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Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations


Dawn was late in the North, as it should be the time when the roosters crowed, but the horizon was still a hazy ink-blue. Xiahou Lian got up very early and harnessed the horses in the stable to the carriage, leading them to the main gate. Chi Yan moved some bedding over, following Xiahou Lian’s instructions to cover the carriage compartment to be soft and compact. Xiahou Lian went to find a hand warmer, and he heated it up before stuffing it into the bedding.

The underlings also successively got up, carrying their sabers and gathering in the courtyard. When they saw Chi Yan pulling a carriage, they all looked at one another.

“Master Chi Yan, why did you harness the carriage?” an underling asked.

Chi Yan didn’t reply and only looked silently behind them. Everyone turned their heads around and saw Xiahou Lian carrying Shen Jue and walking out of his room. Shen Jue was laying in Xiahou Lian’s arms, staring fixedly at Xiahou Lian, yet he wasn’t moving. Xiahou Lian didn’t look at him either, and directly passed by the dumbfounded group of people and put Shen Jue into the carriage. Xiahou Lian put the hand warmer into the fold of Shen Jue’s clothes, tucked in the quilt corners for him, and finally touched his icy cheeks.

“This anesthetic can numb an ox, but I was afraid of hurting you, so I added water. However, it’s still enough to last a day. Stop struggling, I won’t let you go up the mountain.” Xiahou Lian lowered his head and looked at him. “Chi Yan and I are originally people about to die, but you have the prime of your life. You can’t take the risk together with us, go back and live your life well, don’t keep thinking about me. If I can survive, I’ll return to find you, and when the time comes, you can hit me and scold me however you want.”

Shen Jue forcibly closed his eyes, his mouth bitter. He had been too careless, as he had originally thought that they were already at this point, so Xiahou Lian was helpless no matter how opposed he was. However, he hadn’t thought that Xiahou Lian would actually play dirty. In the darkness, a gentle kiss landed on his forehead. He opened his eyes and saw Xiahou Lian smile at him and place a folded piece of paper next to his pillow.

“This…” Xiahou Lian paused, as if speaking was difficult, “is my last letter.”

Shen Jue widened his eyes as he looked at him and shed tears. Tears flowed out of his eyes like a spring, dripping onto the hair at his temples and soaking the pillow. Xiahou Lian wiped his tears for him and smiled apologetically. “Young Master, I seem to always make you cry.”

His limbs were numb, as if he had sleep paralysis. Shen Jue wanted to get up and speak, yet he couldn’t do anything.

Xiahou Lian gazed silently at him for a while before finally saying softly, “Young Master, goodbye.”

He left and went out, and the curtains fell down. It was a hazy expanse of darkness inside the carriage again, with only a ray of light filtering in from the window grid. Shen Jue heard Xiahou Lian say outside, “Fifteen people will send the governor back to the capital, the rest will follow me up the mountain.”

The carriage started, and deep ruts spread out on the slush. On that end was Shen Jue in the carriage, and on this end was Xiahou Lian gazing distantly. Xiahou Lian led everyone and began to ascend the mountain, and shooting hooks into the rock, they climbed the mountain along the hooks. The sun was about to come out, so a pale green tinted the originally azure blue end. Xiahou Lian was suspended from the cliff, and he turned his head to look back at the distant carriage. It had already become a small black dot, slowly advancing on the pure white snowfield.

He recalled his last letter; he had spent a very, very long time writing that letter, as he had too many things he wanted to say, but in the end, he could say nothing. He thought that his biggest creditor in this life was Shen Jue, as he owed him a debt that couldn’t even be paid with his life. He really wanted to spend a lifetime repaying him, and it was best if it was all the way until he was seventy, eighty, ninety years old… He would repay his debt with the songs and dances on Qinhuai River, repay his debt with the bell tolls of Hanshan Temple, the alcohol 1 from the Miao area in Bashu and the setting sun on yellow sand beyond the Great Wall, and when they were too old to walk anymore, he would build a small house at the foot of a lush mountain… They would lie in the small house and close their eyes, and his lifetime of debt would reach an end.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t give anything in the end; he would bring his debts to the opposite shore of the netherworld.


