Chapter 28 Dew—Part One
After entering the city, the two walked side-by-side through the bustling crowd. All of a sudden, Lan WangJi asked, “How is the Curse Mark?”
Wei WuXian, “Jin Ling was buried too close to our dear friend and got stained with quite a lot of resentful energy. It faded a bit, but it’s not completely gone. The chances are we can only find a way to remove it after we find the whole corpse or at least the head. It doesn’t really cause much trouble anyways.”
The “dear friend” was none other than the man that had been cut to pieces. Since they didn’t know who he was, Wei WuXian suggested that they referred to him as a “dear friend”. Lan WangJi didn’t say anything after hearing it, but he didn’t object to it either, which could be interpreted as a silent approval. Of course, he himself wouldn’t ever use the word.
Lan WangJi, “How much is ‘a bit’?”
Wei WuXian indicated with his hands, “A bit is just a bit. How do I explain it? Should I take my clothes off and show you?”
Lan WangJi’s brows shifted slightly, as if he was actually worried that Wei WuXian would strip right here and right now. He replied with an indifferent tone, “Take them off after we return.”
Wei WuXian laughed, whirled around, and walked a few steps facing backward. Before, in order to escape as soon as possible, he desperately tried to disgust others, from feigning madness to purposely losing face. Now that his identity was revealed, if he were anyone else, he would’ve felt extremely ashamed remembering all those things he did. Only someone with a face as thick as Wei WuXian would carry on as if he wasn’t involved in anything. Speaking of it, if he were anyone else with at least some face, he would never have done ridiculous things such as climbing into someone’s bed at night, insisting on sharing a bathtub together, and asking if he looked pretty after putting on makeup. Since he pretended that he didn’t remember anything, Lan WangJi naturally refrained from bringing up the subject, the two acting as if nothing had happened. Today was the first time he made such a joke again after his identity was no longer a secret. When he finished laughing, Wei WuXian immediately put on a serious face, “HanGuang-Jun, do you think that the people who set our dear friend’s hand in Mo Village and made it attack your juniors, and the people who sewed his legs on another corpse and buried them in the wall, are the same group of people?”
Both in the past and the present, in his mind, he directly called Lan WangJi by his first name, but he got used to the last few days of calling him by his title. Besides, him calling this name created a tone of exaggerated seriousness, sounding unexplainably funny. Thus, when they were outside, he continued to call him in such a semi-earnest way.
Lan WangJi, “There are two groups.”
Wei WuXian, “Well, I agree. Taking such pains to sew the legs to another corpse and hide them in a wall obviously meant that they didn’t want the limbs to be discovered. If so, they wouldn’t have purposely tossed out the left hand to attack the GusuLan Sect’s people, since it would definitely have caused attention and investigation. One went to great lengths to hide everything, while the other attacked rashly, almost as if it wanted to be discovered. They’re probably not the same group of people.”
Everything that needed to be said had been said. Lan WangJi seemed like he didn’t have anything else to say anymore, but responded with an approving “mnn” anyway.
Wei WuXian turned around, speaking as he walked, “The people who hid the legs knew about the QingheNie Sect’s Saber Hall tradition, while the people who let the left hand loose knew about the GusuLan Sect’s plans. I don’t think any of them have simple intents. There are more and more secrets.”
Lan WangJi, “One step at a time.”
Wei WuXian, “How did you recognize me?”
Lan WangJi, “Think for yourself.”
Questions and answers passed quickly between them, without even a moment of rest. Wei WuXian originally wanted to wait until Lan WangJi was not paying attention and make him blurt out the answer to the last question. Even though he still didn’t succeed, he wasn’t discouraged at all and continued to switch the topics of their conversation at a quick pace, “I’ve never been to Yueyang. Before, I’ve always had other people to inquire about things for me. This time, I’m gonna take a break and you can go ask around. Would you mind, HanGuang-Jun?”
Lan WangJi turned around and got going at once. Wei WuXian immediately interrupted, “Wait. HanGuang-Jun, may I ask where you’re going?”
Lan WangJi looked back, “To find the cultivational sect of this area.”
Wei WuXian tugged at his sword tassel and dragged him in the opposite direction, “Why would you find them? This is their area; even if they know, they wouldn’t tell you. They either couldn’t deal with it and hid it so that they didn’t lose face, or tried as hard as they could since they didn’t want other people to meddle with things. My honorable HanGuang-Jun, it isn’t that I want to purposely shame you, but you really can’t do without me when handling things outside. If you ask around in such a manner, I’d be surprised if you actually managed to get results.”
