In which the mystery deepens, much like this prison.
Bodhi Prison was a mountain cave that had been dug out with human hands.
The cave was long and winding. One side of it contained prison cells, while the other side was decorated with small oil lamps every few steps, making it very brightly lit.
When one entered, there was first a seventeen meter path, and only after passing a turn could the first prison cell be seen. Because the prison cells were entirely built around this winding path, one would have to turn every so often after walking past just a few cells. When they came in from this way, the initial prison cells were all completely undamaged, and most still had people locked within. It was only after they passed five turns that they started seeing many empty cells.
The Wudang disciple leading the way stopped after the sixth turn and pointed at the prison cell in the middle, saying, “Single-eyed Li was locked up here.”
In the surroundings, there remained traces of a fight, with the lantern across having been knocked askew, looking as if it was about to fall, and the floor even stained with dried blood. Everyone examined the scene for a while, and they all thought that there wasn’t much of a problem, once again turning to look in question at Sir Xiao.
Ye You stood next to his Senior Brother and pretended he didn’t notice their collective gazes.
Seeing that he still wasn’t responding to them, Academy Master Ge couldn’t help but scurry over and ask in a low voice, “Didn’t you say they were testing drugs?”
Ye You innocently said, “I was only making a guess.”
Academy Master Ge was dumbfounded. “Then this, this… Wasn’t the black piece trying to lure people over here? It looks like there’s nothing wrong.”
Ye You said, “Academy Master Ge, there’s no harm walking through this place once before talking it over.”
Academy Master Ge made a sound in agreement; he had originally planned to walk through it once.
The Alliance Leader and the others were all experienced in such matters, so they also weren’t liable to look only at this area; they similarly wanted to go through the entire place from beginning to end first. The Wudang disciple obediently led the way, taking them into the depths of Bodhi Prison.
The farther back they went, the more empty prisons there were.
Manor Lord Wei asked, “Why are there so many empty cells?”
The Wudang disciple said, “Ah, usually we lock them up on the outside first before moving inward. But if the crime they committed is big enough, we also lock them up deeper in. Some of these cells have never had anyone living in them, while others are empty because the prisoners were too old and passed away due to either age or old festering injuries.”
Wenren Heng asked, “Do you have records of who lived in which cell?”
The Wudang disciple said, “Yes, it’s all written on the register outside.”
Wenren Heng signaled for his subordinates to go and retrieve it, telling them to bring the visitors’ register as well, before continuing to follow the group. After a while, the row of lit oil lamps broke off, and the prison cells in front of them were submerged in a pitch-black darkness.
The Wudang disciple said, “The cells in front are all empty, so no lights have been lit. But at the very end, there are two who are sick. They originally lived farther outside, but there were those who didn’t like the smell of medicine and complained about it day and night, so for the sake of peace and quiet, Martial Uncle instructed us to move them farther inward.”
The Alliance Leader said, “We’re going to take a look.”
The Wudang disciple said a, “Yes,” and lifted a lantern that had been hanging on the wall. Before he could light it, Wenren Heng said, “There’s no need for the lantern. Just light all the oil lamps along this wall. We all want to look.”
“But there’s no oil in any of these lamps; we’ll have to add some first.” The Wudang disciple looked at him, awkward and embarrassed, “I didn’t bring any.”
Ye You considerately said, “Then forget it. We’ll just go like this.”
The Wudang disciple didn’t recognize this person and so turned to look at Wenren Heng and the other elders. Seeing that none of them had any objections, he inevitably began feeling somewhat curious about this young sir’s identity as he took them farther inward.
The prison didn’t have much farther to go, and after passing a few more turns, they reached the end.
On the wall hung three lit lamps, shining upon two prison cells across the way. The people laid on the bed, not moving even as the group approached. It was only the slight movements of the chest that certified that they were still alive.
The smell of medicine permeated the air, so it was clear that they had drank medicine, but there was nothing that indicated the presence of any drug dispensaries on the way there. The Alliance Leader looked at them. “What do all of you think?”
Academy Master Ge said, “First, let’s have Young Miracle Doctor Fang see what kind of illness they have and then let’s see if there’s anything strange about the smell of this medicine.”
The Alliance Leader nodded and then turned to look at the crowd, only to hear from Sir Xiao that, upon learning that Wudang had injured people, the Young Miracle Doctor had rushed over to examine their injuries and had never entered the prison to begin with.
Wenren Heng said, “There’s no need to go through all that trouble.”
