In which Xie Junming and Ye You have a conversation.
Also, note: After reading some of the ending chapters, I realized that what I previously translated as “Demonic Massacre” wasn’t referring to the monster killing all those families twenty years ago but, rather, was referring to the hunt for the monster himself. (Strangely enough, my original translation explaining this term seems to be correct, so I have no idea how I seemed to have internalized a completely wrong definition of it.) I’ve changed all instances of this to “Demon Slaughter” to better reflect this. This affects only chapters 7, 11, and 13.
After stepping into Shaolin, Xie Junming truly did go and light a stick of incense, and he truly did ask for a change in fortune, facing the Buddha with a pious appeal for his own position as a monster to be more stable, and to absolutely not allow his livelihood to be stolen by that malicious and duplicitous elder of the righteous faction — the expressions of the nearby Abbot Ciyuan and the righteous faction members who had overheard these words were all a sight to see.
The left protector was unsurprised in the face of his Temple Master’s temperament. He took the incense from the Temple Master’s hand and stuck it into the incense burner.
Xie Junming straightened his clothes, and as he stepped outside, he looked at everyone. “Have you finished thinking? Do I stay, or do I return and call everyone over instead?”
The crowd went still and, one after another, looked in the direction of the elders. This time, they definitely didn’t dare to make a ruckus.
Abbot Ciyuan didn’t open his mouth, and looked inquiringly at the rest of the group.
“Let me just say that you righteous faction folks think too much. I came here to help, not to mess around, and you still need to think about this?” Xie Junming said, “Forget it. Anyway, before I left, Ah-You also said that he wanted to get in on the fun. I still think that making a trip back first would probably be better. And then I can call him, and we can come back together.”
The “Ah-You” he spoke of was naturally the Demonic Sect’s Sect Master Ye You.
Everyone once again felt as if their visions had turned black. One Xie Junming was already enough to give everyone a headache, so they definitely couldn’t have another, especially a Demonic Sect’s Sect Master!
Whenever those two rascals got together, they were easily able to torment people to death.
Before, Lishan Sect’s Sect Leader had even been so angered by them that he spat blood. He had really spat blood, with that blood spraying out like a fountain of flowers. And there were even some of the righteous faction who had been angered into unconsciousness by them, fainting right as their eyes rolled up, especially fast. And even more anger-inducing was that Sect Master Ye once felt guilty enough to buy some kidney-replenishing medicine for someone, the reason being that he apparently saw the other’s pale complexion and feared that the other needed the boost. When the other party awoke, they were once again angered into fainting.
Upon thinking of all the different matters that had happened in the past, everyone silently looked, in wordless appeal, in the direction of those elders.
Pavilion Master Ding’s brows knitted faintly, and he coldly said, “Cleaning up within the faction doesn’t require the involvement of outsiders. In the end, we will definitely give all of you an explanation. Please go back. It’ll be useless no matter how many people you call. This isn’t a place where all of you can act so impudent.”
Lingjian Pavilion stood majestically as one of the two major sects of Jianghu, so there was an extraordinary air of confidence, and Pavilion Master Ding was also similarly an extremely resolute person. As he said these words, everyone in the righteous faction immediately felt their spirits lift and their backs straighten, thinking in their hearts that they couldn’t be led around by the nose by this surnamed Xie!
And then, without waiting for them to agree aloud, Xie Junming began laughing. “Pavilion Master Ding really doesn’t care that I’m able to call all of them over?”
Pavilion Master Ding said coldly, “You can try.”
Xie Junming laughed even more happily. “Ah, listening to this sounds like a dare. Is it that Pavilion Master Ding is hoping that I’ll call them all over so that we’ll all have a good fight and confuse matters even more?”
Pavilion Master Ding’s expression was instantly covered with a layer of frost.
Those nearby took a look, internally thinking not good.
Pavilion Master Ding’s temper was just like this, and he absolutely hated those from the demonic faction. He had already loathed Xie Junming’s ambiguously true-false threats just now, and now that Xie Junming was trying to slander him, one can well imagine how great his anger was.
Manor Lord Wei interrupted with, “Old Ding, there’s no need to get angry at someone so much younger than you. If he’s willing to stay, just let him stay.”
Pavilion Master Ding looked at him. “After this many years, regarding a righteous faction matter, when has it ever been appropriate to let the demonic faction stick their hands in?”
