Cherry Blossoms Upon a Wintry Sword Chapter 41-50

Chapter 41: Grand Wedding

Seeing Gu Xuandu’s defeated look, Lin Rufei was in a good mood and knocked on the door of his maids’ room. When the maids noticed him coming, they hurriedly stopped their chit chats and came forward to welcome him.

Lin Rufei had originally wanted to ask Fu Hua and Yu Rui to make some food for him, but on second thought, since he had arrived at a new place, he naturally wanted to try the specialties here. They had arrived in a hurry yesterday and he didn’t even get a good look at the town before heading off to the inn in order to rest. Today, since the weather was nice, it was a good choice to stroll around.

As he thought about it, Lin Rufei greeted Fu Hua and Yu Rui then slowly and leisurely headed out.

Passing through the Xiliang Mountains, they had arrived at the prosperous Central Plains. Although they were only in a less important town next to the Xiliang Mountains, the shadow of its prosperity could be vaguely seen. The streets were lined with tourists and travelers, and the roadside stores were full of new things Lin Rufei had never seen before. As he walked, he also bought stuff along the way and by the time he finished the whole street, his hands were full of all kinds of interesting things and delicious food.

Seeing that he was almost done shopping, Lin Rufei casually found a roadside stall and sat down. He then asked the vendor for a bowl of hot soup noodles. He had never tasted this kind of soup noodles before. It had thick oil and red sauce and the top was also covered with a layer full of spicy seeds. There were also a few thin slices of marinated beef. Lin Rufei took a few bites and the spiciness made him sweat. His lips were red and from time to time, he would try and cool off his tongue. 

When the vendor saw Lin Rufei’s expression, he couldn’t help but laugh, saying that if it was this guest’s first time eating, he could have told him to put in less spice. Lin Rufei nodded and he couldn’t stop drinking water. Even a thin layer of water vapor began surfacing in his eyes.

But although this soup noodle was spicy, its taste was indeed good. Despite Lin Rufei already with tears in the corners of his eyes, he still summoned his courage to finish the whole bowl of noodles. After he finished eating, he felt that his lips hurt so badly that he vaguely asked Gu Xuandu about it. Gu Xuandu then cried and laughed and said that his mouth was swollen from the spice.

“Don’t force yourself if you can’t eat, look at your current appearance.” Gu Xuandu muttered, “It looked like you were bullied by someone.”

Lin Rufei’s skin tone was already pale. Now the corners of his eyes were teary, lips were red and swollen, and he was frowning, which made him look pitiful. 

Lin Rufei didn’t realize what was wrong. This was his first time eating such spicy things and his consciousness was about to be blurred by the spice. He paid for the bowl in a panic then rushed to the fruit vendor next door to buy a number of plums, stuffing them into his mouth.  

These plums were chilled with well water and they were crisp and tasty, with a sweet and sour tang. It was indeed delicious that Lin Rufei also could not help but crave a few more.

After eating, Lin Rufei intended to go back. However, before heading back, he passed by a small store selling weapons. When he walked by, he decided to go in to take a peek or two. Who knew that when Lin Rufei entered, the first thing he saw was a wooden shield in the corner. It looked exactly like the one Mo Zhaocai had sold him, except the one sold in this store seemed to be bigger.

“Boss, how do you sell this wooden shield?” Lin Rufei opened his mouth and asked.

The boss didn’t even raise his head: “One tael of silver.”

Lin Rufei thought about it for a moment and asked seriously, “Can it be cheaper?”

“At most, I can give it to you for ten copper coins less.” The boss replied, “Guest, we are a small business, we don’t make much profit.”

Lin Rufei smiled, “Then I’ll take it.” He happily took out his silver and then got ten copper coins back from the boss. He then left happily with the wooden shield.

When Gu Xuandu caught his delighted appearance, he wondered, “What are you so happy about?”

Lin Rufei answered, “I succeeded in bargaining for the first time!”

Gu Xuandu: “……”

Lin Rufei said, “The boss gave me ten copper coins less!” He had visited the market so many times and seen many people lowering their prices, so he had wanted to try it out himself for a long time, but he didn’t expect to succeed the first time.

In the Yaoguang Continent, three strings[1] of copper coins were equivalent to one tael of silver. There were three hundred copper coins in one string and the ten copper coins Lin Rufei got back from his bargain were just enough to buy two sticks of candied hawthorn. Thus, Lin Rufei bought two sticks of candied hawthorn; one for him and one for Gu Xuandu, as they ate with great pleasure.

Gu Xuandu then asked why he bought this wooden shield and Lin Rufei replied that the wooden shield was quite useful. At present, he still couldn’t use Gu Yu very smoothly so he wanted to use this wooden shield to make up for it. Gu Xuandu wanted to say several times that it was out of place for Lin Rufei’s slender figure to hold such a large wooden shield, but after thinking about it, he didn’t say anything. Anyway, Lin Rufei was happy, so he let him do as he pleased.

As a result, Lin Rufei happily ate his candied hawthorn while at the same time hauling the huge wooden shield back. He didn’t know if it was because he had started to try and draw out the sword Qi in his body, but Lin Rufei’s strength was much greater than before. His five senses were also much more sensitive, but the only downside was that he was still sick when he should be and his cough, which had plagued him for many years, was not getting any better.

After a day of recuperating in town, they planned to follow the official road all the way into the Central Plains. Lin Rufei, who had been traveling for more than ten days without getting sick, was still secretly happy about whether his health had improved. However, who knew that after a stroll in the town, he would start to cough and get a fever the next day.

So when he finally left the town, Lin Rufei had to sit sickly in the carriage, with a look of listlessness.

Fortunately, the official road was not as bumpy as the mountain road. It was flat and wide, so it wasn’t uncomfortable.

Their next destination was Gusu City, which was about a hundred miles away and it would take about half a day to get there. When they arrived at Gusu, they would be considered really arriving at the Central Plains. Seeing with his own eyes, although there would be a lot of fishes and dragons mixed in, it would probably be more interesting. 

(t/n: MDZS anyone? Hehehe)

The weather was getting hot so Lin Rufei also changed into a thin Summer outfit. His hair was tied up and compared to when he was on the Kunlun Mountains, his style had also improved by a few points—more handsome and heroic.

Around evening, the carriage driven by Fu Hua finally arrived outside Gusu City. After passing the post to the guards, the carriage drove through the wide city gates and into the city. 

As soon as he entered the city gate, Lin Rufei showed his surprise. In Gusu City, there were red lanterns and red silks hanging everywhere. Windows of the stores on both sides were decorated with large red words of “Xi.” 

(t/n: 喜 character is used for weddings, when there are two of them together it’s called “shuang xi” [double xi] 囍 which is used for wedding, representing the goodness from both the male and female side :D, Xi can mean like, happiness etc, but in this case, it can also be like a blessing. Fun fact, back when the female was pregnant, they would say “我来喜了” meaning “I have/got a blessing”) 

“Who is getting married?” Yu Rui wondered.

Fu Hua said: “The one getting married must be from a big family. In this Gusu City, the only one that can be called a big family has to be the Liu family.” 

“But since this is the Liu family’s marriage, it must be a big event. They will certainly send out invitations and invite guests from all over the world. Why was there no communication?” Yu Rui didn’t understand.

Fu Hua shook her head, indicating that she also did not know.

Lin Rufei’s third invitation was for the Liu family of Gusu City.

In Jianghu, there were only two sword cultivators who had passed through the eighth level of cultivation before the age of twenty. The first was his second brother, Lin Bianyu and the second was the second son of the Liu family in Gusu City, Liu Rugong. Unfortunately, the Mo family’s Mo Changshan died young, otherwise, his name would also be in the eighth level. 

Although Lin Rugong had a “bow[2]” character in his name, he was actually good with a sword. Lin Bianyu’s Tian Xiao was famous all over the world and Luo Shen, the soft sword in his hand, also had a fierce reputation.

Rumor had it that Liu Rugong had an unpredictable personality and was hostile and ruthless. This one time, he had been drinking wine and folding flowers with someone and the next moment, he wanted the person’s head. If the Liu family was not a large and powerful family, they probably wouldn’t be able to suppress such a demon. The Liu family was a business magnate in the Central Plains and it was said that two-thirds of the merchants in Gusu City were from his family’s industry. From the beginning, no matter which of the Liu family’s younger generation got married, they would hold a big event. How come not even a wind was heard for this event?  

The group went into the inn and casually ordered some food. Then they asked the Xiao Er about this matter. 

When the Xiao Er heard this, he then responded with a sad face: “Guests, it’s not that I don’t want to say, but this matter isn’t really easy to talk about, ah.” 

“Why is it difficult to say?” Yu Rui wondered, “Isn’t a big wedding a happy event?”

The Xiao Er sighed and shook his head.

“No matter, just tell us who is getting married.” Fu Hua also did not pressure the Xiao Er. She casually handed out a piece of broken silver and asked. 

The Xiao Er looked around and when he noticed that no one was paying attention to him, he lowered his voice and whispered: “Guests you might not know, the person who is getting married is none other than the second son of the Liu family, Liu Rugong……”

They froze at the words.

If it was another member of the Liu family who was getting married and the Liu family didn’t want to organize then it was reasonable. However, the one getting married was the most favored, Liu Rugong. Liu Rugong’s wedding must be considered as the most important thing for the Liu family and it would definitely be a big event so how could it be this silent? If they did not happen to come to Gusu City, they probably wouldn’t have even known of this matter. 

“Liu Rugong?” Fu Hua repeated incredulously, “He is going to get married, how can it be so low-key.”

The Xiao Er’s face was bitter and he kept shaking his head, refusing to say more.

Lin Rufei revealed a curious look and after mulling over this for a moment, he took a piece of broken gold from his sleeve and handed it to the Xiao Er, gesturing for him to continue.

When the Xiao Er saw the gold, he showed a struggling expression. Finally, he gritted his teeth, stomped his foot, and actually refused: “Guest, I’m really sorry, I really don’t dare say. Although the gold is good, if the head is gone, there is no place to spend it……”

“Who will take your head?” Someone from behind asked curiously.

As soon as he heard this voice, the Xiao Er’s already bad expression instantly turned white again for a few minutes. He stiffened his head and turned around. 

Lin Rufei followed the Xiao Er’s eyes and saw a narrow-eyed young man sitting on the wooden table to the side. He was wearing a red outfit with a sandalwood background and a lotus flower pattern. On his feet, were patterned gold silk boots and his long hair was tied into a crown. He had his head tilted and was currently looking at the Xiao Er with great interest. Seeing the Xiao Er’s frightened expression and his trembling feet, he patiently asked again: “Who would want your head? “

The Xiao Er warily called out: “Liu……young master Liu……”

Young master Liu laughed: “Why are you so afraid of me for, did I kill someone in front of you?” He shook his head again, denying the statement, “No, ah. In Gusu City, how could anyone have seen me kill someone.”

The Xiao Er didn’t dare continue to speak. Looking at his frightened appearance, it was like he wanted to kneel down and kowtow to young master Liu. Luckily, young master Liu was not very interested in him and soon cast his eyes on the three people sitting behind the Xiao Er—Lin Rufei and his maids.

Lin Rufei’s posture was weak and his body had no sword Qi. No matter how one looked at him, he didn’t look like a cultivator. However, he could see that the maids sitting on either side of him were at the fifth level of cultivation. Being able to use cultivators at the fifth level as maids, he thought that this seemingly frail gongzi must have a special identity. 

“Have you guys just arrived in Gusu City?” Young master Liu did not act like an outsider[3]. He picked up the teacup placed on the table and poured himself a cup of hot tea.

Lin Rufei nodded his head.

“Is there something wrong?” Young master Liu asked.

Lin Rufei replied, “I am Lin Rufei, the fourth son of the Kunlun Lin family. I have come to Gusu City to deliver the sword competition invitation to the Liu family.” After a slight pause, he continued, “You are the Liu family’s most famous swordsman, young master Liu, Liu Rugong, right?” 

Liu Rugong laughed, “Oh, you can tell?”

The Liu family had many offspring. There were seven or eight men and women just from the direct lineage alone. The side branch was even more numerous and it wasn’t easy to guess his identity at once. 

Lin Rufei responded in a soft voice: “I have seen you at the sword competition a few years ago.”

The smile on Liu Rugong’s face faded: “You are Lin Bianyu’s brother, how come I haven’t seen you before.”

Lin Rufei said, “I have been weak since I was young, so I seldom show my face in front of people.”

Liu Rugong nodded, “So that’s how it is.” When he heard that Lin Rufei was weak, he seemed to have lost complete interest in him instantly and did not continue to act polite. He stood up lazily and said, “I have something to do, so I won’t accompany Lin gongzi.”

After saying that, he turned around and left, with a very rude attitude.

When Fu Hua and Yu Rui saw his appearance, anger surfaced in their eyes. They were about to rebuke, but they were stopped by Lin Rufei.

“No harm.” Lin Rufei waved his hand indifferently, “Swordsmen always have their own natures.”

Especially powerful swordsmen. Even though his second brother had a seemingly gentle nature, in fact, he was prideful. If he faced people he did not like or was not interested in, he would also be too lazy to be polite.

“Young master, this Liu Rugong is too arrogant.” Yu Rui hissed in a dissatisfied manner, “No matter how powerful he is, he was still defeated by our second young master.”

Liu Rugong did lose, but only by a single move. At that time he also said ruthlessly that he wanted to compete with Lin Bianyu again. But for some reason, in this year’s sword competition, the Liu family did not send him to Kunlun. Instead, they sent the Liu family’s eldest son, a seventh-level cultivator, so there was naturally no possibility of winning.

After Liu Rugong left, the Xiao Er, who was almost frightened to death, finally regained his composure. However, now he looked at Lin Rufei with more fear in his eyes. Although he didn’t know of his identity, he apparently believed that those who could talk to Liu Rugong were not someone who could be offended. 

“Gongzi, in fact……it’s not that I don’t want to talk about it, but it’s too ridiculous.” The Xiao Er did his best to suppress his voice, “Although the whole city put up lights and decorations, not many people dare to talk about it.”

“What’s going on?” Lin Rufei asked.

The Xiao Er finally told Lin Rufei the reason with difficulty, “Because……the second son of the Liu family……wants to marry a sword.”

Everyone’s expressions froze, even Gu Xuandu, who had been sitting next to him idle and bored.

“What did you say?” Fu Hua thought she had heard wrong, “What did you say the second son of the Liu family was going to marry?”

The Xiao Er muttered, “A sword.”

Everyone: “……”

The Xiao Er was not at all surprised by their reaction and continued to calmly add: “It’s the Luo Shen that he loves the most.”

Luo Shen was a good sword and could be on par with Tian Xiao, that had been constructed on Kunlun. It was naturally extraordinary. Rumor had it that it was made of heavenly meteorite iron tempered with rootless fire. When the sword was revealed, the sky was full of haze and the clouds were shaped like a beautiful woman with a graceful description, thus, it was given the name Luo Shen[4].

When Liu Rugong received Luo Shen, it was as if he got divine help and his cultivation rapidly progressed. People said that this one person and one sword were a perfect match.

But no matter how much of a perfect match they were, the idea of marrying a sword was a bit too ridiculous. 

After the Xiao Er said this, the group coincidentally fell into a long silence. Finally, it was Lin Rufei who said, “This Liu Rugong really has a personality.”

“Yes.” The Xiao Er snapped, “The decision made by Liu Er Gongzi, who in the Liu family could change it? Although Master Liu was angry to the point of almost being half-dead, he also couldn’t do anything. Furthermore, Liu Er Gongzi’s mother has always been incomparably doting on him and couldn’t really argue with him so she let him do as he pleased. She also turned the Gusu City red, saying that Liu Er Gongzi’s wedding cannot be too sloppy…..” 

Several people looked at each other with a moment of speechlessness.

The Xiao Er continued: “But this matter, the people don’t dare to discuss. After all, the second young master has a bad temper. He kills people like he kills chickens. If they really died, even their corpses wouldn’t be collected.” 

After hearing this, Lin Rufei handed the gold in his hand to the Xiao Er, indicating that he could leave.

After receiving the reward money, the Xiao Er gratefully bowed to Lin Rufei and hurriedly retreated.

“That’s interesting.” Fu Hua murmured, “It’s the first time I’ve heard that someone wants to marry their own sword.” 

Yu Rui shook her head: “You don’t understand. This is what they call a real swordsman, life with the sword as a companion.” She seemed to understand Liu Rugong very well.

Lin Rufei did not say too much about this matter. The world was big and nothing was too strange. At the same time he felt strange, he also thought that Liu Er Gongzi was really interesting. He really was considered a person of character.

It was already a little late, so after everyone had eaten, they headed off to their own rooms to rest.

Lin Rufei drank the medicine after bathing. Lying on the bed, he tossed and turned. Gu Xuandu sat on the edge of the bed as he propped up his chin and looked at the outside scenery without saying a word.

Lin Rufei thought it was slightly strange so he called out: “Senior?”

Gu Xuandu turned around.    

Lin Rufei asked, “Do you have something on your mind?”

Gu Xuandu repeated, “Something on my mind?”

Lin Rufei continued, “Then why aren’t you talking?” Normally, Gu Xuandu was very talkative but today, he had not said a single word. Even when he heard such a bizarre thing such as Liu Rugong’s marriage with a sword, he still remained silent.

Gu Xuandu questioned: “Is it strange to marry a sword?”

Lin Rufei was silent for a good while but then whispered, “Is senior……” He looked at Shuang Jiang, that hung on Gu Xuandu’s waist, and cautiously said, “If senior is really interested in the sword, then please don’t treat Shuang Jiang like this. Using your wife as a burning stick is not always good.”

Gu Xuandu: “……” Shuang Jiang, that hung on his waist, also buzzed at this time. He didn’t know whether it was in response to Lin Rufei’s words or simply ridiculing Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu was choked half-dead by Lin Rufei’s words. However, he didn’t know what to say. He simply waved his long sleeves and directly disappeared.

Lin Rufei only thought he was annoyed. In his heart, he quietly sighed that a master’s thought was really different. However, he had to write a letter to his elder brother to urge his second brother’s marriage. And to not practice his sword to the point of obsession, otherwise, he might really make Tian Xiao into his sister-in-law. Although he would not look down on his second brother, but to call a sword “sister-in-law” would always feel a bit strange.

Lin Rufei laid in bed thinking about these small things and stayed up until midnight before drifting off to sleep.

The next day when he woke up, he still didn’t see Gu Xuandu’s figure. Lin Rufei, though, was not anxious. After he slowly and methodically ate breakfast, he planned to visit the Liu residence with Fu Hua and Yu Rui.  

When they arrived at the Liu residence, they found out that the Liu family’s master and wife were not in the residence and that they would not return until a dozen days later. However, the steward was very respectful after learning Lin Rufei’s identity and invited him to stay at the Liu residence, saying that he had sent a message to the madam and the master and that they would return as soon as possible.

Lin Rufei declined the steward’s invitation. He said that he would stay at the inn and would not disturb them.

The steward couldn’t persuade no matter how much he tried so he sent his subordinates to book the best inn in Gusu City and instructed the owner to treat this valuable guest, Lin Rufei, well.

The innkeeper repeatedly said yes.

The reason why Lin Rufei insisted on staying at the inn was because of what happened to the Xie family and the Meng family. He thought this matter was a bit strange and thought it was safer to stay at the inn. In the end, no matter what happened to the Liu family, it would have nothing to do with him.

After sending Lin Rufei to the inn, the steward looked as if he had wanted to say something several times but ended up not saying anything. When Lin Rufei noticed this, he said that if he had something to say, then to say it. 

The steward whispered: “Lin gongzi may not know, the 15th of this month is my second young master’s wedding day……Only this wedding is a bit special, so the Liu residence did not intend to invite guests. The participants are some of the Liu residence’ internal people and that it wasn’t because they didn’t want to invite Lin gongzi you.” He was afraid that Lin Rufei would misunderstand and think that he was being coldly treated by the Liu family since he didn’t even get an invitation to the wedding, so he quickly explained to Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei nodded, indicating that it was fine.

And only then did the steward cautiously go away.

However, after a day, someone from the Liu residence sent the wedding invitation to Lin Rufei. When Lin Rufei asked, he learned that the Liu family’s master had sent it to him, saying that the two families had a good relationship and that Lin Rufei could come to the banquet if he wanted to. However, he should not send gifts and that it was simply enough for him to come. Most likely the Liu family master had a lot of psychological struggle before finally choosing to invite Lin Rufei, the fourth son of the Lin family. Others did not know, but he knew very well. Although Lin Rufei had a weak body and was not well known, in fact, he was the most favored in the Lin family. And it was said that some days ago, he was the one that cut the Kunlun north peak in half with one swing. Whether this matter was true or not was open to question but he certainly wasn’t as weak as he showed. Otherwise, how could the Lin family let him out into the world?

It must be said that ginger was spicier when it got older[5]. The Liu family master indeed guessed right 70-80%. It was a pity that his shrewdness on his own son was not at all useful. He couldn’t beat him nor could he scold. He could only watch as his own son acted willfully and made trouble—that he must marry a raw and cold sword; worrying him to the point of sickness.  

This Gusu City was several circles larger than Moyu and Lin Rufei couldn’t wait to see the prosperity of the Central Plains.

He took his money bag, said goodbye to Fu Hua and Yu Rui, and left by himself.  He first went to search for some food, then intended to walk around along the small river running through Gusu City. However, he only walked for about halfway when he caught glimpse of Liu Rugong, who was supposed to be preparing for the wedding at the Liu residence, squatting on the roadside. He had a pure plumage gyrfalcon resting on his arm and was teasing the bird with great interest. However, he also seemed to have noticed Lin Rufei and stood up with a smile before greeting him, not as bad as when they had first met.

“If Lin gongzi wants to go around Gusu city, why don’t I be your guide?” Liu Rugong said with a smile.

Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment but still ended up agreeing to Liu Rugong’s proposal: “Then……I will trouble Liu gongzi.”

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: Isn’t the bridal night just practicing sword the whole night? 

Gu Xuandu: What if it’s not.

Lin Rufei: Then what do they do?

Gu Xuandu: There are always more ways than difficulties. Use the sword hilt and make do with it? 

Lin Rufei: ??????

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[1] They look like this. 

Chapter 42: The Swordsman’s Gift

The gyrfalcon on Liu Rugong’s hands was very beautiful. With its shrugged shoulders and taut tail, carved head, and swan’s back, it was a standard beauty. Lin Bianyu had also raised a green-feathered gyrfalcon named Qingluan. Lin Rufei grew up watching it, so he had some understanding of this handsome bird.

Seeing that Lin Rufei was quite interested in his bird, Liu Rugong introduced him, “It’s called Liaoshan, it’s only one year old this year, it’s a girl, just not very good-tempered.”

All things resembled their owner. This Liaoshan slightly raised its neck showing off a proud look and it was quite similar to Liu Rugong. However, Liu Rugong apparently didn’t notice. He rubbed Liaoshan’s head in a doting way and looked at Lin Rufei: “Lin gongzi, want to try?”

Lin Rufei smiled and refused: “No thanks.”

Playing with an eagle was quite a private affair and the owners generally did not like other people touching their own eagle. Liu Rugong only exchanged a few words of courtesy with him so he also knew better. 

The two of them walked and talked as they strolled through the street. Many people besides the street cautiously cast a glance at the two and most of these glances were of fear. It seemed that in Gusu City, this Liu Rugong indeed had a lot of authority.

Liu Rugong was unaware of this and took Lin Rufei all the way forward. He was saying that the wine from this place was pretty good and that the gold silk from this store was one of a kind. If he had the chance, remember to buy one or two; the womenfolk at home would certainly like it. Lin Rufei listened with interest and it wasn’t until they strolled almost half of Gusu City did this Liu Rugong finally start talking about business. He stared at Lin Rufei with blazing eyes, as if he was trying to burn a hole through his body: “Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei was startled by his expression, “Hm?”

Liu Rugong said, “I heard that you had a sword competition with someone on Kunlun Mountain?”

Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment but nodded gently anyways.

“Is that swordsman named Wang Teng?” Liu Rugong asked.

He didn’t expect him to be so well-informed. Not only did he know that Lin Rufei had a sword competition with someone, but he even knew the swordsman’s name. Lin Rufei asked, “Do you know him?”

Liu Rugong nodded, “Yes.” He waved his hand and Liaoshan, who had been resting on his arm, waved its wings and brought up a strong wind before flying off, “I met him once in Gusu City.”

It was probably on his way to Kunlun, Wang Teng had rested for the night in the city. He brought a jug of wine and sat on the top of the highest pavilion as he looked down at the illuminated Gusu City.

Liu Rugong happened to bump into him and with one glance, he recognized the long sword named Qing Ji hanging on the side of Wang Teng’s waist. He couldn’t move his gaze away until Wang Teng cast an unkind look at him through his bamboo hat. A swordsman’s sword being stared at in such a rude manner would be unpleasant to anyone else, let alone Wang Teng, whose temper was not good in the first place.

