Chapter 78: Premeditated (Part 2)
Translated by Rook of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Looking up from below was the perfect position to see the giant crystal suspended right above the palace. Its sparkling and translucent body faintly refracted light into seven splendid rays, so that it looked like a huge ceiling, sheltering the entire palace from wind and rain.
Feisha sighed and said, “So, this actually has many functions.” Its designer was too intelligent.
Geikie turned his head when he heard Feisha and asked, “Is there anything you would like to know?” (1)
Feisha immediately seized the opportunity to say, “Can you tell us about the palace’s layout? The first time I was here, I was really so curious. If we can tour the palace for a while, I would be so, so grateful.”
Geikie smiled and replied, “Actually, the palace’s layout is not complicated. It is split into five parts: north, east, west, south and center. In the east is the lord and his lady’s residences. In the west is the residences of the heir apparent. In the north is a guest house. The east is used to convene meetings to discuss state affairs with chancellors. The Center is a banquet hall used to host noble guests.”
Feisha said, “Are there any places that are taboo? The lord is not here so I won’t want to cause accidents.”
Geikie, “There’s no real taboo because you can only visit two areas, the north and the center. These are the only two areas open to the public.”
Which was to say, Gin and Hughes could only be hidden in the other three places.
Moreover, the south was a place to handle official affairs. With so many counsellors hurrying in and out and people coming in and out, it was likely very hard to have secretive business held there, so the south could be eliminated. What was left, then, were the east and west sides. One was where the lord lived, one was where the heir apparent lived. Both were very private and very suspicious.
Feisha had quickly analyzed this in his heart.
Just in the span of a few sentences, Geikie had already brought them through a corridor, walking them toward the big tower in the north.
Antonio suddenly said, “Does the palace have a prison?”
Brother, you are really straightforward! (2)
Feisha was quite speechless.
Geikie looked blank for a while. “There is. Are you interested in these matters?”
Antonio was perfectly composed as he said, “Mmm. I work in one.”
So, Noah’s Ark’s kitchen was actually a prison.
…..It couldn’t be that all the criminals had been made into meat products, right?
Feisha’s stomach suddenly felt uncomfortable.
Geikie said, “So that’s how it is. However, the palace prison is a prison in name only. Because ordinary criminals are all imprisoned in the city. Only nobles who are related by blood to the lord of Genesis are imprisoned here. Today, nobles who are related to the lord by blood are few. Those who have committed crimes are even less.”
Feisha and company’s spirits lifted!
Those who were related by blood to the lord were not many and one of them was Hughes!
Antonio obviously had also thought of that. He immediately asked, “Can we visit the prison and have a look?”
Geikie was filled with apology as he replied, “I’m very sorry, you only have permission to visit the north and center.”
Which was also to say that the prison wasn’t in the north and center areas.
They had received so much information from just a few sentences. Feisha and company were full of satisfaction.
Geikie sent them to two spacious guest rooms to rest and informed them that lunch would be served in their rooms for their enjoyment. At night, someone would be sent to bring them to the ball.
Once Geikie left, Feisha immediately chased the only wizard in the room to the adjoining room.
“What should we do now?” Feisha opened his mouth to ask.
Antonio said, “There’s still some time before the ball. Let’s get moving.”
Feisha looked at the brilliant rays of sunlight outside and said blankly, “It’s broad daylight.”
Antonio asked, “So what?”
Feisha replied, “Don’t you think our appearance isn’t very suited for doing sneaky activities in broad daylight?”
Antonio asked, “What’s the difference between day and night?”
“The night is dark.” Hadn’t he heard of In The Heat of the Night? (3)
“But the lights in the palace are bright.”
“…..” That was true, too. Feisha gloomily asked, “Then what should we do? Are we really going to just go out dressed like that and be sneaky in broad daylight?”
Antonio replied, “I guess the prison is either in the east or in the west. A one out of two chance, this chance will decide if we win or lose. Let’s try our luck.”
Feisha turned his head to look at Locktini.
Locktini said coldly, “I want to find Shamal first.”
Locktini said, “You are responsible for him.” Obviously, Feisha’s words, ‘brother-in-law’ had left a deep impression on him.
Antonio became quiet.
