Cherry Blossoms Upon a Wintry Sword Chapter 61-70

Chapter 61: Killing to Exterminate their Hearts

The two of them hadn’t seen each other for a long time and when they finally looked at each other again, it was with a different meaning in their eyes. However, there were too many people present and Lin Rufei wasn’t able to talk much with Gu Xuandu. In the end, he could only look at him for a few more moments before moving away and returning his eyes onto the third princess who was currently bawling in Bai Jinglun’s arms.

The shadow was finally detached from the third princess’s body and she was able to wake up. However, after waking up, she started crying in Bai Jinglun’s arms.

If this was someone else, they probably would have long been scolded by Bai Jinglun. But in the end, this was his most beloved third princess. The words of scolding gathered at the tips of his tongue, but in the end, they did not dare come out. Instead, he just stroked her head and softly comforted her for a long time and only then, did this little girl calm down.  

During that period, Bai Tianrui and Xuan Qing stood on the side watching quietly, not daring to interrupt.

When the third princess had finally cried enough, Bai Jinglun took out a handkerchief and carefully dried his daughter’s tears: “Moumou no more crying, everything is okay now. Exactly what happened, quickly tell daddy.”

When Lin Rufei heard this on the side, he thought it was actually quite funny. In his heart, he said to him that this Bai Jinglun was very biased. In the eyes of others, he was “father,” and in the eyes of the third princess he became “daddy.”

The third princess was a bit confused from crying. Her eyes and nose were red, plus, her delicate face indeed looked pitiful and suffering. Lin Rufei remembered what Xuan Qing had said before, this third princess looked very similar to her mother, in that case, no wonder Bai Jinglun never forgot her.

“I……I can’t remember too well.” The third princess rubbed her eyes and sobbed, “That day, I had a fight with my brothers and was upset, so I went to the Imperial Garden to be alone.”

“And after that?” Bai Jinglun asked.

“I sat for a while with my maids under the plum tree, which was Mother Consort’s favorite.” The Third Princess said, “I like to say a few words to the plum tree when I have something on my mind. Who knew that while talking, there was a gust of wind blowing. The wind was really strong and I couldn’t open my eyes. After that, I don’t know what happened.” She was full of bewilderment and was really like a poor innocent bunny who had suffered a lot.

Bai Jinglun questioned, “Why did you and your brothers get into a fight?”

The third princess forced out a smile: “It’s just that……I had wanted to go out to see the lights and my brothers said it wasn’t safe for girls to go out.”

“Is that all?” Bai Jinglun continued.

The third princess bit her lower lip and held it there for a while before she whispered in a sobbing voice: “They……said I was a bastard.”

“Bastards!” When Bai Jinglun heard this, he instantly became furious and his expression turned hideous to the extreme, “Who said that? Your second brother or sixth brother?”

“It was the second prince who said it first.” The third princess lost her soul and replied, “Father, am I really not Concubine Mei’s biological daughter? Am I really.?…..”

“Don’t say that word!” Bai Jinglun gritted his teeth. He was so angry that his eyes turned red, “Good, ah! My good sons!”

Imperiality inherently valued lineage and the word “bastard,” was simply murderous to the heart. From Bai Jinglun’s expression, it was obviously known that those two imperial sons would suffer.

“It’s not their first time saying it, right?” Bai Jinglun suddenly realized something and asked again.

The third princess nodded in a trance, revealing a weak smile: “They said it……many times, only I took it as they were jealous of daddy’s love for me, so did not take it to heart, until……”

Bai Jinglun questioned, “Until what?”

The third princess did not speak again, she just jumped into Bai Jinglun’s arms and started crying again.

Bai Jinglun stroked her head and soothed her for a while before asking, “When Moumou was unconscious, did you feel anything?”

The third princess sniffed. Her cries gradually softened and she looked around the room. When it swept past Xuan Qing, it paused for a moment, but soon, she withdrew her gaze. She lowered her eyes and whispered: “I did feel something, but that feeling I can’t describe clearly……..” She hesitated for a moment and then showed a little apprehension, “Daddy, did something happen at the palace while I was in a coma?”

Bai Jinglun also did not hide the matter from her and said it directly: “Your second brother and sixth brother were almost strangled to death.”

The third princess suddenly turned white and was at a loss for words, “Does this……this have anything to do……with me?”

Bai Jinglun did not say yes or no. He just stroked the third princess’s long hair and asked her to describe in detail what she felt when she was unconscious. The third princess weighed her words and whispered, “At first I was unconscious, but then I seemed to be pulled into a black mire by something, and inside, I could not move until I heard a voice……”

“What voice?” Bai Jinglun asked with a frown.

The third princess shook her head: “I only knew it was a man’s voice. I have never heard it before.”

Once he heard that it was a man’s voice, Bai Jinglun’s frown deepened: “What did he say?”

Third Princess said: “He asked me……why I was unhappy……”

Bai Jinglun continued to listen.

“I then told him about the quarrel with my brothers.” The third princess said with difficulty, “I can’t remember what happened afterward. It was as if I was flying in the sky, and also as if I was seeing many people. It was very vague and messy.”

Bai Jinglun then proceeded asking the third princess some more details about when she was still in the coma but the third princess answered all his questions with very vague responses. Seeing her confused and tired look, it didn’t seem like she was lying. Finally, Xuan Qing opened his mouth and said, “Your Holiness, the princess’s shadow has only returned to its place so she should rest well at this time. Why don’t you come back tomorrow to ask about anything?”

These words were exactly what Bai Jinglun wanted. Between this father and daughter pair, there were indeed some conversations that were not suitable to be overheard by outsiders. So he responded to Xuan Qing’s words and told the third princess to rest well. He then got up and went out.

After heading out, Bai Jinglun then asked Xuan Qing about the shadow’s whereabouts. Xuan Qing pointed to Lin Rufei, saying that the shadow had been sealed in Lin gongzi’s sword intent, so Bai Jinglun need not worry.

Bai Jinglun nodded his head and sincerely thanked Xuan Qing. Xuan Qing smiled and waved his hand, saying that His Holiness was too polite, such a small matter, no need to be so concerned.

The several of them chatted a few more words before they finally dispersed. Originally, Bai Jinglun insisted that the two of them stay in the palace, but Xuan Qing refused insistently. In the end, he could only prepare a carriage to send them back to the inn. The Prince hadn’t spoken much since a while ago and simply sat in the carriage with his eyes closed. Xuan Qing laughed and teased him, saying, ‘why did the Prince become mute today?’

Bai Tianrui sneered: “Seeing the scene of natural love between father and child, it was mushy.”

Xuan Qing replied, “I think you are jealous. Your brother has a bunch of children and you can’t even get a wife.”

Bai Tianrui glared: “I can’t get one? I just don’t want to——” As he said this, he looked at Lin Rufei with a smile and asked Lin Rufei his age and whether he was married or not.

Xuan Qing tsked and looked at Bai Tianrui with disgust: “Forget it, Lin gongzi has just reached adulthood, you are a decade older than him and can be called uncle. Don’t you have any embarrassment?”

Bai Tianrui spat out in anger.

The carriage soon arrived at the entrance of the inn. Lin Rufei went down first, but Bai Tianrui grabbed Xuan Qing and said there were some things that he wanted to talk about with him alone. The two of them were left in the carriage and Xuan Qing sighed. He asked what Bai Tianrui wanted to talk about.

Bai Tianrui reached out and pulled down the curtain of the car. The light in the carriage was instantly dimmed and their faces became blurred. Bai Tianrui spoke in a low voice: “Say, do you think it would have been good or bad if my brother had not had that incident that year?”

“For Bai Jinglun himself, it is probably good.” Xuan Qing said.

“And for Dajing?” Bai Tianrui asked again.

Xuan Qing replied, “Doesn’t the Prince already have the answer in his heart?”

Bai Tianrui snorted, “Trouble.”

Xuan Qing responded, “This monk will take his leave now.”

“Hey, monk. Why are you in such a hurry to leave?” Bai Tianrui smiled, “Clearly, last night you accompanied Lin gongzi and drank all night, but now with me, you’re not willing to chat for a while longer?”

Xuan Qing sighed, “That’s different.”

Bai Tianrui questioned, “How is it different?”

Xuan Qing stated, “Lin gongzi is a friend of this monk.”

Bai Tianrui asked, “What about me?”

Xuan Qing said, “Just a passerby.”

Bai Tianrui’s expression changed dramatically when he heard that. He reached out and grabbed Xuan Qing’s collar, gritting out hatefully, “Monk, you say you and I are just passersby?”

Xuan Qing calmly looked at Bai Tianrui and his eyes were no different from usual. However, if you said that you could usually see compassion in his eyes, then at this moment, this compassion took on a cold taste. It was as if the gods were looking down on all beings, treating them like ants.

The two of them stared at each other for a long time. Bai Tianrui suddenly let go of his hand and returned to his usual frivolous appearance. He narrowed his eyes and laughed: “Forget it, forget it. Why would I bicker with a poor monk?” After saying this, he hurriedly kicked Xuan Qing out of the carriage and then headed back to the palace alone.

Xuan Qing stood in front of the inn for quite some time. The spot he was looking at had been in the direction of the palace. He continued staring until Fu Hua and Yu Rui, who happened to return from outside, saw him standing at the door and greeted him. He smiled, nodded to them, and then went back into the inn.

That night, a rainstorm fell upon Dajing.

The rain of each season had its own uniqueness. The Summer showers were furious and enthusiastic as it came and went quickly with thick raindrops pitter-pattering down, giving no chance to react.

Lin Rufei couldn’t wait to get back to the inn and as soon as he entered the room, Gu Xuandu revealed his figure.

“Senior, I haven’t seen you for a long time.” Lin Rufei smiled and said.

“What happened to your mouth?” Gu Xuandu had long noticed the two eyesore wounds on the corners of Lin Rufei’s mouth a while ago. But there were too many people present then and it wasn’t good to talk to Lin Rufei so he had to hold it in until now. 

“Oh, this ah, just a small injury.” Lin Rufei waved his hand indifferently and he lightly described the process of how he got his injury. Who knew that even though he had described it lightly, Gu Xuandu’s expression changed drastically. It went from the initial anger to later embarrassment, and finally, as if nothing had happened. He coughed dryly, “Oh, so that’s how it is.”

Lin Rufei took in Gu Xuandu’s expression clearly and then decided to be a little naughty. He pretended to be innocent and asked, “Is that senior’s shadow? How did senior’s shadow appear in Dajing? And compelled the Third Princess to do bad things?”

Gu Xuandu: “……This might be a misunderstanding.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “Misunderstanding?”

Gu Xuandu said, “That shadow of mine has no self-thinking. Fusing with the Third Princess was just an accident. Although the Third Princess said it lightly, in reality, she also has her own thoughts. If her father asks about it, she will certainly shift it onto foreign objects.” 

Lin Rufei asked: “Then her father believes it?”

Gu Xuandu replied, “Do you believe it?”

Lin Rufei pondered, “Fifty percent.”

“Then her father will believe about sixty percent.” Gu Xuandu said, “Those who are emperors are all child prodigy, they are not that easy to fool.” As he said this, he sat down beside Lin Rufei. He inclined his head and carefully observed the wound on the corner of Lin Rufei’s mouth. The wound was not too big, just slightly red and swollen, but on Lin Rufei’s light-colored lips, it was particularly obtrusive. Gu Xuandu became more and more uncomfortable as he continued looking at it. He held back for a while but in the end, he couldn’t help but extend his thumb and gently pressed on the corner of Lin Rufei’s mouth. His fingers were very icy and it didn’t hurt when pressed, but Lin Rufei still involuntarily let out a hiss. 

Gu Xuandu hurriedly withdrew his hand and asked, “Does it hurt?”

“It doesn’t hurt.” Lin Rufei shook his head.

“It really doesn’t hurt?” Gu Xuandu didn’t even believe it.

“It was a little painful when it was stuffed inside. I really couldn’t contain it.” Lin Rufei didn’t even realize what was wrong with his words, “After all, it’s so big and hard……”

A suspicious blush rose onto Gu Xuandu’s ears.

Lin Rufei wondered, “Senior, why are your ears getting red?” 

Gu Xuandu calmly stated, “It’s not, you saw it wrong.”

“Really not?” Lin Rufei pointed out the problem with suspicion, “I clearly saw it.”

Gu Xuandu defended, “I’ve said you saw it wrong.”

Lin Rufei: “I……” He only managed to get out half of the words when Gu Xuandu’s face came closer. Before he could react, he felt a wet thing covering the corner of his lips. When he realized what it was, his whole body was frozen in place: “Senior……”

Gu Xuandu was still not satisfied and licked the corner of his own lips, “Did Xiao Jiu just eat sugar?”

Lin Rufei said, “Yes, I ate some.” There were quite a few candies and pastries in the carriage, and when he left the palace just now, he ate a little.

“It’s sweet.” Gu Xuandu slightly narrowed his eyes and revealed a beautiful smile, “Especially sweet.”

Lin Rufei touched the corner of his mouth and muttered, “Are there sugar crumbs?”

“No.” Gu Xuandu replied, “I mean Xiao Jiu is much sweeter than those sugars.”

Lin Rufei’s eyes widened. He really couldn’t understand how Gu Xuandu could say these kinds of words so frankly. The worst thing was that he actually didn’t feel anything wrong with those words. As he looked at Gu Xuandu’s smiling expression, redness also involuntarily surfaced upon his cheeks and he uncomfortably looked away from Gu Xuandu. 

“Ahem, it’s getting late, I’m going to rest first.” Lin Rufei said, “Senior……should also rest early.”

“Okay.” Gu Xuandu agreed with a smile. 

Lin Rufei washed up and head off to bed. He was probably really tired. Furthermore, one more thing had been let go in his mind and he fell asleep comfortably.

Gu Xuandu listened to the sound of rain outside the window and sighed lightly in his heart. He got up and walked towards the window before disappearing from the room with a flash of his figure.

The rain was a little heavy. It splashed against the eaves and then went all the way down the gutter before eventually converging into a small stream on the ground. After nightfall, the Heavenly Ruler’s temple was lit with a few oil lamps. It wasn’t too bright, but it was enough to see things. This temple was the most beautiful and magnificent temple in Dajing for the Heavenly Ruler, but unfortunately, a few days ago, a sudden thunderstorm ignited a fire and it burned down most of the temple. It would probably take some days to return it to its original state.  

Gu Xuandu’s footsteps stopped at the eaves of the temple. He took in the statue of the Heavenly Ruler in the temple. The statue was vivid and realistic and must have come from the hands of a master since it had quite a few resemblances with Heavenly Ruler. Gu Xuandu jumped into the temple, walked up to the statue, and borrowing the faint light, he carefully gazed at the statue in front of him.

“Heavenly Ruler.” He called out this sentence in a low voice.

No one answered and the sound of rain pattering between Heaven and Earth covered everything. He raised his hand and tried to touch the statue, but his finger passed through it the moment he tried to touch it. In the state of a spiritual body, wanting to touch external objects was not easy. Moreover, it was such a statue of the gods that placed hope on the incense. Gu Xuandu sighed slightly in his heart and was about to give up when he suddenly heard the sound of light footsteps coming from behind him. He turned his head to look, and the monk Xuan Qing, who should have been resting in the inn, suddenly appeared in front of the temple.

In the rain, he only held up a worn-out oil paper umbrella. The rain splashed against his shoulders, adding a dark shade to his gray robe. But Xuan Qing’s look was not wretched. He was still calm and gentle and abided by his beliefs. His footsteps also stopped in front of the statue, just standing next to Gu Xuandu.

“Heavenly Ruler.” Xuan Qing smiled, “Long time no see.”

If he didn’t know that he couldn’t see himself, Gu Xuandu would have thought that the monk was greeting himself. He said lightly, “Long time no see.”

Xuan Qing said, “It’s raining heavily today, unfortunately, the temple broke down a few days ago, so you still have to get wet.” He took out a hand towel from his sleeve and carefully wiped the rain splashed on the Heavenly Ruler’s statue face.

Gu Xuandu folded his arms against his chest and looked at Xuan Qing in silence.

“It’s so fast. Just a blink of an eye and several hundred years have passed.” Xuan Qing started, “So many things are gone, if you pass by the He family, remember to go see the He family’s iron-gold walnut tree. After all, it was planted by you guys back then……and now it has become a big tree and blossomed.” As he said this, the leaky roof on his side let down a few raindrops. Coincidentally, it fell onto the Heavenly Ruler’s statue, like two crystal tears.

Xuan Qing was silent for a long time. He lifted the umbrella off from the ground and hung it directly in mid-air. He did not use the umbrella on himself and instead, lifted it to the head of the statue. 

“When will you be back?” It was as if he was asking a question to someone and also as if he was talking to himself. Xuan Qing murmured under his breath and his gaze penetrated Gu Xuandu’s body.

Gu Xuandu replied, “Soon.”

“Come back soon.” Xuan Qing said, “Everyone misses you.”

“Okay.” Gu Xuandu smiled, “Definitely……come back sooner.”

The rain did not stop completely until the early mornings.

When the temple keeper woke up, the temple was already devoid of life. He yawned and took a rag, intending to first dry the drenched statue of the Heavenly Ruler. However, when he went to the statue, he scratched his head and muttered a “strange.” The Heavenly Ruler statue was actually clean. There were no water stains on the head, as if it was carefully dried once.

It rained last night, but today it was still sunny. The warm sunlight came in early through the window and fell onto Lin Rufei’s face. He opened his eyes blankly and saw Gu Xuandu sitting on the edge of the bed. His hand was propped up on his chin and he was taking a nap, giving off a feeling of tranquility. 

Lin Rufei sat up from the bed and the slight movement woke Gu Xuandu up. He yawned slightly and muttered, “Xiao Jiu, good morning.”

“Good morning.” When Lin Rufei finished greeting him, he noticed something different. He reached out and pointed to the ground, “Senior, you have a shadow now?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “Isn’t this because Xiao Jiu helped me get it back.”

Before, Gu Xuandu had no shadow. But Lin Rufei was not surprised then, after all, Gu Xuandu didn’t have a physical body. However, now, it was rather strange to have a shadow.

“Can the others see senior?” Lin Rufei asked hurriedly. 

Gu Xuandu shook his head: “No.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Then……what should be done in order to see you?”

Gu Xuandu replied, “There are still some more important things needed to retrieve.”

Lin Rufei let out an “oh,” and calculated, “We retrieved an eye and a shadow.” Then he looked at Gu Xuandu, “It seems that there are still a lot of things missing.”

Gu Xuandu smiled at his words, “You.”

He didn’t know if it was because of Gu Xuandu’s return, but Lin Rufei’s mood was much better and he even ate a few more bites of breakfast. But who knew that when the maids saw Lin Rufei’s appearance, instead of being happy, they looked sad and miserable.

Lin Rufei thought carefully and understood what the maids were worried about—since Gu Xuandu returned, his problem of talking to himself came back. This time not only did it happen, but it was also very serious since he had talked all morning.

As he thought of this, Lin Rufei hurriedly sent a letter to Wan Yao. He subtly explained his recent situation, saying that he didn’t have hysteria and to let Wan Yao never again prescribe medicines for his maids. He really feared that if he drank medicine again, he would really become stupid.

On Xuan Qing’s side, he had headed off to the palace again. Originally, Lin Rufei thought that the matter no longer had anything to do with him, but who knew that he insisted on taking Lin Rufei. He said that he was afraid Lin Rufei would be bored if he was in the inn alone.

God knew Lin Rufei did not feel bored at all. Since he was busy with the palace matters, he didn’t even get to finish shopping around Dengxiao City. Such a pity. 

But Xuan Qing refused to let go and pulled Lin Rufei into the carriage. Lin Rufei could not twist out of his grasp and could only give in as they headed off to their destination.

At this time, the culprit that victimized the princes had been found and the security inside was not as strict as the previous days. However, the atmosphere in the palace was still not too good. Lin Rufei still felt that it was very strange and when Xuan Qing noticed that he did not understand, he could only let out a sigh before he gave Lin Rufei a wake-up call.  

He said, “If you were the empress and knew that the emperor had found the murderer, but you did not know who the murderer was, would you be willing?”

Lin Rufei muttered, “It seems that I’m not that willing.”

“Exactly, exactly!” Xuan Qing said. He shook his head and sighed, “This imperial family matter is really troublesome.” It seemed he didn’t want to get involved either, but he really couldn’t get out of it. That was probably why he desperately dragged Lin Rufei and asked him to accompany him so that they could be be bored together.

Today, when they arrived at the palace, they did not see Bai Tianrui. Lin Rufei asked this question in passing and Xuan Qing also casually replied, but Lin Rufei was stunned after listening to his response. 

Xuan Qing said flatly: “Maybe he was dumped by some girl and became a monk in a fit of anger.”

Lin Rufei only thought he was joking at first.

The murderer was found and the palace also became lively once again. From the roadside, they could see a lot of palace maids dressed in beautiful clothes walking around, it was very pleasing to the eye.

Lin Rufei and Xuan Qing arrived at the Imperial Garden where they had agreed upon with the emperor. However, they did not see the emperor himself and only saw the princess sitting alone in the gazebo eating chilled purple grapes. She looked quite sickly and from her face, they could see traces of tiredness. It really made her look pitiful. 

But Lin Rufei had seen a lot of beauties. Just Gu Xuandu alone, he had never seen anyone more beautiful than him. Thus, at this time his expression did not change. He followed Xuan Qing and walked to the opposite side of the princess.

“Good day Master Xuan Qing.” The third princess smiled and greeted Xuan Qing.

“Good day, Third Princess.” Xuan Qing responded, “Why haven’t I seen His Holiness?”

“His Holiness has been called by the Empress.” The Third Princess said, “Say, do you think that Father will blame me?”

Xuan Qing responded, “Naturally, he won’t.”

The third princess propped up her chin and said, “That would be really great.” She chewed the grape seeds in her mouth with some boredom, not minding the bitterness at all, “If I had known, then I should have been more ruthless.” She narrowed her eyes, “Don’t you think so, Master Xuan Qing?”

Xuan Qing was not surprised by the change in the third princess’s demeanor and continued to gently say Amitabha Buddha. Lin Rufei, on the contrary, only now realized that this third princess was no good either.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: The corner of my mouth is sweet, right?

Gu Xuandu: Sweet, sweet, sweet.

Lin Rufei: You split it. 

Gu Xuandu: …………….

Chapter 62: Dajing Afterwards

The third princess’ gaze fell upon Lin Rufei. She had seen him once before, but unfortunately, she was too busy crying in her father’s arms to take a closer look at the Lin family’s little gongzi. She had to say, this Lin family’s little gongzi indeed had beautiful skin. Although he was a bit more sickly than ordinary people, this sickness, in turn, made his temperament a little more attractive.

The third princess smiled: “Lin gongzi is really good-looking.”

“Third Princess is too kind.” Lin Rufei was very polite.

The third princess smiled, however, she no longer continued on with the topic. She carelessly shifted her gaze back to Xuan Qing and said slowly, “Master Xuan Qing, it’s been a long time, I remember the last time we met was when I was ten years old. In a flash, I’m already at the age of marriage. This time is going by really fast.”

“Yes.” Xuan Qing said with half-lidded eyes and his expression was full of tenderness, “It is very fast.”

“Then why doesn’t Master Xuan Qing come and see me more often?” The Third Princess pouted, “When you’re not here, there are always people bullying me in the palace.”

“Who dares to bully the Third Princess?” Xuan Qing asked.

“Who dares?” The Third Princess pouted, “If I were to seriously count, then there are many people who dare.”

Xuan Qing smiled and shook his head, looking a bit helpless.

The Third Princess said: “Master Xuan Qing, say, since you haven’t come here in so long, how come this time you came in such a timely manner? If you came a bit later……” She frowned, showing a sad demeanor, and then suddenly, her entire expression changed. Her eyes became sinister and vicious, “Just a day or two later—I would have been able to take the lives of those two little bastards.”

This sudden change really caught people off guard. The third princess, who was pampered like a delicate girl, now looked gloomy and grave. At first glance, she looked a bit similar to her majestic father, Bai Jinglun.

“You didn’t come when they were bullying me? But when it’s my turn to bully them, you sure run fast.” With a wave of the third princess’ hand, the plate full of chilled grapes all fell onto the ground into pieces. The purple juice mixed with ceramic fragments exploded under their feet, soaking through Lin Rufei’s white boots.

Xuan Qing sighed lightly. He folded his hands and was silent.

“Say something, why aren’t you saying anything?!” The third princess yelled in a cold voice, “You obviously saw it all when they bullied me, but did nothing. Why are you so anxious when it’s my turn to bully them?”

Xuan Qing called out, “Bai Moumou.” This was the third princess’s name, which sounded somewhat cute.

When the third princess was called, she quickly calmed back down and turned back to the naive princess from their first meeting. She gritted her teeth like a little girl and complained: “Master Xuan Qing, you are so biased.” As she said this, teardrops also fell down her cheeks.

It was one scene after another and Lin Rufei, who had been standing on the side, was stunned. He had never seen such a fickle girl and he had to say, this third princess’s acting skill was really an eye-opener. 

“Don’t cry.” Xuan Qing, however, seemed to have long been accustomed to the changes of the third princess and he didn’t even have the slightest color of surprise on his face. Instead, his expression carried some helpless indulgence towards the younger generation, “If you cry again and your father saw, he would be heartbroken again.”  

“Him being heartbroken isn’t because of me, right?” The Third Princess sobbed, “Someone told me that I am not the daughter of Concubine Mei and that the emperor loves me only because I look like that woman.” She continued, “Master Xuan Qing, do you know who my mother is?”

Of course Xuan Qing knew and he nodded his head in confirmation.

But who knew that as soon as the third princess saw him nod, she immediately jumped in front of Xuan Qing. She grabbed his front lapel and said in a trembling voice, “So where is she now? Is she doing well? Is she dead?”

Xuan Qing replied, “She is doing very well.”

“Tsk, I’m really not Concubine Mei’s biological daughter.” Her tears were like props. The third princess let out a “humph” and then collected that pitiful look. She let go of her hand and cursed, “Those two little bastards actually weren’t lying to me, I’m actually really a bastard child.”

Xuan Qing frowned, “Princess must be careful with her words. Although your mother is not a concubine, she is still your father’s most beloved person. You must not undervalue yourself.” 

“Forget it, forget it.” The third princess returned to the chilled chair and picked up the silk fan. She fanned herself with a hitch and lazily said, “Anyway, the matters……are not finished yet.” She also glanced askance at Xuan Qing and smiled coquettishly, “Say, Master Xuan Qing, do you think that our Dajing can produce a female emperor?”

Xuan Qing smiled calmly, “All beings are equal, men and women do not differ in the eyes of the monk.”

“I knew Master Xuan Qing was the best.” Without a care, she casually spoke treasonable words in front of Xuan Qing. He could tell that the third princess actually trusted Xuan Qing very much and knew that he would definitely not tattle to Bai Jinglun about this. The third princess muttered, “Then I will try. If I lose, then I lose, this life of mine is not worth anything……”

After saying this, the third princess closed her mouth, and the gazebo finally quieted down.

Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment, but still opened his mouth: “Third Princess, there is a question I want to ask you, but I do not know if it is convenient.”

The Third Princess raised her chin, gesturing for Lin Rufei to speak.

“That day, your father dug up an iron box under the plum tree, and inside it happened to be paintings of yours from your early childhood.” Lin Rufei said, “I saw a few strange ink stains on the painting……”

The Third Princess said, “Clever, ah, Lin gongzi.” She smiled and actually admitted to it without a care, “Yes, I could see that mass of shadow long ago. It wasn’t something I encountered recently.”

Xuan Qing frowned: “How come Moumou didn’t tell me?”

“Hmph. How often do you come? Furthermore, you’re a monk. I was afraid that if I told you, you would go tell my father and then burn me like I was a demon.” The third princess causally babbled. She paused for a moment, but in the end, still said exactly what was on her mind, “I was already bored in the palace. Now that you took that thing away, wouldn’t it be even more boring for me?”

Xuan Qing disagreed, “That thing is too dangerous.”

“There’s nothing dangerous about it.” The third princess said indifferently, “You count. Out of my dozen brothers and sisters who died prematurely, how many died in the hands of demons and how many in the hands of people? If a person becomes ruthless, then it has nothing to do with demons.” 

Xuan Qing did not refute her words and only consoled the princess. He said that if she encountered such stuff in the future, she mustn’t hide it. The third princess obviously did not listen. She waved her hand indifferently, looking unconcerned at all.

Lin Rufei’s guess was good. Indeed, Gu Xuandu’s shadow had been with the princess for a long time, but he didn’t know why it would suddenly rise in revolt.

The three of them stayed in the gazebo for a quite some time but still hadn’t seen His Holiness’s shadow. This made Lin Rufei ask, “Why is His Holiness not back yet?”

“Don’t be anxious, that old b**ch is very difficult.” The old b**ch from the third princess’ mouth was referring to the Empress of Dajing, whom Lin Rufei had not yet met. She continued, “It’s fine if she was ugly, but she also ages quickly. It’s also fine if she ages quickly but her heart is also poisonous. She deserves to spend her life in the East Palace, which is like a freezing cellar.” Her mouth was very poisonous and if the empress had heard it, then every word would have a deadly effect, “Those two sons of hers are also disappointing things. They couldn’t even beat me and they still think they’re worthy of being the emperor?! If I didn’t have these two lumps of meat on my chest and had something extra below, I’d be better than them both!” 

Xuan Qing chastised: “Moumou don’t use foul language.”

“I’ll say it if I want to.” The third princess continued, “Anyway, my father is not here, if you do not like it, you can go tattle on me, ah!”

She obviously knew that Xuan Qing would not go so she had no fear at all and those beautiful eyes were almost rolling up towards the sky.

As Lin Rufei watched this ongoing scene, he felt that it was a little funny. His hand clenched into a fist and he gently covered the smile on his lips.

“That old b**ch wants to punish me and doesn’t want her own sons to be punished? That’s not possible.” She was idle and had nothing to do anyway so the third princess started to break things down for them, “They have committed all of my father’s greatest fears. They want to get out in one piece and still want to pit against me, it is simply a fool’s dream—wait and see, sooner or later I will get them all killed one by one.”

This young girl, who had just turned fourteen, prattled on about her ambitions. However, it didn’t make people think that she was talking big at all.

Xuan Qing was right. Those who could survive in the palace were people who should not be provoked. If the princess was really a little white rabbit, who didn’t know anything, she probably would have been torn into pieces without any bones left. Perhaps at first she also wasn’t able to adapt, but some people were born with an unknown wildness in their bones and Bai Moumou was such a person.

