Chapter 109: Concealment (Part Three)
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Lan XiChen staggered a few steps back from the push. He hadn’t realized what happened yet. Meanwhile, Lan WangJi struck the back of the fair-featured Guanyin statue at the center of the temple. The statue vibrated as it flew towards the coffin. Nie MingJue was still inspecting the corpse in his hand, the head had already dipped. As the heavy statue hit him, he fell right back where he’d been.
Wei WuXian leaped over and stepped onto the Guanyin’s chest. The coffin lid had broken already. They could only use the Guanyin statue as a lid to seal away Nie MingJue and his rampage. Down below, Nie MingJue struck the statue again and again in attempt to break free, while Wei WuXian also shook again and again, reeling so much he was almost thrown off. He wobbled, realizing that he wasn’t able to paint a talisman at all, “Lan Zhan, quick, quick, come up beside me. One more person would mean more weight. With a few more slaps, the statue might fall apart again…”
Before he finished, Wei WuXian suddenly felt both his body and his line of sight tilt. Lan WangJi held one end of the coffin and lifted it up.
Which meant, with only a left hand, he lifted the wooden coffin, the two dead bodies within the coffin, the Guanyin statue above the coffin, and Wei WuXian atop the statue.
Wei WuXian gaped in astonishment. He’d long since known that Lan WangJi had shocking arm strength, but this… was a bit too shocking!
Lan WangJi’s expression hadn’t changed. His right hand unleashed a silver guqin string. As if on wings, the string zipped dozens of times around the coffin and the Guanyin statue, tying the two tightly together. And then a second one, and a third… Having determined that Nie MingJue and Jin GuangYao were sealed away properly, he finally his left hand drop. The one end of the coffin plummeted to the ground, letting out a loud echo. Wei WuXian tilted as well. Lan WangJi welcomed him by breaking his fall with his arms before he placed him steadily on the ground. The hands that had just conquered almost a thousand pounds were more than gentle when wrapped around Wei WuXian.
Lan XiChen stared at the coffin enveloped in seven guqin strings. He was still lost in thought. Nie HuaiSang extended a hand and waved it before his eyes, terrified, “… B-Brother XiChen, are you alright?”
Lan XiChen, “HuaiSang, just now, was he really trying to catch me off guard with an attack?”
Nie HuaiSang, “I think I saw it…”
Hearing his hesitation, Lan XiChen pressed, “Think it over some more.”
Nie HuaiSang, “If you ask me like that, I can’t be sure either… It really did seem like…”
Lan XiChen, “Cut out the ‘seem like’! Did it happen or not?!”
Nie HuaiSang answered with difficulty, “… I don’t know, I really don’t know!”
This was the only thing Nie HuaiSang knew to say when he was desperate. Lan XiChen buried his forehead in his palm. He seemed as if his head was about to split, unwilling to speak again.
Suddenly, Wei WuXian called, “HuaiSang-xiong.”
Nie HuaiSang, “Huh?”
Wei WuXian, “Back then, how did Su She stab you?”
Nie HuaiSang, “He was carrying Brother… carrying Sect Leader-Jin when he was running away. I blocked his way, so…”
Wei WuXian, “Really? With where you stood, I don’t recall you blocking their path of escape.”
Nie HuaiSang, “I couldn’t have run into him purposely trying to be stabbed, could I?”
Wei WuXian smiled, “I never said that.”
Nie HuaiSang, “Then what are you trying to say, Wei-xiong?”
Wei WuXian, “It’s just that I suddenly connected a few things together.”
Nie HuaiSang, “What things?”
Wei WuXian, “Jin GuangYao said someone gave him a letter that threatened to tell the world what he did. Let’s first assume he wasn’t lying and was speaking the truth. Then, this certain person was doing the unnecessary.” He continued, “If you wanted to expose a person’s sins, instead of exposing them directly, why would you go out of your way to notify them that you had evidence of their crimes?”
Nie HuaiSang, “Didn’t Brother… Didn’t Sect Leader Jin say that the person wanted him to apologize by turning himself in?”
Wei WuXian, “Wake up. It’s more than obvious that Jin GuangYao wouldn’t choose to turn himself in. What was the point of doing it then? There seemed to be no point. But would someone who could uncover those old secrets of Jin GuangYao’s really play a useless move? Such an unnecessary act had to have a goal, whether to induce or instigate something.”
Lan XiChen was startled, “Induce? Induce what?”
Lan WangJi’s voice was low, “Jin GuangYao’s killing intent.”
If it were the usual ZeWu-Jun, he couldn’t have failed to fathom this. But right now, it was likely he had no more space in his mind to think.
Wei WuXian, “That’s right. It was precisely this letter that induced Jin GuangYao’s killing intent to an unprecedented level. Didn’t it say he should wait for his death in seven days? Then he would be the first to strike. He’d topple all of the main forces of the cultivation world at Burial Mound within the seven days to say who’d be the first to die.”
Lan XiChen, “You mean this was the goal of the one who sent him the letter? Only to urge him to take action?”
Wei WuXian, “That’s what I’m thinking.”
Lan XiChen shook his head, “… Then just what does the person who sent him the letter want to do? Whether to expose Jin GuangYao or to destroy the sects?”
Wei WuXian, “It’s quite simple. Look at what happened after the siege failed. When everyone was gathered at Lotus Pier, at the peak of their excitement, they welcomed SiSi and BiCao—I don’t think the arrival of the two witnesses was a coincidence. And so, everything piled up and exploded.” With a pause, Wei WuXian continued, “They wanted not only for Jin GuangYao’s name to be ruined. They also wanted Jin GuangYao to be the world’s enemy. And it had to be fatal at first blood—there had to be no possibility of a reversal.”
