In which some surprises are in store.
The mountain wind rolled through, sharp as a blade, scraping persistently upon a certain face.
Fuping had been staring down throughout the entirety of the fall.
He felt his blood freeze and his limbs stiffen. Every plot and scheme in his mind had turned into a vast, white blankness. It was only when he saw the ground getting closer and closer did he forcefully rouse his muddled rationality.
With this height, even if his martial arts weren’t sealed, he wouldn’t have dared to jump downward so carelessly. A certain person was most definitely crazy!
He did his best to look at the person beside him, only to see a white shadow spreading out in the middle of the air.
Upon finding the right moment, Ye You had thrown out a strand of white silk that was about seven meters long.
He had stamped on the silk twice and then, with a palm, hit it towards the surface of the river at the bottom of the cliff. Upon hearing the sound of it crashing into the water, he used the momentum to bounce off of it for a third time and finally stopped, steadily and securely, on a large stone next to the shore.
Fuping tried to calm down his frightened spirits, gasping for breath, now that they had already reached the bottom without trouble. He asked, “Have you long calculated this already?”
Ye You tossed him to the ground and jumped off the stone. He carefully retrieved the white silk before replying with, “I was simply making things up as I went.”
Fuping said, “But you prepared the white silk.”
“It was a lucky coincidence,” Ye You said, “This isn’t an ordinary white silk. It’s something I can use to save my life.”
Fuping considered the white silk’s texture and asked, “It can defend against fire and water?”
Ye You said, “No, it’s even more precious. If one day I’m wretched and destitute and hungry beyond reason, then I can trade this for money.”
“…” Fuping felt as if he’d have to lose his mind completely to believe the other’s previous words.
With his acupoint sealed, he couldn’t move a single step. And as he watched this person walk back, he felt completely incapable of seeing through this person’s thoughts. It was his first time meeting such an intractable person.
Ye You supported him rather tenderly and sat down next to him. Fuping waited but couldn’t see that the other had any intentions to leave. His thoughts turned, and he asked, “Are you waiting for someone?”
“No, I’m waiting for you to talk to me,” Ye You said, “Since there’s only the two of us here, it should be easy to talk about your true feelings, right?”
Fuping said, “Then you first tell me who exactly you are?”
Ye You said, “I’m Wenren Heng’s Junior Brother. Those words weren’t a lie.”
“What about apart from that?” Fuping’s head was fixed in place, so he could look only at this small river at the bottom of the cliff, and he couldn’t see the other’s expression. He said, “A person like you, in the past, you definitely weren’t obscure and unknown.”
Ye You laughed and said, “You aren’t afraid that when you get the answer, I’d want your life?”
Fuping said, “If you wanted to kill me, you’d already have killed me.”
Ye You said, “That’s because earlier there were people around. Now, there’s finally no one here.”
Fuping’s heart trembled, and he didn’t know if those words were true or not. But jumping off a cliff truly was an easy way to kill someone, especially since there’s a river at the bottom, so it’d be especially easy to turn him into a missing person. He said, “Weren’t all of you still hoping that I’d identify the white piece?”
Ye You said, “You’d talk?”
Fuping said, “This will depend on what kind of deal Shaolin’s people are willing to give me.”
Ye You let out a laugh and didn’t comment.
Fuping waited for a while for the other to speak, and not knowing why he suddenly felt somewhat cold, he asked, “What, you don’t believe me?”
“Of course I believe you.” Ye You finally turned his body, allowing him to see the other party. Unhurriedly, Ye You fished out the jade pendant that had been taken from his person and, while playing with it, said, “When the time comes, I just don’t know who exactly you’ll identify. What if all of you had already created some evidence and found a scapegoat. If I brought you back, wouldn’t I be wronging a perfectly innocent person?”
Fuping forcefully tried to push down his irregular heartbeat. “I wouldn’t be told about this kind of thing.”
“Darling, you undervalue yourself too much. The information I received was that the person with the command token had a high position,” Ye You said, “The white piece has a high and weighty position, so there’s many instances where it’d be inconvenient for him to appear. So I guessed that the white piece has a trusted advisor who specialized in taking care of sudden troubling outbursts. If met with a thorny problem, and it was inconvenient for the white piece to relay orders, then the advisor would take care of it independently. I don’t know if you’re their advisor?”