After waiting for about half a pillar of incense, Bai Jinglun and his empress finally arrived late. It must be said that Bai Moumou’s words were indeed exaggerated. Although this empress was not as beautiful as a woman of her age, she had a unique charm and a dignified look. If people didn’t know her inner heart, most likely they would think that she had some benevolence. However, from Xuan Qing’s indifferent reaction, it seemed that he also didn’t like the empress. The empress did not care. She smiled and greeted them. After seeing the broken fruit plate on the ground, she covered her mouth: “Moumou how can you be so careless? Are your hands scratched? Oh my, Lin gongzi’s boots are also stained with grape seeds. Such a pity, such a pity. These boots are so beautiful and now they are soiled……”

“It’s okay.” Lin Rufei waved his hand, indicating that there was no harm.

Bai Moumou turned into a good girl again and whispered, “I’m sorry, Empress. It’s because I was too excited to see Master Xuan Qing and the others coming……and accidentally……”

“Okay, okay, how big of a deal is it anyway?” What Bai Jinglun could not stand the most was the Empress’s catty and explicitly derisive tone in her voice. Everyone in the palace was like foxes who had cultivated for a thousand years, what else could they do but gossip? He impatiently started, “There are guests here, be more restrained.”

The empress smiled embarrassingly and did not speak again, quietly choosing to sit down on the side.

“Xuan Qing, she doesn’t believe me, but still believes you. Tell her what’s going on with that thing.” Bai Jinglun said coldly, “And if Moumou deliberately wanted to harm her two mouthy sons.”

Xuan Qing nodded and then briefly retold the empress what had happened. But he was very clever. He omitted some very important details and expressed that the thing had its eyes on the people of the palace for a long time, however nothing had happened. It was probably because on that day, the princess had an argument with someone and her mood fluctuated too much that the thing had the chance to take advantage of her. The implication was that the princes themselves had to take some responsibility.

Xuan Qing’s words were not a lie, after all, the conditions required were actually very harsh if it wanted to fuse the two shadows. The princess was heartbroken that day and it should also be one of the conditions. Only, he did not state whether the princess was conscious while in a coma and whether it was her initiative to hurt the imperial princes.

The empress’s expression became more and more ugly as she listened. Finally, she forced out a smile and said, “Master Xuan Qing, that thing, it won’t appear again, right?”

“No, it has already been taken away.” Xuan Qing stated, “Your Majesty can rest assured.”

“That’s good, that’s good.” The empress said, “I only have two sons, in case something happens, I can’t accept it.” She said as she wiped the corners of the eyes that were not moist, and made a sorrowful gesture.

“Then it’s settled?” Bai Jinglun asked from the side.

The empress had also wanted to say something else, but when she saw the coldness in Bai Jinglun’s eyes, she swallowed back the words and nodded with great difficulty: “These two children, indeed, like to shoot their mouth’s off. I don’t know which uneducated subordinate they learned it from.”

In fact, everyone knew in their hearts. In this palace, those who dared to scold the emperor’s most beloved princess could be counted with one hand. How would subordinates dare to have such bear heart and dog guts[1]?  

Bai Jinglun naturally knew, so he sneered and said, ‘since you can not control your palace underlings, then I’ll control them.’ As he said this, he issued a decree: the personal servants that have been by the princes’ side since childhood until now would be punished to do hard work at the border. The empress’s heart twitched and ached in pain. But she also knew that solving the matter this way was also the best result.

And the third princess, who had injured the princes, was also punished. However, this punishment felt sort of perfunctory. It was said that she was stripped of benefits for three months[2] and was grounded for ten days. This was basically the same as not having a punishment at all. 

Once this punishment was revealed, even Lin Rufei, who did not know the rules of the palace, could also see that Bai Jinglun was being very biased.

The empress was also angry that her teeth felt itchy, but in the end, she did not dare say anything.

This matter was completely settled and Bai Jinglun specially set up a banquet to thank the two. The banquet was very sumptuous, during which various imperial concubines took turns to toast Xuan Qing and thank him. Lin Rufei was also able to see the first prince, who he had only heard of. What made him feel a little regretful was that the first prince looked a little wishy-washy and could even be described as dull. He didn’t inherit any of Bai Jinglun’s grandeur aura nor any of Bai Moumou’s quirkiness.

The third princess was sitting next to Lin Rufei. She probably noticed his look and came over with a smile, asking, ‘Lin gongzi, do you think that the first prince’s appearance is disappointing?’

Lin Rufei glanced at her and said, “He’s different from what I imagined, slightly regretful.” Disappointed was not the best way to put it.

“You can’t exactly blame my brother for that.” The Third Princess said, “Although he is the eldest prince, he is a concubine’s son, and is not loved by anyone. When Concubine Mei was around, it was fine, but once she passed away, the situation became even worse.” She propped up her chin and her fingertips tapped against the wine glass, “I heard from the nanny that he was tragically bullied by the second prince since he was young and was even thrown into a frozen pond one Winter. After he was rescued, he fell ill and became somewhat dumb……such a situation only changed after I came.”

The Emperor loved the third princess the most, so not many people dare to bully her. But even so, there were still people who dared to call her a bastard in front of her face. Because she had no maternal support, she was the same as the eldest prince and was all alone.

“That shadow has been following me for a long time.” The Third Princess said, “I was scared at first, but then I suddenly realized that there are too many people in the palace who would harm me, but the shadow was not one of them….Lin gongzi, can you tell me what Master Xuan Qing did with the shadow?”

Lin Rufei answered, “It’s on my body.”

The Third Princess asked, “On you?”

Lin Rufei said, “Mnn.”

The Third Princess was disheartened and muttered out, “If I could, I would really like to see him again.”

She did not know that just as she was saying these words, Gu Xuandu was standing beside Lin Rufei and his black shadow, which was on the ground, slowly stood up. It then carefully reached out its hand and touched the third princess on her head, as if it was thanking the girl who had been accompanying it for all this time.

After having eaten and drunk to their heart’s content, the crowd gradually dispersed.

Lin Rufei had drank a few cups and was now slightly drunk. He slowly got on the carriage and noticed that Xuan Qing was already sitting in it.

“How come you are so fast?” Lin Rufei asked curiously, “Weren’t you still surrounded by a circle of people just now?” Everyone knew that Xuan Qing was the celebrity in front of the emperor and was naturally eager to talk to him a bit more. If Xuan Qing wasn’t a monk, most likely there would be plenty of people who wanted to send their daughters over.

“Snuck away.” Xuan Qing replied, “When there are many people, it’s troublesome.”

Lin Rufei nodded and just as he was about to call the carriage driver over to depart, he noticed a man in vermilion clothes standing at the corner of the palace entrance. It was none other than Prince Bai Tianrui, who hadn’t shown up at all today. Bai Tianrui had also been missing from today’s banquet. Lin Rufei originally wondered what was going on, but he did not expect to see him appearing at this moment. However, he didn’t come over and just looked at the carriage from afar with an expression that was obscure and unknown.

Lin Rufei curiously asked: “Bai Tianrui is over there, is he looking for you?”

“Probably not.” Xuan Qing said lightly, “I’m not familiar with the Prince.”

“Not familiar?” Lin Rufei said suspiciously, “But he……”

Xuan Qing simply smiled and didn’t say anything else.

Since Xuan Qing’s words had come to this, if he did not want to see Bai Tianrui, then it was his business and Lin Rufei could not do much about it. The carriage driver cracked his whip and the carriage then sped all the way out of the palace.

The curfew in Dengxiao City had been lifted, and once the sky darkened, the city was once again full of lights. Countless different styles of night lights illuminated the entire Imperial City. These lanterns were exquisite, like works of art. Lin Rufei even saw that on top of a pavilion, a dragon-shaped lantern was rotating around it. From the distance, it was like a fire dragon had wrapped itself around the pavilion and it was very life-like.

Lin Rufei was a little sleepy just a while ago, but suddenly he became very interested. He asked Xuan Qing if he wanted to go down for a stroll and Xuan Qing gladly agreed.

On the streets, there were hawkers everywhere and the whole scenery was bustling and lively as if it was the New Year. The residents of Dengxiao City, who were accustomed to the nightlife, had held back for a whole month and now that the curfew was finally lifted, they were like rabbits out of the cage, very lively.

Lin Rufei was interested in choosing a few candy people[3]. He even told the vendor to make a small monk and then handed it to Xuan Qing happily.

Xuan Qing took it with a smile and held it in his hand.

“It’s so beautiful.” Lin Rufei said.

“The Lantern Festival[4] is the most beautiful day in Dengxiao City.” Xuan Qing said, “If Lin gongzi is free, you can come over and have some fun. Where does Lin gongzi plan to go next?”

Lin Rufei replied, “I’ll just follow the official road all the way down. If there aren’t any surprises, it should be the He residence.” 

“Oh, then you should be careful.” Xuan Qing advised, “The He family respects martial arts and all of them are reckless, this body of Lin gongzi is going to be treated coldly.” Although he seemed to be giving a warning, his eyes were actually smiling and it was more like he was teasing Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei laughed and nodded at his words.

There were a lot of people on the street, so Lin Rufei and Xuan Qing got separated when he had looked down to take a glance at the various little gadgets. When he came back to his senses, he had looked everywhere for Xuan Qing. However, he could not find the monk’s shadow until he passed by a certain alley. Lin Rufei suddenly saw that in the alley, there were two figures overlapping—one covering the other. Although the light was dim, Lin Rufei could still barely make out the faces of the two. One was Xuan Qing and the other……was actually Bai Tianrui.

Bai Tianrui seemed to have a bit drunk too much and refused to let Xuan Qing go. Xuan Qing looked helpless and could only be pulled by him. In the end, Xuan Qing had no choice and started coaxing him like he was a child. He even gave Bai Tianrui the small monk candy that Lin Rufei had given him. Bai Tianrui stretched out his tongue to lick the candy man and then drunkenly complained: “Xuan Qing is actually sweet, I thought…….you would be bitter. “

Xuan Qing replied, “Monks are indeed bitter.”

“Yeah.” Bai Tianrui said, “There won’t be a more bitter monk than you in the world.”

Xuan Qing smiled bitterly.

When Lin Rufei saw this, he was soon pulled away by Gu Xuandu, who tapped against his forehead. He said, ‘When did Xiao Jiu pick up such bad habits, you actually went to peek at other people flirting with the monk.’ Lin Rufei then replied in a daze: “The monk and Bai Tianrui are flirting? How come I can’t tell?”  

Gu Xuandu said, “So what does Xiao Jiu think flirting should be like?”

Lin Rufei pondered over this for a moment, “Just……writing love poems and listening to tunes together?” He had only seen these in the books so he was extra hesitant when he said it. 

Gu Xuandu’s eyes narrowed slightly. The hand that was holding Lin Rufei’s wrist suddenly flipped and interlocked with Lin Rufei’s fingers. His hand was a bit cold, but on a hot Summer day, holding it was also very comfortable: “If Xiao Jiu does not understand, senior will teach you okay?”

Lin Rufei: “Huh?”

Before he could react, he was pulled by Gu Xuandu into another alley. Gu Xuandu pushed him by the shoulder and he was soon trapped against the wall. Gu Xuandu’s figure was much taller than his and at this point, they were just a finger’s distance apart that he could even see a small black mole on Gu Xuandu’s slender neckline.

“My Xiao Jiu, ah.” Gu Xuandu looked down at Lin Rufei and said in a soft voice, “When will my Xiao Jiu grow up.” He pinched Lin Rufei’s earlobe and started kneading it, “I can barely wait any longer.”

Lin Rufei’s body trembled as he was being pinched on the ear. He wanted to push back but found that his strength was like a stone sinking into the sea and Gu Xuandu was not moving at all. Soon, his originally white earlobes were pinched into a brilliant red by Gu Xuandu and Lin Rufei’s slightly drunkened eyes surfaced with some moist vapor. He whispered, “Senior, what are you doing……”

“Flirting, ah.” Gu Xuandu’s eye curved up, “Although I want to do something more excessive to Xiao Jiu, but I am worried that Xiao Jiu can not accept it for the time being.”

He was so frank about such intimate matters that Lin Rufei, for a second, actually didn’t know what to say. Redness started to surface near the corners of his eyes and his chest was like a beating drum. He didn’t know why, but being stared at by Gu Xuandu’s greedy eyes gave him some fear. He wanted to turn his head away, but Gu Xuandu pinched his chin, “Anyway……thank you Xiao Jiu for your hard work in helping me find my shadow.”

Lin Rufei said arduously, “Senior……you’re being polite.”

Gu Xuandu said, “I’m not being polite.” He dropped a kiss on Lin Rufei’s chin and then took a deep breath, “Let’s go back.”

His clamped up body was finally loosened, but Lin Rufei felt that his feet were a bit weak and he didn’t dare to look at Gu Xuandu’s eyes. He pretended that nothing was wrong, but his slightly panicked steps showed that he was not calm inside at all during this time. Gu Xuandu leisurely followed behind Lin Rufei. He had a precise understanding of Lin Rufei’s nature; some people ate soft food but refuse hard food[5]. Cooking a frog in warm water[6] was the best method.

Lin Rufei hurried back to the inn, however, he somehow stumbled upon Xuan Qing at the entrance of the inn. He seemed to have just returned and when he saw Lin Rufei, he breathed out a sigh of relief: “Where did Lin gongzi go? I searched for a while and didn’t see you.”

“Oh, I just went to buy something.” Lin Rufei said perfunctorily, “What about……..Master Xuan Qing?”

“I also bought some things casually.” Xuan Qing replied. It was obvious that he was deliberately hiding something. 

The two stared at each other and then both showed some embarrassment. Soon, they urged each other that it was getting late and to rest early.

When Lin Rufei arrived upstairs, he suddenly realized that he had came back empty-handed and did not bring anything at all. Furthermore, Xuan Qing’s pouch……also did not have any copper coins so how could he buy something? 

Alas, both of them had such clumsy excuses. Lin Rufei awkwardly laughed.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: I endured for so long, what if someone really can’t endure anymore? 

Lin Rufei: The day you can no longer endure, the reader will not see us and will only see a big red lock.

Gu Xuandu: ……………………I’ll just go and be a monk.

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] Tremendous bravery. 

[2] 罚俸禄三月 means to “Fined three months of salary and wages” I didn’t put this because I don’t know if princesses get paid….so I reworded as “benefits.”  

[3] Candy People (well imagine them as people) 

[4] Read more about it here. 

[5] Amenable to coaxing but not coercion. 

[6] The idea is that if one were to put a frog in boiling water, it would jump out immediately. However, if they were to cook it in warm water, it wouldn’t perceive the dangers of being cooked alive. This is basically saying that he must take it slow with the relationship, otherwise LRF (his prey) would jump out like the frog.  

Chapter 63: Yunan He Family

Dajing was done and it was time for them to leave.

Early the next morning, Xuan Qing came to say goodbye to Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei had asked him where he was going and he replied that there was no specific place he wanted to go. He would probably just travel around, after all, the Yaoguang continent was so vast, there were many landscapes that he had yet to see.

Although he quite liked this monk, there was no banquet in the world that did not end. Lin Rufei did not keep insisting, just, when Xuan Qing was about to leave, he took out a gold ingot from his pocket and handed it to Xuan Qing.

When Xuan Qing saw the gold, he reflexively took a step back, as if he had seen a beast, “What does this mean, Lin gongzi?”

Lin Rufei laughed: “I remember on the Xiliang Mountains, the monk gave me a bead, so……this gold is also considered what I owe the monk, right?”

Xuan Qing was about to say something.

However, Lin Rufei waved his hand and interrupted what he was about to say: “If the monk does not accept, I will not force you. However, this kind of courtesy makes it seem that we are not as familiar. If the monk really treats me as a friend, then please graciously accept it.”

Since the words have been said, if Xuan Qing refused again, then he would be the one to seem unfriendly. In the end, he let out a heavy sigh and reached out to accept the gold. Only when Lin Rufei saw this scene, did he feel slightly relieved. No matter how powerful Xuan Qing was, he was still a person. A person needed food, clothing, and expenses—people’s basic needs. Although he lived in the temple and could beg to make a living, there would always be a place where money was necessary. Lin Rufei hoped that at least the monk could occasionally have spare money to buy a candy person to eat.

Speaking of the candy person, Lin Rufei remembered the situation last night, and his expression couldn’t help but turn uncomfortable. Xuan Qing did not understand what Lin Rufei’s expression meant and only thought it was an emotion that showed he was sad to leave. Thus, he folded his hands and bowed to Lin Rufei, saying that if they had fate, the two would meet again.

Lin Rufei had sent Xuan Qing to the entrance of the inn and had wanted to send him out of the city, but Xuan Qing refused his proposal. Thus, Lin Rufei stood in place and watched as Xuan Qing turned and walked far, far away. His back was just like when Lin Rufei saw him for the first time, free and easy-going. 

What an interesting monk, Lin Rufei thought.

As for Lin Rufei, after asking Fu Hua, he decided to eat lunch before heading off. Fu Hua took advantage of this time to prepare the carriage for their travel. 

The usual lunch had a vegetarian meal belonging to Xuan Qing, however, today there wasn’t any. In the end, Lin Rufei wasn’t used to it yet. He picked up a piece of tofu and just as he was about to put it in his mouth, the sound of rushed horse hooves came from the outside the door, followed by a panicked figure bursting in through the door.

“Where is Monk Xuan Qing?” The visitor was breathless and a layer of sweat surfaced on his forehead. This was none other than the other protagonist Lin Rufei had seen in the alley yesterday, Prince Bai Tianrui of Dajing.

“Left.” Lin Rufei replied, “Left in the morning.”

“Left?” Bai Tianrui was a bit incredulous, “He didn’t go to the palace to ask my brother for a resignation?”

“I don’t know.” Lin Rufei simply shook his head.

Bai Tianrui cursed loudly and then turned around to leave. Lin Rufei could clearly see some wretchedness on his back as he moved further and further away. Yu Rui and the others did not know about the situation between these two people and asked in a whisper if this Prince had enmity with Monk Xuan Qing, otherwise, why would he have this hideous appearance.

“Probably there is an enmity.” Lin Rufei said perfunctorily.

“That monk should be more careful.” Yu Rui said, “This Prince looks so fierce……”

Lin Rufei also let out a smile. After Bai Tianrui, who was referred to as a “smiling tiger,” met with Xuan Qing, he became like an entirely different person. But looking at it this way was also quite interesting.

After eating lunch, Lin Rufei got onto the carriage and followed the official road all the way forward, towards the south.

The further south they went, the closer they got to the core geography of the Yaoguang Continent and the more developed the economy was. Even the official road underneath them became much more spacious. Not long after, they could see rich merchants carrying goods and travelers on horses everywhere.

Lin Rufei also wanted to ride a horse, but when he lifted the curtain to look at the blinding sun overhead, he surreptitiously shrank back into the carriage. Fu Hua thought that her young master’s grumpy look was very amusing, so she handed Lin Rufei a bowl of chilled plum soup to coax him, “Young master, don’t be anxious. In a few months, the weather will be cooler. When that time comes, young master can put on a cloak and then go horseback riding, it would be just as stylish.” 

Lin Rufei continued drinking plum soup intermittently and then asked her how many more days it would take to get to Yunan.

Fu Hua calculated the days and said that if they traveled day and night, they would probably arrive in seven or eight days. However, if they took breaks during their travels, it would take more than ten days.

Lin Rufei let out an “oh,” and said that there was no hurry. Since they were also out for travel, if it takes more days then just let it take more days. They could take this time to also enjoy the surrounding scenery.

So unhurriedly, they traveled for a few days. The surrounding customs and traditions had gradually started to change. The people of Yunan were not as open as the people of Dajing, but the agriculture was very well developed and they favorited food made from wheat flour. Lin Rufei had been eating rice on the entirety of his trip here, but when he arrived in Yunan, he found that noodles had become the staple food in many inns. Most of them were pancakes or other wheat flour meals. Fortunately, they all tasted good, so Lin Rufei was quite happy when he ate them with relish.

However, Yu Rui was the one who was not so used to it. She kept muttering that she always felt empty in her stomach when she didn’t eat rice. Fu Hua smiled and tapped her forehead, chastising, ‘Are you here to take care of gongzi or to enjoy yourself?’ Yu Rui grunted at her words and said that gongzi must also want to eat rice and she even turned to ask Lin Rufei after saying those words.  

“Yes, yes, yes.” Lin Rufei coaxed his own maid and said, “Then let’s find an inn with rice tonight.”

“Alright.” Fu Hua agreed.

After entering the city and asking the people around some questions, they finally found an inn with rice, so the three of them went in and ordered some food, planning to spend the night here.

When Lin Rufei was sitting in the inn waiting, he heard a vendor outside yelling ‘watermelon for sale.’ Pondering, he then asked Yu Rui to go out and buy one. At night, they would eat this fruit to relieve the Summer heat. 

Yu Rui happily went out but after quite some time, they still did not see a trace of her figure returning. However, it did become increasingly noisy outside, as if someone had some kind of argument. Fu Hua felt that the situation wasn’t quite right. She decided to get up and go take a look, but Lin Rufei also stood up after her, saying, “Let’s go together.”

Fu Hua nodded.

The two went outside and saw that it was indeed Yu Rui in dispute with someone. She was currently raising her head and arguing with another person. She probably got extremely anxious from arguing since her pale face had turned into a bright shade of red and her hand was already clenching tightly onto the hilt of the sword at her waist—it looked like she was going to draw her sword any time soon. And the person arguing with Yu Rui was a tall man. This man had sword eyebrows and eagle eyes[1]. He was tall and powerful and carried a large sword on his back. At this time, his muscular arms were folded against his chest, and he was looking down at the angry Yu Rui who was stomping her foot in frustration and anger. Yu Rui was just a teenage girl and her figure was petite. Now that she was standing in front of a man, she was almost like a little doll. 

“Why are you so unreasonable?” Yu Rui gritted her teeth, “You bought them all, what will others eat?!”

“I was here first.” The man said.

“Can’t you just share one with me?!” Yu Rui yelled back.

“I was here first.” The man said again.

“You——” Yu Rui was furious.

Seeing this, Fu Hua called out, “Yu Rui, what’s wrong?”

“Sister Fu Hua.” As soon as Yu Rui saw that Fu Hua and her young master had come together, she immediately ran to Fu Hua’s side with small steps and said with a huff, “Just now young master said he wanted to eat watermelon, so I came out immediately. Who knew that this man was one step ahead of me……and said he wanted to buy all the watermelons. I wanted to ask him to save one for me and he refused.” The vendor had pushed a cart of watermelons that were about hundreds of pounds onto the streets and Yu Rui just wanted only one, but no matter what she said, he was unwilling to even give one up. As they kept talking and haggling, Yu Rui started to argue with him. The man did not say anything else and just said four words: “I was here first.”

He almost made Yu Rui faint from anger. 

Lin Rufei listened to the entire situation as his maid complained, however, he simply felt indifferent. He waved his hand and said: “It’s okay. If he wants to buy them, then let him buy them. After we finish eating, we can go shopping on the street to see if there are other places that sell them.”

Yu Rui bit her lower lip: “So many watermelons, can he even finish it all? The weather is hot and the watermelons can be left for two days at most.” 

The man on the side heard Yu Rui’s words and responded, “Of course I can finish it all.” 

Yu Rui asked, “How many people are eating?”

The man pointed to himself.

Yu Rui stared blankly: “You’re eating it yourself? This much for one person? I don’t believe it——”

The man stretched his hands, making a gesture that showed, ‘I can’t help it if you don’t believe me.’

Yu Rui clenched her teeth and churned out: “I knew you were deliberately screwing with me. Hmph. So many watermelons, if you can eat them all, I’ll pay for you!”

The man replied, “For real?”

Yu Rui stated, “Naturally!”

After the man heard this, he rolled up his sleeves and really planned on eating. The melon vendor was smiling. He also had a good eye and could tell that these people were dressed extraordinarily. They even had swords hanging on their waist and he knew for certain that they would not renege on the bill. Thus, he simply helped the man cut up the watermelon, and shouted: “How about it, guest, isn’t my watermelon sweet!”

The man said: “Not bad. Sweet.”

The watermelon’s bright green skin broke open and it revealed the water-red flesh of the melon. The inside was glistening with crystalline specks and it looked very crisp and sweet. Yu Rui sniffed the air that was gradually filled with the sweet aroma and she couldn’t help but gulp. Her eyes were stuck glued to the watermelon. This man’s mouth was big. A few mouthfuls and half the melon were gone. But this eating appearance did not look unsightly at all. Instead, it revealed a hint of wildness.  

Fu Hua frowned. She always felt that this man was teasing Yu Rui. As she was frowning, she was about to go forward to say something but was stopped by Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei smiled and shook his head: “It doesn’t hurt to watch him eat.”

Fu Hua could only nod in response. 

The man was extremely fast at eating the melons. Soon, there was a pile of watermelon rinds on the side. Those watery watermelons that entered his stomach seemed as if they were entering a black hole without an abyss, they couldn’t see the slightest trace of it on him. The man’s speed had not changed from beginning to end and the surrounding people were all dumbfounded by this scene. In a short time, this watermelon stall had gathered a lot of people who came to watch the drama unfold. When the man finished eating one, the crowd would be loudly cheering. It was simply very lively to witness.

Fu Hua almost became silly from looking, she had never seen a person with such a big appetite. The hundreds of pounds of watermelon that went into his mouth were like a large and sumptuous snack. One after another, he didn’t even take the time to breathe and in the blink of an eye, they could see the bottom of the watermelon stand, and only a few were left.

Was he really going to finish eating? Yu Rui stared at the pile of melon rinds on the ground and then looked up at the man like he was a monster. 

When Lin Rufei noticed Yu Rui’s shocked appearance, he very unkindly thought that this matter was really funny.

“You……How are you so powerful, ah?” Yu Rui looked at the man in a daze, “So many melons, are you not bloated?” She was usually full after two slices. Together with Fu Hua and her young master, the three of them could barely finish half……. 

The man seemed amused by Yu Rui’s question and some laughter surfaced in his eyes as he shook his head.

“Oh, alright then.” Yu Rui gave up. Depressed, she hung her head, “It’s my short-sightedness. There really is someone who can eat so well……I thought you were deliberately looking for trouble with me.” She had given up and had intended to pull out silver from her pouch to buy all of the stall’s watermelons.

But who knew that when the man reached the last one, he patted his stomach and said seriously: “I’m full. Can’t eat anymore.”

The crowd of people, that were watching, started to get rowdy at his words but the man did not care. He turned to ask the vendor how much was the total of the watermelons he ate. 

The vendor smiled and said a price. The man began to heartily shell out the silver.

“Wait, wait, wait.” Yu Rui said, “There is only one left, you can’t finish it?”

The man said, “I can’t finish it.”

Yu Rui obviously did not believe him. She bit her lower lips and was at a loss: “You……you really can’t finish it all?”

The man laughed: “I can’t finish it.”

Although Yu Rui was young, she wasn’t stupid. How could she not tell that the man left one on purpose? For a moment, she was a little confused and felt very embarrassed. After all, just a while ago, she gauged the heart of the gentleman with her own means and thought that the man was a shrew who was deliberately looking for trouble.  

The man paid, turned around, and left. Yu Rui looked at the last remaining watermelon and the pile of melon rinds on the ground in a daze for quite a while. Finally, Lin Rufei smiled and patted her head, and told her to take the watermelon back. 

This incident really had a great impact on Yu Rui. The little girl had sulked all night and when she was eating the watermelon, she would remember the man’s appearance. Sighing, she muttered that there were really a lot of strange people in this world.

“Yes.” Lin Rufei laughed, “People tease you like a child.”

Yu Rui responded, “I’m not a child! I’m already fifteen!”

In normal families, a fifteen-year-old girl should have already been married, but Yu Rui was a sword cultivator at the fifth level, so there was no rush in getting married.

“Yes, fifteen years old.” Fu Hua sighed, “You also know you are fifteen, so can you do things more steadily in the future? If you had met someone who didn’t give you face today, wouldn’t you have lost young master’s face altogether?”

Yu Rui bowed her head and admitted to her mistake, admitting that she was indeed too reckless.

Lin Rufei didn’t care. He smiled and said, “It’s okay, they don’t know me anyway. Losing some face occasionally isn’t going to kill me. Besides, who would have thought that this man could eat hundreds of pounds of watermelon in one sitting?”

Fu Hua shook her head. She said that the man was probably not going to be a simple person and that the huge sword he was carrying behind him was not an ordinary object. Such a heavy sword was rarely found in the world and the only one that they had been seen so far was Gu Feiyu’s Zhongfeng. 

“Oh?” Lin Rufei was interested, “He is also a powerful swordsman?”

“I think so.” Fu Hua said, “I can’t see the depth of his cultivation, so his cultivation is probably at least at the seventh level or he is carrying a foreign treasure……In short, he’s not a figure we should be messing with.”

Lin Rufei revealed a thoughtful look.

That night, back in the room, Lin Rufei casually conversed with Gu Xuandu about this matter. Gu Xuandu listened to Lin Rufei while eating the freshly cut watermelon and said with a smile, “This watermelon is so sweet.”

“Is that so.” Lin Rufei said, “Let me try it too.” As he said this, he then went over and took a small bite of the watermelon in Gu Xuandu’s hand. He chewed and nodded in agreement, “It’s really good.”

Gu Xuandu lowered his head and looked at the tooth marks made by him on his watermelon. With an unknown expression, he let out a hum.

“Say, what do you think is that person’s origins?” Lin Rufei questioned.

Gu Xuandu pondered for a moment: “Although I don’t recognize that person, I do have some impression of his sword.” 

“Oh? You know his sword?” Lin Rufei became interested.

“Mnn.” Gu Xuandu said, “That sword’s name should be Qianjun[2] and it has several hundred years of history. I have also met the swordsman who forged the sword. He was a lustful old man. However, although the sword’s name is Qianjun, it wasn’t in the style of a heavy sword.” 

Lin Rufei asked: “It’s not a heavy sword?”

Gu Xuandu shook his head: “Qianjun has another special feature.”

After Lin Rufei asked about it carefully, he learned that although this Qianjun was only a heavy sword in the hands of an ordinary swordsman, if it was in the hands of a swordsman it recognized, it would turn into thousands of tiny blades and would transform into a sword formation that would strangle the enemy. According to Gu Xuandu, Qianjun was a smart sword and it was very different from its bulky appearance.

Listening to Gu Xuandu’s description of Qianjun, Lin Rufei felt that Qianjun and the man he saw during the daytime, were somewhat similar deep down. They both look rough, but in fact, they were actually as fine as dust[3].

As they chatted, Lin Rufei fell sound asleep in the company of Gu Xuandu. He slept until the next day before he was woken up in a daze by Fu Hua and Yu Rui for breakfast.

Today, they also had to hurry on their journey and after eating, Lin Rufei got on the carriage once again.

