Chapter 18 Refinement—Part Eight
Wei WuXian bought a bunch of quirky gadgets in Caiyi Town and took them back to the Cloud Recesses. After he arrived, everything was shared between the disciples from other sects. Because Lan QiRen went to Qinghe and there were no classes for a few days, all of the boys played around in complete chaos, rushing into Wei WuXian and Jiang Cheng’s room to sleep there. All through the nights, they ate, drank, wrestled, gambled, and viewed picture books. During one of the nights, Wei WuXian lost in a game of dice, and was sent to sneak down the mountain and buy jars of Emperor’s Smile. This time, everyone finally had the chance to satisfy their taste buds. However, on the second day, before daylight even appeared, someone opened the door of the room, revealing the disciples who spread out on the floor in a tangle, sleeping as if they were a group of corpses.
The noise from opening the door startled a few people. As they saw the stone-faced Lan WangJi at the door through their sleepy eyes, they were instantly waken up. Nie HuaiSang furiously pushed Wei WuXian, who ended up in a position with his legs at the top and head at the bottom, “Wei-xiong! Wei-xiong!”
Having been shoved for a few times, Wei WuXian spoke drowsily, “Who? Is anyone else up for it?! Jiang Cheng? The fight is on—like I’m scared of you!”
Jiang Cheng drank too much last night, and his head still ached as he lay on the ground with his eyes closed. He randomly grabbed something and hurled it at where Wei WuXian’s voice came from, “Shut up!”
The object landed on Wei WuXian’s chest, its pages flipping open. Nie HuaiSang eyed it, only to find that the item Jiang Cheng used to hit Wei WuXian was one of his treasured out-of-print illustrated pornography books. As he looked up and saw Lan WangJi’s frigid gaze, he almost died on the spot. Wei WuXian mumbled a few sentences, hugging the book to his chest, and went to sleep again. Lan WangJi stepped into the room. He used one hand to grip Wei WuXian’s back collar, lifted him up, and dragged him in the direction of the door.
After a few puzzled moments as he was carried by Lan WangJi, he was finally half-awake. He turned around, “Lan Zhan, what are you doing?”
Lan WangJi didn’t say any words, continuing to drag him forward. Wei WuXian woke up a bit more, along with the lying corpses on the ground who gained consciousness one after another. Seeing that Wei WuXian was caught by Lan WangJi again, he hurried outside and asked, “What’s happening? What are you doing?”
Lan WangJi turned his head, speaking one word at a time, “To receive. His. Punishment.”
Jiang Cheng had a slow reaction from his sleep and drinking too much, so he just remembered the mess of a floor in the room. Recalling that they broke a countless number of sect rules of the Cloud Recesses last night, his face immediately froze.
Lan WangJi dragged Wei WuXian to the front of the Lan Sect’s ancestral hall. There were already a few older disciples of the Lan Sect waiting there, eight in total. Of them, four carried discipline rulers made of sandalwood which were extremely long in length, having numerous square-shaped characters carved onto them. It was a solemn-looking scene, indeed. As Lan WangJi dragged the person over, two of them immediately came up, firmly holding Wei WuXian in place. Wei WuXian half-knelt on the ground, being allowed no room for struggle, “Lan Zhan, are you going to punish me?”
Lan WangJi stared at him coldly, maintaining his silence.
Wei WuXian spoke, “I won’t accept this.”
At this point, the boys who had woken up also rushed over, but they were blocked outside the ancestral hall, not allowed to go in. They scratched their heads, scared speechless from seeing the discipline ruler. Then, however, Lan WangJi lifted the bottom of his white clothes, and knelt down beside Wei WuXian.
Seeing this, Wei WuXian turned pale with fear. He tried to get up, but Lan WangJi commanded, “Strike!”
Wei WuXian gaped with astonishment. He hurriedly spoke, “Wait, wait, I accept this, I accept this, Lan Zhan. I was wrong… Gah!”
The palms and legs of both of them received about a hundred strikes of the discipline ruler. Lan WangJi didn’t need anyone to hold him down. His back was upright and his kneeling position stayed proper for the whole duration. On the other hand, Wei WuXian wailed and howled without holding back at all, making the disciples watching the scene cringe from imagining the pain. After the beating finished, Lan WangJi silently stood up and walked outside after saluting toward the the disciples in the ancestral hall, showing no evidence that he had been injured. Wei WuXian was the exact opposite. After he was carried onto Jiang Cheng’s back, he groaned for the whole way. The youths all surrounded them, asking, “Wei-xiong, what in the world happened?”