“Your sword is good.” Liu Rugong walked up to Wang Teng and sat down. He reached out towards Wang Teng’s wine jug, wanting to ask for a sip. Who knew that Wang Teng did not give any face to the most unreasonable son of the Liu family in Gusu City and directly ignored Liu Rugong who asked for wine. The cold gaze, even through the veil of the hat, sent chills down one’s spine. If this were an ordinary person, he would have backed off, but who was Liu Rugong? He was the second young master of the Liu family. He was the most capable of tormenting others, so he was not moved at all by Wang Teng’s indifference. Instead, he was only more interested.

“Where are you going?” Liu Rugong asked, “Why did you come here to drink?”

“A sword match.” Although his tone was cold, Wang Teng at least spoke back.

“Oh?” When swords were mentioned, Liu Rugong became eager, “Are you going to Kunlun? Who do you intend to find for a sword competition?”

The Lin family’s reputation was so well known that almost every year, countless swordsmen would go to Kunlun, either to compete with swords or to watch the battle, making it very lively. And there was only one way to Kunlun. They must go through Gusu City, then over the Xiliang Mountains, and follow the Canglan River all the way forward then they would reach their destination.

“A member of the Lin family.” Wang Teng stated.

“A member of the Lin family? Which member of the Lin family? Lin Weirui is still away on her travels. Unless it is Lin Minzhi…….but it’s not easy to compete with him with a sword.” Liu Rugong murmured.

Who knew that Wang Teng would shake his head in denial.

Seeing this, Liu Rugong wondered, “Could it be you’re looking for Lin Bianyu? Tsk, tsk, tsk, you’re still young and you already don’t want to live? Even I was defeated by Lin Bianyu’s sword. With you, I’m afraid you won’t be able to get more than ten moves under him.”

Wang Teng raised his eyes and gave him a cold laugh, completely ignoring him.

The smile on Liu Rugong’s face narrowed slightly. In the next moment, he raised his hand and snatched the wine jug from Wang Teng’s hand and poured it into his mouth. Wang Teng was caught unaware and said angrily, “You Midlander, why are you so rude?”

Liu Rugong finished the wine in a few gulps. He then threw the jug back into Wang Teng’s hand and said seriously, “Since I drank your wine, I owe you a favor. I can’t just stand by and watch you die. Come, come, come. If you want to compete with Lin Bianyu then you must win against me first. I have a better temper than him so I will let you live.” He simply said whatever he wanted and even had the nerve to say he had a better temper than Lin Bianyu. If his family knew about this, they would have laughed at him for using every possible means just so he could compete with the sword.

Wang Teng stared coldly at Liu Rugong, like he was staring at a desperate madman, “I’m not looking for Lin Bianyu for a sword competition.”

“Oh?” Liu Rugong wondered, “Then who are you looking for?”

“Lin Rufei.” Wang Teng replied.

Lin Rufei? Liu Rugong had heard of this name. However, he only heard of it and had never seen the person before. It was rumored that this Lin Rufei was too weak to practice swords since he was young, so he seldom showed his face in front of people. For such a person, Liu Rugong really had little interest.

“Oh? Is that Lin something fei, also a powerful character?” Liu Rugong became interested.

Wang Teng looked at him and did not speak. He obviously didn’t like this nonsensical Liu Rugong, but he didn’t want to cause trouble, so he took the wine jug and turned around to leave. Liu Rugong, however, was not willing to let go of such an interesting person so easily. He raised his hand and pulled out Luo Shen. However, before he could make his move, the man in front of him became a shadow and disappeared in front of him. Along with Wang Teng’s disappearance, a lock of hair at Liu Rugong’s temple was also gone. He froze in place. He actually wasn’t able to see when the other side had pulled out their sword. 

After that, Liu Rugong firmly remembered the name, Wang Teng.

Later, he heard that he had gone to Kunlun to find Lin Rufei for a sword competition and lost to Lin Rufei. Sighing with regret, he left the matter behind. Until yesterday, when he returned home and casually talked about meeting the fourth of the Lin family, he was reminded that Lin Rufei was the one who had a sword fight with Wang Teng. So today, Liu Rugong changed his cold attitude from yesterday and even took the initiative to take Lin Rufei around.

The fourth son of the Lin family, although handsome and elegant, had a weak body and no sword Qi. It was as if a gust of wind could blow him down at any moment. Liu Rugong was only interested in strong people. People like Lin Rufei, if he were not from the Kunlun Lin family, he would not even bother to ask a question.

But this Lin Rufei did not seem to be as harmless as he appeared. Liu Rugong smiled and narrowed his eyes, his right hand unconsciously patted Luo Shen on the side of his waist and he laughed: “Lin gongzi, a few days later, it will be my big day. You must give me, Liu Rugong, this face. Remember to come to the feast, ah.”

Lin Rufei was walking forward when he heard Liu Rugong’s words. He slightly paused his movements and responded: “……..Okay.” 

“I know what Lin gongzi is thinking, but it doesn’t matter. If you have anything to say, just say it, I don’t mind.” Liu Rugong said.

Lin Rufei twisted his head and looked at him, but he didn’t want to ask. Although he was very curious, in the end, this was the private affairs of others. And Liu Rugong’s sudden enthusiasm felt very out of the ordinary. He always felt that this Liu gongzi was planning something. 

Liu Rugong waited for a while. However, when he noticed Lin Rufei’s lack of interest and averted gaze, he wondered: “Hey, is Lin gongzi not curious as to why I want to marry a sword?”

Lin Rufei answered frankly: “Actually, I don’t really want to know.”

Liu Rugong: “……”

“If Liu gongzi particularly wants to talk about it, then there is no harm for me to listen.” Lin Rufei continued.

Liu Rugong obviously did not expect this reaction from Lin Rufei. In this Gusu city, who wasn’t curious about his marriage? However, no one dared to comment with their opinion. But this Lin Rufei was apparently not interested at all. Liu Rugong gave a tsk and in his heart, he thought that the Lin family’s little gongzi didn’t play by common sense. 

But it didn’t matter. It just so happened that he was also a person who didn’t play by common sense, so Liu Rugong showed a smile, “Lin gongzi, we are also considered friends at first sight, right?”

Lin Rufei: “……” Why did these words sound so intimidating?

Liu Rugong persisted, “Right?”

How else could Lin Rufei answer? It wasn’t like he could say that they were actually not familiar with each other, so in the end, he could only nod helplessly. 

As soon as Liu Rugong saw Lin Rufei nod, he immediately smiled: “Since we are friends, then at my big wedding, have you thought about what to give me?”

So he was waiting for him here. Lin Rufei cried and laughed, thinking that this Liu family’s son was really interesting. Just to get a bridal gift, he went about it in such a roundabout way. As he was about to speak, Liu Rugong added, “I don’t want to bother Lin gongzi to prepare a gift for me. How about this, will Lin gongzi grant me a small wish as a gift for my wedding?”

Sure enough, it came. Lin Rufei asked, “What wish?”

Liu Rugong heavily pressed Luo Shen on the side of his waist and said seriously, “To compete with me with swords.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “With Luo Shen?”

Liu Rugong responded, “Naturally!”

Lin Rufei slightly hesitated, “But you just got married. Won’t it be a bit inappropriate……for me to fight with your bride………?”

Liu Rugong’s expression froze. He was choked half-dead by Lin Rufei’s words. Gu Xuandu, who hadn’t spoken at all, could not hold back his laughter next to him. He actually saw his own shadow in this glaring expression of Liu Rugong’s. It had to be said that when this Lin family’s little gongzi deliberately acted mischievously, it was really difficult for people to fight back.

Luckily, this Liu Rugong was not an ordinary person. After a moment of silence, he reached out with a big grin and gave Lin Rufei a pat on the shoulder: “We are now considered brothers, what’s the point in talking about this. Your sister-in-law is generous and certainly won’t mind——”

Lin Rufei was speechless.

Only after he managed to get a big gift from Lin Rufei did Liu Rugong call back his Liaoshan and energetically walk away. Lin Rufei stared at his back silently for a long time and only after a while did he let out a sigh, “How are we supposed to compete?”

Gu Xuandu mused, “Yes, we have to be careful.” He glanced at Lin Rufei, “Don’t kill him with one swing.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

In recent days, Gu Xuandu had guided him in sword practice behind Fu Hua and Yu Rui’s back. But Lin Rufei’s bottom line was there. His physical condition was poor and his progress was extremely slow. Fortunately, he was able to barely lead the sword Qi onto Gu Yu. Although there was no suitable place to test it, in the end, he was much stronger than before. Gu Xuandu was not nervous about the competition between Lin Rufei and Liu Rugong and urged Lin Rufei to try the golden silk pastry[1] sold on the street, saying that it looked very delicious.

Lin Rufei then bought two, one for Gu Xuandu and one for himself. They ate while they headed back. 

When he went back, he happened to see Fu Hua coming out of the pharmacy next to the inn, looking slightly nervous. He wanted to go up and ask her a question, but he suddenly remembered what he had overheard during the day, so he stopped in his tracks and did not go over. He simply sighed deeply.

Most likely this medicine was bought for him. After all, his self-talking problem was getting more and more serious. As Lin Rufei thought about this matter, he worriedly looked at a certain senior who had no self-awareness at his side and let out a sorrowful sigh.  

Gu Xuandu didn’t notice the correlation he had with Fu Hua entering the pharmacy and himself. He was nibbling on the golden silk pastry with joy. The pastry was fresh out of the pan and had a thin layer of white sugar sprinkled on top. It was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and the sweetness was also just right, very delicious. When he saw Lin Rufei looking at him, he smiled brightly, “It’s been some time since I ate this and the taste actually hasn’t changed much.”

Lin Rufei didn’t utter a word and continued to nibble together with Gu Xuandu.

In the evening, Fu Hua really brought the medicinal soup, but she did not dare tell what this medicine was used for. She was probably afraid that she would increase the psychological burden of her gongzi and only said that the medicine had a calming effect. If he wasn’t able to have a good night’s sleep, drinking it may be useful. 

Lin Rufei knew she was worried about him, so he obediently answered yes. However, when Fu Hua went out, he took advantage, turned around, and dumped it into the potted plant next to the window.

Gu Xuandu even wondered why the medicine was poured out.

Lin Rufei sighed: “I’m afraid that if I drink it, I really won’t see you.”

Gu Xuandu: “Hmm?”

Lin Rufei said: “This is the medicine for the bewitched.” 

Only then did Gu Xuandu remember the daytime conversation the maids had and was speechless for a while.

It was getting late and another night passed by. Lin Rufei still didn’t feel much sleepiness and he was really bored. He opened the window and sat by the bed to watch the people walking on the street to relieve his boredom.

The city of Gusu was not lonely at night. The streets were hung with red lanterns and the flow of people was endless. At first glance, it seemed to be more lively than during the daytime. Lin Rufei’s eyesight was much better than before and he could clearly see every interesting detail on the street.

A man had a falling out with his beloved girlfriend. They had found a quiet place at the end of the alley as he was explaining something with a sad face. However, the girl was angry, so how could she have the heart listen? She was pouting and wiping away her tears. The man didn’t know what else to do. He pondered while scratching his head then he suddenly turned around and left. The girl looked at his back and cried out directly, but the man reappeared in the alley again after a short while and was holding a golden candy in his hand. A few strokes and the girl’s charm was drawn. He did not know what to say and just clumsily stuffed the candy into her mouth. The girl ate the candy and finally turned grief into happiness while glaring at the man with teary eyes and a pout. 

And there was also a child standing in front of the candied hawthorn stand. His feet didn’t move and he had saliva hanging at the corner of his mouth. The child’s mother could not pull him away no matter what. Finally, she reached out and wrung his ears. The child started to cry. His sobs were extremely miserable that he decided to sit on the floor and let his cries out. His mother wasn’t able to pull him away, so in the end, she could only helplessly pull out a few silver money and bought a stick of candied hawthorn to coax the child away. 

The city was more lively than Kunlun and not by a little bit. There were all kinds of things in the world and human emotions fluctuated[2] as they all entered the eyes of Lin Rufei. As he watched, his lips curved into a smile and the pink cherry blossom in his eye also appeared.

“Hey, isn’t that Liu Rugong.” Gu Xuandu suddenly spoke out.

“Where?” Lin Rufei asked.

Gu Xuandu pointed to the distance and Lin Rufei looked in the direction he pointed. He saw Liu Rugong carrying a jug of wine and sitting on the top of a tall building in the distance. That was the highest location in Gusu City and most likely the view was good. Just behind him, seemed to stand a young woman. The woman had on a green veil and was silently standing. Although he wasn’t able to clearly see her face, he could vaguely see her extraordinary posture.

Liu Rugong was drinking wine. Compared to his usually open and hostile appearance, it seemed to be a bit more lonely. The city was decorated with red colors for him, but he seemed to have nothing to do with this liveliness and was just like a passerby passing through the place and drinking wine.

Lin Rufei looked at him for a long time before he softly said, “That must be a jug of good wine.”

“Mnn.” Gu Xuandu muttered, “It should be a jug of good wine.”

Liu Rugong drank for half of the night. The bright moon was high in the sky before he finally got up and left. During that time, the woman in green stood behind him, quietly accompanying him, yet there was no conversation between the two. Even when he left, he did not look back at her once. 

Lin Rufei saw Liu Rugong leave, but he still did not feel any sleepiness. When the street gradually quieted down, most people have entered a sweet dream. The watchman struck his baton three times and the sound of “the air is dry, beware of fire,” slowly rang throughout Gusu city. 

“Still not sleepy?” Gu Xuandu asked.

“Not sleepy.” Lin Rufei sighed, “I can’t seem to fall asleep.” 

Gu Xuandu thought for a moment, “Want to go there and take a look?” He pointed to the spot where Liu Rugong had just left.

Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment. Thinking that he wouldn’t be able to sleep anyway, he nodded his head.

When Gu Xuandu saw that he was willing, he gently grabbed his arm. Lin Rufei felt his body lighten as he was carried into mid-air by Gu Xuandu. Gu Yu, that was hanging on his waist, seemed to feel something and flew out from its scabbard before stopping at his feet. Lin Rufei then stepped onto Gu Yu and with Gu Xuandu’s guidance, they landed on the high building where Liu Rugong was drinking wine

The scenery here was indeed unique and beautiful.

If you gazed up and looked afar, you would be able to have a bird’s eye view of the entire Gusu City. Green bricks and white tile low houses; pink walls and vermillion gates of rich and noble families were on both sides of the street placed neatly like a chessboard. A clear river ran through the center of the city all the way to the south. The street lights had gone out and the moonlight was like a waterfall as white frost covered the city.

The night wind was a bit strong and from out of nowhere, Gu Xuandu pulled out a cloak and draped it over Lin Rufei’s shoulders. He sat beside Lin Rufei and his tone was slightly emotional, saying that he did not expect the scenery of this Gusu city to be so different from a hundred years ago.

Lin Rufei asked, “You came here a hundred years ago?”

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Lin Rufei continued, “What was the difference between Gusu then and now?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “At that time, there was just a truce between the human and demon realms. Gusu City was in a mess and there wasn’t even a small store selling wine. I was addicted to wine and really craved wine, so I asked a friend to brew a few jars for me by hand. The wine wasn’t fully fermented yet and had only just emitted the smell of wine, but I secretly dug it out and drank most of it.” He said this with a gentle smile at the corners of his eyes and eyebrows.

Lin Rufei asked, “That old friend of yours didn’t get mad at you when he found out?”

“Later, when the battlefield shifted, we left the area and he forgot about it.” Gu Xuandu looked at Lin Rufei and said lowly, “But even if he found out, he wouldn’t be angry with me, right?”

Lin Rufei muttered, “Is that so, then he must be very good to you.”

“Yes, very good to me.” Gu Xuandu replied in a low voice, “I was raised by him and he left me with the best of everything.”

Lin Rufei wanted to ask him where his old friend was now, but then thought, this was a hundred years ago, perhaps it would be sad to ask so he softly mumbled, “That’s nice.”

Gu Xuandu was silent. He just looked at Lin Rufei and smiled. The smile hid some gloom that Lin Rufei couldn’t understand but it was soon concealed into the boundless night.

Unknowingly, the sky was flooded with morning light and the night had already passed. When Lin Rufei heard the rooster crowing, he finally felt some sleepiness. When Gu Xuandu saw this, he brought him back to the room.

Lying on the bed, Lin Rufei thought about the beauty of last night and drifted off into a deep sleep. Gu Xuandu sat beside him and looked at his sleeping face. Suddenly, he leaned down and dropped a soft kiss on his closed eyelashes. Lin Rufei was unaware of this and continued to sleep soundly.

Because of the sleepless night last night, Lin Rufei slept until the afternoon before he finally decided to get up. When he got up, he saw that there was still hot food on the table, which he thought was prepared by Fu Hua and Yu Rui. He sat up from the bed, yawned lazily, and planned to go out to ask the Xiao Er to prepare some hot water to wash up. However, he saw Fu Hua and Yu Rui standing at the door looking anxious. When they saw him come out they were surprised and called out “young master.”

“Young master, you scared me to death.” Yu Rui cried, “If you didn’t wake up, we were going to call the doctor to come.”

“Alas, the doctor here is really unreliable. How can you sleep for so long after taking that medicine.” Fu Hua anxiously said, “It is better to send a message back and let Wan Yao prescribe medicine.”

When Lin Rufei saw that the two misunderstood, he busily tried to explain that he slept too late last night and that the medicine had nothing to do with it.

Who knew that when Fu Hua heard this, she became angrier. She said that the medicine was supposed to calm the mind and it turned out that he couldn’t sleep at all after drinking it!

Lin Rufei didn’t dare say that he actually didn’t drink the medicine, so he had to stand still and listen to the maids’ complaints. Good thing the two of them didn’t talk for long before they turned around and prepared hot water for Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei hurried back to the room and told Gu Xuandu that he would never stay up late again.

Gu Xuandu listened with a soft smile and said, ‘don’t ruin your body by staying up late. Liu Rugong is still waiting for you to send gifts.’

At the mention of this gift, Lin Rufei immediately frowned: “How about we leave the congratulatory gift and just slip away. Anyways, he wouldn’t know.” 

Before Gu Xuandu could answer, there was a knock outside the door. Lin Rufei thought it was Fu Hua and Yu Rui so he said come in.  

Who knew that the one who pushed open the door was actually Liu Rugong, who murmured with a serious face: “Slip away. Lin gongzi, who wants to slip away?”

Lin Rufei: “……” How could you be so pervasive.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: We have a good enough relationship, right? I’m also getting married and I’m here to ask you for a big gift.

Lin Rufei: What do you want? Feel free to say.

Gu Xuandu:  Everything is ready for the wedding. I’m just missing a bride, why don’t you come and fill in for it? 

Lin Rufei: …………

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

[1] Golden silk pastry. 

[2] meaning to flatter someone when they are in power, but to ignore them when they are out of power. 

Chapter 43: Pre-Wedding Gift

Liu Rugong was just in front of him so Lin Rufei naturally couldn’t say that it was him that wanted to slip away. As a result, he made a few casual remarks and passed them off. Luckily, Liu Rugong also did not look deeper into this matter, he just took out a big red invitation in his hand and handed it to Lin Rufei.

The invitation was like a hot potato, but Lin Rufei could only helplessly accept it.

Seeing that Lin Rufei had accepted the invitation, Liu Rugong knew he was going to get this gift. For a while, he was a little eager and the hand holding Luo Shen could not keep still. His hand looked very itchy and his expression was one that couldn’t wait to immediately pull Lin Rufei out to compete. 

“I am going to get married soon, I am afraid I will be busy for some days. I don’t know when Lin gongzi will be free so why don’t we set the date in advance.” Liu Rugong sat in front of Lin Rufei and asked for the wedding gift with a natural look.

Lin Rufei thought for a moment and replied frankly: “To be frank, Liu gongzi, I have not practiced swordplay before because I have been weak since young.”

Liu Rugong’s smile instantly faded and he looked at Lin Rufei with a blank expression, “What do you mean by that, Lin gongzi? Are you saying that someone like Wang Teng lost to someone who has never practiced with the sword?” He said coldly, “If you don’t consider me, Liu Rugong, as your friend then just say so, why do you need to make such excuses?” With a clang, he pulled out his Luo Shen and stared at Lin Rufei with cold eyes, “Since Lin gongzi doesn’t consider me as a friend, if I want to fight with Lin gongzi, then I don’t have to pick a date.”

It seemed that this fight had to be fought. In the end, Lin Rufei could only sigh, “Since Liu gongzi insists on this, then let’s set it for three days later.”

Liu Rugong’s gloomy look instantly faded. Smiling, he fished out a delicate paper bag from his pocket and placed it on the table, “Lin gongzi, don’t be angry with me, my personality is like this. If no one competes with me in a sword fight, I would rather die. This is my third sister’s dragon’s beard pastry[1], which is one of the best in Gusu City. Today, I have specially brought it for Lin gongzi to try, it will be considered as my apology to you.”

Liu Rugong had always acted openly and unscrupulously and it wasn’t easy for him to say soft words.

Lin Rufei didn’t touch the things on the table and called out to Fu Hua to send the guest away.

Fu Hua, who had been outside the room, heard the call and pushed the door in. Once she noticed that the atmosphere in the room was a bit strange, her heart suddenly thumped. Liu Rugong waved his hand indifferently, said goodbye, and turned around to leave. He was very delighted as he left. After Fu Hua sent him off, Lin Rufei was the only one left in the room.

Gu Xuandu asked him, “Not happy?”

Lin Rufei shook his head: “Not unhappy, just a little envious.”

Gu Xuandu asked, “Envious? Envious of Liu Rugong?”

Lin Rufei laughed, “If I had his talent, I probably would have developed this kind of uninhibited nature as well.” He picked up the paper bag on the table, opened it, and saw the dragon’s beard pastry inside. It must have just been made since it was still warm. He took out a piece and placed it in his mouth. The texture was soft and melted immediately once in his mouth as the rich aroma of soybean spread across his taste buds.

Lin Rufei thought it tasted good and handed one over to Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu was not polite and took a big bite, then asked, “Really not angry?”

Lin Rufei shook his head: “Indeed, I’m not angry, but I don’t want to look too good-tempered in front of Liu Rugong, so as not to ruin the name of the Lin family.” His siblings were all so proud. If they had met Liu Rugong’s approach, they would have fought with him on the spot—no, maybe they would have gladly agreed to the competition with Liu Rugong without him forcing them to.

It was a pity that the person Liu Rugong wanted to compete with was him.

“You can try it now too.” Gu Xuandu seemed to be very interested in this dragon’s beard pastry, one bite after another, he ate with great pleasure, “Anyway, this Liu Rugong is durable, even if your power is not well controlled, it is not so bad that it will kill him.”

Lin Rufei frowned: “But Gusu City has so many people if I don’t control my power, one swing……” Then it wouldn’t be as simple as splitting the north peak since the city had so many people. 

Gu Xuandu lazily answered: “Then choose a place far from Gusu.”

Lin Rufei mulled over this idea and felt that this was the only way to go.

There were still three days left before the sword competition and Lin Rufei had a temporary feeling of hugging the Buddha’s feet[2], but this kind of thing was not something that could be practiced in a short time. Although he could barely attach sword Qi to Gu Yu, he didn’t dare to do it again after a few attempts. Either there was no reaction after swinging or after a light swing, the wall in front would develop an exaggerated crack. Fortunately, there was no one in the room else he would cost a human’s life. Even the suffering innkeeper didn’t dare to cause trouble for Lin Rufei. Finally, Lin Rufei let Fu Hua send more silver as compensation.

So for three days, he continued to try. Tomorrow was just around the corner and it would soon be the day of the competition with Liu Rugong. Lin Rufei thought that this was really unreliable. If he really went on, either he was going to get cleave by Liu Rugong or he was going to cleave Liu Rugong, there was no third possibility.

Gu Xuandu had nothing to do, so he gave Lin Rufei a bad idea. He said that when the sword fight started; first, talk to Liu Rugong and before he could react, make the first move, then this matter would end right there. Liu Rugong was the one who asked for it anyway and even if it killed him, it wouldn’t be easy for the Liu family to cause trouble for him. 

Lin Rufei made a gesture of admiration to Gu Xuandu: “When senior competed with others, do you do this often?”

Gu Xuandu thought for a moment and replied frankly that he really did. However, at that time he was still young, so he didn’t care about shame. For the sake of his small life, he didn’t have the time to think about the extras. Unlike later, when his reputation grew, he didn’t have the nerve to do it even though he thought of it in his heart. 

Lin Rufei immediately admired Gu Xuandu to the point of adulation.

“Alas, Xiao Jiu, you are just too soft-hearted.” Gu Xuandu sighed, “This matter of the sword competition is originally a matter of life and death. However, you can rest assured. As long as I am here, I will ensure that you can swing the sword.” Anyway, the one who was going to die was not Lin Rufei, so he didn’t have to worry in the slightest.

Lin Rufei didn’t continue bothering with him. He yawned and then got onto the bed to sleep.

The sword practice during the daytime made him absolutely tired so this sleep made Lin Rufei feel very steady. When he got up in the morning, he accidentally saw Fu Hua and Yu Rui’s faces full of worry. Because he was afraid of making his maids worry, Lin Rufei also did not say that he was going to a sword competition with Liu Rugong. Seeing the two of them like this, he felt quite strange in his heart. 

