Chapter 61 —Evil—Part One
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
*Warning: as usual, you might not want to be eating when you read this chapter
Wang LingJiao sat up from her bed with a scream. Wen Chao, who was reading a letter by the desk, slammed its surface, enraged, “What are you howling at again in the middle of the night?!”
Wang LingJiao panted as if she still hadn’t overcome the shock, “I… I dreamed of Wei again, I dreamed of him again!”
Wen Chao, “It’s been three months since I threw him into Burial Mound. Why are you still having dreams of him? Just how many times has it been?!”
Wang LingJiao, “I… I don’t know why either. These days I’ve been dreaming of him a lot.”
Wen Chao had already been annoyed while he was reading the letter. He didn’t have the time to pay attention to her. He didn’t care much for holding her and comforting her like he had used to do either. He spoke impatiently, “Then don’t sleep!”
She got out of bed and threw herself over to Wen Chao’s desk, “Young Master Wen, I… The more I think about it, the more scared I am. I feel like… back then, did we make a big mistake? … He was thrown into Burial Mound, but is it possible that he didn’t die? Is it possible that he…”
The vein by Wen Chao’s temple pulsated, “How could it be possible? Before this, how many cultivators have our sect sent to clean Burial Mound up? Did any one of them come back alive? Now that he’s been thrown inside, his corpse has probably rotted away already.”
Wang LingJiao, “It’s scary even if he’s dead! If he really did what he said and became a ferocious ghost and comes back to haunt us…”
As she spoke, both of them remembered that day, what Wei Ying’s face was like as he fell, what his expression was like. Both of them shivered involuntarily.
Wen Chao immediately refuted her, “It’s impossible even if he’s dead! The people who died in Burial Mound, all of their souls would be shackled there. Don’t scare yourself. Can’t you see that I’m annoyed?!”
He crumpled up the letter in his hand into a ball and tossed it out, his voice filled with hatred, “What Sunshot Campaign? Some Sunshot it is. Want to shoot down the sun? Dream on!”
Wang LingJiao stood up. She carefully poured him a cup of tea. In her heart, she thought over some flatterings words before speaking in a sweet voice, “Young Master Wen, those few sects could only keep on doing what they want for a couple more days. Sect Leader Wen would definitely…”
Wen Chao cursed, “Shut up! What do you know?! Get lost, stop annoying me!”
Wang LingJiao felt wronged, but she felt hatred as well. She put down the teacup. Fixing her hair and her robes, she walked outside with a smile.
Just as she went out the door, the smile on her face faltered. She opened up the paper ball within her hand. Back then, when she exited, she secretly picked up the letter that Wen Chao had tossed away. She wanted to see just what news he had received for him to be so irritated. She couldn’t read too well. After looking at it for a while, she could finally guess what the letter said: the eldest son of Sect Leader Wen, Wen Chao’s elder brother Wen Xu, had been beheaded by one of the dissidents’ leading sect leaders and was displayed at the tip of a sword as a sign of power in front of the battle array!
Wang LingJiao had frozen.
The GusuLan Sect was burnt down, the YunmengJiang Sect was destroyed, and many other sects, whether large or small, were cracked down upon. It wasn’t that there hadn’t been any defiant voices, but that they had always been quickly suppressed by the QishanWen Sect. For this, three months ago, the sects Jin, Nie, Lan, and Jiang formed an alliance and led the revolt. When they emerged under the banner of the ‘Sunshot Campaign’, nobody took them seriously.
Sect Leader Wen spoke up back then. Among the four sects, the LanlingJin Sect was on the fence—watching how all of the sects were angrily going on some expedition, it wanted to take part as well, but if it suffered more defeats than victories, it’d soon realize that there was no good in it, perhaps even coming back to hug the Wen Sect’s leg and worship it once more; the QingheNie Sect’s sect leader was so stiff that he’d easily snap in half—soon afterward, no need for others to move and he’d die in his own people’s hands sooner or later; the GusuLan Sect had been burnt into ruins—although Lan XiChen was here to inherit the position of sect leader after he had moved the Library Pavillion, he was only a junior and couldn’t do anything much; the most laughable one was the YunmengJiang Sect, the people of which either had been killed or had scattered, leaving only Jiang Cheng, who was younger than even Lan XiChen and was still a child born yesterday, who had nobody in his hands but still dared call himself sect leader, holding up the banner of rebellion as he recruited new disciples.
