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Chapter 90: Longing—Part One
Translated by K of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Wen Ning immediately shut his mouth. Amid the gurgles of the boat being rowed forward, Wei WuXian opened his eyes with a terrible headache.
Leaning completely on Lan WangJi’s body, he realized that they weren’t in Lotus Pier anymore. For a long while, he couldn’t figure out what was happening. Only when he saw the splatters of blood on Lan WangJi’s left sleeve, like a string of plum blossoms resting on snow, did he finally recall what happened before he passed out from anger. His expression twisted at once as he suddenly sat upright. Lan WangJi went to help him, but the ringing in Wei WuXian’s ears hadn’t stopped yet. A heavy scent of blood also felt stuffed in his chest. It was more than uncomfortable.
He was worried that he might cough blood onto the clean-loving Lan WangJi again. Waving his hand, he turned around to one side and tried to hold it back for a while, supporting himself on the rail of the boat. Lan WangJi knew that he wasn’t feeling well. Silent, he didn’t ask anything. He lay one hand on his back, sending him a warm thread of spiritual energy.
As the iron taste in his throat passed, Wei WuXian finally turned back around, letting Lan WangJi remove his hand. After a while of sitting quietly, he finally tried to ask, “HanGuang-Jun, how did we get out?”
Wen Ning’s expression immediately grew nervous. He stopped rowing as well. As expected, Lan WangJi kept his promise and said nothing of the secret. However, he didn’t lie and make up an explanation either. His words were simple, “We fought.”
Wei WuXian reached out with one hand and massaged his chest, as if trying to break up the pent-up feeling inside his heart. A moment later, he blurted, “I knew Jiang Cheng wouldn’t have let us go so easily. That brat… How could this be?!”
Lan WangJi frowned, his voice deep, “Do not mention him.”
Hearing how displeased his tone was, Wei WuXian paused in surprise. He immediately replied, “Okay. I won’t mention him.”
After some thought, he began again, “Um, HanGuang-Jun, don’t mind the things he said, alright?”
Lan WangJi, “Which sentence?”
Wei WuXian’s eyelids throbbed, “Every one of them. The brat’s been like this ever since he was young. He’ll say anything when he’s angry, no matter how bad it is. He gives up on all grace and discipline whatsoever. As long as it’d annoy whomever he’s against, he’d say it no matter what terrible insults he uses. After all these years, he hasn’t gotten better at all. Please don’t take it to heart.”
He spoke as he secretly paid attention to Lan WangJi’s expression. Slowly, his heart sunk.
Wei WuXian originally thought—or hoped—that Lan WangJi wouldn’t take those words to heart. But unexpectedly, Lan WangJi didn’t look too well. He didn’t even reply with a ‘mn.’
It looked like Lan WangJi was even more displeased at Jiang Cheng’s insults than he had thought. Perhaps he simply didn’t like Jiang Cheng’s character, or perhaps… he was especially intolerant of being called ‘shameless,’ ‘lacking in integrity,’ and ‘an unwelcome person.’ After all, the GusuLan Sect was known for its motto of ‘be righteous.’ HanGuang-Jun himself had never been associated with such words either.
Although in the past few days, he felt that Lan WangJi probably regarded him highly and differently from other people, he’d never dared to guess just how ‘highly’ it was or if ‘differently’ was the kind that he thought. Wei WuXian never thought of being confident as bad, and in fact prided himself on such a thought. Legends often gossipped about the YiLing Patriarch’s allegedly amorous life, but in reality, he’d never experienced such hectic feelings before. He used to think that Lan WangJi was too easy of a person to understand, but things were different now. He feared that he was the only one who thought of them that way, that it was all his own wishful thinking, that he was too confident for his own good.
Lan WangJi stayed silent. Wei WuXian wanted to bluff it out with some kind of joke, what he was best at, but was the worried that the forced laughter would result in awkwardness. After some hesitation, he asked suddenly, “Where are we going?”
The change of topic was extremely stiff, but Lan WangJi continued obediently, “Where do you want to go?”
Wei WuXian rubbed the back of his head, “We don’t know ZeWu-Jun’s situation yet. We don’t know what those people intend on doing either. How about we go to Lanling first…” All of a sudden, he remembered something, “No. Not Lanling yet. We’re going to Yunping City.”