“What are the two of them worried about?” Lin Rufei asked Gu Xuandu.

Gu Xuandu’s eyes contained a deep smile: “They’re most likely thinking that their gongzi’s self-talking hysteria has become more serious.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

Gu Xuandu said: “Probably already sent a few letters to Wan Yao urging him to prescribe medicine?”

Lin Rufei sighed quietly for a long time before saying, “Let them be.”

The agreed place for the sword fight with Liu Rugong was originally inside the Liu residence. However, Lin Rufei was really worried that he couldn’t control the sword Qi and would hurt innocent people, so he told Liu Rugong to change the place to the outskirts of the city so it wouldn’t be easy to hurt people.

Liu Rugong didn’t care where they fought, he just needed Lin Rufei to be willing to fight with him and that was enough.

Today, the weather was very clear. The hot sun roasted the earth and the hot Summer heat was transpiring as it baked out the noisy cicadas.

Although Lin Rufei had a low body temperature, he quite liked Summer. Seeing that his and Liu Rugong’s appointment time was almost here, he went to the street and bought a mung bean soup[3] to cool off from the Summer heat. While drinking, he slowly wandered out of Gusu City.

The time they agreed on was in the late afternoon, when the weather was at its hottest. Lin Rufei also did not have an umbrella with him so when he arrived outside the city in the hot sun, his forehead already had a layer of thin sweat.

Of course, compared to him, Liu Rugong appeared to be more wretched. He was obviously hot and had picked up a lotus leaf to use as a hat out of nowhere. He was squatting under the shade of a tree and his hand continuously fanned himself. His sleeves were also pulled up to his arm, like a farmer just out of the field, and there was no longer that dashing appearance he usually bore. 

When Liu Rugong saw Lin Rufei coming from afar, he revealed a look of impatience. He stood up and called out to Lin gongzi, but his eyes soon fell onto the mung bean soup in Lin Rufei’s hand.

This mung bean soup was placed in a lotus leaves sewn bowl and chilled with well water, giving off a refreshing smell. Lin Rufei also noticed Liu Rugong’s eager eyes, but he was not moved. He relentlessly drank the mung bean soup then smiled and called out to Liu gongzi.

Liu Rugong clenched his teeth and reached out to draw his sword. Luo Shen was then unsheathed and its blade was like a silver light as it emitted a cold killing intent: “Lin gongzi, draw your sword.”

Lin Rufei replied yes with a serious face. He then reached his hand into his dimensional ring and a moment later, he pulled out a black wooden shield from it—this was the perfect method he had thought about all night yesterday.

For a moment, Liu Rugong even thought he was hallucinating. He stared at the wooden shield for a long time to make sure he was not mistaken and that he didn’t mistake a sword blade as a shield. He then let out a hiss, “Lin gongzi, what is that thing you’re holding?”

Lin Rufei introduced, “A wooden shield.”

Liu Rugong: “What’s so special about this shield? Oh, I know, is it because it has a sword blade inserted inside?!”

He had seen such a weapon before, it was a bit special but it did exist.

But who knew that the little gongzi of the Lin family standing opposite him would shake his head very frankly: “No blade inserted.”

Liu Rugong: “……”

Lin Rufei said, “I just bought it off the street. It was the kind that cost one tael of silver, oh. The shopkeeper also gave it to me for ten copper coins cheaper.”

Liu Rugong’s hot and sweaty handsome face instantly distorted and he stared fiercely at Lin Rufei. After making sure he wasn’t joking, all his anger turned into heavy killing intent: “Lin gongzi, are you looking down on me, Liu Rugong?”

Lin Rufei shook his head, “Of course not.”

Liu Rugong asked, “Then why won’t you draw your sword?!”

Lin Rufei muttered in his heart that it was because he wasn’t very skilled, but his face was still calm and he said, “I’ll draw my sword when you break my shield.”

Liu Rugong was furious, he had never receive such an insult in his life before. He became famous when he was a teenager and was also the second son of the Liu family. None of the times when he was in a sword fight, did he see his opponent pull out a wooden shield or deliberately reiterated that it was one that cost one tael of silver—

Exactly how much did he(LRF) look down on him(LRG)?!

Although in Lin Rufei’s heart, he didn’t have this intention, it seemed that Liu Rugong would not listen to his explanation. Under the helplessness, he gently smashed his mouth together and quietly recalled the delicious mung bean soup just now. He was thinking that he should’ve saved a sip for Liu Rugong, at least to let him take some heat off……

Liu Rugong was already angry to the point of being red-eyed. The Luo Shen in his hand also surfaced a layer of green sword intent, like a single flame attached to the snow-white sword blade. He held the blade diagonally, stepped forward, and swung his first move at Lin Rufei.

The sword Qi was majestic and it was mixed with a strong killing intent as it aimed at his face. The soil under his feet was split into dust as a shocking crack formed. Liu Rugong’s figure began to become distorted and he didn’t know if it was because of the scorching heat or the green flame-like sword Qi on Luo Shen.

Lin Rufei raised the plain wooden shield in his hand.

Luo Shen and the wooden shield collided, creating a strong wind that shook Lin Rufei’s sleeves. However, his feet were as steady as a mountain and he resisted the blow without retreating half a step. The wooden shield in his hand actually scattered off the sword Qi, like a perfect white barrier, blocking Luo Shen on the other side along with the green flame.

Liu Rugong revealed a stunned look, but soon, this stunned look turned into one of excitement, like he had finally met his rival. He hissed and Luo Shen carried him into mid-air. Then like a falling star, he headed towards Lin Rufei for his second move.

Lin Rufei still did not move.

The second move struck against the wooden shield, but it still did not break it. The white sword intent formed into a barrier, as if it had become an unbreakable armor and Liu Rugong’s strike was just like scratching an itch. 

Liu Rugong didn’t mind at all. One strike, two strikes, three strikes, four strikes—his speed was getting faster and faster and his body was gradually turning into a shadow. Originally, Luo Shen only had one handle, but now he was able to wield the appearance of a sword rain in the sky. 

The trees around Lin Rufei were like waves of wheat blown down by the gale as it toppled over and even the city gate in the distance was not spared.

The white sword Qi on top of the wooden shield was gradually fading with the continuous consumption from Liu Rugong. Seeing this scene, Luo Shen’s green flame grew bigger and Liu Rugong’s red eyes had an excitement that was about to become concrete—he didn’t believe that there was a shield that couldn’t be broken by Luo Shen, especially this mediocre shield in front of him that only cost one tael of silver. 

The white sword Qi was finally about to dissipate and Liu Rugong called out Lin Rufei’s name.

Lin Rufei held the wooden shield while standing in place. His expression held no sadness or joy and he was like another person compared to his ordinary self. He felt the green flame in front of him, the one that kept eroding the sword intent inside him, had a trace of familiarity……as if he had encountered such a severe sword intent before, only that sword intent was a hundred times more ferocious than this one.

When Liu Rugong caught a glimpse of Lin Rufei’s expression, his face showed hatred. He found out that Lin Rufei, under his own fierce attack, was actually lost in thought and that his(LRF) gaze seemed to have passed through his(LRG) body, looking into the distant nothingness.

“Lin Rufei!” Liu Rugong felt an unprecedented insult and roared, “What are you looking at?! The one who is competing with you is me!”

Another blow and the white sword blade finally made a crisp sound. However, before Liu Rugong could show his joy, he saw Lin Rufei, who was standing still, raise his hand and waved the wooden shield he was holding.

A huge force came abruptly and before Liu Rugong could react, it smashed heavily upon his body. He felt a sharp pain in his chest and then he flew out like a kite with a broken string. Before he flew out, in his trance, he saw countless sharp sword blades hanging around Lin Rufei. And Lin Rufei was standing indifferently amid the sword rain with eyes as cold as frost, not like a mortal.

It turned out that Lin Rufei didn’t even need to draw his sword in order to deal with him…….Before fainting, that was the only thought that remained on Liu Rugong’s mind.

When Liu Rugong fainted, the manic green flame sword Qi on Luo Shen also subsided. Not much was worn during the Summer, coupled with the fact that Lin Rufei didn’t understand how to use sword Qi to protect, in the end, his clothes were all tattered from the fight. Not only were the sleeves gone, but he also revealed a pale waistline. The long hair that had been neatly tied up was also messily scattered over his shoulders. With that pale face, if one only looked at appearance alone, one might think that the person who lost the competition was Lin Rufei.

“It’s over?” Lin Rufei looked at Gu Xuandu. He did not expect it to go so well.

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

“Where is Liu Rugong?” Lin Rufei asked.

“He’s lying over there, he was knocked out by you.” Gu Xuandu looked at Lin Rufei’s eyes which held a little helplessness. Others swordsmen were using the sword, but the one in his family, who relied on the natural sword Qi in his body, was able to use the shield more and more smoothly. 

Lin Rufei let out an “oh.” After a sigh of relief, the wooden shield went back into his ring. He walked forward some distance before seeing Liu Rugong, who had fainted, lying on the ground.  But even though he had fainted, he did not let go of the Luo Shen in his hand. 

Lin Rufei questioned, “Is he okay?”

Gu Xuandu replied, “It should only be a superficial injury, nothing serious.” Those that were too hard, were easily broken. Liu Rugong attacked so fiercely and he also suffered the loss. If he took his time, Lin Rufei might not be the one to win in the end. But Liu Rugong’s nature was obviously not the kind of person who worked slowly and carefully.

Lin Rufei squatted down halfway and probed his nostrils to make sure he was okay before finally breathing a sigh of relief. He looked at the tattered clothes on his body and muttered in distress: “I forgot to bring clothes out. If I walk back like this, will Fu Hua and Yu Rui misunderstand anything?”

Gu Xuandu then thought of Lin Rufei’s two maids, who were already too worried to sleep, and said, “I guess you won’t be sleeping tonight either.”

(t/n: I think this means that his maids will scold him all night long and not something inappropriate /////^/////) 

Lin Rufei thought for a moment and silently moved his gaze to the unconscious Liu Rugong.

Gu Xuandu had a feeling, “What are you going to do?”

Lin Rufei responded, “Liu Rugong said that we are friends, right?”

Gu Xuandu raised his eyebrows.

Lin Rufei spoke forcefully with conviction, “Since we are friends, it’s only right to help out a little. Besides, he also accepted my gift money——”

Gu Xuandu immediately understood Lin Rufei’s meaning as he laughed and cried: “You……”

Lin Rufei was already happily reaching out towards Liu Rugong. He intended to strip off his clothes and make do with it. After all, if he walked back to the inn in tattered clothes and bumped into Fu Hua and Yu Rui, the already anxious and sleepless maids would probably become more anxious. 

Lin Rufei then immersed himself into seriously unbuttoning Liu Rugong outfit, but Luo Shen, that was being held in Liu Rugong’s hand, suddenly emitted a puff of green smoke and it was soon followed by a woman’s stern rebuke: “Lin gongzi, what are you trying to do to Rugong?!”

Lin Rufei was startled. He looked up and noticed that it was the woman in green who had stood behind Liu Rugong on the roof that day. She was extremely beautiful. With her bright eyes and white teeth, she was as pretty as the Autumn moon. However, at this moment, she looked at Lin Rufei with cold eyebrows and her eyes were full of condemnation.

“Luo Shen?” Lin Rufei stared in surprise, “You are Luo Shen’s sword spirit?!”

The woman disdained: “What does it matter to you!”

Lin Rufei sized her up and sighed, “I thought this Liu Rugong was a sword fool, but it turns out that he was so willful because he had a beauty with him.”

The woman’s cheeks reddened slightly and she “hmphed” lightly, “Even if you praise me so much, I won’t allow you to misbehave with him!”

Lin Rufei exclaimed in disbelief, “Misbehave with him? How is this misbehaving?” He pulled on his own clothes aggressively and continued, “He was the one who wanted to find me to compete. He even turned my clothes to tatters so I can’t return in this one, right?”

Luo Shen was at a loss for words.

As Lin Rufei continued to speak, his tone grew with righteousness: “Besides, I treated him as a friend, would he even refuse to help me with this?!”

Luo Shen was speechless. She could only stare at the pair of round almond eyes[4] and bite her lower lip. Finally, she squeezed out a sentence: “Then……then you can’t take off the pants.”

Lin Rufei waved his hand: “No worries, my pants are fine.”

So under the watchful eyes of Luo Shen and Gu Xuandu, Lin Rufei happily stripped Liu Rugong’s upper body naked and replaced it with his clothes. This Liu Rugong was a bit more muscular than Lin Rufei so the clothes were also slightly larger. But he was just making do with it anyway. However, Gu Xuandu sighed quietly on the side and said he would remember to prepare a new outfit for him before Lin Rufei fought.

The weather was too hot, Lin Rufei pulled Liu Rugong into the shade and slipped away first. He didn’t want to wait for Liu Rugong to wake up and ask him for his clothes back.

Luo Shen felt a bit dazed after Lin Rufei’s actions. She was most likely thinking that this Jianghu was scary. Losing a fight wasn’t enough, even clothes weren’t allowed to stay. 

Lin Rufei happily headed back to Gusu City and bought another bowl of mung bean soup. He talked to Gu Xuandu about Luo Shen and Liu Rugong. Now that he had seen such a beautiful Luo Shen, Liu Rugong’s marriage became logical and natural. However, Gu Xuandu’s expression was strange even when they arrived at the inn. When Lin Rufei asked about it, he then replied, “Logically speaking, ordinary people can’t see the sword spirit.”

Lin Rufei: “Ah? What do you mean?”

Gu Xuandu said, “I mean that Liu Rugong shouldn’t be able to see Luo Shen.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Then how was I able to see?” 

Gu Xuandu sighed, “You are different, you……have a raging sword intent within yourself. You are not an ordinary person.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “What kind of person is that?”

Gu Xuandu thought about it and squeezed out two words: “Sword person[5]?”

Lin Rufei: “……” He always felt that something didn’t seem right.

Gu Xuandu also noticed that these words sounded strange and the two of them stared at each other silently for quite some time before he finally whispered: “No, I did not curse at you.”

Lin Rufei muttered quietly, “I believed it.”

Gu Xuandu’s expression was helpless.

After a while, Lin Rufei asked again, “But aren’t you also able to see?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “I’m not a human being either.”

Lin Rufei: “……” The conversation between the two of them felt like it was getting stranger and stranger.

“Do you remember that night? Liu Rugong wasn’t able to see Luo Shen.” Even Gu Xuandu felt that this did not make sense, “But if he couldn’t see Luo Shen, then why did he stubbornly want to marry it?”

Lin Rufei sipped his mung bean soup and shook his head lazily, “I don’t know.” He wasn’t able to make sense of it anyway. 

What was logical, became illogical once again when Gu Xuandu had said so. In the end, Lin Rufei guessed that maybe Liu Rugong had his own method to see Luo Shen.

But Gu Xuandu couldn’t stop shaking his head: “Such methods are too few. Even I only know one or two, how would Liu Rugong know?”

The two of them discussed their doubts about this matter until the night fell when Lin Rufei, who was ready to go to bed, heard a gentle knock on the window. Gu Xuandu helped him open the window and saw Luo Shen floating outside, looking at him with a nervous face.

Before Lin Rufei could ask, Luo Shen said with difficulty, “Lin gongzi, can you please do me a favor?”

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: I really didn’t intend on cursing at you.

Lin Rufei: Really?

Gu Xuandu: We call people who are united with swords, sword people[5] for short.

Lin Rufei: You didn’t get beaten up for calling people that?

Gu Xuandu: They can’t beat me anyway.

Lin Rufei: …… Fine.

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

[1] Not to be confused with Dragon’s beard candy (DBC is more white). 
[2] to profess devotion only when in trouble; panic measures in place of timely preparation. 
[3] Mung bean soup. 
[4] Almond eyes. 
[5] So some explanation here for why Lin Rufei thought he was cursing at him; the word for sword people/person “剑人” has the same pronunciation as “贱人” which means sl*t or bi** [they both have the same pinyin just different characters] ergo, Lin Rufei thought he was being cursed at XD 

Chapter 44: Luo Shen, Luo Shen

Lin Rufei looked at Luo Shen and his expression froze. He had almost called out a “sister-in-law,” but fortunately, in the end, it swirled around in his mouth a few times before he swallowed it back down: “Ms. Luo Shen, come in to talk.”

Luo Shen floated in and she also didn’t forget to politely close the window. 

“I don’t know what kind of favor Ms. Luo Shen wants me to do?” Lin Rufei asked.

Luo Shen hesitated for a moment. Her eyes were half-lidded and she said softly: “Lin gongzi, do you know that in a few days Rugong is getting married?”

Lin Rufei nodded his head, indicating that he did know. No, to be precise, there were only a few people in this Gusu city who didn’t know that Liu Rugong was getting married. Luo Shen bit her lower lip, showing a bit of shyness. She looked a bit embarrassed and hesitated for a long time before speaking out the words in her mouth: “Lin gongzi, to be honest……Rugong has not seen this appearance of mine before.”

Lin Rufei froze.

“I am a sword blade specially created for him. I have been accompanying him since he was six years old all the way until now.” Luo Shen smiled, “He has treated me extremely well, but even so I never thought that he would……want to take a sword as his wife.”

When she said this, Luo Shen’s face was already blushing and she continued: “No one has ever seen me before, so I didn’t have the idea to meet with him. However, I didn’t expect Lin gongzi to be able to see me.”

When Lin Rufei heard Luo Shen’s words, he secretly murmured in his heart, “You’re totally right, I was called a sword person by Gu Xuandu, how could I not be more special than normal people?”

But on the surface he could not say such words out loud, so he still looked like he was listening quietly and asked in a warm voice: “Then the reason Ms. Luo Shen came here to find me, is that you want me to tell Liu gongzi about your existence?”

Luo Shen nodded and she said in a low voice: “I know, I know that some people will laugh at Rugong for going off the rails and marrying a sword……but……at least I want him to know…..” know that it was not just a sword and that she was accompanying him.

Gu Xuandu, who had been sitting next to him watching the show, suddenly came up with a sentence: “Why bother, I have a way to make Liu Rugong see Luo Shen.”

Lin Rufei asked curiously, “Really?”

“Naturally.” Gu Xuandu said, “But……”

Lin Rufei asked, “But what?”

Gu Xuandu smiled faintly, “It’s nothing.” He obviously remembered something but did not say it.

Lin Rufei had long been accustomed to Gu Xuandu’s profound and inscrutable appearance and when he did not say anything, he also didn’t bother to ask.

Luo Shen looked bewildered, “Lin gongzi, what did you say?” She was unable to see Gu Xuandu, so she thought Lin Rufei was talking to himself.

Lin Rufei turned his head to look at her, “Luo Shen, I have a way to make Rugong see you, do you want to see him?”

Luo Shen froze for a moment and then a look of surprise decorated her face: “Lin gongzi, are you serious?”

Lin Rufei nodded his head.

Luo Shen muttered, “That would naturally be the best—” She murmured with great excitement, “I’ve always wanted to meet Rugong, but he can’t see me. If I could, if I could…” as she said this, she was already in tears.

“Then what should I do?” After Luo Shen finished her excitement, she was busy asking Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei looked at Gu Xuandu, who then told her to go back and wait for a few days. He needed to prepare some things and would contact her when the time came. After Luo Shen received Lin Rufei’s promise, she happily turned around and left. She opened the window and floated away, as if she was really that captivating Luo Shen.

(t/n: In case you guys forgot, it’s referring to the Goddess that she was named after uwu)

Lin Rufei turned his head and looked at Gu Xuandu: “What do you need to prepare?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Go buy some cinnabar and talisman paper and draw a talisman according to the pattern I tell you.”

Lin Rufei doubted, “That simple?”

Gu Xuandu smiled, “It is indeed simple to draw this talisman, but there is one more thing that needs to be prepared in order to see the sword spirit.”

Lin Rufei asked, “What is it?”

Gu Xuandu responded, “A person who can see the sword spirit.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

According to Gu Xuandu, there were only one in ten thousand people who could see the sword spirit, so obviously, this method was not commonly used. If not for Lin Rufei here, then most likely that Liu Rugong and Luo Shen would not be able to see each other even until they die.

A gentleman was always ready to help others attain their goals. Furthermore, this was not too much trouble thus Lin Rufei decided to help Luo Shen.

The next day, Lin Rufei intended to go out to buy some talisman paper. Coincidentally, he met Fu Hua and Yu Rui squatting in the corridor, boiling medicine for him. When they noticed Lin Rufei, Fu Hua hurriedly collected her sad face and smiled, asking him where he was going.

Lin Rufei said he would go for a stroll on the street.

“Then young master remember to come back early.” Fu Hua urged, “Pharmacist Wan Yao sent some medicine down from Kunlun. I am boiling it, when the young master returns he’ll be just in time to drink a dose.” 

What else could Lin Rufei say, he could only nod his head and say yes.

He went to the door but heard Fu Hua lower her voice and murmuring to Yu Rui: “This medicine must be boiled more carefully. Young master’s hysteria has worsened again……he seems to have started talking to a third person.”

Lin Rufei: “……” How in the world was he going to explain clearly to Fu Hua and Yu Rui?

Gu Xuandu laughed out loud.

The two headed to the street and bought what Gu Xuandu wanted. He also bought the usual number of snacks and ate them with great relish. When passing by the roadside stalls, he just so happened to hear the vendors gossiping, saying that the Liu family’s son was really getting scary. Yesterday he even flew across Gusu City half-naked and was seen by many girls. He was going to get married, how could he still do such ridiculous things?

As the culprit, Lin Rufei did not dare to listen more and his feet could not help but pick up the pace.

Today, Gu Xuandu just focused on being happy. He was laughing back and forth and said that Xiao Jiu really had foresight. Fortunately, he stripped Liu Rugong’s clothes or the one walking back half-naked was the fourth son of the Kunlun Lin family. 

Lin Rufei made a look of innocence and said he had no choice. If there was always someone unlucky, it was better to die a friend than to die a poor man[1].

Back at the inn, Lin Rufei began to draw the talisman under Gu Xuandu’s guidance. 

It was his first time fiddling with this stuff and his drawing was crooked, almost like a ghost had drew the talisman.

When Yu Rui, who was carrying the decocted medicine, came in and saw the yellow paper and cinnabar on the floor, she almost dropped the medicine in fear, “Young master, what are you doing?”

Lin Rufei did not bother raising his head and replied with a sentence that Gu Xuandu often said: “Catching ghosts.”

Yu Rui: “……”

She silently put down the medicine, turned around, and rushed out. Before the door even closed, the sound of her frantic footsteps and frightened shouts could be heard from outside: “Sister Fu Hua, it’s not good. Gongzi is not hysterical, he’s obviously bewitched—drinking medicine seems to be useless, we should invite a Taoist priest!——”

Lin Rufei’s hand movement paused for a moment. When he paused his hand, the talisman was ruined, making it another fail. He thought that he should find an opportunity to explain to Fu Hua and Yu Rui, but how exactly should he explain it? Was he supposed to say that there was a big living person standing beside them that they couldn’t see? However, if he said that, wouldn’t that make him seem like he was really bewitched?…… 

The talisman was drawn for several days and finally, a working one was finished. At this time, Liu Rugong’s wedding was imminent and the Liu residence was awfully busy.

Lin Rufei met with Luo Shen again and the two set up an appointment with Liu Rugong, agreeing that it would be the night before the wedding. Luo Shen was overjoyed and was at a loss for words. She gave a big salute to Lin Rufei and thanked him repeatedly. Lin Rufei had a kind expression, like the Moon Elder[2] holding a red thread. He said that he would come to the house on that day and told Luo Shen to just wait.

So in accordance with their agreement, on the day before the wedding, Lin Rufei headed over to the Liu residence and with the help of the steward, he was able to successfully meet with Liu Rugong. He was lying on a soft couch eating iced grapes with a depressed look. This Liu family’s gongzi was indeed very good at enjoying. There were four or five beautiful maids with fans standing next to him, fanning him with docile looks. There were also a few pots of cooling ice in the corner of the room, making the whole room incomparably cool without a trace of heat.

When he saw Lin Rufei coming, he didn’t even raise his head, “Lin gongzi is finally willing to return my clothes?”

Lin Rufei walked straight to Liu Rugong and sat down in front of him, saying nonchalantly, “Then Liu gongzi must first compensate me for a set of clothes.”

When Liu Rugong heard this, he glared: “Lin gongzi, it’s not that I want to scold you, but if I lost then it’s my defeat. However, you should at least talk about the rules of Jianghu, what kind of hero strips people of their clothes?!”

Lin Rufei said: “This is why I left you with pants.” 

Liu Rugong: “……”

Lin Rufei continued: “Besides, you are not a maiden, so why are you fussing about?”

(t/n: the maiden here refers to a virgin)

Liu Rugong gritted his teeth, “If I don’t fuss then why did you take my clothes?!” When he returned yesterday, it caused him to receive a lot of frightened looks.

Lin Rufei said, “I’m still young and thin-skinned.” After saying that, he coughed twice. His thin shoulders couldn’t stop shaking and he looked like a frail sick beauty.

However, after this battle, Liu Rugong had long seen through Lin Rufei’s deceitful appearance. He was so angry that he almost directly drew his sword, but the worst part was that he had nothing to say to refute it because, in terms of age, he was indeed much older than Lin Rufei.