Nie HuaiSang, “Sounds like this person started to plan this a long time ago.”
Wei WuXian looked at him before suddenly asking, “Right, weren’t you the one responsible for safekeeping ChiFeng-Zun’s body, Sect Leader Nie?”
Nie HuaiSang, “I kept it at first, but I just received the news tonight that my brother’s body at Qinghe suddenly disappeared. Or else why would I hurry over to Qinghe and be caught by Su She on my way…”
Wei WuXian asked again, “Sect Leader Nie, I heard you often travel between the GusuLan Sect and the LanlingJin Sect, correct?”
Nie HuaiSang, “Yeah.”
Wei WuXian, “Then did you really not know Mo XuanYu?”
Nie HuaiSang, “Huh?”
Wei WuXian, “I remember the first time I met you after the sacrifice succeeded, you seemed like you didn’t recognize me at all. You even asked HanGuang-Jun whom I was. In any case, Mo XuanYu had once bothered Jin GuangYao, even capable of looking at the manuscripts that Jin GuangYao had in his collection. You, on the other hand, also frequented Sect Leader Jin to air your grievances. Even if you weren’t familiar with Mo XuanYu, have you really never seen him even once?”
Nie HuaiSang scratched his head, “Wei-xiong, Koi Tower is that big; I couldn’t have seen every single person, much less remember everyone I’ve seen. And on top of that…” He seemed a bit awkward, “You know what Mo XuanYu’s background was. It was a bit… The LanlingJin Sect tried its hardest to keep it a secret. It’s not that strange I hadn’t seen him, is it? Brother XiChen might not have even seen him.”
Wei WuXian, “Oh, indeed. ZeWu-Jun didn’t know Mo XuanYu either.”
Nie HuaiSang, “Right?! And I don’t really understand. Even if I’d seen Mo XuanYu, why should I pretend like I didn’t know him on purpose? Was there any need?”
Wei WuXian smiled, “Nothing. Something seemed a bit off. I was only asking.”
Yet in his heart, he replied, Of course to find out if this ‘Mo XuanYu’ really was the real Mo XuanYu.
How could Mo XuanYu, who was so timid and fearful in others’ description, conjure up the courage to take his life and sacrifice his body? Why would that left hand of ChiFeng-Zun’s be released? Did Jin GuangYao really let it out by pure accident? And why did it appear at Mo Village, where he sacrificed his body, so that Wei WuXian ran into it right after he was reborn? Why wasn’t it some other place?
ChiFeng-Zun’s corpse was buried by the QingheNie Sect. In all these years, did Nie HuaiSang, who had always admired his elder brother, really fail to notice that the corpse had been switched?
Wei WuXian prefered this other case instead.
Perhaps before Nie MingJue passed away, Nie HuaiSang really knew nothing. But after Nie MingJue’s death, he knew everything. Including that Nie MingJue’s corpse had been switched. Including the true colors of the brother he once trusted.
He tried to search for his elder brother’s corpse, but after so many years and so much hard work, he could only find a single left hand.
He was stuck at this step, without anything that could lead to the next. In addition, the left hand was abnormally fierce, too difficult to suppress. If it was left by his side, it’d keep on resulting in bloodshed. So he remembered someone. Someone who was best at dealing with these things, these problems.
The YiLing Patriarch.
But the YiLing Patriarch had been torn into pieces already. What should he do now? And so he remembered someone else. Mo XuanYu, who’d been kicked out of Koi Tower.
Perhaps to gain information from Mo XuanYu, Nie HuaiSang talked to him once. From Mo XuanYu’s grievances, he knew that Mo XuanYu had once read the fragmented manuscript that recorded an ancient, forbidden technique in Jin GuangYao’s collection. He then urged Mo XuanYu, who had had enough of the humiliation coming from his own clan members, to seek revenge using the forbidden technique of body sacrifice.
And which fierce ghost was summoned?
It was the YiLing Patriarch again, of course.
Mo XuanYu, no longer able to put up with his circumstances, finally painted the blood array, and Nie HuaiSang also used the opportunity to release the hot potato he was no longer able to keep: ChiFeng-Zun’s left hand.
From then on, the plan successfully began. He no longer needed to exert his energy on searching for the remaining limbs of Nie MingJue, instead leaving all of the dangerous and bothersome things to Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi. He only needed to monitor their every move.
The time that Jin Ling, Lan SiZhui, Lan JingYi, and the other juniors ran into the odd incident of dead cats on their way, someone was clearly creating abnormalities on purpose. Along with the nonexistent ‘hunter’ who showed them the way in the nearby village, it was doubtless that the goal was to lead these naive disciples into Yi City. If Wei WuXian and Lan WangJi was just a bit more careless and weren’t able to protect them completely, whatever happened to the disciples at Yi City would likely also be blamed on Jin GuangYao.
Anyhow, the more that could convict Jin GuangYao, the better it was; the more that could lead the cautious villain to make mistakes and leave traces, the better it was; the more that could result in a tragic death of his, the better it was.
Lan WangJi used the tip of Bichen’s blade to turn over the black chest beside the coffin. He glanced at the incantations engraved over it before he turned to Wei WuXian, “The head.”
The chest was probably used to hold Nie MingJue’s head. After Jin GuangYao moved the head away from Koi Tower, he probably buried it here.
Wei WuXian nodded at him, “Sect Leader Nie, do you know what was originally inside of the coffin?”
Nie HuaiSang, “How could I know? But with how Brother… oh, no—with how Sect Leader Jin looked, it was probably something really important to him, huh?”
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