Please do NOT comment with ANY spoilers!! Thank you!
Chapter 89: Loyalty—Part Eleven
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Only after pausing blankly for a long while did Jiang Cheng finally shout, “What nonsense are you talking about?!”
Wen Ning seemed to be composed, “It’s not nonsense.”
Jiang Cheng, “Shut up! My core was… My core was…”
Wen Ning, “Was mended by BaoShan SanRen.”
Jiang Cheng, “How do you know? He even told you about this?”
Wen Ning, “He didn’t. Young Master Wei never mentioned it to anyone. I saw it with my own eyes.”
Jiang Cheng’s eyes were bloodshot as he laughed, “Liar! You were there? How could you have been there?! I was the only one who went up the mountain; you couldn’t have followed me!”
Wen Ning, “I didn’t follow you. I’d been on the mountain ever since the beginning.”
Veins lined Jiang Cheng’s forehead, “… Liar!”
Wen Ning, “Just listen and see if I’m lying! You had a piece of black cloth over your eyes when you went up the mountain. You were holding a long branch in your hand. You passed a stone forest when you were about to reach the top and you only managed to go around it after almost an entire hour.”
The muscles on Jiang Cheng’s face twitched slightly. Wen Ning continued, “And then you heard bell chimes. The chimes sent a flock of birds flying away. You held the branch tight in your hand, like holding a sword. When the bell chimes stopped, a sword was pressed against the center of your chest. You heard a woman’s voice, ordering you to stop going forward.”
Jiang Cheng’s entire body started to tremble as Wen Ning raised his voice, “You immediately stopped in your tracks, looking extremely nervous, almost a bit excited. The woman’s voice was very low. She asked you whom you were and how you found this place. You answered…”
Jiang Cheng roared, “Shut up!”
Wen Ning roared as well, “… You answered, you were Wei Ying, son of CangSe SanRen*! You talked about the destruction of your sect, the pandemonium at Lotus Pier, and that your golden core was dissolved by Wen ZhuLiu, the Core-Melting Hand. The woman asked you questions about your parents over and over again, and when you answered the last question, you suddenly caught the scent of something fragrant before you lost consciousness…”
*pronunciation change due to audio drama pronouncing it cang instead of zang.
Jiang Cheng seemed almost as if he was about to cover his ears with his hands, “Why do you know? How do you know?!”
Wen Ning, “Haven’t I told you already? I was right there, but not only that, Young Master Wei was there as well. Apart from us, there was also my sister, Wen Qing. In other words, on the entire mountain, we three were the only ones waiting for you.”
“Sect Leader Jiang, did you really think that it was the secluded residence of some… some BaoShan SanRen? Young Master Wei himself didn’t know where on Earth to find such a place either. His mother CangSe SanRen never revealed anything about where her teacher was to that young of a child! The mountain was nothing more than one of Yiling’s barren peaks!”
Shouting his voice hoarse, Jiang Cheng repeated the same things again and again, as if to use the malicious expression to conceal his sudden lack of words, “Nonsense! That’s fucking enough! Then why was my core mended?!”
Wen Ning, “Your core was never mended in the first place. It’d long since been completely melted by Wen ZhuLiu! The reason you thought it was mended was that my sister Wen Qing, the best medic of the QishanWen Sect, cut out Young Master Wei’s golden core and replaced yours with it!”
Jiang Cheng’s face was completely blank for a moment, “Replaced mine with it?”
Wen Ning, “That’s right! Why do you think he never used Suibian again and never carried it with him when he went out? Was it really because of some youthful arrogance? Could he have really enjoyed it when others said that he was impolite and lacked discipline, whether behind his back or not? It was because even if he carried it, there’d be no use! It was only because… if he carried his sword to those banquets and night-hunts, there’d definitely be people asking to duel him for whatever reasons. And he, without his golden core, was deprived of spiritual energy. If he used his sword, he wouldn’t be able to last long at all…”
Jiang Cheng stood blankly. His eyes glowed green. His lips quivered. He even forgot to use Zidian. Suddenly, he threw Suibian down and struck hard against Wen Ning’s chest with his hand, shouting, “Liar!”
