Chapter 108: Concealment (Part Two)
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
If the neck attack succeeded, even if it wouldn’t defeat Nie MingJue entirely, it’d still be able to save them some time. However, the sword had been infused with so much spiritual energy, due to Su She’s sudden explosion, that it could no longer withstand it. Halfway through the lunge, it broke into pieces with a crack.
On the other hand, Nie MingJue’s punch landed right in the center of Su She’s chest. Su She’s splendor left as quickly as it came. He couldn’t even spit out a mouthful of blood or say a few last words, no matter with dignity or cruelty, before the life in his eyes went out.
Collapsed beside Lan XiChen, Jin GuangYao saw this scene as well. Whether because the bleeding and the pain intensified at his arm and stomach or from some other reason, the glisten of tears could be seen in his eyes. But before he had a chance to catch his breath or lick his wounds, Nie MingJue turned around after he pulled his fist back and stared hungrily in his direction.
The harsh, stern expression on his rigid face held a sense of judgement that was no different from before he died. Even his tears had been scared away as Jin GuangYao turned to Lan XiChen for help, his voice trembling, “Brother…”
Lan XiChen turned the direction in which his blade pointed, while Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi sped up their melodies as well. But the effects of the whistle had already been overcome. It would be much harder than before for it to take effect again.
At this point, somebody on the side suddenly called, “Wei WuXian!”
Wei WuXian answered immediately, “What?”
Only after he answered did he realize that the one who called him was Jiang Cheng. Wei WuXian felt somewhat surprised. Jiang Cheng didn’t respond directly. Instead, he took something out from his sleeve and tossed. Wei WuXian caught it by instinct and looked, only to find a black, gleaming flute along with a crimson tassel.
It was the ghoul flute, Chen Qing!
As he felt the flute that he was more than familiar with, Wei WuXian didn’t even have the spare time to feel surprised. Without hesitation, he lifted it to his lips and called, “Lan Zhan!”
Lan WangJi nodded. No more words had to be exchanged as the notes of the guqin and the flute sounded in unison. The former was like a frozen river and the latter like flying birds; one suppressed while the other lured. Under the duet, Nie MingJue’s body wavered before it was finally half-forced to move its steps away from Jin GuangYao.
One stride at a time, controlled by the guqin and the flute, he once again walked toward the empty coffin, limbs stiff. Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi also followed, step by step. The moment he fell into the coffin, they kicked the coffin lid, that’d been on the ground, at the same time. The heavy lid flew up before it fell. Wei WuXian flipped nimbly on top of the coffin. He stuck Chenqing back at his waist with his left hand and quickly bit into his right hand’s finger, smoothly painting an entire string of wild, bloody incantations without a moment of pause from top to bottom!
Only then did the beast-like howls from within the coffin die off gradually. Lan WangJi put his hand over the seven vibrating strings and halted the guqin’s sounds. Wei WuXian let out a light breath. He waited for a while, cautious. Only after he was finally able to determine that energy no longer came from below the coffin lid did he stand up, “What a bad temper, right?”
He was much taller standing on the coffin. Lan WangJi put his guqin away and looked up at him with the pair of light eyes. Wei WuXian looked down and couldn’t help but touch the fair face with his right hand, adding a few blood-red marks, by accident or on purpose.
Lan WangJi didn’t worry too much about it, “Come down.”
Wei WuXian hopped down with a grin before he was caught right inside those arms.
Things were quieting down, but on the other side, Nie HuaiSang began to groan in pain. He pleaded, “Brother XiChen! Come tell me if my leg and my body are still connected or not!”
Lan XiChen walked over, pressing him down to examine, “HuaiSang, you are fine. There is no need to be so afraid. Your leg is not broken. There is only an incision.”
Nie HuaiSang exclaimed in terror, “An incision! How could I be not afraid if there’s an incision?! Did it go all the way through? Help me, Brother XiChen!”
Lan XiChen didn’t know whether he should laugh, “It is not so severe.”
Still, Nie HuaiSang rolled on the ground, hugging his leg. Lan XiChen knew he was most afraid of pain, so he took out a bottle of pills from in his lapels and placed it into Nie HuaiSang’s hand, “Pain relief.”
Nie HuaiSang opened it at once, eating as he rambled on, “How come I’m so unfortunate? Caught by that Su MinShan on the way for no reason—he had to stab me even when he was running away! Didn’t he know he could’ve just pushed me out of the way to deal with me? Did he have to use his sword…”
Lan XiChen got up and turned around. Jin GuangYao sat fallen on the ground, his face as pale as paper. His hair was somewhat disheveled as well, and cold sweat dotted his forehead. He had lost all his composure. Perhaps because the pain from his arm was too much, he couldn’t help but moan a little. He looked up at Lan XiChen. Even though he said nothing, but merely from how he looked, holding his severed wrist with such dejected eyes, was enough to make anyone feel pity.
