Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
Her body had a murderous that couldn’t be washed off, and her every frown and smile seemed to hide killing intent.
Assassin, this was a true assassin.
Recalling Xiahou Lian, Shen Jue restrained the surging fear in his heart and said, “Xiahou Lian, he…”
“I know, step aside.” Xiahou Pei waved Shen Jue aside, brushing past Shen Jue’s shoulder as she entered the door, and walked next to Xiahou Lian’s bedside.
Xiahou Lian widened his eyes, disbelief all over his face. “Consort Gao?!”
“Damn, I raised you foolish son for nothing, I changed my face and you don’t recognize me.” Xiahou Pei pulled out a pill from her pocket and said sulkily, “Two choices. First, don’t come back to Garan and stay here, waiting for death. Second, eat the medicine and come back to Garan. Choose one.”
Xiahou Lian reacted and said, half-dead, with his face covered in blood, “You really are my mother.”
“I really am your mother. If I wasn’t your mother, could I have fucking pretended to be a lunatic to stay with you in the imperial palace for so long?” Xiahou Pei tore off her mask and flung it onto the ground, revealing that face that was bright and beautiful to the point of being sharp. The mother and son looked a lot alike, and if Xiahou Lian had a bit more killing intent, others would believe it if someone said that there was almost no difference between them.
“Eat it, Xiahou Lian.” Shen Jue suddenly spoke. “Don’t stay in the imperial palace, you don’t belong here.”
“That’s right.” Xiahou Pei smiled. “You still want to stay here and mess around with your foolish behavior, not even enough to fill the gaps between people’s teeth.” She turned her head to look at Shen Jue. “You brat, don’t look at me like that. I also don’t have a way in this matter. We were born in Garan, so this is as fate ordains. Everyone has to take Mid-July, including me, and only the abbot has the antidote. His saber techniques are extremely strong, so I’m willing to acknowledge defeat and can only obediently be his lackey.”
Shen Jue drew his gaze back and looked elsewhere.
Sighing, Xiahou Lian took the pill in Xiahou Pei’s hand, chewed it a few times in his mouth, and swallowed it whole.
His body was still soft, and sleepiness muddledly assaulted him. Xiahou Lian’s breaths were weak as he said, “Mother, let me sleep for a while first, we’ll leave tomorrow morning.”
Xiahou Pei casually agreed, wiped the blood off of his face, helped him tuck in his blanket, and turned out from the curtains. She sat at the square table for eight people and poured herself a pot of tea.
“He actually only had one choice, right,” Shen Jue suddenly said.
Xiahou Pei’s movements of blowing on the tea paused, and she lifted her eyes to look at Shen Jue.
“If he hadn’t agreed to leave with you, you would’ve killed me.”
Xiahou Pei let out a short laugh and said, “I didn’t say that.”
“Exactly what is Mid-July?”
“It’s a kind of addictive drug from the Miao area 1, though its potency isn’t as high as ordinary addictive drugs, not eating them for ten or fifteen days will make it so that one would rather die. Mid-July takes effect once a year on the fifteenth of the seventh month, and eating it will do. Not eating it… It can be endured, but the consequences are unclear.”
“The Miao area…” Shen Jue muttered to himself, “Aren’t there more details?”
“…Is there really no other way?” Shen Jue lowered his head. “He doesn’t want to go back to Garan, you know, he doesn’t want to kill.”
“You don’t want to be a eunuch. What, can you not be a eunuch?” Xiahou Pei was dismissive.
“Little Young Master, you’re a smart person, at least your mind works much better than my fool’s.” Xiahou Pei held her cup of tea, the shiny white light of the porcelain flowed on the tips of her fingers. “People live in the world, and each one has their own path. The paths of the two of you may intersect, but they definitely won’t be the same one.”
However, Shen Jue smiled. “Senior, you don’t know the technique of six-lined row arrangement 4?”
“I don’t have a nephew like you.” Xiahou Pei spoke rudely. “Bet what?”