Fu Hua cracked the whip and continued on out of the small town. The carriage traveled for a while, but then they heard the sound of hoofbeats coming from the side. Lin Rufei thought it was someone passing by them and did not take it seriously. But who knew that the sound of hoofbeats would continue to follow them.

“Who is following us?” Yu Rui wondered, “I’ll go and see.” She lifted the curtain of the carriage and went out for a moment. Soon she came back with a puzzled look on her face.

“Who is it?” Lin Rufei asked.

“It’s the man we met yesterday, the one who was eating watermelons.” Yu Rui said, “……He’s right behind us, should we stop and ask him what he’s up to?”

Lin Rufei thought about it and said, “It’s good to ask.”

So Fu Hua then stopped the horse, and as expected, once their carriage stopped, the man also stopped.

Fu Hua came up to the unknown man and asked him what he meant by this and the man simply smiled, “You may not believe me, but I just happened to be going the same way as you guys.” 

“Just happened to be going the same way?” Of course, Fu Hua did not believe his words at all. There was no such coincidence in the world, “You’re riding a single horse, so you should be going faster.”

The man shook his head: “Although it is true that under normal circumstances a single horse is faster, but the sword I am carrying is too heavy for the horse to run fast.”

Fu Hua was at a loss for words and didn’t know what to do so she cast a pleading glance towards Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei, who had heard their conversation, waved at Fu Hua, signaling for her to come back.

“In that case, he can follow if he wants to.” Lin Rufei said, “What if he really is going the same way.”

Fu Hua sighed, “That’s too far-fetched.”

Lin Rufei replied, “It’s okay, he should have no ill will towards us.”

In the end, Fu Hua could only stop caring about him.

So the journey continued on. Both sides were peaceful and nothing happened. In no time, they were getting closer and closer to Yunan. After passing through a very desolate section of the official road, they were finally close to their destination. As a result, Lin Rufei planned to rest for half a day before continuing forwards with their journey.

But after they entered the city, the man who had been following them was now nowhere to be seen.

Lin Rufei arrived at a resting inn and casually asked for a pot of herbal tea. He intended to cool off a bit and in passing, inquired about the He family from the Xiao Er’s mouth.

When the Xiao Er heard that they came from the north, he showed an expression of surprise, “Guests, you came from that official road in the north?”

“Yes, why?” Lin Rufei felt that there was something different in the Xiao Er’s expression.

The Xiao Er said: “Ssss[4]……on the way, did you not encounter anything?” 

When Lin Rufei and his maids heard these words, they were all at a loss. They didn’t know what the Xiao Er’s words meant. 

The Xiao Er noticed that they didn’t understand his words so he had to explain. He said that the official road in the north recently had some powerful demons inexplicably emerge. They ate a lot of businessmen, and strangely enough, they were not interested in other places and only decided to rampage on that official road. Because of this reason, the local people do not dare take that road and only the outsiders, who don’t know anything about it, would go and take the risk. 

“Guests, your luck is really good.” The Xiao Er was still sighing, “Just a few days ago, I also heard that some foreigners were eaten by those demons and they couldn’t even find their bones.”  

Fu Hua wondered: “Such things, are none of the locals taking charge?” 

The Xiao Er said with a bitter smile: “There should have been, but those demons seem to be particularly powerful. The He family sent a few disciples over but they were seriously injured.”

Lin Rufei muttered out, “So that’s how it is.”

“Yes.” The Xiao Er shook his head and sighed, “The world is not peaceful. Guests, since you are walking in Jianghu, you must also be more careful.”

“Thank you.” Lin Rufei handed a piece of broken silver to the Xiao Er. The Xiao Er gladly accepted it and turned around to leave.

After listening to the Xiao Er’s words, Lin Rufei suddenly remembered the man who had insisted on following their carriage for the past few days. It seemed that his thoughts were indeed meticulous even towards strangers whom he had only met once.

They were almost done resting. Lin Rufei told Fu Hua and Yu Rui a few words before he headed out for a stroll alone. This small city was not large, but the street was quite lively and he could see a lot of rare gadgets that he had never seen before. Soon, Lin Rufei’s footsteps halted in front of a stall selling deep-fried pancakes. The deep-fried pancakes looked very delicious. The dough was wrapped full of onion and meat filling and once it was fried in the frying pan, they swelled up, giving off a very strong aroma. After that, fish them out with chopsticks, strain the oil, and they were ready to be eaten. 

Lin Rufei bought one and just as he was about to put it in his mouth, he noticed a familiar figure. It was the same man who had been following them for a few days.

The man was still carrying that heavy sword and was looking at the scallion pancake[5] in his hand……with great interest.

“Want some?” The stare he gave Lin Rufei made him reflexively ask out.

“That’s not quite appropriate. Plus, you also just bought it.” Having said that, the man still stepped forward towards Lin Rufei and the intense gaze he had on the fried pancake became even more burning. 

Lin Rufei smiled: “It’s okay, I’ll buy another one.” He handed the fried pancake to the man, who did not mind taking it, and opened his mouth for a big bite. The fried pancake, which was big, was swallowed by him in only just two bites. After he finished eating it, he rushed to the boss and said, “Boss, wrap them all up for me.” After saying this, he seemed to feel that something was wrong. He pondered on his words for a moment before he remembered Lin Rufei, who was standing next to him, and pointed to him, “Save one for him.”

This situation was so familiar that Lin Rufei could not help but laugh, “Thank you.” He still remembered to save one for him.

“Please don’t mind, that’s how I eat.” The man said, “I have to fulfill myself in one bite, otherwise my heart wouldn’t feel at rest making it unbearable.”

Lin Rufei started, “By the way, may I ask for your name?”

The man replied, “He Wanxiang.”

Lin Rufei’s eyes lit up when he heard this name: “This gentleman is a member of the He family?”

He Wanxiang said, “Sort of? What does gongzi want from the He family?”

Lin Rufei balled his hands and gave a salute, “I am Lin Rufei of the Kunlun Sword Sect’s Lin family.”

He Wanxiang faintly froze, seemingly not expecting Lin Rufei to be a member of the Lin family and his tone instantly took on some hesitation, “Lin gongzi……is here to deliver the invitation to the Kunlun sword competition?”

“That’s right.” Lin Rufei smiled.

“That’s quite a coincidence.” He Wanxiang muttered, “It seems that we are going the same way. Why don’t we go together?” 

Lin Rufei replied, “Of course.”

From here to the He family there was about another day or two left of travel. Being able to travel with the He family was naturally a good thing.

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] Sword eyebrows and eagle eyes: “appearance of windy and valiant, full of righteousness, very heroic.” 

[2] Qianjun means thousand pounds. 

[3] It is used to describe a person who has a very delicate mind, like dust. 

[4] Onomatopoeia? It’s like the sound you make when you are hesitating/thinking.  

[5] Scallion pancakes. 

Chapter 64: Xuyu Tree

When Lin Rufei head back to the inn, Fu Hua was discussing with Yu Rui about what to eat for breakfast the next morning morning. When they saw Lin Rufei come in through the door, they didn’t even have the time to greet him before they noticed the person following him, and both of them froze in place.

“Isn’t it a surprise?” Lin Rufei joked, “I just went out to eat a pancake, and ended up picking up a person.”

“I am He Wanxiang of the He family, may I know the names of these two ladies?” He Wanxiang smiled and asked as he bowed to Fu Hua and Yu Rui.

Fu Hua said, “My name is Fu Hua, and her name is Yu Rui, we are young master’s maids.” As soon as she heard the name He Wanxiang, she had already guessed that he must have some sort of relationship with the He family, “This gongzi, what are you to the He family?” 

“I am the third son of the He family.” He Wanxiang said, “He Xieyi is my elder brother.”

The He family was very well-known and the most famous one was He Xieyi, who was already at the eighth level of cultivation. It was said that during the year of his birth, the He family’s iron-gold walnut tree bore three iron-gold walnuts, each of which was picked by his own hands. After consuming the walnuts, He Xieyi had a great increase in power. He went from the sixth level straight through to the eighth level.

When it came to the He family, one person and one thing must always be mentioned; He Xieyi was that person and the iron-gold walnut tree was that one thing.

Rumor had it that the iron-gold walnut tree was planted by the Heavenly Ruler himself hundreds of years ago and it bore fruit once every few decades. Each time it bore only two or three fruits and each of them was precious. These iron-gold walnuts were very beneficial during cultivation, but only the person fancied by the walnut tree could pick it. Counting the hundred years of the He family, the iron-gold walnut tree had only bore three fruits. And it was because of these three fruits that He Xieyi was able to achieve unparalleled talent. 

Lin Rufei then told Fu Hua and Yu Rui that He Wanxiang was headed in the same direction as them and that their next trip would be the four of them together. Fu Hua smiled and nodded in agreement, but Yu Rui looked a little embarrassed. She was probably still thinking about the misunderstanding a few days ago. He Wanxiang also did not force Yu Rui to talk and actually did not say much at all. Plus, with that sturdy and tall body, it made him seem unapproachable as he sat there quietly. However, after the previous incident, Lin Rufei felt that this He Wanxiang was an interesting person.

On the third day, He Wanxiang went to the post to return his horse and Lin Rufei got onto the carriage. The carriage was very spacious, even with three people sitting inside, it didn’t look crowded at all. However, Yu Rui was very nervous. She shrank into the corner and didn’t dare to move nor dare to speak. She was like a small mouse who had met a big cat and from time to time, she would quietly look at He Wanxiang. That look of hers was really cute and funny.

Lin Rufei knew that Yu Rui was a sheep in wolf’s clothing, so he did not make things difficult for his little maid. Instead, he and He Wanxiang casually chatted about the He family’s affairs.

But when He Wanxiang mentioned the He family, he seemed a little hesitant and his words also carried some hesitancy. 

Lin Rufei thought it was a bit strange, so he asked directly: “He gongzi…towards the He family……Do you have something you can’t say?” 

He Wanxiang replied, “Lin gongzi is really smart, in fact……our He family’s style is a bit strange.”

Strange? Xuan Qing seemed to have mentioned this before but Lin Rufei did not take it to heart. When he had met He Wanxiang, he thought he was very considerate, thus even more so, he couldn’t think of what would be strange about the He family.

But who knew that when He Wanxiang mentioned this, there was some embarrassment laced within: “Because our He family moved here from the southwest far frontier, so the family’s style is very tough and it highly reveres power.” 

Lin Rufei questioned, “This isn’t considered……strange, right?”

He Wanxiang touched his nose and mumbled, “Well, actually this matter isn’t easy to say. Lin gongzi will know when he gets there.” 

When he said that, Lin Rufei was even more curious. What would the He family be like to make He Wanxiang show such a look.

The carriage traveled for two days and finally, they arrived at the He family’s territory, Qiong City, without any problems.

However, the younger generations of the He family were not in the city. Instead, they were on a mountain outside the city called Stone Edge, which towered into the clouds.

Logically speaking, this part of Yunan was a plain area, at most, there were some hills. The mountain peak that stood against the surrounding low terrains seemed really out of place.

“This mountain is so strange.” Yu Rui, who had held back her words in the carriage for a few days, now finally dared to speak. She lifted the carriage curtain and blinked, “It’s just a lonely peak……”

“It’s normal to think it’s strange.” He Wanxiang took over, “Because this mountain was moved here.”

“Moved here?!” Yu Rui’s eyes widened, “Who moved it here?”

“The Heavenly Ruler.” He Wanxiang smiled and then began to explain to Yu Rui their He family’s history, “The He family ancestor was a good friend of the Heavenly Ruler. On the day of the wedding, the Heavenly Ruler went to the southwest and moved a mountain over as a gift to our ancestor. The most powerful thing about this mountain was that there was a ten-thousand-year-old iron-gold walnut tree……My family’s ancestor was very fond of this great gift, then ordered all the He family’s direct descendants to move to the mountain. Since then, the He family took pride in being able to live on Stone Edge.” 

“Gifted a mountain?” Yu Rui was entranced from listening, “The Heavenly Ruler is too amazing.”

He Wanxiang also showed a look of fascination: “Yes, if I can have a tenth of the Heavenly Ruler’s style, then this life of mine would be worth it.”

As the group was chatting, the carriage finally arrived at the foot of Stone Edge Mountain. Originally, Lin Rufei had wanted to go to Qiong City first to freshen up and then pay a formal visit tomorrow. However, He Wanxiang waved his hand, saying that the He family had never been concerned about such trivialities and that he could just directly enter like this. As he was talking, he told Fu Hua to go through the gate directly, saying that with him, no one would dare to make trouble for Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei responded, “Then I’ll trouble He gongzi.”

He Wanxiang nodded: “Lin gongzi, just sit in the carriage, I will take care of anything later.”

Lin Rufei said okay.

The carriage followed the winding mountain road. Circling upward, it soon reached the gate. The guard at the gate reached out and halted the carriage, asking who was there. He Wanxiang lifted the curtain and said, “It’s me.”

“So it is San Gongzi who has returned!” As soon as the guard saw He Wanxiang, he saluted and asked, “Why are you back in a carriage?”

He Wanxiang casually hummed in agreement and didn’t elaborate any further.

The guard made a gesture and someone pulled open the wooden door to let them in.

Through the curtain of the carriage, Lin Rufei also took in the appearance of the He family. To his surprise, the He family did not have the appearance of a large family. At first glance, it was like a primitive tribal village. There was no decent building and the houses were either made of wood or bamboo, not even a stone house could be seen. And what made Lin Rufei feel the most strange, were the He family members that were walking around. They were all tall with broad eyebrows and deep eyes. Almost everyone had a sword on the side of their waist with a killing aura. Even the women were the same. If he didn’t know about this place and entered by mistake, most likely he would’ve thought that he accidentally entered a mountain bandit’s nest.

Lin Rufei wasn’t considered short, but with his pale face and weak temperament, if he walked amongst this group, it would give off a weak willow supporting the wind[1] feel. Not to mention Yu Rui, who wasn’t even up to Lin Rufei’s chest, was really like a cute little doll.

Seeing the scene outside, the three of them, master and servants, all tacitly fell into silence.

He Wanxiang seemed to have expected all this and let out a dry cough: “Lin gongzi, you don’t need to be too nervous. Our He family is actually just born aggressive looking.”

Lin Rufei was just about to speak when the carriage suddenly stopped and a gruff voice came from outside: “He Wanxiang, where the hell did you trick such a good-looking girl to be your coachman. Do you even have shame?!”

He Wanxiang stuck his head out and cursed back nonchalantly: “F*cking piece of sh*t! Even if I invite a heavenly fairy back, it would have nothing to do with a fool like you! Shut up, there are valuable guests in the carriage. If you disturb them, watch out for elder brother because he will beat you up.” 

Lin Rufei, through the gap, saw the man’s appearance. The man’s eyebrows and He Wanxiang’s had some similarities but he was actually taller than He Wanxiang. The muscles on his arm bulged like a hard stone as he said: “Valuable guests, what valuable guests? I have not seen a valuable guest in a long time. Quickly, let me take a look.” As he said this, he wanted to lift the curtain of the carriage, but was slapped by He Wanxiang on the back of the hand.

With a loud “snap,”  He Wanxiang’s palm seemed to have collided with a hard stone. The man let out a scream and withdrew his hand with a cry: “You actually hit me!”

He Wanxiang replied, “You think I was joking?”

The man said, “I’m not convinced! You get down, I want to fight with you!”

He Wanxiang said, “I don’t have time for you, come to me at night if you want to fight.” As he said this, he gave Fu Hua a look, indicating that she didn’t need to pay attention to this man.

Fu Hua nodded in agreement and the carriage drove off once again.

The man watched as the carriage drove away leaving behind dust. He stood in place and narrowed his eyes, then tsked and muttered: “Valuable guest. Those that can be called valuable guests in the He family can be counted on one hand. Could it be the people from Kunlun that came by? Heh……How is, He Wanxiang, this kid so lucky. He was actually able to meet them.”  

Under He Wanxiang’s guidance, Fu Hua drove the carriage towards a wooden house. This house looked like it had just been repaired and appeared to be wider than the house next door. He Wanxiang said, “Lin gongzi, this house is my place. If you don’t mind, you can stay here for a few days, I’ll just go and make do with my brother’s.”

Lin Rufei: “How is this appropriate?” It was a bit unbecoming of a guest to drive the host out of his own home.

But He Wanxiang waved his hand indifferently and laughed: “Lin gongzi, you don’t know that in the He family, the least important thing is the house.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Why do you say that?” 

However, He Wanxiang kept him in suspense, “You will know after you live in it for some days.” After saying these words, he also hesitated for a moment, “Lin gongzi……The He family is a bit chaotic, if you want to walk around, you can ask me to join you to avoid any accidents.”

Lin Rufei laughed: “Is it that dramatic?” Who would actually say that their family was a mess upon first arrival? 

He Wanxiang said seriously, “It’s even more dramatic than you think.”

After that, He Wanxiang left after giving a few instructions to the servants in the house. He told Lin Rufei to rest first while he went to inform the family head of Lin Rufei’s arrival.

Lin Rufei nodded and said okay.

He Wanxiang’s residence was very consistent with his own style: simple and rough. There were only a few practical pieces of furniture in the house and no decorations at all. It was even more simple than the inn. What Lin Rufei couldn’t understand was that the servants serving He Wanxiang were all taller than him. Although they were not as sturdy as He Wanxiang, they could also be described as powerful and strong men.

Yu Rui had been overwhelmed by these strong men. She shrank in the chair and mumbled, ‘where in the world did the He family find so many people, each one of them was so big.’

Fu Hua touched Yu Rui’s head, “Yes, who asked you to be born so small? One person here is almost worth three of you.”

“I’m not small.” Yu Rui immediately raised her head and puffed out her chest. She even revealed the sword at her waist, “I am powerful.”

“Yes, yes, yes. My family’s Yu Rui is very powerful.” Lin Rufei said with a laugh.

Yu Rui grumbled, “You’re laughing at me again, gongzi.”

Lin Rufei stretched his hands out innocently.

Fu Hua also could not help but laugh.

After more than ten days of travel and hardships in the carriage, Lin Rufei was a bit tired, so he troubled He Wanxiang’s servant to boil some hot water for him since he wanted to take a bath to relieve his fatigue.

In this hot weather, the water temperature didn’t need to be too high and the tub filled with water was soon brought into the room. Lin Rufei was taking off his clothes with his head down, but just after he took off his outerwear, he heard a loud noise coming from the outside. It was as if something had collapsed and the ground was trembling uncontrollably.

Lin Rufei was startled and cautiously took a few steps towards the window. He lifted the curtain and looked up, however, he only saw a dusty sky outside the house. It was accompanied by fierce fighting and cursing sounds as two figures were going back and forth between Heaven and Earth. Sometimes they were close together and other times they were far apart. But each impact was accompanied by a loud noise.

“Mothf*cker, I’ll beat your brother-in-law to death, f*ck your grandmother[2]——” A series of accented swear words shook Heaven and Earth. As the swords clashed and sparked, the two also did not forget to attack each other with their words. Lin Rufei was dumbfounded from listening. Although he did not understand much, he also knew that these certainly were not good words. And what impressed him the most was that the two of them cursed a series of swears without repeating a single one of them.

“That’s impressive.” Lin Rufei said in admiration.

“Sigh, I haven’t seen them for hundreds of years, how come they still look like this?” At some point, Gu Xuandu had appeared at Lin Rufei’s side. With a sad expression, he glanced at Lin Rufei. However, he immediately noticed that his family’s little gongzi had a look of yearning and immediately became wary, “Xiao Jiu, don’t listen. It will dirty your ears.” 

“Is that so?” Lin Rufei was oblivious and found this type of fighting to be quite interesting. Although it was rude, there was a unique feeling that only belonged to Jianghu, “I don’t seem to know how to swear…..” 

Gu Xuandu immediately said, “What’s so good about learning swear words?!”  

Lin Rufei responded, “Then what if someone swears at me?”

Gu Xuandu clenched his teeth, “Draw your sword and chop his head off.”

Lin Rufei thought over his words then nodded to himself, “You’re right.”

And only then did Gu Xuandu breathe a sigh of relief, but a hint of melancholy could still be seen in his expression. In his heart, he was thinking about how he watched a certain someone learn dirty words from the He family hundreds of years ago and spoke them with great relish. Although he only learned one sentence, it was enough to give him a headache. This history must not be repeated, Gu Xuandu secretly thought in his heart.

Outside, they were still fighting and it seemed that they would not be stopping for a while. Lin Rufei wanted to continue watching, but was urged by Gu Xuandu to take a bath, saying, ‘if you do not wash now the water will be cold, then it will be even easier to catch a cold.’

Lin Rufei could only put down the curtain and reluctantly head over to take a bath. During which, Gu Xuandu deliberately chatted with Lin Rufei to delay the time. When Lin Rufei finally finished washing up, the fight outside had stopped.

Lin Rufei lifted the curtain again and finally understood why the He family was full of wooden houses. He saw that just now, in front of the neatly placed several wooden houses, at this time had turned into a ruin from the aftermath of the fight. And the surrounding people didn’t even seem to find such a scene strange anymore. They still went about their businesses, not even sparing it an extra look. The two people, who were fighting just now, were now panting and sitting on the ground. They were no longer making physicals moves and just by opening their mouths, they would mercilessly abuse each other. Furthermore, from time to time, they would pick up rocks on the ground to throw at the other. Looking at their appearance, they didn’t seem old and still had the appearance of teenagers. However, their action of fighting and quarreling seemed to have been very experienced and he didn’t know how many fights they had before.

In a short while, a tall woman appeared. With both hands, she grabbed a teenager’s ears and carried the two back. The two of their mouths did not forget to keep cursing. Just now, the teenagers that have fought were like chickens in the hands of the woman and they also didn’t dare to fight back. 

Lin Rufei watched with great interest.

However, Gu Xuandu let out a long sigh and showed a very headache expression. He found that even with too much time, it really wasn’t a good thing. The oldies were all cloaked in a beautiful veil of memories that he actually forgot the vices of the He family……sigh……

When Lin Rufei came out of the bathroom, he saw Fu Hua and Yu Rui sitting by the window with shocked faces. It was apparent that they were also just shocked by that scene. Only when they saw him come out, did they withdraw their eyes.

“What the hell are they cursing at? Why can’t I understand it?” Yu Rui murmured, “It’s like knowing every word, but together, I don’t know what it means……”

Fu Hua calmly said, “Certainly not any good words. Good children shouldn’t learn.”

Yu Rui replied, “But it’s kind of imposing.”

Fu Hua was silent for a moment before she actually nodded in agreement.

The three people were quite interested in this and actually started to discuss about it. Just as the discussion grew intense, He Wanxiang suddenly appeared at the door. However, his expression was slightly strange: “What are you guys chatting about?”

“Oh, talking about what they had said.” Lin Rufei said with a smile, “These are your local words, right? It’s quite funny.”

He Wanxiang looked helpless and said, ‘Lin gongzi please don’t be offended, they are used to this.’ In the past, when they were over in the western frontier, the swear words there weren’t as rich. Then, when they arrived in this part of the Central Plains, they followed the locals and learned a lot more. Now their swears became even richer. The family head also tried to control it once, but it was not successful.

Lin Rufei waved his hand, indicating that he did not mind.

“I have spoken to my elder brother and father about Lin gongzi.” He Wanxiang said, “They also blamed me for not informing the family earlier, saying that they had set up a banquet for Lin gongzi at nightfall.” 

“Okay.” Lin Rufei nodded, “I’ll be troubling you.”

“Lin gongzi, you’re being polite.” He Wanxiang said.

It was still early in the evening, so when He Wanxiang saw that Lin Rufei had nothing to do, he took the three of them out to look around. However, when the three of them were walking around the He family’s fortress, it was obvious that they didn’t fit in with their surroundings. When they came in by carriage, Lin Rufei didn’t feel it, but when they walked outside, looking at the strong men who were all eight feet tall, Lin Rufei felt like he had entered the land of giants. The most amazing thing was that the women also weren’t short. All of them were athletic and almost as tall as Lin Rufei. He Wanxiang saw Lin Rufei’s astonished look and explained with a smile that the physique of the He family was hereditary and that it was related to the kung fu they practiced, which, if practiced from childhood, would make them much taller than normal people. All direct lineage disciples lived in the He family’s fortress so almost everyone practiced this kung fu method in order to have this scene in front of them.

Yu Rui was very fascinated as she listened. She muttered about how there was such a powerful kung fu method in the world, ah. She was fifteen and hadn’t seen any growth at all……. 

When He Wanxiang heard this, the corners of his mouth hooked up. He reached out and gently pressed on Yu Rui’s head, waiting for Yu Rui to look over in bewilderment, before seriously saying: “If you want to practice, there’s no harm in teaching you.”

“Really?” Yu Rui was surprised, “But I’m not a member of the He family, ah……”

“It’s okay.” He Wanxiang said, “This is just a basic kung fu method. However, since you are already fifteen years old, I am afraid that practicing at this time may not be too effective.”

Yu Rui used her hand to compare the top of her head and found that she had to stand on her tiptoes to reach He Wanxiang’s chest. Suddenly, she was discouraged beyond comparison. She dropped her head and said, “Why am I so short, ah?”

Fu Hua laughed: “Who told you to be picky about what you eat, you are even pickier than young master.”

Yu Rui grumbled, “But, but……”

When Lin Rufei noticed her aggrieved look, he couldn’t resist reaching out to pinch her cheeks, “Well, next time, let Fu Hua make more bone soup for you. Don’t be afraid of it being greasy and drink more.”

While several people were talking, Lin Rufei noticed a special building in the middle of the He family’s fortress. That building, compared to the surrounding wooden houses, did not quite fit in. It was a brick in structure and from its appearance, it seemed to be a shrine. But there were many guards in heavy armor standing near the shrine making the atmosphere very different from the surrounding area.  

“That’s the He family’s ancestral hall.” He Wanxiang explained to Lin Rufei, “The He family’s iron-gold walnut tree is planted in the ancestral hall. Since there is nothing to do now, would Lin gongzi like to go and have a look?”

Lin Rufei replied, “Is it possible? Would it be inconvenient?” Through He Wanxiang’s description, he could also hear the status that this iron-gold walnut tree had in the He family. Although he was very curious about what the walnut tree looked like, he always felt that it was not appropriate to go to see such a precious foreign treasure.

“It’s okay.” He Wanxiang slightly raised his chin and said, “At the moment, there hasn’t been anyone born who can take the walnut tree away from the He family. Besides, Lin gongzi is an honored guest of our He family. When your brother was traveling, it was my elder brother who received him, and he has also seen that iron-gold walnut tree.” He spoke in a light tone, but there was powerful confidence hidden in it. Lin Rufei naturally heard it clearly. Indeed, this generation of the He family was particularly excellent since they were able to produce He Xieyi, a cultivator at the eighth level. There really weren’t that many people who dared to mess with their family. 

When they arrived at the entrance of the ancestral hall, the guards saw that it was He Wanxiang, so they let them in directly.

After entering the ancestral hall, Lin Rufei saw the neatly arranged He family tablets and the neatly tended incense burner. He Wanxiang asked Lin Rufei to wait for a moment while he himself took out three sticks of incense and lit them to pay his respects to the ancestors. He then stood up and explained to Lin Rufei that it was their rule. If they want to see the iron-gold walnut tree, they must first pay homage to the ancestors and thank them for their protection.

After the worship, He Wanxiang led Lin Rufei to the ancestral hall’s backyard where he said the iron-gold walnut tree was growing.

After following He Wanxiang, he passed through several doors and finally arrived at the very wide backyard. It was surrounded by gray brick walls and the whole courtyard was empty except for a plain green tree growing in the center of the courtyard. This green tree wasn’t too tall and its trunk had the thickness of an adult arm. At first glance, it was like an ordinary walnut tree, but if one were to look carefully, one would find a layer of faint gold lines spreading on the trunk. The golden thread extended from the root upwards as it covered every branch and seemed to be glowing.

He Wanxiang said: “This iron-gold walnut tree is also known as the Xuyu[3] tree because each fruit takes decades. For it, it’s only a moment, but for us, it’s a lifetime. This year is a good year, this walnut tree gave birth to six iron-gold walnuts. When the next year’s ancestral ritual is held, our generation of disciples can try to pick it off. My elder brother has said that if we are lucky, our He family was about to produce a second He Xieyi.”

Amongst the hidden leaves, Lin Rufei saw the iron-gold walnut that He Wanxiang had mentioned. The walnuts were not born big, but their colors were beautiful and under the sunlight, they showed a pure golden color, like the golden sun in the sky.

He just didn’t know why, but when he saw this walnut tree, Lin Rufei developed a feeling of familiarity, as if………he had seen this tree from somewhere before. 

Then Lin Rufei felt that he was overthinking it. He had been on Kunlun for more than twenty years, how could he have possibly seen the Xuyu tree that was thousands of miles away?

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: C*cksucking[4].

Gu Xuandu: Hey, children can’t say dirty words. 

Lin Rufei: C*cksucking!

Gu Xuandu: Children are not allowed to talk dirty! !

Lin Rufei: C*cksucking~

Gu Xuandu: ………..

He Wanxiang: WTF, why did you stab me? !

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] Idiom: weak and ineffective. 

[2] This was a line of curse words. I had some trouble translating so it might not be the most accurate, but you guys get the gist.  

[3] Xuyu means in a jiffy/flash. 

[4] Actually, it can also mean f**king, basically it’s a curse word. 
CBUaWS Chpt: 65

Chapter 65: Tipsy

Looking at the shimmering iron-gold walnuts on the Xuyu tree, Lin Rufei could not help but exclaim, “So beautiful!”

He Wanxiang revealed a proud look: “Naturally so.” He then went on to explain, “Ordinary people would not be able to pick these iron-gold walnuts. Only disciples who have practiced the He family kung fu can and not everyone has the opportunity to……only if they are selected by the Xuyu tree, can they pick down the iron-gold walnut.”

Lin Rufei was curious: “That year, your brother picked down three?”

“Yes.” He Wanxiang said, “There were only three walnuts on the tree, my elder brother was the first to pick them and ended up picking all of them in one go. Because of this matter, he also received a lot of complaints from my father.” As he said this, his eyes contained a strong smile, “He said to give the other disciples a chance; to let them know—how useless they were.”

Lin Rufei also followed and laughed along. The He family’s style was open and reckless and they don’t look like a family that hid their clumsiness either. This He Wanxiang was very interesting so most likely He Xieyi wouldn’t be as bad. 

While Lin Rufei and He Wanxiang were talking, Gu Xuandu suddenly took shape and walked slowly towards the courtyard. Lin Rufei’s heart was slightly shocked at the sight of this but he could not say anything, only watching as he gradually approached the Xuyu tree. The Xuyu tree seemed to sense his presence as its leaves and branches began to shake slowly almost like in excitement. Gu Xuandu’s footsteps stopped in front of the Xuyu tree. He stretched out his hand and gently stroked the rough trunk, coupling with a low sigh: “Long time no see.”

