Chapter 37 Grasses—Part Five
Lan JingYi looked out through the door slit, then immediately blocked it with his body, “Th-th-there are so many of them!”
Wei WuXian, “Walking corpses? How many is so many?”
Lan JingYi, “I do not know! They fill the entire street—possibly hundreds! And more are coming! I do not think the mannequins can hold them off any longer!”
If the mannequins outside failed to guard the doors, all of the corpses on the street would rush into the shop. If they were killed, one would be under corpse poisoning and, when struggling to fight, the poison would circulate quickly; if they were not killed, one would be ripped and bitten to death. Holding his sword, Xiao XingChen got ready to leave, most likely in the hopes of doing as best as he could with all that was left of his strength. However, his face suddenly flushed purple, and he stumbled to the ground.
Wei WuXian spoke, “You can just sit back and relax. It’s going to be over soon.”
Again, he cut the index finger of his right hand on Lan JingYi’s sword. Droplets of blood trickled down.
Lan JingYi volunteered, “Are you going to use the Summoning again? If you dot twice in each mannequin’s eyes, how much blood are you going to use? Do you need me to give you some?”
Immediately, a few other boys rolled up their sleeves, “I can also spare some…”
Wei WuXian couldn’t decide whether to laugh or sigh, “It’s okay. Are there any blank talismans?”
The disciples were still fairly young, not yet at a level of cultivation that allowed them to write runes on-spot. Thus, all of the talismans that they carried with them had already been written with runes.
Lan SiZhui shook his head, “No.”
Wei WuXian wasn’t too concerned, “Already-written ones are fine as well.”
Lan SiZhui took out a stack of yellow talismans from a Qiankun Pouch, yet Wei WuXian only grabbed one of them. After taking a rough look at it, with the middle and forefinger of his right hand put together, he scrawled from top to bottom, above the cinnabar runes that were already there. The crimson blood and the vermilion cinnabar formed a new set of runes. With a flick of Wei WuXian’s wrist, the yellow talisman and the red runes hovered in the air and ignited on their own. Wei WuXian reached out his left hand to catch the sprinkling ashes. Then, he closed his fingers into a fist and lowered his head slightly. As he opened his hand again, he softly blew the black ashes toward the row of paper mannequins. He breathed, “With prairie fires it fails to die, when spring winds blow it regains life.”
The ashes whirled around the room.
The Nether Brawler who stood in front of all others suddenly picked up the hacking saber by his feet and carried it over his shoulder.
A lady, wearing a tall bun and fine robes, slowly raised her right hand. Her slender fingers twirled nimbly, as though she was a languid noblewoman, insouciantly appreciating her long, blood-red nails. By the lady’s side, there stood a golden boy and a jade girl—a pair of child servants. The boy playfully tugged at the girl’s braid, while the girl stuck out her tongue at him. A tongue almost nine inches long rapidly stretched out from within her mouth, stabbing a large hole in the boy’s chest as if it were a snake. After the violent attack, it shrunk back at once. The boy opened his mouth wide, revealing two rows of ghastly, white teeth, and bit into her arm. With this, the two paper children started a fight of their own.
One by one, the dozens of paper mannequins started to teeter. As if they were stretching their limbs, they jolted as they whispered to one another. The rustling noises rose and fell all around them. They were not human, but better than humans.
Wei WuXian, “Hold your breaths.”
After his words, he moved away, leaving the path to the door open. With a slight bow, he made a gesture of invitation.
The wooden doors sprang open again. The sickeningly sweet stench of the corpse-poisoning powder poured into the room, and the disciples immediately covered their faces with their sleeves. With a booming shout, the Nether Brawler charged outside. The rest of the mannequins followed.
The doors shut itself behind the last paper mannequin. Wei WuXian asked, “Nobody breathed it in, right?”
Everyone replied negative. Wei WuXian helped Xiao XingChen up, intending to find a place for him to lie down. However, since there wasn’t any, he could only sit on the cold, dust-covered ground. Xiao XingChen was still gripping Shuanghua tightly. Finally waking up from the semicoma, he coughed a few times, then spoke in a weak manner, “Was that… the Summoning of Painted Eyes?”