It could be concluded with two words: unpromising and overconfident!
Everyone who stood on the Wen Sect’s side took the Sunshot Campaign as a joke. However, three months later, the circumstances didn’t turn out the way they expected them to at all!
Many places in Hejian and Yunmeng had been taken over, but that wasn’t the most important. Today, even Sect Leader Wen’s eldest son had been beheaded.
In the hall, Wang LingJiao worried for a while. Uneasy, she returned to her room. Her eyelids kept on twitching. One hand rubbing her eyelids, she pressed her other hand onto her chest, trying to come up with a route of retreat.
She had been following Wen Chao for almost half a year. Half a year was the most time that Wen Chao could spend on a woman, from loving her to becoming tired of her. She had thought that she was different, that she was the one who could stay until the end. However, Wen Chao’s growing irritation during the the past few days had told her already. She was no different from the other women.
Biting down on her lip, Wang LingJiao thought for a while. She then squatted down and took out a small chest from beneath her bed.
The chest held all of the valuables and weapons that she had managed to hoard during the half-year of staying by Wen Chao’s side. Valuables she could spend, weapons she could protect herself with. Although she didn’t want it to, the day had finally come.
She wanted to count how much was in her inventory. She dug out a miniscule key from her belt and muttered as she opened the lock, “What a scum of a man. You greasy thing will die sooner or later. Now that I won’t have to serve you anymore, I’m the one who should be happy… Ah!”
She collapsed onto the ground.
Back then, the second that she opened the chest, she saw what was inside.
There was none of her beloved treasures,
only a pale-skinned, curled-up child!
Wang LingJiao was so shocked that she screamed. Kicking her legs, she couldn’t help from shifting back. She had always kept the chest locked. The only key she wore on her at all times. How could there be a child inside? She didn’t even open it up once a month. If a child had been hiding inside, then how could she have not known? How was the child still alive?!
The chest had been kicked over by her. Its mouth was on the ground and its bottom faced here. For a few moments, nothing happened.
Wang LingJiao crawled up from the ground with shivering legs. She wanted to go nearer and take another look at it, but she didn’t dare to, thinking to herself, There’s a ghost, there’s a ghost!
Her cultivation was extremely low. She wouldn’t be able to deal with it even if there was a ghost. Suddenly, she remembered that this was a supervision office. Talismans were stuck outside of the gates and every house. If there was a ghost, the talismans would certainly be able to protect her. She quickly rushed outside, tore down the talisman outside of her room, and stuck it in front of her chest.
With the talisman on her body, it was as though her mind had been set at ease. She snuck into the room, found a long clothing pole, and flipped the chest over from afar. Inside of it, her treasure rested neatly. There was no child at all.
Wang LingJiao let out a breath of relief. The pole in her hands, she squatted down. Just as she was about to start counting, she suddenly realized that two white lights shone under her bed.
It was a pair of eyes.
A white-colored child lay prone under her bed, staring into her eyes.
This was the third time tonight that Wen Chao had heard Wang LingJiao’s screams. The fire within him grew stronger as he yelled, “You bitch! You’re too neurotic, can’t you fucking let me be a little less annoyed?”
If not for how there had always been irritating news coming in these past few days and he didn’t have time to find new beauties, afraid that he found dishonest, untrustworthy female assassins from those minor sects but still wanted somebody to warm up his bed, he would’ve told the woman to fuck off long ago. Wen Chao shouted, “Somebody! Make her shut up for me!”
Nobody answered. Wen Chao kicked over a stool. He was even more furious, “Where did all of you fuckers go off to?!”
Suddenly, the doors opened. Wen Chao, “I told you to shut the bitch up for me, not to come in…”
As he turned around, part of the sentence was stuck in his throat. He saw a woman standing in front of his house.
The woman’s features were all distorted, as though they had been smashed and then pieced together again. The two of her eyes were looking in different directions, the left upward and the right downward. Her entire face was hideously twisted.
Wen Chao tried with much effort before he could finally manage to recognize her from her rather revealing robe. This was Wang LingJiao!
Wang LingJiao’s throat was gurgling. She walked a few steps toward him and reached out, “… Help… Help… Help me…”
Wen Chao shouted. He unsheathed his new sword and sliced at her, “Go away! Get lost!”
Wang LingJiao’s shoulder had been gashed by the sword. Her features were even more twisted as she shrieked, “Ahhhhhh… It hurts, ahhhh… It hurts, ahhhh!!!”
