Chapter 121: Extra—Intrusion (Part Two)
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Hearing this, the two exchanged a glance. Lan SiZhui perked up.
Wei WuXian, “I’m all ears to your story.”
After some thought, Young Master Qin began slowly, “It’s not really much of a story. I’m not too familiar with him either. When I was young, I grew up at my grandmother’s house in a rural village. He was one of the servants of my grandmother’s household. As we were of similar age, we grew up playing with each other.”
Wei WuXian, “That’s called a childhood friend—how come you say you’re not familiar with him?”
Young Master Qin, “Because as we grew up, we drifted apart.”
Wei WuXian, “Take some time to think. Have you ever offended this servant in any way?”
Young Master Qin, “There has been one instance, though I’m not too sure how serious it was either.”
Lan WangJi, “Go on.”
Young Master Qin, “The servant has always served my grandmother by her side. Because he was quick while working and was about the same age as me, my grandmother took quite a liking to him, often praising him for being clever. As a result of this, he also grew somewhat proud, always following the juniors of our clan with no regard to the difference between master and servant. Later, my grandmother even let him go to school with us.
“One day, the teacher left us a difficult problem. Amid the discussion, someone came up with a first answer. Just as the class was expressing their approval, the servant suddenly spoke up and said that it was wrong.”
Young Master Qin, “At that time, that servant had only been going to school for a few months, yet we’ve been schooling for a couple of years. It was needless to say who was right. Immediately, someone proved him wrong. Yet he was extremely stubborn, insisting that the previous person answered wrong to show us his way of solving it. In the end, the entire class felt annoyed by him, and together chased him away.”
At this point, Lan SiZhui couldn’t help but spoke, “Young Master Qin, even if he annoyed you, he never did anything too extreme… Why drive him out?”
Wei WuXian, “Young Master Qin, from this it sounds like your whole gang of juniors offended him. Do you hold a unique position in this? Or else he wouldn’t have only sought after you, but rather visit everyone part of the group.”
Young Master Qin, “Back then, I was the first to tell him to leave. It was only a casual remark at first, yet who knew everyone had long since been fed up with him, and the situation broke out. Surprisingly, he had quite a temper. He went back, telling my grandmother that he wouldn’t come again, and he really never came back.”
Wei WuXian, “I’ll ask you two more questions. You must answer in truth, Young Master Qin.”
Young Master Qin, “Go ahead.”
“My first question.” Wei WuXian’s eyes shone brightly, “You said that ‘someone came up with a first answer’. Does this ‘someone’ happen to be you?”
After a pause, Young Master Qin replied, “Is this important?”
Wei WuXian, “Then, my second question—regarding the solution to that problem, in the end, who was right and who was wrong?”
Young Master Qin had on an unpleasant expression. He flipped his sleeves, his voice cold, “The incident happened years before now. Please excuse my inability to recall every single detail. But in all honesty, who has never acted on impulse when they were young, doing inexplicable things, meeting inexplicable people. Please don’t tangle yourselves in such an incident. Right now, all I want is to deal with this matter as soon as possible.”
Wei WuXian grinned, “Yes. I understand, I understand.”
Lan WangJi, “When was his passing?”
Young Master Qin, “About two years ago, I think.”
Wei WuXian, “Two years? That’s not too bad, not an old corpse but not fresh either. How did he die? Suicide?”
“No. I heard he ran around drunken in the middle of the night before accidentally falling to his death.”
“If it’s not suicide, the situation isn’t so bad after all. Young Master Qin, is there anything else?”
“Then please go back for now. Later, talismans will be taken to your residence. If you happen to recall anything else, please notify us as soon as possible.”
After they returned to the cottage, Lan SiZhui shut the door and let out a breath of relief, “Young Master Qin… He is truly… truly…”
Lan WangJi suddenly spoke up, “Two years.”
Wei WuXian, “Yes. Two years is a bit strange.”
Lan SiZhui, “Strange?”
Wei WuXian pulled a blank talisman from his sleeve, “If a creature full of hatred is seeking revenge, it’d usually begin its haunting the night of the seventh day after its death. Those that take a little longer sometimes begin within a year. Since it had already turned into a fierce corpse, why would it take two years to visit?”
Lan SiZhui guessed, “Could it be that he could not find Young Master Qin’s new address within the two years?”
He imagined the corpse knocking door after door at night, peeking inside to see if Young Master Qin was inside. Coldness slithered up his back.
