In which Ding Xilai is very worried about his friend. #What to do when my best friend has been kidnapped, urgently waiting online for answers#
Junior Alliance Leader Zhong had been lost at a tavern.
Today, the Alliance Leader and Pavilion Master Ding weren’t able to find Fuping at the bottom of the cliff, so they decided to go to Xiangxing City together to look at that male brothel. Before they left, they also grabbed those two good-for-nothing quails and gave them some more physical reprimands, telling them to be more honest.
Ding Xilai and the Junior Alliance Leader had finally done something unprecedentedly big, but they ended up tripping at the finish line, and they felt no end of dejection and so felt no desire to return to Shaolin for now. And those Junior Sect Masters also didn’t want to return to suffer under their old mans’ scolding, so they simply sent some people to report that they were safe before then remaining behind.
Those people saw how Ding Xilai and the Junior Alliance Leader looked, and they couldn’t help but placate them with, ‘If it wasn’t for you two, then no one would’ve known there was anything wrong with the male brothel, and what’s more, it wasn’t their fault that they lost the person in the end, it was the fault of those black-clothed men who suddenly appeared out of nowhere; no matter what, they still contributed a lot to the situation.’
The two were very receptive to this manner of coaxing and thought deep down that it made sense. These quails immediately became fighting cocks and, with heroic spirit, went with the group to drink. Unconsciously, they ended up drinking too much, and it was when Junior Alliance Leader Zhong went to the bathroom that he was kidnapped. When they realized that he hadn’t returned and went to search for him, he had already disappeared, and no one even knew how long he had been missing.
That crowd of people didn’t have any leadership. Although Sir Wei was reliable, they all knew that Sect Master Wenren was in the small county town, and thinking that two was better than one, they naturally ran over to find Wenren Heng.
Ye You wasn’t clear on who exactly did this, so he also came along, not forgetting to ask, “There’s still no news about Fuping?”
The Junior Sect Masters said, “No, perhaps he’s been rescued by his people.”
Ye You said, in a low voice, “But his acupoint was hit, so he was unable to move, and he also fell down from such a height… If I had been able to hold on tightly enough to him at that time, I…”
The fake skin he used for his disguise had long been lost, left behind by Wenren Heng at the bottom of the cliff, and his bandages had also already been thrown away, so he had come out with his true appearance. When he lowered his eyes like this, even a person with a heart of stone wouldn’t be able to defend against it, and this crowd of people hastily moved to console him.
Wei Jiangyue said, “The whole river was searched and he still wasn’t found. He’s the white piece’s subordinate. If he’s truly still alive, then he has probably long left.”
The Junior Sect Masters said, “That’s right, Sir Xiao, he’s one of those people, so he’s destined not to walk the same path as us.”
The scarred man couldn’t help but say a word in agreement, “Yes!”
Ye You let out a faint sigh. “I know. When we learned that there was a problem with him, I already knew that we were doomed to be apart. It’s only that hearing there was no news on whether he was alive or dead, I still couldn’t help but worry for a bit.”
Wenren Heng gave him a rather tender look.
Ye You continued playing at sadness and didn’t look at that Senior Brother of his.
He had already acted out this play partway, so he definitely couldn’t leave it unfinished. He had to at least complete this play in its entirety.
Wenren Heng stowed away his gaze and brought the people to the tavern.
Ding Xilai and the people from “Moon’s Shadow” were currently on guard there. Upon seeing them come in, Ding Xilai hastily ran over and looked imploringly at Wenren Heng, hoping that the other could rescue his good friend.
Wenren Heng said, “I heard all of you saw a mark. Where is it?”
“It’s carved in the backyard.” A few people led the way, and they quickly arrived at the backyard which led from the tavern to the bathroom.
Here, a large tree was planted. Although Junior Alliance Leader Zhong had been lost, a handkerchief and a shoe had been left behind at the bottom of this tree. After these things had been moved away, they saw that there was a mark carved at the roots of the tree.
Ren Shaotian lifted the lantern over to let them see more clearly.