Wei WuXian, “I know a thing or two.”
After some thought, Xiao XingChen smiled, “Yes… To eliminate these walking corpses, it was indeed the best method.”
With a pause, he continued, “However, this path of cultivation can easily lead to the backfiring of one’s ghosts and spirits. Even the founder of the path, the YiLing Patriarch, couldn’t avoid such an end. I suggest for you to be more careful and refrain from using this unless you’re in dire situations. You can cultivate some other paths…”
Wei WuXian sighed silently, “Thank you for your advice.”
Most famous cultivators would take clear-cut stands on the matter, drawing distinct lines that showed their absolute hatred toward the certain someone. Yet, his youngest shishu still tried to persuade him, even when he himself was only half-alive, and warned him of the backfire. He truly was a tender-hearted person, both gentle and kind. Seeing the thick layer of bandages wrapped around Xiao XingChen’s eyes and thinking of the things he had been through, Wei WuXian couldn’t help but sympathize with him.
Usually, only young, relatively inexperienced disciples would feel a greater sense of curiosity than loathing toward these sorts of improper paths. Aside from Jin Ling, who kept up an expression of contempt, all others were crammed in front of the door slit as they watched the fight, “Oh my… The mannequin woman’s nails are so scary! One scratch and there are five lines.”
“Why is the little girl’s tongue so long and so hard? Is she a hanged ghost?”
“The man is so strong! How can he lift up so many corpses at once? He’s gonna drop them on the ground! Look, look! He dropped them! They broke!”
After he finished listening to Xiao XingChen’s good-natured words, Wei WuXian picked up the last bowl of leftover rice congee, “The poison has already worked its way around. The things in this bowl may slow it down, but may also not work at all, not to mention that it tastes really bad. Do you want to try? If you don’t want to live, then nevermind what I said.”
Xiao XingChen took over the bowl with both hands, “Of course I do. If I can live, there’s no reason not to.”
Yet, after he had just one mouthful, the corners of his mouth started to twitch. He only stopped himself from spitting it out by tightly pursing his lips together. A moment later, he replied with respect, “Thank you.”
Wei WuXian turned around, “Did you see that? Did you see that? What did he say? You guys are the only ones who have such high standards, so full of complaints even after eating my congee.”
Jin Ling, “Your congee? What else did you do, apart from adding a bunch of weird things into the pot?”
Xiao XingChen, “But, now that I think about it, if I had to eat this every single day, I’d rather die.”
Jin Ling laughed at him without holding back at all. Even Lan SiZhui couldn’t stop himself from bursting with a “pfft”. Speechless, Wei WuXian turned to look at them, and Lan SiZhui put on a straight face at once. Lan JingYi spoke up, his voice full of delight, “Finished. All of them have been killed. We won!”
Xiao XingChen put his bowl down right away, “Don’t open the door just yet. Be careful. More might still come…”
Wei WuXian, “Don’t put down the bowl. Pick it up and drink everything.” With that, he approached the wooden doors and peeked through the slit. After the inhuman battle, thin fog and powder in the color of a purplish red pervaded the entire street. The corpse-poisoning powder was beginning to dissipate and the group of paper mannequins calmly inspected the path. Among the corpse pieces that covered the ground, when there was any that could still move, they would step on it mercilessly, until pools of muddied flesh were all that was left.
Aside from this, all was silent. At the moment, no new corpses came.
Just as Wei WuXian was about to relax, a series of almost imperceptible noises came from above him.
The noises were extremely difficult to pick up. It was as if somebody was walking rapidly above the roof. However, since the person’s movements were abnormally light, the sound of their footsteps was close to unnoticeable. Wei WuXian only caught the slight noises of collision between the roof tiles due to his keen senses. Of course, since he was blind, Xiao XingChen noticed the noises as well. He cautioned them, “From the above!”
Wei WuXian shouted, “Disperse!”
As soon as he said it, a large hole was smashed through the ceiling of the central chamber. Dust, grasses, and broken roof tiles rained down from the top. It was fortunate that most of the disciples had already scattered around, thus nobody was hurt. A black figure leaped down from the opening in the roof.
