that? This is too much! Can these words even be used as people’s names? How awkward is it when other people call your names? Two magnificent gold-threaded masters… Not good, my face is twitching! Moreover, only I can hear the resemblance to the Japanese language…

“Fan Tong, what’s the matter?” Yue Tui patted him on the back, not understanding why Fan Tong had suddenly forgotten himself.

This is something I can’t explain, so don’t ask.

Fan Tong felt like a bomb had hit his brain. Nearby, the to kill or not to kill debate continued.

“You haven’t contributed anything to this mission. Why can’t you just be good and come with us to kill chickens…”

“I will not put my sword to that kind of lowly use!” Yiye’s face twisted as he replied. Fan Tong actually felt he could understand why Yiye was angry. That is, if he had heard correctly, and they really were here to kill chickens.

“In short, you can’t kill him! You’ve already made enough trouble by causing our secret mission to be discovered!”

“Hey hey hey, wait a second. What makes you think you can discuss this matter by yourselves so happily? If you want to kill our people, shouldn’t you ask me first?” Yin Shi had been listening off to the side the entire time, but he finally couldn’t stand listening to the unpatriotic Westerners anymore and butted into the conversation in their own language. However, both New Residents and the Western City’s people could understand his words, so Ling Shi was the only one who could not.

You finally said a comparatively normal sentence, Lord Yin Shi, especially compared to earlier, when you were mocking Lord Ling Shi and saying this was retribution…

“Why is it you again?” Only now did Ya Mei Die look directly at the other party. Because he saw Yin Shi, Ya Mei Die’s  face took on a sour expression once more, as if everyone owed him millions of strings.

“Ah, that’s right, it’s me again. You were discussing whether to kill us so happily. Shouldn’t you at least defeat me first before you say any more? Don’t tell me you think that your success is already guaranteed?”

If the winner will be determined by IQ, our opponents might win, Lord Yin Shi. That Mr. Stop … Mr. Ya Mei Die, even if he looks a bit foolish, I still think he looks a little more intelligent than you… Or maybe I should say that his brain is at least more normal.

“What we say is our own business, how dare you Ye Zhi people interrupt! Where are your manners?”

No, actually it might be difficult to choose between Mr. Ya Mei Die and Yin Shi. Then, it’s just an IQ competition between Lord Ling Shi and Mr. Don’t… Mr. Yiye?

“Returning to our main topic. Why did the Magic Sword Guard come to the Eastern City’s territory?” Finally, Yin Shi asked an important question regarding the main problem.

Ya Mei Die immediately gave a resolute reply. “We are here on an order from His Esteemed Majesty. We are to first kill chickens and pluck their feathers, then return to make a pillow for His Majesty.”

…Eh?

At the moment when most people who’d heard this would blank out momentarily and ask themselves, “Is this really true,” Yiye flew into a humiliation-induced rage and ferociously smacked Ya Mei Die on the head.

“Don’t tell them about this disgraceful situation! How can you answer whatever question other people ask, are you an idiot?!”

… Eh? Slow, slow down. Originally, your reason seemed fake, and I wanted to ridicule your flimsy excuse with the words, couldn’t you have come up with a lousier lie? You didn’t even write a rough draft for it? In this world, is there such a ridiculous situation? However, Yiye’s response makes it seem true? What the… are the bigwigs from both cities all out killing chickens? Do you have a serious conflict with chickens? What an ! Or should I say I don’t know what both sides’ bigwigs are thinking, and that they are doing work that should be beneath them to slack off on their actual jobs?

So wait, does that mean that the gold-threaded expert we ran into earlier and those Luo Yue soldiers also came to pluck chicken feathers? Why didn’t they say so earlier? I would have understood the language! If they had said so earlier, I would have just given them chicken feathers, as long as they didn’t kill me! Chasing their goals like that, attacking with knives and swords and causing all those disastrous casualties, did no good! The result of all that was not chicken feathers, was it?

“Why are you reacting like that, what are they saying?” Ling Shi asked, wrinkling his brow. The feeling of not being able to participate was quite bad.

“They said that they came to pluck chicken feathers.” Yin Shi seldom translated words properly for Ling Shi, but he still attracted Ling Shi’s glare right away.

“Do you think I’m brainless? Even if I can’t understand the language, I can tell that what you’re saying is impossible! Would it kill you to joke less?”

No… Lord Ling Shi, this time it’s actually you who’s misunderstanding. You have too deep of a bias against Lord Yin Shi, they really did say that…

“Ah? Me? You damn old man, casually wronging people, what I told you was the truth!” Yin Shi complained with an innocent and aggrieved expression. Beside him, Yue Tui and Bi Rou also kindly helped him testify.

“They really said that.”

“That’s right, Ling Shi Dage.”

Even with the testimonials of two people, Ling Shi still wasn’t convinced, so he cast his gaze toward the third person. “Is it true?”

… Don’t ask me, don’t ask me, I can only speak incorrectly! Wouldn’t my words just create more trouble for Lord Yin Shi? Oh, that’s right, I can just nod my head to answer this question!

After Fan Tong hastily nodded his head, Ling Shi came up with another question. “What will they do with the chicken feathers?”

“…Return and make a pillow for their emperor.” Yue Tui answered the question, his expression distant.

“Damn old man, you accused me wrongly but didn’t apologize…” Yin Shi looked like he had really taken offense. Ling Shi looked at him without a trace of apology in his expression.

“I am truly sorry. Since you came, let me ask you, how should the issue of Luo Yue’s Magic Sword Guard and their soldiers invading our country be handled?”

Lord Ling Shi, did your brain get burnt? How could you ask Lord Yin Shi how to handle this serious issue? He might answer you with, “Then let’s happily work together to pluck chicken feathers,” right? Did you think of that?

“Ah, what a headache, I don’t want to deal with this. We came to pluck chicken feathers, but we still haven’t finished…” Fortunately, Yin Shi used the Eastern City’s language to say that sentence. Otherwise, if the other party heard that they were here to pluck chicken feathers too, Fan Tong didn’t know what impression the others would get.

“Even if they really only came to pluck chicken feathers, we can’t just consider this unimportant. We can’t let our enemies go wherever they want, right?” Ling Shi narrowed his eyes, looking very dissatisfied with Yin Shi’s answer.

“Ah! That’s right! Ling Shi, you’re so clever, I didn’t expect it at all. This way they’ll make off with our chicken feathers!”

When Yin Shi clapped his hands and spoke as if he had suddenly come to a realization, no one knew what to say to him. Was that really the train of thought of a bigwig? Did he really think that, when dealing with such a sensitive matter, the most important thing was the dispute over who got the chicken feathers? Talking about it like feathers were such a precious commodity…

“You…” When together with Yin Shi, people often had the opportunity to experience what it was like to become so angry they would convulse; no matter how much time they spent around him, no one was immune.

“Then, I’ll tell them to get lost. The chickens are ours to kill.”

If you say, “The chickens are our country’s natural resource and should be protected,” it wouldn’t sound bad, but just telling others not to kill them so that you can, that really is… too blunt?

“Should we negotiate over the people we killed…” Fan Tong originally wanted to say they should negotiate over the people the other side had killed. After all, he had almost died. He didn’t consider the matter to be water under the bridge. As for how the curse had changed his words… he couldn’t control that.

If I think about it carefully, it actually seems that the people from Luo Yue haven’t killed anyone! We did all the killing… Lord Ling Shi covered the ground in blood, my mop unexpectedly killed a few people, and Lord Yin Shi seriously injured someone… so aren’t we the villains here?

“We were eliminating the intruders; we have reasonable justification for doing so.” Ling Shi did not have to think hard to come up with this response.

Immediately, Yin Shi opened his mouth to say, “We’ve already fought, we’ve already killed, just tell them to leave and everything will be fine.”

“And if they refuse to leave?”

“Eh? Then just forget about it.”

“… Shouldn’t we start a fight? If negotiations are useless, let’s just use weapons to expel them, okay?”

“Ah, but Ling Shi, you couldn’t defeat one of them.”

“Of course you would deal with that child. The other person won’t be a problem for me.”

“But I don’t fight children or women.”

Speaking with Yin Shi was always very tiring.

Their party was quarreling, but the other party was also quarreling.

“If this matter isn’t resolved peacefully, there’s no need to pluck chicken feathers anymore, since we would have failed His Majesty’s task…”

“I already want to ignore that stupid mission! Do you still want to reason with the enemy?”

“We can’t gain the upper hand, right? What use is it for both sides to suffer?”

Hearing Ya Mei Die say those words, Yiye gritted his teeth. Although his heart longed for an intense fight with a rarely encountered, worthy opponent, after so many people had shown up, in reality there were still many things he needed to consider. Although he never paid much attention to other factors when he was working, aside from practical matters, there was another problem that caught his attention.

“Hey, hey, are you guys finished talking over there? We can act as if we never saw you stealthily sneak in, and we won’t inform Ying. However, you must leave our borders within an hour, and during that period of time, you can’t harm the Eastern City’s people. This is our suggestion.” In any case, they were all old friends who had frequently encountered each other when they’d fought over people at the Chen Yue pathway, so Yin Shi thought that communicating with them for a bit wouldn’t cause any problems.

