Chapter 85: Loyalty—Part Seven
Before he stepped inside Lotus Pier’s gates, Wei WuXian took in a deep breath, trying to calm himself. But after he went in, he didn’t feel as excited as he thought he would.
It was perhaps because too many places had been renewed. The training field was two times larger. Each new building seemed to be taller than the previous, adorned with curving roof decor. It seemed grander than before and had more splendor. But, compared to the Lotus Pier of his memories, it had changed too much.
Wei WuXian felt a sense of loss from deep within. He didn’t know whether the old buildings from the past were blocked behind these impressive new buildings or if they were torn down already.
After all, they were indeed too old.
On the training field, the disciples gathered in the square arrays again, sitting in the lotus position to rest and restore their spiritual powers. Having been so busy during both the day and the night, all of these people had long since worn themselves out, desperately needing to catch their breaths. On the other hand, Jiang Cheng led the the sect leaders and other important personnel into the main hall, Sword Hall, to further discuss today’s matter.
Just as they entered, before anyone was seated yet, someone who looked like a guest cultivator walked up, “Sect Leader.”
He shifted toward Jiang Cheng’s ear and whispered a few words. Jiang Cheng frowned, “No. If there’s something important, tell them to come at a later date. Don’t you see the situation right now?”
The guest cultivator, “I told them already. The two ladies said… that they were here for none other than today’s matter.”
Jiang Cheng, “What’s their background? Which sect do they cultivate at?”
The guest cultivator, “None. They aren’t cultivators either. I am certain that that both are ordinary women without any spiritual powers. They brought with them some expensive medicinal herbs as well, but they didn’t say which sect leader sent them. They only said that they had a few things to tell you, Sect Leader. From their words, I judged that what they were speaking of was no small matter. In case they feel disrespected, I already placed them within one of the guest residences. The medicinal herbs haven’t been stored yet, either. They have been examined already. There are no abnormal spells or curses.”
It wasn’t that anyone could see the YunmengJiang Sect’s sect leader whenever they wanted to, even without telling him why they were there. On top of that, they were two women who lacked both spiritual powers and sects to support them. However, since they brought rare herbs, the guest cultivator responsible for receiving them didn’t dare show disrespect. Even if not for the lavish gifts, the oddity of the incident itself was enough for him not to ignore them.
Jiang Cheng, “Everyone, please help yourselves. Please excuse my momentary absence.”
Everyone responded, “Sect Leader Jiang, please go ahead.”
However, Jiang Cheng didn’t return after just a few moments. He hadn’t returned for a long while. To have unentertained guests at one’s home was already disrespectful, much less during such times, when everyone was waiting to discuss important matters. Almost an hour later, Jiang Cheng still hadn’t returned. Many people began to feel either anxious or displeased. At this point in time, Jiang Cheng finally came back. He looked perfectly fine when he went, but as he returned, his expression was icy cold, walking fast. He also brought with him two people—two women, probably the two who were visiting. The people originally thought that even if those were two ordinary ladies, to be able to visit with such lavish gifts meant that they had to be extraordinary in some ways. However, neither of the two ladies retained their youth. Age was spelled among the details next to the corners of their eyes and lips. One of the two looked both meek and uneasy, while the other not only looked weathered, but also had around half a dozen cuts on her face. Although the cuts seemed old, they were nonetheless so gruesome that the crowd was both disappointed and turned off. They began to mumble in silence, wondering why Jiang Cheng brought such women into Sword Hall and even pointed them to a position in the center of the hall.
Jiang Cheng’s face was dark. He turned to the women, who had just sat down gingerly, “You can speak here.”
Sect Leader Yao, “Sect Leader Jiang, you mean?”
Jiang Cheng, “The matter is too shocking and I did not dare act hastily. The delay was due to careful questioning. Everyone, please quiet down, and lend your ears to these two.” He turned around, “Which of you two will speak first?”
The two women looked at each other. The weathered one was a bit braver. She stood up, “I’ll go first!”
She presented them with a casual salut, “What I’m about to tell you is an old story that happened around eleven years ago.”
From Jiang Cheng’s tone, the people knew that what the women was about to say couldn’t be just an unimportant matter, trying to recall the things that happened eleven years ago. The woman, “My name is Sisi. In the past I sold my body. You can say that I was famous for a while. Ten-or-so years ago, I found a rich businessman and wanted to marry him, but it turned out that the man’s wife was a fierce one. She got a group of hunky men and cut my face through. That’s why I’m like this now.”
The woman spoke with no shame in her voice, not at all trying to beat around the bush. Many of the female cultivators covered their lips with their sleeves, while the men frowned. Sisi, “After my face became like this, my days were different from before. Nobody wanted to spare me a single glance, let alone do my business. My original brothel kicked me out. I didn’t know how to do anything else, but I couldn’t take in any business at all, so I joined up with the older sisters. Their customers didn’t have high demands. If a job is up, I’d tag along with them. I could manage with my face covered up.”
At this point, some of the people couldn’t take it any longer. They let the contempt in their eyes pour out without any intent to cover it. Some didn’t understand why Jiang Cheng was making the crowd listen to the woman talk about her dirty past. The sect leaders, however, kept calm and waited for her to continue.