The Xuyu tree moved in response, as if it was blown by the wind and the branches and leaves began to shake violently.

“What’s going on?!” He Wanxiang was startled by the Xuyu tree’s appearance. There was no wind at this time, but the tree looked as if a gale was passing through and it wouldn’t stop shaking uncontrollably.

Fortunately, the strangeness of the Xuyu tree did not last long. Gu Xuandu was probably afraid of it overreacting so after touching it, he turned away and left. Before leaving, he also stooped down to pick up a fallen leaf from the Xuyu tree, and then slowly and leisurely, he headed back to Lin Rufei’s side. Because there were too many people present, Lin Rufei was not able to talk to Gu Xuandu. He just glanced at him and then shifted his gaze away. 

Seeing the Xuyu tree return to its original state, He Wanxiang was relieved. He touched his nose and said worriedly, ‘Is the Xuyu tree uncomfortable? Why did it shake so hard?’ Lin Rufei didn’t dare to answer. He simply stood to the side and pretended not to know anything. Fortunately, He Wanxiang did not dwell too much on this matter.

They continued to stroll around the ancestral hall and in a flash, it was time to eat dinner.

He Wanxiang led Lin Rufei to a large-looking wooden house nearby. Before even entering, Lin Rufei could already smell the strong fragrance of wine coming from the house.

“Lin gongzi, my father and brothers are roughnecks. If there is anything you are not used to, you can say so.” He Wanxiang said it somewhat euphemistically, “Don’t ever aggrieve yourself.”

Lin Rufei nodded and said yes.

“Also……” He Wanxiang coughed dryly, “They like to drink and their capacity isn’t too good.”

It suddenly dawned upon Lin Rufei, “My health has not been too good since I was young, I can only drink small amounts.”

“It’s okay, it’s okay.” He Wanxiang waved his hand, “Lin gongzi is an honored guest, we won’t force you if you can’t drink. Just follow your own nature, no need to accommodate us.”

As he spoke, he pulled the wooden door open, revealing the scene inside the house.

Lin Rufei only took a glance and was shocked by the situation in the house. He saw a few tall and fierce men sitting around a large round table and on the table was a huge roast lamb. In front of each man, there was a round bowl the size of a face, and the bowl was filled with wine. Hearing the sound of the door opening, the big men turned around and turned their gazes towards Lin Rufei. These gazes carried curiosity and scrutiny, which gave Lin Rufei the feeling that he was being watched by wolves.

“Lin gongzi!” One of the big men with gray hair stood up and waved enthusiastically at Lin Rufei, “Come this way, come this way!”

He Wanxiang introduced, “This is my father.”

He Wanxiang’s father was named He Jitian[1]. Just like his name, he was a very domineering person and was the current He family head. He Xieyi was also his son.

Lin Rufei walked up to He Jitian, bowed, and said, “I’ve heard a lot about the He family head.”

“Don’t! Don’t be so polite! I am close to your father, you can just call me uncle.” He Jitian said, “You have come a long way and you are an honored guest of our He family, quickly, have a seat!” And pointed to the seat next to him.

Lin Rufei called out “uncle” and slowly sat down. After sitting down, he found that dense jars of wine clustered and filled the space underneath the table. From the numbers alone, it was a very impressive amount. 

He Jitian also sat down and introduced Lin Rufei to the people at the table. Finally, Lin Rufei met He Xieyi who he had heard so much about. Like He Wanxiang, He Xieyi[2] also had a sturdy body, only his looks were very different from his name. He was very rugged and his face also carried several hideous old wounds. At first, he even looked like a tough mountain bandit.

Probably because He Wanxiang informed the people in advance, several people at the table were trying hard to squeeze out a kind smile. However, no matter how much he looked, this smile on their faces didn’t seem like they belonged. It had a sense of skin laughing and flesh not smiling[3] feel to it. Lin Rufei was creeped out by their smiles and hurriedly said, “You guys can just act like how you usually act!” 

“Look at you guys!” He Jitian slapped the table and said angrily, “I told you guys to smile and be kind, but look at yourselves, you guys don’t even know how to smile? Is your face cramped or what? Smiling like this, people who don’t know would think you’re going to kill and set fire!”

The big men on the table all showed painful expressions.

Lin Rufei suddenly cried and laughed. He hurriedly explained that there was really no need to be so polite.

Only after repeatedly confirming that Lin Rufei indeed did not care very much, did He Jitian breathe a sigh of relief and waved his hand, “Nephew Lin, our family are all rough people. If there is poor hospitality, you must say it straight out.”

“Okay, okay, okay.” Lin Rufei could only nod and say yes.

The He family was indeed straightforward and after a few simple courtesies, the meal was served. The huge roasted lamb in front of him was really striking. The lamb seemed to have been just roasted and it was covered with all kinds of spices. The aroma of the fat belonging to the meat alone came out in a continuous stream. He Jitian lifted the knife and efficiently divided the whole roasted lamb into several parts. Then, he put the best chunk of lamb chop onto the iron plate in front of Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei stared at the lamb chop, which was bigger than his upper body, and said in a daze: “Uncle He! This is too much, I can’t finish it.”

“Can’t finish it?” He Jitian froze, “Don’t be polite with us, there’s still another one being roasted outside.”

“I really can’t finish it.” According to Lin Rufei’s usual diet, he would be full after eating two or three lamb chops.

(t/n: probably because the normal lamb chops are quite small)

He Jitian was still a bit unconvinced: “You really can’t finish it?”

Lin Rufei’s expression was helpless: “……Really.”

Finally, He Jitian was convinced. He raised his hand and cut a small piece off, but still left most of it on Lin Rufei’s plate. Lin Rufei wanted to say something but finally decided not to say anything. Looking at He Jitian’s expression, if he said he could not eat again, it was like he wasn’t giving face to the He family. 

The lamb looked like it weighed more than a hundred pounds. Adding Lin Rufei, there were seven people total around the table. After He Jitian efficiently divided the lamb, the crowd then feasted on the food. When Lin Rufei tasted a piece, he thought that the taste was indeed very good. Although the lamb was large, the taste was very tender. The outside was crispy and it was covered in a layer of rich dipping sauce. The meat inside was soft and juicy, especially the fatty and lean parts, they were particularly extra fragrant. Lin Rufei also followed their example and got his hands on it, however, he found that he had a hard time biting it off. Finally, He Wanxiang handed him a small knife, indicating that he should use it to cut the meat.

After the meat was eaten, they began to drink the wine. He Jitian probably notified the people at the table in advance, so no one forced Lin Rufei to drink, and everyone acted very easy-going. He Jitian asked Lin Rufei about the matters on Kunlun and Lin Rufei simply replied that the atmosphere wasn’t bad.

The more wine they drink, the better the atmosphere became at the table. Originally, He Jitian was worried that Lin Rufei, the son of a big family, would not be used to such a way of eating in their family. However, seeing that Lin Rufei did not have any attitude, he gradually relaxed. Lin Rufei chewed the lamb and also picked up the face-size wine bowl to take a sip. Almost immediately, his pale face emerged with a bright red and he could not help but cough lowly a few times. This was the strongest wine Lin Rufei had ever drunk, but although it was strong, the taste was also very good. The flavor was mellow and there was a long-lasting aftertaste. It was good wine. 

Lin Rufei had never had such a lively meal. After the He family became happy after drinking, they were no longer restrained like in the beginning. Some people cut the meat, some people chatted, and some people even happily told dirty jokes. However, just after the jokes were finished the person received a smack on the head from He Jitian and they also earned a harsh glare. The person was a little confused from the smack until he saw his own father’s unkind eyes. Only then did he immediately wake up and said embarrassingly: “Lin gongzi, do not mind, ah, I, I’m used to telling dirty jokes…..” 

Lin Rufei could not help but laugh and said, “No harm, no harm, by nature we desire food and sex[4].“

A big piece of meat, a big mouthful of wine, this scene in front of him made Lin Rufei really experience what Jianghu was like. He had to say, he really loved this lively atmosphere of the He family.

One after another, the jugs of wine were brought up. Slightly drunkenness began to spread on the table and the people became more and more open. Lin Rufei had also drank a little too much and since he wasn’t good at drinking, his consciousness gradually began to blur. He felt someone wrapped their arm around his shoulder and loudly asking how Lin Bianyu was. With a twist of his head, he saw that it was He Xieyi.

“Yes, my brother is very good.” Lin Rufei replied, “He was first in the sword competition again this year.”

“That’s because I didn’t go!” He Xieyi grumbled, “Next time when I go, the first place will be mine!” As he said this, he then slapped his chest with a loud thud.

He didn’t know if it was because he had too much to drink, but Lin Rufei had no more scruples when he talked. He shook his head with a glare: “No, you’re definitely not number one. My second brother is the most powerful.”

“You——” He Xieyi wanted to say a swear word, but in the end, he swallowed it back down, “Don’t worry. I lost to your second brother a few years ago because my kung fu was not yet complete. Now, I’m not the same as I was a few years ago! “

“My second brother is also not the same second brother from a few years ago!” How could Lin Rufei stand someone bad-mouthing his second brother, “You can’t win!”

“I can win!”

“You can’t!”

“I definitely can——”

“You definitely can’t——”

The two were quarreling like children and the more they quarreled, the more energetic they got. They argued back and forth and drank at the same time. He Wanxiang wanted to persuade them, but he was slapped away by He Xieyi, saying that adults were talking about something so children should not get involved. The alcohol also got into Lin Rufei’s head. He nodded vaguely and said, ‘yes, yes, yes, this is an adult matter. Today we must distinguish between right and wrong.’

Watching this scene, He Wanxiang cried and laughed. At first, he was worried that Lin Rufei would not be used to such an atmosphere, but he had adapted better than anyone else, and after a few rounds of drinking, he had already hooked up with He Xieyi and called him “brother.” But looking as the two men became more and more fierce from their talk, he was inexplicably a little worried. After all, his elder brother’s, He Xieyi’s, wine capacity wasn’t really good. 

Lin Rufei also became confused after drinking. His wine bowl was filled one after another and finally, his consciousness completely blurred. He only vaguely remembered that he seemed to be arguing fiercely with He Xieyi. As to whether there was a result from their argument, he did not know……

The next day, Lin Rufei woke up with a splitting headache. He opened his eyes with difficulty, covered his head, and let out a weak moan: “Ah……headache, headache, ah……” After muttering this aloud, he felt his head being gently picked up and placed onto someone’s lap. It was gently being kneaded and when he looked up, he saw Gu Xuandu’s helpless expression. 

“If you knew that you would have a headache, why did you still drink so much?” Gu Xuandu lectured.

“I didn’t want to either.” Lin Rufei squinted his eyes comfortably like a lazy cat, “The atmosphere was too good and unknowingly, I had drunk a bunch.” He squinted for a while more and always felt that something was not quite right, “Ssss……how come my body also hurts so much?”

Gu Xuandu helplessly asked, “You don’t remember?”

Lin Rufei replied blankly: “Remember what?”

Gu Xuandu: “……”

Lin Rufei immediately felt that the situation was a little bit wrong, “What’s wrong, I drank too much and don’t remember anything.”

Gu Xuandu reached out and picked up Lin Rufei. Before Lin Rufei could protest, he was taken to the window by Gu Xuandu, “Look for yourself.”

Lin Rufei was confused and looked out the window. He was instantly stunned by the situation outside. He saw that almost all the wooden houses outside were reduced to wreckage, almost as if they had been crushed by a giant beast. But fortunately, the houses were all wooden structures, even if it was destroyed, it could also be quickly rebuilt. However, exactly what happened for it to become like this? 

Lin Rufei looked up at Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu asked, “What are you looking at me for?”

Lin Rufei had a premonition of what was going on but still held on to a sliver of hope. He blinked his eyes and whispered, “It has nothing to do with me, right?”

“What do you think?” Gu Xuandu placed Lin Rufei back on the bed again and said sorrowfully, “Who do you think it has to do with then?”

Lin Rufei cowered, “This……this was really my doing?”

Gu Xuandu answered, “Not you.”

Lin Rufei was about to breathe a sigh of relief when Gu Xuandu added: “It was you and He Xieyi who did it together.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

Gu Xuandu suddenly added strength to the hand that was pressing against Lin Rufei’s temple and Lin Rufei hissed in pain: “Lighter……Senior, lighter……”

Gu Xuandu tsked and seemed to be very dissatisfied. Lin Rufei originally thought he was angry about the fight between himself and He Xieyi, but who knew that Gu Xuandu would quietly say: “You did not use the sword when you fought yesterday.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

“The one you used was the black wooden shield.” Gu Xuandu’s tone was almost like he was gnashing his teeth, “Xiao Jiu, don’t you want to say something? I’ve been teaching you swordplay for so long——”

Lin Rufei suddenly felt weak and smiled, “Isn’t it because I have had too much to drink?”

Gu Xuandu: “After the wine, the truth comes out.” 

Lin Rufei: “……”

Gu Xuandu: “Do you have something against Gu Yu?” Following Gu Xuandu’s words, the sword that Lin Rufei hung by the bed also began buzzing and Lin Rufei could even hear a little bit of grievance from it.

Lin Rufei’s eyes flashed. He weakly covered his head and said pitifully, “Senior, my head hurts so much.”

Gu Xuandu: “……”

“It hurts really bad.” Lin Rufei looked anxiously at Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu finally let out a long sigh, “Forget it, forget it” And he didn’t continue bothering Lin Rufei about said matter and simply continued to slowly knead Lin Rufei’s temple again.

Lin Rufei finally breathed a long sigh of relief in his heart. He thought that this method used since childhood was still pretty good. Back when he was on Kunlun, when he did not want to drink medicine, he would use this expression to deal with his maids or older siblings. Unless the disease was particularly serious, this method was almost tried and true.

Gu Xuandu continued kneading Lin Rufei’s temple for a while. Lin Rufei was so comfortable that he almost fell asleep, however, he heard Fu Hua’s voice outside: “Young master, are you awake?” 

“Mnn……” Lin Rufei answered.

“Young master, I’ve made you a hangover soup.” Fu Hua came in with the soup and medicine.

“Why do you look so pale?” Fu Hua was a little worried, “Is it a headache?”

“It hurts a lot.” Lin Rufei said, “How did I come back last night?”

Fu Hua hesitated, “It was……He Wanxiang who sent you back.” She coughed dryly, “Doesn’t young master remember what happened last night?”

Lin Rufei shook his head.

Fu Hua then briefly retold Lin Rufei exactly what had happened last night; Lin Rufei and He Xieyi were both drunk and nearing the end, the two of them had argued over who was the best: He Xieyi or Lin Bianyu. Who knew that as they argued, they would actually start fighting. The fight was so intense that the whole He family was torn down. The two of them were tired of fighting and had sat on the ground to rest when suddenly, He Xieyi started to attack Lin Rufei with profanity. However, Lin Rufei was unable to fight back. Finally, he got angry and grabbed He Xieyi and beat him up again.

Lin Rufei froze. He was completely unable to imagine the scene described by Fu Hua.

“But in the end, young master won! That He Xieyi was knocked unconscious by you with a wooden shield.” Seeing that Lin Rufei was stunned with some panic, Fu Hua hurriedly reassured, “But you still came back walking!”

Lin Rufei fell into a long silence.

“Then……young master would like to have some hangover soup first?” Fu Hua asked timidly.

“I’ll have some.” Lin Rufei said quietly, “It’s better to sober up early.”

Fu Hua couldn’t help but laugh. Usually, Lin Rufei rarely drank alcohol let alone getting drunk. Even if he was drunk, at most it was slightly drunk and wouldn’t make such a big scene like last night. But for some reason, when Fu Hua saw Lin Rufei, who was drinking and making trouble, she felt a sense of relief, like her own child had finally grown up and was able to make trouble. 

Lin Rufei was naturally unaware of his own maid’s strange mood at this time. He was still figuring out how to apologize to the He family when there was suddenly a knock on the door.

“Young master, young master, are you awake?” Yu Rui poked her head in, “Wanxiang is here to see you.”

Lin Rufei laughed, “Yesterday it was He gongzi, but today it’s Wanxiang?”

Yu Rui’s cheeks instantly burst into red and she said in annoyance, “Young master, don’t tease me!”

Lin Rufei sighed, “Sigh, the little girl has grown up and doesn’t allow young master to tease her anymore.” 

Yu Rui let out a “humph” and turned around to call He Wanxiang in.

When He Wanxiang entered the room, he noticed Lin Rufei lying on the bed and called out to Lin gongzi with a smile.

“He gongzi, I’m really sorry, I didn’t expect my wine capacity to be that bad.” Lin Rufei ashamedly said, “I destroyed so many of your houses……” As he said this, he started to cough and his thin shoulders couldn’t stop shaking. It was as if in the next moment, he would suddenly faint over. 

If He Wanxiang had seen Lin Rufei’s appearance before, he probably would have thought he was too weak. However, after last night’s incident, He Wanxiang found that Lin Rufei was not a fuel-saving lamp[5]. He saw with his own eyes the fight between Lin Rufei and He Xieyi. The weapon and moves Lin Rufei used were very odd, most of them which he had never seen before, but with these odd moves, he was able to fight with his elder brother and in the end, knock out He Xieyi with a shield. Although he could see that He Xieyi did not use his full strength, this was already enough to surprise He Wanxiang.

“There is no need to feel guilty, Lin gongzi, our He family has long been used to it.” He Wanxiang waved his hand and laughed, “Otherwise, they wouldn’t all live in wooden houses. As long as you guys don’t hurt the ancestral hall, we wouldn’t mind even if Lin gongzi razed the entire He family to the ground.” In fact, not only would they not mind, they would probably respect this guest even more, after all, the He family honored martial arts. On the contrary, Lin Rufei’s weak image at the beginning was not so popular in the He family.

When Lin Rufei saw that He Wanxiang indeed did not have the intention to blame him, he finally let out a sigh of relief. It was only the first day he had arrived at their house and he had already demolished their houses. If this wasn’t the He family and was somewhere else, he may have already been invited out.

“How is your brother now?” Lin Rufei suddenly remembered Fu Hua’s words. Did he really knock He Xieyi unconscious?

“Mnn……Should be awake at this moment.” He Wanxiang replied, “Does Lin gongzi want to go take a look?”

“Take a look, take a look.” Lin Rufei nodded his head in a hurry.

“Then I’ll take you there.” He Wanxiang said, “He was originally staying next to Lin gongzi, but yesterday he battered his own house and had to make do with a night at my father’s place.”

Lin Rufei washed up simply, changed his clothes, and followed He Wanxiang to He Xieyi’s place. When they entered through the doorway, they saw He Xieyi lying pitifully on the bench in the living room, moaning desolately. Compared to Lin Rufei’s treatment, where he had a massage and a sobriety soup, he was in a very miserable state. No one in the house, whether maids or family, looked at him at all and they almost all treated him as air.

He Wanxiang took noticed that Lin Rufei was a bit surprised so he explained, “My brother likes to drink, so he often has a hangover, the family is used to it.”

When He Xieyi saw them coming, he originally wanted to continue lying down. However, he immediately sat up and waved at Lin Rufei and his voice sounded a bit shy at first: “Lin gongzi, you’re here. Come here, come in and play.”

Lin Rufei: “……” How come these words sound a little off?

“Ouch, why does this head of mine hurt so much.” He Xieyi muttered, “Did I have too much to drink? But I also drank a lot before, ah……ugh……” He thought he had a hangover headache, but in reality though, that stinging red bump on his forehead was very conspicuous.

Lin Rufei was even more guilty when he saw this. Under He Xieyi’s warm invitation, he slowly walking in front of him and asked him about his health.

He Xieyi was not aware that his headache had anything to do with Lin Rufei and vigorously patted Lin Rufei’s shoulder, “Lin gongzi, you really hid your true colors, ah. I thought you did not know how to use a sword, who expected that your sword intent would be so severe!”

Lin Rufei responded shyly, “You flatter me, you flatter me.” 

He Xieyi: “It’s just, why don’t you use your sword?”

Lin Rufei: “……” It was fine if he didn’t say anything, but as soon as he mentioned it, he could feel Gu Xuandu, who was next to him, casting him an unpleasant look.

Lin Rufei said arduously: “Just……probably because I drank too much.”

“Oh.” He Xieyi nodded thoughtfully and said that since he was able to use the shield so well, then his sword must be even more powerful.

Against Gu Xuandu’s thorny-like gaze, Lin Rufei didn’t dare say anything and the smile on his face almost couldn’t hang on.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: Why won’t you use the sword? ! ! !

Lin Rufei: Because I don’t want to be a ……. Sword person[6]? 

Gu Xuandu: ………..

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[1] Jitian means Extreme Sky/Heaven. 

[2] Xieyi means relaxed. 

[3] Not smiling at all. 

[4] He’s saying that sex is as natural as wanting food: “Appetite and lust are only natural.” 

[5] Somebody who is easy deal with. 

[6] Reminder; the word for sword person sounds like the words for “b**ch.” 

Chapter 66: Xuyu, Xuyu

He Xieyi, with that big eye-catching bump on his head, conversed with Lin Rufei for a while; from what kind of wine Lin Rufei liked to what kind of food Lin Rufei liked to eat. The more they talk, the more they got to know each other and as the two of them continued to talk more and more about each other, He Xieyi really wanted to get up from the bed and have a drink with Lin Rufei when they got excited.

Fortunately, although this brother, He Xieyi, wasn’t very reliable, the younger brother, He Wanxiang, was still very calm. When he saw that his brother wanted to jump up, he grabbed his brother’s shoulders and pressed him back down: “Lin gongzi’s head also hurts, just let him off the hook.”

Lin Rufei hurriedly agreed and said that his head also ached from last night.

“Oh, forget it then.” He Xieyi said with a regretful look that carried an unfulfilled desire, “I thought you were a good drinker, it’s been a long time since I had such a good time.”

When Lin Rufei heard him praise him for his good drinking capacity, he said arduously: “How can He gongzi tell……that I am a good drinker?”

He Xieyi scratched his head: “I’ve hardly ever been drunk to the point of unconsciousness, since Lin gongzi was able to knock me out, he must be a good drinker.”

When these words came out, Lin Rufei and He Wanxiang both stared at the bump on He Xieyi’s head for a moment in silence. But the two of them tacitly agreed not to say anything and changed the subject. Lin Rufei looked at the hot sunshine outside and said it was a good day to sleep. Since He gongzi had a headache, he should take a good rest first and he would not continue to bother him. Not waiting for He Xieyi to offer a deterrent, Lin Rufei and He Wanxiang slipped out.

When they left the room, they stared at each other and couldn’t help but burst into laughter.

He Wanxiang shook his head, “My brother, ah……hahahahaha.”

Lin Rufei also laughed, saying that He Xieyi was an interesting person, no, to be precise, the whole He family was very interesting.

As the two were chatting and heading out, they suddenly heard a clattering sound of horse hooves coming. Lin Rufei looked for the sound and saw a man galloping past, heading for the residence of the He family head. This person had entered the He family fortress but did not slow down in the slightest and did not intend to dismount. The He family members on the roadside moved out of the way and showed dissatisfaction with that person. Lin Rufei also noticed that He Wanxiang’s expression changed slightly after seeing that man, like a coldness carrying a hint of displeasure.

In all the days he spent with He Wanxiang, Lin Rufei had never seen such a negative expression on his face. But He Wanxiang did not mention it so he also did not feel appropriate to ask.

Lin Rufei turned his head and saw that the man, who had just sped off, was stopped by a servant of the He family. He was now looking very angry: “Why won’t he see me?! Does your He family just sit and watch someone die without helping?!” 

“The family head has something to do.” The servant reached out to stop him, “Sir, please go back.”

“Something to do? How can there be something to do every time!” The man said angrily, “I think he just doesn’t want to see me!”

The servant didn’t say anything in response and continued looking at him coldly.

When the man saw that the servant was not going to let him pass, he looked around and landed his eyes on Lin Rufei and He Wanxiang. Lin Rufei secretly muttered a “bad,” and indeed, the man rushed in front of them in a few steps: “I recognize you. You are He Jitian’s son, He Wanxiang, right?!!” 

However, He Wanxiang did not answer. His hands were crossed against his chest and he simply gave him a cold look.  

Being stared at by He Wanxiang, the man cowered for a moment. However, he quickly gathered enough courage again and questioned loudly: “What is going on in your He family?! There are demons eating people on the road, are you guys going to do something or not?!” 

He Wanxiang replied, “This matter is out of my hands, go look for my father.”

“If I could find him, I would have done so already, but your father refuses to see me!” The man was indignant, “That demon has eaten so many people!”

He Wanxiang crooked his head and said, “I didn’t eat them so what are you yelling at me for?”

The man was choked to death by He Wanxiang’s words. He had wanted to say something else in retaliation, but He Wanxiang already waved his hand and stated impatiently, “If you have anything else, go look for my father, I can’t control that much.” After saying that, he turned around and left, not giving this person another chance to speak.

Lin Rufei followed behind He Wanxiang and also walked away. He noticed that before walking away, the man had twisted around again and continued to argue with the servant. It seemed as if he was going to see the He family head today no matter what. 

Only after walking to a place out of sight did He Wanxiang sigh and say, “Lin gongzi, please don’t misunderstand. It’s not that our He family doesn’t want to take care of this matter, but it’s really a bit complicated.”

Lin Rufei asked, “You mean the demons on the official road?”

“That’s right.” He Wanxiang said, “We got the news that there were some demons, at the third level, on the official road and the He family sent someone there. Who knew that the demon’s cultivation level was not actually at the third level and it beat up the He family disciple.” His tone when he said this, was a bit gloomy.

From time to time, demons from the Bu’e Continent roam to Yaoguang and it was common for cultivators to subdue demons and remove them. However, demons were physically strong and even ones with a cultivation at the third level could already match that of human cultivators at the fifth level. Fortunately, it wasn’t easy for demons to cultivate so the number was still very small. Otherwise, the humans probably would have long been wiped out.

“Not actually at the third level? Then what level is that?” Lin Rufei was a little surprised.

“I don’t know, my father didn’t say.” He Wanxiang touched his nose and said hesitantly, “But my father told us not to get involved in this matter, saying he would take care of it, so I’m not too sure about the details.”

Lin Rufei showed a thoughtful look.

“Forget it, let’s not talk about this matter anymore.” He Wanxiang sighed, “Lin gongzi, I see you don’t look too well, do you want to go back and rest first?”

Lin Rufei nodded and said yes. His head was still hurting so it would be best if he could rest a little longer.

Thus, He Wanxiang took him back to the place he was staying at and told him to take a good rest before leaving.

Lin Rufei casually ate something to pad his stomach, then laid back down on the bed. He occasionally chatted with Gu Xuandu and unknowingly, he fell asleep.

Gu Xuandu gazed at Lin Rufei’s sleeping face for a long time and only after confirming that he was asleep did he slowly get up and fly out of the window.

He had slept for a long time. Lin Rufei woke up in a haziness, he thought that it should have been dark, but when he saw that it was still bright outside, he called out to Fu Hua in a daze and asked her what time it was.

“Gongzi, it’s already midnight.” Fu Hua answered, “Is gongzi hungry, do you want to get up and eat something?”

Lin Rufei questioned, “It’s midnight?” He sat up from the bed and looked out the bright window. He even thought he was being delusional, “How come it’s not dark even at midnight?”

“I don’t know, it seems like something is glowing.” Fu Hua responded, “It’s been bright since the evening. We thought it was the He family’s bonfire at first, but when we took a closer look, we thought that even a bonfire wouldn’t look like this either.”

Lin Rufei went to the window and looked carefully, only to find that the golden light was coming from the room of the He family’s ancestral hall. This light was a pure golden color and it was completely different from the general firelight, reminding Lin Rufei of the color of the sun. It was already midnight, but because of this light, the whole sky was illuminated, just like daylight.

Lin Rufei stated, “I’ll go out and take a look.”

He changed his clothes and headed over towards the light. The light was really coming from the ancestral hall and many He family members had gathered outside the ancestral hall. However, their faces were not scared, instead, it was full of excitement as they discussed something in a passionate and heated tone. Lin Rufei listened to a few sentences before he vaguely understood what was happening. It turned out that the Xuyu tree, in the ancestral hall, had bore fruit and had produced hundreds of iron-gold walnuts in one breath. The golden light emitted from the iron-gold walnuts illuminated the whole He family, as if it were daylight, and it had also attracted everyone’s attention.

“Why is Lin gongzi here?” Being tapped on the shoulder, Lin Rufei turned his head and noticed He Xieyi.

He Xieyi still had that huge red bump on his head and he was standing next to him watching the liveliness.

Lin Rufei replied, “Oh, I woke up and saw this bright light, so I thought I’d come and take a look.”

“It’s the walnut tree that’s bearing fruit.” He Xieyi explained, “Wanxiang took you in to see the Xuyu tree, right?”

“Seen it.” Lin Rufei nodded.

“That’s good.” He Xieyi said with a smile, “One more look is one more look, right?”

“How so?” Lin Rufei felt that He Xieyi was implying something from his words. 

“Hmm……” He Xieyi muttered, “When things reach an extreme, they will decline?” He reached out again and put his arm around Lin Rufei’s shoulders. He asked if he wanted to go in to take a look. Not many people could see this Xuyu tree that was filled with walnuts, but since Lin Rufei just happened to be a guest at their house, then it must be his fate.

Lin Rufei asked, “Is it convenient?” He always felt that this was a private matter of the He family, and in the end, he was an outsider.

“What’s there to worry about?” He Xieyi chattered without worry, “Anyway, it’s not like you can pick them off. Showing it to you a few more times is good too, so you can be envious.” 

Lin Rufei couldn’t help but laugh, “That’s true.”

He Xieyi then led Lin Rufei towards the ancestral hall. Although the guards didn’t know Lin Rufei, they still knew of him (HXY), so no one stopped them. The two of them entered the backyard of the ancestral hall unhindered and Lin Rufei saw many members of He’s family, as well as He Jitian, standing in the center of the crowd.

Compared to He Xieyi’s calm expression, most of the He family members were excited and eager to try. He Jitian was saying something to them, but Lin Rufei was too far away to hear it clearly.

He Xieyi said, “Don’t mind them, let’s go see the walnut tree.” And he pulled Lin Rufei into the backyard.

Once in the yard, Lin Rufei’s eyes took in the striking Xuyu tree. At this time, the tree was covered with dense iron-gold walnuts. Before, the dense golden dark lines that were only on the tree trunk were now at this time, spread onto every leaf. These dark lines allowed the tree to emit a beautiful golden light. And at first glance, it didn’t even look like a living thing, rather, it was more like a delicate sculpture, beautiful to the extreme. The most amazing thing was that this golden light was not blinding. It was very soft and it made people unable to tear their gazes away.

He Xieyi looked at the tree with great interest. He said that being able to see this appearance of the Xuyu tree in his life was really worth it.