Fuping said, “I…”
“Shhh…” Ye You reached out a finger and placed it on his lips, movements still as tender as before. “No need to explain. Actually, it doesn’t matter if you are or not. The most important thing is that I have long already known who the white piece is, and I also know that even if the white piece’s identity is exposed, he still has other backing. Isn’t that right?”
Fuping’s pupils abruptly contracted.
At this moment, he was thinking back to what happened just now. If this person truly knew the white piece’s identity, then the other had long calculated that there would be pursuers, and so had also long decided to jump off the cliff. Along with the fact that he already had his jade pendant taken from him, that meant that this person had never wanted to worm facts out of his mouth but had always truly wanted to kill him!
He controlled his breathing with difficulty and said, as calmly as possible, “Oh? You know who the white piece is?”
“I know. I don’t want to listen to you trying to sound me out, so let’s talk about something else. Anyway, there’s no one else around, so I’ll ask about this,” Ye You said, “Three years ago, Xunliu Manor’s old Manor Lord passed away from illness. Whose idea was this?”
Fuping was immediately suspicious. “You’re one of Xunliu Manor’s people?”
Ye You said, “No, but Qin Yuemian is a friend of my Senior Brother, so I wanted to ask.”
“I’m not clear on this matter.” As he spoke, Fuping saw the corners of the other’s mouth twitch, so he added, “But it’s true that he didn’t die because of illness.”
Ye You said, “Was it that miracle doctor’s drug?”
Fuping said, “Yes, Manor Lord Qin’s ambition was too big and so he’d started becoming faintly aware of some of our operations. We couldn’t let him go, so we found someone to give him the drug.”
Ye You praised, “This time, you’re being quite cooperative.”
Fuping said, “In any case, you know quite a lot already, though who knows whether or not you’re simply pretending to know when you’re actually confused in order to sound me out.”
This person was too unfathomable, so it was better to follow along with this talk. What’s more, compared to the matter of Bodhi Prison, the murder of Xunliu Manor’s Manor Lord wasn’t even worth mentioning, so saying it out loud wasn’t any cause for concern. He must say some useful things in order to buy some time for his people to find him, and also as a way to gain some reprieve from death.
Ye You said, “When the Manor Lord died, the one in control of the manor became the womanizing young master Qin Yuemian, and so all of you felt at ease. But there’s one thing that you actually didn’t know.”
Fuping asked, “What is it?”
Ye You said, “That is… Qin Yuemian is completely not like the playboy young master that he appears to be. You still aren’t coming out?”
Fuping was startled and quickly realized that these words weren’t being said to him. His eyes darted every which way, and he finally saw a person walking slowly out from the forest beside the lake. When this person got close, he found that it was a youthful young sir, and he said, “You’re Qin Yuemian?”
Qin Yuemian didn’t reply and silently stared at him.
Ye You gave him a word of certainty and then asked, “You’re this clever, so it’d be a pity to give your life away for the sake of the white piece when even Jianghu doesn’t know that you exist. Why not follow me?”
Fuping asked, “What benefits would you give me?”
Ye You said, all smiles, “Actually thinking about it, I think it might be better just to forget it. Let’s stop our joyful conversation here then.”
Fuping’s expression changed; he had completely not anticipated the conversation jumping this fast. He wasn’t clear on what the problem was with those words he said earlier, and he was just about to beg for his life when his neck was grabbed.
“I won’t let you stall for time.” Ye You looked at him. “If I really brought you back to Shaolin, it’d just cause me endless trouble with no benefits. Truthfully, I quite like you; you play the qin beautifully.”
As he said the last word, he suddenly increased the force of his grip.
In a flash, Fuping heard a clear snapping sound and, following that, was immediately swallowed by the darkness.
Qin Yuemian looked at the corpse and then watched the other take off Fuping’s shoes, throwing one into the lake. He finally opened his mouth, “Are you the black piece, or is it the person who’s been contacting me this whole time?”
“At the beginning, it was me who found you, but the last few times has been someone else. But what does it matter who it is.” Ye You smiled and looked at him. “There were no problems with you coming out like this?”
“I’ve already thought of a countermeasure. I won’t let anyone suspect me.” Qin Yuemian watched the other stand up and remembered that he had originally suspected the other of approaching Wenren Heng for another goal. He felt somewhat speechless at this.
Three years ago, his father passed away and left behind only one sentence, ‘Don’t show off your ability.’