Wen Chao didn’t even dare pull his sword away. Grabbing a stool, he hurled it toward her. After it hit her, it broke into pieces. Wang LingJiao staggered before kneeling down and collapsing onto the ground, as though she was kowtowing someone, mumbling, “… I’m sorry… I’m sorry… Let me go, let me go, let me go…”
As she knocked her head on the ground, blood dripped from her qiqiao. With her blocking the entrance, Wen Chao couldn’t leave. He could only open the window, shouting his lungs out, “Wen ZhuLiu! Wen ZhuLiu!!!”
On the ground, Wang LingJiao had already picked up one leg of the stool, frantically stuffing it into her mouth, laughing as she did, “Fine, fine, I’ll eat it, I’ll eat it! Haha, I’ll eat it!”
An entire chunk of the leg had been stuffed down by her!
Wen Chao was almost dead from the shock. Just as he was about to jump out the window and flee, he suddenly realized that in the courtyard, a black silhouette stood amid the pool of moonlight on the ground.
At the same time.
Jiang Cheng was standing before a forest. Noticing that somebody approached, he turned his head slightly. The person was dressed in all white. Wearing a forehead ribbon, its ends swept behind him along with his hair. His face, more handsome than anything, was as fair as jade. Under the moonlight, his entire body seemed to be enveloped in a soft glow.
Jiang Cheng spoke in a cold voice, “Second Young Master Lan.”
Lan WangJi’s expression was solemn. He nodded, “Sect Leader Jiang.”
After the two acknowledged each other, they didn’t say anything else. Each carrying their cultivators, they flew on their swords in silence.
Two months ago, the Two Jades of Lan cooperated in a surprise attack with Jiang Cheng. They took back the swords that had been gathered from each sect’s disciples at Wen Chao’s ‘sector of indoctrination’, bringing them back to their owners. Only then did Sandu and Bichen return to them.
Lan WangJi’s light eyes glanced at the other sword at Jiang Cheng’s waist. He turned his gaze away.
A few moments later, staring straight in front of him, he asked, “Has Wei Ying still not appeared yet?”
Jiang Cheng looked at him, as if surprised that he had suddenly asked about Wei Ying. He answered, “No.”
He looked at Suibian, which hung by his waist, “The people on my side still haven’t gotten news of him yet. But when he returns he’ll find me for sure. After he appears I’ll give him his sword.”
Soon later, leading a group of cultivators, the two arrived at the supervision office where Wen Chao hid, preparing for a night attack. Before they entered, Lan WangJi’s face stiffened. Jiang Cheng frowned.
Dark and resentful energy was almost spilling out of the place.
However, the talismans on both sides of the doors were still intact. Jiang Cheng signaled for the cultivators that he led to scatter around and hide below the walls. He, on the other hand, swung Sandu. The sword energy attacked and broke open the doors.
Before he went in, Lan WangJi’s eyes swept over the talismans beside the doors.
The scene inside of the supervision office was more than horrifying.
Within the courtyard, corpses lay everywhere. Not only there, the bushes, hallways, fences, and even roofs were piled up with corpses.
All of the corpses wore sun robes. They were disciples of the Wen Sect. Using Sandu, Jiang Cheng flipped over one of the corpses and saw lines of blood criss-cross over the pale face, “Bleeding from the qiqiao.”
Lan WangJi stood on the other side, “This one is not.”
Jiang Cheng walked over. He saw that the corpse’s eyes had rolled back. Its face had been destroyed. Yellow bile dripped from its mouth. It had been scared to death.
One of the disciples under him reported, “Sec Leader, we’ve finished inspecting. All of them are dead. And, every corpse died a different way.”
Strangled, burnt, drowned, poisoned, frozen, slit at the throat, pierced at the head… After Jiang Cheng finished listening, he spoke in a chilling tone, “Looks like something else has helped us finish tonight’s task.”
Lan WangJi didn’t say anything. He was the first to step into the house.
The doors to Wen Chao’s room were wide open. Only one female corpse remained in the room. The corpse wore light clothes. Half of the leg of a stool had been stuffed down her throat. She had killed herself by forcing herself to swallow the stool leg into her stomach.
Jiang Cheng turned the corpse’s twisted face over. After he had scrutinized it for a while, he gave out a cold laugh. Holding the stool leg, he shoved it into her mouth, somehow managing to stuff the half that had been outside into her body as well.