“Fine—” Liu Rugong decided not to continue to dwell on this topic with Lin Rufei, “Tomorrow I am going to have a big wedding. Lin gongzi’s early arrival isn’t because he wants to deliberately bicker with me right?” He waved his hand and the maids in the room retreated discreetly.

Lin Rufei responded, “Naturally not.”

Liu Rugong sat up from the soft couch and leaned back, looking at Lin Rufei with a tilted head: “Then what is the reason?”

Lin Rufei said, “I want you to meet your bride.”

Liu Rugong: “Hm?”

Lin Rufei didn’t say much. He and Luo Shen planned to give Liu Rugong a surprise so it would be meaningless to say too much. Thus Lin Rufei reached out his hand and smiled, “Can I borrow Liu gongzi’s Luo Shen for a while?”

Liu Rugong questioned, “What do you need Luo Shen for?”

Lin Rufei replied, “You will know later. Liu gongzi, don’t worry, I am here, I won’t run away with Luo Shen.”

It was an offensive thing to borrow someone’s sword, but Lin Rufei looked sincere and did not look like he was joking. Liu Rugong hesitated for a moment, but eventually took off the sword at his waist and handed it to Lin Rufei, wanting to see exactly what Lin Rufei was going to do. 

Lin Rufei carefully took Luo Shen. He was a little worried that he would not be able to hold Luo Shen, but when the sword fell into his hand, he did not feel that it was too heavy and his heart relaxed.

After receiving Luo Shen, Lin Rufei went behind the screen. Liu Rugong looked at Lin Rufei and did not stop him, but the interest in his gaze grew even stronger.

After walking behind the screen, Lin Rufei called out Luo Shen’s sword spirit and then took out the talisman he had drawn. He carefully affixed it to the hilt of Luo Shen’s sword and as soon as the talisman was affixed, Luo Shen’s body swung and the originally indistinct spiritual body actually became solid.

Luo Shen’s wish finally came true. She was so ecstatic that she couldn’t wait to go out immediately and give Liu Rugong a big surprise! Since Liu Rugong liked Luo Shen so much, he would most likely be very happy to see her. As Luo Shen thought this sourly and sweetly, she remembered that tomorrow was the day of their wedding……

Lin Rufei noticed Luo Shen’s smile and the corner of his mouth also hooked up. He thought about it and decided not to go out. He waved his hand at Luo Shen, signaling for her to go and surprise Liu Rugong.

Luo Shen nodded, grabbed the hem of her skirt, and flew out like a cheerful bird.

Liu Rugong, who had been sitting outside, froze. He didn’t understand how a woman could suddenly appear behind his own screen. Although she was extremely beautiful, the way she looked at him seemed wrong. Her eyes contained a kind of awe-inspiring fervor and even Liu Rugong couldn’t help but shrink his neck.

“Rugong!” Luo Shen called out sweetly.

“You are?” Liu Rugong frowned, “Have……we……met?”

Luo Shen mused, “Naturally, we have met.” Her face showed some girl-like shyness, “Guess who I am?”

Liu Rugong: “……” He was afraid that this person was a madwoman.

In the end, Luo Shen had been with Liu Rugong for so many years. When she saw his expression, she knew that he was a little upset, and did not dare keep him in suspense again. She murmured in a trembling voice: “It’s me, Rugong……I am Luo Shen.”

Liu Rugong’s expression immediately froze. He seemed to ponder what the words from the mouth of this self-acquainted woman in front of him meant. Obviously, every word was understandable, but how come when they were connected, it felt incomprehensible? What did it mean that she was Luo Shen, his Luo Shen was a sword, what did it have to do with the girl in front of him?

“I am Luo Shen’s sword spirit, Luo Shen is me.” Luo Shen did not see the color of surprise that should be on Liu Rugong’s face. She thought Liu Rugong couldn’t understand this great joy in the moment so she hurriedly explained, “I am formed from Luo Shen.”

Liu Rugong’s expressionless face finally reacted, “You? Are Luo Shen?”

“Yes.” Luo Shen responded, “I am the Luo Shen you want to marry.” She lowered her eyes and said in a warm voice, “Although you can’t see me, I know you must be able to feel my presence, so……that’s why you chose……” to marry me, right, Rugong? 

Liu Rugong still had no expression on his face. He slowly turned his head to look at the screen and called out: “Lin Rufei!”

Lin Rufei came out from behind the screen.

Liu Rugong pointed to the girl Luo Shen: “You turned Luo Shen into her?”

Lin Rufei nodded his head.

Liu Rugong asked, “Can she change back?”

Lin Rufei deliberately shook his head.

Liu Rugong suddenly got up and left, shocking the room full of people as their jaws dropped. Luo Shen reacted first and grabbed Liu Rugong, screaming, “Liu Rugong, where are you going!”

Liu Rugong replied expressionlessly, “Who are you?”

Luo Shen: “……”

Liu Rugong continued, “My Luo Shen, how can you have such a delicate look?”

Luo Shen: “……”

Liu Rugong: “Even if you become a sword spirit, you should be a heroic woman or a long-bearded man!”

Luo Shen: “……”

Liu Rugong continued to ridicule: “You have such a weak little body, I’m afraid you can’t even carry a sword scabbard.”

The room was silent and Lin Rufei, who was also small in stature, finally stood up and glared at Liu Rugong: “Liu Rugong, when will your snobby nature change?” He thought that Luo Shen would cry when she was scolded by Liu Rugong, but who knew that the pitiful expression on Luo Shen’s face was long gone. She looked at her master expressionlessly and that look, at first, actually looked a bit similar to Liu Rugong. Indeed the object would resemble its owner. 

Liu Rugong then remembered that there was another body in the room that was even thinner: “Lin gongzi, you are not the same……”

Lin Rufei gritted out: “You……”

Before he could finish his sentence, Luo Shen, who was holding onto Liu Rugong and refused to let go, asked quietly, “So in fact you were completely unaware of my existence?”

Liu Rugong sighed, “Why would I know?”

Luo Shen: “You just wanted to f**king marry a sword???”

Liu Rugong couldn’t make sense of her: “You should have known about this long ago—you were also the first to know.”

Luo Shen sneered: “Then did you ask me, this sword’s opinion?”

Liu Rugong: “……”

Luo Shen said, “If I were a long-bearded man, am I still expected to marry you?!”

This scene should have been sad. But for some reason, Lin Rufei, who was enjoying the show, saw a hint of comedy in it. He had to say that in some ways, Luo Shen and Liu Rugong were really too similar. When she found out that Liu Rugong actually just really wanted to marry a sword and was indifferent to her beautiful self, she instantly started criticizing Liu Rugong.

Liu Rugong said, “Then I don’t care. What a sword spirit looks like doesn’t matter to me. I just want Luo Shen.” He reached out his hand and gestured for Lin Rufei to give Luo Shen back to him.

Lin Rufei sighed and had to hand it over.

“There are thousands of beautiful women in the world, yet to me, they are all just a pair of skin. Since I dare to marry Luo Shen, it is for no other reason than this sword.” Seeing that Luo Shen was still there, Liu Rugong’s expression softened. However, his words were not very pleasing to the ear, “Everything has a spirit, so why do they all have to take on a human form.” He re-hung Luo Shen on the side of his waist and gave it a docile gentle stroke. It was a completely different attitude compared to the one he gave to this Luo Shen girl in front of him.

When Luo Shen heard Liu Rugong’s words, the unwillingness on her face surprisingly also dispersed. She looked at Liu Rugong and sighed lightly: “I thought you would be happy to see me.”

Liu Rugong murmured, “If you are really Luo Shen, then as long as you always accompany me, I will be happy.” He was born in the Liu family so naturally, he could not escape from the involvement of all things. Marrying Luo Shen was not an act of passion, he just wanted to tell everyone that the sword was the only thing in his heart.

Luo Shen suddenly reached out and cupped Liu Rugong’s face. She took advantage of Liu Rugong’s startled surprise, moved over, and dropped a tender kiss on his forehead. Her hand then reached for the sword at Liu Rugong’s waist and under Liu Rugong’s unsure gaze, tore off the talisman that Lin Rufei had affixed. The talisman could have kept Luo Shen’s form overnight, but now in Luo Shen’s opinion, it was no longer necessary.

Once the talisman fell, Luo Shen’s figure began to fade rapidly, but she sighed with relief and muttered: “There doesn’t seem to be any benefit in being a human, but fortunately I was able to touch you so it wasn’t regretful……since childhood, you obviously liked beautiful girls, but now you want me to turn into the appearance of a long-bearded man……Liu Rugong, you are really annoying……”

After the last sentence, Luo Shen disappeared in front of Liu Rugong.

Lin Rufei and Gu Xuandu both did not expect things to develop this way and the atmosphere in the room suddenly grew awkward.

Liu Rugong returned to the soft couch, sat up, and continued to eat his grapes without greeting Lin Rufei.

When Lin Rufei saw his appearance, he thought he was angry, so he stepped forward and was about to apologize. However, Liu Rugong waved his hand, indicating that Lin Rufei did not have to do so, “Thank you for your good intentions, Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei said, “Sorry, I acted on my own.”

Liu Rugong smiled and shook his head, seemingly not minding.

Lin Rufei then got up to say goodbye. However, when he walked to the door, he heard Liu Rugong say something.

He said, “People can’t always be too greedy.”

Lin Rufei’s footsteps paused.

Liu Rugong’s tone was lazy: “I am already very good now, any more, I’m afraid I can’t hold it. Lin gongzi, I won’t see you off.”

Lin Rufei headed out the door.

The sun had already set, but the Liu residence was lit up with lights. The servants were busy preparing for their second young master’s upcoming wedding tomorrow while the person in question was still in the room behind him, leisurely eating grapes and enjoying the bright moon.

Lin Rufei went all the way out of the Liu residence but he did not return to the inn. He casually found a stone step[3] on the roadside and sat down.

The moon was just right tonight. It was clear and cloudless and the sky was full of stars—it was a brilliant river of stars across the sky, absolutely beautiful.

Lin Rufei then looked up. Gu Xuandu stood next to him and suddenly said he wanted to eat chilled lotus seed soup[4].

Lin Rufei sighed, “I want to eat it too.”

Gu Xuandu muttered, “Unfortunately, the vendors have all closed their stalls.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Is Liu Rugong really unhappy?”

Gu Xuandu did not say anything.

Lin Rufei looked at him again, “I think he’s still happy.”

Gu Xuandu looked back: “Maybe.”

Lin Rufei felt that humans were really complicated animals. It was obviously a very simple thing, but they must make it so complicated. He propped up his chin and asked: “Senior, you have lived so long, have you ever been separated from your beloved person before?” 

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Lin Rufei questioned, “What is that feeling like?”

Gu Xuandu pointed to the stars in the sky and then pointed at himself, “I am here, he is there. I can’t find him nor can I touch him. I can only look at him from far away.” In the end, they were mortals. No matter how powerful the cultivation, they couldn’t touch the stars in the sky.

“Then what should be done?” Lin Rufei asked.

“What should be done?” Gu Xuandu repeated, “Either forget or go crazy.”

No matter how Lin Rufei looked at Gu Xuandu, he didn’t seem like a crazy person thus he thought that he probably forgot. However, who knew that he would let out a smile and mutter gently to Lin Rufei, “Unfortunately, even if I die, I can’t forget him.”

Lin Rufei listened and was somewhat confused[5]. Gu Xuandu also no longer elaborate on his words and urged Lin Rufei to go back to bed. He said that if he went to sleep too late, he would make Fu Hua and Yu Rui worry. 

Lin Rufei hummed in agreement and went back to the inn. He was somewhat regretful for asking that question just now. He even preferred if Gu Xuandu did not answer. This unruly senior rarely showed such an expression. Although he was smiling, it would’ve been better if he cried.

If some old things were not mentioned, then so be it. But if it was mentioned, it was like uncovering an old scab. You would think that the wound under the scab had healed, but in fact, the bloody flesh had rotted to the bone. 

Back at the inn, Lin Rufei rested early. He was thinking that since tomorrow was Liu Rugong’s wedding day, he certainly could not go too late.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: If you found out that your sword also had a sword spirit, how would you react?

Gu Xuandu: Not interested at all?

Lin Rufei: ? ? ? ? ?

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[1] It means that for the sake of one’s own interests, one does not hesitate to harm the interests of others. 
[2] The old man on the moon is the matchmaker. He is the one in charge of all the red strings uwu 
[3] Something like this. 
[4] Lotus seed soup. 
[5] Didn’t know how to fit it in, but it is implying that after listening, he didn’t know the reason why (I’m assuming why GXD couldn’t forget) 

Chapter 45: The Liu Family After the Event

The next day, it was sunny.

Lin Rufei entered the Liu residence with the guests and noticed Liu Rugong from afar dressed in a big red wedding outfit. He was sitting beside a woman with a graceful and noble demeanor, who was smiling and saying something to him. This person was most likely the madam of the Liu residence; Liu Rugong’s birth mother.

Logically speaking, if her own son wanted to marry a sword, mother Liu should be trying to prevent it from happening, but looking at her attitude, it looked like she had accepted this reality. Although there was some faint sadness between her eyebrows, in the end, she was smiling.

Liu Rugong was also smiling. He was handsome and beautiful, his black hair bundled in a crown and he was looking radiant in a red outfit. Lin Rufei’s gaze shifted towards Luo Shen that was hanging on his waist. The green hilt of Luo Shen also had bright red silk tied to it and it was currently held in Liu Rugong’s hands. 

Seemingly sensing Lin Rufei’s gaze, Liu Rugong stopped talking to his mother, turned his head, and cast a smile towards Lin Rufei, calling out “Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei answered.

“You should treat this place like your own home.” Liu gongzi walked up to Lin Rufei and said with a smile, “Today is a busy day, please excuse us if there is a lack of hospitality.”

Lin Rufei replied that he was too polite.

Liu Rugong then led Lin Rufei to the top guest seat and seated him before heading off to entertain the other guests. Lin Rufei had nothing to do, so he slowly ate the nuts on the table and incidentally handed a handful to Gu Xuandu. This time, those that were invited by the Liu residence to the wedding banquet were naturally valuable guests, furthermore, they were the kind that had a very good relationship with the Liu residence. These people knew Liu Rugong’s temper. Although many people were incomprehensible when he said that he wanted to marry a sword, however, those that dare to make thoughtless remarks in front of Liu Rugong could be counted with one hand.  

The wedding was held smoothly. Liu Rugong worshipped Heaven and Earth alone and entered the bridal chamber alone. At a glance, it was a bit funny but his serious look made people unable to laugh out.

The atmosphere among the guests was not relaxed either. The crowd watched as Liu Rugong left the stage after the ceremony before they finally let out a sigh of relief and began to raise their glasses in celebration. Some people toasted Lin Rufei and were surprised to learn of his status as the fourth son of the Lin family, saying that they had heard of his victory in a sword fight with Liu gongzi a few days ago and had great admiration for him.

Lin Rufei did not expect that this matter had already spread, so he had to raise his cup to respond. However, his alcohol capacity was low and soon, he was slightly drunk with a faint blush dusting his pale cheeks. Knowing that he could not drink anymore, Lin Rufei excused himself from the table. He wasn’t too familiar with the Liu residence so he just followed a road and kept walking. He found a quiet corner in the Liu residence to rest. 

Today was their gongzi’s wedding so the Liu residence was naturally very lively. 

Lin Rufei was a little drunk and sat on a stone bench with his eyes closed to rest.

Gu Xuandu said, “If you’re sleepy, let’s go back.”

Lin Rufei said, “I don’t seem to see Luo Shen today.”

Gu Xuandu agreed, “Mnn.”

Luo Shen could have appeared by Liu Rugong’s side at any time, but today she did not appear even when the ceremony was completed. Lin Rufei was still thinking about what happened yesterday and murmured that he should not have taken the initiative and should have asked Liu Rugong’s opinion first. When Gu Xuandu saw him looking down, he mulled over his thoughts for a moment and then disappeared for a split second. When he came back again, he had two pieces of rice cakes[1] emitting cool air in his hand. They had a layer of rich brown sugar drizzled on top which looked particularly attractive. Lin Rufei took them and started to nibble on them directly.

The rice cakes were made of glutinous rice with a thin layer of ice crumbs sprinkled on top and it dissolved the dryness of the wine in his mouth. Lin Rufei ate half a piece before he felt that he was full. He looked at the remaining half piece worriedly but Gu Xuandu had already moved over naturally and nibbled it up.

Lin Rufei looked at Gu Xuandu baffled, “You……”

Gu Xuandu did not seem to realize what was wrong with his actions and asked, “What?”

Lin Rufei was silent for a moment and then shook his head, “Nothing.”

After the two of them ate the cold rice cakes, Lin Rufei’s also sobered up a bit. He returned to the banquet, but still did not see Liu Rugong’s figure. According to the normal wedding banquet process, as the groom, Liu Rugong naturally had to come out to receive guests. However, this was already an unusual wedding and since he couldn’t see Liu Rugong’s figure, the rest of the matter didn’t seem to be so important.

Lin Rufei did not like this kind of occasion, thus he found a random excuse and left the Liu residence. It was only when he left did he remember that he hadn’t given the invitation to Master Liu, but looking at his gloomy expression during the wedding banquet today, it was obviously not the right time.

Due to the Liu residence’s grand wedding, Gusu City also followed the excitement for a day.

Lin Rufei went back to the inn and fell asleep until midnight, when he woke up in a daze. He was a little thirsty and he dazedly got up to drink some tea. Gu Xuandu saw his dazed appearance and laughed lightly. He raised his hand to hand over a cup of tea.

Lin Rufei took it and swallowed it in a few mouthfuls. His lips were stained with water and his complexion was gradually clearing up. He coughed twice and asked, “What time is it?”

Gu Xuandu answered, “Just passed the 1st hour.”

Lin Rufei hummed an agreement: “It’s a bit hot……” As he muttered this, he had already started pulling on his already loose collar, revealing a snow-white collarbone. Gu Xuandu was staring at Lin Rufei but he suddenly shifted his gaze uncomfortably. He got up, walked to the window, and opened it.

With a soft creak, the breeze accompanied by the moonlight rushed into the room. Lin Rufei raised his eyes to look out the window, “The moonlight is so beautiful.”

“Mnn.” Gu Xuandu softly answered.

Lin Rufei had slept for too long so he wasn’t that sleepy anymore. He sat up from the bed, walked to the window, and looked far away: “Hey……why is he there?……”

Gu Xuandu mumbled, “Maybe because he can’t sleep.”

On top of the highest pavilion in Gusu City, sat a person who should not have appeared. It was the protagonist of today’s big wedding, Liu Rugong. He was still wearing the gorgeous wedding outfit and his hair that was tied up in a neat crown was now in disorder; a head of fine black hair scattered messily on his shoulders and he had become the uninhibited appearance of his former days. He was carrying a jug of wine in his hand and was pouring it into his mouth without stopping, as if he wasn’t afraid to get drunk.

This should have been a sad scene, but when Lin Rufei saw clearly the person standing behind him, he couldn’t get sad no matter what. 

It was an eight-foot-tall strong man with ruddy cheeks and a long beard on his chin. If he had been carrying a big sword in his hand, Lin Rufei would have thought it was the reincarnation of Master Guan Yu[2].

At first Lin Rufei even thought that the scene in front of him was due to his hallucinations from drinking too much. He rubbed his eyes heavily and then rubbed his eyes again until they were red before he hissed at Gu Xuandu, “Who is the man behind Liu Rugong?”

Gu Xuandu calmly said, “Judging from his clothes, it’s probably the one we know.”

Lin Rufei: “……”

Probably because his expression had collapsed too much[3], Gu Xuandu reached behind him and covered his eyes. His hands were a bit cold as he covered Lin Rufei’s eyes to block out all the light: “No more looking, it’s time to sleep.”

Lin Rufei did not say anything as he silently pulled Gu Xuandu’s hand off his eyes.

The long-bearded man in green clothes standing behind Liu Rugong was like a protector of the Dharma gate and was nowhere like the graceful fairy a few days ago. He currently had his hands folded across his chest and his face was gloomy as he stood behind Liu Rugong. It made the originally lonely scenery include a somewhat unspeakable comedy and horror……

As if looking at him more than once, he would carry a knife and cut you.

In the end, Lin Rufei said nothing. He silently closed the window and went back to bed with a “life has no more meaning” expression.

Gu Xuandu was crying and laughing. In his heart, he was thinking that this Luo Shen was worthy of being Liu Rugong’s sword. It really was temperamental. After Liu Rugong said a few words, today it followed its nature and changed into a long-bearded man’s appearance. And if it was possible, he would probably carry a long knife on his back. He simply stood behind Liu Rugong like a murderous threshold guardian.  

Sword spirits had no form at all and it was purely accidental that Lin Rufei could see. So the appearance that they want to take on was based on their heart. But fortunately, Liu Rugong couldn’t see.

Lin Rufei, who took a big hit, didn’t sleep much in the second half of the night. He went to the Liu residence early the next day to deliver the invitation and then found Liu Rugong to say goodbye, saying that he intended to leave Gusu City in the next few days.

Liu Rugong saw him leaving and after a few words of persuasion, he did not continue to force him. However, he looked slightly hesitant, as if he wanted to say something.

Lin Rufei knew that once he said goodbye to Liu Rugong, he wouldn’t know when they would meet again so he stated quite frankly, “Does Liu gongzi have something to say?”

Liu Rugong hesitated for a moment and muttered in a low voice: “Lin gongzi, if I may be so bold to ask for a favor……”

Lin Rufei asked, “Why don’t you let me hear it first?”

Liu Rugong coughed lightly, “I wonder if Lin gongzi could draw a portrait of Luo Shen for me?”

Lin Rufei wondered, “What do you need this portrait for?”

Liu Rugong laughed, “I just want to keep it as a memory.” He treated the events of that night as a story in a book, but stories were easily forgotten after a long time. If he didn’t leave something, he was worried that he would really forget it one day and then he would definitely feel some regret. 

Lin Rufei thought over his proposal for a moment and then agreed to Liu Rugong’s request, saying to give him a few days and he would send the portrait to Liu Rugong.

When Liu Rugong saw that Lin Rufei agreed so quickly, he was also very happy and said that he would never mention the matter of Lin Rufei stripping his clothes again. Lin Rufei replied sincerely that it was okay to mention it, after all, the one who lost face was not himself(LRF). Liu Rugong was speechless and he was also livid.

After leaving the Liu residence, Lin Rufei went to buy materials for painting and planned to spend some days drawing down Luo Shen’s appearance.

Although he did not practice swordplay, he was good at everything from the zither and Go to calligraphy and painting. His paintings[4] were even more praiseworthy and Lin Rufei did not find it troublesome to put such a characteristic beauty as Luo Shen on paper.

However, when he returned to the inn and laid out the paper, he hesitated to move his brush.

Gu Xuandu saw his frown and wondered, “Why aren’t you drawing?”

Lin Rufei looked up and couldn’t help but laugh and cry: “When I think of Luo Shen, all I can think of is that long-bearded man’s appearance——”

Gu Xuandu laughed out loud.

Lin Rufei was unhappy with him taking joy in his suffering. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose with a face that was full of worry: “What should I do?”

Gu Xuandu’s eyes turned and said, “Do you really want to draw?”

Lin Rufei said, “I’ve promised Liu Rugong.”

Gu Xuandu said, “Then let me help you.” When he finished speaking, he shook his long sleeves and his body suddenly changed. He actually took on the form of Luo Shen.

Lin Rufei looked frozen: “Senior……”

“Who are you calling senior, hm?” Gu Xuandu, who became Luo Shen, gave a coquettish sweet smile. That charm was even more enchanting than the real Luo Shen by a few points. While speaking, he also walked in front of Lin Rufei and showed his face, “You better remember it.”

Lin Rufei: “……” Senior, you really know how to play.

Seeing Lin Rufei’s frightened look, Gu Xuandu laughed. He then changed back and pointed his finger at the drawing paper on the table: “Did you remember?”

Lin Rufei responded obediently, “I remember.”

He lifted his brush and drew.

This painting took him five days to paint, during which Lin Rufei didn’t even leave the door of the inn. Fu Hua and Yu Rui had begun to lose their hair in worry and even asked the innkeeper privately whether there was any reliable temple in the vicinity to worship. They wanted to see if their gongzi was truly bewitched by a beautiful demon. Good thing was that halfway through, Liu Rugong came to visit and said that Lin Rufei was painting a friend he knew. When Fu Hua and Yu Rui heard this, they finally let out a sigh of relief. 

After the scroll was painted, Lin Rufei personally delivered it to the Liu residence.

Liu Rugong was very happy to see the scroll, but just after receiving it in his hand, he felt something strange and asked, “Lin gongzi, why are there two scrolls?”

Lin Rufei calmly explained, “I saw Luo Shen again a few days ago.”

Liu Rugong didn’t understand: “So?”

Lin Rufei continued, “There was a little change in her appearance, so I drew…..both of her looks.”

Liu Rugong brightened up and was very surprised: “So that’s how it is!”