“It’s understandable for Lan Zhan to punish you, but why did he himself also get the beating?”
Wei WuXian sighed, leaning on Jiang Cheng’s back, “What a miscalculation! It’s a long story!”
Jiang Cheng spoke, “Cut the crap! What on Earth did you do?!”
Wei WuXian answered, “I didn’t do anything! Last night, didn’t I lose the dice game and go down to buy some Emperor’s Smile?
Jiang Cheng, “… Don’t tell me you met him again.”
Wei WuXian, “That’s actually it. Who knew what was wrong with my luck—when I carried the jars of Emperor’s Smile and came up here, he stopped right in front of me again. I’m doubting that maybe he really watches me every single day.”
Jiang Cheng, “Not everyone has so much time on their hands. What happened next?”
Wei WuXian, “And then I said hello to him again. I said, ‘Lan Zhan! What a coincidence—it’s you again!’. Of course, he ignored me again. His hand came at me without any words. I said, ‘Hey, what’s the use of doing this?’ He said that if a guest disciple violates the curfew so many times, they need to go to the Lan Sect’s ancestral hall to receive their punishment. And I said, ‘There’s only the two of us here. If you don’t say it, and I don’t say it, then nobody would know whether or not I violated the curfew, right? I promise that there’s no next time. We’re already this familiar with each other, so can’t you just do me a small favor?’”
Everyone looked as if they couldn’t bear to listen to this any longer.
Wei WuXian continued, “In the end, he said that we weren’t familiar with a long face, grabbed his sword, and charged over. He paid no heed to our friendship or whatsoever, so I could only put down the Emperor’s Smile and start passing a few moves. His attacks were fast and chased after me so close that I couldn’t even throw him off! Eventually, I really was annoyed from him chasing me. I asked, ‘Are you really not gonna let go? Huh?!’’
“He still said, ‘Take your punishment.’”
The boys were filled with the thrill of the story, and Wei WuXian was enraptured as he spoke. He forgot the fact that he was still on Jiang Cheng’s back, and gave Jiang Cheng’s shoulder a hard smack, “I said, ‘Fine!’. Then, I stopped dodging, threw myself over, clung to him, and plummeted outside the wall of the Cloud Recesses!”
Wei WuXian, “And so, the two of us fell outside the area of the Cloud Recesses together! It was such a bad fall that I saw stars before my eyes.”
Nie HuaiSang was dumbstruck, “… He didn’t break free?”
Wei WuXian replied, “Oh, he did try. But with me locking him in my arms and legs, he couldn’t break free even though he wanted to, unable to even get up from my body. He was as hard as a board. I said, ‘How about this, Lan Zhan? Now, you’re also outside the Cloud Recesses. We both broke the curfew, and you can’t be harsh toward others and loose toward yourself. If you punish me, you’d have to punish yourself as well. Equal treatment. How does that sound?’”
Wei WuXian, “After he got up, he looked like he really wasn’t in a good mood. I sat on the side and told him not to worry, that I won’t tell anyone else, and that the only ones who knew about this was the sky, the Earth, and us two. And then, he walked off without saying anything. Who knew that he’d do something like this in the morning… Jiang Cheng, walk slower. You’re almost shaking me off.”
Jiang Cheng wanted to not only shake him off, but, even more so, to make a few man-shaped dents on the ground by slamming his head down, “Is simply carrying you not up to your standards?!”
Wei WuXian, “I never asked you to carry me, in the beginning.”
Jiang Cheng was enraged, “If I don’t carry you, you’d probably stay in their ancestral hall and roll on the ground all day long. I don’t have that thick of a face to lose! Lan WangJi even had fifty more strikes than you, and he even walked by himself. Yet, you have the nerve to pretend that you’re crippled. I don’t want to carry you any more. Get off, now!”
Wei WuXian, “No, I’m wounded.”
The group joked around on the narrow path made of white stones. They walked right into a person in white robes, holding a book as he passed by. Lan XiChen stopped with wonder and smiled, “What is going on, here?”
Jiang Cheng felt extremely awkward, not knowing how to reply. Nie HuaiSang answered before him, “XiChen-ge, Wei-xiong was punished with more than a hundred strikes of the ruler. Is there any medicine?!”