“I especially don’t like hearing those kinds of words.” Xie Junming was acting as if he hadn’t noticed the atmosphere of mutual hostility. He withdrew some of his smile and said, “Usually, if our demonic faction has any sort of dispute, your righteous faction won’t even ask a word and will simply carry a flag of “righteousness” to fight over control of the situation. Now that there’s an issue in the righteous faction, why can’t we of the demonic faction even ask about it? Pavilion Master Ding, I know you can’t tolerate even the slightest bit of dirt beneath your eyes and so you absolutely hate us of the demonic faction. I respect you as an elder of the righteous faction, and so I never say anything whenever you usually meddle in the affairs of the demonic faction, but this time I need to at least speak some sense. You shouldn’t be playing favorites so heavily.”
Everyone sucked in a cold breath when they heard this.
In Jianghu, there were few who dared to challenge Pavilion Master Ding. Sure enough, Xie Junming was certainly unbridled.
Pavilion Master Ding unexpectedly didn’t erupt in sudden anger, and his face remained coldly indifferent. “Usually it’s that those of you from the demonic faction have done too much evil, so you were getting a taste of your own medicine.”
Xie Junming didn’t give a single step. “No matter how evil were our deeds, when have we ever had so many people die as in Bodhi Prison? This time, many of our demonic faction died in Bodhi Prison, so why can’t we not seek justice for them? Why do we have to wait for all of you to investigate yourselves? Then next time an issue arises in the demonic faction, can’t we also send all of you away to listen for news from afar?”
Pavilion Master Ding’s expression sunk, and right as he wished to speak further, Manor Lord Wei said, “That’s enough. Let’s not let such a small issue poison the atmosphere. Let’s just let him stay. Having one more around to provide ideas could also be good.”
Pavilion Master Ding said, “Then if something happens, it’s your responsibility.”
“What kind of words are these? What do you mean by my responsibility?” Manor Lord Wei returned with the question. “Their bodies are their own, so if something happens, it’ll be fine to just let them take responsibility for it. We have so many people here, so I presume that they won’t be committing any great atrocities.
Pavilion Master Ding let out a cold grunt. “You’re quite optimistic.”
“Naturally, I’ve always been like this,” Manor Lord Wei said, chuckling, and then he also added a cutting remark out of habit, “While just like always, you carry a stiff face every day, and whenever you don’t know something, you act like it’s the other person who owes you.”
Oh no, they might start fighting again.
Everyone collectively looked at the Alliance Leader. The Alliance Leader wrinkled his brows and looked at the two. Luckily, these two people still had some consideration in their hearts, and after saying a few words, they both dropped the matter.
Everyone was just about to let out a breath of relief when they heard Xie Junming open his mouth, “Have you decided? Why not do it like this. Let’s take a vote to see who supports and who opposes. So for those of you who oppose me staying here, just come out and tell it to my face.”
No one in the crowd moved.
Xie Junming waited for a moment before saying, “Look, not even one opposed. Then all these approve.”
Don’t you have any shame!
Xie Junming laughed and looked at those elders. This time, even Pavilion Master Ding was somewhat speechless, and his expression became even more terrible. Xie Junming was too lazy to argue with him any further, and he lightly asked, “That’s right, I heard that the Alliance Leader’s young master was kidnapped?”
The Alliance Leader was startled before immediately following with, “That’s right, has Temple Master heard any information?”
Xie Junming didn’t answer, simply looking at the Shaolin Abbot. In his heart, the Alliance Leader felt extremely anxious and so also looked over.
Seeing that those next to him didn’t appear to have any intentions of speaking, Abbot Ciyuan decided to take charge, settling the decision. He had heard some things about Xie Junming’s temper, and since this person was adamant about participating in this matter now, to prevent things from becoming even more of a mess, it’d be better to just allow this person to do as the other wished.
Xie Junming was very satisfied and said, “Then I’ll trouble the Abbot to help me prepare a room.”
The Alliance Leader asked, “Temple Master Xie, my son…”
Xie Junming said, “Oh, I haven’t heard any useful information, but since we’re all going to be living under the same roof for this period of time, I couldn’t help but ask a few words out of concern. What is it? Do you already have clues regarding the matter with your esteemed son?”
“…” The Alliance Leader was very vexed, and simply said a word of, ‘No,’ before ignoring him completely.
Xie Junming asked, “To what level have matters gotten to? Someone come and tell me about it.”
Since he had clearly and openly asked this question, and everyone had tacitly approved his staying behind, they couldn’t actually really ignore him. But of course, Pavilion Master Ding was unwilling to pay him any attention, silently refusing to speak. The Abbot and the others pulled Xie Junming into the study that they had recently been using these past few days to discuss business and simply laid out the chessboard for him.
“Hm, this board is quite big. Where’s the Sir Xiao all of you mentioned?” Xie Junming looked around the circle and said, “Speaking of which, Sect Master Wenren also isn’t here today.”
Academy Master Ge said, “Sir Xiao’s health isn’t good, so Sect Master Wenren invited Young Miracle Doctor Fang over to take his pulse and is probably even now accompanying him.”
