Chapter 105: Hatred (Part Eight)
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lan XiChen, “Sect Leader Jin… Could you give us a full explanation?”
Jin GuangYao said nothing. His knuckles turned white.
Wei WuXian, “Looks like Sect Leader Jin doesn’t want to say it.” He raised his hand and a naked female corpse immediately appeared beneath it. Wei WuXian put his palm atop her head, “But just because you don’t say it, do you think I won’t find a way to know?”
Just as he entered Empathy, before he even opened his eyes yet, Wei WuXian found himself surrounded by an intense aroma of rouge and powder. A coquettish voice came out of his mouth, “… Her? She wants to marry, of course. She was over twenty when she met the man. At such an age, she’d lose her popularity in just a few years. And so she had to bear a son knowing she’d be scolded. She just wanted to get out, after all. But then again, the man had to have wanted the son.”
He opened his eyes. What he saw was a wide hall that could be described as beautiful. About a dozen round tables rested within the hall, a couple of clients and fair-looking women sitting at each. Of the women, some showed their shoulders, some wore unfastened hair, some sat on the customers’ laps, some fed wine to others. All of their expressions seemed sweet and drunken.
It was clear what this place was at first glance.
Wei WuXian thought, So the one who got burned to death in this Guanyin Temple is a prostitute. No wonder all those ghouls were naked. They were probably all prostitutes and clients.
One of the clients chuckled, “A son is a son, after all. Did the man not want him?”
The woman, “She herself said that the man’s a big shot from a cultivational sect. Then he must have many sons in his house. Nothing is cherished that isn’t rare. Could he have cared about this one outside? She waited and waited and nobody came to get her, and so she could only raise him herself, couldn’t she? It’s been fourteen years since.”
A few of the clients asked, “A big shot? Did such a thing really happen?”
The woman, “Oh, why would I lie to you about something like this? Her son is running errands for us right now. There, that’s the one.” The woman twisted her waist, waving at a boy holding a tray, “Xiao-Meng! Come here!”
The boy did as he was told and walked over, “AnXin-jie*, what’s up?”
TN: -jie is the female alternative of -xiong.
All at once, Wei WuXian understood everything.
The clients scrutinized Meng Yao with judging eyes. Meng Yao asked again, “Am I needed for something?”
AnXin grinned, “Xiao-Meng, are you still learning those things lately?”
Meng Yao paused, “Which things?”
AnXin, “The things your mom wants you to learn, things like calligraphy, etiquette, swordsmanship, meditation… How are those things going?”
Before she even finished, the clients began to chuckle as if they found something to be funny. AnXin turned around, “Don’t laugh, I’m telling the truth here. His mom’s raising him as a young master of a wealthy family. She taught him how to read and write, bought him all those swordsmanship pamphlets, and even wants to send him to school.”
The client exclaimed, “Send him to school? Did I hear wrong?”
AnXin, “No! Xiao-Meng, tell these young masters. You’ve gone to the library before, haven’t you?”
The client, “Is he still going?”
AnXian, “Nah, he came back just a few days later. He wouldn’t go again no matter what. Xiao-Meng, do you not like studying or do you not like the place?”
Meng Yao didn’t say anything. AnXin giggled, poking a finger painted bright red at Meng Yao’s forehead, “Little one, you angry?”
She pressed quite hard. A light, red mark appeared in the center of Meng Yao’s forehead, almost like a shadow of a vermillion mark. He touched his forehead, “No…”
AnXian waved her hands, “Enough, enough. We’ve got nothing for you. You can go.” Meng Yao turned around. Before he walked a few steps, she picked up something from the table and coaxed, “Here’s a fruit for you.”
Meng Yao turned around and the emerald fruit hit his chest, falling to the ground and rolling away. AnXin complained, “Why are you so slow? Can’t even catch a fruit. Hurry and pick it up. Don’t waste it.”
Meng Yao curved the corners of his mouth. He should be fourteen already but, perhaps because he was unusually small, he seemed to be only twelve or thirteen. It was extremely uncomfortable seeing such a smile appear on his face.
He bent down slowly, picked up the fruit, and wiped it on his clothes, his smile even deeper, “Thank you, Sister AnXin.”
AnXin, “No worries. Go work hard.”
Meng Yao, “Call me if you need me.”
After he walked away, one of the clients commented, “If my son were at such a place, I’d take him back no matter what.”
Someone else followed, “His father was really a big shot from a cultivational sect? Shouldn’t it be more than easy to buy a prostitute’s freedom and give her some money to raise her son? It’s only the lift of a finger.”
