Chapter 20 Contentment—Part Two
When cultivators from prominent clans went out on night-hunts, there were usually crowds people who surrounded around them, appearing similar to a parade. Yet, Lan WangJi had always prefered being alone. This arm was quite strange, and could possibly harm other people if it wasn’t handled with caution. Therefore, he didn’t bring any other disciples of his sect, and took only Wei WuXian, watching him as close as he could.
Wei WuXian originally wanted to sneak away during their expedition off the mountain. However, even though he attempted to run away multiple times, it always ended with Lan WangJi carrying him back with one hand holding the back of his collar. He changed his strategy, sticking to Lan WangJi as hard as he could. At night, especially, he would persistently climb into Lan WangJi’s bed, with the intention that Lan WangJi would become disgusted and use his sword to throw him away. Despite this, no matter how hard he messed around, Lan WangJi steadily stood his ground. Whenever Wei WuXian wriggled into his blankets, he would use a light slap to make Wei WuXian’s body rigid, and then stuff him into the other set of blankets in a proper position, where he would remain until daylight broke. Wei WuXian suffered a ton of losses and complaint about his sore body after he woke up. He couldn’t help but thought, Now that he grew up, he also became less fun than before. In the past, he would become shy whenever he was teased, not to mention that he did it in quite an amusing way. But now, not only does he remain unmovable no matter what, he even learned how to counterattack. How can this be?!
Following the left hand’s direction, the two went toward the northwest. They duetted Rest every single day, in order to temporarily calm its anger and killing intent. As the travelled near Qinghe, the posture that the arm maintained to show them the way suddenly changed. Its index finger curled back, and it formed a fist.
This meant that what the hand pointed at was just around the area.
They inquired into the matter as they travelled, and arrived at a small city in Qinghe. It was daytime. The streets were crowded with people hurrying to and fro. Wei WuXian was trotting behind Lan WangJi when, suddenly, he was overwhelmed by the pungent fragrance of cosmetics.
As he became used to the mild scent of sandalwood on Lan WangJi, Wei WuXian instantly cringed at the odour. He blurted out, “What are you selling? How does it smell like this?”
The fragrance came from a charlatan, who wore the robes of a cultivator and had the word “deceiving” plastered all over his face. He carried a chest, selling a few items to passerbys. Seeing that someone asked, he beamed, “I sell everything! The rouge and powder here are both cheap and fine. Young Master, take a look?”
Wei WuXian, “Sure, I’ll take a look.”
The charlatan spoke, “For your wife?”
Wei WuXian gave him a grin, “For myself.”
“…” The charlatan’s smile froze, thinking to himself, Are you joking with me?
Before he lost his temper, another young man turned around and came over. He spoke with an emotionless face, “Do not bother others if you are not going to buy it.”
This man was extremely handsome, his robes and forehead ribbon whiter than snow. His eyes were light-coloured and he had a long sword hung by his waist. As the charlatan was a fake cultivator, he knew a few things about the cultivation world. Having recognized the Lan Sect’s sect motif, he didn’t dare to cause trouble, and ran away carrying his chest. Wei WuXian called after him, “What are you running away for? I really wanted to buy it!”
Lan WangJi spoke, “Do you have the money?”
Wei WuXian replied, “If I don’t, you can give me money.” As he spoke, he extended his hand to search. He didn’t expect to actually find anything, but after a few moments, he did find a delicate, heavy pouch with money in it.
This didn’t seem like something Lan WangJi would carry around at all. Then again, during these past few days, Lan WangJi did quite a lot of things that he could never have imagined. Wei WuXian didn’t even find it strange anymore and took the pouch at once. As he had expected, he could take anything from Lan WangJi if he wanted to, without the other becoming dissatisfied at all. If it wasn’t that he had a tiny bit of knowledge about Lan WangJi’s personal integrity and how good HanGuang-Jun’s reputation was, he almost doubted that Lan WangJi and Mo XuanYu had been involved in some helpless, chaotic entanglement of a relationship.
