Translated by Vivian of Exiled Rebels Scanlations
“Who bought my life?” asked Situ Jin.
“No one, Garan wants you dead.”
“Is that so? It turns out that I am worth so much.” Situ Jin’s voice was low. “Garan wants my life, does it plan on openly opposing the Eastern Depot?”
“I do not know. Do not ask questions, kill without inhibition. I am only a saber, I am only responsible for killing.”
“A saber…” Situ Jin let out a short and faint laugh. “Did you also use Leading Mechanism Silk skills like Xiahou Lian to ascend to the position of Garuda?”
“No, I used saber skills.” The Garuda said, “When I take out my saber, I can kill you in one move.”
“Oh? I’ve fought against Xiahou Pei before, those were the fiercest saber skills I’ve ever seen. Who is stronger, you or her?”
Situ Jin adjusted his breathing and slowly approached the assassin who was standing in the distance. The assassin also moved his footsteps. The two of them circled around the center of the street, maintaining a distance of ten steps.
The assassin shook his head silently.
“What’s your name?”
“I’m asking for your real name!”
“Assassin, no name.”
The two of them swung their sabers at the same time. The air suddenly stagnated, and even the sounds of the wind slowed, dragging out a long and sharp whistle that passed by their ears. The wind and snow that filled the sky fluttered and whirled in the air. Situ Jin clearly saw that assassin approach him, the eyes in the black eye sockets of the mask empty and ruthless, as if he had been lying on ice and snow for thousands of years.
What kind of assassin was this? He was like heartless steel; his existence seemed to solely be in order to kill.
Situ Jin’s saber was hidden behind his elbow; this was his usual killing technique. This way, enemies would have no way of seeing the angle of his saber, and they also had no way of dodging his fatal blow. They were like two black owls spreading their wings and rising, swiftly and violently wrestling, and their fluttering black sleeves were like black wings. There was a loud clang, which was their sabers sliding out of their scabbards. Extremely thin, golden, and cold light flashed the instant they intersected, like fractures appearing out of thin air. An instant later, they separated, and stood back-to-back in the wind and snow.
The dripping of blood slowly sounded. Situ Jin looked down; there was dark red blood on the snow. In hindsight, he felt a sharp pain at his waist, and warm blood slowly pattered out. It flowed out from the wound, and was quickly cooled at the same time by the air outside, forming thin blood frost.
Too fast. He felt afraid; with such a fast saber speed, even Xiahou Pei would willingly acknowledge defeat! This assassin had been right, he could kill him in one move, because he didn’t have time at all to swing his saber.
Now, he was going to die. A long wound had been cut in his right waist, so he would soon die due to excessive loss of blood.
“Hurry and go home,” the assassin suddenly said.
Situ Jin lifted his head, and the assassin turned around and looked at him. He reached out his right hand and seemed to touch some Leading Mechanism Silk. Light flowed in the air, and the Leading Mechanism Silk was taken by his palm.
“The document I received said that you have a wife and a daughter.”
Situ Jin’s breathing tightened. “They have nothing to do with the Eastern Depot.”
“I know.” The assassin said, “Today is very cold, your blood will flow slower. You need to walk two hundred seventy-eight steps from here to your house. If you walk a little faster you can get home before you bleed out. However, do not walk too fast, or your blood will flow even faster.”
“You…” Situ Jin smiled sadly. “Is this an assassin’s mercy?”
The assassin’s voice was very soft. “I actually did not want to kill you, but I had no choice, I am only a saber. Hurry and go home. At least, you can say goodbye to them. I have always regretted that I was unable to say goodbye to my little brother when I left. I hope that you will not regret it either.”
Situ Jin supported himself with the goose quill saber with difficulty and headed home with staggered steps. The assassin who hadn’t named himself stood behind him and watched him quietly. His black figure melted into the wind and snow, slowly disappearing without a trace.
Slowly, Situ Jin couldn’t feel the pain at his waist anymore. He didn’t know if it was because the weather was too cold, or if it was because he had lost too much blood. He only hoped that he could endure it for a while longer, a while longer. He heard his own heavy breathing, like an old box bellow being pulled, using up all of his strength every time. He didn’t know how long he had walked for, but he finally saw the surrounding wall of his house. He held himself up against the surrounding wall and inched to the gate. After taking a few breaths, he pushed open the gate, entered the courtyard, and then moved step by step to the door of the house. Blood dripped onto the snow, and was then buried by new snowflakes.