“Maybe there is still another possibility.” Isefel’s indifferent voice threw an ice cube into this messy porridge. “Gin and Hughes are not in the palace.”
The ice melted and the porridge became cold.
Feisha steadily asked, “Then what should our next step be?”
“Find Lanka. Everything began because of him.” Isefel’s voice was strong and unwavering, as though like a shot in the arm, clearing everyone’s mind in that moment.
Feisha suddenly understood, clapping his hands together to say, “Yes, Lanka definitely knows something. Otherwise he won’t have such a suspicious illness.”
Locktini was unyielding as he said, “And Shamal?”
Isefel replied, “Do you know where Jesse is?”
Locktini fell silent.
“But now we know exactly where Lanka is.” Isefel said decisively.
“Then, how do we go there?” Feisha spread his hands.
In novels, the hero usually knocked out the guards, changed into their clothes and sneaked in, like passing off fish eyes as pearls. But the problem was that as fish eyes, they were really too different from the actual pearls.
Let alone Locktini. His two sharp ears were a dead giveaway. Feisha and Antonio’s hair weren’t flaxen colored. According to what they had observed in three days, the palace didn’t have the hobby of hiring foreign employees. So their attempt to sneak in wouldn’t be called passing off fish eyes as pearls, but pigs passing off as pearls. (4)
Isefel said, “Split up.”
“Huh?” Feisha was stunned.
Isefel said, “Hopefully, one of you succeeds.”
Don’t tell him it was as the legends said, cast a net widely, and leave it up to the heavens? Feisha thought silently.
Since they were splitting up, they had to leave at different times, too. Locktini was the first to leave. To him, having to listen to Isefel’s commands were very vexing already, let alone enduring Feisha’s admiring compliments.
Antonio was the second.
Feisha was in no hurry. Being able to chat with Isefel for a little longer was pretty nice. “I still think Genesis is quite strange.”
“That is, it feels like Sun Wukong dancing on the Five-Pillared Mountain the Buddha used to imprison him with.” (5) Feisha sat cross-legged on the sofa, supporting his chin with his palm as he looked out at the sky. “Do you think we’ve fallen into someone’s trap?”
Feisha was shocked by his straightforwardness. He was stunned for a moment before he said, “So, now, we are turning their trick on them?”
“No, you are being opportunistic.”
Feisha made a face, 囧囧 and asked, “Are we being a bit too opportunistic?” Being opportunistic didn’t have a lot of guarantees. For example, if he opportunistically drew a six plus one, he wouldn’t hit jackpot even once, not even winning a small five dollar prize. (6)
When lunch time came, they indeed had lunch in their rooms.
Feisha had taken towels, bathrobes, toilet paper, and other things like that — anything he could find — and stuffed them into his blankets. He then put the brooch in there too.
When the attendants came to deliver lunch, he turned in that direction and shouted, “Time to eat.”
Isefel, buried within the blankets, replied, “In a while.”
Feisha purposely muttered to the attendant, “Honestly, sleeping in so late everyday. Leave three sets, please.”
The attendant didn’t suspect anything at all and left three sets. After he left, Feisha let out a breath and repinned the brooch onto his clothes under the cloak.
The lunch that was delivered was meat, again. Feisha had only eaten a couple of bites before he lost his appetite.
“Since the Witch Clan eats meat for every meal, won’t they get constipated?” Feisha gloomily put down his fork.
“Have you seen carnivorous animals look for a vet to cure constipation?”
Isefel was actually joking with him?
Feisha, stunned, replied, “Did they walk or did they fight their way there?”
“Do they have Chinese currency?”
After the assault of ‘constipation’, Feisha felt less tense about any danger that might come next. At least when he was walking, he didn’t have two left feet. The area between the guest rooms and the banquet hall had no restrictions about who could enter, Feisha could walk the whole area without being stopped. Even so, he still felt a little guilty.
That guilty feeling became stronger especially when he reached the corridor connecting the banquet hall to the west.
He said lowly, “Can you contact Locktini and Antonio?”
“No. The crystal here blocks off communication via ordinary gemstones.”
Who would have thought that not only was the reception poor, but even connection using the gemstones didn’t work.