The person responsible for punishment in the Cloud Recesses was Lan WangJi. With Wei WuXian’s pained cries amid the group which surrounded him, it appeared as if his condition was extremely severe. Lan XiChen immediately came up to them, “Was this done by WangJi? Is Young Master Wei still able to walk? What in the world happened?”
Of course, Jiang Cheng didn’t dare to say that Wei WuXian was at fault. Thinking back, it was them who urged Wei WuXian to buy liquor. Each and every one of them should have been punished. He could only speak in a vague way, “It’s fine, it’s fine; it’s not that serious! He can walk. Wei WuXian, why are you still up there?!”
Wei WuXian spoke, “I can’t walk.” He raised his red palms, which were swollen a few sizes larger, and complained to Lan XiChen, “ZeWu-Jun, your younger brother is so cruel.”
Lan XiChen examined his palms, “Yes, the punishment is quite severe, indeed. It is likely that the swelling will not subside until after three or four days.”
Jiang Cheng really didn’t know that the beating was so severe. He exclaimed, “What? Not after three or four days? His legs and his back were also hit by the discipline rulers. How can Lan WangJi do this?!” He spoke the last sentence with resentment in spite of himself, and only realized it after Wei WuXian secretly smacked him. However, Lan XiChen didn’t mind it at all. He smiled, “Nevertheless, it is not severe enough to require medication. Young Master Wei, let me tell you a way for your injuries to be healed in just a few hours.”
It was nighttime, at the cold spring of the Cloud Recesses.
Lan WangJi’s eyes were closed as he relaxed in the ice-cold water. Suddenly, a voice rang beside his ears, “Lan Zhan.”
Lan WangJi’s eyes sprang open. Sure enough, Wei WuXian was lying on his stomach, above the blue stones beside the cold spring, tilting his head and smiling at him.
Lan WangJi blurted out, “How did you come in?!”
Wei WuXian slowly crawled up, and spoke as he took off his sash belt, “ZeWu-Jun told me to come in.”
Lan WangJi, “What are you doing?”
Wei WuXian kicked off his boots while leaving piles of clothing all over the ground, “I already stripped, so what do you think I’m here for? I heard that your sect’s cold spring can cure injuries aside from helping with one’s cultivation. So, your brother told me to come here and bathe with you. Except, it’s really not nice of you to come here to heal alone. Eep! It really is cold. Brr…”
He went into the water, rolling about due to the freezing water of the spring. Lan WangJi quickly distanced himself a few meters away from Wei WuXian, “I came here for cultivation purposes, not to heal… Do not leap around!”
Wei WuXian spoke, “But it’s so cold, it’s so cold…”
This time, he didn’t intend to emphasize or cause trouble. It was true that most people couldn’t become use to the GusuLan Sect’s cold spring in a short amount of time, feeling as if their bodies and blood would freeze if they stayed still for just a few moments. So, he could only jump around, intending to warm his body from the movement. Lan WangJi was originally meditating in peace, but with Wei WuXian jumping about, a few splashes of water was thrown on his face. A few droplets trickled down his long lashes and ink-black hair. It was beyond his endurance, “Do not move!”
As he spoke, he extended an arm, and put his hand on Wei WuXian’s shoulder.
Wei WuXian instantly felt a surge of warmth coming from where their bodies connected. Feeling better, he couldn’t help but to shift closer over there. Lan WangJi was wary of this, “What?”
Wei WuXian replied in an innocent tone, “Nothing. It seems like your side is warmer.”
Lan WangJi firmly kept his arm between the two of them, maintaining the distance. He sternly declared, “It is not.”
Wei WuXian wanted to get closer to Lan WangJi so that it was more convenient for him to flatter the other. Even though he couldn’t go over and was given the cold shoulder, he wasn’t angered at all. He glanced at Lan WangJi’s palms and shoulder. The bruises were still there, meaning that Lan WangJi really wasn’t here to heal. Wei WuXian spoke sincerely, “Lan Zhan, I admire you so much. You really did punish yourself as well, without treating yourself any better. I don’t have anything else to say.”
Lan WangJi shut his eyes again, without any words.
Wei WuXian spoke again, “Really, I’ve never seen someone as prim and proper as you. It’d be impossible for me to do something like this. You’re so cool.”