As expected, she finally arrived at the key point. Sisi, “One day, the sisters from our alleyway suddenly got a job, asking for all two dozens of us. With horse-drawn carriages, they brought us to a place. After those old sisters of mine finished with discussing the price, they were all ecstatic on the way there. I, however, felt that something wasn’t right. Let’s be honest here—they were either old, yellowed pearls or the same as me. We were paid so much, and even beforehand. How could there be such a lucky thing in the world? And the people who came to get us were fishy too. They led us into the carriages and took as away as soon as they came, not letting a single other person know about it. No matter how you look at it, they couldn’t have had good intentions in mind!”
The others thought the same thing. Their original disdain had already be replaced by curiosity. Sisi, “When the carriages arrived, they directly brought us to a courtyard and let us off there. None of us had ever seen such a tall, grand, glorious house before. We’ve all been dazzled blind, too scared to make a sound. A boy leaned against the doorway, playing with a dagger. He let us in when he saw us. He closed the door, and we entered the room. In such a large room was only two people. A man lay within the brocade sheets on a large bed. He seemed to be thirty or fourty years old, probably sickened to the verge of death. When he saw that people entered, he could only turn his eyeballs.”
Within Sword Hall, someone suddenly let out an exclaim of realization, “Eleven years ago?! This was… This was…!!!”
Sisi, “Beforehand, someone had already told us what to do—one after another, we had to use our best skills to look after the person lying on the bed. We weren’t supposed to stop for a single second. I even thought that it was some brawny hulk. Who knew it’d be a sick man? How could such a man endure our looking-after? I bet he’d give his last breath before we finished a single round. Could the dirty old man really be looking for such a death? And they were so wealthy too. It definitely wasn’t that they didn’t have the money to hire younger, prettier ones. Why did they have to hire us old, ugly ones? I was thinking about this even as I crawled on top of them, when suddenly there seemed to be the sound of a young man’s laugh. I jumped from the scare. Only then did I realize that there was a curtain beside the bed, and a man sitting behind the curtain!”
Everyone’s heart was tugged tight by her words. Sisi continued, “I finally realized that this man had been sitting behind the curtain the whole time. When he laughed, the man in the bed suddenly struggled, pushed me away, and rolled off the bed. The person laughed even harder, talking as he laughed. He said, Father, I brought you your favorite women. There are so many of them. Are you happy?”
Although Sisi was the one who said those words, everyone felt their hair rise. A smiling face appeared before their eyes.
And the half-dead man inside the bed had to be Jin GuangShan!
Jin GuangShan’s death had always been a public secret within the world of cultivation. Jin GuangShan had been so amorous his whole life that he was almost obscene. He left his love everywhere; he left his seeds everywhere. The reason of his death was related to this as well. The sect leader of the LanlingJin Sect insisted on pursuing pleasure with women even when he was in such a weakened condition and finally died in bed. Such a story really saved him no dignity when told to others. After Madam Jin lost her only son and her daughter-in-law, she’d been quite depressed for a few years in the first place. Thinking that her husband had to fool around even when he was dying and finally fooled his life away, she was so angered that she fell ill as well, eventually passing away. The LanlingJin Sect tried to hide the news as hard as it could, but the world had a tacit understanding. The people sighed in grief on the surface, but they all thought that he deserved it, that such a death was only suitable for him. Yet, today, they had just heard of an uglier truth that was even more sickening than the previous one. Sharp intakes of breath could be heard throughout Sword Hall.
Sisi, “The middle-aged man wanted to shout and struggle, but his body was weak. The boy who led us inside opened the door again, grinning as he dragged him onto the bed again and tied him up with a rope, stepping on his head. He told us, carry on, don’t stop even when he’s dead. Had any of us been through such a situation before? We were scared half-dead, but we didn’t dare disobey. We had to continue. At the twelfth or eleventh round, that sister suddenly screamed, saying that he really was dead. I went over and checked. He’d indeed kicked the bucket, but the person behind the curtain said, didn’t you hear me? Don’t stop even when he’s dead!”
Sect Leader OuYang couldn’t help but comment, “No matter what, Jin GuangShan was his father by birth. If this was real… then it’s just too… too…”
Sisi, “When I saw that the man was dead, I knew that we were done. We wouldn’t be able to escape either. As expected, when we finished, those old sisters of mine were all killed. Not a single one of them was left…”
Wei WuXian, “Then why are you the one who lived?”
Sisi, “I don’t know! Back then, I begged again and again. I said that I didn’t want the money, that I definitely wouldn’t say anything. Who knew that they really didn’t kill me. They took me to a place and locked me inside. I was there for eleven years. Only recently did someone save me by accident, and I could finally escape.”
Wei WuXian, “Who was the one that saved you?”
Sisi, “I don’t know. I’ve never seen the one who saved me. But after my savior heard about what happened to me, he decided not to let that pretentious, immoral man continue to fool the world. Now matter how powerful he is right now, my savior said that he was going to expose all of the things he did and deliver justice to all those he hurt, letting those poor sisters of mine rest in peace in the Underworld.”