Chapter 103: Hatred (Part Six)
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Sect Leader Jiang’s words were eternally tainted with mockery. But this time, whom he mocked was no one but himself.
Suddenly, he said, “I’m sorry.”
Wei WuXian hesitated, “… You don’t need to say sorry.”
At this point, it was impossible to figure out who should apologize to whom.
Wei WuXian continued, “Take it as my repayment to the Jiang Sect.”
Jiang Cheng looked up. He looked at him with teary, bloodshot eyes, and a
hoarse voice, “… Repayment to my father, my mother, my sister?”
Wei WuXian pressed his temples, “Forget it. It’s all in the past now. Let’s not mention it again.”
It wasn’t something he liked to reminisce about. He didn’t want to be reminded again and again of what it felt like when his core was cut out or what price he had to pay. If this were exposed in the past, he’d most likely laugh and comfort Jiang Cheng, ‘It’s not that big of a deal anyways. Look at me all these years. Without the core, I still managed to come through, didn’t I? Beating everyone I wanted to beat, killing everyone I wanted to kill.’ But now, he indeed didn’t have the strength left to put up such a confident, nonchalant pretense.
From the bottom of his heart, he knew he wasn’t so indifferent about it after all.
Was it really that easy to move on from such a thing?
Of course not.
In truth, when Wei WuXian was seventeen or eighteen, his pride wasn’t much lower than Jiang Cheng’s. He once had strong spiritual powers, more talented than others. No matter how much he fooled around, staying up all night pulling pranks on others, he was still far ahead of his classmates who worked so hard.
But every time he tossed and turned as he lay awake at night, knowing he’d never reach the stars using proper means, knowing he’d never wield his sword with the excellence that was supposed to bring astonishment to so many eyes, he wondered if Jiang FengMiang hadn’t take him back to Lotus Pier, perhaps he wouldn’t cross paths with cultivation his whole life. Then he would have never known that such a magnificent path existed in this world. He’d only be a head beggar who roamed the streets, fleeing at first sight of a dog, or maybe looking after cows and stealing other people’s crops in the countryside, playing his flute to pass his time. He wouldn’t have known to cultivate, and he definitely wouldn’t have had the chance to form a core. With such thoughts, he’d felt much better.
Take it as repayment, or take it as redemption. Take it as he’d never received the golden core to begin with.
After explaining things to himself like this again and again, it was as though he was truly as confident and as nonchalant as he made it seem like on the surface, and along the way he could even praise himself for such a state of mind, whether he was lying or not.
But that was in his past life.
Wei WuXian, “Uh, I think it’s best if you… also stop keeping it on your mind. I know you’ll definitely always keep it on your mind, but, how should I say it…” He clenched Lan WangJi’s hand, saying to Jiang Cheng, “Right now, I do really think… it’s all in the past. It’s been too long. There’s no need to struggle with it any longer.”
Jiang Cheng wiped his face roughly, drying his tears. He took in a deep breath and closed his eyes.
At this point, still enveloped in Lan XiChen’s robe, Nie HuaiSang gradually woke up. Moaning lightly, he managed to crawl up, still bleary-eyed, “Where am I?”
Yet, the instant he got up, he saw Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi sitting together so tightly on the same sitting mat. The YiLing Patriarch was basically sitting on HanGuang-Jun’s lap. He immediately let out a wail, as if he was about to faint again. At the same time, a series of strange sounds came from behind the Guanyin Temple, as though something was being spurt out. A moment later, the cultivators who’d been digging began to wail too.
The expressions of everyone in the temple changed. Immediately, a somewhat pungent odor drifted outside. As Lan XiChen covered his face with his sleeves, some worry could be seen in his eyes. Soon, two figures staggered outside.
Su She was holding Jin GuangYao up. The two looked pale, while the wails from behind the palace continued. Su She, “Sect Leader, how do you feel?!”
Cold sweat seeped from Jin GuangYao’s forehead, “Fine. Thank you for back then.”
His left hand dangled, unable to be lifted. His entire arm trembled, as though he was suffering extreme pain. With his right hand he took a bottle of pills from his lapels. He wanted to open it, but it was difficult with just one hand. Seeing this, Su She immediately took over the bottle and tipped a pill into his palm. Jin GuangYao lowered his head, gulping it down with a frown. His brows relaxed immediately.
Lan XiChen hesitated for a moment before asking, “What happened?”
Jin GuangYao paused in surprise. Blood finally seemed to have rose to his cheeks as he managed a smile, “An accident.”
He took out some medicinal powder and sprinkled it over his hand. An area of red had appeared from the back of his left hand to his wrist. With observation, it could be seen that the skin seemed like cooked meat. The skin was completely ruined. Jin GuangYao tore off a part of his white sleeves, his fingers trembling slightly, “MinShan, wrap it tight around my wrist.”
Su She, “It’s poisonous?”
Jin GuangYao, “The poison is still flowing upwards. It’s not a big deal. The poison can be ejected with some rest.”
Right after Su She treated his wound, Jin GuangYao wanted to return behind the palace to inspect. Su She hurried, “Sect Leader, let me go!”
The pungent smell dissipated gradually. Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi got up as well. A tall mountain of dirt could be seen beside a deep ditch. Quite a delicate coffin lay at one side, atop it a pitch-black box. Both of the two had been opened already, and thin, white smoke continued to rise from within. The odor came from the white smoke, which meant it must be some sort of fatal poison. Corpses that belonged to the cultivators who’d been digging so earnestly lay scattered all around the coffin. Right now, they had been burned alive. Even their uniforms and robes and had been corroded to black fragments. It was obvious just how poisonous the white smoke was.