Lin Rufei let out a long sigh. He reached out and gave a heavy pat on Liu Rugong’s shoulder and his voice held a seriousness that Liu Rugong could not understand: “Brother, happy wedding.” This scroll would be considered his wedding gift to Liu Rugong.

Liu Rugong was oblivious, he thought Lin Rufei was just joking with him so he also smiled and said thank you. Lin Rufei then got up without hesitation and said goodbye without even waiting for Liu Rugong to open the two paintings.

Liu Rugong was not in a hurry and he sent Lin Rufei away first. He then returned to the room and carefully unrolled the scrolls Lin Rufei gave him. A beautiful woman dressed in green jumped off the paper. She had bright eyes and white teeth. She really was as bright and dazzling as a lotus flower standing in the clear water of the pond, like the ancient poem describing the goddess Luo Shen.

(t/n: I would link to the poem but it is in Chinese. If you guys are interested, you can search up “Luo Shen Fu” — or “Ode to the Nymph of the Luo River”)

When Liu Rugong took in the beauty on the scroll, a faint smile surfaced between his eyebrows and he then opened the second one. However, after seeing the figure on the second scroll, the smile on his face froze. It turned into confusion, doubt, and finally consternation……

The second scroll was a long-bearded man in green clothes. His face was ruddy and his gaze was like a torch. He had a murderous aura as he stood with a sword. It shocked people very much.

Liu Rugong was indeed shocked, but he was shocked not by the appearance of the painting, but by what Lin Rufei said.

Lin Rufei said, “I saw Luo Shen again a few days ago, there was a little change in her appearance” ——The meaning of this sentence was so obvious that even if Liu Rugong wanted to pretend not to understand it, he couldn’t.

This was Luo Shen’s current appearance.

Liu Rugong lowered his head expressionlessly and looked at his sword hanging at his waist.

The sword buzzed and did not give Liu Rugong any face.

It was indeed worthy of being his sword, Liu Rugong thought. It really had a personality…… As he was thinking this, Liu Rugong smilingly put away the two scrolls.

After many years, when his Liu family descendants inherited Liu Rugong’s private property and learned that these were two of Liu Rugong’s favorite people, they carefully took out a scroll and opened it.

Then they saw the angry eyes in the painting scroll, as if the next moment, the big man was going to raise a knife to kill. The Liu clan was shocked, thinking that their ancestor’s hobby was really unique. In the end, they simply didn’t dare to open the second one and carefully sealed it all up. 

Lin Rufei speedily left the Liu residence. He was afraid that Liu Rugong, who finally reacted, would come to find trouble with him. 

Gu Xuandu was laughing uncontrollably next to him, “Xiao Jiu, exactly what the hell were you thinking?” 

Lin Rufei coughed and packed his luggage. He also didn’t forget to explain to Gu Xuandu. He helplessly said that in fact, he did not want to do so, but the long-bearded man’s appearance was really impossible to get rid of. Under some hesitation, he finally lifted his brush and painted Luo Shen’s appearance. As for what reaction Liu Rugong would have when he saw the painting, it was out of his consideration.

Lin Rufei finished packing his luggage and summoned Fu Hua and Yu Rui as they got on the carriage together. Under the clattering of hooves, several people drove out of Gusu City.

Their next destination was another town a thousand miles away from Gusu City. There was a powerful swordsman in that town. He was not the son of an aristocratic family, but he was quite famous in Jianghu. This time Kunlun’s invitation also included his. 

The weather was getting hotter and hotter, Fu Hua deliberately put a lot of ice in the carriage to cool down. Lin Rufei ate the chilled lotus seed soup made by Yu Rui as he looked at the blazing sun outside the carriage.

This time Yu Rui was watching so it was difficult for Lin Rufei to give food to Gu Xuandu. Gu Xuandu stared at Lin Rufei with a grim expression and that look made Lin Rufei feel somewhat sorry.

He could only focus on the nose, as the nose focus on the heart[5] and pretended not to see it

Out of Gusu City, a hundred miles ahead, the scenery gradually turned desolate. After traveling for about a dozen days, the surrounding neat buildings have gradually become low and dilapidated mud houses. The road was lined with green wheat waves and the merchant figures on the road gradually became less and less.

The Summer breeze was hot and dry and it scraped away the only remaining coolness under the shade of the trees. However, the barefooted children did not care at all. Their skin was already scorched tan but they still ran and played on both sides of the road in the hot sun. Their carriage happened to be driving to a fork in the road so Fu Hua stopped the carriage and tried to find a random child to ask for directions.

Who knew that when the children saw the carriage, they all showed a frightened look. They scattered and fled and only a thin child remained in the same place. When Fu Hua saw the situation, she hurriedly rushed forward, squatted down, and called to him.

This child was born thin but his eyes were surprisingly large as he looked blankly at Fu Hua. 

“Little friend, which way is the road to the Fu Family Village?” Fu Hua asked.

The child’s expression was a bit dull, as if he couldn’t understand what Fu Hua had just said. It wasn’t until Fu Hua patiently asked three times, did he hesitantly stretch out his hand and point out a road.

When Fu Hua saw this situation, she was a bit worried that the child just randomly pointed. She wanted to ask two more questions, but the child was a little stutter-er and couldn’t speak clearly. 

Fu Hua had no choice but to take a piece of candy and stuffed it into the child’s hand. She intended to find another one to ask.

Who knew that when she just sent out the candy in her hand, other children came around. The thin child saw the situation and hurriedly shoved the candy in his hand directly into the mouth. He didn’t even dare to chew and just swallowed it whole. The candy was too big and it ended up being directly stuck in his throat. His cheeks began to flush blue because of the lack of oxygen and Fu Hua frightenedly cried out. She hastily picked up the child and heavily patted his back. The child coughed out twice with difficulty before coughing the candy out of his throat. 

His eyes were filled with tears but he didn’t dare to cry and his next action was to reach out and pick up the candy that had fallen onto the dirt. However, the other children’s action was a step faster than his. After they grabbed the candy, they didn’t care about the dirt that had covered it and they hastily ate it. The ravenous look as they swallowed the candy was exactly like the one that the child, being held by Fu Hua, had.  

Fu Hua was frightened by this situation. She pinched the child’s face and chided angrily: “How can you eat like this, what if you choke?”

The child did not cry even though he was pinched, but his eyes fell on the crowd of people fighting for the candy, and only when he saw the candy being shared by the older children did tears start to accumulate in his eyes. Fu Hua couldn’t bear seeing children cry so she was currently even more flustered. 

Lin Rufei also noticed the situation outside of the carriage. He lifted the curtain and noticed Fu Hua and the child. He hesitated for a moment, then beckoned to Fu Hua, instructing her to bring the child to the carriage. The child was so thin and bony that he didn’t even move in her arms. He was just like a poor doll made of straw.

“What’s wrong?” Lin Rufei asked.

Fu Hua busily narrated what had happened when she was asking the child for directions and how the candy got stuck in his throat. When Lin Rufei finished listening, he looked at the tearful small child in her arms and said in a warm voice: “Little friend, is there any discomfort?” The child was small and the candy was very likely to hurt his throat.

The child was very slow to respond and it took a while before he finally shook his head.

Lin Rufei also did not rush. He let Yu Rui take out a wet towel and carefully wiped the child’s wretched face.

The child gradually calmed down. He hid in Fu Hua’s arms and did not move. Lin Rufei asked him a few questions and he answered all of them in a piecemeal manner.

“What should we do?” Fu Hua frowned, “If his parents saw this, maybe they would blame us.” Although she had good intentions when she gave out the candy, she didn’t take into account that the child’s throat was small. Fortunately, nothing serious happened……

Lin Rufei questioned, “Did the children outside all leave?” 

Fu Hua went out to look and then helplessly said: “Long gone.” The group of children ate the candy and scattered and now they don’t know where they have gone.

After thinking about it, Lin Rufei put his eyes on the child in front of him. He reached out his hand and instructed Fu Hua to hand him the child.

The child was obviously a little scared, but he didn’t dare struggle. Once he was in Lin Rufei’s arms, he was as stiff as a stone. Lin Rufei also did not expect the child to actually be so light. He was almost like a skeleton wrapped in a layer of skin. His dark eyes were large to the point of frightening. Currently, he was cowering and didn’t dare look at Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei asked: “Little friend, where are your parents?”

The child did not say anything.

Lin Rufei asked again, “Do you know how to get to the Fu Family Village?”

The child nodded his head.

Lin Rufei said, “Is it to the left or to the right?”

“Left……” The child responded vaguely.

In accordance with this method, Lin Rufei patiently asked for a long time. He was finally able to barely figure out the child’s situation. His home was in the Fu Family Village, but his parents’ situation was unknown and he somehow appeared on this official road. Lin Rufei asked him if he wanted to return to the Fu Family Village and he nodded repeatedly. When he saw this, Lin Rufei hesitantly said: “Why don’t we take him back? He should be a member from the Fu Family Village.”

Fu Hua nodded and said yes.

So the carriage drove out again, but this time, there was a confused little child in the carriage.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: I have all the looks you like.

Lin Rufei: Senior you’re so flirty.

Gu Xuandu: Since I’ll be pursuing excitement, then I will pursue it until the end.

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[1] Closest image I could find uwu. 
[2] A Chinese military general serving under the warlord Liu Bei during the late Eastern Han dynasty of China (wikipedia) read more about him here. 
[3] Like overly shocked. 
[4] The word here is 丹青 (danqing) In Chinese painting, danqing refers to paintings on silk and Xuan paper. Danqing is painted with an ink brush, color ink, or Chinese pigments using natural plant, mineral, and both metal pigments and pigment blends. (wikipedia) Example: 
[5] It means that the spirit is concentrated and the mind is not distracted. 

Chapter 46: The Fu Family Village

The Fu Family Village and Gusu City were on two different levels. In Gusu City, they celebrated peace with songs and dances[1] and it was a prosperous scene. On the other hand, the people in the Fu Family Village did not have enough to eat that even the most basic food and clothing were difficult to maintain. During Lin Rufei’s journey, he hardly saw the villagers and the only few people he saw were all in rags. Their bodies were very thin, as if this place had just suffered a great disaster. What made Lin Rufei feel very strange was that both sides of the field were planted with large rice crops. It wasn’t harvest time yet, but from the growth of rice, this year should be a good year. The farmers lived off by the weather. With these rice, no matter what, they shouldn’t be living this way. 

The child Lin Rufei brought into the carriage was sitting as he wolfed down the dry food given to him by Fu Hua. Although small, this child’s appetite was very amazing and he ate until his small belly became round. Lin Rufei was afraid that he would have digestion problems and hurriedly asked Fu Hua to put away the rest of the dry food. When the child saw that the dry food was out of his reach, his eyes were immediately filled with tears. However, he didn’t make a fuss and he simply looked at Fu Hua with sad eyes. Fu Hua really couldn’t stand this look and she cast a look of help towards Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei also had quite a headache. He rarely dealt with children. If he gave him food, he feared that he would get a stomachache. If he didn’t give him food, he also couldn’t handle his aggrieved look.  

After thinking for a moment, Lin Rufei had an idea. He pulled out a piece of malt candy he bought in Gusu City from his sleeve. The malt candy sold very well. It was golden and transparent and shaped like amber. It was soft and dense, but not too sweet and was a good snack. Gu Xuandu liked it so Lin Rufei bought extras. He had them in his pocket, planning to slowly enjoy it later. 

When the child saw the candy, his tears immediately stopped. However, he did not dare reach out to ask for it and instead, he stared anxiously at Lin Rufei. 

Lin Rufei stuffed the candy into his mouth, “You can’t eat any more dry food, it will spoil your stomach.”

When he got the candy, the child showed a joyful look and vaguely muttered a “thank you.” Although he looked wretched, thin, and weak, he was more polite than the group of children seen before. At least he did not reach out to grab the candy and even after eating, he also didn’t forget to say thank you.

Lin Rufei asked the child a few more questions. He learned that his name was Mo Mo[2] and that he lived in the Fu Family Village. However, the rest of his questions were all without replies. But even if he was able to ask for some information, the child also answered vaguely. Most of it Lin Rufei had guessed himself. 

Lin Rufei originally thought that the intersection wouldn’t be far from the Fu Family Village, but he didn’t expect the sky to turn dark and still not seeing a shadow of the house. Helpless, they could only plan to rest in the carriage for the night. The child, having eaten enough, shrunk into a ball to sleep, however, his sleep wasn’t stable. From time to time, he would open his eyes and observe the situation around him and it seemed to be a habit developed from before.

Lin Rufei was a bit tired after sitting in the carriage all day, so he took advantage of his rest time to leave the carriage and go to the side of the road to stretch his body.

On both sides of the road, various kinds of foods were planted. In addition to the cascading wheat fields, there were also cornfields that grew taller than a person. Lin Rufei looked at this dense cornfield and wondered, “So much grain, why are they still living like this?”

Gu Xuandu answered, “It’s not that strange, right?”

Lin Rufei asked, “Not strange?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Have you seen the people working in the field?”

Lin Rufei showed a hesitant look, then shook his head. All the way here, he really did not see anyone farming in the field, but there were many people sitting by the road. Looking at their appearances, they also didn’t look quite like farmers working in the fields. Although farmers worked hard, they were not as battered and exhausted like they were. 

“All things in this world have a cause and effect.” Gu Xuandu said, “There is always a reason for them to live like this.”

Lin Rufei agreed. He then casually talked about the child on the carriage again. However, after a few words, he found Gu Xuandu’s expression to be a bit strange.

“Senior doesn’t like children?” Lin Rufei could only come up with this possibility.

Gu Xuandu questioned, “You like children a lot, right?”

Lin Rufei smiled, “Yes, I do.”

Gu Xuandu said, “I don’t really like them.” He sighed, “Especially a child like him……” Although he said so, there was not much disgust in his tone. Rather, there was a slight lament that Lin Rufei could not understand.

Lin Rufei asked, “Why don’t you like them?”

Gu Xuandu cast a deep meaningful glance at Lin Rufei: “You think children don’t understand anything, but in fact, they understand very well.”

Lin Rufei felt a little puzzled at his words.

Gu Xuandu waved his hand and quickly skipped this topic. He then talked to Lin Rufei about this strange Fu Family Village, asking who this invitation was actually going to.

As the name implied, the place was called Fu Family Village and most of the people there were naturally people with the surname Fu. The invitation Lin Rufei wanted to send out was written with two wild cursive words of “Fu Yu.”

Fu Yu was also considered as someone who achieved fame when he was in his youth. However, it was different compared to an aristocratic family like Liu Rugong’s. His sword skills were not something inherited from his family, but a sword that went off the rails[3]. It was said that when he was out on a trip, he inadvertently fell off a cliff and received guidance from a senior below the cliff, after which his sword skills soared. He defeated a number of experts and finally made a name for himself in Jianghu. Before this, no one knew the of the name Fu Family Village, until a Fu Yu came from there and it gradually got famous.

But looking at the situation of the Fu Family Village at first glance, it was clear that the people here have not improved their lives because of Fu Yu’s fame. They still maintained the miserable situation of not being able to feed and clothe themselves.

Before Lin Rufei, no one in Kunlun had ever been to the Fu Family Village, so to speak, Lin Rufei was still the first one.

So when he saw this kind of scene, he was a little surprised.

Gu Xuandu listened to Lin Rufei. He was not too interested in this Fu Yu. He lazily yawned and asked if Lin Rufei was sleepy.

Lin Rufei muttered, “Indeed, I’m a little sleepy, so let’s go back and rest.”

After walking around outside and stretching his body, Lin Rufei simply washed up and then lay himself down in the carriage to fall into a deep sleep.

This night was very quiet. Lin Rufei opened his eyes in a daze under the morning birdsong that ushered in the sunrise. His eyes met with the little child Mo Mo, who sat opposite him and was shrunk in a corner. Mo Mo…..was a cute name. Lin Rufei’s brain suddenly had a thought in his head. 

When Fu Hua noticed that Lin Rufei was awake, she brought him hot water to wash up and asked him what he wanted to eat for breakfast.

Lin Rufei replied, “How about steamed buns?”

Fu Hua laughed, “Why does young master suddenly want to eat steamed buns?”

Lin Rufei pointed to the child, “Isn’t his name Mo Mo?”

When the child heard this, he froze for two seconds before revealing a frightened expression and cried out vaguely, “No……don’t eat Mo Mo……no, doesn’t taste good……”

He obviously misunderstood Lin Rufei’s meaning and thought that Lin Rufei wanted to make a move on him.

Lin Rufei was amused by his appearance. He reached out and gently pinched his skinny face, “I haven’t even eaten it yet, how do I know it’s not good?”

When Mo Mo heard his words, his round black eyes widened and he started whimpering and crying: “No……not delicious, wuwuwu[4]……” Although he said this, he didn’t dare struggle. This scared look of his was like a poor little rabbit that was terrified.

Lin Rufei couldn’t help but laugh.

When Fu Hua saw her family’s gongzi teasing the little doll to the point of crying, she quickly called out a “young master,” and said that children were timid and weak and should not be scared.

When Lin Rufei heard this, he finally let go. He first helped Mo Mo soothe his cheeks and then pulled out a malt candy to cajole the child. Of course, the biggest credit still had to fall upon the candies. Once the candy entered his mouth, the child immediately stopped crying and he didn’t forget to say thank you as he sobbed and sniffled with tears in his eyes.

Lin Rufei also felt a bit guilty since he bullied the child into this appearance. He let out a dry cough and said: “Then we won’t eat Mo Mo. Just make some easy-to-digest porridge.” The child ate so much last night, if he had another big meal in the morning he would certainly face digestion issues.

Fu Hua nodded and together with Yu Rui, left the carriage to make porridge.

The child happily chewed on the corn candy. When he saw Fu Hua and Yu Rui getting ready to make a fire, he also slowly got off the carriage. He turned and walked into the small woods beside them and when he came back out, he was already holding a small bundle of firewood. He walked wobbly towards Fu Hua and Yu Rui’s side. After putting them down, he timidly shouted out a “sister.”

When Fu Hua and Yu Rui saw this scene, their motherly feelings erupted. They took the little guy into their arms and gave him a few fierce kisses. Mo Mo was at a loss for words as he was being kissed, in fact, he was even a little afraid. He stuttered and said that he was dirty and thin and that he was not delicious.

Lin Rufei watched and laughed out loud.

Only, after he finished laughing and turned around, he saw Gu Xuandu staring at the child with a gloomy expression. However, when he noticed him looking over, the gloomy look dissipated instantly and he returned to his usual languid look. It was as if the expression Lin Rufei just saw on his face was just his imagination.

Lin Rufei whispered, “Senior……”

Gu Xuandu softly hummed an agreement. 

Lin Rufei asked, “……This child, is there something wrong with him?” Those that could make Gu Xuandu stare at them with such eyes have identities that seemed to be suspicious. Even those things encountered in the Xie residence before did not make Gu Xuandu show such a look.

But who knew that when Gu Xuandu listened to his question, he would shake his head, “No, he’s normal……a good child.” When he said the three words “a good child,” he deliberately aggravated his tone.

Lin Rufei’s heart trembled at the three words “a good child” and asked again, “There’s really nothing wrong with him?”

“Not at the moment. He’s just a normal child.” Gu Xuandu replied, “What, you think something is wrong with him?”

Lin Rufei was speechless as he realized that Gu Xuandu seemed to be completely unaware of the hostility he was showing towards the child.

When Gu Xuandu noticed Lin Rufei’s silence, he probably also sensed something and said lightly, “But looking at him reminds me of something from the past.”

Lin Rufei: “Something from the past?”  

“Mnn.” Gu Xuandu nodded, “It’s not very pleasant, but it has nothing to do with this little guy.”

Only then did Lin Rufei let out a sigh of relief. In his heart, he thought: Could it be that Gu Xuandu had encountered difficult children before and that was why he was hostile towards this child in front of him? But Gu Xuandu was not willing to say so he could only guess and could not get an affirmative answer.

On their side, Fu Hua and Yu Rui had finished boiling the porridge. They brought it over to Lin Rufei first before preparing some small side dishes for him. The rest, were eaten with Mo Mo. The porridge was not thick and there were also some adlay barley, red dates, and other tonics included. Lin Rufei drank with very little interest, but Mo Mo was very fond of it. Most of the leftovers were finished off by him. 

After eating, the carriage set off again and it followed the official road all the way forward.

At this point, they were getting closer and closer to the Fu Family Village. The buildings and people on both sides of the road were gradually growing. However, the buildings were either straw houses or mud houses, and a brick house couldn’t even be seen. As for the people they saw, it was even more terrible. They weren’t doing anything as they just sat on the roadside, silently gazing at the carriage speeding by. Their gazes weren’t numb but it was definitely strange enough. 

Originally, Yu Rui was outside driving the carriage, however, she got scared by the scene so Fu Hua called her in as she replaced her and sat outside.  

“This Fu Family Village is too strange.” Yu Rui trembled, “Are these people villagers? They’re not doing anything so what are they doing sitting on the street?”

Lin Rufei shook his head to indicate that he couldn’t guess either.

The carriage continued on and finally reached the entrance of the Fu Family Village, which was surrounded by a tall wall with guards at the entrance. These guards looked out of place with the villagers next to them as they were dressed magnificently and each held a long sword.

“Where are you going? Do you have the paperwork to go in?” The guards stopped the carriage. But once they noticed that it was lavishly decorated, their attitude became quite respectful.

“No. We are from the Kunlun Lin family here to deliver an invitation to Fu Yu of the Fu family.” Fu Hua replied.

When the guard heard this, he immediately got nervous and instructed the person next to him to go to the Fu family to ask about the situation and told them to wait for a moment. It didn’t take long for the person who went to ask about the situation to come back panting. While running, he gave the guard a meaningful glance. 

When the guard noticed his gaze, he immediately changed his attitude. He smiled very eagerly and said, “Please come in, please come in.”

Fu Hua cracked the whip and the carriage drove into the Fu Family Village at a gallop. When they passed the tall enclosure, the view inside made Fu Hua reveal a stunned look, “How is this……”

Lin Rufei, who was in the carriage, had a similar reaction to Fu Hua. Both of them were stunned. 

They only saw that beyond the high walls, the houses were all tall, gorgeous, and exquisite. There were even a variety of wall paintings on the exterior walls. Just from the outside, one could feel a strong sense of luxury. The two sides of the avenue leading to the Fu Family Village were filled with a variety of stores and most of these stores were beautifully decorated. Lin Rufei gave a general look and felt that the things sold inside were not going to be cheap. 

The people walking along the roadside were even dressed in fancy clothes. One would not expect that they were from the same village as the wretched people outside the high walls.

“This Fu Family Village, how could it be like this.” Lin Rufei sighed, “It’s true that there is nothing strange in the greatness of Jianghu.”

Gu Xuandu added, “Indeed it is surprising, I have never seen it before either.”

According to the guard at the entrance, the Fu family’s ancestral home was the highest one in the village. Lin Rufei quickly found the Fu family’s ancestral home and he had to say, this ancestral home was really too imposing. The wall of the courtyard was made of marble with beautiful patterns and the main house inside was tall and lofty, blocking out most of the sun in the village. The eaves were carved into the shape of living birds and the tiles were a beautiful vermilion color with not a single moss to be seen.

Such a building stood here, no matter how one looked, it made them feel out of place.

Fu Hua also froze. She said that this house was even more exaggerated than many of the buildings on Kunlun, how could it still be called a village?  

Lin Rufei shook his head to indicate that he also didn’t know how to explain this.

“So are we just going in?” Fu Hua asked tentatively.

Lin Rufei thought for a moment: “Let’s go to the inn first. Unless you want to stay with the Fu family?”

“No, no.” Fu Hua hastily shook her head, “This place looks too exaggerated, if I live in it, my heart will be unbearable.”

To speak of grandeur, no matter if it was Meng Lanruo’s or Liu Rugong’s, both their houses were very grandiose. However, that grandeur and this grandeur in front of them gave off two completely different feelings. Meng Lanruo’s house was full of flowers with architecture and gardens that were carefully designed, making it elegant and chic. Liu Rugong’s family was even more famous; the various sceneries in the courtyard were complementary and not too pompous. And this building in front of him would only give off a sense of unspeakable incongruity, as if……

“It’s like a person who suddenly has money and doesn’t know how to spend it.” Gu Xuandu hit the nail on the head.

Lin Rufei felt it deeply.

So the group of people planned to go to the inn to rest temporarily. They wanted to inquire about the situation before making plans.

Who knew that just as they turned around to head to the inn, they were stopped by a few people. These people claimed to be servants of the Fu family and enthusiastically said that the family head had now set up a banquet waiting for them.

Lin Rufei didn’t want to bicker with them, but after a few words of excuses, he saw that these people were stubborn and in the end, he finally agreed. The carriage turned around and drove towards the exaggerated ancestral house.

After the carriage entered the house, Mo Mo, who had been shrinking in the corner and not talking much, suddenly reacted. His expression became a little frightened and his mouth started to chant something. He shrunk into a ball like a scared little cat.

Lin Rufei saw this and called out his name: “Mo Mo?”

Lin Rufei was afraid that he would hurt himself, so he reached out and pulled him out from under the blanket before he carefully took him into his arms.