Lin Rufei murmured: “Why is it suddenly bearing walnuts?”

He Xieyi looked at Lin Rufei: “Maybe……it met someone it likes?”

Lin Rufei laughed, “Then it must especially like them.”

“Mm-hmm.” He Xieyi nodded.

The two of them were looking at the walnuts and on the other end, the He family members were eager to try. He Wanxiang appeared out of nowhere and pat Lin Rufei on the shoulder, “Lin gongzi, why are you and my brother here?”

Lin Rufei was startled by his pat and only after hearing his voice, did he show a helpless look, “Da gongzi said he would lead me in to see the walnuts.” He found that the He family all like to greet each other like this. They don’t call out to people and would always pat their shoulders first before talking. If their relationship was better, then they would directly put their arms around the neck.

“Oh.” He joked and said, “Looks good, right?”

“Good looking, good looking.” He Xieyi nodded.

The two brothers then looked at the walnuts with fascination. They looked at them with great interest and from time to time, they also commented that if some of the walnuts were bigger, then they must also taste very good.

“I’ve never eaten such delicious walnuts in my life.” As the only one in this generation of the He family who had eaten iron-gold walnuts, he was now passing on his experience to his brother, “When you pick them later, remember to choose a big one with more meat.”

He Wanxiang said, “Okay!”

“The one in the upper left corner looks especially big.” He Xieyi smacked his mouth, “Quickly, go and find a spot in the front, don’t let the others get ahead of you.”

He Wanxiang nodded his head. After greeting Lin Rufei, he turned around and left. 

Lin Rufei said, “You’re not going?”

“Me? I’m not going.” He Xieyi said, “I already had three of them, that’s enough.”

He said it so calmly that Lin Rufei was a little impressed with him. Everyone knew the usefulness of the walnuts and naturally, more was better. With He Xieyi’s current status in the He family, even if he was the first to pick, most likely no one would dare to comment. But he showed little interest and became a spectator together with Lin Rufei.

While Lin Rufei and He Xieyi were talking, the He family had already lined up to pick walnuts.

It was indeed a bit comical to see such a group of big men, excited and cautiously lining up at the same time. Lin Rufei also saw He Jitian, who was standing outside the crowd to maintain order. However, what surprised him was that He Jitian’s expression wasn’t too happy. It was more bland, and from his expression, it was a bit similar to He Xieyi.

Finally, the first He family member walked up to the Xuyu tree and stretched out his hand to touch the first iron-gold walnut.

Everyone watched with bated breath. Lin Rufei was also driven by the atmosphere and slightly tensed up. But when the man’s hand took hold of the walnut, the iron-gold walnut, that originally seemed to be shaky and was about to bend the branches, did not move at all. No matter how hard he pulled, he could not pluck it off.

The crowd let out a regretful cacophony. The man raised his hand and tried two more, but the results still did not change. So with a long sigh, he turned away with his head hanging.

“Pity.” Lin Rufei also felt very sorry and sighed.

He Xieyi, however, shook his head, “Nothing can be forced.” He was actually quite open-minded.

One by one, the He family members went towards the Xuyu tree, and unless they could pick the walnuts, each of them could only try three times. The tree full of golden, shaking walnuts simply made people unable to resist the temptation. If it was last year, where there were only two or three, then they could blame their bad luck. If these hundreds of iron-gold walnuts could not be picked, then it would really make people feel regretful. 

“The year that I picked, I had good luck.” Seeing his family members return one by one with a lost expression, He Xieyi casually talked about that year, “I was the eldest, so I was the first one to pick. That year, there were three walnuts so I picked them three times, and they all came off for me.” He paused for a moment and continued, “The rest of the people did not even have the opportunity to touch a walnut. You should understand, this kind of thing, although no one says it, their hearts will carry a grudge..….” 

After all, even the opportunity to try was deprived so having some resentment surface was also normal. Lin Rufei could understand their feelings.

“But luckily, the Xuyu tree soon bore six more walnuts.” He Xieyi said, “This is actually a very strange thing. Under normal circumstances, it would have taken at least a few decades for the Xuyu tree to bear fruit again. But this time, it hasn’t even been ten years when six were born just this spring. Everyone in the clan was rejoicing, only my father felt something wrong. I didn’t understand at first, but today I think I understand.”

“Understood what?” Lin Rufei looked at him.

“There must be a demon when things go wrong.” He Xieyi said, “The He family has prospered for a hundred years with this tree. However, it seems that in the coming days, we will have to find another.”

He had said these words so plainly, but it also carried a hint of regret. Lin Rufei heard the meaning behind his words and showed some surprise.

“There is no need to worry so much.” He Xieyi once again put his arm around Lin Rufei’s shoulders and said with a big grin, “Would the people actually die from holding in their urine[1]?” 

“That’s true.” Lin Rufei also laughed.

Unknowingly, half of the people had already gone to pick walnuts, but none of the walnuts were picked, and Lin Rufei finally saw He Wanxiang. He Wanxiang looked serious and he could tell that he was extremely nervous. He took a deep breath and slowly walked towards the Xuyu tree. He slowly reached out his hand and held onto the first walnut. Everyone’s eyes fell onto He Wanxiang’s body. They watched as he slightly pulled; batah[2] and the walnut actually fell off in response and landed easily into his hand.

“Oh!!!!” The people present let out a violent cheer, seeing that someone finally picked a walnut, everyone was about to jump up with joy.

“Nice job kiddo!” He Xieyi watched as his brother was the first one to successfully pick a walnut and revealed a wildly joyful look, “You have good taste, you really picked the one with the most meat!”

Lin Rufei was crying and laughing, thinking that the He family members were too honest.

He Wanxiang looked at the walnut in his hand and was overjoyed. He carefully put it into his pocket, took a deep breath, and then reached for the second walnut. This time, he was still able to pluck it off without a hitch. Soon, it was followed by the third, the fourth, and when he picked the fifth, there was no other sound in the room. Everyone held their breath and looked at He Wanxiang nervously.

However, his luck ended when he picked the sixth. No matter how hard He Wanxiang pulled, the sixth walnut did not budge. Even when He Wanxiang used excessive force to the point that blue tendons could be seen on his forehead, the walnut still did not move. It was as if it was cast in iron.

Seeing this scene, He Wanxiang could only choose to give up. However, his bulging pockets told everyone that his harvest had been enough.

“Hoo……didn’t think that this kid hid his true colors!” He Xieyi’s eyes were glowing as he stared at He Wanxiang, “Perhaps their words were right, I did block their chance.”

Lin Rufei laughed: “You don’t have to think of it like that. After all, in case he also picked the walnuts back then, then he wouldn’t have the chance today.” Good fortune followed upon disaster and disaster lurked within good fortune. Fortune and misfortune, who could say it clearly? 

After picking the walnuts, He Wanxiang seemed to be calm as he left the crowd. He walked to their side and said in a deep voice: “Brother, I picked five!”

“I saw! That’s my good brother!” He Xieyi patted He Wanxiang’s shoulder.

He Wanxiang said, “Brother, I picked five!!”

He Xieyi said again, “I saw……”

He Wanxiang looped, “Brother, I picked five!!”

He Xieyi was suspicious. Finally, he felt that there was something wrong with his brother so he reached out his hand and waved it in front of He Wanxiang. However, He Wanxiang did not blink and with the same tone of voice, he continued: “Brother……”

But before he could finish his words, he received a knifehand strike from He Xieyi and directly fainted.

Lin Rufei was stunned by this development: “This……”

“It’s okay.” He Xieyi was calm and simply waved his hand, “He was too excited. He’ll be fine after a nap.” After saying that, he threw He Wanxiang’s body directly to his feet and his other foot was placed on top of He Wanxiang’s pocket. He explained, “To prevent others from stealing his walnuts.”

Lin Rufei: “……” The way you two brothers care for each other is really a bit refreshing, ah.

He Wanxiang was struck unconscious by He Xieyi in full view of everyone, but no one was surprised. Everyone’s attention was focused on the Xuyu tree in front of them. With He Wanxiang’s start, the crowd’s lost confidence was picked up once again and they continued to burn their gaze at the Xuyu tree with hungry wolf-like eyes. It was like they were desperately trying to stare down a few walnuts with their passionate gaze.

But some things couldn’t be achieved just by thinking. For the rest of the He family, only one other person had been able to pick another one. Even until the last person finished trying, there was not another who was able to harvest any. It was as if these more than a hundred walnuts were not born for the He family.

Seeing this scene, the people present showed their regret.

However, at this time, He Jitian, who had been standing silently on the side, suddenly appeared. He was staring at a shovel and slowly and leisurely walked towards the Xuyu tree’s side. Probably because his movements looked too natural, the crowd did not react. It wasn’t until he used a shovel and directly dug to the root of the tree, did he begin to shovel the soil with force.

“Family head, what are you doing!!!”

“Father, what are you doing!!”

After seeing He Jitian’s action, all of his family members showed a look of panic. But probably because of He Jitian’s accumulated authority, no one dared to go forward and stop him.

He Jitian raised his hand to wipe the sweat on his forehead and explained, “Actually, there is something that I have never told you.” While shoveling the soil, he explained to the people, “Every generation of the He family head will inherit an ancestral teaching about the Xuyu tree.”

“What ancestral teaching?” The crowd watched his movements and had a bad feeling in their hearts.

“It’s the agreement between our ancestors and the Heavenly Ruler.” He Jitian answered, “Back then, when the Heavenly Ruler gifted the He family with the Xuyu tree, he preserved the He family’s prosperity for a hundred years and also set a rule with the He family.” His voice was not loud, but everyone present could hear it clearly, “That is, when a certain day, the Xuyu tree gives birth to a hundred iron-gold walnuts, we must break its roots and then take out what is under the tree.”

The crowd was dumbfounded. Some people still refused to believe and tried to persuade He Jitian not to do so. After all, so many iron-gold walnuts, if the He family could get it, how many experts would come out from it, ah?

Faced with this person’s question, He Jitian only asked one question, “Can you pick it?”

The crowd had nothing to say.

“Just tried it, right?” He Jitian said, “I’ve made an exception for you guys and let you try it one by one first, and what happened?” He said indifferently, “Didn’t we still only pick the six pieces originally belonging to the He family?”

At this moment, the fruit was still abundant on the Xuyu tree, and the iron-gold walnuts were as brilliant as the stars.

There was silence in the field.

He Jitian said: “I know your thoughts, but there are some things that people with a shallow fortune can not take up. A hundred iron-gold walnuts, our He family is not yet blessed to take them, if you want to take them by force, I’m afraid the loss will not be worth the gain.” His appearance might be rough but his mind was meticulous.

Lin Rufei did not expect such a scene. He watched with widened eyes as He Jitian slowly dug out the tree and soon following that, the Xuyu tree fell. Lin Rufei felt his shoulder being gently pressed down by someone. He originally thought it was He Xieyi, but when he turned his head to look, he found out that it was Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu was standing behind him, looking weary. He hung his head and rested his chin on his shoulder.

“What’s wrong?” Lin Rufei asked.

“I’m a little tired.” Gu Xuandu said, “But it’s okay. If I lean on Xiao Jiu for a while……I’ll be fine.”

When Lin Rufei took in his appearance, he also felt some heartache, so he stood up straight and let Gu Xuandu’s chest pressed against his back.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: I’m a bit tired.

Lin Rufei: Eat six walnuts[3] …… to supplement the brain?

Gu Xuandu: Then it is better to replace the walnuts with Xiao Jiu, after all, Xiao Jiu[4] strengthens the yang[5].

Lin Rufei: …………..

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[1] Unable to solve a problem due to the inflexibility of one’s thinking; in this context it means that they shouldn’t sit and do nothing, like holding in their pee. And to find another solution (i.e. using the bathroom). 

[2] Just an onomatopoeia. 

[3] I think it’s an ad for a drink. Will not link any pictures though.  

[4] In case people forgot, Xiao Jiu can mean little leeks. 

[5] Uh, the translation here was “aphrodisiac,” but that didn’t really make sense in this context so I stuck with the direct translation which was strengthening the yang. 

Chapter 67: Contents of the Box

It was rare for Lin Rufei to feel that Gu Xuandu would reveal such a vulnerable look. Although he didn’t know what was going on, Lin Rufei chose to trust him unconditionally. He quietly stood in place and allowed Gu Xuandu to lean his body weight on his own body.

He Jitian’s action was very fast and efficient. Soon, he dug out most of the Xuyu tree’s roots. When the He family saw this, their heart ached, but still, no one dared to go forward to stop him. They could only watch as He Jitian dug out the Xuyu tree little by little. However, when the Xuyu tree was mostly dug out, the iron-gold walnuts on the tree suddenly turned into golden dots of star fire and they slowly fell off the tree. The crowd was shocked to see such a spectacle, but what surprised them the most had still yet to come. This spectacular scene of star fires looked like they had life. They gathered in one direction and finally landed next to a certain someone, who was present at the scene. That person was the noble guest……Lin Rufei, who arrived at the He family yesterday.

Lin Rufei was also stunned by this scene. More than a hundred iron-gold walnuts, all turned into star fires and fell onto his head and shoulders. Before he could react, it quickly merged into his body. He reached out to grab one and the star fire reverted to its walnut-like form in his hand. Lin Rufei looked at the walnut in his hand and his heart suddenly felt a trace of uneasiness. He raised his eyes to look, indeed, the He family members were all staring at him. However, these gazes carried amazement, doubts, and also a little bit of ill-intent.  

He Jitian, who was still holding the shovel, actually showed some surprise, however, he very quickly recovered his calmness. He continued to wield the shovel without regard for others and continued to dig up the soil. Soon, he dug out the Xuyu tree by its roots and the Xuyu tree, which was originally not considered big, fell to the ground with a thump. It was accompanied by low sobbing sounds coming from the He family crowd. Some of the He family’s youngsters watched as their family’s most precious treasure tree was dug up by the roots and they were unable to accept this fact for quite a while.

He Jitian naturally also heard, however, he remained unmoved. He continued to dig down harder and harder and the solid layer gradually lessened. A blood-red box was soon revealed at the bottom and when He Jitian finally saw this red box, he let out an obvious long sigh of relief. He dropped the shovel in his hand and carefully took the red box out.

“Father, what is this?” He Xieyi was still considered calm and was not surprised by the strangeness present. He opened his mouth to ask after seeing the red box being unveiled from the Earth.

After taking out the red box, he took out a handkerchief from his pocket and wiped the dirt off the box in great focus. Everyone thought his next move would be to open the red box, but who knew that he didn’t have any intention of opening it. Instead, he held it and walked towards Lin Rufei.

Currently, Lin Rufei was covered in star fire glow and at a glance, he looked like a glowing golden man. When he saw He Jitian’s action, he was slightly stunned and sputtered, “He family head?”

He Jitian smiled and said, “Lin gongzi, take it.”

Lin Rufei said, “But……”

“This is originally yours.” He Jitian said, “Although I don’t know who you are, according to the ancestral teachings, this should be yours.”

This was a very strange statement. Lin Rufei was clearly standing here, but He Jitian said he didn’t know who he was. Lin Rufei slightly hesitated, but He Jitian’s eyes were very resolute, as if he would not leave unless Lin Rufei took the box. Thus, in the end, Lin Rufei had to stretch out his hand and take the red box. The red box was extremely heavy in his hands and he didn’t know exactly what it contained. Lin Rufei whispered a “thank you” to He Jitian, but He Jitian waved his hand. He said that these were the rules of the ancestral teaching and it was what their family should do, so Lin Rufei did not need to thank him.

“It’s getting late, let’s all disperse.” After all this, He Jitian seemed to be a bit tired. He asked the He family to disperse and instructed He Xieyi to send Lin Rufei back to his room. 

Lin Rufei wanted to politely refuse, but He Xieyi reached out and wrapped his arms around his neck, smiling, “It’s already this time, so don’t be polite, Lin gongzi.” He lowered his voice, “You’ve seen the eyes of these people, it’s safer for me to send you.” The He family’s eyes revealed that they were itching to eat Lin Rufei alive, although they tried their best to suppress it because of He Jitian, it was already very obvious.

Lin Rufei also noticed this so he did not persist further.

He Xieyi sent Lin Rufei to the door and only after watching him enter the room did he turned to leave. After he left, he saw He Jitian standing not far away. He still had the shovel in his hand and was just watching from afar with an obscure expression.

“Father.” He Xieyi walked up to He Jitian and called out, “What exactly is Lin gongzi’s origin?”

He Jitian gave He Xieyi a deep look, “Do you know where the Heavenly Ruler ended up back then?”

“Didn’t the Heavenly Ruler step through the void and left?” He Xieyi frowned, “What does father mean by this?”

He Jitian shook his head: “This matter is extremely secretive, only a few people know about it. The ancestors of our He family were close friends of the Heavenly Ruler, so they know a little bit as well.”

He Xieyi stared with wide eyes. He felt that his father’s words had touched on some unspeakable truth.

“The Heavenly Ruler indeed stepped through the void.” He Jitian said, “Only he didn’t leave.”

“Then where is he now?!” He Xieyi asked excitedly.

“I don’t know.” He Jitian said, “This is the biggest secret in the world. Even the family head doesn’t know, he only knew that the Heavenly Ruler hasn’t left, but he doesn’t know exactly where he is.”

He Xieyi showed a look of confusion. 

“But the thing buried under the Xuyu tree should be related to the Heavenly Ruler.” He Jitian said.

“So this Lin gongzi, is also related to the Heavenly Ruler?” He Xieyi caught the hidden meaning in He Jitian’s words.

He Jitian nodded his head.

He Xieyi revealed a deep and thoughtful look.

When Lin Rufei entered the room, he put down the red box in his hand. Gu Xuandu sat down next to the red box and stretched out his fingers. He gently touched the red box for a moment and Lin Rufei asked, “Is it your stuff in the box?”

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Lin Rufei said, “Should I open it now?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Mnn.”

For some reason, Lin Rufei was inexplicably a little nervous. The red box was not locked and there was only a metal buckle. With a lift of the hand, it could easily be opened. But for some reason, Lin Rufei felt that what was inside the box was heavier than he had imagined. He pursed his lips slightly and revealed a tense look. However, he hesitated to start.

When Gu Xuandu saw this, he smiled. He gently embraced Lin Rufei from behind and held his hand, “Xiao Jiu, there is nothing to fear. I am here.” 

Gu Xuandu’s body heat transmitted to Lin Rufei’s body through his thin clothes. He calmed his mind and gave a hum in agreement. He didn’t seem to be as panicked as he was a while ago so he gingerly reached out his hand and lifted the clasp on the red box. The red box opened with a soft click and when Lin Rufei saw clearly what was inside, his whole body froze in place.

In the red box, there laid a broken skeleton. On the very top, there was a tragic white skull. The skull was scarred with many wounds and there was even a wound that ran through the entire top of the skull, almost as if it wanted to split the head in half. The other bones cushioned below the skull were also broken and he could not even find a completely intact bone. Lin Rufei stared at the skeleton fragments and his nose suddenly felt sour[1]. Tears fell down and he was a little confused. It took him a moment to realize that he was crying.

Gu Xuandu, who was behind him, raised his hand to wipe away his tears. His tone was a bit helpless: “What is Xiao Jiu crying about?”

Lin Rufei answered: “I……I don’t know……I just wanted to cry,” His heart was suffering an unbearable pain that even his words took on a choking taste, “It must’ve been very painful.”

“It really doesn’t hurt.” Gu Xuandu used his chin to rub against the top of Lin Rufei’s head. It was like he was trying to soothe Lin Rufei’s sad emotions, “Really, I’m not lying to you.”

Lin Rufei choked out, “Don’t say any more.”

Gu Xuandu wanted to say more, but Lin Rufei interrupted him roughly, “Don’t say any more! How can it not hurt?!” He pointed to the wound on the skeleton, “It’s already wounded like this, how can it not hurt?!”

Gu Xuandu simply kept quiet.

“What exactly happened to you and what does it have to do with me?” Lin Rufei asked, “Senior, when will you be willing to tell me?”

Gu Xuandu continued to remain silent.

Lin Rufei suddenly withdrew his strength. He covered his face and stopped talking altogether. He really couldn’t do anything about Gu Xuandu, who refused to cooperate. However, Gu Xuandu simply smiled. He turned his head and gently touched Lin Rufei’s ear with his lips and said in a warm voice, “Xiao Jiu’s helpless look is really nostalgic, ah.” 

After he finished speaking, he touched the bones in the red box with his fingertips. The bones that were touched by Gu Xuandu turned into a golden light that lingered around his whole body. He closed his eyes, exhaled a heavy breath and his expression seemed to be relieved.

Lin Rufei watched from the sidelines. Gu Xuandu’s red outfit became more vivid and he looked more spirited. It was like adding a few more brushstrokes to a faded painting.

After all this, Gu Xuandu yawned and asked Lin Rufei if he was sleepy.

Lin Rufei said, “No.”

Gu Xuandu asked, “Is Xiao Jiu angry with me?”

Lin Rufei’s face was cold and he didn’t say anything.

Gu Xuandu comforted, “Don’t be angry anymore.”

Lin Rufei said, “I said I’m not angry.”

Gu Xuandu, however, laughed and he began to laugh louder and louder. Lin Rufei frowned at him before he finally stopped, “No, no, no. Xiao Jiu is obviously angry, how can I laugh?” The laugh in his eyes still could not be concealed despite these words.

Lin Rufei had a sense of powerlessness, one that he could not do anything about the matter. This Gu Xuandu seemed to be good at talking, but in fact, he was also very stubborn to his bones. Usually, he would agree happily but in reality, he still did what he wanted. 

It was indeed getting a little late and Lin Rufei also felt tired. He did a simple wash-up and then headed off to bed. However, he tossed and turned around for quite a while and simply could not fall asleep. His mind was full of that skeletal appearance from inside that box. He knew that if he asked Gu Xuandu, Gu Xuandu would not tell him, so a thought came to his mind and he drifted off to sleep.

The next day, it was still a hot sunny day. Lin Rufei got up early and listlessly ate the breakfast brought by Fu Hua.

When Fu Hua saw that Lin Rufei was not in good spirits, she asked him if he was not feeling well.

Lin Rufei shook his head: “Maybe it’s too hot.”

Fu Hua replied, “The weather is indeed a bit hot. Should I ask the He family for some ice to make some mung bean soup for young master to drink?”

Lin Rufei said, “I don’t have much appetite.”

“You have to eat even if you don’t have an appetite.” Fu Hua was a bit anxious, “Young master is already in poor health, how can he not eat anything?”

Lin Rufei responded perfunctorily, and when Fu Hua saw this, she could only sigh in response.

After eating, Lin Rufei went to find He Jitian. On his entire way there, the He family member’s eyes all fell upon him. Most of these gazes were very complicated: there was some curiosity and some hostility, which was normal, and Lin Rufei also did not take it to heart. When Lin Rufei finally found He Jitian, he was still eating breakfast. The He family’s breakfast was quite unusual, it was a large bowl of braised noodles[2]. It looked very good, but the portion size was quite substantial. When He Jitian saw Lin Rufei coming, he greeted him warmly and told him to have a seat. Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment and said, “He family head, I have some things I want to talk to you about in private.”

“Oh, okay.” He Jitian waved his hand and the servants and family members beside him all left in an understanding manner.

Lin Rufei brought up, “The red box you left me last night, I wonder if the He family head knows whose stuff it was?

He Jitian said, “What’s wrong? There wasn’t anything bad in the box, right?” 

Lin Rufei shook his head.

“Oh.” He Jitian said, “Although it’s not written on the top of the ancestral teachings, I guess that the red box should be left by the Heavenly Ruler.”

“What? The Heavenly Ruler left it behind?” Lin Rufei wondered.

He Jitian replied, “It’s just my personal guess because the Xuyu tree was a gift from the Heavenly Ruler to the He family. Since that’s the case, then what’s buried under the Xuyu tree should also be from the Heavenly Ruler himself.” 

Lin Rufei frowned.

He Jitian asked, “What’s wrong?”

Lin Rufei suddenly remembered the countless statues of the Heavenly Ruler, dressed in red, within the country of Dajing. The thought did cross his mind at the time but it felt too ridiculous so he had left it behind. Who knew that when he arrived at the He family and encountered this situation, this thought came back to his mind again. Although it was a bit unbelievable, he always felt that this was the true answer.

“Nothing.” Lin Rufei finally answered hesitantly, “Does the family head know where exactly the Heavenly Ruler went back then?”

He Jitian shook his head and answered that he didn’t know.

Lin Rufei could only give up. The whereabouts of the Heavenly Ruler were indeed a mystery. The most common claim was that he had left the earthly world and ascended so He Jitian not knowing was normal. Lin Rufei remembered the broken skeleton and asked: “Has the Heavenly Ruler……ever been injured?”

“Injured? How could the Heavenly Ruler be injured?” When He Jitian heard Lin Rufei’s question, he laughed out loud, “The Heavenly Ruler already has a cultivation at the tenth level, no one in the world could beat him. He once entered Bu’e alone and beheaded the King of All Demons. Such a person, who in the world could hurt him?”

Indeed, He Jitian’s description was not exaggerated. The might of the Heavenly Ruler was heard all over the world and there were traces of him everywhere in the world. This was true of Dajing and also of the He family, and almost every top cultivator family would be inextricably linked to the Heavenly Ruler.

He Jitian’s words were indeed true, but if Lin Rufei’s guess was right, then why was the skeleton so broken? Lin Rufei was deep in thought.

Seeing that Lin Rufei hadn’t said anything back in response, He Jitian did not urge him and continued to eat his braised noodles happily. His appetite was very good and the way he ate the noodles inexplicably made people feel very appetized. Lin Rufei was watching from the side, but He Jitian was a little embarrassed from his gaze. He wiped off his mouth and asked: “Lin gongzi, do you want to have a bowl too?”

Lin Rufei replied, “No need, I’ve just eaten.”

“It’s okay. Just have a small bowl for a taste.” He Jitian said, “This is my wife’s cooking, it tastes very good.”

Lin Rufei hesitated, “Then……just a small bowl?”

He Jitian smiled and beckoned his wife over to give Lin Rufei a small bowl.

Thus, the two of them started to eat the noodles together.

He Jitian asked Lin Rufei why he suddenly brought up the Heavenly Ruler, what was in that box, and was it related to the Heavenly Ruler. Lin Rufei, however, answered all the questions vaguely, saying that he didn’t know if it was related, and asked He Jitian why he had remembered to give the box to him.

He Jitian said that it was an ancestral teaching. The ancestor of the He family said that if someone could induce the Xuyu tree to give birth to a hundred iron-gold walnuts, then he had to dig out the thing under the Xuyu tree and give it to that person. He just didn’t think that that person would be Lin Rufei.

In Lin Rufei’s heart, he also thought that the person may not be himself, and Gu Xuandu, who was invisible to everyone……. 

But the taste of these braised noodles was really good. The texture of the noodles was al dente and the soup base was rich. Compared to the noodles Lin Rufei had eaten before, it was very different. Lin Rufei, carried along the flow by He Jitian, also had a few more bites. Just as he was planning to learn more from He Jitian about some other things, a noisy noise came from outside the door.

He Jitian’s expression changed drastically. He was about to stand up and bail out with his bowl when the door was knocked open and someone, whom Lin Rufei had met yesterday, barged in. He grabbed He Jitian, who had wanted to run but didn’t, and panted out, “He family head, you’re finally willing to see me!!!” This was the same person who had wanted to see He Jitian yesterday but was stopped by the servant. He didn’t expect him to come again today and actually barge in.

He Jitian gave the servant an unkind look and the servant muttered nervously, “I……didn’t think he would dare to rush inside.”

“He family head, what do you mean by this?!” The man yelled angrily, “Do you not want to care about us anymore? That demon is still continuing to eat people!”

He Jitian said, “Who said I didn’t care anymore, didn’t I send people there? The injured disciples of the He family are still lying in bed, do you want me to take you to see them?”

The man continued, “They were injured because they are not good at learning the art. You can’t just leave us alone because of this, right?!!”

He Jitian said, “Can’t manage it, can’t manage it.” He waved his hand, “This demon is too powerful, who can beat it?” He was pretending to be afraid but anyone could hear the mockery in his tone.

The man’s face stiffened and he said hatefully, “He family head, you’re being unkind, that demon has eaten so many innocent passersby……”

“Innocent passersby?” He Jitian snorted, “I say, Daoist Priest Chen, other people don’t know, you think I still don’t know? It did eat people, but it did not eat a few innocent passersby.”

The visitor, who was called Daoist Priest Chen by He Jitian, looked slightly stiff.

“You deliberately put out the news, wasn’t it just to create panic?” He Jitian waved his hand in boredom, “Our He family is not yours to use as you wish. I did not see you these days because I wanted to give you some face, don’t be shameless.”

“You……you!!!” Daoist Priest Chen’s expression turned livid. It seemed that he didn’t expect He Jitian would suddenly tear his face[3].

“But if you want us to help you, it’s not impossible.” Just when Daoist Priest Chen thought that there was no more turnaround in this matter, He Jitian turned his words around again.

“What do you want?” Daoist Priest Chen asked.

“Don’t you know what I want?” He Jitian replied, “Naturally, it’s that thing that makes the demons refuse to leave.”

Daoist Priest Chen sputtered out, “I don’t know what you’re talking about……”

He Jitian waved his hand very ruthlessly, “Pu Tuan, send the guest away.”

The servant called Pu Tuan immediately rushed in. He rolled up his sleeves and was about to escort this Daoist Priest Chen out. Daoist Priest Chen was startled by Pu Tuan’s aura and hurriedly said, “Hey, hey, hey, family head, family head. Don’t be so hasty, we can still negotiate, ah!”

“There is nothing to negotiate, either hand over the stuff or leave immediately.” He Jitian said coldly.

“Hand……Handing it over is possible.” Daoist Priest Chen clenched his teeth, “Only, you have to promise to extinguish that thing.”

He Jitian answered, “That’s natural.”

Chen Daoist said, “Then I will bring the thing here this afternoon! You have to keep your word!”

He Jitian said, “Our He family have always kept our word.”

Daoist Priest Chen let out a “hmph,” turned around, and left. He Jitian stared at the Daoist Priest Chen’s wretched back as he disappeared before spitting viciously towards the ground: “What a sh*tty Daoist Priest. Is that thing something you can eat? Are you not afraid of shattering your teeth!?”

After saying that, he suddenly remembered that Lin Rufei was still next to him and his face quickly piled with a kind smile: ‘Nephew Lin was not frightened, right?’

“No, no.” Lin Rufei waved his hand, indicating that he was not that vulnerable, and asked what had happened.

“Sigh, it’s a long story.” He Jitian said, “It’s all because these stupid Daoist Priests were too greedy and caused trouble that they shouldn’t have.” He briefly described the situation and only then did Lin Rufei know exactly what had happened.