The carriage jolted, and the last letter slowly unfolded in the continuous shaking. Shen Jue saw the hazy handwriting on one corner of the letter——

“Young Master, I’m sorry, I’ve let you down this time.”

Xiahou Lian and his group climbed up nonstop. Along the way on crevices in rocks and old pine tree branches that stretched out of the cliffs, they encountered pale skeletons one after another. Chi Yan said that they were Garan’s ancestors. They had come alone, yet they had died midway. When everyone looked up, a white bone would be exposed from time to time in the rocks. They practically blended into one with the snow, and they had a sparkling luster under the pale morning light. No one knew their names, and their sabers had also sunk deeply into the snow, only revealing a rusted hilt. 

It turned out that the Baili house was Garan’s main hall, and it was also where assassins were buried. This Xue Mountain was the assassins’ true saber graveyard.

After climbing up a cliff, Chi Yan took off his cloth bundle and put the steamed buns and salted vegetables that were inside on the ground. 

“Master Chi Yan, what are you doing?” an underling asked.

Chi Yan said, “The abbot said that when we see our ancestors, we should invite them to a meal.”

He turned his head to look at Xiahou Lian.

Xiahou Lian silently walked over, and the two of them knelt down facing Xue Mountain. Xiahou Lian took out a wine flask and poured the liquor into the snow.

“We assassins have no name and no surname, no king and no father, no home and no country. We hold the Bodhi saber, the blade of life and death. We kill innocents, sinners, ordinaries, generals and ministers. The darkness is our brother, the long night is our relative. We are the shadows in light, the ghosts in night, the moths in fire. We commit sins, kill gratitudes and grudges. We enter the gate of liberation and obtain immortality. May you and the souls of our ancestors be reborn in the Land of Bliss and reach eternity together.

“The twenty-ninth Garuda, Xiahou Lian.”

“The thirtieth Garuda, Xiahou Chiyan.”

“May all ancestors protect us two brothers to advance unimpeded.” Xiahou Lian enunciated, “Alas, may you taste this offering!”

The snowy wind came through the mountain, and the heavy snow that filled the sky drifted profusely like fluttering white flags of surrender. Amid the vast and heavy snow, the underlings seemed to hear the low whispers of ghosts—— “Reborn in the Land of Bliss and reach eternity together,” “reborn in the Land of Bliss and reach eternity together,” “reborn in the Land of Bliss and reach eternity together.” The sounds were like the heavy ringing of bells, whirling and swaying, fluttering in the falling snow.

Xiahou Lian and Chi Yan kowtowed three times, and snow covered their bodies.

The underlings didn’t say anything and listened silently to the soughing howls in the wind and snow. This place seemed to be quieted, containing a deathlike silence, and only ghosts could speak in whispers. For an instant, they suddenly felt that this place originally should be the resting place of deceased souls, and they were living people who had mistakenly entered a forbidden area.

Xiahou Lian stood up from the snowy ground and said to them, “If Chi Yan and I are exposed later, after you all finish setting fires, withdraw by yourselves, don’t worry about us.”

“How can this work?” Xi Xuan frowned. 

Xiahou Lian shook his head and said, “Do as I say.”

Only then did the underlings discover that Chi Yan’s cloth bundle was already almost empty, and that he hadn’t kept provisions for the return trip. This assassination only had sabers and no sheathes. These two men hadn’t planned on returning alive from the beginning; they were Garan assassins, so they had the same destiny as these deceased souls——

Their bones buried in Xue Mountain and their souls chasing the falling snow.


