Chapter 32 Dew—Part Five
This time, throughout the night, Wei WuXian didn’t shut his eyelids even once. With opened eyes, he managed to hold out until the second morning. After feeling the numbness pass and that his limbs were able to move again, he calmly took off his shirt inside the blanket and threw it under the bed.
Then, he pulled off Lan WangJi’s sash belt and succeeded in yanking his shirt half-off. He originally wanted to completely take off his shirt, but after seeing the sear under Lan WangJi’s collarbone, Wei WuXian paused for a moment and stopped. Also remembering the Discipline Whip’s scars on his back, he knew that he shouldn’t go further and wanted to pull Lan WangJi’s clothes back again. Due to the delay, Lan WangJi seemed as if he felt cold. Shifting slightly, he opened his eyes with a frown on his face.
As soon as his eyes were opened, he tumbled off the bed.
It really wasn’t the elegant HanGuang-Jun’s fault that he was not elegant at all after the shock. Any man who woke up with a hangover the morning after, saw another man lying beside him wearing nothing and that his own shirt was only half-on, and found that both of them were skin-to-skin snuggling in the same bedsheets, wouldn’t have paid attention to be elegant.
Wei WuXian partially covered his chest with the blanket, leaving only his smooth shoulders out. Lan WangJi, “You…”
Wei WuXian purred, “Hmm?”
Lan WangJi, “Last night, I…”
Wei WuXian winked his left eye at Lan WangJi and smiled mysteriously, resting his chin on one hand, “You were so bold last night, Han GuangJun.”
Wei WuXian, “Do you really remember nothing of the things that happened last night?”
It seemed that Lan WangJi really didn’t remember. His face was already as pale as snow.
It was fortunate that he didn’t remember. Or else, if Lan WangJi still remembered that he sneaked outside to summon Wen Ning during the night and asked about it, neither lying nor speaking truth would make the situation better.
With so many cases failing to tease Lan WangJi and lifting a rock only to have it drop on his on foot, Wei WuXian finally found some of his past abilities. Although he wanted to continue his successful pursuit, Wei WuXian still wanted to lure Lan WangJi into drinking again in the future, so he probably shouldn’t go as far as to scar him for life, else Lan WangJi would be cautious the next time. Wei WuXian lifted the covers open and showed him the trousers and boots that he still had on, “What a man! HanGuang-Jun, it was only a joke. I just took off our clothes. You’re chastity is still there. You hadn’t been tainted. Don’t worry.”
Lan WangJi was still frozen on the spot and didn’t answer. A shattering sound came from the center of the room.
The sound was quite familiar—it was already their second time hearing it. The Qiankun Pouches that had been on the table were becoming restless again, throwing the cups and teapots onto the ground. This time, with the three body parts together, it was even more wild. Last night, one of them was hopelessly drunk while the other was helplessly tormented, so of course they forgot all about the duet. Wei WuXian was worried that Lan WangJi was overly-shocked and would accidentally impale him onto the bed out of impulse. He hurried, “Serious business. Come, come. Let’s do serious business first.”
He wrapped a piece of clothing around him, hopped off the bed, and extended a hand toward Lan WangJi, who had just stood back up. He wanted to help him up, but it looked almost as if he wanted to rip his clothes. Lan WangJi still hadn’t come over the shock and stepped backward, only to stagger from something under his foot. Looking down, it was Bichen, which had been lying on the ground ever since last night.
And, at this point, one of the ropes that tied the pouches had come loose. Half of an ashen arm had already crawled out of the tiny opening. Wei WuXian put his hand into Lan WangJi’s semi-opened clothes and searched around, fishing a flute out of the other’s arms, “HanGuang-Jun, don’t be scared, alright? I’m not going to do anything to you. It’s just that you took away my flute last night. I need to have it back.” After the comment, he even considerately pulled Lan WangJi’s collars back up and tied his sash belt properly.
Lan WangJi looked at him with a complicated expression, as if he really wanted to ask about the details of what happened after he was drunk. However, he was used to finishing important tasks first, so, suppressing his questions, he put on a serious expression and took out the seven-stringed guqin. Of the three Qiankun Pouches, one held the left arm, another held the legs, and the last held the torso. The three parts could already form a large portion of the body. They influenced the others and the resentful energy multiplied, making them harder to deal with than before. The agitation only ceased after the two played Rest three consecutive times.
Wei WuXian put away his flute. He was about to gather up the body parts that rolled all over the ground when he suddenly commented, “Our dear friend hadn’t been missing his workouts.”