The man wore black cultivational robes. With a tall stance and a straight back, he had the air of a firm pinetree. A horsetail whisk was strapped to his back and a long sword was held in his hand. His face, although handsome, tilted upward slightly, suggesting a haughty, aloof personality.
Yet, there were no pupils within his eyes, only deathly fields of white.
It was a fierce corpse!
As soon as everyone determined this fact, he launched an attack with his sword in his hand.
He aimed his attack at Jin Ling, who was the closest to him. Jin Ling defended with his sword. The power that came with the attack was so strong that his arm almost numbed. If it wasn’t for the immense spiritual powers of his own sword, Suihua, it might have broken and he might have died on the spot. With a failed first attack, the black-clothed corpse attacked again. His movements were smooth and natural, while his attacks were sharp and ruthless. This time, he lunged at Jin Ling’s arm. Under desperation, using his sword, Xiao XingChen defended the attack for Jin Ling. Possibly because the corpse poisoning broke out again, he finally collapsed.
Lan JingYi panicked, “Just what exactly is he, dead or alive?! I have never seen a…”
A corpse with such high speed and fine swordsmanship!
He didn’t finish his sentence, because he remembered that he had seen one before.
The Ghost General was also like this!
Wei WuXian watched the cultivator with utmost attention. Thinking quickly, he pulled out the bamboo flute by his waist and played a shrill, ear-piercing long tone. It was so painful to listen to that everyone who was present covered his ears. As the cultivator heard the sound, despite how his figure reeled and his hands trembled, he still attacked at Wei WuXian!
He couldn’t be controlled. This corpse had a master!
The sword was as fast as thunder, yet Wei WuXian dodged it. As they brushed past, he calmly played another tune. A split second later, the mannequins patrolling outside also hopped onto the roof and jumped down through the hole. Sensing that something was wrong, the corpse stabbed twice with his right arm, vertically slicing two of the mannequins into four halves. With his left hand, he pulled out his whisk. It was as if the thousands of soft, white strands turned into the poisonous spikes on a mace, slashing and piercing with each whip. If it accidentally touched someone, they would sure be turned into a bloodied sieve.
In the midst of multitasking, Wei WuXian managed, “Nobody come here. Be good and stay in the corners!”
After his words, he immediately returned to commanding the corpses. The flute sounded vivacious at times, while vehement at other times. Though the cultivator used both hands and attacked with strong hostility, paper mannequins ceaselessly dropped from the roof, encircling him with attacks. When he fought one side, more came on the other; when he killed the ones in front, there’d be more behind him. It really was impossible to deal with everything at once. Suddenly, a Nether Brawler shot down from above and landed on him, holding him on the ground with a foot on his shoulder.
Immediately afterward, three more Nether Brawlers jumped down from the opening and slammed onto his body one by one.
In legends, Nether Brawlers had incredible strength. When craftspeople made them, some things were usually added onto their bodies to increase their weight. After being possessed by roaming spirits, each was heavier than the next. Simply one of them would be as heavy as a mountain. With four on him at once, he’d be doing well if his guts didn’t gush out. Thus, the robed corpse was securely held down onto the ground by the four Nether Brawlers.
Wei WuXian walked over and found that an area on the back of his clothes had been torn. Soothing it out, he noticed that there was a wound, both thin and narrow, near his left shoulder blade. He commanded, “Turn him over.”
The four Nether Brawlers proceeded to turn the cultivator over. With his front on the upside, it was easier to inspect. Wei WuXian brushed the finger with the cut near each of their lips as awards. With crimson tongues made of paper, the Nether Brawlers slowly licked the blood beside their lips, as if they truly cherished the delicacy. Only then did Wei WuXian look down again and continue his inspection. On the cultivator’s left chest, near his heart, there was a similar tearing, a similar thin, narrow wound. It seemed as if he died with a stab through the heart.
The corpse had been struggling as hard as he could. Low growls came out of his throat and ink-colored blood trickled from the corners of his lips. Wei WuXian pinched his cheeks and forced him to open his mouth. Inside, his tongue had also been pulled out from the root.
Blind eyes, detached tongue. Blind eyes, detached tongue.