Feisha couldn’t help but worry. “Then what about this brooch?”
“That’s good.” Feisha sighed in relief. He was just about to begin walking to the corridor when he heard Geikie’s voice from behind him. “Is there anything I can help you with?”
“…..” Feisha secretly gritted his teeth and then turned around to say, “I’m very curious about the palace, so I want to tour around for a bit.”
Geikie smiled and said, “If you don’t mind, I can be your guide.”
“I really mind.”
“…..” Geikie’s perfect smile froze for a moment.
Feisha hurriedly tried to smooth things over, “What I meant was, I really mind taking up your time.”
Geikie replied, “It’s no trouble. It is my duty to see to the needs of the esteemed Witch Clan. Please treat this as your home away from home.”
…..Then I want to look around the front yard of my house, okay?
Feisha bit his lip aggrievedly.
“Now, I’ll bring you to see the paintings in the banquet hall. These are some of the best works of the most famous artist in Genesis.” Geikie conscientiously explained. “For example, Master Carman, Master Hobman, Master Shashaman…”
“Is there Master Faster?”
“Ah, so you like Master Festorman? His works are indeed here. Please follow me.”
“…..” As Feisha walked, he looked back, shooting longing glances at the corridor. He hoped that Antonio and Locktini’s luck would be better than his.
After touring a whole round of the esteemed works of the Slow “Masters”, Feisha finally found an opportunity to go back to his room before night could fall. (7) Once he reached the room, he was so tired he didn’t want to move anymore. It wasn’t tiredness from walking one round to view artworks, it was tiredness from dealing with Geikie.
Isefel said, “The ball is about to start.”
Feisha anxiously sat up. “They aren’t back yet. I hope nothing’s happened to them.” If even they went missing, then he would rather go missing too. If you were going to be beheaded whether you stretched your head forward or you shrunk your head backward, either way was probably better than feeling so nervous right now.
Isefel said, “It looks like my guess was right.”
“This is a strategy to target Noah’s Ark.”
T/n: there’s a lot of puns this chapter
(1) Note that every time Geikie speaks to them, it is in a very polite and respectful manner. For example, all the ‘you’ that he uses are the polite version (您 Nín).
(2) The ‘you’ here is 您 Nín, the polite version of ‘you’. It shows Feisha’s flabbergasted admiration of Antonio lol.
(3) The original Chinese is: 月黑风高杀人夜 Yuè hēi fēng gāo shārén yè. I think Feisha is referring to the Chinese name of the movie, In the Heat of the Night (dir. Norman Jewison, 1967).
(4) Pun time! The Chinese words for pearl 珠 Zhū and pig 猪 Zhū are homonyms.
(5) Feisha is referring to the the classic, Journey to the West. In the story, Sun Wukong tries to outsmart the Buddha and the other gods. In punishment, the Buddha turns his hand into a five-pillared mountain and imprisons Sun Wukong at the bottom of it for five hundred years. You can read more here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sun_Wukong
(6) This whole part is quite hard to translate. It depends on a pun and I couldn’t find an English equivalent, sorry guys!! So, okay, Isefel says that Feisha and the others are 随机应变 Suíjīyìngbiàn. This is an idiom that literally means: ‘adapting to and responding to random changes’. The English equivalent is ‘resourceful’ or even ‘opportunistic’ (which is what I chose).
Feisha then puns on this as he asks, ‘aren’t we being too 随机 Suíjī?’ He’s using the first two words of the idiom, which, by themselves, mean ‘random’. He carries on to say that being random doesn’t have guarantees. He can randomly draw six plus one and not even win a prize.
(7) This whole exchange is a pun. Geikie is listing all the names of the Masters and Feisha interrupts to ask, 有快点的大师吗？Yǒu kuài diǎn de dàshī ma? (is there Master Faster?) Geikie thinks he means Master 库爱迪 Kù ài dí (Foster). Note the similar pinyin.
There’s another pun. All the Masters have -man as part of their names 曼 Màn (Carman, Hobman, Shashaman, Festorman). The Chinese word for ‘slow’ is 慢 Màn. The two words sound exactly the same, they’re only written differently. That’s why Feisha says that he toured a whole round of the ‘Slow Masters’.