Lan XiChen looked at him for a while before he sighed and still took out the medicine that he carried with him.
Wei WuXian, “Sect Leader Lan.”
Lan XiChen, “Young Master Wei, right now, he… he should not be able to do anything else like this. If he is not treated, he might die right here. Many things still remain unanswered.”
Wei WuXian, “Sect Leader Lan, I know. I’m not saying you can’t help him. I just wanted to remind you to be careful. It’s best if you silence him so that he doesn’t say anything.”
Lan XiChen nodded, turning to Jin GuangYao, “Sect Leader Jin, you heard him. Please do not carry out meaningless acts any longer. Or else, in precaution, if you do anything, I will spare no mercy and…” He took in a deep breath, “Take your life.”
Jin GuangYao nodded and whispered weakly, “Thank you, ZeWu-Jun.”
Lan XiChen bent down and treated the wound at his wrist with much caution. Jin GuangYao kept on trembling. Seeing his sworn brother who used to have so much potential end up like this, Lan XiChen didn’t know what to say either. He could only sigh in silence.
Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi walked to the corner. Wen Ning was still lying on top of Jiang Cheng and Jin Ling in an awkward, half-collapsed way. Wei WuXian laid him flat on the ground. After he examined the hole through his chest, he felt quite worried, “Just look at you… How should I block it up?”
Wen Ning, “Young Master, is it really severe…?”
Wei WuXian, “No. It’s not like you need the organs here. But it looks ugly.”
Wen Ning, “It’s not like I need to look nice…”
Jiang Cheng was silent, while Jin Ling hesitated between speaking up or not.
Over on the other side, Lan XiChen was treating Jin GuangYao’s wound. Seeing that Jin GuangYao almost passed out from the pain, Lan XiChen, who in the beginning wanted to use this to punish him, still didn’t have the heart to bear it, turning around, “HuaiSang, give me the bottle of medicine.”
Nie HuaiSang had put the bottle into his lapels after he ate two pills and stopped the pain. He hurried, “Oh, sure.” And looked down to search for it. After he found it, just as he was about to pass it to Lan XiChen, his pupils suddenly shrunk, exclaiming in fright, “Brother XiChen, behind you!!!”
Lan XiChen hadn’t let down his guard around Jin GuangYao in the first place, tense from caution. As he saw Nie HuaiSang’s expression along with the warning, he felt something in his heart go cold. Without hesitation, he unsheathed his sword and stabbed to the back.
The sword pierced right through Jin GuangYao’s chest. His face was shocked.
The others were also surprised by the sudden turn of events. Wei WuXian shot up, “What happened?!”
Nie HuaiSang, “I-I-I… saw Brother… no, I saw Sect Leader Jin put his hands behind him. I didn’t know if he…”
Jin GuangYao looked down at the sword that penetrated his chest. His lips twitched, as though he wanted to say something, but he couldn’t even argue for himself as he’d been silenced. Wei WuXian felt that something seemed off about this situation. Before he had the chance to ask, Jin GuangYao coughed up quite some blood, his voice hoarse, “Lan XiChen!”
He forcefully broke through the spell of silence.
At the moment, Jin GuangYao was injured from top to bottom. His left hand was burned by the poisonous smoke, his right hand was severed, and his stomach was missing a chunk of flesh. Covered in blood, he couldn’t even manage to sit upright, yet right now he stood on his own without any help, like one last streak of light from a setting sun. He called again in a voice filled with hatred, “Lan XiChen!”
Lan XiChen was beyond both disappointment and sorrow, “Sect Leader Jin, I told you. If you act again, I would show no mercy.”
Jin GuangYao spat, his voice fierce, “Yes! You said so. But did I act?!”
He’d always kept up a gentle, graceful appearance in front of others, yet right now he displayed such a savage look. Seeing just how abnormal he was, Lan XiChen also felt that something was wrong. He immediately turned back to look at Nie HuaiSang.
Jin GuangYao laughed, “Enough! What are you looking at him for? There’s no use! What could you see? You never even saw through me after all those years. HuaiSang, you’re truly impressive.” Nie HuaiSang was tongue-tied, as though he was scared speechless from the sudden accusation. Jin GuangYao spoke with loathing, “How unexpected for me to fall in your hands like this…”
He tried to walk to Nie HuaiSang, but the sword was still stuck at the center of his chest. With just one step, he was immediately overcome with agony. Lan XiChen could neither give him a fatal blow nor pull out the sword rashly, exclaiming, “Do not move!”
