In which Xie Junming comes to visit.
Upon hearing that Wuwang Temple had come to pay a visit, those Demonic Sect Elders immediately stretched out their necks, not knowing what magnificent feat Temple Master Xie was about to do. It couldn’t possibly be, “If all of you won’t let me play around here, then I’ll just go back and cut up the Junior Alliance Leader,” right?”
Elder Mei slowly thought back and looked at Elder Bai, asking, baffled, “Didn’t you two just separate? And wasn’t he going to first reconvene with his troops? How did he get here so fast?”
Elder Bai thought for a moment, and then thought for even more moments, before saying, “I don’t know.”
“…” Elder Mei was speechless and decided that she might as well see for herself.
After a moment, they saw the crowd part to allow a path, and with a troop of people, Wuwang Temple’s left protector calmly and easily walked in from the main gates. Abbot Ciyuan and the others had also already heard the news and had come rushing over, and the two sides very quickly met one another.
Abbot Ciyuan put his palms together and uttered an, “Amitabha,” before saying, “I don’t know what kind of matter Benefactor has come for?”
“To deliver a visitor’s notice.” The left protector laughed and said, “This afternoon, our Temple Master wants to come pay an official visit to Shaolin, so he let me come say a word first, to avoid causing any inconveniences or frights if he had decided to come without warning.”
Aren’t they getting a fright right now!
Abbot Ciyuan opened the visitor’s notice and, after he finished reading it, said, “Then what noble errand brings Benefactor Xie to my Shaolin?”
“Isn’t it written right on there? He’s coming to light some incense,” the left protector said, “Anything else to discuss will have to wait until our Temple Master arrives. Anyway, before I left, I only heard him say that, upon hearing about the matter with Bodhi Prison, he felt deep down that even after being called a monster by the righteous faction for so many years, he hadn’t managed to establish himself at all, and he was even unable to compare to the big undertaking achieved by an elder from the righteous faction. He had truly failed to live up to this moniker of villainy, so he wanted to light some incense in the hopes of turning his luck around.”
This type of playing around to incite hatred made Elder Mei unable to help but roll her eyes, pulling the rest of Elders back into squatting down to poke at the grasshopper.
Since his arrival, Elder Bai had been pressed in place and asked an entire pile of questions, and it was only now that he finally took the initiative to ask a question of his own, “Where’s the Sect Master?”
Those Elders looked every which way and pointed out a certain white lantern for him.
Elder Bai looked over and was shocked by the Sect Master’s miserable appearance. “How did he become like this?”
Those Elders said, “Don’t know.”
Elder Bai said, “What’s the situation right now?”
Those Elders said, “Don’t know.”
Elder Bai said, “What big thing does the Sect Master want to do?”
Those Elders said, “Don’t know.”
Elder Bai, “…”
Those Elders, “…”
These people silently looked at each other.
Elder Bai slowly asked, “…Then what were all of you doing here every day?”
Those Elders said, in bitter anguish, “Growing mushrooms, poking worms, poking grasshoppers, running outside of Shaolin to cook some wild game, occasionally looking in on the Sect Master, while also taking the opportunity to curse a certain Wenren Heng impotent.”
“…” Elder Bai sat in silence, taking a very long period of time to react. When the rest of the Elders had started thinking that he had joined them in their bitter sorrow, they heard him ask, “What does this have to do with Wenren Heng?”
Those Elders were immediately pained and aggrieved. They told him that the Sect Master pretended to be amnesiac in order to mix in with the righteous faction and that Wenren Heng had lied, saying that they were disciple-brothers, sticking together every day, and also sleeping in the same bed, all the while definitely harboring some designs on the Sect Master, practically throwing away all shame, with an uncountable number of crimes to his name!
Elder Bai said, “Yes!”
Ye You was standing just outside the crowd, and he had also heard by now the left protector’s reason for coming. In his heart, he let out a laugh, guessing that Xie Junming had probably been afraid that he wasn’t aware that the other had come and so had wanted to use this method as a small reminder. And that, when the time came, if he had something to discuss with the other, he could start preparing or thinking of a method to do so right now.
Wei Jiangyue saw the people of Wuwang Temple quickly taking their leave and looked towards Sir Xiao, asking in a low voice, “I went and asked just now. That Mr. Xiao wasn’t willing to say a single thing, so I don’t think we can get any information out of him for now. Why don’t you go with us to walk around for a while?”
Ye You faintly said, “No thanks.”
Wei Jiangyue advised, “You’re this clever, so there’s no need to be like this for that kind of person…”
“I already understand. I just need some quiet,” Ye You interrupted him. “I came to look for you just now because I have something to tell all of you.”
Wei Jiangyue nodded and quietly waited for his next words.
Ye You then called all the surrounding Junior Sect Masters to his side and said, “After I returned, I thought about this matter once again. As everyone knows, the one who kidnapped Sir Zhong most likely wants to threaten the Alliance Leader. If the white piece really is the kidnapper, then he’ll most likely want to contact the Alliance Leader privately soon to discuss some terms.”