Or else, why would Lan WangJi be able to endure it, after him going to such great lengths already?!
After walking for some distance, Wei WuXian unintentionally turned around and looked. Lan WangJi was behind him, still standing at the same place, staring toward his direction.
Wei WuXian couldn’t help but slowed his footsteps.
He didn’t know why, but he vaguely felt that maybe he shouldn’t walk so fast, leaving Lan WangJi behind like this.
At this point, someone on the side shouted, “The YiLing Patriarch, five coins for one, ten coins for three!”
Wei WuXian, “Who?!”
He hurried over to look at who was selling him, only to see that it was the fake cultivator. He packed away the low-grade rouge and powder, and now held a stack of paper that had someone even more malicious-looking than door-gods drawn on them. He chattered, “Five coins for one, ten coins for three—such a low price wouldn’t cost you anything! I recommend three. One for the door, one for the hall, and stick the last on your bedroom wall. With the strong, dense evil energy, it uses poison to cure poison, making sure that no evil beings can come near you!”
Wei WuXian spoke, “That’s some shameless boasting! If it’s really that effective, would you still be selling one for five coins?!”
The charlatan replied, “Why is it you again? If you’re gonna buy it, then buy it; if you’re not gonna buy it, go away. If you want to spend fifty coins on each of these, that’s fine with me.”
Wei WuXian flipped through the stack of “The YiLing Patriarch’s Evil-Suppressing Portraits”. He really couldn’t accept that the scary-faced, hunky man was himself.
He tried to argue with facts, “Wei WuXian was a man famous for his good looks. What is this that you’ve drawn?! If you haven’t seen the actual person, then don’t draw anything. You’re gonna mislead the younger generation.”
As the charlatan was about to reply, Wei WuXian suddenly felt a gust of wind from behind. He dodged to the side.
Although he avoided the attack, the charlatan was thrown off, crashing into a pinwheel stand beside the street. Some people helped him up, while others gathered the fallen items—the scene was a jumble. The charlatan wanted to curse, but as he saw that the person who kicked him was a young master that sparkled all over, appearing to be either rich or royalty, his imposing attitude immediately dropped. Looking again, he saw that the white peony Sparks Amidst Snow was sewn in front of his chest, and he was deflated at once. Despite this, he couldn’t take receiving such a kick without any reason, so he asked feebly, “Why did you kick me?”
The young master just happened to be Jin Ling. Crossing his arms, he spoke coldly, “Kick you? Anyone who dares to mention the words “Wei WuXian” in front of me should be kneeling in gratitude if I don’t kill them. Yet, you’re shouting right in the middle of the streets. Do you want to die?!”
Wei WuXian didn’t expect Jin Ling to appear here at all, much less how arrogant he behaved, thinking to himself, I wonder how did this child’s personality turn it this way, with a poor temper and strong hostility. He learned all of his uncle and father’s faults, but none of his mother’s strengths. If I don’t do some tinkering with him, he’d definitely suffer great losses in the future. Seeing that Jin Ling seemed as if he was still angered and walked a few more steps toward the man on the ground, Wei WuXian interrupted, “Jin Ling!”
The charlatan didn’t dare to make a sound, but his eyes were full of appreciation. Jin Ling turned to Wei WuXian, his words overflowing with contempt, “You still haven’t ran away yet? Well, you may as well stay.”
Wei WuXian laughed, “Huh. Who was it again that was forced down onto the ground, unable to get up?”
Jin Ling sneered and blew a short whistle. Wei WuXian didn’t understand the reason behind it, but, after a while, the heavy huffs and puffs of some sort of beast came from afar.
As he turned around to look, a black-haired spiritual dog of waist height went out of a corner, dashing straight at him. The cries of fear on the street came closer and closer, louder and louder, “A mad dog’s on the loose!”
With an immediate change in his face, Wei WuXian fled as fast as he could.