Although these words were a bit rude, tenderness pooled within Lan WangJi’s eyes. Again, he spoke in a low voice, “Mnn.”
Wei WuXian laughed, “What did you ‘mnn’ for? That’s not how you should’ve responded.” Meanwhile, in his heart, he commented gleefully, “Mnn” is the only thing he knows to say. He’s still so stuffy!
Lan WangJi, “Then, how should I ask?”
Wei WuXian pointed to the side, “Go over there, of course.”
He pointed toward a wide street. Bright red banners of all shapes and sizes hung on both sides of the street, fluttering in the wind. Every single shop opened its doors widely, with round, black jars placed from within to outside the entrance. There were also waiters holding trays of small liquor bowls, recommending their shops to the passerby.
The strong scent of liquor drifted throughout the street. No wonder Wei WuXian walked slower and slower. He stopped altogether when they arrived at the next street corner, and even dragged Lan WangJi to a halt.
Wei WuXian put on a serious face, “The waiters here are usually young and hardworking. With so many customers a day and so many mouths spreading gossip, nothing strange going on around the area would escape their ears and eyes.”
Lan WangJi replied with a “mnn”, but it was written all over his face that “you just want to have a few drinks, don’t you?”
Wei WuXian pretended as if he couldn’t understand Lan WangJi’s expression. Continuing to pull on the other’s sword tassel, he stepped into the street of liquor shops with beaming eyes. At once, the waiters from five or six different shops came over, each more enthusiastic than the next, “Would you like a taste? The He family’s liquor is well-known all around the area!”
“Young Master, have a taste of this. You don’t have to pay. If you enjoyed the liquor, then come to our shop.”
“This one doesn’t smell strong, but wait until you drink it up!”
“If you can still stand after you finish this, I’ll adopt your surname!”
Hearing this, Wei WuXian responded, “Very well!” He took over the liquor bowl that waiter held, drank it up, and showed him the emptied bowl with a grin, “Adopt my surname?”
Surprisingly, the waiter wasn’t scared. Sticking his chin up, he looked even more confident, “I meant if you drink a whole jar!”
Wei WuXian, “Then, give me… three jars.”
The waiter was more than delighted and rushed back inside the shop. Wei WuXian turned to Lan WangJi, “We’re doing business here, aren’t we? First we help their business, then we talk about other things. After we pay, it’ll be easy to get them talking.”
Lan WangJi took out money to pay.
The two walked inside the shop. Inside, there were wooden tables and chairs for the customers to rest and chat. One of the other waiters in the shop saw how Lan WangJi looked and figured that he wasn’t the average person. Not daring to slight him, he only directed them to a table after he wiped the table and chairs for a long while. With two jars by his foot and another in his hand, Wei WuXian chatted with the waiter for a few moments, then cut to the chase, asking again for any strange things that had happened in the area. The waiter was also a talkative person. He rubbed his hands together, “What sort of strange things?”
“Haunted houses, deserted cemeteries, corpses that were cut apart and so on.”
The waiter’s eyes darted back and forth between them, “Hmm… What do you do for a living? You and him.”
Wei WuXian, “Haven’t you guessed it already?”
The waiter understood, “Of course. It’s easy to guess. You two must be one of those cultivators who fly around in the clouds and Heavens. Especially the one next to you. Among average folks, I’ve never seen such a… such a…”
Wei WuXian grinned, “Such a pretty person.”
The waiter laughed, “If you say this, the young master next to you will be displeased. Strange things, wasn’t it? They did happen. Not now, but ten years ago. Walk in this direction. After you leave the city, walk for around two miles, and you’d see quite a lovely residence. I don’t know if their signboard is still there or not. It’s the Chang Clan’s residence.”
Wei WuXian, “What’s wrong with the residence?”
“The entire clan died!” The waiter said, “You asked for strange things, so of course I’m telling you the strangest of things. The entire clan was wiped out, and I heard that they were frightened to death!”