Everyone’s spirits shook. “That’s right!”
Ye You lowered his voice to say, “So if we want to know who the white piece is, then we’ll just have to keep an eye on the Alliance Leader these next few days and see who is alone with him. Perhaps we’ll be able to catch the white piece, and even if we don’t manage to catch the white piece himself, we could still capture someone who has a relationship with the white piece.”
Light shone out of Ding Xilai’s eyes as he listened, and he felt as if this was a big opportunity to save Xiao-Zhong and to distinguish himself. He patted his chest in guarantee and said, “Don’t worry, Sir Xiao, I’ll also have the people of ‘Moon’s Shadow’ help keep an eye out!”
Ye You gave him an admiring look and said, “This way of thinking is pretty good, and it was just what I wanted to give as a reminder. Since our own numbers are limited, all of you can call for a few more trustworthy people to help keep watch.”
Wei Jiangyue asked, “But the more people know, the more easily information will leak. What if the white piece’s people mixes in somehow?”
In his heart, Ye You thought that he was doing this precisely for the sake of the white piece no longer daring to act so recklessly after knowing, and that the white piece would think of this method only after finding no opportunities to contact the Alliance Leader. Out loud, he said in deadly earnest, “So it absolutely has to be people who are trustworthy. And even if it was truly overheard, there’d still be no harm. At that time, we’ll just have to see who looks the most worried.”
Everyone nodded in succession.
Abbot Ciyuan and the others had begun questioning Mr. Xiao since early morning, and even up until now, they had not managed to get any real clues. And now that they’ve even been disturbed by the people of Wuwang Temple, Abbot Ciyuan didn’t want to return to Dehui Hall again and so prepared to eat breakfast first.
The party turned around and, one after another, saw Sir Xiao and a crowd of people muttering together, not knowing what was being said, and so they couldn’t help but take a few more looks.
Academy Master Ge didn’t want to end up in complete ignorance once again, so he slowed his steps for a long while. Upon seeing Sir Xiao and that crowd separate, he couldn’t help but approach and ask if the other had some new ideas.
“No, it’s just that I thought of something, that’s all.” Ye You explained the matter very simply before saying, “From the beginning, I hadn’t wanted to conceal this from Academy Master Ge. We’re all part of the younger generation, and this matter requires all of you elders to be more careful. For those of you elders who like to discuss matters privately, it might be better to try and call for more people to be present. Or else if the white piece really does take advantage of an opening and the Alliance Leader does something irrational for the sake of his beloved son, then it’ll become quite troublesome.”
Academy Master Ge thought that this made sense and said, “Yes, when we eat, I’ll think of an excuse to mention it. If a matter really needs to be discussed, then it’s best to have at least three people present.”
Ye You said, “If the white piece is among one of those three, then one of the others could easily be sent away with an excuse. It’s better to not set the numbers so meticulously or else the white piece might see through it. Just tell them that if something happens, say it to everyone, so as to prevent some missteps from happening.”
Academy Master Ge answered in the affirmative. He then couldn’t help asking another sentence, “Sir Xiao trusts me like this. Aren’t you afraid that I could be the white piece?”
Ye You earnestly said, “No, this young one believes in his own ability to judge others. Academy Master Ge is definitely a good person.”
Academy Master Ge immediately felt happy from head to toe upon hearing this, feeling as if the other was even more pleasing to the eye, and chatted with him for a bit more before then leaving.
Ye You tracked the other’s departure with his eyes, quickly thinking through these current matters. He felt that with the Junior Sect Masters and Academy Master Ge keeping an eye out, this method would probably yield results in a short amount of time. When Xie Junming arrived in the afternoon, he would find an opportunity to ask about how far the investigation had progressed and see if there was anything he could use before deciding on his next step.
After straightening out the main details, he unhurriedly returned to the small courtyard. Pushing open the door, he found that his Senior Brother was currently reading, looking especially heart-warming.
Looking at this person, he felt very steady, as if his heart was a sea of tranquility, and that he’d remain standing even if he was battered by the wind and rain outside. Even the schemes he had been plotting just now have all dissipated.
Wenren Heng looked at him. “You’ve returned?”
Ye You made a sound in acknowledgement, and as if he was still in deep thought, continued to watch the other.
Wenren Heng said, “What are you thinking about? Xie Junming?”
Ye You honestly said, “No, thinking about you.”
These sudden words of endearment actually made Wenren Heng speechless for a moment. Seeing his Junior Brother approaching, he reached out to take the other’s hand and pull the other into an embrace. He asked, smiling, “Thinking what about me?”
Ye You said, “I think I need to find an opportunity to tell my people about our relationship.”
Wenren Heng asked, “What are you planning on saying?”
That you’re the wife of the Demonic Sect’s Sect Master… These words turned in Ye You’s mouth for a while, but upon considering their current positions, he tactfully didn’t actually speak the thought out loud, simply saying, “First, I need to find a way to meet them.”