However, the phrase “stealthily sneak in” somehow caused people to be at a loss as to what to say. Did you really have to use the phrase “stealthily sneak in”… shouldn’t it be Bi Rou who did that? Wasn’t what Bi Rou did really “stealthily sneaking in”? She even went from someone who’d stealthily snuck in to a proper and respectable Eastern City resident. This is truly quite disturbing…

Yiye was speechless, and it was unclear what he was thinking, so it seemed that he was leaving the decision to Ya Mei Die. Ya Mei Die thought for a bit; apparently the matter could only be settled like this, so he agreed to their requirements. It would be easy to find out whether Ya Mei Die’s soldiers had really left after an hour. Since they were in the Eastern City’s territory, naturally the Eastern City had methods to monitor them. In other words, they couldn’t agree just for show; they would have to do what they’d agreed to do.

“Ling Shi, they’ve agreed, let’s quickly leave and continue killing chickens. There’s no need to look after them.”

“Hng.” Ling Shi didn’t oppose the idea. After glancing at them, he went to treat the two unconscious girls.

“Ah, that’s right, there’s also Xiao Zhu… Eh? Xiao Zhu?” Right after Yin Shi suddenly remembered the matter with Zhu Sha, he saw the person in question suddenly appear along with feelings of doubt.

Fan Tong also hadn’t taken note of when Zhu Sha had approached them. A little surprised, he looked towards Zhu Sha, then looked back at Yue Tui.

“Eh?” He looked specifically at the place where he’d put down the person he had been carrying, but he didn’t see even half a person. Therefore, he could not help but ask, “Where did that boy go?” Wrong question again.

“Which boy?”

Yue Tui really wasn’t pretending – he truly was shocked.

“Wasn’t he a girl just a moment ago… The person from before, was it really Xiao Zhu? Xiao Zhu, are you a boy or a girl?” Yin Shi’s mind kept turning in circles. If the girl from before wasn’t Zhu Sha, then where did she go?

“I don’t understand this question,” Zhu Sha coldly answered.

After hearing about the situation, Ling Shi also adopted a cold look. “Yin, can you not tell the difference between genders?”

“Ah! It’s not like that! Just now it was obviously… Xiao Yue, didn’t you say that girl was Xiao Zhu?”

Yue Tui stiffened, hesitated, and then shook his head. “You probably remembered it wrong.”

Fan Tong didn’t know how why, but he could understand why Yue Tui had stiffened momentarily. It was because he wasn’t used to lying. It seemed that he wanted to conceal the matter.

“Eh? Mop’s Master, you should have heard it as well, right?”

…Who are you asking?

Instead of Fan Tong’s face or name, what had left the deepest impression on Yin Shi, and the one thing he remembered, was actually Fan Tong’s weapon. Let’s set aside the matter of Yin Shi remembering it as a mop instead of a horsetail whisk for now; he felt his name was already so easy to remember, but Yin Shi still couldn’t remember it. This was overwhelmingly sad.

I’m begging you to remember my name! It doesn’t matter if you call me Xiao Fan, Xiao Tong, or Xiao Fan Tong, just don’t call me Mop’s Master! What a terrible joke!

“Ah, why won’t you answer me? Don’t tell me that you’re not the person with the mop? Then, who are you?”

By this time, Ling Shi had already woken up the two girls, and it seemed that he did not want Yin Shi to waste any more time, so he came over to interrupt. “This is an unimportant matter, don’t bother with it. Haven’t we already wasted enough time? Quickly go do your job and kill chickens. Don’t tell me you want to make a third trip?”

“Huh? So long as I’m with Xiao Rou, it doesn’t matter where I go or how many times.” Yin Shi answered, smiling at Bi Rou, which immediately made her fall back into starry-eyed infatuation mode.

“Oh! Yin Shi, you’re so handsome!”

This open admiration embarrassed Yin Shi a little. “Ah, am I…”

It was truly inconceivable for someone who looked like that to still not be accustomed to being called handsome. Perhaps the Eastern City’s girls were a little more reserved?

Finished dealing with business, the people from the Western City had already left. Only after seeing them leave did Ling Shi ask Yin Shi a question. “Yin, are you certain you could have beaten that child from earlier?” Ling Shi knew that if he had fought Yiye, he would have definitely lost, so he wanted to know if Yin Shi had any chance of success.

“Ah, I’ve never fought him before, so I don’t know. It looks like he’s an expert who combines magic, curses, and sword fighting, but I can do more, so maybe I could beat him?” Yin Shi didn’t immediately answer that he was certain of victory, causing Ling Shi to furrow his brows. This time, Bi Rou spoke up.

“Yin Shi! You know how to do so many things! You also figured out how to cast curses? Which ones?”

“Ah, I’m proficient in Shufa, Fuzhou, sword fighting, and magic. I know how to cast curses well, but I can’t use them. My Wushu is not bad, but in front of friends, I tend to let my guard down, so this damn old man often lands a hit on me… Nn – the thing I’m best at is sword fighting.”

…Eastern City’s Shufa, Fuzhou, and Wushu; Luo Yue’s magic, curses, and sword fighting… You’re an expert in everything from both cities! What did you have to do to accomplish this feat? Is this something only a genius can do? But Lord Yin Shi, your intelligence seems to be lacking a few basic things, which isn’t like a genius at all –

“If you’re best at sword fighting, why are you the rector of Shufa Xuan…?” Bi Rou asked the question that Fan Tong was also puzzling over. Yin Shi paused, thought for a bit, and finally recalled the reason.

“Ah! It seems like it was because… Wei Shi said that he wanted the position, and I didn’t want to give it to him, so I defeated him, and then…”

After spending forever listening to you, I still can’t find anything good about you. And now, Lord Wei Shi has taken up the position of Wushu Xuan’s substitute rector. Why didn’t you take that position from him and work two jobs at once?

“Tsk, just bringing up that damn Wei Shi makes me angry, what a loathsome guy. If he found out about today’s affair, he would definitely be itching to make a fuss about it, hmph.” Saying that, Yin Shi became unhappy. In contrast, Ling Shi heaved a sigh and put in a sentence for Wei Shi.

“He really isn’t a bad person, it’s just that he firmly believes that what he’s doing is making the world a better place. He’s retarded, that’s all.”

It looked like Ling Shi was defending Wei Shi, but Fan Tong was speechless. Lord Ling Shi, you’re so ruthless… Other people normally say “idiot,” “fool,” and other less demeaning insults. You said he wasn’t a bad person, but then you went ahead and used an utterly humiliating term like “retarded.” Are you sure you don’t feel any malice towards him?

“Ling Shi, what are you saying? It’s too complicated, I don’t understand.”

“… You two retards make a good pair.”

“Hey! What? How could you say that I’m retarded?!”

Quickly finish plucking chicken feathers and stop making a fuss, really now!

***

Yiye, Ya Mei Die, and the surviving soldiers, who had left the scene first, began discussing matters in private once they’d reached a safe distance.

“Yiye, I couldn’t contact him, but when I used magic to try and detect him, it seemed like he’d already left this place.” Ya Mei Die was referring to their third companion, who had been separated from them by the Qing Ping Storm and hadn’t been seen since.

“How hateful, how dare he return before us…” Yiye thought of the person who had left him to continue this stupid feather-plucking mission with this idiot of a companion and forced out his words through gritted teeth, fuming with anger. Of course, Yin Shi had broken their companion’s arm, and afterwards his troops had urgently evacuated with him, but this was something they wouldn’t know about.

“Ya Mei Die, that woman from a moment ago…”

“Which one?”

To this date, they still thought that Ling Shi was a woman.

When asked that question, Yiye’s expression visibly dulled as he couldn’t think of an answer.

“Can’t you fix your habit of ignoring people’s faces?” Ya Mei Die felt helpless. When Yiye looked at people, he never imprinted their appearances in his mind. Normally, he only paid attention to things like the trajectories of his opponents’ swords and the path of the magic flow around them. As for people’s bodies, he only noted their positions so he would know where to attack. Anything apart from this was nonexistent to him. When trying to distinguish between men and women with that kind of habit, Yiye could gain only a rough impression from his first glance.

“All right then, what did you want to say?” Seeing that Yiye wasn’t going to speak, Ya Mei Die could only continue asking.

“…” Yiye remained silent, making Ya Mei Die feel even more helpless.

“Shouldn’t you also fix your problem of quickly forgetting what you wanted to say when you are interrupted?”

That was just the way he was, he couldn’t change it even if he wanted to. Having two of his weaknesses pointed out one after the other, Yiye was ashamed into anger. “I already remembered! That woman was very odd, she could speak the Western City’s language…”

“What? Isn’t Yin Shi a man?” Ya Mei Die felt that he must have heard something inconceivable, so he could not help interrupting Yiye. In his understanding, Yin Shi was the odd person who spoke the Western City’s language; after all, when Bi Rou had spoken, he hadn’t arrived yet.