“Bet that I can rescue Xiahou Lian out of Garan, return his freedom to him, and that anywhere in the world, no one can make him bow, kneel, and take orders submissively anymore!”
“A little interesting…” Xiahou Pei propped her face up, her slender fingers covering the smile at her mouth, which one couldn’t tell if it was ridiculing or happy. “Can I ask, exactly what divine power does my Xiao Lian have that could make you plan and prepare for him like this? This brat, even his single-saber killing technique is messy. I, Xiahou Pei, have had a heroic reputation my entire life, but I’m going to lose it all in this brat’s hands.”
Shen Jue lowered his dense eyelashes and said in a low voice, “He throws a peach to me, and I give him a white jade for friendship. That’s it.”
“Forget it, Little Young Master. The way I see it, you’d better see how to help yourself. Wanting to avenge the Xie clan isn’t an easy thing.”
“The present emperor is nearly fifty, and he indulges in carnal pleasures and the technique of longevity with the pill of immortality, but he doesn’t have long to live. The moment the imperial power is handed over to the next emperor is the day Wei De will meet his death.” Shen Jue raised his eyes and gazed directly at Xiahou Pei. “You don’t dare to take the bet?”
The arc at Xiahou Pei’s lips became deeper and deeper. “How long is the betting period, and what are the stakes?”
“The betting period is ten years. You bet your trust, and I bet my life. Ten years later, if Xiahou Lian hasn’t left Garan, I, Shen Jue, will present my life to you.”
This gambling party was very absurd, but Xiahou Pei was also an absurd person. She looked fixedly at Shen Jue for a while before slapping the table and saying, “Deal.”
Shen Jue slowly let out a breath and said, “Then, you can tell me more about Mid-July, right?”
After all, she had a few more years of experience than Shen Jue, so he had known all along that Xiahou Pei didn’t actually trust him and had also held back these things about Garan.
It was just that it was different now, since he had already won her trust.
“I indeed don’t know much about Mid-July, and I’ve already said everything I can say.”
Shen Jue frowned. “Senior.”
“However,” Xiahou Pei smiled happily, “the innkeeper of Chengnan Auspicious Inn, Ye Facai; an old bawd in Hualiu Alley 5, Hong Sanniang, and her goddaughter, Hong Qiao-jie; a wine seller at Jiuzao Alley 6, Zhu Kai; ah, right, and also a proofreader of the Bureau of Books of the Department of Imperial Internal Affairs, Yuan Zimei; they’re Garan spies. I’ve given you the names, so I won’t care about what you do next.”
Shen Jue nodded.
It really was a good plan. Garan’s spies were the lowest level of Garan of Seven Leaves, so it wasn’t a pity to abandon them. Xiahou Lian had said before that spies knew very little about Garan, and they didn’t even know where Garan Mountain Temple was. Even if he caught them, it couldn’t have any effect on Garan. Therefore, he could only research the Mid-July in their bodies, and besides this, he couldn’t do anything else.
In this way, even if he had evil intentions and wanted to harm Garan and even Xiahou Lian, he had no way to follow.
“Thank you very much, Senior,” said Shen Jue.
“All right, I have to take him away.” Xiahou Pei put down her cup of tea.
Shen Jue was stunned. “So fast.”
“It’s easy to travel at night.”
“How do you plan to leave?” Shen Jue stood up and asked.
“How else? I’ll kill my way out.”
“…” The mother’s and son’s reckless temperament was the same.
Shen Jue sighed and said, “I know a secret passage. The deep well outside the room leads directly to Jingshan 7 outside of the palace.”
Xiahou Pei unexpectedly turned her head to look at Shen Jue. “It turns out that that map is in your hands.”
“It’s not,” said Shen Jue. “It’s in my mind.”
Xiahou Pei patted Shen Jue’s shoulder and said, not without pity, “How nice would it be if you were my son, how is the gap between people so big? All right, we’ll meet again, Little Young Master. Take care of yourself more in the palace and don’t let Xiao Lian worry.”