The sash belt of burial robe on the torso had already loosened. The collars opened to reveal the strong, solid body of a man in the prime of his life. With broad shoulders and a thin waist in addition to the sharply contoured abdominal muscles, it was the masculine body figure that countless men dreamed to have. Staring at it from every direction, Wei WuXian couldn’t help smacking those abs a few times, “HanGuang-Jun, look at him. If he were alive and I hit him, the impact would’ve bounced back and hurt myself. Just how on Earth did he train?”
The tips of Lan WangJi’s brows seemed to twitch, but he said nothing. Yet, unexpectedly, Wei WuXian smacked on it two more times. Lan WangJi finally took over the Qiankun Pouches, his face remaining expressionless, and silently started to seal the corpses. Wei WuXian made way for him at once. Quickly afterward, Lan WangJi finished sealing back all of the body parts and even tied quite a few dead knots over each one. Wei WuXian didn’t think too much of it. He looked down at the figure of his current body, raised his brows, and tied his sash belt again, appearing to be properly dressed again.
Looking to the side, he saw that Lan WangJi still glanced at him after he put away the Qiankun Pouches, his eyes full of hesitance. Wei WuXian purposely spoke, “HanGuang-Jun, why are you looking at me like this? Are you still worried? Trust me. I really didn’t do anything to you last night. Of course, you didn’t do anything to me either.”
Lan WangJi thought for a few moments. As if he finally made a decision, he lowered his voice, “Last night, other than taking your flute, I…”
Wei WuXian, “You? What else did you do? Nothing much, really. You just said a lot of things.”
The Adam’s apple on Lan WangJi’s snow-colored neck bobbed slightly, “… What sort of things?”
Wei WuXian, “Nothing too important. Pretty much, mnn, for example, you really like…”
Lan WangJi’s gaze froze.
Wei WuXian, “You really like rabbits.”
Lan WangJi closed his eyes and turned his head to the side. Wei WuXian added in consideration, “It’s okay! Rabbits are so cute—who doesn’t like rabbits? I also like them, as in, I like to eat them hahahahahaha! Here, HanGuang-Jun. You drank so much last night… Uh, not really. You were so drunk last night, so you’re probably not feeling that good right now. You can wash your face, have some water, then rest for a while before we set off again. This time, it’s pointing at the Southwest. I’ll go buy some breakfast downstairs and not bother you any longer.”
As he was about to go, Lan WangJi spoke coldly, “Wait.”
Wei WuXian turned around, “What?”
Lan WangJi stared at him fixedly. Finally, he asked, “Do you have money?”
Wei WuXian grinned, “Yes! You didn’t think that I don’t know where you keep your money, did you? I’ll grab some breakfast for you too, alright? HanGuang-Jun, you can take it slow. We’re not in a hurry.”
He left the room and closed the door behind him. In the hallway, he bent over and silently laughed for quite a long while.
Lan WangJi seemed as if he had received a major shock. He shut himself inside the room and didn’t come out for a long period of time. As he waited, Wei WuXian sauntered downstairs, left the inn, and strolled around the area, buying some snacks along the way. He sat down on a set of stairs and bathed in the sunlight as he ate. After having sat there for a while, a group of thirteen-, fourteen-year-old children ran across the street.
The child in the front ran as if he flew, holding a long string in his hand. At the end of the string, a kite danced up and down in the air. The children behind him had toy bow and arrows, shouting as they chased and shot at the kite.
Wei WuXian also loved to play this game when he was young. Archery was a required skill for all disciples from prominent sects. However, most of them didn’t enjoy shooting properly at a target. Aside from shooting evil beings during night-hunts, shooting kites was what they loved the most. Everyone had one; whoever flew the highest, furthest, and shot the most accurate was the winner. This game was originally only popular among the younger disciples of cultivational sects. After it became known to the public, the children of ordinary families also loved it, though, of course, the damage from one of their little arrows was nothing compared to those of the skilled disciples’.
Back when Wei WuXian lived in the Lotus Pier and played shooting kites with the Jiang Sect’s disciples, he won a lot of first places. Jiang Cheng, on the other hand, had always been second. His kites were either flown too far away to shoot down or near enough to shoot but not as far as Wei WuXian’s. Their kite was almost twice the other people’s kites, made into the shape of a flying beast. It had bright, exaggerated colors, a large, gaping mouth, and a few sharp tails that flapped in the wind. From a distance, it was exceptionally vibrant and lively, not quite terrifying, but almost a bit silly. The framework had been assembled by Jiang FengMian himself, then given to Jiang YanLi to paint. This was why, whenever they took the kite out to compete, they both felt a sense of pride.
Thinking of this, Wei WuXian’s lips shaped into a smile. He couldn’t help but raised his head to see how the kite that the children were flying looked. It was entirely golden, a round mass of some sort. He pondered to himself, What is this thing? A pancake? Or some beast that I don’t know about?