Leading the way, he used his sword energy to repel the remaining smoke. The tip of his blade flicked across the black box. The iron chest fell to the ground. It was empty.
Jin GuangYao finally couldn’t hold himself back any longer. He stumbled towards the edge of the coffin. The blood that had returned to his face immediately faded again. It could be seen just by his expression that the coffin was empty as well.
Lan XiChen approached. After he saw the horror that had become of the palace, he was shocked, “What in the world did you bury here? How could this be??”
Nie HuaiSang only had a glance before he collapsed to the ground, retching. Jin GuangYao’s lips trembled. He couldn’t say anything. A streak of lightning exploded, reflecting against the pale white of his face. His expression was terrifying indeed, sending chills down Nie HuaiSang’s spine. He didn’t even dare vomit too loudly, covering his mouth behind Lan XiChen’s back, shivering whether out of fear or the cold. Lan XiChen turned around and said a few words of comfort to him, while Jin GuangYao didn’t even have the strength to upkeep his kind, gentle front.
Wei WuXian, “ZeWu-Jun, now you’re doing wrong to Sect Leader Jin here. He wasn’t the one who buried the things here at all. Even if he buried something in the beginning, it should be long since someone switched them with something else.”
Su She pointed at him with his sword, his voice cold, “Wei WuXian! Is this a trick of yours?!”
Wei WuXian, “I’m not trying to brag, but if I were the one who pulled a trick on you, an arm might not be all that’s wounded on your sect leader. Sect Leader Jin, do you still remember the letter Qin Su brought you, back on Koi Tower?”
Jin GuangYao’s eyes slowly moved towards him.
Wei WuXian, “The one who told Qin Su the good things you did was Madam Qin’s previous maid, BiCao. But when BiCao suddenly decided to expose everything, did you really believe nobody was pushing things forward from behind? And Maiden SiSi, the one you locked up. Who saved her? Who was the one that told her to go to the YunmengJiang Sect with BiCao and expose your secrets in front of everyone? If they could find out every single one of those hidden secrets of yours, Sect Leader Jin, what’s so hard about coming here beforehand and switching what you wanted to dig up with poisonous smoke to give you when you came?”
Suddenly, a monk spoke, “Sect Leader, there are signs of displacement in the dirt here. Somebody’s dug in from the other side before!”
As expected, someone was here first. Jin GuangYao turned around, slamming his fist on the empty coffin. Nobody could see his expression, but all could see his trembling shoulders.
Wei WuXian grinned, “Sect Leader Jin, have you ever thought that perhaps tonight you’re a mantis, yet there’s an oriole* behind you? The one who’s been watching you might be hiding in the dark this exact moment, observing your every move. No, maybe, it’s not a person…”
TN: The full saying is “the mantis stalks the cicada, unaware of the oriole behind”.
The storm muffled the thunder. As he heard the words ‘not a person’, for a split second, something that could be described as fear flashed across Jin GuangYao’s face.
Su She sneered, “Wei WuXian, stop with the empty intimidation…”
Jin GuangYao raised his right hand to stop him. The fear on his face went as soon as it came. All of his emotions were quickly under control. He spoke, “Don’t waste your energy on arguing. Treat the injury on your body. After I remove the poison, gather the rest of the people at once and prepare to depart.”
Su She, “Sect Leader, what about the thing that’s been dug out?”
Jin GuangYao’s lips were a bit pale, “If it’s been dug out already, it’s definitely be impossible to take back. We shouldn’t stay here for long.”
Su She, “Yes!”
Back when Su She fought with Fairy, he’d been wounded in many places by its claws. His clothes were ripped both at his arms and his chest, and at his chest especially, the wounds dug deep into his flesh. Blood seeped through the white robes. If the wounds weren’t treated properly, he might not be able to face whatever emergency situations that happened, as time went on. Jin GuangYao took out a pouch of medicine from his lapels and passed it to him.
Su She received it with both hands, “Yes.”
Indeed, he stopped talking to Wei WuXian as he turned around and took off his clothes to treat his wounds. Jin GuangYao still couldn’t move the hand burned by the poisonous smoke. He could only sit on the ground and concentrate on expelling the poison. The remaining cultivators held their swords as they walked back and forth inside Guanyin Temple, keeping guard. As he saw these glaring blades, Nie HuaiSang’s eyes went straight ahead. He had no guards beside him, so he didn’t even dare let out a loud breath. Shrunken against the corner behind Lan XiChen, he let out quite a few sneezes.
Wei WuXian thought, To other people, Su She’s quite sarcastic, and to Lan Zhan, he’s even more resentful. But he’s sure quite respectful towards Jin GuangYao.
As he thought this, he couldn’t help glancing at Lan WangJi, just in time to see a streak of ice flash before his eyes.
Voice cold, Lan WangJi spoke to Su She, “Turn around.”
Su She was looking down, applying medicine to the scratch marks at his chest, facing them sideways. As he heard Lan WangJi’s almost inviolable command, he involuntarily turned around. As he turned around, both Jiang Cheng and Jin Ling widened their eyes. The grin on Wei WuXian’s face disappeared as well.
He almost couldn’t believe it, “… It’s you!”
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