AnXin, “You can’t believe everything this woman says, can you? No matter what, that big shot only exists in her words. In my opinion, it might’ve just been a well-off merchant before she exaggerated so much…”
Suddenly, someone screamed. The sound of cups and saucers shattering on the ground came from the second floor as a guqin crashed down, smashing to pieces as it hit the center of the hall. It scared the wits out of the people enjoying themselves at the nearby tables. AnXin had also almost tripped, yelling, “What happened?!”
Meng Yao cried, “Mom!”
AnXin looked up. A burly man dragged a woman out of a room by her hair. AnXin tugged the client beside her, whether nervous or excited, “She’s at it again!”
Meng Yao rushed upstairs. Covering her scalp, the woman tried her hardest to pull her clothes up her shoulders. As she saw Meng Yao run over, she hurried, “I told you not to come upstairs! Go down! Go down this instant!”
Meng Yao went to peel away the client’s hands as he received a kick in the stomach and rolled down the stairs, causing a wave of exclamations.
This was the third time Wei WuXian saw him roll down flights of stairs from a kick.
With a loud scream, the woman had her hair pulled by the client again, all the way until she was dragged downstairs, stripped, and tossed onto the street. He spat on her naked body, cursing, “Hags do nothing but haggle—an old whore thinks she’s fresh meat!”
Panicking, the woman lay prone in the center of the street, scared to get up. With one move, everyone would see everything. The passersbys on the street were both astonished and thrilled, lingering as they pointed with glinting eyes. The doors to the brothel were also cramped with the women inside, chuckling as they told the story of the poor old woman to their clients just like AnXin did. Only one of the ladies squeezed through the doors. She took off the gauze robe that was so flimsy to begin with, revealing half of her full, snowy breasts enwrapped by a crimson slip, her waist was exceptionally thin as well. She was more than eye-catching and everyone hurried to take a look at her.
The lady spat, cursing, “Keep on looking, you bastards! Do you have the right to look at someone like me? With each look you gotta pay—where’s the money?! Come, where’s the money?!”
As she cursed, she reached out and asked the bystanders for money. The crowd dispersed somewhat, and she threw the robe she took off onto the woman, the two of them staggering into the main hall. She scolded as she walked, “It’s been so long since I’ve told you to change things up. What’s the pride for? You’ve had your lesson, huh? Remember it next time!”
Wei WuXian thought, The woman somehow looks a bit familiar. Where have I seen her before?
The woman whispered, “A-Yao, A-Yao…”
From the kick, Meng Yao wasn’t able to get up for a long time, still lying on the ground. The lady grabbed one with each hand and dragged away both mother and son.
A client beside AnXin inquired, “Who’s the pretty one?”
AnXin spat out two sunflower seed shells, “A famous vixen. She’s quite scary.”
Someone sighed in disappointment, “This is the talented Meng Shi from back then? How did she end up like this?”
AnXin switched up a grin, “She sure did. She was set on bearing a child. Could a woman keep up her looks after she gives birth? If not because she could manage to live off her past name of being ‘talented’, there might not be any who comes to her. I say it’s all because of the books.”
A client showed his deep understanding, “Of course. Those who’ve touched ink always have that inexplicable pride with them. They don’t want to give up the notion.”
AnXin, “If she could feed herself with the books she’s read, then I wouldn’t be saying anything, but it’s just a gimmick to attract men after all. I’m gonna be blunt here—we’re all bitches, and you’re better just because you’ve read some books? What’s the pride for? Not only do the people outside look down on her, do you think our other sisters here like her either? The clients here sometimes choose to see a young maiden keep up her modesty as a change of pace but who’d pay for an old, ugly one? It’s long since her fame dwindled. Everyone knows, and she’s the only one who doesn’t understand…”
At this point, someone patted AnXin from behind. As AnXin turned around, she saw the lady from back then stand behind her, raising her hand to slap. With a pah, AnXin took the slap. She was blank for a moment before she raged, “You whore!!!”
The lady, “You whore!!! Chit-chatting every single day—does that tongue of yours have nothing else to do?!”
AnXin screamed, “The fuck does what I say have to do with you?!”
The two women fought on the first floor of the hall, using both their nails and their teeth, pulling on each other’s hair as they cursed with “I’ll cut apart your face sooner or later” or “nobody will want you even if you give him money.” The vulgarity of their words were almost intolerable to the ear.
Many of the prostitutes came to stop them, “SiSi! Stop it!”
SiSi? Wei WuXian finally realized why he felt familiarity when he saw the lady’s face. If seven or eight scars criss-crossed over the face, wouldn’t it be SiSi, the woman who came to Lotus Pier to expose the secret?!
Suddenly, he felt a wave of heat crash into his face. The entire hall had at once sunken into an ocean of fiery red. Wei WuXian immediately pulled himself out of Empathy!