“Which one was Yin Shi again?” Yiye had nearly lost his patience and was also a little confused.

“He showed up later. He was that black-haired man.”

Yiye did not remember at all who had black hair. However, he knew that the person he was referring to hadn’t appeared later. “It wasn’t someone who appeared later!”

“Can Ling Shi also speak the Western City’s language?”

“It’s not Ling Shi either!”

Yiye finally remembered that the opponent he had fought against was Ling Shi; not that he’d recognized Ling Shi, it was just that the sigil of Ling Shi’s restriction order, which only affected the Eastern City’s residents, was in the air, and its entire aura had originated from the opponent he’d been fighting.

“It seems like there was another woman, but she should be a New Resident, right? New Residents can all speak the Western City’s language, so why is it strange that she could?”

After Ya Mei Die had spoken, Yiye couldn’t think of anything to say for a while. What had been strange? The fact that she had yelled his name? But his soldiers had also yelled out his name, so it wouldn’t be strange if she had heard it. Yiye couldn’t recall what exactly had caught his attention. In fact, he couldn’t remember at all the words Bi Rou had spoken, as well as the beginning of that sentence she hadn’t finished.

“Don’t mind it anymore, we only have an hour left. We should hurry up…”

“What are we hurrying for?”

Hearing Yiye ask that question, Ya Mei Die’s face once again took on a confused expression. “Of course we should find out how to pluck enough chicken feathers to fill a pillow during the next hour. We can’t turn our backs on His Majesty’s trust!”

“…”

“This is our mission, don’t tell me you also forgot this?”

“…”

It was precisely because he hadn’t forgotten that Yiye had nothing to say. At the same time, he really wanted to bestow a sword strike upon his companion’s problematic head and send him to be reincarnated. Maybe in the next life, he would become normal.

“Just in case there really isn’t enough time… Yiye, do you happen to be an expert in disguising yourself?”

“What are you asking me to do? What use would that be?”

“This is the backup plan: if there’s not enough time to pluck enough chicken feathers for a pillow, at least one person needs to make an attempt to infiltrate Ye Zhi’s city walls…”

Hearing this, Yiye thought that Ya Mei Die had turned into a different person. Ya Mei Die actually wanted to infiltrate the Eastern City and gather intelligence, or perhaps Englar had given him a secret mission. After Ya Mei Die finished speaking though, Yiye discovered that he had been wrong. “It doesn’t matter whether you or I do it. If we infiltrate Ye Zhi and buy a pillow made of chicken feathers, we could also complete the mission that way!”

“…”

Infiltrating the Eastern City… just to buy a pillow? We’d even buy the pillow? We can’t just steal it? What about currency? Do you have Ye Zhi’s money? Don’t tell me you’re afraid of getting caught stealing and causing the knowledge of the Western City’s Magic Sword Guard infiltrating Ye Zhi just to steal a pillow to spread throughout Ye Zhi, and then spread back to the Western City, causing the Magic Sword Guard to lose all prestige? If you even understand what humiliation is, you shouldn’t be bringing up this kind of suggestion! Yiye stopped thinking before the thought “if we’re really going to steal, why not take a few more pillows and make it ten?” reached his mind and firmly used his sheathed sword to knock out Ya Mei Die in one blow.

“Lord Yiye…” Seeing Yiye use violence against Ya Mei Die, the soldiers were stunned.

“Pick him up and carry him, we’re going home,” Yiye coldly ordered, and just like that, the farce of the Magic Sword Guard going to the Eastern City to pluck chicken feathers ended.

 

◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword

Plucking chicken feathers to raise our rank was truly difficult. We had to surmount all sorts of difficulties, going through numerous twists and turns… I never expected plucking chicken feathers to lead to a life-threatening crisis, Zhu Sha changing genders, and Bi Rou and Lord Yin Shi breaking up… Eh, that didn’t happen, I’m not cursing them either. Maybe having the curse for a long time has caused even sentences spoken in my mind to become abnormal, ahahaha.

After finding out many things, we encountered members of the Magic Sword Guard, who could be considered important people in Luo Yue. The short one almost beat Ling Shi, which is really difficult to imagine. I originally thought some harrowing conspiracy or conflict would occur, but they were actually just here to pluck chicken feathers. I heard that it was because their emperor wanted to make a pillow. I can only say, w-w-w-what a mess! Do you have cement for brains? What nonsense! There’s something wrong with anyone who would dispatch strong fighters with gold threads to enemy territory just for a chicken feather pillow! He’s abnormal, I say, what’s up with this world!

However, for the Young Emperor of Luo Yue who killed three hundred thousand people, wanting a pillow doesn’t really seem to be keeping with his image…? Maybe thinking of him as a bloody monster is my misunderstanding? It goes without saying that a person has many faces; I heard that the Young Emperor is still young, so maybe he’s still childish…

After resolving our series of problems, we were on our way again, and when evening fell, we finally plucked enough chicken feathers. Lord Yin Shi’s chicken-killing method was still very striking. Fortunately, he killed them very single-mindedly, not paying attention to the rest of us, so we did not need to suffer the shining assault of his and Bi Rou’s love. Even so, after everything was finished, I did not feel deeply moved the moment I received the chicken feathers; instead, I felt lower back pain…

Starting tomorrow, I’ll be a grass green tassel! I’ll have a salary! Hahahaha! This is worthy of getting excited about, even though laughing right now is making my entire body hurt. But also, before this happens, I still have to find Luo Shi and collect our chicken skins as well as resolve the problem with Zhu Sha…

 

Next: Chapter 4: Fragments of Memories
Previous: Chapter 2: The Magic Sword Guards of Luo Yue’s Young Emperor
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Saviesa
Proofreaders: XYZ81, Sherry, Channie

The term used here is 打情罵俏, which literally translates to “fight love curse beauty.” It refers to flirting with a woman by pretending to be displeased with her.
Fan Tong is making a pun here, since he uses the phrase 打爆, which begins with 打 like打情罵俏 (translated as “flirting”).
”Yiye” sounds exactly like the Japanese word いいえ, which translates to “no” or “don’t.” So, his name literally means “no” in Japanese.
This name sounds like the Japanese “やめて,” which means “don’t,” “stop,” “not good,” etc.
The Year of the Chicken is one of the twelve years on the Chinese Zodiac. So, with all the chickens being hunted, the Year of the Chicken will be very unlucky.

Chapter 2: The Magic Sword Guards of Luo Yue’s Young Emperor

On May 1, 2016, Posted by , In Chen Yue Zhi Yao, tagged in ,, , With 12 Comments

“What are the Magic Sword Guards?” ―Zhu Sha

“Ah, it’s probably a harem.” ―Yin Shi

“Eek!” ―Yue Tui

“Absolutely. Not.” ―Yiye

 

Standing on the yellow earth beneath the cloudy sky, accompanied by the corpses of the two people he had allegedly killed, Fan Tong rigidly conducted an intense staring contest with his weapon. Correction, as he didn’t know exactly where Puhahaha’s eyes were, Fan Tong was staring at its… whatever.

A million different thoughts tumbled through his head, but he couldn’t utter even a single word. He felt like he was about to explode. Perhaps the situation was too absurd, his expressions twisted and turned, but still nothing came out of his mouth.

After a long while, when faint snoring could be heard from Puhahaha, Fan Tong finally asked in a trembling voice, “You… You are not a soul-purging weapon! Is this a trick? You didn’t glow and you can’t speak, how do you explain that?” His words became a hideous mess again.

“I am a soul-purging weapon. I can clearly speak. I’m not glowing now, but I was just a moment ago. In short, be careful when you use me, and don’t hit yourself.” Puhahaha seemed a bit impatient with his reply.

You are trying to trick me, right? This is all a lie, right? Moreover, just now, I hadn’t caught how the mop attacks, so could it be that even a light sweep to the head from it will damage the soul?!

“How can you sometimes glow and sometimes don’t? Can’t you control it? Aren’t soul-purging weapons always glowing?”

Humph. This horsetail whisk is not an ordinary horsetail whisk, I’ve already said that several times.”

This has nothing to do with you being a horsetail whisk, okay?

“Of course the glow of the soul-purging force is controllable, but our souls aren’t linked yet, and our harmonization isn’t good enough, so I’m in control of it right now.”

Put this way, it would be better for me if our relationship improves. But… the whole thing about linked souls, harmonization, and whatnot… I would prefer my partner to be a beautiful woman if we’re going to use those kind of words! Why does it have to be a mop!

“Then why did you glow just now?! You can’t indiscriminately kill people! In the future, make sure you always glow!”

No! I mean never glow in the future!

“Always glow? Fan Tong, I didn’t know you were so bloodthirsty.”

Don’t just ignore all my earlier statements!

“Yes, I’m saying always glow, I like killing people.”

Hey! Don’t twist my words again! What a rotten curse!

“Even if you say that, it’s awfully tiring for me. I still need to rest. I want to sleep.”

You’ve already rested for a long time… No wait. This is good. Quick, refuse me because you’re tired! By all means, never give off that soul-purging glow again. I’m begging you! We better establish a good relationship soon. If we can directly speak to each other using telepathy, we can avoid so many misunderstandings.