Why did these two traits appear so often?
After a while of observation, Wei WuXian began to feel that the corpse was similar to Wen Ning when he had been controlled by the black nails. With the thought, he felt around the corpse’s temples and, as he had expected, he really found two metal points!
This type of long nails were used to control high-level fierce corpses so that they’d lose consciousness and the ability to think for themselves. Without knowing the corpse’s identity and character, Wei WuXian decided that he shouldn’t rashly pull the nails out, but instead interrogate him first. However, since his tongue was no longer there, even if the corpse regained consciousness, he wouldn’t be able to talk.
Wei WuXian asked the disciples from the Lan Sect, “Have any of you studied Inquiry?”
Lan SiZhui raised a hand, “Me. I have.”
Wei WuXian, “Have you brought your guqin?”
Lan SiZhui, “Yes.” At once, he took out a simplistic guqin, the wood of which still looked bright, from his Qiankun Pouch.
Seeing that the guqin was fairly new, Wei WuXian asked, “How is your qin language? Have you had actual experience? Will the spirit that you summon be able to lie?”
Lan JingYi interjected, “HanGuang-Jun said that SiZhui’s qin language is fine.”
If Lan WangJi said that it was “fine”, then it must be fine. He wouldn’t exaggerate or understate the matter, and so Wei WuXian ceased to worry. Lan SiZhui added, “HanGuang-Jun told me to focus on quality instead of quantity. The spirit that I summon will be able to avoid answering, but will not be able to lie. So, if it is willing to answer, then it will definitely speak the truth.”
Wei WuXian, “Then, let’s start.”
The guqin was laid horizontally before the cultivator’s head. Lan SiZhui sat on the ground, his robes spreading neatly around him. Having tried a few notes, he nodded. Wei WuXian began, “The first question: who is he?”
After some thought, Lan SiZhui silently chanted the incantations, and was finally ready to play the first sentence.
A moment later, the strings of the guqin vibrated. Two notes rumbled out, sounding as if a rock had exploded.
Lan SiZhui widened his eyes. Lan JingYi urged him, “What did he say?”
Lan SiZhui, “Song Lan!”
… Xiao XingChen’s most intimate friend of cultivation, Song Lan?!
In unison, everyone turned their heads toward Xiao XingChen, who lay unconscious on the ground. Lan SiZhui whispered, “Does he know that the one who came is Song Lan…?”
Jin Ling also lowered his voice, “Probably not. He’s blind, while Song Lan is mute, and even became a fierce corpse who lost his senses… It’s best if he doesn’t know.”
Wei WuXian, “The second question: who killed him?”
In all earnesty, Lan SiZhui played another sentence.
This time, the silence was three times longer than the one before.
Just as they were about to conclude that Song Lan’s soul wasn’t willing to answer this question, the strings of the guqin vibrated three times, their tones echoing grief.
Lan SiZhui blurted out, “That is impossible!”
Wei WuXian, “What did he say?”
Lan SiZhui replied as though he couldn’t believe what he had just heard, “He said… Xiao XingChen.”
The one who killed Song Lan was Xiao XingChen?!
They asked a mere number of two questions, yet the answers to those questions were more than shocking. Jin Ling was skeptical, “You played it wrong, right?”
Lan SiZhui, “But ‘who are you’ and ‘who killed you’ are the two easiest and most common questions of Inquiry. When someone first starts to learn Inquiry, these are the first and second sentences that they learn. One would practice them no less than a thousand times. I checked them before I played. I definitely did not play them wrong.”
Jin Ling, “Either you played Inquiry wrong, or you interpreted the qin language wrong.”
Lan SiZhui shook his head, “If playing them wrong is impossible, then interpreting them wrong is even more impossible. The name and the three characters of ‘Xiao XingChen’ are not at all common in the spirits’ answers. If he answered a different name and I interpreted it wrong, it would not have just happened to be this name.”
Lan JingYi murmured, “… Song Lan went to find the missing Xiao XingChen, yet Xiao XingChen killed him. Why would he kill a good friend? He does not seem like this sort of person.”
Wei WuXian, “Let’s not worry about this for now. SiZhui, ask the third question: who is controlling him?”