It had always been hard for him to bring it up, but, although the YiLing Patriarch was known for being ever-so invincible, he’d become a coward whenever he faced a dog. This couldn’t be helped, though. When he was still young, before Jiang FengMian had brought him home, he grew up on the streets, often having to fight for food with vicious dogs. After several bites and chases, he gradually became extremely scared of all dogs, no matter the size. Jiang Cheng laughed at him because of this quite a lot of times. If he told others this, it would not only be shameful, but also believed by only a few people, which was why practically nobody knew of it. Wei WuXian almost died from the fright. As he saw a tall, white figure, he quickly shouted at the top of his lungs, “Lan Zhan, save me!”
Finding Lan WangJi after chasing this far, Jin Ling was shocked, Why would this lunatic show up alongside him again?! Lan WangJi had a serious personality and never chattered or joked. Even a few disciples of the same generation as him feel nervous when they see him, much less these juniors. His level of intimidation was even worse than Lan QiRen’s, back in those days. The dog underwent harsh training. Being different from the average dog, it was quite intelligent. As if it also knew that it couldn’t behave rudely in front of this person, it howled a few times, then hid behind Jin Ling with its tail between its legs.
This black-haired spiritual dog was a rare species given to Jin Ling by Jin GuangYao. When most people heard that it was a present from LianFang-Zun, they didn’t dare to offend him. However, Lan WangJi was different from most people. He didn’t care for who gave it or who owned it, disciplining them all in the same strict way. As Jin Ling was using his dog to chase Wei WuXian down the streets and happened to be caught by Lan WangJi, his heart sank, It’s all over. He’d definitely kill the spiritual dog that I took such lengths to train, and then give me a harsh beating!
Yet, Wei WuXian ducked under Lan WangJi’s arm and went behind him, seeming as if he wanted to climb up like climbing a pole. Feeling a pair of arms clasp around him, Lan WangJi froze for an instant. Taking this opportunity, Jin Ling blew two more whistles, and ran off with his black-haired spiritual dog.
The charlatan on the side struggled to get up, still in a state of shock, “The moral degeneration of the world is getting worse day by day. How terrifying are the disciples from prominent clans these days! How terrifying!”
As Wei WuXian heard the barks gradually leave, he finally came out from behind Lan WangJi. He put his hands behind him and agreed as if nothing happened, “That’s right, it’s getting worse day by day. Men are not what they were in the past.”
The charlatan looked at him as if he was looking at his saviour, and hurriedly tossed the stack of “The YiLing Patriarch’s Evil-Suppressing Portraits” into Wei WuXian’s hands like it was a hot potato, “Brother, thank you so much for what happened earlier! This is a gift for you. If you cut the price and sell one for three coins, you’d still end up earning at least three hundred.”
Lan WangJi took a look at the scary-faced hunk in the portrait and did not comment. Wei WuXian, seeing that his price became lower and lower, didn’t know whether to frown or laugh, “This is to thank me? If you really want to thank me, you can draw him in a prettier way! …Stop, don’t go yet. There’s something I want to ask you. Doing your business here, have you ever heard of any strange events? Or seen any odd things?”
The charlatan replied, “Strange events? Good thing that you asked me. I stay here most of the year, known as the know-it-all of Qinghe. What sort of strange events are you looking for?”
Wei WuXian, “For example, evil spirits haunting around, cases of dismembered corpses, incidents in which whole clans were destroyed…”
The charlatan, “There’s isn’t any here, but if you go a bit less than two miles ahead, there’s a mountain ridge named Xinglu Ridge. I suggest you don’t go there.”
Wei WuXian asked, “Why is that?”
The charlatan, “The Xinglu Ridge is also called the Man-Eating Ridge. Why do you think that is?”
Door-gods: These are a type of god that is supposedly able to protect households. On the lunar new year, people often put up their portraits on their doors to fend off evil spirits.
Spiritual dog: A spiritual dog is a dog which had been trained to gain near-human intelligence.