With red eyes, he stood up. Just as he was about to speak, he saw Lan WangJi ponder over something, standing in front of the door. He walked over. Following Lan WangJi’s eyes, he saw a yellow, red-painted, talisman stick to the door.
Although the talisman didn’t seem any different at first glance, after taking a closer look at it, one would discover a few slight places that caused much discomfort.
Lan WangJi, “Too many.”
Jiang Cheng’s grew stern, “As expected.”
They were able to memorize the technique of drawing this type of residential talismans when they were fifteen or sixteen. However, amid the vermillion scrawl over the talisman, there seemed to be a few extra brushstrokes. These brushstrokes were the ones that entirely changed the pattern of the talisman. Now, looking at it, the talisman stuck to the door seemed to be the face of a person, smiling eerily.
Wen Chao and Wen ZhuLiu’s corpses couldn’t be found within the supervision office. Speculating that they fled toward the direction of Qishan, Jiang Cheng immediately led the people out of the abandoned supervision office and chased after them on their swords. Lan WangJi, however, returned to Gusu first.
The second day, Lan WangJi had finally caught up to Jiang Cheng. He took out the talisman from last time, “This talisman has been reversed.”
Jiang Cheng, “Reversed? What does reversed mean?”
Lan WangJi, “Normal talismans repel evil. This one attracts them.”
Jiang Cheng was shocked, “Talismans… could attract evil? I haven’t heard of anything like it.”
Lan WangJi, “It is indeed unheard of. But, according to the testing, it does prove to have the ability to attract evil.”
Jiang Cheng took over the talisman and examined it closely, “Only a few brushstrokes were added, and the entire function of the talisman was reversed? Was this a human deed?”
Lan WangJi, “Four brushstrokes were added. It was drawn using human blood. All of the residential talismans in the supervision office have been altered. The strokes were those of the same person.”
Jiang Cheng, “Then who could this person possibly be? Amongst all of the renowned cultivators, I haven’t heard of any who can do such a thing.
Immediately after, he continued, “But no matter who they are, it’s fine as long as their objective is the same as ours—to kill all of the Wen-dogs!”
The two went up North according to the information. Everywhere they went, they heard talk of strange corpses appearing there. All of the corpses were cultivators of the Wen Sect, dressed in sun robes. All of them were high in both rank and cultivation. In spite of so, all of them died in gruesome yet diverse ways, and all of them had been left in the public where many could see.
Jiang Cheng, “Do you think that these people were killed by that person as well?”
Lan WangJi, “The dark energy is quite heavy. They should have been done by the same person.”
Jiang Cheng snorted, “Dark? In this world, could there be anything darker than the Wen-dogs?!”
The had been chasing until late into the fourth night. The two had finally caught sight of Wen ZhuLiu in the courier station of a remote mountainous city.
The courier station was two stories tall. A stable was right next to the building. When Lan WangJi and Jiang Cheng arrived, they happened to see a tall shadow rush inside and lock the doors behind him. Afraid of Wen ZhuLiu’s ‘Core-Melting Hand’ technique, the two decided not to alert the enemy and flipped onto the roof instead of entering through the door. Jiang Cheng forced back the towering hatred within him. Clenching his teeth, he stared without a blink down through a slit between the roof tiles.
Wen ZhuLiu seemed to have been travelling. In his arms was another figure. As though dragging his legs, he walked to the second floor and placed the person beside the table. He then ran to all of the windows and closed the curtains so that not even a breeze could pass through. He finally returned to the table and lit up the oil lamp.
The faint light illuminated his face. It was still pale, still cold, but two dense smears of black were under his eyes. The other person by the table was covered entirely. Even their face was hidden in a cape. As though inside of a fragile cocoon, the person shivered within the cape, panting as he suddenly exclaimed, “Don’t light the lamp! What if he finds us?!”
Lan WangJi looked up, exchanging a look with Jiang Cheng. Both of them had the same confused look.
This person had to be Wen Chao. But how did Wen Chao’s voice become like this? So thin and so sharp, it didn’t seem to be Wen Chao at all?
Head down, Wen ZhuLiu searched through the belongings within his sleeves, “Is it that if we don’t light the lamp, he won’t be able to find us?”
Wen Chao panted, “W-We’ve run so far, for so long. H-He shouldn’t b-be able to catch us, right?”