Shen Jue took a deep breath and clenched his fist. He could already move his fingers; this anesthetic wasn’t as strong as Xiahou Lian had said it was, so either he had mixed in too much water or he had bought a fake. Xiahou Lian had always stayed under his eyes, so this anesthetic had probably been bought by Chi Yan. That brat Chi Yan; Shen Jue was so angry his vision became black. He had originally thought that he was an honest and simple-minded person, so he hadn’t expected that he would be a double-dealer!

Shen Jue put his elbow against the carriage plank, wanting to get up. His body trembled continuously, and he couldn’t exert strength. He gritted his teeth and persisted for a while, but he still laid back down. Although it had only been a short time, his head was already covered in sweat. He tried again, but it still didn’t work, and he relaxed and gazed at the carriage ceiling, panting. After resting for a while, he reached for the carriage side, wanting to lean on it for strength. His fingers trembled, and his fingertips turned green from exerting force, yet it was still to no avail.

Bastard, this bastard Xiahou Lian! Shen Jue closed his eyes and panted in huffs.

The carriage was going fast, so it kept rocking. Something fell out from his waist with a dull thud. He reached out and felt a cold and firm hilt inlaid with gold.

It was his dagger.


Snow covered the entire mountain, and the snow that had accumulated on the ground was enough to submerge one’s heels. The patrolling assassins were resting underneath a pine tree and eating rations. Someone went out to relieve himself, and the warm liquid spilled out with rising steam, soon turning into ice. Someone put a hand on his shoulder and smiled. “Let’s go to the lavatory together?”

Then, he felt an abrupt pain, and his pupils dilated. The hand covered his mouth, and his scream was stuffed back into his throat. He pried twice at the hands of the person behind him before weakly sagging down.

Xiahou Lian pushed him into the snow, put on his mask, and turned around to walk toward the assassins in the center. He took out handbows with both hands from behind his waist and shot out short arrows from the left and right, penetrating the center of two people’s foreheads at the same time. Tiny sprays of blood spurted out of their heads, like bright plum blossom makeup, containing a bloody beauty. The assassins were horrified and drew their sabers one after another. However, countless assassins descended from the sky, goose quill sabers slicing through the falling snow and blood spraying like fireworks.

Someone escaped, but Chi Yan walked out from behind a tree and brushed shoulders past him. No one saw Shana leave its scabbard, but the person had already fallen down, covering his neck.

They buried the bodies and hid the bloodstains. Everyone put on masks and walked toward the marquis manor.

After going out of the forest, they still had to walk on a mountain road for a bit, and after passing a seven-arch bridge, they could see the marquis manor. It was a huge and towering black brick wall, crouching in the snow and wind like dark rolling clouds, seemingly slicing the world into two. The snow fog was too thick, so it was difficult to see, and lanterns were still lit during the day. Lanterns so big one could wrap their arms around them hung on both sides under the wall, faintly emanating a small halo of light, the only warm colors in the vast wind and snow. A side gate was open below, and two lines of assassins were standing in front of the doorway.

The underlings quietly replaced everyone and pushed open the front door for Xiahou Lian and Chi Yan.

“Both of you, please be careful!”

Xiahou Lian patted an underling’s shoulder and turned around, stepping across the threshold with Chi Yan. The door knocker clanged, the front door was closed behind them,  and the corridor ahead became clear. The walls had been smoked pitch-black, and half of the festooned doorway in the distance had collapsed. The carved stone tablet had been broken into two pieces, one half of it sunk in the snow. A huge and ancient tree spanned across the dilapidated building. It had been burned, and white snow covered the black wood, containing an indescribable desolation.

However, the first thing that came into view wasn’t the ruins, but instead… dense snowmen.

Snowmen stood in every corner, three in a group, the two on the sides tall and the center one short. They had chubby bodies, white and round, like soup meatballs piled together. Two thin branches were inserted obliquely into their bodies; they were their thin and delicate hands. The three snowmen were holding one another’s hands, and some snowmen’s heads hadn’t been placed straight, so they seemed to be wagging their heads. 

