Chapter 87: Loyalty—Part Nine
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
As Wei WuXian spoke, he grabbed two branches and started to climb up the trunk of the tree. With great ease, he leaped up until he reached an area near the top. Wei WuXian finally stopped, “Hm, it should be about here.”
He buried his face inside a cluster of thick leaves and only looked down after a long while. His voice was high, tinged with laughter, “Back then, it felt so scarily high, but looking at it now, it really wasn’t that high.”
The instant he wrapped his arms around the tree, Wei WuXian’s eyes had warmed. When he looked down, his sight was already blurred.
Lan WangJi was standing right beneath the tree, looking at him with his chin raised. He was clothed in white as well. He didn’t hold a lantern, but moonlight glided down his body, almost enveloping him in a soft halo, making him seem so bright. He looked up at the top of the tree with a dedicated expression. He seemed to have walked a few steps closer, almost as if to stretch his arms out.
All of a sudden, an abnormally strong impulse surged into Wei WuXian’s mind.
He wanted to fall down again, just like back then.
A voice inside of him said, If he catches me, I’ll…
At this point where he thought ‘I’ll’, Wei WuXian let go. Seeing that he fell out of the tree without any warning, Lan WangJi’s eyes immediately widened. He shot forward just in time to catch Wei WuXian, or one might say, be caught by Wei WuXian.
Lan WangJi’s figure was slender. He seemed to be quite the scholarly young master, but his power wasn’t to be disregarded. Not only was his arm strength shocking, his lower body was steady too. But, after all, it was a grown man who jumped from the tree, so although he caught Wei WuXian, he staggered slightly, walking a step backward. Immediately, however, he steadied himself. Just as he was about to let go of Wei WuXian, he realized that Wei WuXian’s arms were tightly wrapped around his neck, preventing him from moving in the slightest.
He couldn’t see Wei WuXian’s face. Wei WuXian couldn’t see his face either, but he didn’t need to. When he closed his eyes, all he breathed in was the cold sandalwood on Lan WangJi’s body.
His voice was hoarse, “Thank you.”
He wasn’t scared of falling. All these years, he’d fallen many times. But falling on the ground still hurt, after all. If someone was there to catch him, it’d be more than wonderful.
Hearing Wei WuXian thank him, Lan WangJi’s body seemed to freeze for a second. The hand that was about to be laid on Wei WuXian’s back paused before it returned.
After a moment of silence, Lan WangJi responded, “You are welcome.”
With a long time of hugging, Wei WuXian finally parted with him. Standing with his back straight as ever, he spoke as though nothing happened, “Let’s go back!”
Lan WangJi, “No more reminiscing?”
Wei WuXian, “Yes, more reminiscing! But there’s nothing to see if we walk farther out. It’d be the wilderness there, and we’ve seen enough of that in the past few days. Let’s go back to Lotus Pier. I’ll take you to see the last place.”
The two returned to the dock and entered the gates of Lotus Pier once again. They walked across the training field. As they passed by an ornate little building, Wei WuXian stopped and took a few more looks. His expression seemed different. Lan WangJi asked, “What is wrong?”
Wei WuXian shook his head, “Nothing. The place I lived in used to be here. Now it’s gone. It really was torn down. All of these are new.”
They passed by the layers of buildings and arrived at a quiet place in the depths of Lotus Pier, in front of a black eight-cornered palace. As if scared that he’d startle someone, Wei WuXian gently pushed the doors open and walked inside. Before the palace neatly lay rows and rows of tablets.
It was the YunmengJiang Sect’s ancestral hall.
He found a hassock and kneeled down. Taking three of the incense sticks in the container, he ignited them with the candlelight and stuck them into the bronze tripod in front of the tablets. He prostrated three times to two of the tablets, and turned to Lan WangJi, “I used to come here a lot.”
Lan WangJi had on an expression of understanding, “Kneeling as punishment?”
Wei WuXian mused, “How did you know? That’s right. Madam Yu punished me almost every day.”
Lan WangJi nodded, “I have heard of a few things.”
Wei WuXian, “It’s so famous that even people outside Yunmeng, even you Gusu people know—how could it be ‘a few things’? But, to be honest, in all these years, I’ve never seen a second woman whose temper was as bad as Madam Yu’s. She told me to go to the ancestral hall and kneel no matter how small the matter was. Hahaha…”
But, apart from this, Madam Yu had never really done anything to harm him.
He suddenly remembered that this was the ancestral hall and that Madam Yu’s tablet was right in front of him. He immediately apologized, “I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
To make up for his thoughtless words, he lit up three more sticks of incense. Just as he raised them above his head, still apologizing in his mind, it suddenly got darker beside him. He turned to find that Lan WangJi had also kneeled down beside him.