It turned out that a group of Daoist Priests had stolen a few things belonging to the demon from somewhere and pissed off the demons. The demon could not enter the Daoist temple where the Daoist Priests live, so they blocked off the road that they must take to go out. At first, Daoist Priest Chen came to the He family for help and the He family did not think much of anything. When they heard them say that the demon only had a cultivation at the third level, they casually sent a few disciples over. Who knew that the few disciples were actually seriously injured after returning, although it did not cost their lives, they still needed to recuperate for a long time. After this incident, He Jitian also noticed that there was something wrong with this matter and proceeded to do check it out, after careful investigation, he found that he was pitted by this group of bull-nosed[4] Daoist Priests. To put it bluntly, they took all the benefits but the He family had to clean up their mess.

Although He Jitian was a brutal person, he was not a brainless person. After inquiring around, he determined that the group of demons would only attack the Daoist Priests, so he simply hung them out to dry for a while and watched them worry anxiously. The Daoist Priests, in order to force the He family to take action as soon as possible, began to spread rumors of demon attacks on passersby, so that people who didn’t know of the situation, wouldn’t dare to take that road again.

In He Jitian’s eyes, he was not the least bit anxious. Anyway, their He family lived on Stone Edge Mountain, so who the f*ck cared about what they said under the mountain? They stood firm on their decision.  

After Lin Rufei listened, he also felt that this group of Daoist Priests were a little too much. But this group of demons was also very bold. This was the Yaoguang continent’s central region and there were countless powerful cultivators. Even if the He family didn’t take action, sooner or later, the situation would be cleaned up.

“But what exactly did the Daoist Priests take,” Lin Rufei asked curiously, “To be able to make this group of demons so crazy?”

“I don’t know, but it must be something good.” He Jitian responded, “If Lin gongzi has nothing to do, come and join in on the fun.”

Lin Rufei smiled and said yes. Growing this big, he had never seen a demon with his own eyes before. 

The group of Daoist Priests did not know how long they had been blocked, and indeed, they seemed to have become very anxious. As soon as the noon hour passed, they hurriedly rushed up from the bottom of the mountain, just in time to meet them at lunch. This He Jitian made an evil move. He did not greet them to eat and let them stand to the side to watch until the crowd was almost finished. Then, he called him in. Daoist Priest Chen was furious but did not dare to offend He Jitian. He could only grind his teeth and say: ‘Has the He family head eaten enough? Do you want to take two more bites?’ 

He Jitian patted his own head and said, ‘You are right, I really did not eat enough. I will go in right now to take two more bites.’ After saying that, he turned around and left. This made Daoist Priest Chen so angry that his eyes widened. 

Lin Rufei was watching the show from the side and felt that it was really funny. He Jitian’s bullying appearance was really too funny. But it was no wonder he didn’t want to give Daoist Priest Chen a good expression, those few seriously injured He family disciples were still lying in bed and could not get up. 

Although Daoist Priest Chen was angry and about to vomit blood, he had to get help no matter what. So once again, he stood under the hard sun for a while. Just when Lin Rufei thought he was about to faint, He Jitian called him in. He also seemingly kindly let the servant bring a bowl of mung bean soup and said it was for our Daoist Priest Chen to eliminate the heat. 

How could Daoist Priest Chen have the nerve to drink? He held his breath and fling the thing He Jitian asked for onto the table: “Take it! I hope you do what you said you would do and get rid of those things as soon as possible!”

He Jitian took what Daoist Priest Chen flung out. He opened the cloth bag and took a look and his expression suddenly changed drastically: “How did you get this stuff?!”

“I bought it.” Daoist Priest Chen answered, “Someone was selling it, so we bought it!”

“How can someone sell this?!” He Jitian’s expression was ugly, “Do you know what this is??”

Daoist Priest Chen said, “Isn’t it just a some demon’s egg? Has the He family head not even seen this before?”

“Yes, they are indeed demon’s eggs.” He Jitian gritted his teeth, “But do you know that this is a king-level egg?”

Daoist Priest Chen froze in place and didn’t even respond for a while, “A king-level egg? What do you mean?”

He Jitian laughed in anger, “Do you know about the Seventh King of Bu’e?”

Daoist Priest Chen nodded, “Yes, I do.”

Back then, after the King of All Demons was killed, the forces of the Bu’e Continent were divided, and after that, the Seventh King was formed.  

He Jitian said, “Hmph, the son of the Seventh King is in your hands!”

Daoist Priest Chen’s hand shook and his face was ashen: “He, He family head, don’t joke about such a stuff with me.” 

“Joke?” He Jitian said, “Do you think this joke is funny?”

Daoist Priest Chen cried in fear on the spot, “I, I also didn’t know, ah. Someone really sold it to me……”

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: If you hide anything from me again, I’ll break your bones!

Gu Xuandu: Guess how these bones in the box broke? 

Lin Rufei: ……………….

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] Describe sadness and grief. 

[2] Braised Noodles. 


[3] Have no consideration for someone’s feelings. 

[4] Daoist (facetious)(old). 

Chapter 68: The Ye Mo

There were actually people in this world who dare sell Bu’e Seventh King’s egg? This was a very strange thing to hear indeed.

But compared to the curious look on Lin Rufei’s face, this Daoist Priest Chen was really ashened after listening to He Jitian’s words. Two warring units, sweat hung all over his face and under He Jitian’s unkind gaze, he finally stammered the whole thing out.

It turned out that a few dozen days ago, a young man suddenly came to their Daoist temple and said that he wanted to sell them something. Daoist Priest Chen had not given the man any thought until the man laid out the thing he wanted to sell in front of them.

“He family head, as you know, demon eggs are a good product for cultivation and are always unavailable.” Daoist Priest Chen rubbed his hands. His tone was a bit embarrassed as he whispered, “Just from a glance, this demon looked like a good thing……I……So I bought it.”

“How much did you spend?” He Jitian asked.

Daoist Priest Chen smiled embarrassingly and held out three fingers.

He Jitian said, “Three hundred gold?”

“No……no……” Daoist Priest Chen whispered, “Three copper coins.”

He Jitian immediately rolled his eyes very nonchalantly and said, “You actually dare to buy it?” As Daoist Priest Chen said, these days, demon eggs were always rare things. Demons eggs with this kind of quality, not to mention three hundred gold, even doubling the price and they still might not be able to buy it. As for the price of three copper coins, it was clear that it was telling Daoist Priest Chen that this demon egg was a troublesome thing. Daoist Priest Chen actually had the courage to accept it, it really was like a man who was never content, like a snake trying to swallow an elephant. 

Daoist Priest Chen also knew he was in the wrong, so he laughed in vain. He simply thought that the person didn’t know the market price, furthermore, even if it was something troublesome, he thought that when the time came, he could just return it. He thought it was a pretty good idea, but when things really landed upon him, he couldn’t bear it. 

He Jitian sneered, “If so, why didn’t you tell me about it in the first place?”

Daoist Priest Chen mumbled about and did not speak for a long time.

Seeing this scene, He Jitian waved his hand at Daoist Priest Chen in boredom, “Leave the things, you go first.”

Daoist Priest Chen wanted to say something else but stopped himself.

“What else do you have to say?” He Jitian gave him a side glance and an impatient attitude.

“Just……” Daoist Priest Chen said, “He family head, if this is the demon king’s egg, isn’t it bad to return it just like this?”

He Jitian asked, “What do you mean?”

“Those demons are not good things.” Daoist Priest Chen waved his hand with a righteous look, “If we just return his egg, wouldn’t that just strengthen the demons?!”

He Jitian smiled, “What Daoist Priest Chen said is not unreasonable.” 

Just as Daoist Priest Chen was being happy, he heard He Jitian add, “In that case, how about I give Daoist Priest Chen this opportunity to do the right thing for Heaven?”

Daoist Priest Chen instantly shut up and said that he still had something to do so he would take his leave and that he would be troubling the He family head to take care of this matter. After saying that, he left in a hurry, as if he was afraid that He Jitian would catch him and hold him responsible.

He Jitian watched him close the door and leave. He then anrgily spat towards the ground and cursed in his dialect: “F*ck this son of a b*tch, bear than[1]……” After cursing, he realized that Lin Rufei was still there, and said with a smile: “My bad Lin gongzi, I am a rough person and just love to say a few foul words.”

Lin Rufei blinked: “What does ‘bear than’ mean?”

He Jitian did not expect Lin Rufei to ask this question and he froze. He remained like that for some time before he finally responded, “It’s……describing someone as very bearish?” To be honest, cursing at people for so many years, who actually cared about what certain swear words meant.

Lin Rufei revealed a thoughtful look. When Gu Xuandu, who was next to Lin Rufei, saw his family’s Xiao Jiu’s expression, he really wanted to reach out and plug Lin Rufei’s ears. He did not want these words to taint the ears of his family’s little gongzi. 

“So what does He family head intend to do now?” Lin Rufei once again ignored Gu Xuandu and continued to ask.

The He family head sighed and rubbed his head: “What else can I do? Stealing someone’s egg and was found out by them, naturally, I have to return it. Although he is a demon, if we really pissed him off and let him make a fuss here, I’m afraid the number of mortals implicated will be countless, ah.”

If a king-level demon went on a killing spree in human territory, the number of deaths and injuries would be in the tens of thousands, furthermore, in this case, they were the ones still in the wrong. Since the demon did not lose his mind and only blocked the way to and from the Daoist temple, in that case, there was still room for maneuvering.

As Lin Rufei pondered over these matters, his gaze fell back onto the ordinary-looking demon egg. This demon egg was snow-white in color and was shaped like a large chicken egg, to be honest, there was nothing special about it. This was Lin Rufei’s first time seeing a demon’s egg so he was a bit curious and asked He Jitian if he could touch it.

“Touch it, feel free to touch it.” He Jitian waved his hand indifferently, “The demon’s egg is hard, ordinary weapons can not even break its skin, let alone the demon king’s egg. This egg, even if it was that boy He Xieyi, I’m afraid it will take two or three sword slashes to break……”

When Lin Rufei heard these words, his composure relaxed. He stretched out his hand and gently rubbed the demon egg. The shell of the demon egg was not as smooth as it looked and it was actually quite a bit rough. After careful observation, he found that above the epidermis, was a layer of fine scales. From touch, the temperature was extremely low and even in this hot Summer day, it was still very cold.

Lin Rufei was touching the egg with great interest, but there was suddenly a crunching sound next to his ear. He initially thought he heard wrong until his finger touched a slit and his originally smiling face suddenly froze.

“He family head……” Lin Rufei called out softly.

The He family head sat across from Lin Rufei and did not see what was happening on his side. He was still shaking his huge fan and fanning himself, muttering that he would ask He Xieyi to bring the egg to the demon king later and resolve this matter earlier. Hearing Lin Rufei call out to him, he immediately raised his head with a smile, “Lin gongzi, what is it?”

Lin Rufei’s throat moved slightly and he said in a trembling voice: “This demon egg……is indestructible, right?”

The He family head was filled with bewilderment, “Yes.”

“Then what if.” Lin Rufei weighed his words and muttered out carefully, “What if it shatters on its own?”

The two of them stared at each other for a long time without sharing any words. He didn’t know how long time had passed, but the He family head obviously realized something from the dead silence. His eyes widened slightly and he showed a little bit of panic, “Lin, Lin gongzi, don’t joke about this.”

Lin Rufei forced out a laugh: “I……am not joking, ah.”

As soon as those words fell, the previous inaudible crunch suddenly became louder and it was accompanied by a very audible crisp click. The white demon egg in front of him cracked into two halves. The eggshell revealed a pair of blood-red eyes and a soft cry.

The He family head and Lin Rufei were both dumbfounded. They watched as the white demon egg cracked and a slimy little thing crawling out. That small thing’s form was like a newborn kitten, it was covered entirely in a coat of snow-white fur.

Seeing such a thing, He Jitian, who had been frozen in place, finally reacted. He shouted: “Lin gongzi! Don’t look at its eyes!!!” However, his words seemed to be a little too late, Lin Rufei’s eyes had already met with that thing.

The pair of red eyes, because they had just opened, still carried a hint of bewilderment. However, soon, this bewilderment turned into delight and eagerness and the little thing clumsily crawled out of its eggshell. It twisted and turned towards Lin Rufei as it opened its mouth and let out a slimy cry.

He Jitian let out a remorseful growl and spoke a series of expletives that Lin Rufei could not understand. He laughed miserably: “This damned Daoist Priest Chen. He actually dared to set me up here——damn it——”

Lin Rufei was baffled.

Seeing Lin Rufei still with a face of uncertainty, Gu Xuandu, who was on the side, smiled and said slowly: “Xiao Jiu has never seen a demon, right?”

Lin Rufei twisted his head to look at him.

“Powerful demons like these, they all have a characteristic.” Gu Xuandu continued in a warm voice, “That is, when it comes out of the egg, it will recognize the first person it meets its eyes with as its mother.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

Just as Gu Xuandu finished explaining, the little kitten wobbling on the table, bit the corner of Lin Rufei’s outerwear with its mouth and raised those big watery eyes.

“It’s over, it’s over——” He Jitian grabbed his hair and said, “It’s over!!!” When he saw Lin Rufei standing still, he hurriedly explained the demon’s habits to Lin Rufei again and Lin Rufei fell into a long silence.

When the little thing saw that Lin Rufei was ignoring him, its face fell, and it cried out desperately. It looked like a cat and its voice was even similar to a cat. Its groaning and screaming gradually softened most of his heart.

However, when He Jitian heard this sound, he was like a tiger whose tail had been stepped on. He almost jumped up from the ground and shouted, “Lin gongzi, Lin gongzi, quickly pick it up!”

Lin Rufei responded, “Huh?”

“You quickly tell it to stop crying!” He Jitian said, “It’s connected to the Great Demon’s bloodline, if it continues to scream, I’m afraid it will bring the Great Demon here!!!”

When Lin Rufei heard this, he had to stretch out his hand and picked up the kitten. Despite the egg looking very big, this little thing was only a small size and was extremely light in his hands. If not for the special red eyes, most likely people would really recognize it as an ordinary kitten. Because it was very small, Lin Rufei could not help but treat it as something fragile. He was very afraid of hurting it, but the little kitten was very natural. It quickly found a comfortable position on Lin Rufei’s hand and soon fell asleep while sticking to him. Before going to sleep, it also didn’t forget to smack his lips, humming twice in satisfaction.

This scene originally should have made people soft-hearted, but He Jitian acted like he had seen a monster. He was so scared out of his mind that his whole head was covered in sweat. Even a strong wipe could not wipe that sweat clean. When he saw that the little kitten fell asleep, he finally breathed out a sigh of relief. He gritted his teeth and started cursing at the Daoist Priest Chen once again. 

“So what now?” Lin Rufei stared at the little thing in his hand.

“Now?” He Jitian looked at the kitten in Lin Rufei’s hand with a frown. It was like he was looking at a hot potato, “……I……may have to trouble Lin gongzi. Tomorrow, please take a trip together with Xieyi. Hopefully, the Great Demon is reasonable and not too angry.” Although that was what he had said, there was obviously no confidence in his heart. After thinking about it, he added, “If it is angry then we don’t have a choice. We can only let Xieyi beat him back.”  

Lin Rufei was crying and laughing, he thought in his heart: how did they suddenly go back to the first method?  

He Jitian then advised Lin Rufei with a few more words, mostly about how he should be careful with this little thing: one was not to hurt it and the other was not to be hurt by it. Lin Rufei listened carefully to He Jitian’s words but the little thing in his hand became impatient. It grunted a few times and showed his bottom towards He Jitian, as if it was disgusted by the noise. When He Jitian noticed this scene, he also did not dare to say anything more. He frowned and called someone to send Lin Rufei back and said that he and He Xieyi should discuss about tomorrow’s matter.

Lin Rufei could only carry the little demon back to his room.

Just as he sat down after entering the room, the little demon began to whimper. Lin Rufei was a bit at a loss for words but Gu Xuandu, who was beside him, said with interest: “It’s hungry.”

Lin Rufei asked: “Senior knows a lot about demons?”

“I’ve been to Bu’e before.” Gu Xuandu replied, “So I know a few things about it.”

Lin Rufei continued, “Then it is so small, what can it eat? Should I ask Fu Hua to find some goat’s milk?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “No, demons are not that delicate. Just ask your maid to bring half a fan[2] of beef.”

Lin Rufei wondered, “Half a fan, so much? Can it finish eating?”

Gu Xuandu laughed and said, “There is only not enough to eat and no such thing as too much food.”

Since Gu Xuandu was so sure, Lin Rufei called Fu Hua and asked her to bring half a fan of beef, with special instructions to bring fresh ones. Although Fu Hua did not know what Lin Rufei wanted beef for, she still obediently went out, and in a short while, she came back with half a fan of beef ribs.

He didn’t know if it was because it smelled the blood from the ribs, but the little kitten grunted even more. Lin Rufei originally wanted to cut the meat and feed it to the kitten, but Gu Xuandu told him to just put the kitten directly on top of the beef. Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment but did as Gu Xuandu said. However, looking at the little thing’s teeth, he didn’t know how it would eat. 

As Lin Rufei was thinking so, he then saw the little thing open its mouth contentedly and began to lick at the beef hard. Its pink tongue was covered with a layer of fine small spines and this layer of small spines shaved the beef directly from the bones, gliding it down its mouth contentedly. Lin Rufei stared and said, “If it decided to lick someone…..”  

Gu Xuandu laughed: “The strong are always respected on the Bu’e Continent. Even such a toddler will die quickly if it doesn’t have a strong survival ability.”

However, in a blink of an eye, the kitten had actually finished half a fan of beef. After showing a look of insatiable satisfaction on his face, he began to grunt at Lin Rufei again, wanting to come to Lin Rufei’s side.

Lin Rufei used water to simply clean up the bloodstains on its body. He felt that the little kitten’s fur was indeed not the same as ordinary animals. It seemed soft, but in fact, it carried a toughness. It was very smooth and soft and when the blood stained its coat, just a single wipe would get rid of it. Lin Rufei didn’t know if it was just his imagination, but he always felt that after the kitten had eaten its filled, it seemed to have gotten a little bigger and his appearance was clearer.

Lin Rufei listened to its humming sound and took it into his arms. Then, he asked Gu Xuandu what kind of demon’s cub this was.

Gu Xuandu propped up his chin and rubbed his finger on the kitten cub’s head, “Looking at its appearance, it should be the cub of a Ye Mo.” The little kitten cub that was rubbed on the head by Gu Xuandu was very unhappy and it let out two cries. It suddenly raised its head and bit Gu Xuandu’s finger. Lin Rufei was shocked at this, but he noticed Gu Xuandu simply pulling his finger out without a care and flicking the kitten on its head, eliciting two aggrieved little grunts: “But this kind of demon is most protective of its cubs and will definitely be unhappy to know that its son has recognized someone else as its parent.”

Lin Rufei replied awkwardly, “If I had known, I would not have gone to join in on the fun.”

Gu Xuandu laughed: “Even if you weren’t there, there would still be someone else. If this little thing decides to recognize He Jitian as its father……”

Lin Rufei remembered the rough appearance of He Jitian and then looked at the small thing less than the size of a palm, he sighed: “But this is too much of a coincidence.”

Gu Xuandu pondered, “It is very coincidental.”

After eating and drinking, the kitten opened its mouth and yawned. Soon, it fell back asleep. Lin Rufei wanted to put it on the bed, but who knew that it would keep crying as long as it was far away from him. Because of He Jitian’s instructions to Lin Rufei, he had to sit by the bed and accompany the little kitten. 

Gu Xuandu was so disgusted with the kitten. Despite Lin Rufei’s obstruction, he reached out and picked up the kitten by the scruff of its neck and threw it to the corner of the bed.

When Lin Rufei saw his actions, he hurriedly told Gu Xuandu to not bully the child. Gu Xuandu tsked and said: “Child? This demon egg may be older than you.” He also said that demons like the Ye Mos always dawdle very much and it took more than a hundred years to conceive a child. When it gave birth, even though it was still an egg, it would still take at least twenty years to hatch.

Lin Rufei mumbled, “No wonder the number of demons is so scarce.”

“Heaven has its own rules. Although the demon race is brutal in strength, in reality, it was very difficult to reproduce. The Ye Mo could become the Seventh King of Bu’e naturally because it has its unique features.” Gu Xuandu carelessly chattered about the behind-the-scenes of another continent, “Only the higher level demons have difficulty conceiving and raising children. Look, like this little guy, it won’t come out if it doesn’t have five or six hundred years of effort.” 

The little one, who was just thrown towards the bedside by Gu Xuandu, was now trying to wail at Gu Xuandu. But unfortunately, its voice was very childish and sounded non-threatening. Most likely it noticed the futility of its own efforts and the little one looked at Lin Rufei with tears in his eyes, as if it was asking him for help. 

Lin Rufei’s heart was a little soft from its gaze so he picked up the little guy and scratched its chin, stopping it from crying. With a headache, he stated: “Such a precious little thing, if its parents saw that it recognized me……..wouldn’t it be a troublesome problem?” 

Gu Xuandu replied: “It’s more than troublesome. Although the Ye Mo’s nature in the demon world is quite mild, if it encounters this kind of thing, I’m afraid it also would not be able to calm down.”

Lin Rufei was distressed: “Then what should we do?”

Gu Xuandu laughed: “But with that He Xieyi, you don’t have to worry about being swallowed in one bite. When the time comes, stand a little farther away. If you don’t join in on the fun, then you should be fine.” 

Only then was Lin Rufei relieved.

The little one was nestled contently in Lin Rufei’s arms and it was sucking on Lin Rufei’s thumb with great relish. Originally Lin Rufei was worried that its tongue was too sharp and would cut him, but the little one, although only a few hours old, was already able to control its body perfectly and could easily retract the spikes on its tongue when licking Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei scratched its head and felt that it was more and more like a cute little cat.

That night, Lin Rufei had slept well and the next day, He Xieyi came early with a frowning face that was similar to that of yesterday’s He Jitian. Lin Rufei had just gotten up and didn’t even have the chance to change his clothes yet. He was currently drinking the rice porridge brought by Fu Hua and when he noticed this look on his face, he could not help but be happy: “Why this look?”

He Xieyi let out a sigh and said, ‘I didn’t expect to involve Lin gongzi in this matter, so I will have to trouble Lin gongzi to accompany me on this trip.’

Lin Rufei responded, “It’s not a problem, but I’m afraid this Ye Mo will be angry when he sees that his child has recognized me……”

“If its angry then its angry, what else can we do?” He Xieyi had a headache from this entire situation, “In any case, we have to return the pup. Otherwise, is it expected for us to raise it for him?”

This was also true, Lin Rufei nodded, “Then I will go with you after I change my clothes.”

“I’ll be troubling, Lin gongzi.” He Xieyi sighed once again.

The weather was equally hot today so Lin Rufei changed into a thin outfit and followed He Xieyi out. The little kitten was tucked into his arms and seemed to be hungry again as it began to grunt incessantly. Because it was morning, Lin Rufei had only fed it some meat. However, since he thought that he would be sent back later anyways, he had decided not to feed it too much, so at this time it was picking at Lin Rufei’s fingers and sucking unsatisfactorily. At first glance, it looked very cute—if they didn’t know what its parents looked like.

The weather was really too hot. He Xieyi was afraid that Lin Rufei would get a heatstroke so he went to ask for a carriage. Then, he wore a hat himself and sat outside to drive the carriage.

On the way, he and Lin Rufei chatted about what happened afterward. He said later that Lin Rufei would not need to go over and should just wait in the carriage on the side. He was afraid that when the time came, he and the Great Demon would have a fight. Originally, he wanted to say that it would be bad if he injured Lin Rufei, but when the words came to his mouth, he remembered that he seemed to be neck-and-neck when fighting with Lin Rufei, so he rigidly changed his words: “It would be bad to implicate Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei was happy to hear that.

The carriage went down the mountain and went straight to the mountain road where the Great Demon was located. At the entrance of the mountain road, He Xieyi took the kitten from Lin Rufei’s grasps and just as he was about to leave, the kitten let out a mournful cry. It was wailing without a stop as tears flowed continuously down its eyes. It really did look pitiful.

Lin Rufei’s heart was softened by its crying. Originally, he wanted to ask whether he should accompany He Xieyi, but Gu Xuandu pressed his hand and shook his head, “Don’t go, if the Great Demon sees its young son so close to you, it will certainly be unhappy.”

Lin Rufei pondered over those words carefully and realized he had to give up.

The little kitten, that was wrapped in He Xieyi’s hand, was struggling desperately but could not break free no matter what. Lin Rufei looked at He Xieyi’s back and for no reason, a feeling of melancholy bloomed in his heart. He propped up his chin and said, “I found out that I quite like children.”

Gu Xuandu repeated, “Like children?”

Lin Rufei nodded, “Yes.”

Gu Xuandu looked Lin Rufei up and down and then fell into silence.

Lin Rufei noticed that after a while Gu Xuandu had not answered him again so he asked, “What are you thinking about?”

Gu Xuandu gave him a serious look: “Nothing.”

Lin Rufei: “……Really nothing?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Well, Xiao Jiu’s body is still too weak.”

Lin Rufei: “?”

Gu Xuandu muttered: “Another tonic should be almost enough.”

Lin Rufei was confused, he didn’t understand what Gu Xuandu was talking about. What did he need a tonic for? What’s wrong with him that he needed to make up for it?

─────────────────────────────────────────────────

[1] This is probably part of a curse word that means “motherf*cker” but because HJT never finished the phrase, it was cut off. And the cut off part means “Bear than.” Apparently describing someone as “bear” is quite derogatory so it is used in curse words. 

[2] According to Google, this is about ~85 kg (~190 lbs) 

Chapter 69: The Ye Mo’s Son

He Xieyi took the screaming kitten cub over there and after entering the mountain road with a heavy face, no more sound could be heard. Lin Rufei waited in the carriage at first, but then he got a little impatient. In the end, he decided to get out of the carriage and wait under the shade of a tree by the roadside.

The weather was hot and his ear was full of noisy cicadas. A layer of fine sweat surface on Lin Rufei’s skin and his hands could not stop fanning the wind. In his heart, just as he was thinking about how there was no movement on He Xieyi’s side, he heard a deafening angry roar not far away from here—this roar obviously did not belong to humans and it was more like the sound made by some large beast.

As soon as Lin Rufei heard this sound, he knew something bad had happened. As expected, in the next moment, he saw a black and a white sword light rising up to the sky. The white one should belong to He Xieyi[1] and as for the black one……Lin Rufei was currently concentrating on looking up, but suddenly, beside him, a familiar grumble resounded. He was slightly stunned, looked down, and froze in place. The demon cub, that was supposed to be with He Xieyi, was now happily squatting at his feet, and its body, which was only the size of a hand, was now a circle bigger, almost reaching Lin Rufei’s knees. When it saw Lin Rufei looking over, it was very excited and headed over. The blood-red eyes were full of a desire that couldn’t be denied and just from looking at it, it could be determined that it was excitedly saying: ‘Touch me, touch me, touch me, touch me!’

Lin Rufei: “……” He wanted to touch it, but its parent was fighting just over there so it was probably not a good idea to do so. 

In the end, Lin Rufei looked over at the two fervent fighters and then looked at the still eager little kitten. Secretly, he proceeded to reach out and touched its head, then scratched its chin. When he noticed its eyes squinting happily, he showed a smile: “Good boy.” 

The little kitten hummed comfortably and almost rolled around on the ground.

As Lin Rufei was stroking the little one, there was suddenly a gust of wind overhead. He reacted quickly and took out the wooden shield from his ring to block it in front of himself, “Woosh!” A sharp sound and Lin Rufei’s arm felt a huge force. It was accompanied by a man’s angry roar—”You’re treating my son like a cat!!”

Lin Rufei smiled sheepishly: “Misunderstanding, it’s all a misunderstanding.”

When Gu Xuandu saw this scene from the side, he couldn’t help but laugh.

“Stop it now! Don’t hurt the innocent!” He Xieyi also rushed over and his head was covered in sweat.

“Hurt the innocent?” Although the man had withdrawn his sword, his eyes were sharper than the sword. Once it was locked on Lin Rufei, it did not dare move away. His hand reached out and pointed the sword blade at Lin Rufei, “Is he the father my son recognized?”

He Xieyi smiled bitterly, “This……is indeed a misunderstanding. It’s just that Lin gongzi coincidentally happened to be present at that time.”

The man sneered: “There is no such thing as a coincidence in this world.”

He Xieyi was speechless.

This man wore black clothes and had black hair. At first glance, he was no different from an ordinary human. Only because of his blood-red eyes, would others be able to tell of his unusual identity. He looked at Lin Rufei and growled coldly: “You human stole my son, and caused my son to identify the wrong father. I didn’t go on a killing spree is already giving your He family face.” As he said this, his tone grew heavier, “He! He must die!” And as soon as his words fell, the aura on his body soared. The anger surrounding his body almost turned into a substantial flame, burning everything up in its path.

He Xieyi looked as if he had a headache. Just as he was about to persuade the other, the adult Ye Mo had once again raised the black longsword in his hand. Lin Rufei was about to meet him with a wooden shield, but Gu Xuandu pressed his hand and said, “Use your sword.”

Lin Rufei froze for a moment but listened to Gu Xuandu’s advice anyway. He placed down the wooden shield and pulled out the long-unseen Gu Yu, that had been hanging at his waist. 

Gu Yu had never seen blood ever since it had started following Lin Rufei. Now that it finally had the opportunity to show itself, it was naturally extremely excited. Just as the sword was unsheathed, it emitted a buzzing sound. Lin Rufei was about to raise his sword to meet him, but the Ye Mo, who was about to slash down, suddenly stopped moving in mid-air and looked at him with a doubtful look.

“Where did you get this sword?!” Ye Mo asked.

Lin Rufei responded, “A gift from a friend.”

“A gift?” Ye Mo said, “What friend? When did you receive it? What is your name?” He asked one question after another and his tone sounded very impatient.

Lin Rufei was stunned but introduced himself anyway. He said that he was the fourth son of the Lin family on the Kunlun Mountains, Lin Rufei. And as for the friend, he only had a one-sided encounter with him on the Xiliang Mountains……

“A one-sided encounter, what does he look like? What kind of clothes was he wearing?!” Ye Mo asked again.

Lin Rufei glanced at Gu Xuandu out of the corner of his eye and answered, “He was born with a very good-looking face and wears a red outfit.” He then paused and was somewhat puzzled, “Why are you asking this?”

The Ye Mo was silent for a moment. He looked at the sword in Lin Rufei’s hand and said, “Forget it.” With that, he picked up the curious little kitten next to him and turned to leave.

Lin Rufei sensed something and shouted after him, “Wait!”

Ye Mo turned back.