“Oh, since they’re not here, then I’ll just say some things that they might not like hearing.” Xie Junming arrogantly declared that he was going to talk bad about some people behind their backs while completely ignoring the expressions of those around him. He asked, “Over these years, I’ve never heard of Sect Master Wenren having a Junior Brother. All of you aren’t suspicious?”
“Elder Yu truly did have a younger disciple. I’ve met him once before,” Manor Lord Wei said, “Ten years ago, he saw Elder Yu’s murder with his own eyes, receiving such a shock that he turned into a fool before then getting lost in an accident. Xiao-Heng found him again only recently.”
Xie Junming said, “Then there are even more issues. Right as he returned, something this big happened. All of you truly never suspected him?”
Certainly, they weren’t fools, but who’d be like you and directly say it out loud? Everyone silently looked at him and didn’t open their mouths.
Academy Master Ge couldn’t help but add in some words of assistance, “Perhaps it’s just a coincidence. Sir Xiao was originally clever, and since he lost his martial arts because of the matter with the white piece, he’d naturally want to get retribution. Moving back a step, even if there were truly some problems with him, he still wouldn’t be working for the white piece.”
“I also didn’t say he was working for the white piece. Oh, is he sick?” Xie Junming stood up, carrying an expression as if he was extremely worried, and said, “In the future, we’re all allies, so I’ll first go and pay him a visit before going to see that Mr. Xiao.”
He was true to his words, leaving as he spoke, directly throwing this crowd of people to the back of his mind.
Everyone looked at each other. They had never thought that they’d be sitting and discussing business with someone from the demonic faction, and all of them were somewhat speechless.
When Xie Junming left, he found a small monk to inquire about the whereabouts of Sir Xiao’s residence.
The small monk wasn’t clear on his goal and had some hesitation. “This…”
Xie Junming said, “Monks shouldn’t lie. If you know, just say you know. If you don’t know, just tell me you don’t know.”
The small monk, “…”
Xie Junming raised his eyebrows.
The small monk completely wasn’t this person’s opponent, and he was utterly defeated with only a few sentences. Upon seeing that none of the elders of the righteous faction had come out to block the other’s way, he thereupon became resigned and helped to point out the way.
Xie Junming then slowly walked to Wenren Heng’s small courtyard. Right as he stepped into the yard, he saw Wenren Heng open the door, so he said, “Forgive my disturbance. I hope Sect Master Wenren won’t take offense.”
Wenren Heng knew that even if he said he was offended, this person wouldn’t care in the least. Smiling faintly, he said, “Of course not, please, come in, Temple Master Xie.”
Xie Junming said, “I’ll be living at Shaolin these next two days, and I heard that Sir Xiao’s health wasn’t good, so I wanted to come pay a little visit…”
As they spoke, these two people stepped into the room. Xie Junming lifted his head and instantly met Ye You’s smiling gaze. Honing in, he sized up the other’s miserable appearance and said, sighing, “Ah, Sir Xiao’s illness is quite heavy. Have you already taken medicine?”
Ye You said, all smiles, “I’ve been waiting for you to deliver it.”
The moment Xie Junming heard this, he knew that they didn’t need to conceal their words from Wenren Heng, so he immediately stopped pretending. He rushed over, wanting to unravel those bandages on the other’s head. “What happened to you? You better not have really destroyed such a good face. It’d be too much of a pity.”
Wenren Heng reached out a hand to block him and said, mildly, “They’re burns, and they’re almost healed. Please sit, Temple Master Xie.”
Xie Junming looked between the two of them for a while before finally looking at his good friend. “He’s really your Senior Brother?”
Ye You said, “I remember telling you that I was from the Central Plains. I moved out only ten years ago.”
Xie Junming said, “But you didn’t say that you were disciple-brothers with Wenren Heng. In the past, when you two met, your relationship didn’t look particularly good.”
Ye You said, “You learning about this now still doesn’t count as too late.”
Xie Junming asked, “Then how did you get burns on your face?”
Ye You said, “There was a bit of an accident.”
His Senior Brother had also asked about this matter, but it was truly an accident. At that time, he had simply wanted to start a small fire, but he hadn’t anticipated that he’d be smashed in the face with something.
Seeing that he wasn’t going into detail, Xie Junming simply reached out a hand. “Unravel it and let me see how the burns look.”
“It’s already healed.” Ye You smiled and stopped him in his tracks. “You can’t have just come to see me solely for the sake of studying my face, right?”
Xie Junming internally thought that wasn’t it precisely because of this person pretending to be ill and not appearing that he had come, while giving the excuse that he was paying a visit. He suddenly thought of something and asked, “I heard that you also called for Young Miracle Doctor Fang. Aren’t you afraid that he’ll expose you?”