Suddenly, a gust of wind blew over. The kite wasn’t that high in the first place and it wasn’t in an open space, so it was immediately knocked off. One child cried out, “Oh no, the sun fell!”
Wei WuXian understood at once. These children were probably playing a game in imitation of the Sunshot Campaign.
They were in the area of Yueyang. When the QishanWen Sect was at the peak of its prosperity, it abused its powers everywhere. And, since Yueyang wasn’t far from Qishan, the people here must have suffered greatly, having been either troubled by their unleashed beasts or bullied by their arrogant cultivators. After the Sunshot Campaign ended, the Wen Sect was annihilated by the combined forces of other sects, the hundred-years-old foundation instantly crumbling down. Around the area of Qishan, a lot of places enjoyed activities that celebrated the Wen Sect’s destruction, which almost turned into traditions. This game was probably one of them.
The children stopped the chase and, gathering together in contemplation, started to discuss, “What do we do? We didn’t even shoot the sun, and it fell off by itself. Now who’s the leader?”
Someone raised a hand, “Me, of course! I’m Jin GuangYao. I killed the Wen Sect’s big villain!”
Sitting on the stairs leading to the inn, Wei WuXian watched them with keen interest.
In these types of games, the head of all cultivators, LianFang-Zun, who was currently the most successful of all, was of course the most popular character. Although his family background was a bit disgraceful, the fact that he later climbed to such a rank was precisely why people respected him. During the Sunshot Campaign, he skillfully worked undercover for the QishanWen Sect, deceiving all of the Wen Sect’s people to a point that a tremendous amount of information were disclosed, yet they knew nothing. After the Sunshot Campaign, with flattery, wit, and countless other methods, he finally became the Chief Cultivator, fully deserving of the title. Such a life could even be considered a legend. If he was playing, he’d also want to try being Jin GuangYao. Choosing this boy to be the leader would very reasonable choice!
Someone else protested, “But I’m Nie MingJue! I’ve won the most battles and captured the most people. I should be the leader!”
“Jin GuangYao”, “But I’m the Chief Cultivator!”
“Nie MingJue” raised swung his fist, “So what if you’re the Chief Cultivator. You’re still my youngest brother. You’ll have to run away whenever you see me anyways.”
“Jin GuangYao” did indeed cooperate and maintain his character. Flinching his shoulders, he quickly ran away. Someone else spoke up, “You short-lived idiot.”
Choosing a cultivator to be must have meant that they felt admiration toward the certain cultivator. “Nie MingJue” raged, “Jin ZiXuan, you died even earlier than I did, so you’re more short-lived!”
“Jin ZiXuan” responded defensively, “What’s wrong with being short-lived? I’m ranked third.”
“Even if you’re third, it’s only your face!”
One of the children seemed to be tired from all the running and standing. He also moved to the stairs and sat down beside Wei WuXian. Waving his hands, he mediated between the two, “Okay, okay. Let’s stop fighting. I’m the YiLing Patriarch, so I’m the most powerful. So, if you guys insist so much, I can be the leader.”
Wei WuXian, “…”
He looked down. There really was a small, wooden stick stuck beside the boy’s waist, probably Chenqing.
Only simple-minded children like this would deign to be the YiLing Patriarch, only discussing in terms of power, not whether he was good or evil.
Someone else barged in, “No. I’m the SanDu ShengShou. I’m the most powerful.”
The “YiLing Patriarch” replied as if he understood everything, “Jiang Cheng, how is it possible for you to be better than me? Is there even one time that you didn’t lose against me? How do you dare to say that you’re the most powerful? Aren’t you embarrassed?”
“Jiang Cheng”, “Hmph, I can’t be better than you? Do you remember how you died?”
The light smile on Wei WuXian’s face dissipated at once.
It was as if he had suddenly been pricked by a poisonous needle. A faint, sharp pain came from all around his body.
The “YiLing Patriarch” who sat beside him clapped his hands, “Look at me! Chenqing on my left, the Tiger Seal on my right, along with the Ghost General—I’m invincible! Hahahaha…” Holding a stick on his left hand and a rock on his right, he laughed for quite awhile, “Where’s Wen Ning? Come out!” A child from behind the crowd raised a hand and replied feebly, “I’m here… Uh… I’m just saying… When the Sunshot Campaign happened, I wasn’t dead yet…”
Wei WuXian felt that he really needed to interrupt.
He asked, “Cultivators, may I ask a question?”
When the children played this game, there had never been an adult who stepped in. Not to mention, it wasn’t a scolding, but this sort of serious question. The “YiLing Patriarch” looked at him with both wonder and caution, “What do you want to ask?”
Wei WuXian, “Why isn’t there anyone from the GusuLan Sect?”
“Where are they?”
The “YiLing Patriarch” pointed at a child who never said anything from the beginning to the end, “That’s him.”