“Do you know the owner of this sword?!” Lin Rufei felt something unusual from the Ye Mo’s words.

Ye Mo said, “You don’t?”

Lin Rufei shook his head.

“That’s strange.” Ye Mo responded coldly, “Using the Heavenly Ruler’s sword, yet you don’t know the Heavenly Ruler?”

“What?!”

“What!”

He Xieyi and Lin Rufei both uttered in surprise almost at the same time. Both of them had astonishment written on their faces as they uttered the same words, “This is the Heavenly Ruler’s sword?!”

The Ye Mo narrowed his eyes. His gaze was particularly sizing up Lin Rufei and He Xieyi, “So you don’t even know whose sword you’re using?”

“How could this be the Heavenly Ruler’s sword?!” He Xieyi said, “The Heavenly Ruler has been missing for a hundred years……”

“This is the Heavenly Ruler’s sword.” Ye Mo said, “I had seen him once a few hundred years ago.” At that time, he was still an immature young demon. He had witnessed the man’s poise as he raided the King’s city in red and beheaded The King of All Demons. And the huge sword case on his back was also deeply engraved into his mind. He could never forget it.

The Heavenly Ruler was a low-key and mysterious person. In Jianghu, the rumors about him were innumerable. The Ye Mo did not believe in those rumors and only believed in his own eyes. He saw with his own eyes that the Heavenly Ruler was carrying a huge sword case with at least twenty-four swords in it. And this one, in Lin Rufei’s hand, was one of them.

“Could it be that the person you saw, Lin gongzi, was the Heavenly Ruler?!” He Xieyi was incomparably excited.

Lin Rufei glanced at Gu Xuandu, who was standing next to him in silence, out of the corner of his eyes, and muttered, “This……I don’t know……”

Ye Mo said, “Since you are a friend of the Heavenly Ruler, I will give you some face.” He raised his chin and proudly and indifferently announced, “But if there is a second time, I will ensure that there is no one alive in the city behind you.”

Unfortunately, the little kitten in his arms really didn’t give its father any face. It cried incessantly and reached out its paws towards Lin Rufei, trying to break free from the Ye Mo’s arms. The Ye Mo was annoyed by the crying so he raised his hand and grabbed the kitten by its scruff. The kitten’s eyes widened as it froze in place. 

Ye Mo impatiently bit the kitten’s ear: “Stupid kid, stop it.”

The little kitten cub that was bitten by its own father grunted twice. In the end, it was still giving Lin Rufei a reluctant look. It seemed that the Ye Mo did not realize that he was still in human form, and reflexively tried to take the kitten cub with his mouth. Only when he put it to his lips did he realize that his appearance at this time was not suitable for such a thing, so he gave an unhappy “hmph” and simply transformed into his original form.

The adult Ye Mo also had snow-white fur and from its appearance, it was somewhat like a huge leopard. However, the fur was long so its description was also more delicate. Its body was very large, much taller than He Xieyi. Opening its mouth, it picked up the still struggling kitten and then a layer of black clouds rose from beneath its feet and its form gradually dissipated. 

Lin Rufei and He Xeiyi were still standing in the same place. Both of them were shocked by the news that the Ye Mo had just revealed and it took them a while to get over it.

“Let’s go back?” Lin Rufei suggested.

“Mnn, let’s go.” He Xieyi nodded his head in agreement.

On the way back, the carriage had been very quiet and due to the presence of He Xieyi, Lin Rufei could not say anything to Gu Xuandu. After reaching the room with great difficulty, Lin Rufei hurriedly closed the window and door. He then sat in front of Gu Xuandu with a serious expression.

“Senior.” This “senior” sounded extra heavy, but it made Gu Xuandu laugh. He propped his chin and inclined his head to look at Lin Rufei, “What’s wrong?”

“Are you the Heavenly Ruler?” Although the thought had crossed his mind before, Lin Rufei still felt that it was too ridiculous. How could the Heavenly Ruler, a character that only existed in the history books, follow him around, teach him sword-play, and even give him his sword?

Gu Xuandu responded, “Yes……and no.”

Lin Rufei frowned: “What do you mean?”

Gu Xuandu said, “The literal meaning.” His attitude looked indifferent and his calm appearance formed a stark contrast with the torn Lin Rufei, “Is it that important whether I am or not?”

Lin Rufei answered, “Naturally it’s important.”

Gu Xuandu asked, “Why is it so important?”

Lin Rufei opened his mouth to answer, but when the words came to his lips, he froze because he realized that he really couldn’t answer the question. To him, the Heavenly Ruler was just an unattainable legend, and whether the legend was true or not, it actually had no effect on him.

“You see, you can’t answer it, right?” Gu Xuandu cut in, “So what if I’m the Heavenly Ruler? There is nothing that will change because of that.”

Lin Rufei frowned, “No……it’s not like that.”

“It is like this.” Gu Xuandu said, “The name ‘Heavenly Ruler’ was taken for the people of the world. But the world is vast, is there still a person who remembers the original name of the Heavenly Ruler? Does Xiao Jiu know what the Heavenly Ruler’s name is?”

Lin Rufei was silent. He indeed did not know, in fact, everyone had simply called him the Heavenly Ruler, but as for the name of the Heavenly Ruler before, no one actually knew.

Lin Rufei muttered, “I’m sorry.”

Gu Xuandu waved his hand and laughed again.

“Senior……how did you become like this?” Lin Rufei hesitantly asked, “Were you injured by someone?”

“No.” Gu Xuandu responded, “Bad luck. When stepping through the void, I did not withstand the thunder tribulation. So the thunder tribulation scattered my souls.” 

The words were said lightly but Lin Rufei frowned as he listened. 

Lin Rufei questioned, “Only because of the thunder tribulation?”

“Mnn.” Gu Xuandu replied.

Lin Rufei didn’t believe it at all. He clearly remembered the box buried in the roots when the He family’s Xuyu tree fell down a few days ago. That box did not contain ordinary objects but a pile of white bones. If Gu Xuandu died because of the thunder tribulation, not to mention his soul, just the flesh alone could not be preserved. So how would he be able to leave so many scarred bones? But now it seemed that Gu Xuandu simply didn’t want to dwell on this matter, so he casually found an excuse just to skimp through it. Lin Rufei slightly pursed his lips and no longer spoke.

Gu Xuandu also did not expect that the Ye Mo would recognize Gu Yu. If he had known, he would have let his Xiao Jiu continue using that wooden shield. That year, the Heavenly Ruler’s sword case had twenty-four swords, from Li Chun[2] to Da Han.

(t/n: I am assuming that the last sentence was referring to the name of the swords because “Da Han” was mentioned….however, if it isn’t then the sentence simply translated to “From the beginning of spring to the end of winter”)

And that small sword case contained a Chun Qiu.

(t/n: again, assuming it’s referring to the sword name, otherwise it translates to “took from Spring until Autumn to fill up.”)

Gu Xuandu fell into a long memory train. He remembered a lot of things and a lot of people. He didn’t know if it was the aftermath of the dry bones, but the many people and things that he had forgotten, all came back to his mind.

The atmosphere in the room was extraordinarily silent. Lin Rufei sipped his cold tea and fondled the hilt of Gu Yu in his hand. Beside him, Gu Xuandu sat sideways with a silent and cold look, just like the Buddha statue seen in Dajing’s shrine.

He didn’t know how long they had sat in the room, but there was suddenly a knock on the door from outside. When Lin Rufei said come in, he saw He Wanxiang enter.

He Wanxiang smiled, “What are you doing, Lin gongzi?”

Lin Rufei replied, “Nothing, I have nothing to do so I am just sitting and staring.”

He Wanxiang said, “Then why don’t you come with me for a walk? My brother said that there is something he wants to show to Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei asked, “What is it?”

He Wanxiang responded, “Lin gongzi will know when you get there.”

Lin Rufei then got up and followed out after He Wanxiang. The two of them walked all the way towards the ancestral hall.

When he went in, Lin Rufei saw that He Jitian and He Xieyi were also there. The two of them were standing by the desk and discussing something around it. When they saw Lin Rufei coming, they waved at him happily, indicating to him to hurry over.

“What is this?” Lin Rufei walked behind the two men and saw a thick book with a few pages already turned in front of them.

“This is the family tree of our He family.” He Jitian said, “Lin gongzi, I’ve already listened to Xieyi talk about what happened today.” He had to say, being stared at by a tall and imposing strong man with eager and pitiful eyes was definitely not a pleasant thing. Lin Rufei secretly touched the goosebumps on his arm and calmly stated, “He family head, if you have something to say, just say it.”

He family head said: “It’s like this. Didn’t that Ye Mo say that Lin gongzi had met the Heavenly Ruler before?”

Lin Rufei said, “I don’t know if that was the Heavenly Ruler.”

He family head rubbed his hands and said, “Isn’t this why we……called Lin gongzi over to confirm.”

Lin Rufei raised his eyebrows, “How are we going to confirm?”

He family head smiled: “Lin gongzi might not know, but the He family owes a great favor towards the Heavenly Ruler, so back then the He family head specially used a spell to save the Heavenly Ruler’s appearance.”

Lin Rufei’s eyes lit up: “Really?”

He family head replied, “Naturally. However, this spell, using it once means we lose another opportunity to use it, so it is rarely used on a regular basis.” As he said this, he turned the family tree over a few pages to reveal a circular formation. Then he took out a top-quality spirit stone from his pocket and carefully placed it in the center of the formation.

After the formation was lit up by the spiritual power coming from the stone, a lifelike picture scroll was displayed in front of the three people’s eyes. The man in the scroll was dressed in red with a long and two short swords at his waist and was smiling with his head turned. The man was extremely beautiful, with long, narrow eyes. He had sharp eyebrows slanting on his temples and his thin lips were slightly pursed, the colors were like the Spring flowers. He pulled on the reins and the horse underneath stopped galloping. He seemed to have seen something and with a smile on his face, he raised his hand and pulled out the sword at his waist. He placed a gentle kiss on it and said in a warm voice: “Long time no see.”

Lin Rufei’s body and mind were shaken.

That man’s face he had seen countless times. It was the senior, who had followed him for quite a long time, Gu Xuandu. Gu Xuandu was indeed the Heavenly Ruler.

“Wait, wait, didn’t that demon say that the Heavenly Ruler was carrying a sword case?” He Xieyi remembered a detail, “Why did he only have three swords in the scroll?”

He Jitian shook his head, “I don’t know about that.” He was also a little puzzled, “But I remember that in some history books, it also wrote that the Heavenly Ruler had a sword case, and in the sword case there were twenty-four solar terms[3].”

He Xieyi was a little confused: “I heard that the Heavenly Ruler loved his sword blades the most. In this world, is it possible that there is still someone who can hurt his swords?”

He Jitian shook his head, indicating that he didn’t know either.

They were simply talking when the two then dropped their eyes onto Gu Yu that was hanging on the side of Lin Rufei’s waist. Lin Rufei understood tacitly. He took out Gu Yu and said, “When senior gave me this sword, he told me that the blade was named Gu Yu.”

“Good sword, good sword!” Before even touching the sword, He Jitian already began to praise loudly and he stared at the sword in Lin Rufei’s hand full of envy, “It seems that Lin gongzi is indeed destined to be with the Heavenly Ruler!” No wonder that tree full of iron-gold walnuts all fell because of Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei said, “He family head, since there is a portrait of the Heavenly Ruler in the family tree, is there anything about the Heavenly Ruler recorded in it?”

He Jitian said, “There is indeed a record, but not much.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Can you tell me about it?”

He Jitian replied, “Of course you can.” He obviously already knew the family tree by heart, and after flipping through a few pages, he flipped to the place Lin Rufei had wanted to read and said, “Lin gongzi can read it for himself” 

Lin Rufei nodded.

The family tree seemed to be a bit old, but it was very well preserved. However, He Jitian was right. The records that the He family had about the Heavenly Ruler were not too many. Most of them were some minor trivialities. Lin Rufei looked through it roughly but felt that the Heavenly Ruler in the family tree was very different from Gu Xuandu. In the He family records, the Heavenly Ruler was a great swordsman, but actually had a mild temperament and rarely got angry. And then looking at the temperamental Gu Xuandu, no matter how he looked, it all felt a bit incongruous.

Lin Rufei looked at it several times before closing the family tree. Then, he turned his head to look at Gu Xuandu but found that he was also looking in silence at the lifelike painting floating above his head. The look was full of nostalgia and Lin Rufei didn’t know if he was mistaken, but he always felt that he could see traces of wet water in Gu Xuandu’s eyes.   

Lin Rufei turned his head back and thanked He Jitian.

“So Lin gongzi, was the person you saw the Heavenly Ruler?” He Jitian asked, blinking eyes in excitement.

 Lin Rufei smiled and shook his head.

He Jitian asked, “No?”

Lin Rufei replied, “Mnn, no.” From Gu Xuandu’s attitude, he felt that Gu Xuandu did not want others to know about his existence, so in that case, he would do as he wished.

When He Jitian heard this, he let out a long sigh of regret. He said it was a pity that the Heavenly Ruler suddenly disappeared that day. Everyone thought he had broken the void and ascended to immortality, but there were rumors that the Heavenly Ruler had actually failed to ascend to immortality and his Daoist heart was broken. All sorts of talk were rampant and it was difficult to distinguish between truth and falsehood. It would be best if they could find out the truth about that year.

Lin Rufei said, “The Heavenly Ruler probably has his own reasons if he doesn’t want to appear.”

“Maybe so.” He Jitian muttered, “No matter, no matter. It’s better not to force.”

Having said all that, He Xieyi still shyly approached Lin Rufei and begged him to have a match with him, saying that he wanted to see the style and beauty of the Heavenly Ruler’s sword, Gu Yu. In the end, Lin Rufei could only agree. However, he said that he could not control Gu Yu too well at the moment, so for the competition, they had to find a deserted place otherwise, he feared that he would hurt others.

He Xieyi hurriedly said yes.

After reading the family tree, Lin Rufei found an unoccupied place, grabbed Gu Xuandu, and called out another “senior.” Only this time the words, “Heavenly Ruler” was added after the word “senior.” Gu Xuandu looked at Lin Rufei with a frown and said, “Xiao Jiu, I’ll be happy if you call me senior, but you mustn’t ever call me Heavenly Ruler.”

Lin Rufei inexplicably asked, “W……why?”

Gu Xuandu reached out and wrapped his arms around Lin Rufei’s neck, “Because……I want you to?”

Lin Rufei: “……”

Gu Xuandu said, “Xiao Jiu be good, listen to senior’s words, ah.”

Lin Rufei had nothing to say.

But although Gu Xuandu’s words sounded like a joke, in fact, his tone was very insistent and Lin Rufei had no choice but to give up.

“If all those things that senior lost are recovered, can senior recover his normal body?” Lin Rufei asked another question that he was more concerned about.

“Yes.” Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Lin Rufei then said excitedly, “Then, wouldn’t it mean that the Heavenly Ruler can come back?”

Gu Xuandu, however, was silent, and just when Lin Rufei thought he would not say anything, he added in a soft voice, “I hope there will be that day.”

Lin Rufei revealed a smile.

The matter of the He family was considered solved. The next afternoon, Lin Rufei and He Xieyi had a sword fight. Although it was said to be a sword fight, it was more like a Gu Yu exhibition. Almost all of the He family members were there and they were all staring at Gu Yu so hard that their eyeballs almost popped out. 

Lin Rufei was a little creeped out by this group of people. He originally wanted to put Gu Yu down on the table but was stopped when He Xieyi reached out. He Xieyi, with a serious face, said the sword was to match the hero. The swords that hung at the waist were the really good swords.

Lin Rufei was speechless by his words and could only sit in place to continue to bear the baptism of the crowd’s gaze. Only when the crowd was finally satisfied with the look, was Lin Rufei released. 

Lin Rufei head back to the room listlessly and when Fu Hua noticed him, she smiled and asked what was wrong. Lin Rufei said, “The He family is really difficult to refuse.”

Fu Hua laughed, “Gongzi, is that all you want to say?”

Lin Rufei continued, “Actually, I also want to say some curse words.”

Fu Hua froze for a moment, then heard her little gongzi spit out the phrase: motherf*cker

Fu Hua: “……”

Gu Xuandu: “……”

This place was not suitable to stay for a long time, this thought emerged in the two people’s minds at the same time. 

Lin Rufei, who had just cursed, was refreshed. He asked Fu Hua where Yu Rui had gone off to and how come he hasn’t seen her even at this time? Fu Hua smiled and said that the He family’s gongzi had asked Yu Rui out, saying that he was going to buy her corn candy. Lin Rufei was immediately invigorated when he heard this, ‘corn candy, what corn candy, where are these two people at, can I also join in on the fun?’ 

Fu Hua said: “They seemed to be at the back of the mountain. Does gongzi want to go and see?” 

Lin Rufei: “Go, go, go, go. Let’s go and try the corn candy.”

Fu Hua laughed at this.

So Lin Rufei and Fu Hua both snuck out the door and headed straight towards the back of the mountain. Gu Xuandu also followed closely behind them. Looking at the tiptoeing Lin Rufei and Fu Hua, who lifted her skirt up with a sneaky face, he really wanted to let out a long sigh. 

The back of the He family’s mountain was not large. Lin Rufei and Fu Hua quickly found Yu Rui and He Wanxiang, who were currently chatting. Yu Rui’s cheeks were bulging as she happily chewed on her corn candy. She also carried a bag in her hand and talked while she ate. He Wanxiang was simply quietly listening on the side.

“Tsk tsk tsk.” Lin Rufei whispered, “This corn candy looks very delicious.”

Fu Hua said sourly, “Yes, it’s such a hot day, and I don’t know where he bought it from, this He gongzi really took the trouble.”

Lin Rufei responded, “Alas, once the girl grows up, it’s hard to make her stay.” After saying that, he also gave a glance at Fu Hua.

Fu Hua’s face turned red and she muttered: “Young master don’t tease me, clearly it’s this girl Yu Rui whose Spring heart is budding……” 

The two of them watched for a while. Seeing that Yu Rui and He Wanxiang had endless words, and endless corn candy, he also did not have the heart to go over there to disturb them. He went back to his room with a sense of disinterest.

Halfway back, Lin Rufei said that he wanted to take a stroll around, so he waved his hand and told Fu Hua head back first. He casually found a remote shade and sat beneath it to cool off.

The next day after tomorrow, he probably would leave the He family. His next destination had not yet been decided, but if he followed the road, then nothing wrong would happen. As Lin Rufei was thinking about this, he felt something tugging at the corner of his outfit. He thought it was his own imagination at first, but when he looked down, he saw a snow-white kitten biting hard at the corner of his outfit.

Lin Rufei’s first reaction was that he was mistaken, however, the next moment a sorrowful voice resounded next to his ear: “Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei was startled and reflexively twisted his head. He narrowly missed colliding with the face behind him and he glared: “You……How come you are here? You haven’t gone back yet?”

The person who called out to him was the same Ye Mo that he had seen the day before, but compared to the previous days, his appearance looked much more wretched. And when he called out “Lin gongzi,” it sounded like it was squeezed through gritted teeth. 

Lin Rufei questioned: “You……what is your……name again?” He suddenly remembered that he did not know the name of this Ye Mo.

Ye Mo coldly said: “Chi Yu.”

“Chi Yu gongzi, how come you’re still here?” Lin Rufei blinked his eyes and stepped back under Chi Yu’s unkind glare.

“Why don’t you guess as to why I’m here?” Chi Yu asked grimly.

As if in response to his words, the little kitten, that bit the corner of Lin Rufei’s outfit, crawled on all fours into Lin Rufei’s arms. It grunted and whined, trying to act spoiled. Lin Rufei looked at the kitten and understood most of what was going on. In the end, he was the one who was in the wrong and his smile became a little embarrassed, “This…… “

“Stupid pup refuses to eat.” Chi Yu said, “You feed it first.”

Lin Rufei could only say yes.

Chi Yu coldly grunted. With a flick of his long sleeves, a freshly hunted deer appeared on the ground. Lin Rufei bent down and put the kitten on the body of the deer. The kitten smacked its lips and started devouring it happily.

Lin Rufei felt as if Chi Yu’s unkind gaze was nailed to his head like a needle. He could only raise his head stiffly and smile dryly, “This……weather is pretty good.”

As if to confirm his words, the sky suddenly struck down a loud thunder.

Lin Rufei: “……” Did it have to be so effective, ah?

Chi Yu narrowed his eyes: “Yes, the weather is pretty good.” His humanoid appearance was not actually cold. Instead, his pair of round cat eyes, at first glance, looked very cute. But the rich scent of blood made it so that he was not cute. Especially when his gaze fell on people, there was always a fear that in the next moment, they would be killed. 

Lin Rufei restrained this feeling and said calmly: “So, when do you plan to go back?”

Chi Yu glanced at the little thing that was still happily gnawing on the venison and said coldly, “When it’s not that stupid.”

Lin Rufei said: “Little kitten cub……” He had been calling this little thing in his head “little kitten cub” the entire time. However, when Chi Yu gave him a glare, he realized that it wasn’t appropriate and quickly changed his words, “What is your son’s name again? “

Chi Yu answered, “I haven’t named him yet.”

Lin Rufei said, “You can name it now.”

Chi Yu harrumphed, “Even if I haven’t named him yet, he’s not ‘little kitten cub.’” 

Lin Rufei almost choked when he heard those words.

The little thing was probably really hungry and had eaten until it was round. Then, it slowly walked itself into Lin Rufei’s arms again and puffed out its round little belly. Unlike its hairy back, the little thing’s belly had little hair and was just pink skin, which felt especially good to the touch. However, Lin Rufei did not dare to touch more. After all, its parent was still standing next to them, and their expression wasn’t very good.

“Here……” Lin Rufei slowly lifted the kitten up and gave it back to Chi Yu.

Chi Yu grunted and took it very unhappily, but although he had a bad expression, he still moved very gently and gently placed the little kitten cub into the pocket of his shirt. Unfortunately, the kitten was very ungrateful. It began grunting and crying, trying to break free from his hands to go back towards Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei could only pretend that he did not see.

Chi Yu fed the cub, turned around, and left. His back was very ruthless, leaving Lin Rufei sighing alone, ‘Why does this Ye Mo family look so much like a cat? Chi Yu, Chi Yu, mishearing could make it sound like eating fish[4].’ 

When Gu Xuandu heard this, he burst out in laughter and said that Lin Rufei must not say the word “cat” in front of the Ye Mos, they were very sensitive to this word.

“This is the little cub’s father? How come I didn’t see his mother?” On the way back, Lin Rufei started conversing with Gu Xuandu.

Who knew that Gu Xuandu would say that Ye Mos only needed one to have a baby. Whether male or female, only one was needed.

Lin Rufei was dumbfounded. He then asked if it was still necessary to distinguish between male and female.

“Good question, I have also asked.” Gu Xuandu replied, “The one that I had asked almost give me two scratches in annoyance.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

“Although the Ye Mo is strong, they are actually very small in number and there are no more than two hundred of them in the entire Bu’e Continent.” Gu Xuandu explained, “So it’s not easy for them to find the same race. Thus, they evolved. As long as the cultivation level is high enough, they can hatch eggs.”

As Lin Rufei listened to Gu Xuandu’s explanation, he always felt that something was wrong. He frowned and said ‘senior, ah, you told me yesterday to take a good tonic. Don’t tell me this is what you meant?’ 

Gu Xuandu laughed, “I was just kidding.”

Lin Rufei said: “That’s really quite funny……” And then with a grave look, he decided not to continue this topic with Gu Xuandu in the future. He was keenly aware of the existence of some kind of danger.

On the third day, Lin Rufei intended to leave the He family.

The young girl, Yu Rui, who had eaten her fill of corn candy, couldn’t let go of the candy or the person who gave it to her. Lin Rufei teased He Wanxiang, saying that when the next sword competition comes, He Wanxiang must remember to come to Kunlun with He Xieyi and to not forget to bring the betrothal gift.

He Wanxiang frankly smiled and nodded yes causing Yu Rui to shyly burrow into Fu Hua’s arms. But He Xieyi, this brother, did not seem to understand, ‘What betrothal gift, ah, who’s getting married?’ 

Lin Rufei looked at his appearance and let out a long sigh. In his heart, he thought: No wonder your cultivation level was so high but still remained still single. Some things are innate, ah.

The carriage drove out of the He family and towards the official road, but only soon after they entered the official road, Lin Rufei heard a thud on the roof of the carriage. It seemed that something heavy had fallen upon it. Fu Hua, who was driving the carriage, was startled and hastily stopped the carriage. She turned her head towards the carriage roof and saw a man in black sitting at the front of the carriage. A pair of blood-red eyes stared at her with very bad intent. This stare made the hairs on Fu Hua’s body all stand up and before she could speak, she saw Lin Rufei lift the carriage curtain with a pair of slender hands. With a helpless expression, he said: “It’s hot outside, come inside to talk.”  

“Humph!” The man directly turned into a shadow and entered the carriage.

Lin Rufei was eating a plum smoothie made by Yu Rui with clear honey inside. The sweet and sour pickled plums dyed the snow-white smoothie into an attractive vermilion color, and just smelling the sweet and sour smell also relieved some of the heat.

Being stared at like this made it hard for Lin Rufei to take the next bite so he asked, “Do you……want to eat some?”

In regards to Lin Rufei’s good intentions, Chi Yu was full of doubts: “You won’t poison it, right?”

Lin Rufei said: “……” Do all these demons speak so straightforwardly?

Seeing Lin Rufei’s helpless expression, Chi Yu humphed again. He took the smoothie and finished it in a few bites. After eating, he raised his chin and said in a cold voice: “Even if you poison me, I’m not afraid!”

Lin Rufei found that it was too hot to fight with him and simply waved his hand listlessly, signaling Yu Rui to make another bowl.

Yu Rui was caught off guard by this unexpected guest and whispered, “Gongzi, who is this?”

Lin Rufei covered his face and thought for a long time before finally stifling out a sentence: “It’s……the father of a little kid I know.”

Yu Rui asked, “Little kid?”

Lin Rufei nodded: “Mnn, a kid.”

Yu Rui stated blankly: “Then why is he looking for gongzi?”

Chi Yu cut in coldly, “Because your gongzi has tricked my son.”

Yu Rui: “……”

Chi Yu said, “Tricked my son into calling him father.”

Yu Rui: “……”

Lin Rufei was tempted to say, “I’m not, I didn’t,” but who knew that when Chi Yu’s hand reached out, the little thing crawled out of his sleeve. It originally had a wilted appearance, but once it saw Lin Rufei, it immediately came to life again. It hurriedly wobbled towards Lin Rufei’s front and crawled into Lin Rufei’s arm from his sleeve. If it could speak human, it would probably shout, “father you finally came, this strange uncle is so scary.”

Lin Rufei instantly lost the breath to retort. In a friendly manner, he said that he really didn’t mean to.

Chi Yu waved his hand and stopped Lin Rufei’s words. He looked very serious and Lin Rufei thought he was going to say something important. However, who knew that this guy would point to the ice in Yu Rui’s hand and said seriously: “Another bowl.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

While Chi Yu was eating the smoothie, Lin Rufei picked up the little thing and looked at it carefully. The little thing was worthy of the demon tribe. It really grew faster day by day. Now, it had grown another circle larger, but its teeth still had not yet grown out and its voice was still childish. If the weather wasn’t too hot, it would be a good thing to hold in the arms to keep warm.

After eating the smoothie, Chi Yu said that his child should be fed again. Then he raised his eyes to look at Lin Rufei.

Yu Rui was startled by the look in Chi Yu’s eyes. She said, ‘If you want to feed your child, what are you looking at my gongzi for?’

Chi Yu harrumphed, “My child only eats food fed by your gongzi.”

Yu Rui: “How old is your child?”

Chi Yu said, “Four days.”

Yu Rui thought to herself: Isn’t this still in the stage of drinking milk? My family’s gongzi is a man, how can he feed your little doll. However, she did not dare to say anything aloud. Instead, she just thought that this person was a little bit wrong in the head.

Lin Rufei let out a long sigh. In his heart, he thought that at that time, he really should not have touched the egg without permission. Look what it brought, he got a son out of it, and it even brought along its father. 

When Gu Xuandu saw the melancholy look on Lin Rufei’s face, he smiled very happily until Lin Rufei glared at him several times. Then, he shuffled to Lin Rufei’s side and bit him on his ear: “Xiao Jiu, don’t worry, demons grow up very fast. Once it grows up, it will know that this was all a misunderstanding. At most, he would follow you for a month…….”  

Lin Rufei muttered that wasn’t a month long enough?

Gu Xuandu could see clearly what Lin Rufei was thinking about in his heart. He smiled and soothed him: “Why don’t you just think of it as raising two cats?”  

Lin Rufei looked at Chi Yu, who was seriously looking at Yu Rui making smoothies. In his heart, he thought to himself: My cat doesn’t eat smoothies. Sigh…….forget it, forget it. After all, he was in the wrong.

After completely giving up the struggle, the atmosphere in the carriage strangely became harmonious. Yu Rui’s brain was not very bright, so she did not realize the differences that Chi Yu had. Currently, she was happily discussing with him a question about whether putting more plums made the smoothie delicious or if putting more honey would make it more delicious. 

Chi Yu’s baby son was now in Lin Rufei’s arms. It was attached to Lin Rufei and refused to let go. Lin Rufei began to have a headache as he thought about where they were going to go next. However, no matter where, they could not take these two with them……He was afraid that before he entered the place, they would beat them out as if they were demons. But now the most important thing was to feed the kitten in his arms first.

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[1] So what was written was “He Jitian,” but that didn’t make sense. At first I thought this was a typo and that the author meant He Xieyi (since he was the one with LRF) but the whole paragraph and the coming ones all had HJT. Thus, I changed all of them to HXY because HJT doesn’t make sense here since in the last chapter, HJT asked LRF to go with HXY and further down the chapter, HJT says to LRF that he heard what happened today from HXY……. 

[2] Li Chun means Springtime, hmm the Heavenly Ruler sure liked to name his swords under seasons/weathers. 

[3] “a day marking one of the 24 divisions of the solar year in the traditional Chinese calendar; solar terms” So maybe they weren’t sword names? 

[4] Eating fish = Chi Yu 吃鱼 and then Chi Yu’s name is 炽虞. Different tonations. 

Chapter 70: Heaven and Earth

The kitten needed to be fed so Lin Rufei had to stop the carriage halfway and have Fu Hua go to a nearby town to buy some beef and lamb meat. The maids didn’t know what Lin Rufei wanted the meat for at first until they brought it to him and watched him put the kitten in his arms on top of the meat.