Ye You said, “There’s no problems. All of them know that my mood isn’t good, so my lack of energy is natural.”
Xie Junming said, “Reason?”
Ye You faintly said, “Lost love.”
Xie Junming was amused. “That’s easy to take care of. This brother will comfort you. Just with this face of yours, this brother is willing to try it out once.”
Ye You said, “I’ve never said that I was into men.”
Xie Junming said, “You aren’t even tempted by the beautiful Lady Tao. If you aren’t into men, what are you into? Just admit it. Even if you aren’t, this brother has a way to make you into men for a while.”
Wenren Heng truly didn’t want to hear them keep going back and forth with this nonsense, so he gently interrupted them, telling them that matters were urgent. Ye You naturally wouldn’t oppose his Senior Brother’s intentions and obediently listened. Xie Junming rarely ever saw his good friend this well-behaved, and he looked at them, vaguely feeling as if there was something subtle about these two’s relationship. But he also knew that it wouldn’t be appropriate if he stayed for too long, so he began talking about the things he investigated.
He asked, “After the Zhong family’s young master was kidnapped, did you see the mark?”
Ye You nodded. “The person’s in your hands?”
Xie Junming said, “Yes. That mark was the one that that monster personally used twenty years ago.”
Ye You said, “I know. You’re saying that the Alliance Leader has some sort of relationship with him?”
“Perhaps,” Xie Junming said, “It was you who reminded me to continue digging for this information, so I turned to digging about any troubles that had occurred, and I dug until I reached the matter from over twenty years ago. That monster once had a retainer who, if still alive, should probably be as old as the Alliance Leader is now.”
Ye You raised a brow. “It can’t be just a guess, right?”
Xie Junming said, “Yes, I investigated for a long time, until I found a particular detail. That retainer had suffered an injury for the sake of that monster, and his left shoulder had been cut before. If the Alliance Leader truly is him, perhaps a scar still remains.”
Ye You said, “When was this?”
Xie Junming said, “Over twenty years ago. At that time, that monster hadn’t committed any wrongdoings, so most likely, not many people noticed that he had a retainer. When that monster became infamous across the realm, his retainer had already been long gone from his side. It was also at that time that the Alliance Leader began appearing in Jianghu. And there’s one more thing. Before that monster died, it seemed as if there was something wrong with his internal energy. If he truly had been given the drug, then it was probably done by someone who knew him intimately.”
Ye You said, “So if that’s true, and the Alliance Leader is truly that retainer, then wouldn’t that mean he performed a great service? Why did you kidnap his son?”
Xie Junming said, “Recently, the Lantern-Extinguishing Poison has appeared again, and the matter with Bodhi Prison has blown up this fiercely. Who knows if he’s part of this, and whether he is or not, it’s better to kidnap first, and then ask questions later. Anyway, it’s not like his son knows that I was the kidnapper either.”
Ye You laughed and said, “You sure did a good job.”
Xie Junming said, “These are the only things I’ve found. At that time, although there was the Hundred-Grass Dew, it was exceedingly expensive. Such a big man like him probably wouldn’t buy that medicine just for the sake of getting rid of his scar. And the longer the scar remained, the less efficacy the Hundred-Grass Dew will have on it, unless he cuts himself again over that scar and then apply the medicine over that new injury.”
Ye You looked thoughtful. “Yes.”
Xie Junming laughed and said, “How about it? Thinking of a way to take off the Alliance Leader’s clothes?”
Ye You was about to say that there was no need to do that for now, and to wait for the Alliance Leader’s reaction, but before he had even opened his mouth, he saw the other’s wicked smile and asked, “You already thought of an idea?”
Xie Junming said, “Of course.”
 天女散花 This is an idiom that’s based on an old story in Buddhism, about how when a certain Bodhisattva and his disciple were discussing dharma, a celestial maiden came down to earth and scattered flowers over everyone. For the Bodhisattva, who had rid himself of all earthly desires, the flowers naturally fell off his body, while for the disciple who still retained desires, the flowers didn’t fall and stayed. Nowadays, it’s usually just used to describe an incredible spray of liquid and/or falling snow.
 腿長他們自己身上 lit. their legs are attached to their own bodies. Which sounds pretty funny in Chinese but doesn’t translate well into English.
Also, I decided to keep Xie Junming as “Temple Master Xie” for now since flipping through some earlier chapters, it seems the imperial palace has been mentioned now and again, and I think “Temple Master/Wuwang Temple” would be less confusing than “Palace Master/Wuwang Palace”. I’ll re-evaluate when I finish translating this story, I guess.