The moment he finished speaking, the scarred man coincidentally returned with the two register volumes and handed it over to the Sect Master. Wenren Heng opened a book and examined it for a while before walking back to the prison cell of “Colorless Blood”. He gave a simple glance inside before politely saying, “Key.”
The Wudang disciple was startled.
Ye You explained with a smile, “What my Senior Brother means is to unlock it for us to take a look.”
The Wudang disciple was extremely confused. “But the person already escaped, so what use would unlocking it be?”
Ye You said, all smiles, “Maybe he escaped in too much of a hurry and left behind something precious.”
The Wudang disciple said, “Young sir must be joking. They were all searched when they came in. They couldn’t possibly be hiding anything.”
Ye You said, “But I can’t let this go, I just have to do a search. If I really find something, how about I split half with you?”
The Wudang disciple hadn’t even opened his mouth when Pavilion Master Ding shot over a cold stare, and after a while, the Alliance Leader and the others also turned to look at him. The Wudang disciple suddenly felt an intangible pressure, and he didn’t dare to delay any longer. With shaking hands, he unlocked the cell for Wenren Heng.
Wenren Heng pulled off an oil lamp from the opposite wall and took it inside, looking through the entire area.
Academy Master Ge asked, “What are you looking for?”
“The black piece wanted to lure people to Bodhi Prison and so used ‘Colorless Blood’ and ‘Lone Wolf’. If they were still here, when people rushed over, Bodhi Prison would’ve been fine just revealing that these two were present, and informing everyone that the rumors were untrue, simply a display of what could’ve happened. But coincidentally something truly did happen in Bodhi Prison.” Wenren Heng walked towards the wooden bed and said, “So I think that the black piece used these two people for another, deeper reason. Perhaps he already knew that they weren’t here.”
He lifted up the messy blanket and shone the light on the bed. He randomly wiped a hand down the middle of the bed before returning to face the Wudang disciple. Showing a hand full of dust, he asked, “Didn’t he just run away recently? Why would the bed be full of dust? This blanket must be something placed recently, right?”
The Wudang disciple’s expression changed. When he opened his mouth again, even his tone of voice was tense. “He… he doesn’t usually sleep on the bed.”
Wenren Heng’s tone was very gentle. “Then he likes wrapping himself in a blanket to sleep while sitting on the stool?”
The Wudang disciple ferociously nodded his head.
“In these types of situations, usually the blanket would often rub against the floor, so the sides of it would definitely be filthy.” Wenren Heng asked, “Do you want to go inside and look to see whether that blanket is clean or not?”
The Wudang disciple opened his mouth to say another line of explanation, prepared to struggle to the last, when he heard Wenren ask, good-naturedly, “Following that, did you want to say that this blanket had just been cleaned?”
From beginning to end, he was extremely courteous, calm and even-tempered, but it was precisely this composed quality that made people feel oppressed, as if unable to take a breath. The Wudang disciple’s words were stuffed back into his mouth, and he felt himself dripping layers of cold sweat, liable to soak his clothes clean through. At this time, speaking neither slowly nor quickly, Wenren Heng added another sentence, “It looks like we’ll have to go look for Priest Xuanyang.”
The Wudang disciple completely collapsed; his knees went weak, and he sunk to the floor, crying, “Spare me, Sect Master Wenren! It, it, it has nothing to do with me!”
Wenren Heng asked, “What about ‘Colorless Blood’? Where are they?”
The Wudang disciple shook his head, so scared that he didn’t dare to say a single word.
Wenren Heng said, “Then let me change my question. The fact that people escaped from Bodhi Prison was something all of you purposely executed after hearing the rumors, right?”
The Wudang disciple’s face turned deathly pale, and he trembled even more fiercely.
The Alliance Leader and the others’ expressions turned ugly.
Pavilion Master Ding coldly let out a snort, and not even bothering to listen to the other’s nonsense, he instructed his subordinates to tie up the man. Holding his sword, he made right for the prison exit, clearly going to confront Wudang’s Sect Leader, Priest Xuanyang.
Ye You unhurriedly followed after them. When they reached the prison cells that were still undamaged, he found a person to ask, “Do all of you know something happened here a few days ago?”
The Alliance Leader’s group stopped and, with a glance into the cell, saw a large man.
The large man, “Of course I know. It was such a large commotion.”
Ye You asked, “What did you hear?”