The fresh meat weighing several dozen pounds, after entering the mouth of the kitten, disappeared quickly. Although it had not yet grown all its teeth, for eating meat, this kind of thing was already at its fingertips. It took it less than an incense to cleanly finish the meat, leaving only a few pieces of snow-white bones. Lin Rufei had seen it before, so he was still calm, but Yu Rui was dumbfounded. She said that this little cat really knew how to eat. When Chi Yu heard the word “cat,” he frowned and let out a cold humph. Lin Rufei hurriedly patted Yu Rui’s arm and gave her a look: “Not a cat.” 

Yu Rui looked at Lin Rufei dumbfoundedly: “Huh?”

Lin Rufei said, “This is not a cat.”

Yu Rui asked, “Then what is it?”

Lin Rufei said, “It’s his son.”

Yu Rui looked horrified: “……”

After feeding his son, Chi Yu left with an unhappy face. No, it should be said that from the beginning to the end, Lin Rufei never saw a happy look on his face. After he left, Yu Rui said, “Gongzi, how in the world did you offend him? He never showed a smile from the beginning to the end.”

Lin Rufei smiled bitterly and waved his hand, saying that it was a long story……but still, he repeatedly instructed Fu Hua and Yu Rui, that in front of Chi Yu to not ever mention the word “cat,” lest he gets angry. 

Yu Rui said yes in a daze and Fu Hua seemed to have understood something, several times she wanted to speak but then decided against it. 

Lin Rufei probably knew what she wanted to say and told her not to worry, he had a sense of propriety.

Several invitations had already been sent out and Lin Rufei planned their next route. He decided to go to the nearest She family first. The She family was very close to the Shen family, so when the time came, he could head to both. Lin Rufei was not familiar with the She family, but he knew the Shen family very well. Who let his sister, Lin Weirui, fall in love with the Shen family’s son Shen Wucui? However, Shen Wucui seemed to be scared by Lin Weirui’s jumpy nature and had not dared to propose marriage. This time, when Lin Rufei headed over, if he could meet Shen Wucui, then it would be the perfect time for him to explore his intentions.

Last night, there had been a rainstorm so the weather was slightly cooler but still very hot.

When the weather was hot, Lin Rufei only had little appetite. Except for ice, he simply did not want to eat other things. But Fu Hua said that if he ate too much ice, he would also lose appetite so she refused to let Lin Rufei eat it all the time. Thus, Lin Rufei’s dinner was only a simple bowl of porridge and he ate some small side dishes along with it.

He didn’t know if it was because the wind was strong and he had caught a cold, but Lin Rufei had a cough again. This time, this cough was a bit more aggressive and it was accompanied by a low fever. Lin Rufei, who already had no appetite, didn’t want to eat anything even more.

Because she was worried about Lin Rufei’s health, Fu Hua didn’t dare to continue their journey. Instead, she checked into the nearest inn and headed to the nearby pharmacy to prescribe some medicine for Lin Rufei. It was said that a long illness made the patient a good doctor[1]. Fu Hua had given Lin Rufei medicine for a long time so for an ordinary cold, she knew very well what to do. 

It was hot outside so it was also not very cool in the room. Lin Rufei sat by the window in a single outfit and from time to time, he would let out a cough or two. 

When Gu Xuandu saw that he was not feeling well, he went out and came back with two or three pieces of hawthorn cake[2] in his hand and handed them to Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei took them and ate them slowly and leisurely. He was about to chat with Gu Xuandu when an upside-down head suddenly appeared from the window in front of him and almost scared Lin Rufei out of his chair: “Cough cough cough——”

“What are you eating?” The head that popped up suddenly asked.

Lin Rufei was so frightened that he covered his mouth and coughed violently. Only after he had finally recovered did he helplessly say, “Next time, can you not appear so suddenly?”

Chi Yu had no self-awareness and he stared at the hawthorn cake in Lin Rufei’s hand: “Is it good?”

Lin Rufei cried and laughed as he reached out and handed him a piece.

Chi Yu took it and swallowed it whole in one bite. Afterward, he looked at Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei wondered, “How about it, do you like it?”

Chi Yu said, “I ate it too fast, I didn’t taste it.”

Lin Rufei: “……” Are you Zhu Bajie[3]?

But he did not dare say it aloud. After sighing, he handed out the last piece and urged Chi Yu to eat slowly, saying that there was only this piece left. Chi Yu ate very slowly this time and from time to time, he would smack his lips. He looked very serious as he savored the taste and after he finished eating, Lin Rufei thought he was going to leave, but who knew that he would ask: “Where are you going next?”

Lin Rufei simply replied, “Follow the official road all the way to the south.”

Chi Yu asked, “You’re going to the sea?”

Lin Rufei nodded, “Yes, that is my intention.”

Chi Yu said, “Then remember to stay away from the Ruo River.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Why?”

However, Chi Yu simply looked at him silenty without responding and directly walked away.

Lin Rufei originally thought that this big cat……No, that was not right, that this Ye Mo was very difficult to serve. However, after a few days together, he found that his character was actually okay. He wasn’t too surly and he spent most of his time eating. Lin Rufei’s fingers slowly drew circles on the table, “Why should I stay away from the Ruo River?” 

Gu Xuandu raised his head and looked out the window: “Probably because it’s going to rain.”

Lin Rufei repeated, “Rain?”

Gu Xuandu nodded, “Mnn.”

The Ruo River was a big river that ran through almost half of the Yaoguang continent, flowing from the steep mountains to the low hilly plains and eventually merging into the vast ocean. In accordance with Lin Rufei’s journey, after about two or three more days, he would be able to see this big river. He just didn’t know why Chi Yu had told him to stay away from this big river.

Gu Xuandu said it was going to rain, but the sky did not look cloudy nor did it look like a rainstorm would happen.

With this in mind, Lin Rufei’s finger, that had been drawing circles on the table, was suddenly pressed down by Gu Xuandu, who said in a warm voice: “What is Xiao Jiu worried about, why don’t you tell senior?”

Lin Rufei shook his head and smiled, “Nothing.” He stood up, stretched his back, and muttered that he was sleepy.

When Gu Xuandu took in his appearance, his expression was a bit obscure. However, in the end, he didn’t say anything and only pursed his lips slightly.

Lin Rufei thought Gu Xuandu’s comment about rain was just a casual remark, but who knew that in the middle of the night, he was awakened from his dream by the rumble of thunder.

He opened his eyes and immediately noticed the pouring rain outside, which was frighteningly heavy. Bean-sized raindrops fell from the sky. It was like a curtain, covering the whole world and it made people unable to distinguish between day and night. A gap was left in the window of the inn to allow the wind out, but now, the sound of the wind through the gap changed the feel it gave, howling like a creepy cry. Lin Rufei was still wrapped in the quilt as he vaguely asked what time it was.

Gu Xuandu reached out and gently touched his forehead to make sure he didn’t have a fever again before answering softly, “Go back to sleep, it’s still early before dawn.”

Lin Rufei said in a dazed voice that it was raining quite heavily.

Gu Xuandu agreed, “It is very heavy.”

Lin Rufei mumbled, “Will it stop at dawn?”

After he finished saying this, he fell back asleep again. Gu Xuandu seemed to have answered something but he didn’t really remember.

The next morning, Lin Rufei was woken up by Fu Hua’s knocking. Fu Hua said, ‘gongzi, it’s almost noon. It’s better to get up and eat something before going back to sleep.’

Lin Rufei sat up blankly and said, “It’s noon?” He turned his head to look out the window, “Hasn’t the rain stopped yet?”

“No.” Fu Hua replied, “It’s hard to tell when it will stop.”

Lin Rufei was still a bit confused from his sleep. And only after he got up and washed up did he wake up a bit, but he still didn’t have much of an appetite. He sat at the table and ate the food absentmindedly. 

It was raining so hard but Lin Rufei suddenly remembered Chi Yu and his son. In his heart, he was wondering where these big and small two cats were hiding to avoid the rain. In the middle of this thought, the window directly crashed open because of a shadow. Lin Rufei took a closer look and saw a big snow-white cat with a crying kitten in its mouth jumped lightly onto the table in front of him. Lin Rufei immediately recognized the identity of the visitor from the cat’s crimson eyes and disdainful expression. It was none other than Chi Yu.

This was the second time Lin Rufei had seen the original form of this adult Ye Mo and he felt that no matter how he looked at this Ye Mo, it looked like a cat. The biggest difference it had with a cat was that it looked more vicious—he just didn’t know if Chi Yu had made this expression on purpose.

Chi Yu threw the kitten, that was in his mouth, onto the table and then shook the hair on his body hard, throwing Lin Rufei a faceful of water. Lin Rufei originally wanted to say something in complaint, but who knew that the big cat would point his chin at the kitten and Lin Rufei immediately felt guilty: “Come, come, come, I will help the little……little Ye Mo wipe off the water so that it doesn’t catch a cold.” 

As he said this, he went to the side to get a clean handkerchief. Then, he took the little cat cub into his arms and carefully wiped it down.

Chi Yu narrowed his eyes and looked at Lin Rufei for a while. Seeing that Lin Rufei did not overstep the mark, he licked his own fur that was soaked from the heavy rainwater.

The little kitten was still very unhappy when he was being held by Chi Yu, but as soon as he entered Lin Rufei’s arms, he started to purr. Lin Rufei was a bit baffled by this and just as he was about to ask if the kitten was uncomfortable, he heard Gu Xuandu next to him explain with a smile that this was a sign that the Ye Mo liked him.

Only then did Lin Rufei show a look of understanding.

“When is this rain going to stop?” Lin Rufei muttered casually.

“Half a month.” Chi Yu actually replied back.

Lin Rufei exclaimed, “Half a month? That’s too much! Wouldn’t the whole city be flooded in half a month?”

Chi Yu looked at Lin Rufei, as if he was very dissatisfied with him questioning his words, and let out a “hmph.”

Lin Rufei asked, “So……Do you want something to eat?”

Only then did Chi Yu’s expression ease up a bit, “Yes.”

Lin Rufei hurriedly headed out and asked Fu Hua to buy some meat. Fu Hua agreed and soon came back with fresh meat. However, when she came back, she saw two large white cats, one small and one large, squatting in the house. Her eyes immediately lit up and before Lin Rufei could say anything to stop her, she entered the room with one big step, reached out, and picked up Chi Yu. She held him against her chest and rubbed him twice: “Where did the big cat come from? You’re so cute!! Is it because it’s raining so hard outside that you came in to take shelter??”

Lin Rufei’s eyes widened. Just as he was about to ask Fu Hua to put the Ye Mo down so as not to annoy him, he saw a bit of shame appear on the Ye Mo’s face. Following that, he gave a raspy purr: “Meow.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

“Yo, it’s just that the voice is a bit coarse.” Fu Hua muttered.

The Ye Mo also did not forget to glare at Lin Rufei a few times, threatening him not to open his mouth. Lin Rufei cried and laughed and could only sit and watch as Fu Hua petted it all over. Finally, she reluctantly placed it back down and said that the medicine was still simmering outside and asked Lin Rufei to keep an eye on the big cat.

Lin Rufei waved his hand in a hopeless manner, indicating for Fu Hua to go.

Once Fu Hua left, the disdainful look returned to the Ye Mo’s face. Lin Rufei secretly muttered that the difference in treatment was too great. However, Gu Xuandu smiled and explained that the Ye Mo liked young women most, preferably unmarried girls and that although Lin Rufei met the condition of being unmarried, he was a man.

Lin Rufei was speechless from Gu Xuandu’s explanation. He had still been wondering yesterday why the Ye Mo was indifferent to Yu Rui’s offense, but today he finally understood.

Ye Mo licked its fur clean and ate the meat brought by Fu Hua, but it had no intention of leaving.

Lin Rufei asked carefully if he was going to leave and was met with a blank stare from the Ye Mo. He said that it was raining so hard outside, where was he going to go? It had only been a few days and Lin Rufei was already getting impatient. As he finished speaking, he placed his paws on the bulging pink stomach of his cub. Then he said that if Lin Rufei wanted him to leave, he could do so. As long as the little cub called him “father,” he would go back to Bu’e immediately. 

The little cub grunted incessantly, but unfortunately, it had no teeth and no claws. Against its father’s control, it had no power to fight back and could only look at Lin Rufei with longing eyes.

In the end, Lin Rufei was a fake father. In front of its real father, he didn’t have much courage. He could only tactfully take out a corn candy from his pocket and asked if Chi Yu wanted one or two. 

Chi Yu narrowed his eyes and looked at the candy with a somewhat disdainful look.

Lin Rufei originally thought this deal was a failure, but who knew that in the next moment, he would actually throw the little cub into Lin Rufei’s arm and then take the corn candy in Lin Rufei’s hand.

Lin Rufei: “……” So this disdainful expression was actually made for whom to see? 

Gu Xuandu was enjoying the show from the side. He was also amused by Lin Rufei’s helpless look and said that in actuality, the demons on the Bu’e continent were also divided into good and bad. Demons like the Ye Mo were a relatively simple kind. What they did every day was to find food and fight, and when they grew powerful from their battles, they would give birth to a child themselves.

Lin Rufei stroked the kitten’s head. Then he looked at the Ye Mo, who was eating corn candy with a frown on his face, and thought that Gu Xuandu’s description was probably true.

Ye Mo said that the rain would last for half a month, but Lin Rufei didn’t take it seriously. However, from morning until night, the rain never let up and shallow layers of puddles had soon accumulated everywhere on the streets.

Lin Rufei had stayed in the inn all day and was really bored out of his mind. In the end, he found an umbrella and planned to go for a walk outside.

But when Fu Hua and Yu Rui saw that Lin Rufei was still coughing, they were worried that Lin Rufei’s condition would worsen. However, seeing his determined attitude, they had no choice but to stop persuading him.

As Lin Rufei went for a walk on the street, his shoes and socks were immediately half wet, so he simply took them off and walked barefoot on the green stone streets. Because of the rainstorm, there were not many people on the street and only a few lonely stores were open. Without the hawkers’ hawking, the only sound left in the ears was the sound of the rain. Walking through the rain, there was a kind of lonely feeling of being the only one left in the world. Fortunately, Lin Rufei still had Gu Xuandu standing beside him. Since they were alone, Lin Rufei took the opportunity to ask some curious questions about the old days.

The Heavenly Ruler, Gu Xuandu, had no arrogance from the moment he came to Lin Rufei’s side, so Lin Rufei asked and he answered. He said something about the war that year, about the friends he knew, and about the demons he had killed. The rain passed through Gu Xuandu’s body making him look like a reflection, as he described in detail the landscape from a hundred years ago.

Lin Rufei listened with fascination.

“Does senior want to go back?” Lin Rufei asked.

“Go back? Go back to where?” Gu Xuandu questioned.

“Naturally, to that year.” Lin Rufei responded.

Gu Xuandu looked at him tenderly: “It’s fine now, I don’t want to go back.”

Lin Rufei looked up at the sky. The rain really didn’t have the idea to stop at all and he sighed: “The rain is so heavy, how is it good?” He had just finished saying this when he noticed a man in a woven raincoat walking across the street towards him. The man was wearing a hat that completely covered his face and the alley was a bit narrow. Lin Rufei turned sideways, intending to let him go first but just as the man brushed past Lin Rufei, he smelled a faint scent of blood. He looked down and saw that the rainwater, at the man’s feet, was dyed scarlet.

Lin Rufei was slightly stunned, but the man had already disappeared from his sight.

When he returned to the inn, Lin Rufei saw the Ye Mo lying on the table by the window, squinting his eyes and taking a nap. Gu Xuandu took a towel for himself and squatted down halfway to help Lin Rufei wipe his bare feet clean. Lin Rufei was still dazed and when he noticed Gu Xuandu’s action, he hurriedly called out, “Senior……”

“Shhh.” Gu Xuandu made a gesture of silence. He pointed to the Ye Mo, who was still taking a nap on the side, and indicated for Lin Rufei not to speak. Lin Rufei had wanted to say something but ended up closing his mouth because of this. Instead, he looked at Gu Xuandu, who was carefully wiping his toes clean, and a faint sweetness of red inexplicably surfaced on his cheeks.

Gu Xuandu dried Lin Rufei’s feet and helped him put on his socks. The atmosphere between the two was a bit strange and Lin Rufei did not notice that the eyes of the originally sound asleep Ye Mo cracked open a bit and was currently casting a thoughtful look towards him.

“You stink.” Lin Rufei, who had just stood up after putting on his shoes and socks again, heard a disgusted voice from Chi Yu, “It smells like fish.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Fishy smell? Do cats not like fish?”

Chi Yu immediately stomped his feet in anger at his words, “Who are you calling a cat?!!”

Lin Rufei: “I’m sorry——”

Chi Yu said, “Hmph!!!” He jumped down from the table and carefully observed Lin Rufei for a while. He sniffed the corner of Lin Rufei’s clothes again and slightly narrowed his eyes, “Did you encounter something outside?”

Lin Rufei immediately remembered the person he had met in the alley and hesitantly talked about it.

“Oh.” Chi Yu mumbled, “So it’s here.” He turned around and jumped back onto the table, lazily stretching his body, “Are you going to hurry on your journey today?”  

Lin Rufei responded, “I’m afraid it’s impossible to hurry with this rain.”

Chi Yu said, “That’s good, lest you encounter something out there that will swallow you up in one bite.” He opened his mouth and yawned, revealing a row of sharp white teeth, “Your sword, how in the world did you get it?” After saying that, he added, “Don’t trick me with ‘a gift from a friend.’”

His eyes were sharp and incomparable and they carried a strong suspicion, “A person like you can be friends with the Heavenly Ruler’s?”

Lin Rufei asked innocently, “Why can’t I?”

“Hmph, look at your body!!!” Ye Mo looked at Lin Rufei critically up and down, “Walking three steps and panting twice, getting sick when the wind blows, how could a figure as powerful as the Heavenly Ruler be friends with you?!”

When Lin Rufei heard this, he thought to himself: your Heavenly Ruler was just wiping my feet, but he didn’t dare to say anything aloud. He simply explained in a nice voice and good temper, ‘You don’t know the Heavenly Ruler that well so how do you know that the Heavenly Ruler wouldn’t befriend someone like me? What if the Heavenly Ruler likes sick people like me, then what are you going to do?’  

“To tell you the truth, you human beings don’t know the Heavenly Ruler as well as we demons do.” As the Ye Mo talked about the person who once killed their King of All Demons, there wasn’t the slightest shadow of hatred in his tone. Instead, it was full of admiration and desire. Should be, the demon race had always respected strong. As long as someone was strong enough, who cared if they were human, ghost, monster, or demon.

“Why do you say that?” Lin Rufei asked curiously.

“I’ve read your human texts and they all say that the Heavenly Ruler was gentle and didn’t get angry and that although he had a profound cultivation, he had the world in mind.” Ye Mo exclaimed, “Actually, it’s not true!” His voice became very loud: “The Heavenly Ruler was obviously a perverse person! He never blinked when he killed demons and he completely had nothing to do with gentleness!”

When he said this, Lin Rufei cast a glance at Gu Xuandu out of the corner of his eyes. He thought that this description was more apt to Gu Xuandu. Although Gu Xuandu deliberately behaved very gently around him, the occasional hostile aura that came out was indeed really frightening. Most likely he, who had this nature, was also very lazy to disguise it when he was human. 

“There’s probably some misunderstanding in the texts.” Lin Rufei said, “After all, no one has seen the Heavenly Ruler for so many years.”

Ye Mo grumbled, “That’s why I said, you humans don’t know him as well as we demons do. And how can you be friends with such a character? Tell me—where exactly did you get the sword blade from?” He scratched the table anxiously, making an ear-piercing creaking sound; the demon world always have had the rumor that the Heavenly Ruler had fallen, however, they were never able to find the remains or tomb of the Heavenly Ruler. Although, he did feel a hint or two of implication from this person, Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei spread his hands: “It’s still the same story. I can’t help it if you don’t believe me.”

Ye Mo narrowed his eyes, revealing an ominous glint.

In the face of his threat, Lin Rufei just propped his chin up and looked at him without the slightest intention of backing down. The little Ye Mo beside him was also awakened. As soon as he opened his eyes and saw his fake father being threatened, he immediately grunted and bit the big Ye Mo’s foot with his small mouth that hadn’t grown teeth yet. Then, he began to kick hard with his hind legs. Chi Yu roared in anger and rushed to bite his own son’s ear. The little Ye Mo that was bitten, screamed in pain. This made Lin Rufei’s heart ached and felt funny at the same time.

The window resounded once again with continuous thunder. The rain had been falling for the whole day without the slightest intention of lessening. Instead, it rained harder and harder, causing the whole city to panic. If it really was half a month like Ye Mo had said, then most likely the whole city would be flooded. They shouldn’t even think about rushing their journey. 

Lin Rufei looked out the window, “What is this rain all about?”

“There’s something up there.” Ye Mo seemed to hate the fishy smell on Lin Rufei’s body. He sucked in his nose and turned away from him a bit, “Once it kills one, the rain will probably stop.”

There was something up there? Lin Rufei looked up at the cloudy sky. Currently, not only was there heavy rain, there was also lightning and thunder, which at first glance looked very horrible.

Lin Rufei asked, “Then when will it kill one?”

Ye Mo replied, “Half a month.” He blinked at Lin Rufei, “Otherwise, should you go join in on the fun?”  

Lin Rufei didn’t say anything, but he always felt that this Ye Mo had no good intentions at all. Although he did not know what was fighting in the sky, he thought that with such a big battle, it certainly would not be a good thing to provoke.

But although Lin Rufei did not want to get involved, some things were getting worse. The amount of rain was simply too amazing and after another night’s work, almost the entire street was flooded. Yesterday he could still step out but today, the water had already reached over his thighs. The tables and chairs on the first floor of the inn were all floating up and the situation looked very bad.

“What should we do, gongzi?” Fu Hua frowned when she saw this heavy rain.

Other travelers in the inn were also worried along with her. Whether it was the guests or residents of the city, most of them were mortals without cultivation. Although they could directly leave this place by sword, the people left behind could only wait for their demise. In this low-lying area of the Central Plains, there was no place to hide. The people were talking on the second floor with worried looks.

Lin Rufei shook his head, indicating that he did not know, but he still found an unoccupied corner and looked eagerly at Gu Xuandu. He called out “senior.”

Gu Xuandu’s eyes darkened as he heard Lin Rufei’s soft voice, “Speak.”

Lin Rufei asked, “This rain really can’t be stopped?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “There is a way.”

Lin Rufei immediately grew excited: “What should be done?”  

Gu Xuandu said: “Beat up the cat, who is squatting in your room with nothing to do, up into the sky.” 

Lin Rufei: “……” This seemed to be quite difficult since he had not fought with cats before.

Gu Xuandu squinted at him: “This is a perfect chance to let Gu Yu out and in on some action.” Ever since Gu Yu had been with Lin Rufei, its status wasn’t as good as the wooden shield. He tried several times to correct Lin Rufei’s habits, but failed time and again. This time, he finally seized the opportunity to urge, “Do not use the shield, ah.”

Lin Rufei suddenly frowned. He always felt that this senior was deliberately making things difficult for him. Although the Ye Mo looked cute, it was at least one of the seven demon kings on the Bu’e Continent. He was just a poor, weak, and helpless swordsman, how could he possibly beat it? 

But Gu Xuandu would not say any other methods and Lin Rufei could only go back to the room, looking at Chi Yu with a sigh.

The demon was naturally not concerned about the lives of other humans. Currently, it was happily smoothing out the hair of the kitten. Lin Rufei stood by the window, looking at the heavy rain. Just as he was thinking about whether there was any other way, he heard a sharp cry from Chi Yu behind him: “Ow——”

Lin Rufei turned around and saw that Chi Yu had stood up from the table. He was looking at him with a hostile face and all his hairs were standing up, just like a big cat with fried hair. He sharply called Lin Rufei’s name: “Lin Rufei——”

Lin Rufei: “Hm?”

Chi Yu accused, “How dare you pull my tail——!”

Lin Rufei was dumbfounded on the spot. He turned his head and saw Gu Xuandu, who was standing next to Chi Yu, with a look of innocence. Facing Lin Rufei’s questioning eyes, Gu Xuandu looked very calm. He simply spread his hands to make an “I don’t know what he is talking about” expression. However, the few hairs in his hand revealed exactly what this unreliable senior had just done.

Chi Yu growled in anger, “What are you looking at?!!!” He flashed his sharp claws and gestured at Lin Rufei a few times fiercely, “Don’t think that because my son treats you like a father, I won’t dare to strike at you!”

Lin Rufei: “……” He really couldn’t argue even with a hundred mouths[4].

Chi Yu roared with irritation. But under Lin Rufei’s gentle voice, he finally calmed down. He tucked away his tail and simply turned his back towards Lin Rufei with a look on his face that screamed, “I am angry, you must not come to mess with me again.” The breath in Lin Rufei’s throat had not yet fallen when he saw Gu Xuandu reveal a mischievous smile. He stretched out his hand towards Chi Yu’s curled up tail and pulled——

“Shameless!!!!” Chi Yu fiercely hurled up from the table and rushed towards Lin Rufei. His already very red eyes were now so angry that they could bleed. Lin Rufei was frightened by his appearance and reflexively pulled out Gu Yu that was on the side of his waist. 

Gu Yu caught a blow from Chi Yu. Lin Rufei swung his sword with his backhand and raised up a snow-white sword Qi. Chi Yu twisted to dodge and with another claw, it was deadlocked on Lin Rufei’s Gu Yu.

“Quickly—quickly—swing the sword——” Gu Xuandu, who was enjoying the show, did not feel that things were a big deal, “Use the method I taught you, try it quickly!”

At this point, there was no other way. Lin Rufei could only try the method, as if he was using the wooden shield, and drew out the sword intent in his body before attaching it onto Gu Yu. Gu Yu felt the sword intent and issued an excited buzz and soon, the sword blade exploded with a dazzling white light. When Chi Yu felt this sword intent, he paused for a second. Just as he was about to say something, he saw Lin Rufei, who was holding the hilt of Gu Yu’s sword, raised his hand and had swung down again.

Chi Yu’s sharp claws were the best weapons. Even a thousand blades could not destroy it. If it was an ordinary blade that was grabbed by his claws, then it would be shattered into pieces by now. Even if the best sword resisted his blow, it would probably still leave a few grooves. Chi Yu was sure that with a little more force, Gu Yu would be destroyed by his claws. However, Lin Rufei did not give him this opportunity. He watched as Lin Rufei slowly swung down the sword blade. This action was nothing special and was as if it was just a lighthearted attempt.

However, Chi Yu felt a surge of sword intent. This sword intent came suddenly, as if it was from Lin Rufei’s body. And when the sword intent surged towards his body, he actually felt a sharp pain that tore at his soul. This pain forced his claws to release. He wanted to twist his body to stay in mid-air, but this unstoppable sword Qi was like a giant object. It wrapped around him and flew straight to the sky where it was still raining heavily.

How could there be such a strong sword intent?……Before flying out, Chi Yu only had such a thought left in his head until he broke through the clouds and smashed heavily into someone’s body.

The person was looking down and setting up a formation. Reaching out, he caught Chi Yu, who was about to hit his face and after a careful look, he asked puzzledly, ‘where did this cat come from?’ 

Chi Yu, who had just suffered a loss at Lin Rufei’s place, could not stand to hear the word “cat.” With a howl, his body surged. He instantly turned into a beast that was a dozen meters high and bit down on the man. 

Lin Rufei did not have the same complex mental activities as Chi Yu. He only knew that since Gu Yu was bitten by the big cat, he had swung really hard and the big cat turned into a meteor, disappearing right in front of his eyes. Furthermore, he had also smashed a hole through the dark clouds in the distance. 

Lin Rufei looked around towards the window: “Where’s the cat?!”

Gu Xuandu gloated: “Thrown out by you.”

Lin Rufei shook a little: “Thrown where?”

Gu Xuandu pointed to the sky.

Lin Rufei: “……”

Once the cat flew away, there was someone who was happy in the room. It was exactly the little cub that was being groomed under the big cat. The bad guy was gone, leaving only him and his dad, which was naturally something to be happy about. The little one ran to Lin Rufei, rubbing his head against him, and whining coyly. How could Lin Rufei possibly stand this? In the end, he picked it up and continued to comb the kitten’s hair with a comb.

After combing for a while, he realized that something was not right. Lin Rufei turned his head and glared at Gu Xuandu: “Senior—how could you just grab other people’s tails?!”

Gu Xuandu replied, “But he’s not human.”

(t/n: human and people have the same character) 

Lin Rufei: “……” Why are you so good at talking, senior?

When Gu Xuandu saw Lin Rufei’s shocked expression, he could not help but burst into laughter: “I can’t help it. Didn’t Xiao Jiu want the rain to stop? Don’t worry. Since the big cat is up there, the rain will stop soon.”

Lin Rufei asked arduously, “Then how did senior know I would throw him up there?”

“Because Xiao Jiu had never been able to master the strength he exerts on the sword.” Gu Xuandu responded, “Ye Mo’s claws are the most powerful weapon and usually, their way of fighting is to crush the sword blade first. As soon as Xiao Jiu waved his sword, it must have gone up.”

Lin Rufei: “……So what exactly is above the rain curtain?”

“Hmm…… probably a cultivator trying to catch something and also a demon trying to run away.” Gu Xuandu stroked his chin as he answered his question, “I have not seen such a person in a long time, one who can disregard the death of the people around.”

Lin Rufei had some disbelief: “This rain was made by a person? I thought it was……demons.”

“It should be a formation.” Gu Xuandu mumured, “Wait and see, I guess it will come down soon.”

So Lin Rufei continued to comb the little kitten’s hair while looking out the window. As Gu Xuandu said, the originally heavy rain gradually lessened. Although not completely clear, the vaguely visible sky was becoming brighter and brighter.

Lin Rufei had good eyes and noticed that there indeed seemed to be something above the overcast clouds, splitting and closing, as if in a fight.

Gu Xuandu also stood in front of the window and watched, “It’s almost back.”

Lin Rufei stated in a deep voice: “Senior, I have one thing I want to ask you.”

Gu Xuandu thought he was going to say something important, so he lowered his voice, “Speak!”

Lin Rufei asked seriously: “That tail, how did it feel?”

Gu Xuandu: “……Exell……ent.”

The two stared deeply at each other, both understanding tacitly and Gu Xuandu said: “How about I find an opportunity for you to have a touch?”  

Lin Rufei nodded and reached an evil deal with Gu Xuandu.

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[1] Idea is that when a person has been sick for a long time and is familiar with pathology and medicine, he can become a good doctor. 
[2] Hawthorn Cake. 
[3] Reference to the famous Pig in “Journey to the West” 
[4] Unable to give a convincing explanation in self-defense. 
Cayce hanya seorang mahasiswa yang kebetulan menyukai cerita silat, kesukaan cayce dengan cerita silat dimulai pada saat saya SMP. Banyak kesan tersendiri buat cayce mengenai cerita silat itu sendiri…

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