There was a charcoal fire in the house, which emitted sizzling sounds. He heard Mingyue’s and Yu-Jie’er’s breathing, again and again, very serene. He was relieved; the Garan assassin hadn’t troubled them. He lightly walked over and pulled open the blue summer cloth bed curtain. Yu-jie’er was sleeping inside and Mingyue was hugging her, her body slightly curled.
He reached out and touched Yu-jie’er’s face, then shook Mingyue and called for her softly. “Mingyue, Mingyue!”
Mingyue opened her eyes hazily and turned over to her side. When she saw Situ Jin in front of her, she seemed to be a little pleasantly surprised. Her face was a little pale, and in the dim light and shadows, Situ Jin faintly saw tear marks on her face. She must have missed him a lot and wanted him to come home.
“I’m sorry I came back so late.” Situ Jin touched her face. His hand was too icy, and Mingyue shivered, but she still grabbed his hand tightly.
“It’s not late, it’s just good that you’re back.” Mingyue put his hand over her chest, covering it. “It’s good that you’re back.”
“I bought a hair clasp for you, see if you like it.” Situ Jin took out the mahogany box from the fold of his clothes and gave it to Mingyue to look at.
Mingyue complained, “We’re an old married couple, what did you spend this money for? Your salary isn’t very large. Okay, hurry and change your clothes, sleep earlier. You still have morning roll call tomorrow, hurry and sleep for a few hours.”
“I want a hug.” Situ Jin’s voice was hoarse.
He looked at her reluctantly. Her skin was actually a little yellow, as years of housework had made her look wan, and her eyes were swollen because she had cried. However, he still felt that she was very beautiful, and no one could compare to her. His gaze outlined the contour of Mingyue’s face, not letting go of any inch, as if she would be forever imprinted at the bottom of his heart, not forgetting her even when he was reincarnated.
Mingyue glanced at him rebukingly and sighed, but she still leaned against him in the end and embraced him lightly. He was such a big man, but sometimes he was still like a child. He had just come back from outside, so embracing him was very cold. Mingyue hugged him tightly, hoping that he would warm up quickly.
“I’m sorry about yesterday, I shouldn’t have argued with you,” Situ Jin said softly.
Mingyue buried her head in his chest and said muffledly, “It wasn’t your fault, it was mine. Besides, you didn’t argue with me, every time it’s me bullying you.”
“Mingyue, I like you so much, I’ve always really liked you.” Situ Jin sentimentally smelled the fragrance on her body. Her body had a special scent, like the fragrance of some flower, and it smelled very comfortable.
“Okay, I know.” Mingyue smiled. “What’s up with you today? Is the iron tree in blossom? Say, did you do something bad to me, so you want to beg me for mercy?”
Situ Jin shook his head. “I won’t go to work anymore, I’ll just stay at home and keep you company, okay?”
“Okay. I’ve said it long ago, the Eastern Depot is so tiring, you leave early and return late every day, it’s a little not worth it. Actually, we’ve saved some money these past few years, so we can do business by ourselves. We can open a medical clinic, I’ll be the doctor and you’ll be the clerk. You won’t stay at the Eastern Depot anymore, so we can go to Jinling, okay? I’ve heard that it’s quite beautiful there, there are xifu begonias in the spring, red lotuses in the summer, and a lot of maple leaves in the autumn. Bring it up to the governor in a few days, and if he doesn’t agree, I’ll go and talk to him.”
“Okay, I’ll listen to you.”
Situ Jin suddenly felt tired, and his eyelids became very heavy, unable to be lifted. He leaned against the bedpost and slowly closed his eyes.
Moonlight penetrated the window gauze and shone inside, the window lattices dividing it into blocks of light and shadow. The withered tree branches outside cast scattered shadows on it, like a scroll painting drawn in brush. Situ Jin stopped moving, so Mingyue wanted to help him take off his clothes and go to bed to sleep. Her hand inadvertently touched his hand. It was cold, like a block of ice. She felt strange; he had been inside for so long now, how come he hadn’t warmed up?
She held up Situ Jin’s hand and wanted to blow warm breaths on it. However, she discovered that it was covered in dried blood. There was a roar in her mind, and her entire body seemed to instantly freeze. Mingyue slowly looked up. Moonlight shone on Situ Jin’s face that was pale from loss of blood, giving him a thin layer of sheen that made him look like a jade sculpture.