This was a very simple design, and it was drawn with only three strokes. In the middle was a winding and crooked curve and there was also two additional small curves drawn below it, making it impossible for anyone to recognize what it was. Wenren Heng thought back to the sects of Jianghu, feeling as if it didn’t fit any of them. He unconsciously looked at his Junior Brother and saw the other with lowered eyes, staring right at the design, expression hidden in the dark so no one could parse it clearly.
Ye You muttered to himself for a while before saying, “Let’s go back to Shaolin right now.”
That one sentence attracted everyone’s gazes.
Ding Xilai asked, “Why? Do you recognize this?”
Ye You said, “Do all of you see that it looks like the smoke left behind after a lantern has been extinguished?”
Some of those Junior Sect Masters took a while to react, but for Wenren Heng, Wei Jiangyue, and some others with quicker minds, they understood immediately and asked, “This represents the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison?”
“No,” Ye You said, “This was the mark of that monster from twenty years ago. No matter whether he was killing people or handling his affairs, after he was done, he usually enjoyed drawing one of these things. The older generation all recognize it. Before, at the Wang family residence, I once asked Miracle Doctor Ji about the matters pertaining to that monster because I was curious, so this was something he told me.”
After these words were said, Wei Jiangyue and the others didn’t feel anything strange about them, but Wenren Heng’s expression changed slightly upon hearing it, and one sentence flashed through his mind — those who have died could still be alive.
His Junior Brother was the black piece and was also related to the matter from twenty years ago, so who exactly was the dead person in this reminder?
Wei Jiangyue and the others weren’t clear on the fact that the black piece had sent a letter and asked, “The Lantern-Extinguishing Poison was something the white piece pulled out, so was this done by the white piece? Or was it something the black piece purposely drew?”
“I don’t know,” Ye You said, “But I have a way to draw out one of the white piece’s people. Let’s immediately return to Shaolin.”
The matter was urgent, so everyone didn’t ask any further and hastily got on carriages to hurry back to Shaolin.
Ding Xilai was completely distracted and so had instinctively followed Sir Xiao, climbing into the carriage and sitting alongside the other, not even noticing Wenren Heng giving him several mild looks.
Ding Xilai asked, “Do you think anything will happen to him?”
Ye You said, “Has he had any grudges with anyone?”
Ding Xilai said, “No, the most we’ve done is argue with people. We haven’t ever caused anything big.”
Ye You said, “Then nothing will happen.”
Ding Xilai uneasily thought for a bit and gradually started feeling that that made sense. The other party most likely captured the person for the sake of opposing the Alliance Leader, so since there was a goal, that person probably wouldn’t resort to murder. He felt just slightly more at ease and couldn’t help but say, “How despicable, to actually kidnap someone!”
Wenren Heng used that same old elegant tone from the past to respond unhurriedly with, “He hasn’t cut anything off from Sir Zhong’s body yet, so it’s already not too bad.”
Ding Xilai was frightened into trembling and lifted his head to look at the other in alarm.
Wenren Heng didn’t look at the other and simply pulled his Junior Brother over to his side, taking out the Hundred-Grass Dew and helping his Junior Brother apply the medicine. Then he made the white silk that the scarred man had bought into bandages, carefully wrapping up his Junior Brother. Out of the corners of his eyes, he saw the hindrance that was Ding Xilai and shot the other a look.
This time, Ding Xilai noticed his gaze, and he sluggishly thought back, internally thinking that if Wenren Heng wasn’t into men, then he’d change his surname to Wenren!
He looked at the distance between himself and Sir Xiao and wordlessly scooted over to the door. He asked, “Shaotian, is there still room outside?”
Ren Shaotian and the scarred man were sitting side-by-side and driving the carriage. When Ren Shaotian heard, he responded, “No, what is it?”
Ding Xilai said, “I want to get some fresh air.”
Ren Shaotian said, “It’s cold at night. Maybe another day.”
Ding Xilai said, “Then you come in and talk with me a bit. I feel a little unwell.”
Ren Shaotian quickly guessed the reason and let out a laugh before going inside.
When Ding Xilai was far enough away, Wenren Heng finally had the opportunity, and he lowered his voice to ask, “Is Miracle Doctor Ji one of your people?”
Ye You said, “No.”
Wenren Heng said, “Then you still…?”