“I heard someone yelling something about ‘letting him go’ or whatever, and then it seemed that they started fighting. And after that, a fucking swarm of people came running out!” The large man’s entire face was full of indignation, as if he also wanted to run out, but he didn’t say the thought out loud, instead asking, “Can they still be caught and brought back? If they’re caught back, does that mean they’ll get a few more years added? I think they definitely need to be locked up for a while longer, in case they ever dare to run again!”
Ye You smiled. “Then did you clearly see who they were? Was Single-eyed Li there?”
The large man said, “Yes, the first one who ran out was him. The rest of them were all crowded together, and I didn’t recognize many of them.”
Ye You asked, “You didn’t recognize a single one?”
The large man thought for a bit and was about to reply when he had a realization. “Ah, if I say it, doesn’t that mean you should take a few years off my sentence?”
Ye You said, all smiles, “I’m not very clear on this, but if you continue to keep quiet, then maybe they’ll increase your sentence by a few more years.”
The large man glared.
Ye You said, “Bodhi Prison has a register. Even if you don’t talk, we can still find out ourselves.”
The large man was immediately scornful. “Let’s drop it, since it’s just you guys…”
As he spoke, he suddenly stopped and then changed his words. “I’ll tell you guys this, I recognized another person, called ‘Long Sisal‘. I didn’t recognize any of the others, since they ran too fast. I didn’t even have time to look closely when they threw over the keys, so how could I have the heart to look at anything else.”
Manor Lord Wei asked, surprised, “Then why didn’t you run?”
What came out of the large man’s mouth was, “I’m this obedient so how could I just escape!”
Everyone collectively stared at him with suspicion.
The large man was able to recognize most of these people’s unparalleled, exalted identities, and so when faced with their looks, he felt somewhat as if he was suffering from qi deficiency, and let out a sigh to say, “If I had been able to get the key, I would’ve also ran.” Remembering the events of that night, he angrily pointed at the cell next door and said, pained, “But the keys fell on her side, and she could’ve gotten it just by reaching out a hand, but she refused to reach for it!”
Everyone immediately looked over and saw a woman locked up in the cell next door. She was already leaning charmingly against the bars, and seeing them look over, she stroked her hair with a smile. “Do you want to ask why I didn’t run? It’s simple, because this servant had only two months until her sentence was over. Only a fool would run then. Also, what would this young sir like to be called by?”
She looked at Wenren Heng, full of tender feelings. “Young sir truly looks quite handsome. Are you married?”
Wenren Heng said, voice mild, “No, but I’m soon to be.”
Everyone was extremely shocked and collectively turned to look at Wenren Heng before turning to look at the Sir Xiao beside him, all with different feelings in their hearts. The woman let out a faint sigh. “What a pity.”
The others weren’t able to ask anything else and so didn’t remain behind, promptly heading towards the exit.
Ye You looked at that Senior Brother of his.
Wenren Heng said, “Do you want to ask about what happened just now?”
Ye You looked closely at him. “It doesn’t seem like you’re joking.”
As if he was sighing, Wenren Heng said, “Yes, these past few years, I was constantly worried about you, so I never thought about marriage. Since you’ve finally returned now, and your injuries seem to be almost healed, one of my major anxieties has been put to rest. So I think I should also start a family now.”
Beside them, Qin Yuemian and the scarred man both independently felt their mouths lift up, and neither believed a single word out of this person’s mouth. Unless he was referring to marrying his Junior Brother. That, they could believe.
Ye You’s thoughts ran around in circles. He didn’t know what the other meant, and so the only thing that was able to come out of his mouth was, “What kind of person does Senior Brother want to find?”
Wenren Heng said, “Somewhat pleasing to the eye, somewhat obedient, someone who doesn’t always rouse my anger would be good.”
Ye You said, “When the time comes, don’t forget to invite me to drink at your wedding.”
Wenren Heng smiled. “Don’t worry, it can’t happen without you.”
As they spoke, they entered the small courtyard, and seeing Pavilion Master Ding already confronting Sect Leader Xuanyang, Ye You suppressed his messy and disorderly thoughts and looked in that direction. He saw the Sect Leader’s expression turn hard as someone is sent to invite over Priest Hezhen.
Priest Hezhen was in charge of guarding Bodhi Prison for Wudang Sect, and every other month, he would bring people over to switch duties.
He was more than forty years old, with a pair of drooping eyes, a short, orderly beard on his chin, and an extremely pale complexion. He also had some injuries from the ruckus a few days previous.
He originally thought that his Senior Brother, the Sect Leader, had wanted to inquire about the sequence of events, but upon seeing that tied-up Wudang disciple, he couldn’t help but change his expression.