In reality, Jin GuangYao couldn’t move either. With one hand, he grabbed the blade before his chest, steadying himself as he spat out a mouthful of blood, “What a ‘Head Shaker’! No wonder… It must’ve been quite hard to have hidden yourself for so many years!”
Nie HuaiSang trembled, “Brother XiChen, trust me, back then I really did see…”
Jin GuangYao’s face was twisted as he shouted, “You!”
He wanted to rush at Nie HuaiSang once more, and the sword sank an inch deeper into his chest. Lan XiChen shouted as well, “Do not move!”
Back then, he’d suffered many great losses from Jin GuangYao by believing in his lies. This time, it was only natural for Lan XiChen to be cautious, suspicious that he accused Nie HuaiSang on purpose after Nie HuaiSang saw through what he was going to do, just so that Lan XiChen would be caught off guard again. Jin GuangYao easily read what his eyes meant, laughing out of anger, “Lan XiChen! In this life, I’ve lied countless times, killed countless times. Like you said, I killed my father, my brother, my wife, my son, my teacher, my friend—of all the evil in the world, what haven’t I done?!”
He took in a breath, rasping, “But I’ve never even thought of harming you!”
Lan XiChen was astonished.
Jin GuangYao panted harder, gripping the word as he spoke through clenched teeth, “… Back then, when the Cloud Recesses was burned down and you fled outside, who was the one that saved you from all the danger? And when the GusuLan Sect was rebuilding the Cloud Recesses, who was the one that helped with everything he had? In all these years, when have I ever cracked down on the GusuLan Sect, when have I responded with anything but support?! Apart from this time, when I’ve only temporarily staunched your spiritual powers, when have I ever wronged you or your sect? Why have I ever demanded gratitude?!”
Hearing these questions, Lan XiChen could no longer persuade himself to silence him again. Jin GuangYao, “Su MinShan could repay me in such a way just because I remembered his name back then. You, on the other hand, ZeWu-Jun, Sect Leader Lan, are as intolerant of me as Nie MingJue—you refuse to spare me even a single breath of life!”
After he said this, Jin GuangYao suddenly drew back. Shuoyue was pulled from his chest, taking out a few splatters of blood.
Jiang Cheng shouted, “Don’t let him get away!”
Lan XiChen went forth in just two steps, seizing him again without any difficulty. In such a shame, Jin GuangYao wasn’t able to get anywhere no matter how fast he was. Jin Ling could catch him even with his eyes closed. On top of that, he was injured in many places and received a fatal wound. There was no longer a need to be careful of him.
Wei WuXian, however, suddenly realized something as he shouted, “He’s not trying to get away!!! ZeWu-Jun, move away from him right now!””
It was already too late. The blood from Jin GuangYao’s severed limb trickled onto the coffin. The blood climbed across where Wei WuXian painted on, destroying the incantations, and dripped inside the coffin through the crack.
Nie MingJue, who had been sealed, broke out from the coffin!
The coffin lid burst into pieces. A pale hand grabbed Jin GuangYao’s neck, while another searched for Lan XiChen’s. Jin GuangYao wasn’t trying to run away. Instead, he was fighting with his last breath to lead Lan XiChen towards Nie MingJue, so that they could die together!
Lan WangJi summoned Bichen, which shot at them with at speed of lighting, but Nie MingJue wasn’t at all afraid of these spiritual weapons. Even if Bichen hit him, it would likely be unable to stop him from closing the small gap between him and Lan XiChen’s throat.
Yet, just as the hand was an instant from grasping Lan XiChen’s neck, Jin GuangYao used the only hand he had left to strike Lan XiChen’s chest, pushing Lan XiChen away.
He, himself, on the other hand, was dragged into the coffin by Nie MingJue, then held up like holding a puppet. The scene was beyond frightening. Jin GuangYao used his one hand to peel away at Nie MingJue’s steel-like palm. He struggled ceaselessly from the pain, hair tangled, as heavy malice shot from his eyes. He cursed with all the energy he had left, “Fuck you, Nie MingJue! You think I’m really scared of you?! I…”
With much difficulty, he coughed up some blood. Everyone present heard a crack that was abnormally clear and brutal.
A whimper of a last breath left Jin GuangYao’s throat.
Jin Ling’s shoulders shivered. He shut his eyes and covered his ears, too afraid to keep watching and listening.