Lan WangJi still paid him no attention.
After Wei WuXian stopped feeling cold, he started to swim around the cold spring. He swum for a while, but still went near Lan WangJi, “Lan Zhan, didn’t you notice what I was doing when I talked to you?”
Lan WangJi, “I do not know.”
Wei WuXian, “You don’t even know about this? I was complimenting you, trying to become more casual with you.”
Lan WangJi glanced at him, “What do you want to do?”
Wei WuXian, “Lan Zhan, why don’t we become friends? We’re already so familiar.”
Lan WangJi, “We are not.”
Wei WuXian slapped the surface of the water, “Now, you’re being boring again. Really. There are lots of benefits if you become friends with me.”
Lan WangJi, “For example?”
Wei WuXian swam near the edge of the spring, and leaned back with his arms on the blue rocks, “I’m always really loyal towards my friends. For example, I’d definitely let you be the first person to look at new porn that I get hold of… Hey, hey, come back! It’s fine if you don’t look at them. Have you been to Yunmeng? Yunmeng is really fun. Yunmeng’s food is also good. I don’t know if it’s Gusu’s or the Cloud Recess’s problem, but the food in your sect are so bad. If you come to Lotus Pier, you can eat lots of delicious food. I can take you to pick lotus seed pods and water chestnuts. Lan Zhan, do you wanna come?”
Lan WangJi, “No.”
Wei WuXian, “Don’t answer everything with negative words. You sound so uncaring; girls won’t like it. Let me tell you—the girls in Yunmeng look very pretty, different from the sort of pretty in Gusu.” He winked his left eye at Lan in a proud way, “You sure you don’t wanna come?”
Lan WangJi hesitated, but still replied, “No…”
Wei WuXian, “Rejecting me without giving me any respect—aren’t you scared that I’d conveniently take away your clothes when I leave?”
Lan WangJi, “Get lost!!!”
After Lan QiRen left Qinghe and returned to Gusu, he didn’t make Wei WuXian go to the Library Pavilion to copy the Lan Sect’s sect rules again, but simply gave him a harsh scolding in front of everyone. Without the parts where he quoted ancient scriptures, it all boiled down to how he had never seen someone so unruly and shameless before, so please get lost, as soon and as far as possible. Please don’t go near the other pupils, and especially refrain from tainting his favorite one—Lan WangJi.
As he scolded, Wei WuXian only grinned while listening, feeling no humiliation or anger at all. Immediately after Lan QiRen left, Wei WuXian sat down and spoke to Jiang Cheng, “Don’t you think that it’s a bit too late, telling me to get lost now? He only told me to get lost after I finished tainting his person. It’s too late!”
The waterborne abyss in Caiyi Town created a great deal of trouble for the GusuLan Sect. It was impossible to completely destroy it, and the Lan Sect couldn’t chase it to somewhere else like the Wen Sect did. The sect leader of the Lan Sect was in secluded meditation most of the time, so Lan QiRen used all of his energy on this matter. With the lessons becoming shorter and shorter, Wei WuXian’s time spent with his friends in the mountains became longer and longer.
Today, Wei WuXian intended on going outside with a group of seven or eight people again. As they passed the Lan Sect’s Library Pavilion, he looked through the drape of magnolia branches, and he could just about see Lan WangJi sitting alone by the window.
Nie HuaiSang spoke in a puzzled tone, “Is he looking at us? That’s strange. We didn’t make too much noise, so why does he still look at us like that?”
Wei WuXian, “He’s probably thinking of how to find faults with us.”
Jiang Cheng interrupted, “Wrong. Not ‘us’, but ‘me’. I think the only person he’s watching is you.”
Wei WuXian, “Heh. Just let him wait. I’ll deal with him after I get back.”
Jiang Cheng, “Don’t you dislike how he’s boring and how he’s not fun? Then, you should stop teasing him. This is like pulling whiskers from a tiger’s mouth—stop looking for your own death.”
Wei WuXian replied, “No. It’s exceptionally fun, precisely because of how a living person can be so not fun.”
They only returned to the Cloud Recesses when the time almost reached noon. Lan WangJi sat before the desk, organizing the stack of paper which he wrote on, as heard a creaking noise coming from the window. He looked up to see someone hop inside.