Now that they were in the ancestral hall, for the sake of courtesy, of course he had to show his respect as well. Lan WangJi also took three sticks of incense and, sweeping his sleeve to the side, and ignited them using one of the red candles. His movements were proper, and his expression was grave. Wei WuXian tilted his head to look at him, his lips curving upward almost uncontrollably. Lan WangJi glanced at him and reminded, “The ashes.”
The three sticks of incense that Wei WuXian held had been burning for quite a while. A bit of ashes had already accumulated at the top, close to falling off. However, he still refused to insert them into the tripod, instead saying, “Let’s do it together.”
Lan WangJi didn’t object. And so, each with three sticks of incense, the two of them kneeled among rows of tablets and bowed down to Jiang FengMian and Yu ZiYuan’s names together.
Once. Twice. The movements were exactly the same. Wei WuXian, “That’s it.” He finally placed the incense into the tripod.
In the end. Wei WuXian glanced at Lan WangJi, who’s kneeling as properly as ever beside him. He put his hands together and uttered in his heart, ‘Uncle Jiang, Madam Yu, it’s me again. I’m here to disturb you two again. But I really did want to bring him here and show him to you. Let the two prostrates we just did count as prostrating* to the Heavens and the Earth, and to the Father and the Mother. Please help me reserve the person beside me for now. I’ll owe you the last prostrate for now, and find some chance to make up for it in the future…’
*In traditional Chinese marriages, one has to prostrate three times: once to the Heavens and the Earth, once to the Father and the Mother, and once to the Husband and the Wife (each other).
At this point, a cold laugh suddenly came from behind the two.
Wei WuXian was in the middle of his silent prayers. Hearing the sound, he trembled as his eyes sprang open. He turned around to see Jiang Cheng standing in the middle of a clearing outside of the ancestral hall, his arms folded.
His voice was chilling, “Wei WuXian, you really don’t take yourself as an outsider, do you? You come and leave whenever you want. You take with you whomever you want. Do you perhaps still remember whose sect this is? Who’s the owner?”
Doing this, Wei WuXian wanted to keep it away from Jiang Cheng in the first place. Now that he discovered them, he knew they’d definitely be faced with some vicious remarks. He didn’t want to argue, “I didn’t take HanGuang-Jun to the other, more confidential places of Lotus Pier. We only came to greet Uncle Jiang and Madam Yu with a few sticks of incense. We’re finished already and we’ll be leaving now.”
Jiang Cheng, “If you’re leaving, please go as far as possible. Don’t let me see or hear you fooling around in Lotus Pier again.”
Wei WuXian felt his brows twitch. He saw Lan WangJi’s right hand press onto his sword and stopped him at once.
Lan WangJi turned to Jiang Cheng, “Watch your words.”
Jiang Cheng was quite blunt, “I think you’re the ones who should watch your actions.”
Wei WuXian’s brows throbbed even harder, and the ominous feeling within him grew as well. He spoke to Lan WangJi, “HanGuang-Jun, let’s go.”
He then turned around and prostrated a few more times before the Jiang couple’s tablets before standing up with Lan WangJi. Jiang Cheng didn’t stop him from prostrating, but he didn’t hide his mocking tone either, “You really should kneel for them properly, having dirtied their eyes and contaminated their peace.”
Wei WuXian threw him a sideways glance, speaking in a calm voice, “I’m only here to burn some incense. That’s enough, isn’t it?”
Jiang Cheng, “Burn some incense? Wei WuXian, are you really that dense? It’s been so long since you were kicked out of our sect, and here you are taking unwelcome people with you to burn incense for my parents?”
Wei WuXian was already about to pass around him and leave. When he heard this, he suddenly stopped, his voice low, “Well, say it out loud. Who’s an unwelcome person?”
If he were alone here, he’d be able to pretend like he heard nothing of what Jiang Cheng said. However, with Lan WangJi with him, no matter what, he wouldn’t want Lan WangJi to suffer through Jiang Cheng’s vulgar remarks and obvious malice alongside him.
Jiang Cheng mocked, “Look how forgetful you are. What does unwelcome people mean? Then let me remind you. It was because you played the hero and saved Second Young Master Lan, who’s standing beside you right now, that the entire Lotus Pier and my parents went down with you. And that wasn’t enough. With the first time, soon comes the second. You even had to save Wen-dogs and drag my sister down with you. What a person you are! What’s more, you’re even so generous as to take the two to Lotus Pier. The Wen-dog’s strolling in front of my sect’s gates; Second Young Master Lan came here to burn incense. You’re here on purpose to remind me, to remind them.” He continued, “Wei WuXian, who do you think you are? Who gave you the face to take whomever you want into our sect’s ancestral hall?”
Wei WuXian knew that Jiang Cheng had to settle this with him no matter what.
For Lotus Pier’s destruction, Jiang Cheng thought not only that Wei WuXian responsible, but also that Wen Ning and Lan WangJi were responsible too. He wouldn’t give a friendly look to either of the three, let alone when they were walking right in front of his face at the same time inside Lotus Pier. He was probably infuriated.