She carelessly put some clothes on Xiahou Lian. Probably because of Mid-July, Xiahou Lian unexpectedly didn’t wake up after being tossed and turned like this.
He was a youth who hadn’t grown up yet, and he was between youth and early youth. His body was still a little thin, far from being indomitable. Now, the remaining poison hadn’t cleared yet, so there wasn’t a trace of blood in his face, and he was like a person that had been kneaded from scraps of paper. His eyelids were tightly shut, and a light bit of blood remained on the corner of his mouth, like rouge that hadn’t been washed away.
Shen Jue held back the idea of wanting to hug him and gently wiped away the dark red on the corner of his mouth. “We’ll meet again, Xiahou Lian.”
We will definitely see each other again.
Xiahou Pei carried Xiahou Lian on her shoulder and stepped on the ground that was covered in moonlight, walking toward the dry well.
Shen Jue recalled Jingtie, which was inside the treasure shelf. He hastily took it out and shouted, “Senior, Jingtie!”
Xiahou Pei was carrying Xiahou Lian and walking toward the dry well, and she waved her hand indifferently. “I’ll give it to you!”
Shen Jue held the black saber and stayed at the window, watching as Xiahou Pei took Xiahou Lian and leapt into the well. Just in that moment, in the fluttering of robes, they disappeared, and he never even heard her footsteps. In an instant, it was quiet in the courtyard, leaving only bugs singing tirelessly.
So quiet, so quiet.
He seemed to have returned to the days before he had reunited with Xiahou Lian, when he had swept the snow in the palace by himself. Wasn’t the courtyard that was covered in moonlight just like when it had been covered in snow? Shen Jue exhaled lightly and seemed to see his breath turn into ice, white smoke curling.
He didn’t want to return to such cold days at all, but in the end, he had still returned.
Under the vast moonlight, floral leaves swayed, casting shadows. The light in the eyes of the youth in thin clothes was quiet and solitary, and his eyes were sorrowful like a lamenting swan goose’s.
- A region in Southern China and Southeast Asia where the Miao people lived.
- A fortune-telling method that evolved from the eight trigrams.2, so how can you be so sure?”
“I don’t know fortune-telling, but I know a bit of looking at people’s ability.”
“Oh? In your view, who am I?”
“A treacherous, insidious, cunning, shameless, and crooked scoundrel.”
“You’re outspoken.” Under the table, Shen Jue forcibly clenched his fists, yet the smile at the corners of his mouth didn’t decrease in the slightest. “However, would you like to make a bet with your nephew 3A humble way of referring to oneself toward someone of an older generation.
- Lit. Brothel Alley.
- Lit. Distillers’ Grains Alley.
- An artificial hill at the center of Jingshan Park, formerly a private imperial garden attached to the grounds of the Forbidden City.
Awwww! He has left! I’m wondering what will happen with this deal? What will happen? Also I have mixed feelings about his mother??!! Thank you for the translation! ❤️❤️
Can’t wait to read more ~ the story is so intriguing
Poor Shen Jue, alone again. I feel that without Xiahou Lian, he will edge even closer to becoming ruthless. Hope I’m wrong.
How long will it be before they see each other again and will Shen Jue win his bet.
*There is some text in the T/Ns that belongs in the body of the novel*
Thank you for translating and editing.
Thank You for the new chapter (๑°꒵°๑)･*♡
It’ll be interesting to see how Shen Jue finds a way to get rid of the poison on Xiahou Lian. And ultimately, the Garuda still loves her son in her own way – thankfully!
I’m worried about how Shen Jue will hide “Si Xi’s” disappearance…
Waiting 10 years!
I think there’s an odd error or glitch for the fourth footnote where it has a chunk of the story in it?
Somehow tears are welling up in my eyes at their second parting 😭 I just want my bubus to be happy together soon 😭😭