Wei WuXian, however, dismissed the guess, “No. The corpse used to be friends with Young Master Qin. It wouldn’t be hard to find him through his scent. And if it were like you said, it would’ve very likely made a few mistakes on its journey, so there shouldn’t be only a single incident of a fierce corpse slamming on somebody’s door. Lan Zhan, you’ve read more files than I have and you remember things better. In the two years, have you seen similar accounts?”
He entered the study as Lan WangJi answered, “I have not.”
Wei WuXian, “Exactly… I can’t find the cinnabar, Lan Zhan.” He took out a brush, “I used it just last night! Did either of you see the cinnabar?”
Lan WangJi went inside as well and found the cinnabar for him. Wei WuXian dipped the tip of his brush inside the dainty little cup before he poured himself some tea and sat down at the desk. With tea in his left hand and the brush in his right, he scrawled across the talisman paper without even looking, talking to Lan WangJi, “If you don’t remember, it definitely didn’t happen. And so, there should be another reason as to why it didn’t do anything to Young Master Qin in the two years. Alright, I’m finished.”
He peeled off the talisman still wet with cinnabar from the desk and gave it to Lan SiZhui, “Go bring this to him.”
Lan SiZhui accepted it and scrutinized every angle, despite not being able to understand a single thing. Having never seen on any book such wild, unrestrained runes, he couldn’t help but asked, “Senior Wei… This… Is not just a random scribble, is it?”
Wei WuXian, “Of course it is.”
“I never use my eyes when I’m drawing talismans.”
Wei WuXian grinned, “Don’t worry. It’ll definitely work. Speaking of it, SiZhui, you don’t like Young Master Qin all that much, do you?”
Lan SiZhui thought about it, “I do not know either.” He responded with honesty, “He never did anything truly evil, but perhaps I find it difficult to deal with people of such character. I do not particularly like the tone with which he mentioned the word ‘servant’…”
He paused at this point. Wei WuXian was oblivious to it, “Typical, typical. Most of the people in this world looks down upon servants. Servants sometimes even look down upon themselves… Why are you two looking at me like that?”
Halfway through, he interrupted, not knowing whether to laugh or frown, “Stop—is there a misunderstanding here? How could I compare? Lotus Pier isn’t the usual household, after all. I’ve beaten Jiang Cheng up way more times than he’s ever beaten me!”
Lan WangJi didn’t say anything, but instead gave him a silent hug. Wei WuXian couldn’t help but smiled. He hugged back, stroking Lan WangJi’s back a couple of times. Lan SiZhui coughed. Seeing how confident Wei WuXian looked, not at all sensitive to the word ‘servant’, he was finally at ease.
Wei WuXian continued, “But it’s likely that he’ll come again.”
Lan SiZhui paused, “Can it still not be solved, even today?”
Lan WangJi, “He has not said everything.”
Wei WuXian, “Yes. It’s not the first time anyways. You can’t cope with these people in any other way—you gotta squeeze their words out bit by bit. Let’s see if after tonight, whether he’d say everything tomorrow.”
As expected, the next day, when Lan SiZhui was practicing his sword outside of Bamboo Cottage, Young Master Qin came again.
The moment he came, he made it clear, “I don’t care!”
Lan SiZhui hurried, “Please wait, Young Master Qin! My two seniors are still sl-… still cultivating! They are at a crucial point and cannot be disturbed!”
Hearing this, Young Master Qin didn’t barge right through the courtyard, but still he bombarded Lan SiZhui with his puffed-up resentment, “I don’t want to hear about mending the symptom but not the root! I want this thing to never find me again!!!”
The second night, Young Master Qin was still unable to sleep, reading at night in the main hall. Soon, the fierce corpse—the servant—came once more.
It still couldn’t enter the house, jumping here and there right outside and slamming the door at times. Somehow, the windows of wood and paper weren’t torn apart by it. Quickly afterwards, the noise retreated far into the distance. Young Master Qin, who’d never had any proper shut-eye in quite a few days, finally couldn’t manage any longer. Losing his focus, fatigue arose, and he fell into a deep sleep just like that.
Not knowing how long had passed, amid the haze, he suddenly heard three clear knocks come from the door. Body tightening and bones straightening, he was awake at once.
A woman from outside the door called out, “Husband.”
Young Master Qin had just woken from his sleep, still in a state of confusion. The moment he heard Madam Qin’s voice, he got up and went to open the door. Quickly, he remembered that in the past few days, Madam Qin kept on crying and complaining that she couldn’t live like this any longer. Only yesterday did she pack up her things and leave for her parents’ home. If she came back because she was scared, how could she have had the courage to come back alone in the middle of the night?