In hindsight, she realized something, and tears spilled out of her eyes.
The assassin walked into a narrow alley. His usual clothes were hidden in the stacked dustpans in front of someone else’s house, and he looked around before finding his own clothes. He put his saber to the side, took off his black archer clothes, and changed into a gray cotton coat that was turning white from being washed.
Someone walked out of the darkness and took away his saber. The blade was lightly pushed out of its scabbard, and the characters “Shana” were reflected in the moonlight.
“Chi Yan, you shouldn’t have let him go.”
Chi Yan ignored him and turned around to leave.
“Don’t think that you can violate Garan’s rules just because you’re the Garuda. Kill and take the head, you should have taken his head.” The man said sinisterly, “As your ‘sheath,’ I’ll tell the Yama everything.”
“Do as you like.”
“Chi Yan, I hate your supercilious manner the most. Don’t forget, you are the same as us, we’re all people who rely on Bliss Fruit to survive. No, you’re even more inferior to us, you even have to turn in your ‘Shana’ to the higher-ups. An assassin without a saber is no different from fish meat to be sliced up.” The man’s voice sounded behind him distantly, becoming farther and farther. “Remember, when you have a transaction, come to the herbal medicine shop in Mentougou District to get your saber, I’m a waiter there now.”
Chi Yan had just returned to Yunxian Building when he heard the laughter of men and women everywhere in the garden, smooth and sweet. He looked steadily forward as he left and walked into the backyard. He ladled water from Auspicious Pot to wash his hands. They had been stained with blood from killing just then, so he had to wash it off quickly. After he finished washing his hands, he returned to the woodshed. The lights were off in the room, and there was no charcoal fire either. The darkness was cold and gloomy, enveloping him. He stood for a while before taking out a letter of which half had been bitten off by rats from the cloth bundle underneath the bed.
It was the last letter Xiahou Pei had left for Xiao Lian. When he returned from the North, he had found it in Xiao Lian’s bamboo house. Xiahou Pei’s handwriting was very bad, so reading it took a lot of effort. He had studied it for three days before completely understanding what Xiahou Pei meant. Xiahou Pei had wanted Xiao Lian to find someone called “Little Young Master,” and she had said that she had left him a chance of survival there. She had also bought a house with three entrances and three exits for him to marry a wife with.
Chi Yan had visited several neighborhoods in the past few days, and he had asked about every house with three entrances and three exits. However, there was a little young master in every house, and he had followed the trail of every little young master but hadn’t found any clue related to Xiao Lian.
Perhaps “Little Young Master” was only a nickname, just like “Garuda.” Chi Yan hugged his knees as he sat in the dark blankly, his eyes becoming empty.
“Xiahou! I’m dying! You’re being lazy again, aren’t you!” The bawd’s voice sounded outside the door.
Chi Yan came back to his senses, hastily hid the last letter, and went outside to wash clothes.
The bawd chattered behind him, “Ah, I gave you work to do because I saw that you were well-behaved before! I didn’t expect that you would be lazy every day. These clothes have accumulated for three days, how come you still haven’t finished washing them! The one before you was also named Xiahou, he would wash three basins in one day. As for you, you wash one basin in three days! No wonder he could fly to the branches and become a phoenix, and you can only muddle along here.” As she said this, she shot a glare at him. “I’m telling you, if you don’t finish washing today then don’t think about sleeping! You’re tiring me to death. After I deal with those damn men, I still have to deal with you!”
Chi Yan silently poured water into the big basin. That basin was so big it could fit a full-grown man, and it was filled with the clothes of the girls in the building, piled up like a mountain. Yesterday, the musclemen guarding the gate had said that it was too tiring to wash their clothes themselves and wanted him to help, so they had also thrown their clothes in. There were too many clothes, and he had to look for his little brother in the day and kill in the night. He also had to carry bathwater for A-Chu in the early morning, so he really didn’t have time.
However, he didn’t say anything and rubbed on the washing board, his head lowered. The bawd used a handkerchief to tap his forehead. “If it weren’t for me seeing that you’re well-behaved, I wouldn’t have kept you!”
She left after saying this, leaving Chi Yan by himself rubbing clothes in the snow. Chi Yan washed them one by one. It was dark at night and the moonlight wasn’t bright enough, so he couldn’t see stains too clearly in some places. After washing for a long time, the clothes in the basin were still piled like a small mountain. He didn’t know how that servant before him had washed three basins in one day, but it was probably because he himself was dumb. Chi Yan knitted his brows and continued to rub.