“I want to become physically linked with you.”

…I’ve had enough of this.

“…Y-you, want to do what?! B-b-become linked, w-what kind of linked with me? Maybe you can’t tell, but I’m a male! W-w-who wants to link with you…”

I also don’t want to become linked with you; I’m not a pervert. From your voice alone I already know that you are male, not female…but from your tone you sound kind of flustered?

“What I’m saying is, I want to chat with you through your body, this way it’ll be more convenient and we both would not benefit…”

Please stop with the physical body thing already. I give up. I’ve already been cast off as a promiscuous devil by these misunderstandings. However, the sentence about it being unbeneficial to both of us, after all the reversed sentences from before, is actually correct.

“I followed the wrong master. I followed the wrong master! I was fooled by honeyed words and ended up with a master who has dubious intents and harmful plans. I don’t care about you anymore, I’m going to sleep.”

This is an enormous misunderstanding, truly. Fortunately, you didn’t say you would consider it; otherwise, I would have to seriously consider my own future.

“A white tassel?”

Just when Fan Tong’s heart calmed down, it flew back up his throat again at the sound of an unfamiliar voice.

“You’re the person who killed my troops?”

Fan Tong frantically turned around and saw that several people had entered his line of sight without him noticing. It seemed that the leader of these guys was the person with an angry-looking face pointing a sword at him, looking like he would strike any second. While he was distracted, how long had these few people been standing there? Fan Tong did not know; he was only paying attention to the marks on this person’s belt.

Two gold threads. Two gold threads! He has two gold threads! He’s pretty much the same rank as Lord Ling Shi! Killing me would be as easy as slicing open a watermelon!

I didn’t kill those people! I have nothing to do with this! Don’t seek revenge on me; it’s all the doing of this meddlesome mop―Puhahaha! Wake up! What are you doing?! Do what you did just a while ago! Make me a ruthless killer who kills without batting an eyelash! Or else, I’ll surely die!

“Eh? Fan Tong, quickly commit suicide. I can’t extract your memories again on such short notice. If you don’t kill yourself now, it’ll be too late.”

Puhahaha did wake up, and had even guessed what he was thinking, but his reply sent Fan Tong into an abyss of despair.

“Who asked you to leave the killing unfinished, a survivor ran off and called for reinforcements…”

…And he even called the big fish. I know, I know now. I regret what I said just now. Why does it matter if you kill? Why does it matter when soul-purging weapons enter the equation? It’s still better to kill than be killed…

With no warning, the gold-threaded expert lashed out at Fan Tong with his sword. Fan Tong cried out in surprise and barely dodged the strike, contorting into an awkward position to get out of the way in time as his life flashed before his eyes. He knew that the other person wasn’t using his full strength as he could still dodge the attack in time. The other was simply testing his abilities.

“Was it really him? But he’s a white tassel! His form is terrible and full of holes. He also doesn’t have any strength.” The expert with two gold threads asked incredulously as he fixed his gaze fixed on Fan Tong. He was suspicious of the things his informer had told him since Fan Tong did not seem like a strong fighter at all.

That’s right! I’m weak and unworthy of being killed by you, so please let me go―

“My Lord, it’s him. It’s definitely him. He’s still standing beside their corpses!” The escaped Western City soldier pointed at Fan Tong in panic.

It seems like I won’t be declared innocent anytime soon.

However, even if Fan Tong overlooked the fact that this world did not have a , about the corpses… Well, Fan Tong was undoubtedly the murderer. Though, if someone told him to repeat his actions, he wouldn’t be able to do it.

***

“Anyways, since you’ve already seen us…”

Wait a second! I said wait a second! What outdated script are you going off of to kill people in order to silence them? Don’t make me struggle for my life again!

Fan Tong felt like a frog being watched closely by snakes. In addition, the man with two gold threads was wielding a soul-purging weapon.

I’m finished. It’s that glow again, don’t tell me I’ll really be purged here? If I die here, will anyone ever discover my body? Although, I shouldn’t care whether or not my body will be found since my soul would be purged. If there comes a time when someone passes through here one day, discovers my body, and suddenly realize, “This was originally Fan Tong. So he actually died here,” then I want to believe that they would grieve for me! However, if I die here, wouldn’t I be dying next to Puhahaha? I can’t be buried next to a mop! I want to change the mop to something else!

…That’s not to say I would die willingly if the mop was exchanged for a beautiful girlfriend. But to make me accept that I’ll buried beside a mop, that’s…

The gold-threaded man had already raised his shining sword and was about to hack at Fan Tong, apparently not wanting to waste any more time dealing with a nobody.

With death so near, Fan Tong actually didn’t feel a single trace of fear. He could only stare with widened eyes at the sword speeding towards him and face the killing strike.

Congratulations! Your life has officially ended. May I ask if you want to go back and look at the scene of your death, look back through your memories, or directly end your life and become a piece of dust in the cosmos?

While he was watching the soul-purging weapon fly towards him, Fan Tong felt those words flash through his mind. Those meaningless words were spewed out of his imagination as a last form of comfort. Repeating his death scene would not help him rest in peace. As for looking back on his life… What would he want to look back on? Being crushed to death by a moshou? His cursed mouth deciding to ask for a license plate number of 666 during the most prosperous time in his life? Or a mop becoming his life partner? The more Fan Tong thought, the more he grieved. However, he also couldn’t help but marvel at the speed of his thoughts. He’d managed to think of so many things in the few seconds the sword flew towards his head… What came after this? Obediently accept his death? Would his unfortunate life be finished? In the end, was that good or bad?

Suddenly, Fan Tong felt himself being pushed to the side and heard the clashing of metal striking metal. He  looked dazedly at the situation, only to find that the person who pushed him away was Yue Tui.

Yue Tui had stopped the blade right before it cut him. He held his weapon in his right hand, accurately blocking the gold-threaded man’s soul-purging sword, while his left hand, which had shoved Fan Tong in the chest, went to support him before he fell.

In short, it seemed Fan Tong had escaped calamity once more. He had his misgivings a moment ago. His head was in such a mixed-up state that he almost said, “Yue Tui, why did you push me?” Then he realized he wasn’t dead.

“Yue, Yue Tui!” With great difficulty, Fan Tong retrieved the function of his vocal cords. Pleasant surprise and fear went through him. He was pleasantly surprised because he had temporarily escaped with his life, but fearful and worried that his friend might have come here only to die with him.

“Fan Tong, are you alright?” Although Yue Tui was concerned about his situation, he couldn’t look towards him, since he had to keep his eyes on the enemy in front of him. Thus, although Fan Tong wanted to nod in answer, his friend wouldn’t be able to see it, so Fan Tong had to use his voice again to respond.

“I’m not alright.” Sure enough, he said the wrong thing again.

“Where are you injured?” Yue Tui nervously turned his head towards him, which, in turn, made Fan Tong nervous.

Wah! Don’t look at me! The enemy is still in front of you! Wah! He’s lifting his sword to attack again! Yue Tui! Quickly look in front of you!

Yue Tui kept his gaze fixed on Fan Tong while he accurately blocked the next strike from the gold-threaded man’s weapon. Fan Tong was speechless.

“Fan Tong, it doesn’t look like you’re injured. Do you have any internal injuries?”

Yue Tui’s clear, sky-blue eyes swept over Fan Tong. He looked concerned, but also puzzled.

I think… that this isn’t important right now. Hurry up and remember that I have a speech problem. Also, are you really human? Do you want to consider turning your head back around to look at your enemy? Regardless of whether you can fight him like this, looking down on people like that isn’t good. It’s like you aren’t taking him seriously…

The gold-threaded man became infuriated and started giving off a strong murderous aura. Yue Tui’s brow furrowed, and he had no choice but to face the other again. He looked like he had no intention of conversing with them, and Fan Tong wasn’t capable of holding a normal conversation, so he adopted Yue Tui’s silent attitude. He had hoped that after he was saved, they could quickly leave, but the enemy kept pushing forward, leaving Yue Tui no choice but to fight.

While Fan Tong was thinking, the sounds of swords crossing kept up a constant racket. Fan Tong couldn’t keep up with the speed of the fight. At times, Yue Tui and his opponent even fought hand-to-hand. Yue Tui stayed on the defensive, but looked like he hadn’t suffered any damage.

“Aren’t Ye Zhi’s white tassels the weakest rank? This is so strange!” said the Western City soldier.

I’m sorry that we’re strange… No, the only strange one is Yue Tui. I’m an ordinary weakling. The only strange thing about me is my weapon. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not strange, really. Instead of us white tassels, you should instead criticize that man there with two gold threads who’s been brought to a standstill by a New Resident with a white tassel. Those gold threads are starting to seem fake.

The swords continued to clash, but then, something unexpected happened. Probably from the strain of repeatedly clashing with a powerful weapon, Yue Tui’s sword broke. It cleanly broke in half, with the top half falling to the ground. Fan Tong looked at Yue Tui’s expression, feeling his own eyes widen in panic.