Wenren Heng said, “Right now, many people are keeping an eye on you. If you want to meet them, it’s better to leave Shaolin.”
Ye You nodded. “I know.”
Wenren Heng said, “When do you want to go?”
Ye You said, “We’ll talk about it after we finish meeting with Xie Junming.”
Xie Junming was very good at keeping promises, and paid a visit right after noon was over.
He had achieved his position early and had spent many years shaking the heavens and the earth in the demonic faction. Right now, he was only twenty-five years of age, appearing handsome and extraordinary, endlessly brash and ostentatious, wearing a set of black robes, with even a raise of the eyebrows carrying an unruly air.
By his grace, everyone had already been frightened once, so this time they didn’t have a single reaction upon seeing him. Abbot Ciyuan brought people over to welcome him, inquiring after his reason for coming.
Xie Junming said, “To light some incense. Didn’t I write it very clearly on the notice? Don’t Buddhists say that all living things are equal? It can’t be that other people can light some incense but that I can’t, right?”
Abbot Ciyuan said, good-naturedly, “Naturally not. Please, come in, Benefactor Xie.”
Xie Junming was very satisfied, and he lifted his leg to walk forward, saying, “I heard that it hasn’t been peaceful in the righteous faction recently, so after I light some incense, I’m thinking of staying behind to help a little.”
The moment these words were said, an enormous wave was stirred up by this small pebble.
Abbot Ciyuan hadn’t even replied when the righteous faction members in the nearby surroundings couldn’t endure it any longer and angrily said, “The matters of our righteous faction aren’t open to the participation of monsters such as you!”
“That’s right, who knows what kind of ideas you have!”
“We’ll resolve our own matters ourselves! We don’t need any of you in the demonic faction to worry!”
Xie Junming’s laugh was very handsome, and he amiably looked at the crowd of people. “Hey, these kinds of courageous people are exactly the type I like. Come, come, let’s not hide anymore. Come out, stand in front of me, and try repeating those words you just said. Let me better appreciate your handsome bearing.”
Those people, “…”
Seeing that the crowd looked as if they had been choked, Xie Junming once again looked at the Abbot and said, “The rumors outside said that Bodhi Prison and the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison had all come from the hands of a person of prestige and virtue in the righteous fraction. Are these things true?”
Abbot Ciyuan said, “We haven’t finished investigating yet.”
“Well, even if this person does exist,” Xie Junming said, “Our demonic faction also doesn’t want this kind of person. Some days ago, our demonic faction’s Sect Masters also gathered together to talk about these matters, and we all thought this elder was far too sinister. To stop him from eventually throwing the blame at us in the end, we also wanted to come investigate. But I thought that if we all came, something might happen, so why not start out with only one or two paying a visit first. Do all of you want me to stay here now, or for me to return and call all of them over instead?”
Everyone thought of that image of everyone in the demonic faction congregating at Shaolin, and they all felt their visions go black.
Xie Junming continued with, “Oh, that’s right, Bodhi Prison also has our demonic faction members. Before I left, those Sect Masters also specially entrusted me the task of finding justice for those people. So, please enlighten me, wise and powerful martial heroes of the righteous faction, has a conclusion been drawn about the matters regarding Bodhi Prison?”
Abbot Ciyuan said, “We’re still investigating.”
Xie Junming said, “Then before the investigation is finished, no more of our demonic faction members can be locked up inside, or else they might die without a sound or a word. Ah! It’s really frightening. This many years, and we only found out about this matter now.”
This time, Abbot Ciyuan was also choked by these words. He put his palms together. “This was all the fault of this monk.”
If it was anyone else, at this time, they would’ve definitely given a sentence or two of comfort, but Xie Junming wasn’t an ordinary person, and he nodded and said, “Yes, the greatest virtues are in recognizing one’s mistakes and making an effort to change.”
They truly wanted to drag this thing away and cut it to pieces! They practically hated him as much as that poison-tongued Sect Master Ye! No wonder the two are friends!
 拜帖 So this is an old-timey thing, apparently, where formal visitors would deliver a letter (or whatnot) verifying their identity. These letters are written by the person in question, so it also reveals a lot about their personality.
 午時 Again, based on the old Chinese time-keeping system, so it’s specifically 11am-1pm. But the author pretty much means noon.
 拜他所賜 Sarcasm, here. It’s like the English equivalent of “[insert something bad that has happened] thanks to you!” Except extra formal because that’s how us Chinese folks do sarcasm.
OK, while Ding Xilai is the most gullible and cute boy ever, Academy Master Ge is really giving him a run for his money. Ding Xilai at least has the excuse of being young, but how did Academy Master Ge become the Master of Dingtian Academy while being so gullible… lmao.
Also, Xie Junming is my age… Why am /I/ not a feared demonic faction leader right now. Man, I need to shape up!