“Has this place always been in ruins?” Xiahou Lian furrowed his brow tightly. “And have these snowmen always been here?”

Chi Yan walked in front of a snowman and looked at the snowman’s pitch-black eyes through his white porcelain mask. “Not before Baili Yuan became the Yama.”

“…” Xiahou Lian said, “I mean, has Baili Yuan never rebuilt the marquis manor?”

“Mn, she has not.”

“Why didn’t she rebuild it?” Xiahou Lian examined the snowmen. “These snowmen seem like a family, is it a father and mother with their child?”

Chi Yan went around to behind the snowmen; “Chi Yan-gege” was written on the back of the snowman on the left, “A-Chu-jiejie” was on the right, and “A-Yuan” was in the center. Xiahou Lian also clearly discovered it and looked at the backs of the snowmen one after another: “Chi Yan-gege” “A-Chu-jiejie” “A-Yuan”, “Chi Yan-gege” “A-Chu-jiejie” “A-Yuan”, the same snowmen one after another, the same writing one after another, repeating stubbornly and filling the desolate ruins.

“Because a world alone is in ruins,” Chi Yan said softly.

Heavy snow swirled, and amid the bleak snowy wind, sounds of a xun faintly sounded, hidden in the fluttering snowflakes, as fine and fractured as whispers. Chi Yan listened quietly, and he suddenly recalled that he seemed to have saved a girl the year he was fourteen years old. He had been playing the xun next to a pond, a song that the abbot had given him. The abbot had said that he should play the xun when he was lonely, since the xun sounds were like low and murmuring whispers, so he could pretend that other people were talking to him. He actually felt that the abbot had been a little stupid about this, because his mouth was playing the xun so he couldn’t respond. This was talking to oneself, so it was still very lonesome.

But he still played, and his xun sounds were scattered in the moonlight, like a white butterfly flapping its wings, solitarily flying toward the distant horizon. He forgot how long he had played for, but he stopped when he was tired from playing and wanted to go back inside to sleep. When he passed through the corridor, he saw that girl leaning against a column, her chin placed on her knees, a tiny ball.

He remembered those small and pale cheeks in the blue moonlight.

It was her, Baili Yuan.

It turned out that they had met a very long time ago, when they still hadn’t become mortal enemies yet.

A white gauze lantern swayed amid the wind and snow, and he recalled the wish Baili Yuan had written on the sky lantern——

Our family will be together forever.

“Go, Xiao Lian, follow the sounds of the xun, find her,” Chi Yan turned around and walked forward, “and kill her.”


Shen Jue breathed slowly, his hands opening and closing. The snow was flat, but the carriage still couldn’t help but shake. The small lantern on the lamp holder outside knocked against the wall of the carriage, and he listened quietly. He waited for the numbness to recede a little more before his body finally had a bit of strength. He reached toward the dagger little by little and held the inlaid gold hilt in his palm, the complicated patterns on the hilt rubbing against his palm and hurting slightly. He braced himself and sat up, but his hands and feet were still soft, and his body couldn’t help but sag down. He turned around and leaned against the side of the carriage, clenched his fingers, and drew out the dagger with a trembling hand, slicing a line on his left arm.

Excruciating pain filled his entire body as war blood gushed out, dampening his sleeve. His body was still numb, as it wasn’t painful enough, so Shen Jue gritted his teeth tightly and sliced a second time, then a third. The pain drowned out the anesthetic, and his strength slowly recovered. He lifted the curtain with trembling hands, and wind and snow poured in directly toward his head. The underling driving the carriage looked back in surprise and saw his pale face and angry expression. 

“Now, right now, go back!”


The assassins were like silent ghosts roaming in the ruins, their black figures vaguely appearing and disappearing in the pale snow fog. They didn’t speak to one another, so Xiahou Lian and Chi Yan also didn’t dare to converse. They quietly passed through a collapsed winding corridor and passed by courtyards and halls that had been burned to be jet-black. The sounds of the xun became closer and closer, dissipating in the heavens and earth, and it seemed to tremble a little, like drifting snowflakes.