Mo Mo whimpered and pushed at Lin Rufei. When Lin Rufei saw the situation, he thought for a moment then told Yu Rui to bring a blanket. He wrapped Mo Mo entirely up with the blanket leaving only a pair of dark eyes.

Mo Mo was originally born thin. Now that he had shrunk into a ball and was wrapped with the blanket, he was small like a rag doll. Fortunately, his emotions had finally calmed down as he sobbed and sniffled, wanting to cover his own face with the blanket.

Lin Rufei let him do as he pleased.

“What’s wrong with Mo Mo?” Fu Hua wondered, “Why did he have such a big reaction?……”

“I don’t know. But it probably has something to do with this Fu family?” Lin Rufei hesitated for a moment. He felt that it was a bit reckless bringing Mo Mo into the Fu Family Village. One, he didn’t know the relation Mo Mo had with the Fu family. If by chance, it was an enemy, then they would just be getting into trouble. Two, Mo Mo’s mental state didn’t seem to be good, if it was stimulated, wouldn’t it become more serious?……

Fu Hua obviously also thought of this and whispered that it was better not to tell the Fu family of Mo Mo’s existence for the time being and to wait until everything was cleared up.  

Lin Rufei nodded, thinking that that approach felt more appropriate.

When Mo Mo was sick, Gu Xuandu leaned on the side and watched without a word. His look was very calm and even showed a few moments of strange indifference, like in resistance to something. Lin Rufei’s attention was on Mo Mo and he didn’t notice Gu Xuandu’s strange look for a while.

After the steward brought them into the Fu family manor, they led them to the guest rooms where they would be staying at. Lin Rufei handed Mo Mo to Fu Hua and Yu Rui and asked them to take care of him first while he went to visit the Fu family first.

When they saw the Fu family’s ancestral home from the outside, it already had been exaggerated enough. When they entered it, they found out that it was just a hair from nine oxens[5]. The decorations in the house could not be described by the word “pompous,” as almost every corner was full of all kinds of decorations. It was either gemstones or sculptures or porcelain vases, in short, it was like an owner’s expanded treasures exhibition room where they were itching to showcase all the objects for guests to enjoy.

But such decorations, in the eyes of those who knew the business, could only be called vulgar even with some ridiculous implications.

Luckily, Lin Rufei didn’t care about these things. He just thought that the aesthetics of this Fu family was really difficult to grasp.

On their way to the main hall, Lin Rufei heard exaggerated laughter coming from the room from afar. The laughter contained both males and females. It sounded like flirting and not only with one person…….  

Lin Rufei paused in his steps, but still crossed into the main hall. Once inside, he saw a man dressed in purple holding two hot beauties in his arms, as they were feeding each other grapes.

The same grape feeding, on Liu Rugong’s side, had a kind of prodigal son’s suave flavor, while the man in front of him made Lin Rufei frown.

This man’s appearance was actually pretty good, but all over his body was a greasy[6] feeling, as he was soaked in rouge powder. When he noticed Lin Rufei, who walked to the door, his eyes lit up: “Yo, who found this beauty, this appearance is pretty good……heavily rewarded!”

When the steward heard this, his face showed embarrassment and he hurriedly said: “Young master, the beauty you want is not here yet, this is the guest from the Lin family!”

The young master of the Fu family asked suspiciously: “Guests from the Lin family? How come I didn’t know of this? When did he come, did he bring any gifts?” The steward hurriedly replied: “Young master, this is Da Gongzi’s guest!”

(t/n: Refresher, Da refers to the eldest. So the eldest gongzi/eldest son)

The young master of the Fu family immediately curtailed his smile. He harrumphed, but in the end, did not say anything else.

The steward smiled apologetically at Lin Rufei, saying that Lin gongzi must not take it to heart, this was his young master and he was always like this……

Lin Rufei asked, “Fu Yu is your eldest young master?”

The steward nodded, “Yes.”

Lin Rufei continued, “How come I haven’t seen him?”

The steward responded, “The young master doesn’t like the atmosphere of the house and often travels outside, but we have sent a letter out so he will probably come back soon.”

Lin Rufei let out an “oh.”

The steward then led Lin Rufei through the main hall to the backyard where the banquet was held. The Fu family was already seated and when they saw Lin Rufei coming, they all rose and greeted him eagerly.

Lin Rufei simply returned the greeting and sat down beside the Fu family head.

The Fu family head was an old man with white hair and beard, however, he seemed to be in good spirits. When he saw Lin Rufei sitting down, he greeted him warmly. The Fu family seemed to have never cultivated and no one at the table was carrying sword Qi, making them like ordinary people.

“Lin gongzi, you are an honored guest of our family.” The Fu family head smiled warmly, “I have prepared several wonderfully good dishes for you, you must try them!”

Lin Rufei had just answered when he saw an extremely beautiful black horse being led out from the side and next to that horse was a pot of hot soup that was currently being boiled.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei: Are you unhappy?

Gu Xuandu: No

Lin Rufei: Really?

Gu Xuandu: No

Lin Rufei: Really, really?

Gu Xuandu: No

Lin Rufei: Since you aren’t then can you put Mo Mo[2] down…..

Gu Xuandu: Who am I provoking by eating a steam bun?

Lin Rufei: ………

Mo Mo: Wuwuwuwuwuwuwu, I don’t taste good, don’t eat me……

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

[1] Idiom: make a show of happiness and prosperity. 
[2] His name literally means steam bun. 
[3] Idiom: to break the normal procedure and find a new or different solution in order to be unexpected and novelty. 
[4] Crying sounds. 
[5] Idiom: a drop in the ocean, kinda like a drop of water in a bucket. 
[6] Kind of hard to explain, but the word here is 油腻 which means greasy but it’s suppose to refer to people who aren’t decent? Cringey? Basically kind of when you have too much greasy food and you can’t stand it anymore. 

Chapter 47: No Grass, No Trees

The Fu family head enthusiastically introduced the black horse, saying that this horse was the best Ferghana horse bought from the west. It was exceptionally handsome and not only was it fast, but its endurance was also one of the best. But today wasn’t the day they wanted to introduce the horse to Lin Rufei; they wanted to let him try something new.

As he spoke, the servant standing next to him picked up a ladle. He scooped up a spoonful of hot soup and walked towards the black horse. Lin Rufei immediately frowned at the sight, “Wait.” He turned his head to look at the owner of the Fu family, “Are you going to make poured donkey meat[1]?”

The owner of the Fu family showed his joy at his words and frankly exclaimed, “Lin gongzi is really knowledgeable, you even know this!”

Poured donkey meat was a very famous dish, not because of how delicious it tasted, but because of the cruel way of making this dish. First, they had to boil a pot of hot soup and then the soup would be directly poured onto the body of the live donkey. They would wait until the hot soup cooked the donkey meat and then use a sharp knife to cut off the donkey meat just like that. So until the end of consumption, the donkey would still be alive. This way of eating could guarantee the freshness of the ingredients to the maximum. Thus, even though it was very cruel, some people would still want to try.

Lin Rufei had seen it in books and seeing the man’s movements just now, he immediately understood what they wanted to do.

The Fu family head laughed, “It’s just that we are tired of eating donkey meat, so we want to try something else and we think this horse is very handsome, so it must taste good. Today there just so happened to be an important guest, so we told the chef to set up this dish.”

Lin Rufei made a gesture that told him to stop, “No need.”

The Fu family head wanted to persuade again, but when he saw Lin Rufei’s cold expression that even his eyes showed a strong firmness, he could only mutter embarrassingly, “Since Lin gongzi does not like it, then let’s not eat it.”

(t/n: Bless LRF, I was going to cry if they ate the poor horse ;A;)

“But this animal eats grass and people eat animals, it’s all a matter of the cycle of life.” The family head seemed to be worried that Lin Rufei would take offense so he quickly explained, “Lin gongzi please don’t take offense to it.”

“Yes.” Lin Rufei’s face had little expression and his tone was also very light, “There is nothing wrong with a horse eating grass or a man eating a horse, However, as the leader of all things, man should always have some etiquette and moral restraint. Don’t follow the example of the brutal beasts in the wilderness that have no wisdom and use such cruel methods to satisfy their appetite.”

He did not give face to the Fu family this time and his words were very heavy. The Fu family head’s smile was frozen on his face and he was speechless for a long time

Because of this, Lin Rufei’s expression was not very good during the rest of the banquet. Furthermore, the food on the table were not quite to his taste. Most of them were overly luxurious and greasy dishes. The Fu family head even persuaded him a few times at first, but when he didn’t give face, he stopped talking.

After finishing dinner, Lin Rufei asked when Fu Yu would be back and after that, he got up and said goodbye. When he walked to the main hall, he saw that the man in purple was still in place, sizing up Lin Rufei with an unpleasant gaze.

Lin Rufei stared over expressionlessly.

The man laughed: “Lin gongzi is full just like that?”

Lin Rufei nodded slightly and he was about to leave when he heard the man behind him say indifferently, “I think Lin gongzi’s heart is too good.”

“What does it matter to you?” Lin Rufei responded coldly. Although he was good-tempered, he wasn’t someone that allowed himself to be pushed around. The first time he saw this Fu family young master’s eyes, it made him feel very unhappy, so when he spoke now, he did not give a single point of politeness.

The young master of the Fu family said with a smile: “Donkeys or horses, they are born to be eaten. As for the way to eat them, that is also the freedom of the diners. Whether it is food or Jianghu, it’s the same logic.”

Lin Rufei understood the Fu family young master’s words. He raised his eyebrows and gave a forced smile: “Then what Fu family young master means that as long as one is powerful enough, they can do anything?”

The Fu family young master said, “Naturally so.”

Lin Rufei turned around and walked in front of him, muttering coldly, “Since the Fu family young master means that the strongest is the most respected, then if I turn you into a waste here, you shouldn’t complain about anything, right?” After he finished speaking, he raised his hand and pulled out Gu Yu that was on the side of his waist. The cold sword blade landed on the Fu family young master’s shoulder the next moment.

The Fu family young master looked at Lin Rufei baffled. He didn’t expect that the seemingly weak and gentle Lin family’s gongzi would suddenly do something so excessive, not giving him any face as a young master.

“I came here only to deliver an invitation to Fu Yu.” Lin Rufei’s face was expressionless and there was a cold frost condensed in his eyes as he continued, “Well water does not interfere with river water[2], I don’t reason with you guys, so don’t talk about your reasoning with me.” After saying that, he withdrew his sword blade and sneered, “Lest I really take it to heart and use your reasoning to ‘treat’ you.”

The young master of the Fu family no longer had that vain smile, but he also didn’t seem to be afraid. He sighed and said that this Lin gongzi turned out to have such a big temper, what a surprise.

Lin Rufei didn’t bother to talk to him anymore and he turned around to leave.

This was probably the first time Lin Rufei got so angry after leaving Kunlun. The Fu family was full of strangeness everywhere. Whether it was those farmers, who seemed to be dying of hunger outside, or the lavishly exaggerated mansion interior; all of it gave people an uncomfortable feeling. Since the moment Lin Rufei arrived here, his mood had not been good.

The Fu family young master’s words kind of set him on fire and only after he let out this anger, did he feel a little better.

When Gu Xuandu noticed Lin Rufei’s angry look, he couldn’t help but laugh: “Why are you so angry?”

Lin Rufei grumbled, “Looking makes me agitated.”

Gu Xuandu looked around and replied thoughtfully, “This place is indeed not suitable for permanent residence.” Although luxurious decorations were everywhere, the whole courtyard was garish. And most of the tones were dark, so people couldn’t help but feel dry and depressed looking at this scenery. 

Lin Rufei sighed: “Fu Yu will not be back for another ten days or so, I really don’t feel comfortable giving this invitation to his family.” These family members didn’t seem to be very reliable so it was probably better to hand over the invitation to Fu Yu himself.

Gu Xuandu agreed, “You’re right, so let’s just stay here for a few days?”

Lin Rufei frowned: “Or live outside instead. If I have to deal with this every day…….”  

Gu Xuandu could not help but laugh: “Then pull out the sword and cut off their heads!”

The two returned to the room they were staying in and saw Fu Hua and Yu Rui teasing Mo Mo. Mo Mo’s state was much better than before. Although he was still hiding in the blanket, at least he was not shivering anymore.

Fu Hua smiled when she saw Lin Rufei return. She quickly rose and asked, “Young master is back, how come you don’t look very happy?”

Lin Rufei shook his head to indicate that he was fine, “Have you eaten?”

“Yes. Just now a servant brought in some food and Mo Mo also ate a lot. If you think the food there is not to your liking, why don’t I go and make some porridge for you?” Fu Hua asked, “And make two small side dishes?” She was very experienced and she could tell right away that Lin Rufei hadn’t moved his chopsticks much.

Lin Rufei nodded, “Alright.”

Fu Hua and Yu Rui got up and went out, leaving only Lin Rufei and the well-behaved Mo Mo in the room. Lin Rufei couldn’t help but reach out and pinch his cheeks and Mo Mo, who was pinched, also did not struggle. He simply looked at Lin Rufei helplessly and blinked his big dark eyes innocently.

When Lin Rufei finally felt happy with the pinching, he took out a candy from his sleeve and stuffed it into his mouth, whispering, “Mo Mo don’t tell the sisters that brother pinched you.”

Mo Mo gave a small muffled sound of agreement and chewed the candy in his mouth seriously.

Lin Rufei then revealed a smile. Gu Xuandu, who watched Lin Rufei bully the child from the side, sourly muttered: “Is pinching his face comfortable?”  

Lin Rufei said, “Not very comfortable.” The meat was too little.

Gu Xuandu’s spirits lifted: “How about you pinch me. I can guarantee that mine is more comfortable than his.” As he said this, he brought his beautiful face closer, indicating Lin Rufei to hurry up and do it.

Lin Rufei revealed a helpless expression, saying, ‘senior is already hundreds of years old, can you please not compare yourself to a little doll that was only a few years old?’ Gu Xuandu looked stunned and he seemed to be struck by the words, “hundreds of years old.” He stared at Lin Rufei for a while and did not say anything. When Lin Rufei saw this appearance of his, he was reflecting on whether his words were a bit too mean or not. However, he ended up seeing Gu Xuandu, this “stable” senior, reach out with lightning speed to fiercely pinch Mo Mo on the face.

Mo Mo was still eating candy with his cheeks puffed out, but now his face had a red handprint left by Gu Xuandu when he pinched. Although he was pinched like this, he actually did not cry. It probably hurt a little but his eyes only accumulated a thin layer of vapor. After chewing two mouthfuls of sweet candy, the vapor gradually faded as he muttered to himself that it was not painful. 

It just so happened that his maid, Fu Hua, came back. When she noticed the red mark left on Mo Mo’s face, she chided, “Young master, you must be gentle, the child’s flesh is tender, don’t pinch it badly.”

Lin Rufei couldn’t argue and could only glare at the childish senior.

Gu Xuandu laughed unrestrainedly, “Hey, it seems that the feeling was pretty good.”

Lin Rufei muttered in a low voice: “Your action was too mean.” 

Gu Xuandu shamelessly said, “I didn’t use any force.”

In Lin Rufei’s heart, he thought: Who could stand your strength, ah? He was just a little doll of a few years old, if you really used your strength, you would pull his face completely off. 

After Mo Mo ate a full meal, he felt sleepy again and Fu Hua and Yu Rui went to find underlings to bring hot water in order to give him a simple bath.  After he was thoroughly washed, they found out that this child was actually born very cute. They didn’t know what was on his face, but if they didn’t clean it for a long while, they would have not seen his face clearly. However, his body was really thin. His arms and legs were like straws and it made people’s hearts ache. 

(t/n: Straw as in the hay kind.)

Because there was no children’s clothing, Mo Mo simply wore a loose outerwear. He was held in Fu Hua’s arms and she said that he was going to sleep with her tonight. 

Lin Rufei also wanted to sleep with Mo Mo, but there was a senior who was eyeing covetously next to him. In order to avoid Mo Mo having a few extra red marks the next morning, Lin Rufei had to let Mo Mo follow Fu Hua. But a girl’s heart was indeed much more meticulous than a man’s. Although they both have not yet married, they were doing a good job taking care of Mo Mo.

The day was already dark, but the Fu family was still very lively. Through the wall, he could hear the sound of laughter from outside. Lin Rufei strolled around in the courtyard where he was staying at and he always felt that this courtyard looked strange. However, for the moment, he could not find exactly what it was that was strange. In the end, it was Gu Xuandu who woke him up, “There is not a single blade of grass in this courtyard, so it is naturally not too comfortable living here.” 

Lin Rufei was stunned and only then did he realize that there really wasn’t a single weed in the entire courtyard, let alone trees.

“That’s strange.” Lin Rufei bent down and rubbed a bit of the soil. After taking a closer look, he was puzzled, “This soil doesn’t look right.” The black soil was interspersed with some white granular things, which at first glance looked a bit like salt, “There’s salt……inside the soil?”

Gu Xuandu muttered, “It seems to be.”

Lin Rufei wondered, “How can there be salt in the soil?”

Although salt was not a rare thing on their continent, it still cost money to buy. Who would deliberately sprinkle salt into the soil?

After thinking for a moment, Gu Xuandu said, “I do know a kind of soil that will contain a lot of salt and after it rains, the salt inside the soil will precipitate out and surface to the top.”

Lin Rufei frowned: “There is such a ground?”

“Yes.” Gu Xuandu nodded, “Such a ground is where no grass grows and even the most tenacious weeds have no way to survive on it.”

The reason for the lack of grass and trees was found. Lin Rufei threw away the dirt in his hand and wondered, “Is it only their Fu family’s yard where the dirt is like this?”

Gu Xuandu shook his head, indicating that he did not know.

Lin Rufei then planned to find some time tomorrow to leave the Fu family in order to look around. Anyway, there was still about ten days before Fu Yu returned. If he stayed with the Fu family every day, he was afraid he would go crazy.  

In the middle of the night, the noises outside began to subside. Lin Rufei lay down on the couch and soon fell asleep.

After entering the Summer season, the weather was getting hotter and hotter every day. The moment the sun rose in the morning, it made people feel its great power. Plus, there was no shade in the courtyard so it was really hot and irritating.

This kind of weather made Lin Rufei lose his appetite and he could not eat anything. He barely drank half a bowl of thin porridge for breakfast before putting his chopsticks away.

But although he couldn’t eat, Mo Mo’s appetite was excellent. Almost all the leftover food on the table went into his stomach. If not for Lin Rufei stopping him, he could have drunk to the bottom of the pot. His little belly seemed to be connected to something remarkable, it was already bulging, but it seemed to be able to fit some more in.

After Lin Rufei ate, he then found an excuse to take the maids out of the Fu family and as for Mo Mo—he was put into a small pocket by Fu Hua and brought out together.

When they reached the street, the suffocating atmosphere of the Fu family was finally eased. Although the buildings along the road were still exaggerated, at least it was much better than the ancestral house of the Fu family.

Lin Rufei first went to the store to buy Mo Mo a few small clothes that he could wear. He found a corner for him to change and then went to see if there were any interesting snacks around.

But to Lin Rufei’s disappointment, after he strolled the entire village, he did not see any interesting things. The stores were either selling jade or silk and they were almost all expensive items. Places to eat were also formal restaurants and there wasn’t a single street vendor to be seen. These things, to Lin Rufei, weren’t interesting at all. He wandered around, bored, before casually finding a teahouse and ordering a few cups of tea to kill the heat.

“What the hell is wrong with this Fu Family Village, there is not even a single snack to be seen.” Lin Rufei had started to miss the malt candy in Gusu city.

Gu Xuandu expressed his agreement. 

Fu Hua and Yu Rui were also too hot to be energetic, “Not only are there no snacks, this Fu Family Village actually doesn’t even have a single tree.”

“Not only are there no trees, but there’s also no grass either.” Lin Rufei incoherently sipped his tea, “It’s almost like living in the desert.”

“Yes.” Yu Rui agreed listlessly, “But look outside the village, the grass is very lush, ah……and crops are also good, ah. There’s just a wall in between, how did it become this way?”

Lin Rufei shook his head, indicating that he did not know.

They then looked at Mo Mo, who was a local, and noticed that he didn’t show the slightest hint of discomfort. He was holding a bowl of tea and drinking it enthusiastically. The taste of this tea was actually not that great. Not only was it bitter, but there also wasn’t a pleasant aftertaste. Logically speaking, children wouldn’t like to drink it but apparently, Mo Mo was not the average child. He, who had suffered enough, did not feel the slightest discomfort when he drank the tea and he downed the cup in a breath without any problems. 

Lin Rufei stared as he seriously drank the tea with his cheeks bulging and his fingers suddenly felt a little itchy. However, given that there was a senior, who liked to create trouble at his side, in the end, he did not dare extend his hand.

“What, is gongzi sleepy?” Fu Hua asked.

“Yes, I’m a bit tired.” Lin Rufei rubbed the corners of his eyes and replied weakly, “Is it because it’s too hot?”

“It seems to be a little hot.” Fu Hua said, “Shall I ask them for some ice later? Let’s cool down the room first?”

Lin Rufei nodded.

The Fu family’s ancestral home was uninteresting and the manor was even more boring thus Lin Rufei ended up wandering around for a while. When he noticed that the sun getting bigger, he headed back.

On his way back, he saw some chubby little children playing in the corner of the Fu family’s manor. From their clothes, they should also be Fu family members and they seemed to be quite well-off. They were wearing gorgeous silk and exaggerated jade pendants on their waists with several servants following behind them.

Lin Rufei looked at them a few more times. Those servants also noticed his gaze and glanced towards him. After seeing Lin Rufei, they smiled ingratiatingly and also called out a “Lin gongzi.”

Lin Rufei was a little surprised: “Oh? You know me” He had only been in the Fu family for a day and he was already recognized.

“It’s because we just received honored guests and the master has instructed us to be in good spirits.” The servant smiled ingratiatingly.

“These children are also from the Fu family?” Lin Rufei asked casually.

“Yes, yes.” The servant replied, “They are the children of the eldest young master, Fu Yu.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “Fu Yu’s children? Which one?”

The servant hesitated for a moment before answering in a whisper, “All of them……”

Lin Rufei was stunned. There were five children in this group and they all looked about the same age, but they were all Fu Yu’s children. This Fu Yu was really something.

The servant, seeing Lin Rufei’s look of surprise, had to explain: “Lin gongzi, you do not know, my eldest young master has a total of more than a dozen wives……so……”

So it seemed nothing strange to have five children at once.

Lin Rufei originally thought that the superb swordsman Fu Yu would be somewhat different, but now after hearing the servant’s words, his expectations of him instantly dropped to the bottom. Most of the great swordsmen Lin Rufei knew were the kind that was like his second brother—dedicated. Very few of them would indulge in mundane things and he didn’t expect Fu Yu to be an exception among them.

But in the end, they were in someone else’s territory. Lin Rufei didn’t have a say in this matter. He simply nodded and then turned to leave. 

“Married a dozen wives……he really is something, ah.” Yu Rui clicked her tongue in astonishment, “If I have a dozen wives, why would I still practice the sword.” As she mumbled to herself, she looked at Lin Rufei and blinked, “Speaking of which, young master is almost at the age of marriage, right?”

If a person was in his twenties and had passed the fifth level of cultivation, it was indeed time to start thinking about marrying. However, Lin Rufei’s situation was special. His health was not good and his whole family spoiled him. If he wanted to find a wife, they could probably find one for him immediately. If he didn’t want one, his family certainly would not force him. 

“Next time[3].” Lin Rufei was not interested in this, “If I have that free time……” might as well practice swordplay with Gu Xuandu. Of course, that last part, Lin Rufei did not say aloud.

The few children looked curiously at Lin Rufei, who was an outsider. Their chubby faces were a sharp contrast with Mo Mo’s. However, Lin Rufei didn’t want to have too deep of a contact with the Fu family so he didn’t say hello to the children and directly left.

He returned to the room under the blazing sun and Lin Rufei felt his whole body covered in sweat. When Fu Hua went to go ask for ice, she also asked for a tub of bathing water for Lin Rufei, which was just convenient for Lin Rufei to wash his body.

Mo Mo crawled out of the bag and sat obediently on the side. Seeing that he was bored, Fu Hua took a piece of pastry on the table and handed it to him, giving him something to eat and play with. With food, Mo Mo could almost stay quietly on that stool for a day. However, he was not hungry at the moment so he didn’t wolf it down like usual and just took small bites as he gnawed on the pastry. After gnawing half of it and seeing that no one was around, he quietly tucked the rest into his clothes. Fu Hua and the others were busy and did not see this action. If they had seen it, their hearts would most likely ache again. 

After Lin Rufei bathed, he changed into fresh clothes and Mo Mo was wiped clean by Yu Rui. He looked at Mo Mo and asked curiously, “Does Mo Mo still remember his given name?”

Mo Mo looked at Lin Rufei blankly.

Lin Rufei asked, “It’s one of those three-word names.”

(t/n: Most Chinese names are three characters—Their surname as one character and two characters for their given name.)

Mo Mo stammered, “No, No, I don’t remember.”

Lin Rufei continued, “Then who gave Mo Mo this name?”

Mo Mo thought for a long while before seriously saying, “It was……daddy who gave it……” 

Lin Rufei asked, “Daddy? Your father is still around?”