With a stern face, Lan SiZhui didn’t even dare to breathe as he played the third sentence. All pairs of eyes stared at the strings of the guqin, waiting for Song Lan’s answer.
Lan SiZhui interpreted the reply word by word, “The. One. Behind. You.”
Everyone spun around as fast as they could. Xiao XingChen, who lay collapsed on the ground a few moments ago, had already sat up, with one hand holding his chin. Giving them a smile, he raised the left hand that was covered by a black glove and snapped.
When the crisp sound travelled to Song Lan’s ears, it was as though it exploded right beside him. Song Lan suddenly threw off all of the four Nether Brawlers who had been holding him down!
He leaped up at once. Wielding his sword and whisk again, with both of his hands, he slashed twisted the paper mannequins into colorful pieces of confetti, which drifted toward the ground. His sword pressed against Wei WuXian’s neck, while his whisk threateningly pointed to the disciples.
Within the mere area of the shop, the situation had changed drastically.
Jin Ling put his hand onto his sword. Catching the movement with a sideway glance, Wei WuXian immediately stopped him, “Don’t move. Don’t add to the trouble. In terms of swordsmanship, even everybody together wouldn’t be a worthy opponent to this… Song Lan.”
His body was low in spiritual power and his sword wasn’t by his side. Moreover, there was also Xiao XingChen—it remained undetermined what he intended on doing or whether he was friend or foe.
Xiao XingChen, “Adults are going to talk to adults. The children can wait outside.”
He gestured to Song Lan, who obeyed at once and drove the disciples outside. Wei WuXian comforted them, “Go outside for now. You won’t be much help here, anyways. The corpse-poisoning powder should’ve settled already. When you go outside, don’t run around and stir up the dust again. Breathe slowly.”
Hearing “you won’t be much help here”, Jin Ling was both unconvinced and upset. He didn’t want to accept the defeat, yet he knew that he couldn’t do anything, so he stormed outside. Before Lan SiZhui left, he looked as if he wanted to say something. Wei WuXian turned to him, “SiZhui, you’re the most sensible one here. Guide them a bit, won’t you? Can you do that?”
Lan SiZhui nodded. Wei WuXian added, “Don’t be scared.”
Lan SiZhui, “I am not.”
“Really.” Lan SiZhui smiled, “Senior, you are so much like HanGuang-Jun.”
Wei WuXian was puzzled, “Us? How are we alike?” They were obviously like fire and ice. However, Lan SiZhui only grinned in reply, and led the rest of the group out.
He continued his thought silently, I do not know, either, but they just feel similar. It is as though if either one of the two seniors are present, I will not need to be scared or worry about anything.
Xiao XingChen took out a red elixir from somewhere and put it into his mouth, “How touching.”
After he ate it, the purplish-red hue of his face faded immediately. Wei WuXian asked, “Cure of the corpse-poisoning powder?”
Xiao XingChen, “Correct. A lot more effective than your scary bowl of congee, right? And it tastes sweet.”
Wei WuXian, “Your performance was wonderful. From courageously killing corpses, tiring out, to blocking the sword for Jin Ling, losing consciousness. They were all for our entertainment?”
Xiao XingChen raised a finger and wagged it in front of his face, “Not for ‘your’ general entertainment, but ‘your’ singular entertainment. I’ve been looking forward to meeting you, the YiLing Patriarch, that is. It’s better to see for oneself rather than listening to mere tales.”
Wei WuXian didn’t react to his words and his expression remained unchanged. Xiao XingChen continued, “I’m guessing that you haven’t yet told anyone who you really are, have you? So, I didn’t expose your secret either and told them to go outside for us to shut the doors and converse in privacy. How’s that? Aren’t I thoughtful?”
Wei WuXian, “All of the walking corpses in Yi City are under your control?”
Xiao XingChen, “Of course. Just as you guys came in and your whistles started, I began to think that you were a bit weird, which was why I decided to attend to the matter personally and sound you out. As I expected, someone who could give way to such strong powers with the low-level sorcery of the Summoning of Painted Eyes could only be the founder.”