When they had been at the Wang family residence, every time his Junior Brother went to see Miracle Doctor Ji, he also went along, so he naturally knew that his Junior Brother had never asked Miracle Doctor Ji about that monster. And the elders at Shaolin all more or less had their own thoughts on this matter, so there were some who definitely suspected that his Junior Brother was the black piece, especially the one who was the white piece. If they decided to change tactics and find Miracle Doctor Ji for proof, then his Junior Brother would definitely be exposed.
Ye You said, “Last time he took my pulse, he should have already realized that I still had my martial arts, but for some unknown reason, he didn’t expose me, and he even helped me conceal it, purposely telling me that it’d be difficult for me to practice martial arts in the future. This time, he most likely also won’t expose me. I think that the issue lies with his oldest disciple. Either this disciple had been driven to his death or he is still alive…”
At this time, Ding Xilai and Ren Shaotian finished their conversation, and Ren Shaotian opened the carriage curtains with a smile.
Ye You’s words came to a halt.
Ren Shaotian was a person with considerable talent, and his martial arts was even one level higher than Wei Jin’s. If it wasn’t for the fact that he was frivolous in temperament, then the Head of “Moon’s Shadow” would’ve been him. It was also for this reason that Pavilion Master Ding had ordered him to accompany Ding Xilai year-round. While Ye You and his Senior Brother could talk by using their internal energy to suppress their voices in front of Ding Xilai, they couldn’t easily do so when Ren Shaotian was added to the mix. After all, right now, his “martial arts was gone”, so if he didn’t want to be seen through, then he needed to be a bit more well-behaved.
Wenren Heng finished the last bit of wrapping and tied a knot. As he watched his Junior Brother sit back in place, he unconsciously wanted to pull this person into his embrace.
He had been thinking about these matters for ten years, and now he had finally succeeded in opening his Junior Brother’s mouth.
He was impatient to know exactly what was going on with everything. He was impatient to know who his Junior Brother’s enemy was. And he was most impatient to know, when this person had given himself away at that time, what exactly this person had thought while lying under him, and if the other really had been trying to provoke him recently.
He felt a faint expectation in his heart.
He wanted to hear this person say that his bitter longing over these ten years hadn’t been only his one-sided wishful thinking.
However, now truly wasn’t a good time.
He moved his fingers slightly and pressed down all the irritation in his heart.
The mountain road was difficult to traverse, and they could follow only the hazy moonlight in their hurry. By the time they reached Shaolin Temple, everyone had already gone to sleep. But since the matter was urgent, they still dragged Abbot Ciyuan and the others from their beds and told them that the Junior Alliance Leader had been kidnapped, with the mark of that monster left nearby.
Those elders’ expressions all changed.
The black piece had just sent a reminder that those dead could still be alive and then this matter occurred immediately afterwards. They all thought the same thing as Wenren Heng, that monster had died in the prime of his life, so if he was still alive, then with twenty years having gone by, his martial arts definitely would’ve progressed even further. Who could then oppose him?
Academy Master Ge gravely said, “It couldn’t be that he isn’t dead?”
“This isn’t possible,” Manor Lord Wei said, “At the time, we saw him take his last breath with our own eyes.”
Sect Master Han said, “I was also there. He truly was dead.”
There were also other Sect Masters who nodded their heads, all saying that they saw that monster die.
Academy Master Ge let out a breath of relief and looked towards Sir Xiao. “So there’s someone playing tricks? Which party did this?”
“He left only this one mark, so I really can’t say at this point,” Ye You said, “But right now I can draw out one of the white piece’s people. There’s a good possibility that this person is at the small county town. We can ask him if this is something the white piece did.”
Academy Master Ge said, “What are you saying?”
“We’ll need to start from when we went to Xiangxing City…” For the sake of saving time, Ye You gave only a simple explanation of the problem with Fuping before pulling out a jade pendant and telling them that he had taken this from Fuping’s person.
He said, “The white piece is too cautious, so ordinary subordinates couldn’t possibly know his identity. This time, something happened to Fuping, so if the people on that side wanted to give information to this side, they wouldn’t directly give it to the white piece; there definitely is a reliable person receiving these kinds of information. Li Hua doesn’t seem like the kind of person who can conceal information, but it’s possible that she knows who this person is.”