Wei WuXian looked over. The child had delicate features, the seedling of a charming, handsome man. A white rope wrapped around his smooth forehead, in place of a forehead ribbon. Wei WuXian asked, “Who is he?”
The “YiLing Patriarch” pouted in disdain, “Lan WangJi.”
… Fine. These children understood the essence. Someone acting as Lan WangJi should indeed shut his mouth and stay silent!
Out of the blue, Wei WuXian’s lips curled upward again.
The poisonous needle had been pulled out, tossed into some random corner. All of the pain had been instantly wiped away. Wei WuXian murmured to himself, “How strange. Why can someone as boring as him always make me so happy?”
When Lan WangJi came downstairs, he saw Wei WuXian sitting on the stairs. A group of children sat around him, eating steamed meat buns together. Wei WuXian ate his meat bun as he directed two children who stood back-to-back in front of him, “… Now, in front of you, there are thousands of the Wen Sect’s cultivators. All of them were heavily armed and surrounded you so closely that even a single drop of water wouldn’t have leaked in. Your eyes should be sharper. Yes, that’s it. Okay, Lan WangJi, pay attention here. You aren’t how you usually would be. You’re covered in blood! There’s a lot of killing intent! You look really scary! Wei WuXian, move closer to him. Do you know how to spin the flute? Let me see you spin it, with only one hand. Be cooler. Do you know how to look cool? Come, let me show you.” “Wei WuXian” responded and gave the small stick to him. Wei WuXian adeptly whirled “Chenqing” between his fingers, causing all of the children to crowd around him and gasp in awe.
Lan WangJi, “…”
He silently walked over. Seeing that he was here, Wei WuXian dusted off his trousers and said goodbye to the children. Finally managing to stand up, he laughed as he walked, almost as if he had taken some strange poison.
Lan WangJi, “…”
Wei WuXian, “Hahahahahaha I’m sorry, HanGuang-Jun. I gave them all of the breakfast I bought for you. Let’s buy some more later.”
Lan WangJi, “Mnn.”
Wei WuXian, “What do you think? Were those two kids cute? Guess who was the one with a rope tied around his forehead pretending to be, hahahaha…”
After a while of speechlessness, Lan WangJi finally couldn’t hold it any longer, “… What else did I really do, last night?”
It definitely wasn’t that simple. Or else, what could’ve made Wei WuXian laugh even until now???
Wei WuXian quickly waved his hands, “No, no, no. You didn’t do anything. I’m just being ridiculous, hahahahahaha… Okay. Ahem. HanGuang-Jun, I’m going to talk serious business now.”
Lan WangJi, “Speak.”
Wei WuXian pulled on a straight face, “The coffin-slamming noises of the Chang Clan’s cemetery had been silent for ten years. Suddenly starting again, it definitely wasn’t a coincidence. There must’ve been some other cause.”
Lan WangJi, “What do you think the cause is?”
Wei WuXian, “Good question. I think that the cause was the corpse being dug out.”
Lan WangJi, “Mnn.”
His expression was so attentive that it made Wei WuXian recall how sincere he looked as he held both of his fingers last night, when he had been drunk. Painfully holding back laughter, Wei WuXian continued in all seriousness, “I think that the dismemberment of the corpse probably wasn’t simply to seek revenge and vent hatred, but a malicious way of suppression. The person who cut up the corpse intentionally chose those places haunted by evil beings to place the body parts.”
Lan WangJi, “Combatting poison with poison. They balance out and keep each other in check.”
Wei WuXian, “That’s right. So, since the gravedigger dug out the torso yesterday, there wasn’t anything to suppress the Chang Clan’s resentful spirits anymore, so that coffin-slamming noises started again. It’s the same as how the QingheNie Sect’s Saber Hall suppressed the saber spirits and wall-corpses. Perhaps, this technique was derived from the Nie Sect’s Saber Hall in the first place. It looks like that this person is connected to both the QingheNie Sect and the GusuLan Sect. I’m afraid they aren’t some easy opponent.”
Lan WangJi, “There are only few people like this.”
Wei WuXian, “Yep. The truth is slowly being unveiled. And, since the opponent started to move the corpse parts already, it means that he or they are already starting to become anxious. They’ll definitely move again soon. Even if we don’t go find them, they’ll come and find us. As they search around, they’d leave behind more clues for sure. And, our dear friend’s hand will also tell us which direction to go. But we’ll probably need to move faster as well. Only the right hand and the head are left. After this, we must also arrive before they do.”
The two travelled in the direction of the Southwest. This time, the ghost hand pointed at Shudong, a place known for heavy fog.
It was a haunted city that nobody in the area dared to approach.
SanDu ShengShou: This is Jiang Cheng’s title. Check out the Character and Sect Guide for more details.