Wen Ning staggered a few steps back from the force. He picked up Suibian, put it back inside its sheath, and shoved it into Jiang Cheng’s arms again, “Take it!”
Jiang Cheng couldn’t help but to take the sword. He didn’t move. Instead, at a loss as to what to do, he looked across at where Wei WuXian was. It was fine when he didn’t look, but now that he looked, Wei WuXian’s feeble appearance—pale-faced, blood still at the corners of his lips—hit his heart as though it were a hammer. Lan WangJi’s eyes chilled the air around his body, making it feel like a cave of ice.
Wen Ning, “Take this sword and go to the banquet hall, to the training field, to anywhere you want and ask every single person you see to pull the sword out. See if any one of them can pull it out! And then you’ll know if I’m lying or not! Sect Leader Jiang—you, so driven of a person, have been comparing yourself to others your whole life, but you have to know that you never should’ve been able to equal him!”
Jiang Cheng kicked Wen Ning before he stumbled toward the banquet hall, holding Suibian in his hand.
He bellowed as he ran in an almost crazed manner. Wen Ning was kicked onto one of the trees in the courtyard. He stood up slowly and turned to the other two. Lan WangJi’s immaculate face was at the moment more than pale. His expression was also covered in frost. After one last look at the YunmengJiang Sect’s ancestral hall, he lifted Wei WuXian’s body so that it rested steadily and finally walk away in the opposite direction without turning back.
Wen Ning, “Y-Young Master Lan, where are you going?”
Lan WangJi’s figure paused before the stairs, “Just now, he told me to take him away.”
Wen Ning followed at once, walking out the gates of Lotus Pier along with him.
At the dock, most of the group of boats that they used to come here had already gone back after they arrived at the destination. Only two old, unattended ferries were left in front of the dock. The ferries were both long and narrow, shaped like willow leaves, able to contain seven or eight people. Both ends of each ferry curved upward, with two oars at one end. Carrying Wei WuXian on his back, Lan WangJi stepped onto the ferry without any hesitation. With hurry, Wen Ning leaped onto the tail of the boat, taking up the oars voluntarily. With just two rows, the ferry steadily drifted quite a few feet away. Soon, the ferry had followed the water’s flow away from the dock, approaching the center of the river.
Lan WangJi let Wei WuXian lean on his body. He first fed him two pills. Only after he confirmed that he swallowed them properly did he take out his handkerchief and slowly wipe away the blood on his face.
Suddenly, Wen Ning’s nervous voice came over, “Y-Young Master Lan.”
Lan WangJi, “What is it?”
Wen Ning’s assertion back when he was in front of Jiang Cheng had already disappeared without a trace. He summoned up all his courage before speaking, “Please… Please don’t tell Young Master Wei that I revealed the secret of his core yet. He’s warned me very seriously to not tell anyone no matter what. Although I probably wouldn’t be able to keep him in the dark for long, I…”
After a moment of silence, Lan WangJi replied, “Do not worry.”
It seemed that Wen Ning let out a sigh of relief, even though dead people had no breath to sigh. He spoke earnestly, “Young Master Lan, thank you.”
Lan WangJi shook his head. Wen Ning, “Thank you for speaking up for me and my sister back then, on Koi Tower. I’ve always remembered it. For how I lost control afterwards, I… really am sorry.”
Lan WangJi didn’t answer. Wen Ning continued, “Thank you even more for looking after A-Yuan all these years.”
Hearing this, Lan WangJi looked up slightly. Wen Ning, “I thought every single person from our sect was dead. I really didn’t expect that A-Yuan would still be alive. He looks so much like my cousin when he was around twenty.”
Lan WangJi, “He hid inside the tree trunk for too long and caught a severe fever.”
Wen Ning nodded, “I know he must’ve been sick. He remembers nothing of his childhood. I chatted with him for a long time. He kept on talking about you.” He said somewhat disappointedly, “In the past, it was about Young Master Wei… It’s never been about me, anyways.”