Lan WangJi, “Yunping City?”
Wei WuXian, “Yes. Yunping City of Yunmeng. I’ve told you, haven’t I? Back on Koi Tower, I saw my manuscripts in the secret chamber of Fragrant Palace. Right beside my manuscripts was a title deed of a place in Yunping City. The LanlingJin Sect has both wealth and power. I’m thinking that if it weren’t for some hidden reason, then Jin GuangYao wouldn’t have kept the title deed in such a manner. Maybe we’ll find some things there.”
Lan WangJi nodded. At this point, Wen Ning spoke up, “Young Master, is Yunping City in this direction then?”
Wei WuXian, “What?!”
Both he and Lan WangJi sat with their backs facing the tail of the boat, which was why he hadn’t seen Wen Ning. With someone speaking up behind him so suddenly, he immediately felt his scalp tingle, rolling around before asking in shock, “Why are you here?!”
Looking up, Wen Ning answered with a blank expression, “Me? I’ve always been here.”
Wei WuXian, “Then why didn’t you say anything?”
Wen Ning, “I saw that you were talking to HanGuang-Jun, Young Master, so I didn’t…”
Wei WuXian, “Then shouldn’t you have at least made a noise??”
Holding up the oar in his hand, Wen Ning protested, “Young Master, I’ve been rowing the boat. I’ve always been making noise. Haven’t you heard?”
“…” Wei WuXian waved his hand, “I didn’t notice. Enough, enough, stop rowing. The waters are fast here at night. The boat will go without you rowing.”
He grew up in Yunmeng, flapping about in the waters here ever since he was young, so of course he was familiar. Wen Ning obeyed and put down the oar. With much reservation, he sat at the end, almost six feet away from the two of them. It was three in the morning when they arrived at Yunmeng. After so many things happened, dawn was already breaking. White glowed behind the deep blue of the sky. The mountains on the two sides of the river finally came into view.
Looking around, Wei WuXian suddenly exclaimed, “I’m hungry.”
Lan WangJi looked up. Of course, Wei WuXian wasn’t hungry at all. He had just eaten three pies at the vendor in front of Lotus Pier’s gates. Lan WangJi only ate one, however, and it was the only thing he’d eaten in the past two days. The matter was on Wei WuXian’s mind. Before them, there seemed to be almost no signs of human habitation. It was likely that they’d have to keep drifting for a long while to reach a town or a city to rest and dine.
Lan WangJi replied a moment later, “Pull over?”
Wei WuXian, “There aren’t many people on the shores here, but I know somewhere to go.”
At once, Wen Ning picked up the oar and rowed toward the direction he pointed. Soon, the ferry turned to a side branch of the river and drifted into a lotus lake.
In the lake were lotus leaves of all different heights, almost forming a blanket. The thin ferry broke through the crowded stems and coasted toward the depths of the lake. Viewed from above, following the ferry was a string of waving lotus leaves. To roam amid the green umbrellas, push a large leave aside, and find plump seed pods hidden underneath, one after another—it was like finding a small treasure. Grinning, Wei WuXian was just about to reach out and grab them when Lan WangJi suddenly called, “Wei Ying.”
Wei WuXian, “What’s wrong?”
Lan WangJi, “Is there an owner to this lake?”
Wei WuXian’s face was completely honest, “Of course not.”
Of course there was. Ever since Wei WuXian was eleven, he’d often stolen lotus seed pods and water chestnuts in the many lakes of Yunmeng. He’d originally given up the hobby for a long time, but now that they needed to obtain food so that they could keep going, he had to go back to his old ways again.
Lan WangJi’s voice seemed lukewarm, “I heard the lotus lakes around here all have owners.”
“…” Wei WuXian, “Hahahahahaha really? That’s too bad. You’ve really heard of a lot of things, haven’t you? I haven’t even heard of this. Let’s go then.”
Having been exposed, of course he wasn’t so shameless as to make Lan WangJi join him in doing such foolish things. That the renowned HanGuang-Jun would steal lotus seed pods in someone else’s lake really didn’t seem appropriate. Just as he was about to pick up the oar in embarrassment, Lan WangJi reached out and plucked off one of the seed pods.
He handed the seed pod to Wei WuXian, “There is no next time.”
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