As he opened his eyes, Lan WangJi asked, “How was it?”
Lan XiChen spoke up as well, “Young Master Wei, what did you see?”
Wei WuXian drew in a breath to calm himself before replying, “I’m guessing that the Guanyin Temple was where Sect Leader Jin grew up.”
Jin GuangYao remained collected. Jiang Cheng, “Where he grew up? Didn’t he…” He was just about to say ‘didn’t he grew up at a brothel’ when he suddenly understood as well, “This Guanyin Temple used to be a brothel. He burned the place down and built a Guanyin Temple on top of it!”
Lan XiChen, “You really started the fire?”
Jin GuangYao, “Yes.”
Jiang Cheng laughed coldly, “You’re acknowledging it quite well, aren’t you?”
Jin GuangYao, “At this point, is there any difference between one thing more and one thing less?”
After a moment of silence, Lan XiChen asked, “Was it to remove the traces?”
Although many knew that LianFang-Zun grew up at a brothel, through all these years, nobody knew which exact brothel he was from. This was quite strange indeed. Everyone understood that LianFang-Zun was pulling the strings behind the scenes but not many would have expected that he burned down the whole place at which he was born and grew up.
Jin GuangYao, “Not entirely.”
Lan XiChen sighed and didn’t continue. Jin GuangYao, “Aren’t you going to ask me why?”
Lan XiChen shook his head. A moment later, he spoke, but without answering the question, “In the past, it was not that I did not know what you did, but that I believed you had your reasons behind doing them.”
He continued, “But, you have done too much. And I… no longer know if I should believe you.”
Fatigue and disappointment sunk heavily into his tone.
The storm raged on outside. Wind seeped through the slit between the temple’s doors. Amid the shrill wails, Jin GuangYao suddenly collapsed onto the ground.
Everyone paused in surprise. Wei WuXian, who’d just confiscated the sword at his waist, was surprised as well. Weakly, Jin GuangYao began, “Brother, I’m sorry.”
“…” Hearing this, even Wei WuXian felt embarrassed for him. He couldn’t help from saying, “Um, I mean, let’s fight nicely instead of talking. Can’t we just fight?”
His face changed just like that, and his legs gave out just like that. There was no dignity or whatsoever. Lan XiChen’s face was a mixture of emotions as well.
Jin GuangYao continued, “Brother, you’ve known me for many years. No matter what, you know how I treat you. I no longer want the position of Chief Cultivator, and I’ve completely destroyed the Stygian Tiger Seal as well. After tonight, I’ll be travelling to Dongying without returning ever again. For the sake of this, let me live, won’t you?”
Travelling to Dongying, in simpler terms, would be to make a run for it. It sounded quite shameless but Jin GuangYao had always been known for flexibility—if he could soften, he’d never face steel with steel. With its forces, the LanlingJin Sect could surpass just a few sects, but if all of the sects joined together to crusade against it, walking the paths of the QishanWen Sect’s destruction, it was only a matter of time. Compared to lingering until then, it was much better to retreat this moment to lie low and conserve energy. In the future, there might be a chance to make a comeback and rise again.
Wei WuXian, “Sect Leader Jin, you said the Tiger Seal had been completely destroyed. Could you take it out for me to take a look at it?”
Jin GuangYao, “Young Master Wei, the restored version isn’t the original one after all. There’s a limit on how many times it can be used. It’s become completely useless already. Besides, you know best just how much dark energy it hosts. Do you think I’d carry with me a piece of scrap that’s lost its use and could only bring disaster?”
Wei WuXian, “I wouldn’t know. Perhaps you could find another Xue Yang?”
Jin GuangYao, “Brother, every word of what I say is true.”
His tone was more than earnest. Ever since he captured Lan XiChen, he’d indeed been treating him with respect. At this point, Lan XiChen wasn’t able to turn against him yet. He could only sigh, “Sect Leader Jin, I have already said, when you went your own way to scheme such havoc at Burial Mound, that there was no longer the need to call me ‘Brother.’”
Jin GuangYao, “What happened at Burial Mound was an accident, a mistake. But, I can’t go back anymore.”
Lan XiChen, “What do you mean you cannot go back?”
Lan WangJi frowned slightly, his voice cold, “Brother, do not engage in excessive conversation with him.”
Wei WuXian reminded him as well, “Sect Leader Lan, do you remember what you said to Sect Leader Jiang? Don’t spend too long talking to him.”
Lan XiChen knew as well just how much Jin GuangYao could do when he opened his mouth. But whenever he heard there might hidden reasons, he just had to hear it. This was exactly what Jin GuangYao aimed at. He lowered his voice, “I received a letter.”