Although he felt that there were problems with his father’s death, he didn’t know who he should find to pay this debt. It was also at that time that a mysterious person appeared, telling him that if he wanted to know everything, then he should patiently wait.
Over these three years, he hadn’t been idle. He had moved the location of his father’s shadow guards and trained them in secret.
At first, he had been in contact with that mysterious person a few times, and when the other party learned that he could write with both hands, that person had let him write a letter about Bodhi Prison. When he heard the details of what to write, he started realizing that these matters had been even more serious than he had thought. And when the matter with the secret book came out, that mysterious person gave him a group of people on the Bodhi Prison side and told him that he’d know what to do when the time came.
He thus understood that the chess game was about to start and followed Young Master Li and the others to meet up with Wenren Heng. From that mysterious manor, then to Bodhi Prison. When he saw that letter he had written being used, and then thought about what he could do, along with the information he had gathered in these three years, he thereby sent people to capture that flute player and bring the person to Shaolin. Afterwards, he received a small note from that mysterious person, so he once again wrote a letter to remind them that dead people could still be alive… All the way until now, when he had finally learned the truth about his father’s death.
And Wenren Heng’s Junior Brother that he had inadvertently picked up turned out to be at the center of this game.
Ye You gave him a look. “What are you thinking about?”
Qin Yuemian said, “Thinking about who could be your other accomplice.”
Ah-Xiao had been treated like a precious treasure by Wenren Heng, and everywhere the other went, people followed, so there had been no opportunity to send him that small note. And since the other accomplice needed to send this note, it meant that the person’s identity was special and so couldn’t make any special moves, thus having to rely on the help of this prodigal son. So… who could it be?
Ye You laughed and said, “When the time comes, you’ll know.”
Qin Yuemian asked, “Do I also have to wait until the time comes to know your identity?”
“There’s no need to go as far as that.” As Ye You spoke, he waved his hand at the forest. Those Elders, who had already been waiting for a long time, then scuttled out simultaneously and encircled him, itching to throw themselves over to hug him. Ye You smiled at them and pointed at the corpse. “Go, find a hidden place to bury him.”
Those Elders looked at him, aggrieved, before lifting up that person and leaving.
Qin Yuemian looked at them and remembered that he had also received his information at this place. He then knew that this person had long planned to jump off the cliff and so asked, “Does Ah-Heng know about your matters?”
“He only knows my identity. He doesn’t know that I’ve regained my memories.” Ye You laughed and said, “You’ll have to help this lord keep this secret.”
This way of addressing oneself startled Qin Yuemian immediately. After making a connection to the various Jianghu sects, he faintly sucked in a breath. “You’re actually the Demonic Sect’s…”
He hadn’t even finished speaking when he saw Ye You look back and then jump into the river.
Qin Yuemian, “…”
Having heard the noise, one of the Elders ran back and, upon not even seeing a shadow of the Sect Master, was immediately startled to anger, “What did you say to him!”
Qin Yuemian quickly regained his senses and said, “Hurry and finish burying. After you’re done, leave. Those up top are coming down.”
Not long after, those on top came down and found that there was a river at the bottom of the cliff. They felt somewhat more relieved and began searching along the river. In the end, they found only Fuping’s single shoe, unaware of whether or not he had been rescued by the black-clothed men.
They continued searching forward and finally saw Sir Xiao at one of the shallows.
Pale-faced, the scarred man ran forward and reached out a trembling hand to check. Feeling his heart smashing back into place, he said, “Sect Master, Young Master Xiao is still alive!”
Wenren Heng made only a sound in acknowledgement. Walking over, he stooped down and lifted his Junior Brother.
The scarred man looked at the Sect Master. He didn’t know if it was a misperception, but he felt as if the Sect Master didn’t appear to be very happy. He said, placating, “Young Master Xiao is favored by the heavens, so he should be all right.”
Wenren Heng once again made only a sound in acknowledgement, and with some seemingly deep meaning, he looked at the person in his embrace before leaving.
Not gonna lie, this was the first chapter that actually blindsided me. I completely didn’t see this coming, and I was even kind of annoyed at the earlier chapters for how the author kept referring to Qin Yuemian as being slow/not smart. But when I got here, I was just like: ah, well played, author, well played.
Also, this chapter is sort of late because I wanted to make sure I finished up the next two, and I did! So expect a double update tomorrow, and then a return to your normally scheduled “whenever I feel like translating” schedule (which is like 2-4 days per chapter, I guess?). [melts]