Mo Mo nodded and then shook his head. He looked very confused and cocked his head in distress, “Daddy gave Mo Mo……so my name is……Mo Mo.”

The words he spoke were very strange, but Lin Rufei did understand. Most likely when Mo Mo’s father left him, he gave him a piece of steam bun in his arms and after that, he took on that name. Mo Mo was still young, so it was normal for him to not remember these kinds of things.  

As he was thinking about this, he heard Gu Xuandu, who had been standing next to him, let out a soft sigh.

“Senior, what’s wrong?” Lin Rufei asked.

“This child probably has some sort of relationship with the Fu family.” Gu Xuandu muttered.

“Why do you suddenly say that?” Lin Rufei wondered.

Gu Xuandu said, “When Mo Mo saw those kids, he kept trembling.”

Lin Rufei exclaimed, “Trembling!?” He didn’t even notice but he didn’t expect Gu Xuandu to actually be so attentive.

Gu Xuandu said, “If Mo Mo didn’t know those kids, I don’t think he should have this kind of reaction.”

When Lin Rufei heard this, his expression instantly became serious. If Mo Mo was really a member of the Fu family, then things have become a bit troublesome. He must have been sent out of the village for some reason and left to fend for himself. He even brought Mo Mo in so rashly. If the Fu family saw this, it would probably lead to disputes……

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: I’ll pinch whoever you pinch. 

Lin Rufei: Really?

Gu Xuandu: Yes.

Lin Rufei reached out and pinched Gu Xuandu on the cheek: Who told you to bully the child——

Gu Xuandu: ………….

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

[1] Ughhh, I wouldn’t recommend anyone to google this, it’s too cruel. Good thing it’s no longer allowed, but trust me. Don’t. Do. It. 
[2] Idiom: Everyone minds their own business. 
[3] Hard to write it in a few words to match the raws, but the implication here is that LRF says to talk about this matter when the time comes. 

Chapter 48: Great Formation

After knowing this, Lin Rufei did not intend to let Mo Mo out. One, was that Mo Mo was too skinny and silly. This little guy was thrown out just like that so who knew exactly how long he could live? Two, if Mo Mo really had a grudge with the Fu family and he let Mo Mo near the Fu family mansion, wouldn’t it be equal to harming him? 

Thinking about it, the most suitable method now was to take Mo Mo with them. As long as the Fu family doesn’t see him before they leave, then it would all be fine.  

But he should still tell Fu Hua and Yu Rui about this matter in advance. After all, most of the time, Mo Mo was together with them. 

After Fu Hua heard that Mo Mo might not have a good relationship with the Fu family, she immediately pulled the little guy into her arms and into a heart-wrenching embrace. She said that Mo Mo was so small, what could he possibly do against the Fu family, ah. The Fu family’s whole village was so strange, if possible, they really wanted to leave early.

Lin Rufei and her thoughts were similar. He intended to leave immediately after he delivered the invitation. 

Unfortunately, there were still ten days before Fu Yu could come back, so they just had to wait a little longer.

Because the first meeting with the Fu family wasn’t very pleasant, the next few days, Lin Rufei also did not take the initiative to make contact with the Fu family. However, they frequently came over to invite Lin Rufei to dinner. Especially the Fu family gongzi dressed in purple that Lin Rufei chanced upon on his first day. He seemed to be very interested in Lin Rufei, but although he was rejected many times, he still persistently came back. Either it was to invite Lin Rufei to drink or to invite Lin Rufei for tea. Lin Rufei refused almost every time without being polite and also without giving him a bit of face.

Lin Rufei had nothing to do. He didn’t like to stay in the Fu family courtyard and was more than happy to go for a walk outside. Although it was full of ragged farmers outside the village, at least the trees were shady. The large crops that were full of the smell of harvest, at least made it feel like it was full of life everywhere.

However, this was only Lin Rufei’s initial impression. When he got to know more about the crops planted outside the village, he suddenly made a terrible discovery.

The soil in the crop field outside was actually the same as the one in the village and it had an obvious layer of white crystalline particles attached to it. Lin Rufei twisted some of it with his hand, looked at it carefully, and determined that it was exactly salt.

“Salt and alkaline land?” Lin Rufei was flabbergasted, “How can it be salt and alkaline land outside as well.”

Gu Xuandu was also slightly surprised and let out a “huh.”

They were both saline land, but the soil inside the village had no grass growing on it, yet the crops outside the village actually grew so well that there was no sign that the white solid was affecting the plants.  

Gu Xuandu pondered, “It seems that this Fu Family Village is not as simple as I imagined, ah.”

Lin Rufei wondered, “How so?”

Gu Xuandu said, “When I first came here, I did feel the presence of a spirit gathering formation, but such a thing was very common, so I didn’t take it to heart. However, now it seems that this is not an ordinary spirit gathering formation.”

Spirit gathering formation was a relatively common formation and it was usually used in farmers’ crop fields. It could gather the surrounding spiritual energy so that the crops would grow better. However, in general, the effect of such formations like the spirit gathering formation was very mild and only slightly influential and the crops still mostly relied on the farmers’ maintenance.

A spirit gathering formation that could produce crops in saline soil was naturally unusual.

Lin Rufei frowned, “Could it be that the Fu family is using this spirit gathering formation to accumulate money?”

Gu Xuandu replied, “Naturally, there is this possibility.”

As he said this, he directed Lin Rufei to look around. Indeed, they found several smaller formation eyes not too far away. Gu Xuandu said that these formation eyes were part of the spirit gathering formation. It seemed that the person who set up the formation was indeed a big shot, using countless small formations to finally form a big formation. But the eye of the bigger formation was more difficult to find and it could exist anywhere in the dozen miles surrounding them. 

Lin Rufei stayed at the Fu family mansion for a few days. It was obvious that the people around had not practiced immortality and most of them were mortals. Such a large formation, most likely it had something to do with Fu Yu, who was currently not here. 

Lin Rufei strolled around the cornfield. The weather was very hot and even his forehead began to surface with a thin layer of sweat. Lin Rufei coughed lowly a few times: “It seems that this Fu Yu is a powerful character, ah.” To be able to make such a large spirit gathering formation, they must have extraordinary strength.

“If he can set up such a formation, then he is naturally very powerful. But it is still very strange……” Gu Xuandu analyzed, “Even with the spirit gathering formation, there are not so many spiritual energy sources, ah. If they want to make the salt land grow crops using spiritual energy, I’m afraid it won’t be easy.” Everything had a balance and spiritual energy was not endless. The small spirit gathering formation was gathering the surrounding thin spiritual power, but exactly what this huge spirit gathering formation was collecting was hard to say. 

“Could it be spirit stones?” Lin Rufei asked.

Gu Xuandu shook his head: “Spirit stones are so expensive, it is not something mortals can afford to use. Even a big family like the Liu family doesn’t necessarily have so many spirit stones to support this place.”

Then this matter became more and more strange. Lin Rufei frowned and did not continue to speak.

But Gu Xuandu became even more interested, “Anyway, we have nothing to do in these few days, why don’t we spend more time to find the eye of the formation and see what’s special about this large formation.”

Lin Rufei nodded, “Alright.”

So the two of them, who were bored every day, started to run towards the outside every day. Fu Hua and Yu Rui, on the other hand, were at home taking care of Mo Mo. Mo Mo could eat a full meal every day and by definition, he should be very happy. However, he was a little sullen and it seemed like he had remembered something. But when Fu Hua and Yu Rui asked, he could not say exactly what he was unhappy about and his mouth was full of words that they could not understand.

In the end, it was Lin Rufei’s first time interacting with an formation. Although he had Gu Xuandu’s guidance, he was still a bit rusty. Gu Xuandu’s temper was very patient. Little by little, he guided Lin Rufei on how to find the spiritual energy source and then followed the vine to get the melon[1] towards the eye of the formation.

“That’s awesome.” Lin Rufei followed Gu Xuandu’s guidance while exclaiming, “Senior seems to know everything.”

Gu Xuandu said, “He just taught me well.”

Lin Rufei asked, “He?”

Gu Xuandu raised his eyes and looked at him, “My……old friend.” After muttering ou the word “old friend,” he chuckled first and continued, “A teacher and a friend.”

Lin Rufei could obviously feel that Gu Xuandu’s expression was a bit different when he mentioned this person. He hesitated for a moment before asking tentatively, “Senior and that person were very close, right?”

“Naturally.” Luckily, Gu Xuandu didn’t mind talking more as he smiled, “No one has a better relationship with him than me.”

Then, Gu Xuandu proceeded to talk carelessly about his past. He said that he lost his parents early on and was picked up by that old friend, who was a powerful character. He was taught by his old friend himself; from how to read and write to sword practice—stroke by stroke, move by move.

“He was good-tempered and rarely got angry, no matter how naughty I……” Just a few words and a great immortal figure leaped out in sight. Gu Xuandu himself may not even realize that when he talked about these things, his eyes and lips were unable to hide the light smile, “Although I had good talent at that time, I also had a willful nature. Once, just for sword practice I also injured him. He had a lot of disciples under him so when such an incident occurred, I should have been expelled but he insisted on protecting me.”

“Then he must be a good master.” Lin Rufei responded.

“Yes, a good master.” Gu Xuandu’s emotions fluctuated slightly. He closed his eyes and when he opened them again, only a calmness remained in his eyes. He repeated again in a strained voice, “Good master…..” After he finished, he cast his eyes on Lin Rufei. 

For some reason, Lin Rufei inexplicably perceived a dangerous implication from this gaze of Gu Xuandu’s. He pretended to calmly avert his gaze and changed the topic rigidly: “Senior, how far away are we from the formation eye?”

Gu Xuandu gave a faint smile, “You don’t want to ask what happened to us after that?”

Lin Rufei hesitated, “This is all senior’s private matters……If senior is not willing to talk about it, then it would be inappropriate for me to ask more.” He was flustered by Gu Xuandu’s stare and even took a step back involuntarily before letting out two low coughs, “No need to force.”

Gu Xuandu abruptly laughed. While laughing, he came up to Lin Rufei and almost touched the tip of Lin Rufei’s nose, “You are a smart one.”

Lin Rufei: “……” He did not know why Gu Xuandu praised him for being smart, but in his heart, he believed that he had managed to avoid a disaster. 

Gu Xuandu turned his back and waved his hand. The dangerous aura on him also disappeared and in a moment, he was back to being the usual temperamental senior, “Forget it, forget it, look at how scared you are.”

Then he did not mention anything about that senior again, instead, he talked about his own experience in his early childhood. It turned out that his experience was somewhat similar to that of Mo Mo. He also lost his parents at a very young age and grew up alone eating food from a hundred families[2]. Such a child, the hardships endured were unimaginable. Summertime was fine, but once it was Winter, it was basically beckoning for death. 

(t/n: that senior refers to GXD’s friend/master)

Not enough to eat, not enough to keep warm, and he had to hide from the snow under the bridge. There wasn’t even charcoal to keep warm and he could only go out to cut firewood every day. However, he also didn’t dare cut too much firewood or it would be robbed by other adults. When Gu Xuandu talked about these experiences, his expression was calm, as if he was talking about someone else’s story. However, Lin Rufei’s heart ached when he listened to it and even thought of the poor Mo Mo in the Fu Family Village at this time.

Gu Xuandu seemed to know what he was thinking and lazily said: “But I’m not a little stupid like Mo Mo, I’m very clear-headed. I know what kind of people can’t be provoked and also know what kind of people would save my life……”

Lin Rufei found it hard to interject so he only sat on the side and hummed in agreement.

“Fortunately, God didn’t do things to the end. Although I was born with a miserable life, I was born with a good set of bones and it was because of a coincidence that I became his disciple.” Gu Xuandu continued, nodding to himself, “It is much better than that stupid Mo Mo, don’t you think so?”

When Lin Rufei heard his questions, he silently cursed in his heart: Why was his senior so childish? He was already hundreds of years old, yet he still competed vigorously with a little doll who still didn’t know anything.  Of course, he certainly didn’t dare to say these words out loud, so he churned out a few words without a basis. He simply said that how could Mo Mo compare to his intelligent senior?

Gu Xuandu said, “After that, it became much better. I was at least able to eat and wear warm clothes and I no longer had to worry about freezing to death under the bridge.”

Lin Rufei wanted to ask a few more questions, but he felt that his questions might offend so he didn’t ask. Gu Xuandu practically said everything, so he then talked about the formation and sword practice. He said that Lin Rufei should quickly throw away his black wooden shield. If people saw that the Lin family’s fourth son attacked people with a wooden shield, did the Lin Family still want their reputation as sword immortals?  

Lin Rufei refused desperately. Although he could now barely manipulate Gu Yu, when he rode the sword it was still crooked and it was far less stable than the wooden shield. Even though the wooden shield was very ordinary, the sword Qi attached to it was also a powerful weapon. It was just that the outward appearance was a little bad but that wasn’t a big deal.  

Gu Xuandu was angry at Lin Rufei’s stubbornness, “Lin gongzi, young master Lin—you do sword practice seriously so why are you running around every day with a shield?” This wooden shield was really ugly. It was black, round, and not squared. Lin Rufei was born handsome. Looking at such a delicate sick beauty carrying a huge wooden shield running around really irritated the eyes. Speaking of wooden shields, he had to blame that guy Mo Zhaocai, if he had not cheated Lin Rufei, Lin Rufei wouldn’t have opened the door to this new world. 

But Gu Xuandu’s persuasion, for now, seemed to be of little use. Lin Rufei resolutely decided not to use Gu Yu roughly before fully mastering it. After all, the sword was like a beauty, he didn’t want to learn Gu Xuandu’s insensitivity, using a great beauty as a burning stick.

The Fu family’s big formation was indeed really large. After looking for some days, they were only slightly closer to the eye of the formation and hadn’t really pinpointed it yet. Fortunately, Gu Xuandu said that they should be able to find it in the next few days. But just when Lin Rufei thought he was about to find it, there was a small accident—Fu Yu came back early.

The day Fu Yu came back, it just so happened to be raining heavily.

The Summer rain was not like the mild Winter and Spring and it was accompanied by lightning and thunder as it poured. The large amount of rain washed away the hot Summer heat and brought a touch of fresh air to the Fu family’s dry courtyard. Lin Rufei sat in front of the window looking at the rain. His nose took in the fragrance of rain mixed with soil. Mo Mo was behind him playing with Fu Hua and Yu Rui. This child was able to eat well and rest well these days, he was much energetic compared to when they first met him. His thin face also seemed to have gained more meat. Lin Rufei quietly pinched it a few times behind Fu Hua’s back and nodded in satisfaction at the touch. He didn’t know why, but this child’s face felt particularly good to touch. It was smooth and tender and very pleasing to the eye. The most important thing was that when Mo Mo was pinched, he also did not cry. He just blankly looked at Lin Rufei, most likely he didn’t understand why Lin Rufei had done it. 

When Lin Rufei pinched Mo Mo’s face, Gu Xuandu was looking from the side. His expression was ambiguous and in order to avoid Gu Xuandu if he also reached out, Lin Rufei did not dare to pinch more. He barely pressed down his addiction as he let go. 

The eldest son of the Fu family, Fu Yu, came back in the rain. Although Lin Rufei could not see his face clearly because of the heavy rain, he could vaguely see a group of people with umbrellas respectfully welcoming him back to the courtyard of the Fu family. He was surrounded by about a dozen concubines and servants holding umbrellas, and the sounds of flirting and laughter even penetrated the ear-splitting rain as it reached Lin Rufei’s ears.

This was Fu Yu, the main backbone of the Fu family. Lin Rufei looked at him but felt that he was very different from the person he imagined.

He didn’t have the strength of character nor did he have grandeur. At a glance, it was clear that he was not a qualified swordsman.

Most of the invitations were sent to powerful characters. After being used to seeing people like Liu Rugong and then seeing the ordinary Fu Yu in front of him, it was a bit disappointing.

Lin Rufei raised his hand and closed the window, isolating the laughter outside.

However, Mo Mo raised his head and stared out the window, as if he felt something. His mouth kept muttering and he even wanted to jump out of Fu Hua’s arms to run outside.

Fu Hua didn’t know why, but she was afraid of Mo Mo being seen, so she had to hold him tightly. She even took out a candy to try and calm Mo Mo’s emotions. However, the usual effective use of candy, at this moment, was of no use. Mo Mo was aggrieved and he started to whimper. Big tears rolled down his eyes as he sobbed while struggling. It was as if the person outside the window was his actual salvation. 

In the end, Fu Hua did not dare to let go until Fu Yu left. Only then did Mo Mo calm down. He turned back into the good-natured and dense child as he took small bites of the candy. He was no longer speaking.

“Fu Yu is back.” Lin Rufei said.

Fu Hua: “Fu Yu is back? Why is Mo Mo reacting so much to this Fu Yu?”

Lin Rufei shook his head to show that he didn’t know.

“Could it be that the death of Mo Mo’s parents had something to do with Fu Yu?” Yu Rui guessed, “That’s why Mo Mo is so desperate to get out……”

They turned their eyes to Mo Mo, who remained ignorant. Obviously, they couldn’t get an answer from him.

“Tomorrow Fu Yu will probably invite me to a feast.” Lin Rufei said, “I’ll try to ask around carefully.”

That was all that could be done.

Lin Rufei would rather hope that Mo Mo was a lost child of the Fu family and not an enemy so that he could at least rest assured when he left Mo Mo with the Fu family. Although the Fu family looked like a nouveau riche, at least they seemed to treat children well. And if Mo Mo was a descendant of the Fu family’s enemies, he could only quietly take Mo Mo away from the Fu family. As for how to settle him down, those were matters for afterward. There would always be a way.

Although there was a rainstorm this night, the Fu family was still lively and the lights were almost on for the whole night. The Fu family also invited Lin Rufei to go over, but Lin Rufei declined on the grounds that he was not feeling well. The Fu family knew that Lin Rufei’s attitude was cold from the beginning to the end, so they didn’t force him.

The sound of the rain could not cover the noise of the dogs and horses[3]. Lin Rufei was so disturbed by the noise that he could hardly sleep.

Gu Xuandu showed his displeasure when he noticed him tossing and turning and couldn’t sleep. He said that he might as well just go out and kill the entire Fu family, then it would be more peaceful.

Lin Rufei hastily refused.

When Gu Xuandu saw how serious he looked, he laughed, “I was just kidding.”

Lin Rufei said, “Well……it better be a joke.” He didn’t know exactly what to do with Gu Xuandu’s attitude. Although he said it was a joke, if he(LRF) casually agreed and saw the Fu family’s hundreds of bodies on the ground the next day, he probably wouldn’t even be able to cry out. 

Gu Xuandu: “Then what to do if you can’t sleep?” 

Lin Rufei shook his head, “It’s okay, I’ve gotten used to it.” When he was sick on Kunlun, he either slept for three or four days or had trouble sleeping, so this little trouble didn’t matter.

Gu Xuandu sighed softly and no longer said anything else. Instead, when he looked out the window, there was a little more icy coldness in his eyes.

This night, Lin Rufei almost did not sleep much at all and it wasn’t until the early hours of the morning did he take a nap in a daze for a moment. After dawn, the rain also stopped. Lin Rufei got up from the bed feeling unwell and he intermittently let out a few coughs. Fu Hua worriedly took a look and realized that Lin Rufei was having a fever again.

These illnesses had been the norm for Lin Rufei so he wasn’t too bothered about it. After drinking a dose of medicine, he asked Fu Hua to inform Fu Yu that he would come see him later.

But Fu Hua was a bit worried, “Young master, let’s ask the doctor to take a look first. You are weak so you can’t drag it out. You can visit that Fu something Yu a few days later.”

Lin Rufei shook his head, “We are guests, after all, it’s not quite right to leave the hosts hanging.” Although he did not like either the Fu family or Fu Yu, he still had to observe the basic etiquette.

Seeing Lin Rufei’s resolute attitude, Fu Hua could not persuade him any further. She could only agree and leave. 

Yu Rui took Mo Mo to the kitchen and planned to make some light food for Lin Rufei to eat.

Lin Rufei was dizzy and drowsy. He leaned on the bed with his eyes closed, when he faintly heard the sound of footsteps coming from outside. He opened his eyes and saw Fu Hua standing at the door with a panting face full of distress. She called out, “Young master.”

Lin Rufei hummed in response. 

Fu Hua lowered her voice: “Fu Yu, Fu gongzi heard that you are sick so he didn’t want to trouble you to go over again……so……he wanted to come over personally.” As she finished, she pointed to the door, indicating that Fu Yu was outside.

Lin Rufei frowned. He was still lying in bed and had not freshened up so it was too rude to meet the guests like this.

But the man was already at the door, so he couldn’t drive him away. Lin Rufei thought for a moment, then asked Fu Hua to go out and tell Fu Yu to wait a moment. He got up from the bed, changed his clothes, and simply tidied up his appearance.

After that, did he ask Fu Hua to invite the man in.

Fu Yu followed Fu Hua into the room. He smiled and bowed to Lin Rufei, calling him “Lin gongzi” in a polite manner.

Lin Rufei leaned back in his chair, coughed lowly twice, and responded back, “Fu gongzi.” He finally saw Fu Yu’s appearance. Yesterday, he only heard his voice but did not see his appearance. It wasn’t as deep of an impression as today’s sight. 

This Fu Yu didn’t look too old. He had a heroic appearance and his looks weren’t bad. Just that there was a frivolous feeling flowing between his eyebrows. He was currently standing at Lin Rufei and sizing him up, making it such a pity for those proper eyebrows. 

“I’ve heard a lot about you, Lin gongzi. After seeing you today, you are really something else.” Fu Yu smiled, “I was out on an errand a few days ago, sorry for making Lin gongzi wait for a long time.” He continued, “Why is Lin gongzi coughing so hard, are you not feeling well?”

Lin Rufei replied, “I just accidentally caught a cold, it’s nothing serious.”

Fu Yu said, “Oh, this weather is hot so it is easy to catch a cold if you are seeking for coolness. Lin gongzi, you should be more careful.”

When Lin Rufei noticed that the courtesy exchanged was almost finished, he took out the invitation in his arms, wanting to hand it over to Fu Yu. However, at that time, Yu Rui, who was making porridge outside, happened to come in. When she entered through the door and noticed Fu Yu, her smile instantly froze on her face. Fu Yu also looked towards her, but this gaze fell on Mo Mo, who was being held in Yu Rui’s arms.

Fu Yu instantly changed his expression and he angrily shouted: “Why are you here?!”

Mo Mo, who had been yelled at by Fu Yu, opened his mouth and cried out.

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: Stop pinching him. My, Gu Xuandu’s, face feels a million times better than his!

Lin Rufei: You’re already an old man of a few hundred years old, don’t you feel embarrassed? 

Gu Xuandu: Hmph. Even if I am a few hundred years old, I still have a soft face.

Lin Rufei: ……………….

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[1] track something by following clues. 

[2] 吃百家饭 – eating food from a hundred families: Another way of saying that he went around begging for leftovers. 

[3] 声色狗马 –  drown oneself in sex and pleasures. 

Chapter 49: Fu Yu, Fu Yu

Fu Hua was startled by this situation. She went over to take Mo Mo and then backed up a few steps. She was on guard against Fu Yu, who was looking at him. 

Fu Yu, however, ignored Fu Hua. He had his eyes dead set on Mo Mo and the corners of his mouth also pulled up into a very forced smile: “Where did you find him?” He also sensed that his attitude was inappropriate and wanted to pretend to be amiable. However, his initial performance had already revealed his most primitive thoughts, and seeing him come over, Fu Hua directly bypassed him and went to Lin Rufei’s side in a few steps.

Lin Rufei reached out and directly picked up Mo Mo from Fu Hua’s arms. Mo Mo was scared to death from Fu Yu’s initial holler. Trembling, he shrunk into Lin Rufei’s arms. He could not stop choking or sobbing. However, what made people feel incomprehensible was that even so, there was an eagerness in his(MM) eyes when he looked at Fu Yu. Even at this time, he could not stop turning his head to look at Fu Yu.

“Lin gongzi, where did you find him?” Fu Yu gritted his teeth, “He……is the child of our Fu family.”

Lin Rufei asked, “How can a child of the Fu family be outside?”

Fu Yu sighed, “That’s a long story.” He collected his fierce anger, walked to the chair next to him, and sat down, “He is my child, but he was abducted by criminals. I was never able to find him, but I never expected he would run into Lin gongzi.”

These words sounded very grand and dignified, but looking at Fu Yu’s initial reaction, Lin Rufei didn’t believe a single word. If Mo Mo was really the child that Fu Yu accidentally lost, then how could his first reaction be furious when he saw Mo Mo? Furthermore, the place where Mo Mo was lost was not far from the Fu family, if the Fu family really had the intention, then they certainly would have been able to find him.  

But in this way, the identity of Mo Mo could also be confirmed. He must have had a relationship with the Fu family and it wasn’t a good relationship.

Fu Yu said: “In any case, I have to thank Lin gongzi for bringing back Mo Mo. Mo Mo, come……” He extended his hand to Mo Mo, showing a kind smile, “Come here to daddy.”

When Mo Mo saw Fu Yu’s smile, his face showed a little hesitation. It looked like he was really thinking about whether to extend his hand towards Fu Yu.