No, the sword broke! How are you going to fight now, Yue Tui? I told you earlier not to buy a broken weapon, but you didn’t listen! How is your broken weapon going to compare to that person’s godly weapon? What should I do? Should I lend you the mop? But you nearly destroyed every weapon you touched before, would you also kill Puhahaha… It’s not that I’m taking pity on Puhahaha. I only regret those two hundred strings. I also don’t want to hear Puhahaha’s miserable screams.

That being said, if he were to try to use his soul-purging weapon in this situation, would he hear a stream of protests like “I’m going to die,” “don’t be so reckless,” “do you even know how to fight?,” and “not like that!” If that happened, Fan Tong would only be getting in the way if he tried to fight. That wouldn’t be strange.

“Fan Tong!” Seeing that he only had half a sword left, Yue Tui pursed his lips and extended a hand towards Fan Tong. “Give me your horsetail whisk!”

…What? What did you say? What did I hear? A-are you serious? I only meant it as a joke when I thought about it, but you actually want to go through with it? Did you forget that you are a weapon-killing fiend? You really want to try and fight with a mop? Do you really think that it’s feasible for you to use this mop as a sword? Can its soft hair really block the other person’s weapon? Although I suspect that it actually can be used as a sword because of what happened earlier, but, but…!

“Puhahaha, are you willing?” Fan Tong knew that they were pressed for time, but he still asked for Puhahaha’s opinion since this was a life or death situation. If it was willing to sacrifice its life for the greater good, if it was willing to burn itself out so that others might live, then he wouldn’t think twice about handing it over to Yue Tui, but if it wasn’t willing, then he wouldn’t try to reason with it. He would just watch and see if Yue Tui could use a broken sword to bring about a miracle.

Puxiu. Huh? What? Willing… Are you proposing to me?” But since Puhahaha had gone to sleep, it had no idea what Fan Tong was asking.

Who wants to marry you? Is your brain still on the subject of “linking physical bodies” from earlier?

Taking advantage of the moment, Yue Tui’s opponent waved his sword at Yue Tui. This time, Yue Tui dodged, not meeting the strike with his stub of a sword. Fan Tong’s survival instinct kicked in and he grasped Puhahaha to hand it over. Just then, another voice cut in:

“Stop!”

When he heard that voice, Fan Tong instinctively thought that they were saved. However, their rescuer was standing behind them, so there was still a possibility that they would die. The person who had appeared at the most crucial point in the battle was someone who kept getting lost in Resource Area 2―Yin Shi.

***

Now we’re both in a deadlock. Our side has a pure black tassel, so we have a better chance of victory, but because the black tassel is Yin Shi, I can’t feel any ease.

Oh, Lord Yin Shi, every time, you appear just when we need you, just when the situation gets lively. Can we trust you? Can we trust you to rescue us? Can we really? Although according to Ling Shi and judging from the rate at which you can kill chickens, you are quite strong. But how will you do against this expert from Luo Yue?

How much power did the Western City’s two gold threads represent? Fan Tong did not know if Yin Shi was more powerful, since he also didn’t know how much power the Eastern City’s pure black tassel represented. He didn’t know, but… compared to whether or not Yin Shi could defeat the enemy and rescue them, Fan Tong was more concerned about whether or not they would accidentally be killed in the crossfire. He hadn’t died yet, and had, with difficulty, survived until an ally arrived, but if that ally accidentally killed him, it would be too tragic. He really hoped this sad tragedy would not occur.

When another person entered the fighting scene, the gold-threaded expert appeared to be evaluating the situation. As soon as he saw who the new person was, his face twisted in frustration.

“Yin Shi…!”

Yin Shi appeared from behind them and from the right, halted the fight between the gold-threaded expert and Yue Tui. Fan Tong retreated, keeping a safe distance, and the Western City soldiers raised their guard.

“Can’t you see that they’re white tassels?” Yin Shi said as he walked towards them with an unusually serious look on his face. “Don’t you know that if you kill someone with a soul-purging weapon, even if they’re a new resident, they’ll die?” he asked, using the Western City’s language but not expecting an answer.

“You…”

“Shut up! You hateful person!” After scolding him, Yin Shi unsheathed a long knife. “The people I hate the most, are strong people who prey on the weak!” As he spoke, he swung the knife. As he was still too far away to hit the enemy, he probably hadn’t intended to hit him. As he brandished the ordinary seeming knife, silver light glinted off of it, and that cold, clear light ruthlessly lowered the surrounding temperature. His ink-black hair fluttered in the cold breeze, and he closed his red eyes in anger.

It all happened so quickly. The fatal silver light, Yin Shi quickly striking with the knife, and his opponent letting out a piercing scream. The weapon in his opponent’s right hand fell to the ground and blood gushed from his injury.

“My lord!”

“Ah… Aaaaaah!”

The knife had cut straight through his armor as if it wasn’t even there. Although the scene was very bloody, Fan Tong looked at the damage that was caused to the gold-threaded expert in such a short amount of time, then looked back to the knife belonging to Yin Shi. Just like always, he couldn’t help but reflect on the situation.

Lord Yin Shi, you’re so handsome… Wait, isn’t that wrong? Where did that weird thought come from? Why did I involuntarily think this kind of thing? Isn’t this kind of starry-eyed infatuation the same as Bi Rou’s? I must have thought it because his actions were very handsome, yes, that’s exactly what it was! But I’m still not happy about this… However, what was that just now? That light? Didn’t Yin Shi use a broken weapon?

Steam was rising from the wound on the gold-threaded expert’s arm, and the Western City’s soldiers were thrown into panic.

“Escort the Lord away from here!” Because of the serious situation, they had already decided to ignore the unstable environment and directly used magic. Yin Shi had no interest in pursuing them as he watched them disappear before his eyes. Thus the enemy got away, and his focus went to the other people present.

“Ah, were you injured? Were you? Were you?” After he walked over to them, he reverted back to his original idiotic mental state.

“I wasn’t…” Yue Tui shook his head, his expression complicated. Subsequently, he seemed to think of something and turned to Fan Tong. “Fan Tong, are you alright? Just a moment ago, you said you were injured?”

This time, Fan Tong finally got his wish and shook his head in reply.

“Fan Tong, it looks like you’re fine, you lucky dog. Then, I can sleep without any worries. Puxiu – hu –

What lucky dog? Mop, don’t use this kind of insincere description as an afterthought! And once you’ve finished speaking, don’t immediately go to sleep again! Is this a kind of talent, being able to sleep no matter what?

Calming down after having his emotion stirred up by Puhahaha’s insult, Fan Tong looked at the knife at Yin Shi’s waist and curiously asked, “Yin Shi, is that the knife you bought as an ornament?”

Hey, can you not turn my words into such a discourteous question?

“Eh? You figured it out. At that time, I actually bought the wrong one. I’m really good at sword-fighting, although using a shorter knife doesn’t really make a difference…”

Did you or did you not make a mistake? Is this called succeeding by a stroke of luck?

“Ah, Xiao Yue, your sword broke? Let’s trade blades. Both are broken, so they’re about the same.”

I think your brain is broken. You want to trade for a broken sword? How could the broken knife that you’re using be the same? Furthermore… Xiao Yue? Who is Xiao Yue? If Yue Tui is Xiao Yue, then what am I…?

This question made Fan Tong tremble with fear. He really did not want to hear what Yin Shi would address him as, and hoped that he would continue forgetting his face and name, but he didn’t know if that would the case.

“Oh… ok.” Yue Tui blankly handed Yin Shi his broken sword and sheath, trading weapons with Yin Shi. His face was still blank as he tried to adapt to the diminutive nickname.

“Lord Yin Shi, who was that person? It seemed like you knew him.” There wasn’t enough room in Fan Tong’s heart to once again feel sad again about speaking incorrectly.

Yin Shi immediately answered his question. “Hmm? It seems like… he might be… ought to be… perhaps, someone I saw when fighting at the Chen Yue pathway? I don’t know him. I’m not an expert at remembering people’s faces.”

Are you not an expert at remembering people’s faces, or not an expert at remembering men’s faces? Moreover, you’re also not an expert at remembering people’s names… Especially men’s names. You’ve known Ling Shi for so long and you still can’t remember his name! With Luo Shi, you probably remember his name because he looks like a beautiful girl. But then again, Ling Shi looks like a beautiful woman… I’ve gotten sidetracked.

“Ah, Xiao Yue, why are you here? Weren’t you up in a tree together with Xiao Zhu?” Yin Shi finally remembered, speaking another sentence that made Fan tong speechless.

Xiao Zhu?

“I… He…” At the mention of Zhu Sha, Yue Tui looked a little embarrassed. His vague manner made it impossible to tell what he was feeling.

“I’ll bring you to him. He’s unconscious, so I couldn’t move quickly enough while carrying him. I set him down in a safe place.”

Oh, what a sensible decision. If you had been slower even by one second, I would have been done for.