Wei WuXian came up by climbing the magnolia tree outside of the Library Pavilion. His face was beaming, “Lan Zhan, I’m back! Did you miss me? Huh? Without me copying texts for these past few days?”
Lan WangJi seemed like an old monk in a state of meditation, seeing everything as nothing. He even continued to organize the pile of books with a numb expression. Wei WuXian deliberately misinterpreted his silence, “I know, even if you don’t say it, that you definitely missed me. Or else, earlier on, why did you look at me through the window?”
Lan WangJi immediately shot him a glance, his eyes full of silent accusations. Wei WuXian sat atop the windowsill, “Look at you, rising to the bait after just a few sentences. You’re so easy to catch. This way, you won’t be able to maintain your composure.”
Lan WangJi, “You, leave.”
Wei WuXian, “If I don’t leave, will you throw me down?”
Looking at Lan WangJi’s face, Wei WuXian suspected that if he spoke one more sentence, Lan WangJi would really abandon the small amount of self-restraint he had left and nail him onto the window at once. Wei WuXian quickly added, “Don’t be so scary! I’m here to apologize by giving you a present.”
Lan WangJi refused at once, without thinking twice about it, “No.”
Wei WuXian, “Are you sure?” Seeing that a guarded look leaked from Lan WangJi’s eyes, he fished out two rabbits from his arms, as if he was performing a magic trick. As he held onto them by their ears, it seemed like he was holding two round, chubby snowballs. The snowballs even kicked their legs around. He lifted them in front of Lan WangJi’s eyes, “It’s actually quite strange here. There aren’t any pheasants, but there are lots of wild rabbits. They aren’t even scared of people. What do you think? Aren’t they fat? Do you want them?”
Lan WangJi stared at him indifferently.
Wei WuXian, “Fine. If you don’t want them, I’m gonna give them to other people. We aren’t having much flavors in our mouths, anyways.”
After he heard the last sentence, Lan WangJi spoke, “Stop.”
Wei WuXian extended his arms, “I’m not going anywhere.”
Lan WangJi, “Who are you giving them to?”
Wei WuXian answered, “I’m gonna give them to whoever’s good at roasting rabbit meat.”
Lan WangJi, “Killing is forbidden in the Cloud Recesses. It is the third rule on the Wall of Rules.”
Wei WuXian, “Fine, then. I’ll go down the mountain, kill it outside, and then bring it back to roast it. You don’t want it, anyway, so why do you care so much about it?”
“…” Lan WangJi spoke one word at a time, “Give. It. To. me.”
Wei WuXian grinned on the windowsill, “Now you want it? Look at you—you’re always like this.”
Both of these rabbits were chubby and round, appearing to two balls made of fluffy snowflakes. One had bleary eyes, and lay on its stomach, remaining motionless even after a long while. As it chewed on the lettuce, its pink mouth moved in a leisurely manner. The other one seemed as if it was actually a cricket, constantly hopping up and down. It played around with its companion, wriggling and leaping nonstop. Wei WuXian tossed over a few pieces of lettuce which he took out of nowhere. He suddenly called, “Lan Zhan, Lan Zhan!”
The energetic rabbit had stepped on Lan WangJi’s inkstone and left a line of black footsteps on the desk. Lan WangJi was unsure of what to do, holding a piece of paper and considering different ways to wipe it off. He didn’t want to pay Wei WuXian any attention, but hearing the exaggerated tone, he thought that there might be an issue, “What?”
Wei WuXian, “Look at how one is on top of the other… Are they…?”
Lan WangJi, “Both of these are male!”
Wei WuXian, “Male? How weird.” He lifted them by the ears, examined them, and confirmed, “They really are male. Well, then, I didn’t even finish my sentence. Why are you so stern? What were you thinking of? Now that I think about it, I was the one who caught them, and I didn’t even notice whether they are male or female, but you even looked at their…”
Lan WangJi finally threw him down the Library Pavilion.
Wei WuXian laughed while in midair, “Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!”
With a bang, Lan WangJi slammed the window close, and stumbled back to the desk.
As he swept a look at the messy piles of rice paper and ink pawprints on the ground, as well as the two white rabbits which rolled around while dragging pieces of lettuce leaves, he closed his eyes and covered his ears.
The clusters of quivering magnolia branches were shut outside the window. Yet, no matter how hard he resisted, he couldn’t shut out Wei WuXian’s vibrant, unrestrained laughter.