Hearing this, Lan WangJi was absorbed in thought, appearing as if he remembered something. On the other hand, Wei WuXian didn’t notice anything, “Is there any cultivational sects stationed around the area?” It must have been an extremely cruel being if it was able to frighten all members of an entire clan to death. Not every sect was like the QingheNie Sect, having difficulties that it couldn’t mention. Most sects would never tolerate the appearance of something like this in their area. The waiter replied, “Yes. Of course there is.”
Wei WuXian, “Then how did they deal with the situation?”
“Deal with the situation?” The waiter swung the cleaning rag onto his shoulder and also sat down, revealing the secret that he had been keeping in for so long, “Young Master, do you know what the surname of the cultivational sect in Yueyang was? It was Chang. The clan who died was their clan! If everyone died, who would there be to deal with the situation?”
The Chang Clan that was wiped out had been the cultivational sect stationed in this area?!
Wei WuXian had never heard of some YueyangChang Sect before, meaning that it definitely wasn’t a prominent sect, but the fact that a whole clan had been wiped out was definitely a significant event. He immediately asked, “How was the Chang Clan wiped out?”
The waiter, “This is what I’ve heard. One night, the noise of slamming on doors suddenly came from the Chang Clan’s residence.”
Wei WuXian, “The noise of slamming on doors?”
“That’s right! The slamming was so loud that it almost reached the Heavens. In it, there came screams and cries as if everyone was locked inside, unable to come out. Strange, isn’t it? The door was bolted from within, so if you were on the inside and you wanted to get out, you could’ve just just opened it. Why would you slam on the doors? Even if you slam on them, the people outside wouldn’t be able to get you out. Besides, if you couldn’t get out from the doors, couldn’t you climb over the walls?
“The people outside were quite confused. Everyone knew that the Chang Clan was very powerful in the area because the people there cultivated. The head of their clan, Chang Ping, I think, had a sword that could fly and have him stand on it as it flew! Say, something really happened inside and even his own clan couldn’t take care of it, if ordinary people went over, wouldn’t they have been searching for their own deaths? This was why nobody built any ladders or climbed over the walls to peek inside. Just like this, the night passed, and the wailing inside grew quieter and quieter. On the next day, as the sun came out, the doors of the Chang Clan opened on their own.
“Within the house, among the men and women, ten-or-so masters, and a few dozens of servants, some sat, some lay, vomiting their bladders out. All of them were frightened to death.”
The owner of the liquor shop turned around and scolded, “You’re gonna die! Why are you not doing work and telling old tales about people dying?”
Wei WuXian, “Five more jars, please.”
Lan WangJi paid the price for ten jars. The owner beamed at once, warning the waiter, “Look after the customers properly. Don’t go running around!”
Wei WuXian, “You can continue.”
Without anything else to worry about, the waiter tried as hard as he could and continued the story in an animated voice, “After then, for a long time, anyone who walked by the Chang Residence at night could hear the noises of slamming on walls coming from the inside!
“Think about it. People like them who fly in the skies have seen countless ghosts and monsters before, yet they were frightened to death. How frightening would that have had to be? If you’re often out at night, you’d definitely bump into some ghosts. Even after they were buried, you can hear them slamming on their coffins! Although the head of their clan, Chang Ping, was away from home and survived…”
Wei WuXian, “Didn’t you say that the whole clan died?”
Bathtub: The bathtub here refers to a large, wooden bucket that was used in Ancient China for bathing purposes. It’d be quite cramped in there if two people bathe together.
Title: This used to be called an “alternative name”. It will now be changed to “title” as it seems more suitable.
Sword tassel: Sword tassels are tassels hung on the swords’ hilts, mostly for decorative purposes. They come in all kinds of color, but Lan WangJi’s is probably white.
Mnn: When reading out loud in your head, do not imagine a moaning sound. This serves a similar purpose as “mhm/uh-huh”.
Liquor bowls: They look flatter and are shallower than the average cups. This image shows common sizes of liquor bowls: https://cbu01.alicdn.com/img/ibank/2014/633/677/1834776336_1727173324.jpg (from left to right: 50 ml, 75 ml 100 ml, and 150 ml). Also, a small jar of liquor holds around a half to one whole liter, while a large jar can hold up to five liters. In this case, the shop is most likely selling smaller jars.
Clan: To recap (in case anyone forgot), a clan is the family descending from the founder of the sect. In this case, “clan” is used instead of “sect” because the Chang Clan is quite small in size, which meant that it probably didn’t have any outer disciples/disciples from foreign sects.