Wen ZhuLiu appeared to be indifferent, “Perhaps.”
Wen Chao fumed, “What do you mean perhaps?! If we haven’t outrun him why did you stop?!”
Wen ZhuLiu, “You need ointment. Or else you’ll be dead for certain.”
As he spoke, he took off Wen Chao’s cape. Both of the two on the roof were shocked.
Under the cape, it wasn’t Wen Chao’s arrogant, greasily handsome face, but rather a bald head enwrapped in bandages!
Wen ZhuLiu peeled off the bandages layer by layer, revealing the skin of the bald man. On the face, scars and burn marks scattered without order, making him look as if he’d been cooked. Ugly, hideous, they couldn’t see at all the shadow of whom he used to be!
Wen ZhuLiu took out the bottle of medicine. He first fed him a couple of round pills before he took out some ointment and applied it to the burn marks on his head and his face. Wen Chao whimpered in pain, though Wen ZhuLiu stopped him, “Don’t cry. Or else the tears would make the wounds fester and worsen the pain.”
Wen Chao could only hold back his tears, unable to even cry. By the flickering light of the fire, a bald man covered in burn marks contorted his face, strange, muffled noises coming out of his mouth. The flame was on the verge of dying, a dim yellow. The sight was beyond frightening.
Suddenly, Wen Chao shrieked, “The flute! The flute! Is it the flute?! I heard him play the flute again!”
Wen ZhuLiu, “No! It was the wind.”
However, Wen Chao was so scared that he had fallen to the ground, wailing. Wen ZhuLiu picked him up again. It seemed that something had happened to Wen Chao’s legs and he couldn’t walk on his own.
After Wen ZhuLiu finished applying the ointment, he took out a few buns from his lapel and put one in his hand, “Eat. We’ll continue after you finish.”
With shaking hands, Wen Chao cupped it in his hands and took a bite out of it. Seeing this, Jiang Cheng remembered what a plight he and Wei WuXian were in the day when they fled. The didn’t even have any food. Such a situation was karma indeed!
Heart filled with joy, the corners of his curled lifted and he broke into mad but soundless laughter.
Suddenly, Wen Chao looked as if he had bitten something that caused him react with such a petrified expression. He threw the bun away and screamed, “I’m not eating meat! I’m not! I’m not! I’m not eating meat!”
Wen ZhuLiu passed him another one, “This one isn’t meat.”
Wen Chao, “I’m not eating it! Take it away! Get lost! I want to find my dad. When can we get back to my dad?!”
Wen ZhuLiu, “At this speed, two more days.”
His words were quite honest, neither emphasized nor faked. However, the honesty created much torment on Wen Chao’s part, “Two days? Two days?! Do you see how I am right now? If I wait for two more days, how would I be then?! You useless thing!”
Wen ZhuLiu suddenly stood up. Wen Chao flinched from fear. He thought that he wanted to flee alone and was immediately scared. All of the guards died in front of him one by one. Wen ZhuLiu was both his strongest and his last support. He quickly changed his words, “No no no, Wen ZhuLiu, Brother Wen! Don’t go, don’t leave me behind. If you can take me back to my dad, I’ll let him promote you to the highest level guest cultivator! No no no, you saved me, so you’re my brother—I’ll let him recognize you into the main clan! From now on you’ll be my elder brother!”
Wen ZhuLiu stared in the direction of the stairs, “There’s no need.”
Not only had he heard, both Lan WangJi and Jiang Cheng heard as well. Footsteps, one after another, came from the stairs of the courier station.
Somebody was walking up the stairs, one step at a time.
All of the excess blood had drained from Wen Chao’s burnt face. Trembling, he moved his hands out of the cape and covered his face with them, as though he was so scared that he wanted to cover his eyes to protect himself, pretending that nothing was happening. The pair of palms, on the other hand, was bare, without a single finger on it!
Tap, tap, tap.
The person slowly walked upstairs. He was covered in black. With a slender physique, he had a flute at his waist, hands behind his back.
On the roof, both Lan WangJi and Jiang Cheng pressed their hands onto the hilts of their swords.
However, when the person strolled up the stairs and turned around, smile on his face, Lan WangJi’s eyes opened wide, having seen those bright features before.
Wei: This, in full, is “the person whose surname is Wei”. This is considered very impolite in China, though not necessarily when used between good friends in a joking way (in a joking wei).