“Oh, ok, I’ll contact Ling Shi first.” Due to Ling Shi having already shut off the group communication, and Bi Rou helping Ling Shi “concentrate on leading them” and shutting off her own communication charm, Yin Shi had been bored senseless. Now that he needed to get in touch, he had to directly contact Ling Shi instead of the group communication.

“Ling Shi…”

“Don’t disturb me, I’m busy.”

Yin Shi was confused. “Ah? Busy? Old men can still be busy?”

“Entertaining Luo Yue’s lost sheep.”

“…Ah! Don’t kill them! Come to an agreement today, I forbid you to kill them!”

“You say that as if they’re chickens, not people. Anyway, you got lost; you’ll only be able to stop me if you hurry over, boss.”

“What? Are you trying to make me angry? I’ll find you right away, so don’t kill them!” Yin Shi ended the communication, looking very short-tempered.

Yue Tui couldn’t help but ask, “What’s going on?”

Since it was a private chat, Fan Tong and Yue Tui only heard Yin Shi’s words, so they weren’t very clear on the situation.

“That damn old man once again forgot his boundaries and wants to selfishly kill people. Quickly, bring me to Xiao Zhu, and then let’s go find him. Ah, do you guys know the way?”

So you simply got lost and found us by a stroke of luck? Sure enough… Sure enough, only Yue Tui was able to find me… But you’ve lived in the Eastern City for such a long time that Resource Area 2 should be almost like your back garden, yet you have to rely on a New Resident to lead the way. No matter what or when, you always manage to be such an excessive person, it’s almost admirable.

***

Yue Tui brought them to a nearby underbrush and pushed the tall grass aside. When they walked through it, the first thing they noticed was the area by Yue Tui’s foot. For the first few seconds, Fan Tong thought that it was a corpse’s resting place. However, after Yue Tui bent over and pulled the person out of the bushes, both Fan Tong and Yin Shi’s eyes filled with suspicion.

“Xiao Yue, who is this girl?”

“Yue Tui, what about Zhu Sha?”

Why did a appear when you were supposed to be together with Zhu Sha? Oh wait, “a third person” probably shouldn’t be used that way. I also didn’t mean anything strange by saying you’re together with Zhu Sha.

“This… This is Zhu Sha.” Yue Tui said with a very embarrassed look on his face. After standing in stunned silence for a few minutes, Yin Shi recovered his wits first.

“Eh?! Isn’t Xiao Zhu a boy?!”

Exactly. You’ve seen him half-naked and we’ve been roommates for so long. Don’t lie through your teeth, Yue Tui! Do you think we’ll fall for your lie? Why don’t you just honestly explain this girl’s origins? I had thought you were a very pure person, but to imagine that you made a girl faint and then left her in the underbrush…

“S-she really is Zhu Sha!” Yue Tui insisted urgently and turned the girl’s face over to allow Fan Tong and Yin Shi a closer look.

This… Her face does resemble his, but that isn’t strong enough evidence to convince us that this is Zhu Sha. Isn’t your evidence a little weak for the claim you’re making? She also has a pretty impressive chest. Zhu Sha clearly didn’t have any boobs.

“Her clothes are a bit torn…”  Yue Tui’s face flushed bright red as he followed Fan Tong’s line of sight.

“The seams burst open after he became a girl!”

Oh? Well, I never paid any attention to what Zhu Sha was wearing before, but these clothes are a little tight on her.

“Ah, let’s wake her up and tell her to change back so that we can see.” Yin Shi’s eyes sparkled as he imagined the fascinating scene.

Yin Shi… You’ve already forgotten what you came here for, didn’t you? You forgot that you said we must hurry and find Lord Ling Shi before he starts a massacre, right? We shouldn’t be wasting time here!

“Shouldn’t we hurry to find Lord Ling Shi?” Yue Tui evidently also remembered their urgent task. However, was his reminder merely because he was concerned about the matter, or was it because he wanted to avoid whatever would happen after they woke Zhu Sha?

“Ah! Right! Then let’s go find him first! We’ll examine if Xiao Zhu is really Xiao Zhu afterwards.”

I feel like you should examine Lord Ling Shi along with Zhu Sha. Or have you already examined him? Nowadays, there seems to be a lot of men who don’t look like men and women who don’t look like women. Why can’t everyone be normal like me?

***

Ling Shi was in an extraordinarily cheerful mood. Smiling widely, he whimsically tossed out the Fuzhou charms he had drawn up in an instant. When the soldiers from the Western City were cut apart into pieces by the Fuzhou, his smile became even more gentle and brilliant.

According to the residents of the Eastern City, Ling Shi only smiled so beautifully and brilliantly when he was massacring the residents of the Western City. Only when Ling Shi was in an exceedingly good mood would they have the chance to witness such a beautiful smile. However, the blood and carnage in front of the three spectators made it hard for them to enjoy the beautiful sight of Ling Shi’s smile.

Cute Girl A and Cute Girl B had never seen someone being openly killed in front of them before. After seeing the first victim explode into pieces, they shrieked and fainted. Bi Rou remained as the sole spectator of the bloody massacre.

Bi Rou had seen the gruesome sight of a battlefield before, but it was different this time. She had originally came from the Western City, so she naturally felt a bit uncomfortable seeing the Western City’s soldiers being slaughtered before her. Earlier, she had tried to dissuade Ling Shi from starting a massacre, but their exchange had ended up like this:

“Ling Shi Dage, m-must you kill them?”

“Yes.”

“But shouldn’t you conduct peace negotiations first to find out why they are here?”

“I don’t need to know their reasons.”

“Eh?”

“They invaded our country for no reason at all, so they should be killed without question.”

There was no use pleading with him for mercy after that. As she realized this, Bi Rou remained silent. If she didn’t, she might be suspected of harboring traitorous feelings.

At first, Bi Rou couldn’t help thinking that maybe the reason Ling Shi didn’t bother negotiating or asking the soldiers for anything was because he didn’t understand the Western City’s language… As soon as the thought appeared in her mind, she remembered the expression on Ling Shi’s face as he slaughtered the soldiers mercilessly. Bi Rou felt that “he just likes to kill people” or “he feels very happy killing the enemy” and the like would be the most probable explanation.

Ah, are there any more of you? Not a single one of you fled. Luo Yue’s soldiers truly are courageous.” Ling Shi flung his sleeves and cheerfully glanced at the few remaining enemies. Despite his unearthly beauty, the few remaining soldiers looked at him as if he were a monstrous beast.

Bi Rou scanned the Fuzhou boundary that surrounded them. The boundary prevented the soldiers from fleeing death, yet Ling Shi had praised them for not running away… Wasn’t this a bit cruel and immoral?

“S-save us!”

“Who could save us? Lord Yiye, where are you―”

The soldier’s shouts were cut off as Ling Shi cut him into pieces with Fuzhou. Although New Residents understood the languages of both cities, they still spoke their country’s language out of habit. Ling Shi didn’t understand their shouts. As he didn’t understand, he might as well kill them.

“Aren’t you all New Residents? Even if you were to die, you’ll still be reborn in Luo Yue’s rebirth pond. I’m not using a soul-purging weapon, so what are you afraid of?”

If Fan Tong were here, he would immediately protest that this wasn’t a question of whether or not they would be reborn. Those who had been killed would definitely end up mentally traumatized. He would also say that Ling Shi had no conscience.

“If I were still a resident of the Western City, would Ling Shi Dage also treat me with such ruthlessness?” Bi Rou’s mumbled to herself as her heart trembled in fear.

Surprisingly, Ling Shi actually heard her and answered, “Of course, enemies can’t go unpunished. However, if I saw someone I knew, I would use a less painful way of killing them.”

Less painful way of killing? Can you tell me what exactly counts as “less painful” in your book?

Although Ling Shi walked leisurely towards his enemies, he disposed of them smoothly and efficiently. Perhaps in a way, his technique could also be considered just and honorable.

However, regardless of whether or not it was just and honorable, the Western City soldiers might as well have been lining up for the guillotine. The only difference would be that at least the guillotine would have left their bodies mostly intact.

The explosion Fuzhou Ling Shi was using was beautiful and intricately drawn, but the soldiers’ bodies would splatter into gruesome piece once touching the charm. The unthinkable feeling of being ripped apart into pieces was deeply ingrained into the minds of the victims. Even if they were New Residents, bodily damage was still bodily damage. They would return to the rebirth pool and obtain a new body after their death, but no sane person would want to experience death by having their body ripped into many pieces,

Naturally, the soldiers tried resisting their cruel executioner. However, Ling Shi had stuck a defense Fuzhou on himself, making their attacks useless. Additionally, Ling Shi had thrown up a Fuzhou barrier, making escape impossible. One soldier managed to withstand Ling Shi’s Fuzhou attack, but when his companions tried to shield his injured body, they were all brutally killed. Eventually, most of them lost the will to resist. The few who still held out hope could only continue their calls for help.

But no matter how much they yelled, no one came to save them. Their noise only succeeded in annoying their executioner and boosting his killing intent.

“What insidious plot did you all come here to carry out? What are you planning?” Ling Shi muttered to himself as his raised his hand, sending a deadly fire Fuzhou toward several soldiers.