Ye You looked at them. “I’ll go and try to cheat her a little.”
Everyone immediately felt that it was feasible.
Since there was no time to lose, they quickly made the arrangements. Luckily, the discipline rooms included several rooms next to each other, and with their internal energy, from next door, they could hear everything.
Cheating someone was an art.
First, Ye You went with some Junior Sect Masters to interrogate Li Hua, vaguely letting her understand that they hadn’t had any success in Xiangxing City and so wanted to pull some words from her mouth. Li Hua naturally wouldn’t talk, pretending to be pitiful and telling them that she had been wronged.
Those young masters’ faces sunk, and they threw down a few threatening words before angrily leaving.
Li Hua curled up, but she felt relieved in her heart. She was just about to continue sleeping when she heard some words filter in from the outside.
“Excuse me, I dropped something, so you’ll have to let me go in again. I’ll come out right away.”
A Junior Sect Master said, “Sir Xiao, do you need us to help you look?”
“No need. All of you just wait a while and I’ll succeed.”
The moment these words were spoken, the doors opened, and Ye You closed the doors behind him, walking up to Li Hua, holding out the jade pendant.
Li Hua’s expression changed.
Ye You lowered his voice to say, “Long story short, there’s nothing wrong on Fuping’s side. They weren’t able to see through anything. He wanted me to tell you that the Shaolin Abbot has always been merciful and compassionate, so if you pretend to know nothing, they wouldn’t do anything to you. You just have to endure for a few days; he’ll think of a way to save you.”
Li Hua almost immediately believe it, and her eyes heated up as she nodded her head.
Ye You said, “He told me to say some things to the higher-ups, but I’ve never been to this area before, and this time, I also came here after following all these people, so I don’t know who’s in charge of this side. Who should I look for?”
Before Li Hua could open her mouth, the Junior Sect Masters outside said, “Sir Xiao, have you found it?”
Ye You raised his voice to say, “Found it. I’m coming out now.” He looked at Li Hua. “Quickly.”
Ye You said, “All right, just endure, and we’ll rescue you.”
Li Hua fiercely nodded her head, eyes glistening with tears.
Ye You gave her a last look of encouragement before turning around and leaving.
 慈悲為懷 A Buddhist term. Essentially saying that humans, at the basic level, must have empathy and compassion for others. Incidentally, the first character of this 慈 (Ci) is the same as the first character of the Abbot’s name, Ciyuan.
 I translated this literally, but you know how tears are said to be warm? Yeah, she’s holding back tears here.
 福來客棧 lit. ‘Fortune has arrived’ (or, alternatively, a wish for fortune to come) + ‘inn’.
 肖先生 The Xiao here is pronounced differently from Ye You’s fake name. Also, in case you forgot, Ye You’s Xiao (曉) isn’t a surname, while this 肖 is. But since no one knows Ye You’s surname (even us readers, apparently), everyone refers to him as “Sir Xiao” despite how it’d normally be impolite.
So Miracle Doctor Ji’s eldest disciple was briefly mentioned in Chapter 37. I originally translated those lines as the eldest disciple being “gone” but this chapter has made me suspect that he might be presumed dead? So I’ve edited that chapter. But I’m honestly not sure, since the original Chinese is even more euphemistic than usual. — Usually, if someone was saying that someone “passed away” (去了), the follow-up question would be, “How did he pass away?” (他怎麼去世的？) but instead Ye You asks, “Why is his oldest disciple no longer?” (他大徒弟怎麼沒的？), which I interpreted as “Why does he no longer have his oldest disciple?” Which is what led to my original mistranslation. This might be a regional turn-of-phrase that I just don’t get since I’m Taiwanese, but I’ve legit never heard this before, so… If anyone can clarify this, I’d appreciate it! For now, I’m assuming that he’s presumed dead.
This chapter in general caused me quite a bit of trouble when editing, since there was a paragraph in here that I just couldn’t figure out how to write pronouns for. (The one where Wenren Heng is thinking about how impatient he is.) It’s super smooth in Chinese but not so much here, so… apologies. If anyone has any ideas on how to reword it so that there’s no ambiguous pronouns at all, I’d love to hear it.