A woman’s curved figure reflected against the paper window. It looked like his wife’s figure indeed. But Young Master Qin didn’t dare make any hasty conclusions. He unsheathed his sword in silence, asking, “My dear, why have you come back? Aren’t you mad anymore?”
The woman outside the door spoke with a flat tone, “I’ve come back. I’m not mad. Open the door for me.”
Young Master Qin couldn’t open the door yet, pointing his sword at the door, “My dear, it’d be safer for you if you’re with your parents. What if it hasn’t left yet, still walking around this house?”
Silence came from outside the door.
Young Master Qin felt sweat come from the palm holding the sword.
Out of the blue, the woman screeched with soaring volume, “Open the door right now! The ghost is coming! Let me inside!”
Madam Qin, whether real or not, clung to the paper window and screamed. Young Master Qin’s scalp tingled. Gripping Wei WuXian’s talisman, he suddenly felt blood surge through his body. Holding his sword, he barged outside…
Young Master Qin, “And then a pile of something crashed into my face, making me pass out.”
Wei WuXian, “What made you pass out?”
Young Master Qin pointed at the desk. Wei WuXian looked before he began to laugh uncontrollably, “Why fruits?
Young Master Qin fumed, “How would I know?!”
Wei WuXian, “Of course you’d know. Nobody would know except for you. These creatures all tend to hold grudges. Have you also thrown fruits at him before?”
Young Master Qin said nothing, still dark-faced. From his expression, Wei WuXian was certain that the guess wasn’t too far off, but of course he wouldn’t admit it himself. Thus he continued to ask no longer. When Young Master Qin spoke up again, the topic had changed as expected, “This morning, I got someone to ask my in-laws. Last night, my wife didn’t leave their house at all.”
Wei WuXian, “It’s something used especially to break the protection barriers of houses, sometimes seen in the ancient books and notebooks. It isn’t a harmful being on its own, but as it can imitate the sound and shape of those close to the owner of the house, it often paired up with beings that can’t go through the door, helping it fool the owner into opening the door on their own. What a helper that fierce corpse found.”
Young Master Qin, “No matter what it is, it’s useless for me to know. Young Master, the second door has already broken. It’s already come into my main hall. If I may, are you going to tell me that I don’t have to do anything a second time?”
“Young Master Qin,” Wei WuXian replied, “Let’s reason things out here. This second door was opened by you yourself. If not for that talisman of mine, I dare not say what shape you’d be in right now.”
Defeated, Young Master Qin lashed out, “If this continues, the next time I wake up, won’t I see that thing standing right next to my bed?!”
Wei WuXian, “If you really want a good night’s sleep, Young Master Qin, you should work on recalling if there’s anything else you forgot to say. Please don’t guard any more information this time. You have to know that tonight, hahaha, I’m not trying to scare you, but it’ll most definitely be in from of your bedroom door.”
With no other choice, Young Master Qin could only tell them one more thing.
“The last time I saw him was two years ago, when I returned to my home village to commemorate my parents and ancestors. Back then, while paying my respects, I wore a jade pendant.”
Young Master Qin, “He recognized that it belonged to my grandmother and asked to borrow it from me. I thought that he was missing my grandmother, so I gave it to him. Yet soon after he got it, he said he lost the pendant.”
Wei WuXian, “And what does ‘lost’ refer to? Did he lose it by accident or did he sell it?”
Young Master Qin hesitated, “I don’t know. At first, I thought he sold it and came back with the lie that he lost it. But…”
He didn’t continue. Wei WuXian pressed with patience, “But what?”
Lan WangJi was cold-faced throughout, “There is no harm in honesty.”
Young Master Qin, “But, now that I think about it, he shouldn’t have gone as far as to sell something of my grandmother’s.
“Later, I heard he was a drunkard. Perhaps he lost it at night drinking, or maybe he had it stolen. In any case, I was infuriated at the time, so I berated him for it.”
Wei WuXian, “Wait. Young Master Qin, something that pertains to one’s life and death should not be blurred with ambiguous diction. The word ‘berate’ could either be light or serious, with a significant difference in between. So through what means did you ‘berate’ him?”
Young Master Qin’s brow twitched, adding, “If I remember correctly, I gave him somewhat of a beating.”
Wei WuXian blinked, “Well… You don’t happen to be the one who broke that lame leg of his, do you?”