“Xiahou! Your little sister came to find you!” A-Chu’s voice sounded behind him, and Chi Yan looked back in confusion.
A-Chu was holding the hand of a little girl as she stepped past the festooned gate and walked over to him. The girl was holding a tiger kite that had fierce eyes and a white forehead in her hand and smiling at him.
Baili Yuan called, “Gege!”
“Xiahou, didn’t you say that you came to the capital to look for your little brother, how come they turned into your little sister?”
“My big brother is dumb, he always misspeaks.” Baili Yuan walked next to Chi Yan and showed the kite to him. “Gege, a bad guy broke the kite you made for me. Aren’t I smart, I found a dog hole and burrowed out to find you to play. Help me fix it.”
Chi Yan didn’t take it, he only looked down at the tear on the tiger’s head.
A-Chu squatted down in front of Baili Yuan. The girl was very pretty, with a clean face, and her pupils were big and black. A-Chu liked her the more she looked at her, as she felt that she looked a lot like how she herself had in her childhood. Thus, she took out a pack of pine nut candies from the fold of her clothes and put it into her palm, smiling. “Here’s candy for you to eat.”
“Thank you, pretty sister.” Baili Yuan looked down at the pouch that was filled with candy. This pouch had stayed for a long time in the fold of the woman’s clothes, so it had an overwhelming fragrance. Baili Yuan wrinkled her nose, felt a little disgusted, and wanted to throw it away.
“Ah, what kind of little mouth is this, it’s so sweet!” A-Chu smiled very happily. “I like others praising me for being pretty! Come, let me give you a kiss!”
Baili Yuan was clearly stunned.
A-Chu didn’t wait for her to react, and she had already given her a kiss on her face. She smiled as she said, “How fragrant!” A-Chu dusted off the hem of her skirt and stood up. “Okay, I’m going back to sleep, you should also sleep earlier. Remember, don’t run off, it’s very dangerous here. If you run off and are seen by your mother, you’ll be caught.”
Baili Yuan looked at her with a complicated expression and made an “oh,” though it wasn’t sure if she had taken it to heart.
“I was actually kissed,” muttered Baili Yuan. She looked up at Chi Yan and said, “What are you doing?”
“I am washing clothes.”
Baili Yuan looked down. There were all kinds of clothes in the large basin: coats, aprons, men’s undershirts and socks, women’s undergarments, and also many sweat towels whose owners couldn’t be discerned to be a man or woman.
Baili Yuan’s expression became dark and unclear. “You haven’t washed my clothes before, right.”
Baili Yuan relaxed. “That’s good.”
A-Chu had walked far away, and the commotion in Yunxian Building gradually quieted, probably because the guests were tired and had taken their entertainers and showgirls to go back to their rooms and sleep. Only Chi Yan and Baili Yuan were left in the small and silent courtyard. There were many withered trees in the yard, and the dead branches on the ground cast deep shadows.
Wind chimes suddenly sounded, and in the thin and fine sounds, countless figures grew out from the shadows, like evil ghosts climbing out from hell with the wind and snow, arriving in the world. The assassins walked under the moonlight and kowtowed devoutly to Baili Yuan. They were the Eight Legions of Garan, the strongest among the assassins, and the most vicious ghosts under the Yama.
“Lady Yama, the Garuda didn’t obey Garan’s rules and cut off Situ Jin’s head,” the Gandharva said.
Baili Yuan turned her head to look at him. Chi Yan was still concentrating on washing clothes, ignoring everyone.
Baili Yuan walked over and touched his face. “Chi Yan, you weren’t obedient.”
Chi Yan lifted his eyes and looked at her quietly.
“But I won’t punish you. Because you’re the same as me, we’re the same people, and only you can be my companion.” Baili Yuan beamed. “Do you know why I followed you that day in Zijing Pass 1?”
Chi Yan didn’t make a sound.
“Because of your eyes. When I saw your eyes, I knew that we were the same people.” Baili Yuan stroked his tranquil features. He was the same as her, having big and black pupils. Inside them was an expanse of emptiness, as if they were covered with the desolate wind and snow of the North. Baili Yuan said in a low voice, “We have no connection with this world, we’re monsters that the world can’t tolerate! Monsters have to be together with monsters, Chi Yan.’
“I do,” said Chi Yan. “Xiao Lian is my connection. He is my brother, we are connected by blood.”