Xue Yang walked his old path. Since it was the same practice, both using improper means, Wei WuXian couldn’t fool him. Wei WuXian asked, “So, taking the group of children as hostage, what do you want me to do?”
Xiao XingChen laughed, “Senior, I want you to do me a favor. A tiny favor.”
His mother’s shidi was calling him a senior. The generations really didn’t match up. Just as Wei WuXian was chuckling in secret, Xiao XingChen took out a Spirit-Trapping Pouch and put it onto the table, “Please.”
Wei WuXian put his hand over the the pouch and felt it for a while, as if he was feeling someone’s pulse, “Whose soul is this? It’s already in shambles. Even glue won’t be able to stick it together. There’s only one breath of life left.”
Xiao XingChen, “If this person’s soul was that easy to stick together, why would I need your help?”
Wei WuXian took his hand away, “You want me to fix this soul? No offense, but there really isn’t much left of it in here. When they were still alive, the person probably suffered from a lot of torture. It should’ve been rather painful. They probably committed suicide, so they probably don’t want to come back to this world. If a soul itself doesn’t have any desire to live, then it’ll most likely be impossible to save. If I’m not wrong, the soul was probably patched up by force. As soon as it leaves the Spirit-Trapping Pouch, it’ll dissipate at any moment. You understand this more than anyone.”
Xiao XingChen, “I don’t understand and I don’t care. Even if you don’t want to, you’ll have to do me the favor. Senior, don’t forget that your children are still staring at you from outside, waiting for you to help them out of the danger.”
The tone that he spoke in sounded quite odd. It was affectionate, almost sweet, but had a vicinity that arose from nowhere. It was as though one moment he could call you brother and senior, and the next he could turn hostile and kill you instead. Wei WuXian laughed, “I, too, would rather meet you in person instead of listening to the tales. Xue Yang, why are you pretending to be a cultivator instead of being the delinquent you truly are?”
With a pause, “Xiao XingChen” raised his hand and took off the bandages around his eyes.
The bandages fell layer by layer, revealing a pair of bright, shining eyes.
A pair of unscathed eyes.
He had young, likeable features, almost handsome. However, the canine teeth that appeared when he smiled were cute to a point of childish, stealthily concealing the untamed cruelty within his eyes.
Xue Yang tossed the bandages to the side, “Uh-oh. You found out.”
Wei WuXian, “Purposely pretending that the pain is unbearable so that our consciences won’t allow us to take off your bandages and see; purposely showing us some of Shuanghua; purposely blurting out that you’re a roaming cultivator by accident. You knew of not only how to make yourself appear injured and defenseless, but moreover how to gain the sympathy of others. You truly brought out a genuine, virtuous Xiao XingChen. If not for how you were aware of more things than you should, I really would’ve believed that you were him.”
And, during Inquiry, the answer that Song Lan gave for the second question was “Xiao XingChen”, while the answer for the third one was “the one behind you”.
If “the one behind you” was also Xiao XingChen, Song Lan wouldn’t have needed to express it in another way.
Unless, Xiao XingChen and “the one behind you” wasn’t the same person at all. Song Lan wanted to warn them of how dangerous the person behind them was, but if he simply answered Xue Yang, it was possible that they didn’t know who he was. He could only answer as such.
Xue Yang grinned, “Well, it’s true that his reputation is better than mine. Of course I pretended to be him. It’s easier to gain the trust of others this way.”
Wei WuXian, “That was some excellent acting right there.”
Xue Yang, “Now you’re just flattering me. I have a very famous friend. His acting is what I’d call excellent. I still have a long way to go. Anyways, enough with the chit-chat. Senior Wei, you really have to do me the favor.”
Wei WuXian, “You’re the one who made the long nails that controlled Song Lan and Wen Ning, aren’t you? You can even restore half of the Stygian Tiger Seal, so why would you need my help to restore a soul?”
Xue Yang, “They’re not the same. You’re the founder. If you never made the first half of the seal, I wouldn’t have been able to make the second half all on my own. There’s no doubt that you’re better than me. So if there’s something I can’t do, you must be able to do it.”