On the second day, Lan WangJi finally stopped having classes with them.
Wei WuXian’s seat changed three times. He originally sat beside Jiang Cheng, but Jiang Cheng paid attention to the lessons, and sat in the front row in order look good for the YunmengJiang Sect. This position was too conspicuous, allowing Wei WuXian no room to fool around, so he abandoned Jiang Cheng and sat behind Lan WangJi. When Lan QiRen was teaching in the front, Lan WangJi sat as straight as a wall made of iron. Behind him, Wei WuXian would either sleep like a log or draw scribbles as he pleased. Aside from Lan WangJi occasionally blocking the crumpled pieces of paper he threw toward other people, it was an excellent place to be at. However, soon afterward, Lan QiRen became aware of this trick, so he switched their seats. Ever since then, whenever Wei WuXian’s sitting posture became a bit tilted, he could feel a cold, sharp gaze staring at his back. Lan QiRen would also throw him a glowering look. It was extremely uncomfortable for him to be monitored by the old one and the young one all the time. Moreover, after the Pornography Case and the Rabbit Case, Lan QiRen was certain that Wei WuXian was a basin full of jet-black dye, and feared that his favorite pupil would be stained, which was why he hastened to tell Lan WangJi to stop going to lessons. And so, Wei WuXian sat back in his old spot, and half a month of peace followed.
Unfortunately, the good things never lasted long for someone like Wei WuXian.
In the Cloud Recesses, there was a long wall. Every seven steps, there would be a hollowed out window with intricate designs. All of the designs were different—playing an instrument amid tall mountains, flying in the air on a sword, fighting monsters and beasts, and so on. Lan QiRen explained that the designs of every hollowed out window on this wall was about the life of each ancestor of the GusuLan Clan. The oldest and most famous four windows told the life of the founder of the Lan Sect, Lan An.
This founder was born in a temple. He grew up listening to the chanting of sutras, and thus became a famous monk at a very young age. At the age of twenty, he used the “Lan” from “qielan” as his last name and resumed the worldly life, becoming a musician. During his path of cultivation, he met the “fated person” he searched for in Gusu, became cultivation partners with her, and founded the Lan Sect. After his partner passed away, he returned to the temple and ended his life there. The four windows were “qielan”, “xiyue”, “daolu”, and “guiji”.
During these past few days, the lessons seldomly involved a topic as interesting as this. Although Lan QiRen introduced it with boring timelines, Wei WuXian absorbed the knowledge for once. After class, he laughed, “So, the founder of the Lan Sect was a monk—no wonder! He ventured into the mortal world to meet one person, and, as she went, he went as well, leaving nothing behind on this Earth. But why would a person like him produce such unromantic descendants?”
Since nobody expected the Lan Sect, which was famous for being orthodox, to have such a founder, they started to chat among themselves. As they chatted, the center of the conversation tipped toward the direction of “cultivation partners”, and they started to discuss the cultivation partners of their dreams, evaluating the well-known girls in the different sects. At this point, someone asked, “ZiXuan-xiong, who do you think is the best girl?”
As Wei WuXian and Jiang Cheng heard this, they both looked toward a boy in the front rows of the classroom.
The boy had proud, handsome features, with a vermilion mark on his forehead. His collar, cuffs, and sash belt all had the white peony named Sparks Amidst Snow sewn on. This was the young master sent to study in Gusu by the LanlingJin Sect—Jin ZiXuan.
Another person spoke, “It’s best for you to not ask ZiXuan-xiong about this. He’s already got a fiancee, so his answer would definitely be his fiancee.”
Hearing the word “fiancee”, Jin ZiXuan’s lips seemed to twitch, showing a slight expression of displeasure. The disciple who asked was quite oblivious, continuing with a cheerful face, “Really? Which sect is she from? She must be extremely talented!”
Jian ZiXuan raised a brow, “Forget it.”
Wei WuXian suddenly spoke, “What do you mean by ‘forget it’?”
Everyone in the room looked at him with surprise. Usually, Wei WuXian was always grinning. He had never really been angered, even when he was scolded or punished. Yet, at the moment, there was an obvious streak of hostility on his face. Jiang Cheng didn’t criticize Wei WuXian, either, for making trouble out of nothing, as he usually did. He simply sat beside him with a dark face.