“Blood? You actually believe in that kind of thing. Chi Yan, you gave yourself the fake name of Xiahou, are you acknowledging that woman who abandoned you as your mother?”
Chi Yan shook his head. “Xiahou is named after Xiao Lian.”
Baili Yuan sneered, “Do you like him this much? Give up. I’m going to find him, and then I’m going to kill him. This way, you’ll belong to me completely.”
Chi Yan silently looked down and didn’t say anything else. He bent down and continued to wash the clothes.
Duan Jiu walked out from below the eaves and said, “Lady Yama, Bliss Fruit has already been sent down. Now, there are three major gangs and twenty-four factions that listen to all of our orders. However, last night, the Eastern Depot seized a batch of Bliss Fruit that had been prepared to be sold in the capital. I’ll send people over to find a way to destroy them.”
“Very good.” Baili Yuan smiled gloomily and coldly. “How ridiculous, a eunuch actually wants to help the country. This Shen Jue is too stubborn to recognize his misguidance. The situation is hopeless, and with just his insignificant self, how can he rescue the country? Before, my ancestors shrunk back and only dared to be rats in the sewers, they really were a group of cowards. Now, I’m going to make this world fracture and collapse! Only when the light retreats can the shadows dominate!”
Duan Jiu bowed his head. “I am willing to die for you!”
Baili Yuan looked around in a circle at the small courtyard. Red sashes hung on bright red columns in the winding corridor, and the painted and gilded lights radiated a soft light. In the distance, there was a light that didn’t go out in the wing room. Snow landed on the vermillion fence, and all was quiet.
“This place isn’t bad. Have all of them take Bliss Fruit: the bawd, prostitutes, including the musclemen guarding the gate, don’t leave any out.”
All of the assassins bowed their heads and asked to leave. Baili Yuan looked at them indifferently and grabbed, and she was suddenly holding something. Looking down at it, it was the pine nut candies that the woman had given her. The pouch was very garish gold-red color, and it was embroidered with messy butterfly shadows and flowers. It had probably been embroidered by that woman herself; it really was terrible needlework, extremely ugly.
Baili Yuan knitted her brows for a while and suddenly spoke. “Forget about that prostitute named A-Chu. Hide it from her and don’t let her know about it.”
“Yes, Lady Yama.”
I really don’t know what to say… I’m was so sad for Situ Jin, he was one of my favorite characters 😔😔 and who he was killed by even more critical… what a twist with this young little girl… but apparently she has a soft spot for A-Chu? I’m saddened by this chapter! This little girl trying to kill XHL for her own selfish reasons??? Thank you for the translation and editing.
I knew it was Chi Yan as soon as his eyes were described by Situ Jin. I already feel sorry for XL; this will be one of his hardest challenges yet. Unless CY comes good and goes to their side.
Shocking! That young girl running Garan, though she doesn’t have full control of CY & her closeness to him might (hopefully) be her undoing.
Worrying is fact she’s in close proximity to SJ & XL.
How will SJ & XL handle Situ Jin’s assassination? 😢
Thanks for translating, T/Ns & editing.
How can Baili Yuan being a young little girl, come to become Lady Yama and control all the Garan. Very descriptive and superb plot lines.
Just wish that the chapters are loaded everyday….but….I know it’s hard work translating all this!
Thank You for the chapter (๑°꒵°๑)･*♡
This chapter destroyed me in a completely new level, this is so unfair 😦 I knew who the assassin was on the spot when Situ described his eyes and was even more distressed by this information, I got so angry at him… This is gonna be so hard for Xiao Lian… ;A; I’m so sad, Situ was one of my favorite characters… I hope this new little selfish b*tch girl got a horrible end. Thank you so much for translating this book to us!!! *sends cookies* ♥
The scary little girl turned out to be Lady Yama! The true head of Garan! Did NOT see that one coming!
Can’t believe Situ Jin is gone!! 😭💔😭😭💔
Thank you for the chapter!
She really is like Chi Yan, latches to the people who are nice to her
What a terrible part! My little boyfriend killed my older boyfriend. My heart is breaking. I can’t believe my Situ has died like this. Author, why are you so cruel? 😭😭😭 My Situ is a very good person. Why did you kill him? WHY
Here we go again with this rollercoaster ride. I felt betrayed at first bc one of my fave characters killed another fave character, but Chi Yan was only doing his task, and he didn’t know Situ Jin is friends w Xiahou Lian…. :/