Lan WangJi, “You did not tell him.”
Wen Ning, “You mean his background? No, I didn’t.”
He turned around with his back facing the two, speaking as he rowed the ferry diligently, “He’s doing very well right now. If he knew too much or remembered things that are too heavy… he wouldn’t be doing as well as he is right now.”
Lan WangJi, “It is only a matter of time.”
Wen Ning hesitated for a moment, “Yes. It’s only a matter of time.” He looked up at the sky, “Just like Young Master Wei and Sect Leader Jiang. It was only a matter of time before Sect Leader Jiang knew about the core. He couldn’t have kept it from Sect Leader Jiang for his whole life, could he?”
The night was silent, and the river’s flow heavy.
Suddenly, Lan WangJi spoke up, “Is it painful?”
Wen Ning, “What?”
Lan WangJi, “Cutting out one’s core. Is it painful?”
Wen Ning, “If I said it wasn’t, Young Master Lan, you wouldn’t believe it either, would you?”
Lan WangJi, “I thought Wen Qing would find a way.”
Wen Ning, “Before we went up the mountain, my sister did make many anesthetics, hoping they’d reduce the pain of cutting out his core. But then she found out that those anesthetics were absolutely useless. Because if the person is under anesthetized conditions when the core is being cut out, seperating from the body, the core would be affected as well. It was hard to tell whether it’d dissolve, when it’d dissolve.”
Lan WangJi, “… And so?”
Wen Ning’s rowing paused for an instant, “And so, the person whose core is being cut out has to be awake.”
He had to be awake. He had to watch the golden core connected to his spiritual pathways be peeled from his body. He had to feel the gradual suppression, sedation, settlement of his originally surging spiritual powers, all until they became a pool of dead water, unable to rise ever again.
Only after a long while did Lan WangJi’s voice sound again, somewhat hoarse. The first word seemed to tremble, “Constantly awake?”
Wen Ning, “Two nights and one day. Constantly awake.”
Lan WangJi, “What were the chances?”
Wen Ning, “About half.”
“Half.” Soundlessly, Lan WangJi took in a deep breath. He then shook his head, repeating, “… Half.”
He tightened the arm he wrapped around Wei WuXian’s shoulders. His knuckles were already growing white.
Wen Ning, “After all, in the past, nobody had ever actually tried transferring golden cores before. Although my sister had written an essay on core transfer, she’d only made some conjectures. Nobody at all would let her experiment on them, so the conjectures stayed conjectures. All of the seniors said that she was letting her imagination run wild. On top of that, it was unrealistic. Everyone knew that nobody would willingly give their golden core to someone else, for if this really happened, they themselves would become absolutely useless, never able to reach the pinnacle or go anywhere in life at all. And so, when Young Master Wei first came back for us, my sister refused to do it. She warned him that the article and actually conducting the experiment were two different things. She was not even half confident.
“But Young Master Wei kept on bothering her. He said that half was fine too. There was an equal chance of succeeding and failing. If his core was ruined, he’d manage to live on, but Sect Leader Jiang was a different case. He was too driven. He laid too much emphasis on such a subject. Cultivation was his life. If Sect Leader Jiang could only be an ordinary person, unable to go anywhere in life, his entire life would be over.”
Lan WangJi looked down. His glass-like eyes gazed at Wei WuXian’s face as he extended his hand. In the end, he only brushed the tip of his finger against Wei WuXian’s cheek, almost unnoticeably.
Wen Ning turned around. He couldn’t help but ask, “Young Master Lan, you don’t seem too surprised about this. Did you… Did you know about this as well?”
“…” Lan WangJi managed, “I only knew that his spiritual powers were somehow impaired.”
But to think this was the truth.
Wen Ning, “If not because of this…”
If not because there really wasn’t a second path to walk on.
At this point, the head leaning against Lan WangJi’s shoulder shifted slightly. Wei WuXian’s lashes trembled as he slowly awakened.
Please do NOT comment with ANY spoilers!! Thank you!