Jin ZiXuan spoke in an arrogant tone, “Is the phrase ‘forget it’ too difficult to understand?”
Wei WuXian smiled sardonically, “The phrase isn’t hard to understand. Instead, it’s hard to understand how on Earth you are unsatisfied with my shijie.”
Everyone whispered to one another. They only understood, after the exchange of words, that they had accidentally stirred up a hornets’ nest—Jin ZiXuan’s fiancee just happened to be Jiang YanLi of the YunmengJiang Sect.
Jiang YanLi was the oldest child of Jiang FengMian and Jiang Cheng’s older sister. Her personality was mild, with nothing too notable; her voice was smooth, with nothing too memorable. Her appearance was only above average, and her talents weren’t astonishing either. Amid the girls from the other prominent clans, it was only natural that she seemed a bit average. On the other hand, her fiance, Jin ZiXuan, was the exact opposite. He was the only official son of Jin GuangShan, with outstanding looks and exceptional talents. According to common sense, with Jiang YanLi’s conditions, it was true that they weren’t well-matched with each other. She wasn’t even qualified enough to compete with the other girls. The only reason why Jiang YanLi was able to enter an engagement with Jin ZiXuan was because her mother was from the MeishanYu Sect, and the MeishanYu Sect was quite friendly with the sect of which Jin ZiXuan’s mother was from. The two madams grew up together, and they had a close relationship.
The ways of the Jin Sect were proud, and Jin ZiXuan inherited every single drop of this. With his high standards, he had been unsatisfied with this engagement since a long time ago. He was not only unsatisfied with the candidate, but even more so with her mother taking the liberty to decide for him, making him grow more and more rebellious at heart. Today, he took the opportunity to break out. Jin ZiXuan asked in reply, “Why don’t you ask me how on Earth can I be satisfied with her?”
Jiang Cheng instantly stood up.
Pushing him to the side, Wei WuXian walked in front of him and sneered, “You sure think that you’re pretty satisfying, don’t you? Where did you get the guts to be all choosy here?”
Because of this engagement, Jin ZiXuan had no positive impressions of the YunmengJiang Sect, and had frowned upon Wei WuXian’s behavior since some time ago. On top of that, he boasted himself to be unrivaled among the juniors, without ever having been looked down upon like this. All of the blood in his body rose to his head, and he blurted, “If she’s unsatisfied, then tell her to get rid of this engagement! In conclusion, I don’t care for your shijie. If you care for her, ask her father about it! Doesn’t he treat you better than treating his own child or something?”
Hearing the last sentence, Jiang Cheng’s eyes stiffened. With uncontrollable anger, Wei WuXian rushed over and sent out a punch. Although Jin ZiXuan was prepared, he didn’t expect Wei WuXian to attack so quickly, before he even finished his sentence. Having suffered one punch, half of his face numbed. He immediately struck back without speaking a word.
This fight startled both of the two prominent sects. On the same day, Jiang FengMian and Jin GuangShan hastened to Gusu from Yunmeng and Lanling.
After the two sect leaders went to see the two who were punished to kneel, and received a severe scolding from Lan QiRen, they wiped some sweat from their foreheads and started to engage in small talk. Jiang FengMian soon brought up the idea of cancelling the engagement.
He told Jin GuangShan, “A-Li’s mother was the one who insisted on having this engagement, in the first place, and I didn’t agree. Looking at it now, as neither of them are keen, it’s best if we don’t force it.”
Jin GuangShan was shocked. He felt a bit hesitant, as it was never a good thing to end an engagement with another prominent sect, no matter how one looked at it. He responded, “What do the children know? They can play around however they want to. FengMian-xiong, you and I don’t need to pay them any attention.”
Jiang FengMian, “Jin-xiong, although we can set the engagement for them, we can’t carry out the marriage in place of them. After all, they are the ones who will be spending the rest of their lives together.”
This engagement had never been the intention of Jin GuangShan. If he wanted to strengthen his sect’s power by a marriage with another sect, the YunmengJiang Sect was neither the only choice nor the best choice. It was only that he had never dared to go against Madame Jin. Anyhow, this was initially proposed by the Jiang Sect. Since the Jin Sect was the husband’s side, they didn’t have as many concerns as the wife’s side, so what was the point of worrying over it? Moreover, he knew that Jin ZiXuan had always been resentful toward Jiang YanLi’s status as his fiancee. After some consideration, Jin GuangShan conjured up the courage and agreed to this matter.