Wei WuXian really couldn’t understand why strangers always had an inexplicable sense of confidence in place of him. He touched his chin, unsure of whether or not they should pass a few compliments between each other out of respect, “You’re being too humble.”
Xue Yang, “It’s not being humble. It’s the truth. I never like to exaggerate when I’m talking. If I say I’m gonna kill someone’s entire clan, I’ll actually kill their entire clan. I won’t even leave a dog behind.”
Wei WuXian, “For example, the YueyangChang Clan?”
Before Xue Yang had the opportunity to answer, a black-robed shadow swept inside.
Wei WuXian and Xue Yang stepped back in unison and left the table. Xue Yang quickly snatched the Spirit-Trapping Pouch. Lightly pressing his hand against the table, Song Lan flipped as he was midair and landed on top of it. After he steadied, he quickly turned to look at the door. Black streaks of blood climbed over his cheeks.
With iron chains following behind him, Wen Ning broke through the door from amid the white fog and chilly winds.
While he was playing the the first tunes on the flute, Wei WuXian had already given the commands for summoning Wen Ning. He ordered, “Fight outside. Be careful not to beat him up too badly. Watch the living people and don’t let any other corpses approach them.”
Wen Ning raised his left hand, and one of the chains swung over. As Song Lan faced the attack with his whisk, it collided with the chain and the two twisted together. Wen Ning pulled on the chain and backed away. Song Lan didn’t let go either, and was dragged outside the door. The disciples had already hid inside another shop near this one, every one of them stretching his neck and staring fixedly at the scene. With the horsetail whisk, the iron chains, and the long sword, it was a frenzy of clanks and clashes. They could see that a battle between two fierce corpses was intense indeed. Each move was ruthless, each attack was fatal—only two corpses could fight in such a brutish way. If two living humans fought like this, they would’ve already been nothing more than severed limbs and battered flesh!
Xue Yang, “Guess who’s gonna win?”
Wei WuXian, “Would I need to guess? Wen Ning, of course.”
Xue Yang, “It’s such a shame that even though I gave him so many nails in his head, he was still unwilling to obey. Things that are too loyal are also quite troublesome.”
Wei WuXian replied in an indifferent tone, “Wen Ning is not a thing.”
Xue Yang laughed, “Don’t you see that what you said could be interpreted in a different way?” As the “be” came out of his mouth, he suddenly unsheathed his sword and attacked.
Wei WuXian darted to the side, “Do you often sneak up on people when you’re in the middle of a sentence?”
Xue Yang’s voice was filled with surprise, “Of course. I’m a delinquent, aren’t I? I’m sure you know already. Anyways, it’s not that I want to kill you. I just want to make it so that you can’t move. Then I can take you back and you can take your time repairing the soul for me.”
Wei WuXian, “I’ve already said that I can’t do anything about it.”
Xue Yang, “Don’t be so eager to refuse me. If you don’t know what to do about it, the both of us can discuss the matter together.” Before he finished his sentence, he lunged once more. Wei WuXian dodged and dodged again, surrounded by ragged strips of paper that covered the ground. He thought to himself, The little delinquent has some good moves. Watching Xue Yang’s attacks become greater in both speed and lethality, Wei WuXian couldn’t help but exclaim, “Are you really taking advantage of my body’s low spiritual power?”
Xue Yang, “That’s right!”
Wei WuXian had finally met someone more shameless than him. He returned the smile, “It’d be better for one to upset a hero than to upset a rogue, which is you, in this case. I’m not dealing with you any longer. Let’s have someone else.”
Xue Yang grinned, “Who else? That HanGuang-Jun? I got more than three hundred walking corpses to gang up on him. He…”
Before he finished his sentence, a white-robed figure descended from the sky. Bichen’s icy blue glare swept at him.
With prairie fires it fails to die, when spring winds blow it regains life.: This is taken from Bai JuYi’s poem, Grass. http://www.chinese-poems.com/bo4.html was used as reference when translating this phrase.
A golden boy and a jade girl: This is a proverb in China, referring to the servants of a heavenly place.
Qin language: This refers to the language of the guqin. Each note, combined with different timbre, volume, tonality, etc., means a different Chinese character. Of course, this is mostly fictional.