If Ling Shi had actually wanted to pursue the answers to those questions, he would have kept some soldiers alive so he could interrogate them. It seemed like he had spoken the truth when he had told Bi Rou earlier that he didn’t care to know their reasons. If he were to discover that the soldiers’ “insidious plot” was plucking chicken feathers, god knows how he would react.

Is there anyone who can stop him? Bi Rou thought.

As if the heavens had heard her request, someone appeared and charged into the scene and cut apart Ling Shi’s Fuzhou barrier with a silent brandish of his sword. However, it wasn’t Yin Shi.

When he noticed that his barrier had been cut apart, Ling Shi furrowed his brows.

Upon seeing their savior, the few remaining Western City soldiers cried tears of joy.

“Lord Yiye!”

From his appearance, one would think that the person who’d sliced open the barrier was a short, but rather handsome teenager. However, his imposing aura and thunderous expression gave people the impression that he was a baby-face who’d missed puberty entirely and looked much younger than he really was.

Although anyone who looked at him wouldn’t be able to stop comments about his clashing appearance and age from popping up in their heads , not many in the Western City would dare utter those comments to Yiye’s face. Even the New Residents who were capable of regeneration were afraid of the consequences.

“Baby face,” “short,” “underdeveloped,” “deceiving the commoners,” “plush toy,” “little brother,” “child,” “pretty,” “cute,” “innocent,” “ three measurements,” “kid-sized,” “lucky to be young,” and etc. All of the above were words that should never be uttered anywhere near Yiye if one treasured one’s life. When greeting him, a simple “Lord Yiye” should do fine.

There really were a lot of taboo words that should never be spoken around Yiye when one counted the recent additions to the list: “His Wise Majesty” and “chicken feathers.” It was considered extremely life-threatening for anyone but the other members of the Magic Sword Guards to speak any of the forbidden words before him. As a result, people had to be very careful when speaking in front of him.

These taboos, however, were the Western City’s taboos. For Ling Shi, no such thing existed as he did not know the person in front of him. Even if he had, he would still say whatever he wanted in the face of an enemy. However, due to the language barrier, his enemy wouldn’t understand him even if he had said whatever he wanted.

“Oh… Sure enough, I managed to find you after following the abnormal aura. Ling Shi of the Five Attendants, right? Looks like I won’t be bored.”

The first one to speak was Yiye, who actually wasn’t there to rescue anyone. He only wanted to find a person to fight and kill in order to relieve his anger. Saving the lives of his soldiers was just a beautiful coincidence.

“L-lord Yiye! Save us! She’s a witch!”

“The women from Ye Zhi are terrifying! Ahh… I want to go home…”

Yiye’s words had been blocked out completely by the soldiers’ tearful laments. Ling Shi understood none of them. He furrowed his brows and glanced meaningfully towards the only other conscious person in his party, Bi Rou, who also understood the Western City’s language perfectly.

“What are they saying?”

Ling Shi would have just asked Yin Shi had he been there. Yin Shi would have translated the others’ words into something absolutely ridiculous, causing slaughter and mayhem within their own ranks. However, the person he asked was Bi Rou, so nothing of that nature would happen. Bi Rou, however, had no idea how to go about telling Ling Shi that the enemy had mistaken him for a woman.

At that moment, Bi Rou truly resented her roommates. As New Residents, they could easily understand both languages, but unfortunately both had fainted.

“Eh…” Bi Rou laid a hand on her cheek and hesitated. After she translated, she was sure both sides would begin a fierce battle. That wasn’t good, right?

“Xiao Rou, what did they say?” Because she had hesitated, Ling Shi’s smile became even more brilliant. He seemed even more determined to get her to translate. Bi Rou’s scalp tingled in apprehension.

“Ling Shi Dage, they said that you’re a witch and that women from the Eastern City are terrifying. Also, the person who just showed up knows your identity.”

Compared to seeing them fight, Bi Rou found that she was even more unwilling to face Ling Shi’s frigidly brilliant smile. Therefore, she chose to tell him the truth. What followed after wasn’t her problem.

After she finished speaking, Ling Shi’s smile vanished. His good mood from the massacre had completely disappeared.

“Luo Yue’s soldiers are truly weak, being bullied by a ‘woman’ and needing to be saved by an underdeveloped child, eh?”

Ling Shi completely ignored the three gold threads on Yiye’s belt.

Hearing the other side speak, Yiye snorted coldly, then asked the soldiers who had narrowly escaped death, “What did she say?”

“…” Silence reigned as the soldiers erupted into cold sweat. They had just escaped mortal danger, so they didn’t want to immediately rush off to die by their savior’s hand. Ling Shi’s words contained two of the terms that must never be spoken in front of Yiye! Even if they were only the translators, they would surely be in danger if those words came out of their mouths!

“I didn’t hear her clearly. You translate for Lord Yiye!”

“No, I also didn’t hear her clearly…”

“I didn’t even notice that someone was talking!”

“It’d be better if you did it, you…”

Seeing the soldiers trying to throw each other under the bus, Yiye’s eyes flashed impatiently. “You’re all useless! Do all of you want to go back and retrain?”

Despite his diminutive height and childish appearance, Yiye’s voice was deep―definitely the voice of an adult, not a child. At Yiye’s rebuke, the soldiers, scared witless, scrambled to kneel and beg for forgiveness.

“Spare me, Lord Yiye! Spare me!”

“…”

This time it was Ling Shi’s turn to be speechless, even though he hadn’t understood a single word they were saying.

“Are they putting on a play? A comedy?” Ling Shi finally asked.

“No. Ling Shi Dage, what you’d said earlier had put their lives in peril.”

“Really? Luo Yue really is a savage country if they even kill people on their own side.”

“If Yin Shi were here, both of you would try to kill each other too…” Bi Rou muttered, not knowing if this could be considered as supporting her homeland.

“Yin? That idiot who’s always protecting the enemy is nowhere on our side.” Ling Shi, of course, had heard her muttering and immediately replied. In any case, Ling Shi’s bad moods were often caused by Yin Shi. Under those circumstances, Ling Shi naturally wouldn’t have anything good to say about Yin Shi, so Bi Rou refrained from asking any more questions.

“Xiao Rou, do you recognize that child?” Because Bi Rou came from the Western City, Ling Shi decided to ask her.

“I know who he is, but I’m not acquainted with him. He’s a member of the Magic Sword Guards, the ‘Joker’ Yiye. I hear he has a legendary temper.”

Ling Shi knew what the Magic Sword Guards were. In the Western City, they held high offices in the government and extraordinary statuses as the direct subordinates and guards of Young Emperor Englar. They were important in the Western City, so much that they had their own personal platoons and were involved with the city’s military. Not even the Council of Elders would dare to offend them. Each member of the Magic Sword Guards had either been directly handpicked by their predecessors or had been raised to take on the position since childhood. It was said that the enchantments the five members of the Magic Sword Guards had passed down from ancient times could combine to form a magical barrier that was impenetrable to any attack. No one knew whether or not the rumors were exaggerated.

“The Magic Sword Guards?” Ling Shi’s eyes turned menacing. What were people of such an elevated status doing inside the Eastern City’s borders? Theories on all sorts of sinister plots started forming in his mind.

“Woman, draw your weapon. Even if you’re a woman, I won’t show you any mercy.” The crisis on the other side seemed to have abated, but Bi Rou couldn’t tell whether Yiye was directing his words at her or Ling Shi.

Ling Shi didn’t ask her to translate again, instead opting to raise his hand in preparation for battle.

Bi Rou hurriedly asked, “Ling Shi Dage, don’t you want to know what he said?”

“He’s already drawn his weapon, so he obviously means to fight. There’s nothing I need to ask.”

That was somewhat true. Yiye’s words weren’t really important anyway…

“Xiao Rou, don’t you have a weapon?” Seeing Bi Rou standing leisurely to the side, Ling Shi asked even though he didn’t think she would lift a hand.

“No, I don’t have one, but I can still fight…” Bi Rou wasn’t foolish enough to believe that Ling Shi was unaware of her origins. In any case, they were surrounded by strangers, so it wasn’t necessary for her to act like a weak girl with a grass green tassel.

“No, you don’t need to fight. Yin Shi said that I can’t allow even a single strand of your hair be injured, so I’ll defend you.”

Hearing Ling Shi’s words, Bi Rou didn’t know how to react. In the end, should she try to negotiate or not? Moreover, since when had Ling Shi ever done anything Yin Shi told him to do?

“But… but, that person has three gold threads and he’s the strongest member of the Magic Sword Guards. Are you sure you want to fight him by yourself?” Bi Rou knew that she was questioning his power and maybe even hurting his ego, but she couldn’t let him die in order to spare his ego. It didn’t matter whether or not his opponent was using a soul-purging weapon; both of them were Natural Residents who would not be reborn if they died.

“Perhaps I wouldn’t be able to defeat him, but there’s no question about my ability to protect you. I am very confident in my defensive capabilities, so there’s no need to worry. No matter what happens, you won’t need to raise a hand.”