At this time, Wei WuXian still didn’t know what this fight broke up, as he knelt on the stone path that Lan QiRen assigned him to. From a distance, Jiang Cheng approached with a sneer on his face, “Look at how well-behaved you are, kneeling so properly.”
Wei WuXian was gloating, “Of course, I kneel all the time. But Jin ZiXuan is a spoiled brat, so he’s definitely never knelt before. If I don’t make him kneel to the point that he cries for his parents, my last name won’t be Wei anymore.”
Jiang Cheng lowered his head, pausing for a few moments, and spoke in a soft voice, “Father came.”
Wei WuXian, “Shijie didn’t come, did she?”
Jiang Cheng, “Why would she come? To see how you lost face for her? If she did come, would she not come to your side and bring you medicine?”
Wei WuXian sighed, “… It’d be nice if shijie came. It’s fortunate that you didn’t hit him.”
Jiang Cheng, “I was going to. If you didn’t push me, the other side of Jin ZiXuan’s face would also be ruined.”
Wei WuXian, “Nah. He looks uglier right now, with an asymmetrical face. I heard that he values his face a lot, like a peacock. I wonder what he’d think after he looked into a mirror! Hahahaha…” After rolling on the ground with laughter, Wei WuXian spoke again, “Actually, I should have let you hit him, and I should have watched on the side. This way, maybe Uncle Jiang wouldn’t have come. But there was no choice. I couldn’t help it!”
Jiang Cheng humphed lightly, “You wish.”
Although it was only Wei WuXian’s casual words, he held mixed feelings, because he knew that this wasn’t a lie.
Jiang FengMian had never hurried to another sect in one day for anything related him, no matter if the issue was good or bad, large or small.
As Wei WuXian saw his melancholy face, he thought that he was still annoyed at Jin ZiXuan’s words, “You should go. You don’t need to stay with me. If Lan WangJi comes again, you’d be caught by him. If you have time, go visit Jin ZiXuan and look at how idiotic he looks kneeling down.”
Jiang Cheng was somewhat surprised, “Lan WangJi? Why did he come? He still dared to come see you?”
Wei WuXian replied, “Yeah, I also thought that he should be praised for having the courage to come see me. He was probably told by his uncle to come check if I was kneeling properly.”
Jiang Cheng instinctively felt a foreboding sensation, “Were you kneeling properly?”
Wei WuXian, “I was kneeling properly. After he was some distance away, I found a stick and started to dig in the dirt. The pile beside your foot. There’s an ant hole there that I went through tons of trouble to find. When he turned his head, he saw that my shoulders were shaking, and he definitely thought that I was crying. He even came back to ask me. You really should have seen his expression as he saw the ant hole.”
“…” Jiang Cheng spoke, “You should get lost and go back to Yunmeng as soon as possible! I don’t think that he wants to see you ever again.”
And so, on that night, Wei WuXian packed up his things and returned to Yunmeng with Jiang FengMian.
Picture books: These most likely refer to those books of erotic illustrations. As this has already appeared a few times in the story, it might be a good idea to check out what they actually look like. This is an example of a cut-sleeve illustration:
Note: the Ancient Chinese people have a strange art style.
XiChen-ge: This is the same as “xxx-xiong”.
bleary eyes: The literal translation of this is “dead fish eyes”. One famous example of this are the eyes of Captain Levi, from Attack on Titan.
hollowed out window: Hollowed out windows are made from carving out parts of the wall into designs. There is no glass because it’s Ancient China.
qielan: This comes from the word for “temple” in Sanskrit. This has been left untranslated because the latter three (xiyue, daolu, and guiji) are also left untranslated.
cultivation partners: When two cultivators become a couple, marry, and cultivate together, they become cultivation partners. Some call this “cultivation buddies” because it sounds amusing.
xiyue: Learning music.
daolu: Becoming cultivation partners.
guiji: Returning to nothingness.
my last name won’t be Wei anymore: In Chinese, it is a popular saying often said after betting on something. For example, “if that guy’s not the criminal, my last name won’t be Jia anymore”, or “if I can’t do this, my last name won’t be Yi anymore”.
K and I were giggling for so long over the thought of two gay humping male bunnies. I think it was for over an hour. Now we have a whole bunch of GDC bunny pictures. XD