Sect Leader Xuanyang told Priest Hezhen everything that the Alliance Leader’s party had discovered and asked, “How did this happen? Where are ‘Colorless Blood’ and ‘Lone Wolf’? Previously, Shaolin didn’t hear all of you ringing the bell. Was it because of this?”
“It wasn’t,” Priest Hezhen hastily moved to explain, “The incident with Single-eyed Li is true. We originally wanted to run outside and ring the bell, but we were all knocked unconscious by him.”
Sect Leader Xuanyang asked, “Then what about ‘Colorless Blood’ and ‘Lone Wolf’?”
Priest Hezhen stiffened before he kneeled and said, with difficulty, “Answering Sect Leader, they… already died.”
He let out a breath and quickly explained, “At that time, they had just been locked up, and refused to accept discipline, constantly jeering at the disciples outside, always speaking extremely rudely, cursing both Shaolin and Wudang to die. I… I was unable to control my temper at one point and physically punished them.”
Sect Leader Xuanyang stared at him with an unclear expression. Suppressing his anger, he asked, “Are your words true?”
“It’s true. I never dared to tell you.” Priest Hezhen said, “When Single-eyed Li’s incident happened a few days ago, as if possessed, I just counted these two as part of the escapees.”
Sect Leader Xuanyang asked, “Then why did those impostors choose these two to impersonate?”
Priest Hezhen eagerly shook his head. “I really don’t know about this!”
Sect Leader Xuanyang’s face moved, but he managed to suppress his anger. He called over all the disciples who had been on guard duty. Wenren Heng knew he wanted to ask some questions and so interrupted with a suggestion to separate everyone before asking each of them the questions one-by-one. This way, it would be obvious at a glance which statements were true and which were false.
Sect Leader Xuanyang gave him a glance and agreed.
Priest Hezhen suddenly looked at Wenren Heng; his face was as pale as a ghost.
Wenren Heng gave the priest a faint smile before turning to look at Sect Leader Xuanyang calling those people away separately. Taking his Junior Brother, he was prepared to follow and listen in. Seeing Shaolin’s people standing nearby, he said, “Shaolin and Wudang switch duties only once a month, while Bodhi Prison has already been operating for fifteen years, with apparently no other incidents having happened in all these years. Shaolin probably also isn’t blameless, right?”
Ye You said, “Who knows, but no person is perfect. Any person will have desires, whether big or small, whether towards someone or something.”
“Yes, we just don’t know what they sold themselves for…” Wenren Heng paused mid-sentence and then suddenly asked, “Any person will have desires. What about you?”
Ye You looked at him. “Of course I do too.”
Wenren Heng said, “Oh?”
Ye You said, “For instance, right now, my desire is to quickly regain my memories. What about you, Senior Brother?”
Wenren Heng said, deadly earnest, “I wish to get married soon.”
Ye You, “…”
 長劍麻 Oh man, a name has never given me this much trouble before. So I kind of went and picked the most concise choice, which might not be correct. 劍麻 is actually a plant, a type of agave called sisal, to be exact. But since that really didn’t sound wuxia-esque, I was wondering if the name was more literal? And if so, it’d be something like, “Sword that always/constantly causes numbness”, the shortest title out of which I can finagle is: “Always Numbing Sword” which sounds just blegh. So I went with the plant because idk maybe this guy just really likes plants. If in the future we actually get a “hey, this is why this guy got this title”, I’ll come back and change this if I turn out to be completely off-the-mark ahaha…
 三角眼 lit. triangle eyes. Rather than an actual triangular-shaped eye, this is more like someone with a drooping eyelid that hides part of the eyes. Apparently this means the person is friendly/affable but also crafty and good at reading others.
 山羊鬍 lit. goat’s beard. Here’s a pic from Baidu. Probably named such because it looks kind of like the beard a goat has.
 This was censored for some reason?? With □□ (meaning it was caught by the machine censor) to boot. But it was obvious they were talking about the purported jailbreak, so I just picked a random, fun word to go in there.
Also, I forgot to mention this earlier because I thought it was obvious, but in case you’re wondering, the term for medicine and drug in Chinese is the same. And I kind of use them interchangeably depending on the context.
Fun fact: Daoists take on a new religious name (法名) when they take a master. (Apparently this also applies to Buddhist monks too.) Which is why both Priest Xuanyang and Priest Hezhan’s names are two characters, despite these names obviously not being surnames.