After Ling Shi spoke, Bi Rou naturally couldn’t say anything more and instead wisely chose to take a step backwards to hide behind Ling Shi.

“In that case…” The smile reappeared on Ling Shi’s face as he got ready to meet his unusually powerful enemy head-on.

“Ling Shi of the Eastern City’s Five Attendants. It’s time to teach you a lesson.”

***

At the beginning of the fight, an invisible pressure enveloped their surroundings, causing everyone in the area to feel oppressed. Usually, when unable to figure out how to deal with an enemy, the average person would first try to get a feel for their opponent’s fighting style. Yiye, however, had no interest in this and immediately took action, going straight for his opponent’s vitals.

The speed of his initial attack had always caught people unprepared in the past. Before they could even sense the attack and be afraid, they were already dead. However, a single strike could not possibly decide the outcome of his battle with Ling Shi. Yiye first encountered a continuous stream of Fuzhou, the strength of which he was unfamiliar with. Despite this, he still smiled coldly as he struck out at the Fuzhou, intent on breaking it. He swept his sword in an arc, and the resulting wind blast broke the Fuzhou into shining pieces, which then dimmed and faded away. This scene had a sort of bizarre beauty to it.

Ling Shi used defensive Fuzhou to protect them from Yiye’s ingenious strike, but each defensive Fuzhou was destroyed after a few seconds as the distance between the combatants narrowed. At first glance, Ling Shi seemed to be at a disadvantage, as he used Fuzhou as his main fighting technique. If he were attacked directly with a weapon, the result would be very predictable.

When he had dealt with the Western City’s soldiers, his Fuzhou had seemed incredibly strong, but in front of Yiye, they looked more like cheap light tricks. After a few minutes of repeating the same motions, in order to disturb the pattern and use attack Fuzhou, Ling Shi waited until right after his defensive Fuzhou was blasted into pieces before casting a lethal spell, but the outcome was different from what he expected.

Yiye proved that the three gold threads on his belt weren’t just for show. He displayed a strength that was difficult to describe, but he did so effortlessly, as if he was still not fighting with everything he had. Before anyone else had realized what was happening, Yiye’s sword had already struck. With all of his opponent’s defenses gone, Yiye had taken advantage of the gap to try and chop Ling Shi’s head off.

Despite Bi Rou’s frightened shout, Ling Shi didn’t dodge or avoid the strike and simply lifted up his left arm to block. Ling Shi’s arm should have been chopped off, with blood spattering everywhere. However, the sword didn’t harm his arm in the slightest. His slender arm warded off a strike from a sword that had killed countless people without even suffering a scratch.

 

Fan Tong v03c02 Insert
 

“This is…”

During the split second Yiye was distracted, Ling Shi quickly drew several Fuzhou with his right hand. The explosions caught Yiye off guard and threw him back. Once again taking advantage of the time he had bought, Ling Shi rubbed the place where the sword had struck his arm, then rebuilt his defensive Fuzhou.

“Ling Shi Dage, your arm…” Although his arm looked intact to the naked eye, it was impossible for that to be true. Bi Rou found it difficult to believe that he wasn’t injured.

“I learned this from my Gege. It’s not something you can learn.” Ling Shi answered her in that thought-provoking way, but his answer didn’t really explain anything.

“Lord Yiye! Are you all right?” This was the first time the Western City soldiers had ever seen Yiye fall for someone’s trap. In their minds, Yiye had always been untouchable. Thus, seeing this scene, they were just as confused as they were shocked. Although they were concerned, they couldn’t rush to Yiye’s side because of the oppressive power in the air. They could only watch Yiye get up from the ground, seemingly without difficulty. The Fuzhou spell didn’t seem to have caused him any real harm; his clothes were damaged, but there wasn’t any blood on him. When he lifted his head, however, the expression on his beautiful face had changed completely.

Hahaha… Hahahaha― He laughed crazily, as if he had completely lost control, but his eyes were clear and calm. They were not at all the eyes of a person who had lost his rationality. “Very good, this looks like it should be a pleasurable battle…” He raised his sword again, and an aura surrounded it, entirely different from before. “On this world, everything, without exception, must perish someday. After I kill you, I will be sure to remember your name.”

Although Ling Shi still couldn’t understand Yiye’s words, he could see the respect that was present on the other man’s face in addition to his imposing expression. Ling Shi raised his hand and drew a complicated Fuzhou pattern.

“Ling Shi Dage, will you really not allow me to help?”

If Yiye had made people cautious before, he now made them feel bone-deep fear. Bi Rou also felt the change and became worried.

“It doesn’t matter, he can’t kill me. You could actually consider running away. Since I’ve attracted his interest, he shouldn’t care what you do.” Ling Shi indifferently proposed that she flee, but if she went as far as to abandon her two unconscious roommates, she wouldn’t be able to forgive herself. New Residents could be reborn after death, but only if the enemy didn’t use a soul-purging weapon to kill them.

“How could I do that? I can’t abandon my companions and run away!” Bi Rou was clearly unwilling to accept his proposal. She didn’t even need to consider her answer before saying it.

“But you are not a New Resident…” Ling Shi sighed, but Bi Rou immediately interrupted him.

“So what? I despise this kind of thing! Every time, I’m never there when I should be fighting. Every time, I don’t do the right thing…” She seemed to be remembering the past as she spoke in a trembling voice.

Meanwhile, Yiye had already begun destroying the newly constructed Fuzhou barrier, which covered a wide area. He raised his hand and placed it near the barrier, and it collapsed as if it were made of ordinary paper. Ling Shi didn’t ask Bi Rou any questions about her past. He only silently reconstructed the destroyed barrier, but the quality wasn’t as good as before.

“Ling Shi Dage, don’t you have some means of escaping? Like a transportation spell, or some kind of Fuzhou…”

“I said I can’t die, at most I’ll be injured.” While they spoke, the speed at which Ling Shi mended the barrier grew slower and slower. Then the tip of a sword flashed red, like an incarnation of death. Even though Ling Shi knew it couldn’t kill him, he still didn’t want it to cut him again.

As he was trying to think of a solution, Bi Rou suddenly rushed towards Yiye, shouting a few sentences. Yiye looked shocked when he heard the Western City’s language come out of her mouth. As she continued speaking, the sound of her voice was interrupted by the appearance of several people.

 

◎ Fan Tong’s Afterword

Oh, it feels like so many things have happened. I have to say I am very happy to have escaped death. Yue Tui is definitely a good friend; being able to make such a friend isn’t bad at all. It’s a definite win! Ah, I really can’t understand his strength anymore. He even had the courage to use the mop; he really isn’t ordinary.

However, the unconscious girl hidden in the underbrush, is she really… tsk tsk tsk. Zhu Sha? Zhu Sha is clearly a boy. If “he” is really a “she,” then we are very blessed to be living with her. However, it looks to be an obvious lie.

Today was the first time that I didn’t feel jealous of Lord Yin Shi’s handsomeness. Seldom have I felt such a pure, sincere feeling… Is this the feeling that comes from surviving a crisis? A friend in need is a friend indeed? I don’t think that saying should be used in this situation.

As everyone knows, Lord Yin Shi is very handsome. However, during that split second when he brandished his knife, his divine handsomeness made me dizzy with admiration… Ah! Am I sick? Although it’s perfectly acceptable to hero-worship other men, Yin Shi is clearly an idiot. Don’t tell me there’s actually a fine line between heroism and idiocy? If so, all the heroes in the world would be crying! After we go back home, I better find Mi Zhong and inquire whether or not I need a psychologist. I rather miss the version of me that found Yin Shi’s handsome face annoying. I want to go back to normal. I can’t believe a mean, picky person like Yin Shi had saved my life. It just doesn’t seem right. After all, Yin Shi had been the cause of one of my deaths before. Maybe I’ll just regard this time as compensation.

Today, my mop and I managed to establish a complicated relationship. We’ve conducted the longest conversation in our whole history. Strictly speaking, the conversation was a failure as I ended up twisting my words again. My curse made it as if I were trying to woo the mop. Now it doesn’t want to talk to me anymore. I don’t know if this is worth celebrating.

In the end, I still don’t know whether or not it’s a soul-purging weapon. Should I consider it fortunate that Yue Tui and I haven’t gone to Wushu Xuan’s fighting class ever since we bought our weapons? Otherwise, I might have already been arrested for being a dangerous and suspicious person…

From the current situation, it seems a lot have happened on Ling Shi’s side. I can sense the lingering smell of Fuzhou in the air, plus there’s a murderous-looking child standing opposite of Ling Shi… Exactly what is going on here? Lord Ling Shi, has the illegitimate child you’ve abandoned come to find you? Who’s the mother?

 

Next: Chapter 3: Misunderstandings Can Still be Peacefully Resolved
Previous: Chapter 1: Unexpected Guests
Return: Main Page

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Translator: Saviesa
Proofreaders: InkedSx, dinoj, XYZ81, Sherry, Rose

Used often in sentences as “Crossing the Yellow River.” Comparable to the River Styx.
Third person (第三者), usually refers to the “other woman” that a cheating husband ran off with.