They passed by a hut, and three snowmen gazed quietly at them through the moon gate. Chi Yan didn’t stop and walked into a winding corridor. Xiahou Lian took a few glances before following behind him. The winding corridor had twists and turns, leading to the depths of the snow fog. The sounds of the xun didn’t stop; it was clear and bright, and a little cold and lonely. Xiahou Lian felt a little uneasy, as this xun sound was like a flickering ghost, guiding them to an unknown death trap.

They walked into a barren garden, and in front of a faded column, in the center of a frozen pond, they saw Baili Yuan. Her back was facing them, and she was sitting cross-legged on the ice, a hazy and petite figure in the heavy snow.

“Are you going or am I going?” Xiahou Lian asked in a low voice.

Chi Yan didn’t respond and directly stepped out of the corridor, walking step by step toward the center of the pond.

Amid the falling snow, the xun sounds abruptly stopped, and bright red blood covered the ice. Xiahou Lian also walked over and looked down at the small body. The side of Baili Yuan’s face was hidden underneath her long, black, and shiny hair, as pale as a doll. Xiahou Lian squatted down to examine her face; there wasn’t a skin mask, it was a real face.

It went surprisingly smoothly, Xiahou Lian thought. Next, as long as they slipped out before the assassins noticed, they would be fine. He hoped that Shen Jue would calm down before he returned. He could pretend to be injured, so Shen Jue wouldn’t bear to blame him.

“Xiao Lian, draw your saber,” Chi Yan suddenly said.

“Huh?” Xiahou Lian looked up at him.

Chi Yan had already drawn his saber and was facing the empty snow fog all around.

“There is no xun,” he said.

Xiahou Lian was abruptly shocked and subconsciously looked at Baili Yuan’s hand. It was empty, with nothing there, and he rummaged through the clothes, but the xun also wasn’t hidden under them.

Ghost-like assassins walked out from behind the ruins, their white porcelain masks impassive, looking at them with pairs of pitch-black eyes.

This was an ambush; Baili Yuan had known that they were coming!

Xiahou Lian drew Bushenglian and stood back-to-back with Chi Yan. Snow landed on the black saber, forming a thin layer of frost.

A short figure appeared at the top of the distant ruins. She was wearing a phoenix and luan 2 cloud collar and a plain-colored lined coat, as well as a red satin apron weaved with gold. Amid the pure white falling snow, it was bright like a streak of blood. Chi Yan gazed from a distance, silent. The girl spread her hands toward them, as if embracing the falling snow that filled the sky, and also as if embracing a person.

The corners of her mouth widened, revealing an extremely brilliant smile.

“Gege, you came to kill me!”


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Translator Notes:

  1. Specifically Jian Nan Chun, an ancient Chinese alcohol brand.
  2. A mythological bird in East Asian mythology.


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December 13, 2022 12:33 am

Thank You for the new chapter ♡⃛(=^w^=)

December 13, 2022 1:49 pm

AHHHHH we’re so close to the end omg omg

my face the entire chapter was just :0
i’m just speechless and so pumped AHHHHH i’m so excited

thanks so much for the chapter !!!!

December 13, 2022 4:40 pm

Shen Jue will kill them, if Baili Yuan doesn’t!
I am absolutely dreading this. I don’t think CY will survive, but for the happy ending, XL at least, must!
This is defintely one of the best written stories ever, with superb translating and T/Ns. Thank you!

December 14, 2022 10:48 pm

I was so shocked by XHL’s plan to save SJ!! Completely unexpected.

There were so many heartbreaking moments in this chapter! XHL giving his last letter to SJ, CY and XHL giving offerings to past Garan assassins on the mountain, the piles of snowmen families that BY built. 😭😭

But seriously hoping that CY stays alive in the end of all this!

Thank you for the chapter!

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