“Come on.” Fu Yu called again, “Mo Mo? Come here, it’s not proper to stay in the guest’s arm.”  

Mo Mo looked up at Lin Rufei and then looked at Fu Yu. Lin Rufei’s mind suddenly became keen. He secretly pulled out a piece of Mo Mo’s favorite malt candy from his sleeve and quietly stuffed it into Mo Mo’s hand. Mo Mo, who got the candy, immediately rebelled. He shook his head at Fu Yu and buried his face into Lin Rufei’s arms again.

Fu Yu’s expression changed greatly and angrily called out: “Mo Mo——”

Mo Mo simply ignored him.

Seeing that Mo Mo was ignoring him, a gloomy aura surfaced between his eyebrows, “Mo Mo, are you really not coming over?”

Mo Mo shuddered slightly in fear. It looked like he was about to be frightened into tears again.  

Lin Rufei said indifferently, “Since Fu gongzi is Mo Mo’s father, there is no need to scare the child like this.”

Fu Yu gruffly said, “Lin gongzi, this is my Fu family’s matter. Although you are an honored guest, it seems inappropriate to interfere so rashly.”

Lin Rufei said, “Indeed, it’s not appropriate.”

When Fu Yu heard Lin Rufei’s words, he looked slightly relieved: “Lin gongzi is really a person who understands things.” He thought Lin Rufei had compromised, so he smiled and reached out his hand again, gesturing for Lin Rufei to pass Mo Mo to his hand.

But who knew that Lin Rufei’s next words would be, “But, occasionally, I am not such a reasonable person.” He reached out and hugged the little guy in his arms tightly. He said to Fu Yu, “Sorry, Fu gongzi.”

Fu Yu’s face turned pale. He seemed to want to have a fit, but due to Lin Rufei’s status, he held back and finally could only clench his teeth, “Is Lin gongzi not going to give my Fu family this face?”

Lin Rufei said, “Fu gongzi’s words are too serious. Look at Mo Mo, it’s not like he only has been outside for a day or two. Since this is the case, why is Fu gongzi so anxious to get back?” 

Fu Yu was speechless for a moment before he responded with his anger suppressed, “What does Lin gongzi want to do?” 

Lin Rufei mused, “Nothing. Fu gongzi has many sons and daughters, I think having no Mo Mo should be fine too.” 

He seemed to want to draw his sword, but in the end, he held back and barely managed to pull off a stiff smile: “Lin gongzi, why are you doing this?”

Lin Rufei ignored him and took out the invitation from his pocket. He instructed Fu Hua to hand it over to Fu Yu, but Fu Yu did not take it at all. He said coldly: “Lin gongzi is so disrespectful to my Fu family, this Kunlun sword competition, I won’t go.”

Lin Rufei responded indifferently, “I am only responsible for delivering it, as for how Fu gongzi wants to treat the invitation, it is all your business.”

When Fu Yu heard the words, he took the invitation, raised his hand, and then tore it. In the blink of an eye, the invitation was torn to pieces. When he was tearing it, Mo Mo, who was in Lin Rufei’s arms, suddenly burst into tears. He was chanting something vaguely as big tears spilled out of his eyes.

When Fu Hua saw this kind of behavior from Fu Yu, she directly pulled out the sword on her waist and reprimanded: “Fu gongzi, you are too much—”

Fu Yu sneered and spread his hands, “It was your Lin family that didn’t give face to our Fu family first.” He glared at Lin Rufei’s direction, thinking that Lin Rufei would be furious because the invitation had been torn. However, who knew that Lin Rufei would look at him with a calm and almost indifferent look. This made Fu Yu even more uncomfortable—it was a gaze as if he was looking at an ant.

“Lin gongzi…..” Fu Yu shivered under this gaze of Lin Rufei’s. He didn’t know why, but he suddenly regretted this excessive action of his. He was about to say something to save the situation when he saw Lin Rufei wave his hand, indicating that he could go now. “Whether or not Fu gongzi participates in the sword competition is Fu gongzi’s freedom.” Lin Rufei said indifferently, “Since the invitation has been delivered, we will leave tomorrow.”

Fu Yu muttered, “Then Mo Mo……”

Lin Rufei said, “Naturally, we are taking Mo Mo with us.”

Fu Yu stood up with a scuffle.

“If Fu gongzi does not agree, I will not use the Lin family to suppress you. Let’s settle this the swordsman way.” Lin Rufei suggested, “Have a match, and if you lose you must shut up.” 

Fu Yu’s Adam’s Apple bobbed and his expression changed, as if there were countless words he wanted to say. However, in the end, they all turned into a sorrowful sigh, “Why do you need to meddle in affairs, Lin gongzi?”

Lin Rufei replied, “I want to[1].”

Fu Yu was speechless. He thought Lin Rufei would say something big and reasonable, but who knew that Lin Rufei would slightly raise his chin and spat out such three words that people could not refute.

Thousands of gold couldn’t buy his willingness——If Lin Rufei wanted to, no one could stop him.  

Lin Rufei said, “Please, Fu gongzi.” He didn’t want to talk to Fu Yu anymore and gestured to Fu Hua to send the guest away.

Fu Yu was very reluctant, but facing Lin Rufei’s tough attitude to send him off, he finally did not say anything. He got up and left. When he left, veins could be seen popping out on the hand that was holding the sword hilt on his waist. However, he never pulled out the sword.

“This Fu Yu is really not a good thing.” After sending away Fu Yu, the maids, who had their hearts set on Mo Mo, couldn’t help but mutter, “He also said that Mo Mo was lost. If he was lost couldn’t they go find him? This place isn’t that big and looking at Mo Mo’s appearance, it’s doesn’t like he’s only been outside for a day or two……”  

Mo Mo shrunk in Lin Rufei’s arms. He was ignorantly eating the malt candy in his hand. He was at a loss and didn’t know what the adults were actually talking about.

Lin Rufei stroked his soft hair, “Indeed, it is very strange.”

What was strange was not why Fu Yu didn’t look for Mo Mo, but that Fu Yu would deliberately offend the Lin family for such a seemingly unimportant child. If Mo Mo was just an unloved child, Fu Yu’s reaction would not be so strong. However, if he was loved, then how could Fu Yu let him wander outside?

This was already a very contradictory matter.

“So young master, are we really going to take Mo Mo away?” Yu Rui asked, “After all, Mo Mo is a child of the Fu family, wouldn’t it be inappropriate?” 

Lin Rufei shook his head without saying anything, “Let’s wait and see.” He did not mind taking Mo Mo away. With the Fu family’s ability, they could not keep him. If Mo Mo stayed and the result was that he still had to continue to beg[2], then he might as well take Mo Mo away.

The Fu family had arranged a sumptuous dinner in the evening, but because of the unhappy relationship between Lin Rufei and Fu Yu, it was cancelled. Fortunately, Lin Rufei was not interested in this dinner, so not going was also a good thing. 

Mo Mo’s mood recovered quickly and not long after Fu Yu left, he played with Fu Hua and the rest in the courtyard again. Lin Rufei felt a little stuffy in the house and planned to simply go out with Gu Xuandu for a walk.

The two of them were following the path to leave the Fu family’s ancestral home when they happened to see the second son of the Fu family laughing with some women, he was still wearing the same purple clothes. When he noticed Lin Rufei, he smiled and greeted him. Lin Rufei returned his greeting and planned to leave but he heard him ask from behind, “Were you the one who brought Mo Mo back?” 

Lin Rufei paused slightly: “Why?”

“Then Lin gongzi should be more careful.” The Fu family’s second son said, “That Mo Mo is my big brother’s favorite child.” He emphasized the word favorite.

Lin Rufei turned his head to look at him.

“If you want to take him away just like that, my big brother will absolutely not agree.” He kneaded the soft waist of his concubines leaning in his arms, causing them to burst out in a peal of laughter as he spoke in an indifferent manner.  

Lin Rufei asked, “Where is Mo Mo’s mother?”

“Dead.” Fu Er Gongzi replied, “Everyone says she’s dead, although I haven’t seen her before……” He narrowed his eyes and smiled extraordinarily frivolously, “But she was probably a beauty too.”

Lin Rufei gave him a deep look, “I understand. Thank you for your good intentions, Fu Er Gongzi.” 

“You’re welcome, Lin gongzi.” Fu Er Gongzi lazily responded, “The days are getting more and more boring. Once I’m bored, I want to find things to do…..” As he said this, he looked towards the sky, “When will there be another rain?”

After saying goodbye to Fu Er Gongzi, Lin Rufei and Gu Xuandu strolled out of the Fu Family Village again. 

After the efforts from their previous days, with some more effort tonight, they should be able to touch the big formation’s eye.

“It’s really strange, can that Fu Yu really set up such a big formation?” A few days ago, Lin Rufei thought that this big formation was laid by Fu Yu, but once he met with him today, he somewhat overturned his thoughts. Although this Fu Yu had sword Qi on his body, it was very thin, not at all like the rumored powerful swordsman. How could such a person be capable of laying such an formation?

Gu Xuandu muttered: “Indeed, this big formation doesn’t look like it was laid by him. Wanting to know who laid it, the eye of the formation should be the key.”

Lin Rufei pondered for a moment, “The eye of the formation is near here, right?”

Gu Xuandu nodded, “Should be.”

Nearby was a dense field of crops. There was rice, corn, and other plants. At first glance, it looked no different from other places. But if one felt carefully, they would find that the spiritual energy here was much denser than the surrounding area, and even the crops planted were also more luxuriant than in other areas.

“That area at the eye of the formation will definitely be different from other places.” Gu Xuandu said, “Look carefully, you can definitely find the difference.”

Lin Rufei did what Gu Xuandu said and carefully observed the surroundings. Soon, there really was a discovery.

In the dense crops, there were a few very abrupt boulders. At first, these boulders looked ordinary, but if one were to look carefully, one would find that those boulders were carved with a series of dense scriptures. Lin Rufei couldn’t understand, but Gu Xuandu understood it and his expression became a little serious: “The formation eye is definitely nearby.”

Lin Rufei asked, “What is written in the scriptures?”

Gu Xuandu said, “The incantation for the afterlife.”

Lin Rufei: “The incantation for the afterlife?”

Gu Xuandu explained, “Normally it is used to transcend[3] the dead, but……using it here.” He reached out and touched the boulder. His original white fingers actually became instantly scorched black, “Obviously, with no good intentions.”

Lin Rufei was startled by Gu Xuandu’s action, “Senior, your hand……” Seeing that Gu Xuandu still wanted to put his hand up, he hastily reached out and grabbed Gu Xuandu’s wrist, “Don’t touch it.”

After Gu Xuandu’s hand was grabbed by Lin Rufei, his eyes averted and a pained hissed escaped his mouth.  

Lin Rufei did not notice the change in Gu Xuandu’s expression. Seeing that the wound on Gu Xuandu’s hand was so serious, he asked urgently, “Is this injury to senior’s divine soul? Will there be any after-effects? Does it hurt a lot?”

Gu Xuandu muttered, “Yes, it hurts a little.”

Lin Rufei exclaimed in panic, “Then what should we do?!” Injuries to the soul were very serious. Unlike the physical body that could heal back on its own, even a small wound could have very serious consequences.

Gu Xuandu replied seriously: “Human saliva should be able to relieve the burning, how about……Xiao Jiu help me suck on it?”

Lin Rufei froze: “Ah?”

Gu Xuandu also did not force. He acted out a sigh of disappointment: “If you don’t want to then forget it.”

Gu Xuandu’s fingers were white and slender and they were very beautiful. However, now there was a bloody scorch mark on it making it look hideous and it really made people’s hearts ache. Lin Rufei was stunned for a moment and his tone contained some doubt: “Will sucking really help?” 

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

Seeing Gu Xuandu’s affirmation, Lin Rufei directly took Gu Xuandu’s finger into his mouth. The tip of his tongue unsurprisingly tasted a fishy sweet taste, which should be the blood flowing from Gu Xuandu’s finger. Gu Xuandu was actually just joking with Lin Rufei; he didn’t expect him to actually take his finger into his mouth without hesitation. His fingertips touched Lin Rufei’s hot tongue and his originally clear black eyes instantly sank, as if it was a sky that was about to rain.

Lin Rufei was oblivious. He was seriously licking Gu Xuandu’s fingertip to make sure that the fishy sweet taste was gone before taking it out. After taking a closer look, he was surprised, “It’s really healed!” The scorch marks were gone and Gu Xuandu’s finger was once again as white as an onion root. He did not expect saliva to have such an effect, Gu Xuandu was actually not joking.

Gu Xuandu’s eyes were sunken and he stared at Lin Rufei without speaking.

Lin Rufei was creeped out by his stare and called out, “Senior?”

This call of “senior” seemed to remind Gu Xuandu of something.  He looked at his intact finger and sighed, “Forget it, it’s nothing.”

Lin Rufei quickly put this behind him and studied the boulder in front of him again, “What is the purpose of carving so many incantations for the afterlife at the eyes of this formation.” He pondered for a moment, “Is it to suppress something?”

Gu Xuandu said, “Look again, there must be other clues around here.”

Laying out a formation required a relatively large space. The surrounding was full of crops and was not suitable for laying out a formation. If they wanted to lay one, then they certainly needed to clean up some of the surrounding plants. With Gu Xuandu’s reminder, Lin Rufei quickly found a clue next to a large stone. The ground next to the stone was empty, covered only with a layer of soil, and it looked very suspicious.

Under Gu Xuandu’s helpless gaze, Lin Rufei happily took out his wooden shield and dug the soil away. Sure enough, he saw an iron plate covered under the soil. The iron plate was inlaid with a small ring. Lin Rufei grabbed the ring and pulled the plate up with a fierce force, revealing a dark hole.

“There’s a tunnel!” Lin Rufei exclaimed in surprise.

“Most likely the formation should be laid inside the tunnel.” Gu Xuandu said, “Should we go in and take a look?”

Since they have reached this point, it would be unjustifiable not to go in and take a look. As Lin Rufei thought, he slowly climbed down the ladder on the wall of the tunnel.

There was no light inside the tunnel. Lin Rufei took a fire torch[4] from his ring and lit it and could barely make out the situation around him. This tunnel should have been here for some years. The surrounding soil was not fresh and from the footprints on the ground, it seemed that people didn’t come in often. The tunnel was very narrow and was only barely enough for one person to pass. The good thing was that Lin Rufei wasn’t too tall since Gu Xuandu had to lower his head to pass.

Lin Rufei followed the tunnel all the way forward. During that period, he encountered some relatively simple traps that were easily avoided. After turning a corner, the originally narrowed tunnel opened up and Lin Rufei seemed to have come to a very wide room. However, the room was a bit large and the torch in his hand could not illuminate all of it. Luckily, there were torches hanging on the wall next to him so Lin Rufei lit them one by one and finally got a clear view of the whole room.

This was a very simple mud house. The ground was painted with a huge round spiritual gathering formation and at this time, the spiritual gathering formation was still in operation. Lin Rufei, who was standing next to it, could clearly feel that there was a large amount of spiritual energy infused into this formation.

Lin Rufei looked down at the formation carefully for a while and felt that although the formation was big, it didn’t seem to have any other special features. As he was thinking this, a slight noise suddenly came from above his head. It was like the cold sound of iron chains colliding.

Lin Rufei reflexively looked up and saw something hanging above his head.

It was a huge black iron cage hovering in the pitch-black mid-air and there seemed to be something in the cage making it shake with impact. With the shaking of the cage, the chains that were hanging then emitted a subtle sound.

“That’s……” Lin Rufei’s eyes widened, wanting to see clearly what was in the iron cage. However, the firelight was too dim so he could not interpret it no matter what. 

Gu Xuandu wrinkled his brow. He apparently saw clearly what was in the iron cage but did not tell Lin Rufei. Instead, he looked around at the walls and quickly found what he was looking for—a mechanism embedded in the wall.

Lin Rufei, reminded by Gu Xuandu, went to the mechanism and reached out to press it. Once the mechanism was opened, the iron cage rumbled. Accompanied by flying dust, it fell to the ground.

The thing inside the cage, under the illumination of the dim light, also entered Lin Rufei’s vision. When he thoroughly saw what was inside, he could not help but reveal a stunned look.

It was actually a person that was lying in the huge iron cage. He seemed to have no consciousness and there were no visible undulations, like a lifeless corpse. And what shocked Lin Rufei the most was that this person’s face—was exactly the same as Fu Yu.

“Fu Yu?!” Lin Rufei screamed out, “How could he be here—”

Gu Xuandu walked to the iron cage. He pulled out Shuang Jiang and cut the exaggerated iron cables on the cage. Then he reached out and pulled the cage open. He walked in and carefully observed the man lying inside, who looked exactly like Fu Yu, and shook his head: “It’s too late[5].”

Lin Rufei looked astonished. He also went forward to probe the nostrils of Fu Yu: “Isn’t there still breath?”  

Gu Xuandu said: “Although his body is still here, his soul has already left. If we found him earlier, there may still be a chance……unfortunately……”

Lin Rufei understood Gu Xuandu’s meaning, he looked at the huge spirit gathering formation at his feet and muttered in a strained voice: “The core of this formation is Fu Yu?”

Gu Xuandu nodded his head.

A powerful sword cultivator naturally contained thousands of spiritual Qi inside his body. If these spiritual Qi were pumped out with the spirit gathering formation, then it was enough to nourish all things. The reason why those crops around the Fu Family Village could grow so well on the saline land was because of the spiritual Qi nourishment. And now, the source of the spiritual Qi was right in front of their eyes.

“Then what is that Fu Yu in the Fu Family Village?” Lin Rufei asked, “He does have sword intent on him.”

Gu Xuandu stared at the dying Fu Yu in front of him. He sighed slightly and shook his head. Several times it looked like he wanted to say something, but ended up not saying the words.

Lin Rufei touched Fu Yu’s pulse to make sure he was still alive. However, according to Gu Xuandu, even if he was alive at this time, he was probably just a walking corpse.

“Take him away?” Lin Rufei asked.

Gu Xuandu pondered for a moment: “No, I don’t think so.”

Lin Rufei doubted: “Why?”

Gu Xuandu let out a long sigh and finally said the words, “Fu Yu’s body is very healthy. There is not a single wound and I can’t see any restrictions on him.”

Lin Rufei continued, “So?”

Gu Xuandu gave him a look, “So, he probably stayed here voluntarily.”

Lin Rufei lost his voice, “How is that possible, how can someone stay here voluntarily?”

Gu Xuandu asked, “And how do you know it’s impossible?”

Lin Rufei was dumbfounded.

Gu Xuandu said in a deep voice: “Although there are not many, but in this world, there are always one or two fools that are hard to understand.”

********

The author has something to say:

Gu Xuandu: In fact, there is another method to treat wounds.

Lin Rufei: If you have something to say, then say it. Why are you taking off my clothes? ? ?

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[1] So the phrase here has a deeper meaning than just “I want to” but because in Chinese, it’s only three characters, I didn’t want to be so excessive. What is implied here is: I will do anything that I like, and don’t care about others’ opinions. 
[2] Beg as in begging for food, money, clothes, etc. 
[3] perform religious ceremonies to help the soul find peace. 
[4] We’ve all seen this at least once in ancient Chinese dramas and wondered how it worked 🤣 
[5] What was originally here would be directly translated as “He is no longer working” which means he can’t be saved anymore, but “No longer working,” doesn’t really make sense so I put “It’s too late” because it has the same meaning. 

Chapter 50: Truth No. 1

To receive an invitation from Kunlun, Fu Yu should naturally be a powerful swordsman. But when he saw Fu Yu, Lin Rufei did not feel any aura that belonged to the sword Qi on him. If not for the sword hanging on his waist, Lin Rufei would have thought that the Lin family’s invitation was sent to the wrong person.

However, when he saw the Fu Yu trapped in the eye of the formation in front of him, the doubts in his mind abruptly cleared up.

Fu Yu in the Fu Family Village was not the real Fu Yu. This dying man in front of him should be the powerful swordsman who was rumored to have another chance in Jianghu.

“What should we do now?” Lin Rufei sighed, “Go back to the Fu Family Village first to understand what is going on?”

Gu Xuandu nodded in agreement, “That’s the only way to go.”

If they move the formation’s eye, Fu Yu, away from the spirit gathering formation, then the formation would be irreversibly damaged and if they wanted to start it up again, it wouldn’t be easy. Now everything was the same as seeing flowers in the fog[1], although Lin Rufei vaguely guessed what was going on, he still didn’t know the complete truth. 

After Lin Rufei and Gu Xuandu restored the place, they left the formation. They intended to go back to the village first. But before going back, Lin Rufei found a few farmers around, who had nothing to do, gave them some dry food, and then asked about the previous affairs of the Fu Family Village.

“In the past, huh? In the past, this was a poor place too.” The farmer wolfed down the food while talking with Lin Rufei about what he wanted to know, “It was saline land everywhere and all the crops planted died. We also had no more methods so we did some other work to barely survive. Although the days were hard, we were able to barely get by……” As he said this, he let out a bitter smile, “But it was better than now.”

This was similar to what Lin Rufei had guessed and he asked, “But I see that the crops around here are growing very well, ah.”

“Sigh, that’s only in recent years.” The farmer answered, “The Fu family said they came up with a method to turn the saline land into good land for growing crops. We just thought they were joking at first, but who knew it would really become……” He quickly ate his fill. After looking around to make sure no one saw him, he then stuffed the rest of the dry food carefully into his clothes.

“So how come you guys still look like this now?” Lin Rufei asked curiously, “Shouldn’t the days get better?”

The farmer snorted with laughter at his words, “Guest, you are too naive……but it’s not your fault, we thought the same thing at that time. It’s just a pity that, ah……a man who is never content is like a snake trying to swallow an elephant.” He spoke in an indignant tone and continued the next story.

It turned out that before the Fu family came up with this method, they began to privately buy land from the hands of farmers. The salt-alkaline land was barren, even if they kept it, it was useless hence the farmers sold all the lands that were in their hands. However, who knew that after a period of time, they didn’t know what kind of method the Fu family used, but the crops planted on the land didn’t wither. Instead, they began to grow luxuriantly.

These crops took the farmers by surprise. Originally, they wanted to go to the Fu family to riot, but when they remembered that the Fu family had a powerful sword cultivator, Fu Yu, they could only stop.

“Then the Fu family became richer and richer.” The farmer said, “That Fu Yu could originally also be considered a good person. However, after their family became rich, he became more and more outrageous. His sword skills are powerful, ah, no one dares to provoke him within a hundred miles. When people see him, they all hatefully avoid him……..” 

In the beginning, Fu Yu’s sword cultivation had a somewhat unconventional gambit feel to it and when he returned home, he challenged all the swordsmen within the hundred miles. As a result, the people were more fearful of him. 

Lin Rufei listened with a frown. He suddenly remembered something and asked: “In the Fu family, how many people are there in Fu Yu’s generation?” 

The farmer repeated, “How many people? A total of three.”

Lin Rufei asked, “Which one is Fu Yu?”

The farmer responded, “The first one, he is the eldest son of the Fu family.”

This wasn’t a problem, but the next sentence the farmer said made Lin Rufei’s eyes widen. The farmer continued, “He also has a twin brother named Fu Shui, but he’s different from Fu Yu. Fu Shui also practices swords, but he has really little success.”

Lin Rufei immediately grew excited: “Fu Shui? Is he the one who likes to wear purple clothes?”

“That’s their third young master, ah.” The farmer obviously also knew the frivolous man who liked to wear purple clothes, “His temperament isn’t very good…..alas, the Fu family is like that, addicted to women. They want to marry all the nearby beautiful women into the family.”  He shook his head, full of disdain.

Lin Rufei hastily asked about the matter regarding Fu Shui and asked the farmer to give him a detailed account.

The farmer did not understand why Lin Rufei was so interested in this Fu Shui, but still told him everything he knew. It turned out that Fu Yu and Fu Shui were twins; the elder brother was named Fu Yu, and the younger brother was named Fu Shui. Although both practice swords, because of the conditions, they weren’t that great. After all, these days, young people who could make a name for themselves either have an outstanding natural talent or were born into a wealthy family. Those like Fu Yu and Fu Shui, children of a small family with mediocre natural talent, naturally have no chance of making a name for themselves.

But fortunately, God had mercy. In an accident, Fu Yu had a strange encounter and suddenly his cultivation soared. Soon, his sword skills became much more powerful.

“These two boys were ones that I watched grow up. Fu Yu is calmer in nature and has a good temper.” The farmer said, “We are quite happy for him, but unfortunately…..later when his family became rich, he also changed.”

Lin Rufei questioned, “What about Fu Shui, how come I haven’t seen him?”

The farmer sighed, “I heard that he had a conflict with the Fu family and left on his own. He was saying that he was also going to look for a strange encounter like Fu Yu.” He scoffed twice, “This encounter is not that easy to find. He thinks that everyone has the same blessing as Fu Yu.” He also shook his head with disdain. It seemed that he indeed had a very bad impression of this Fu Shui.

“Then do you know if Fu Yu has a child named Mo Mo?” Lin Rufei asked.

“Mo Mo? I don’t know.” The farmer waved his hand and said, “After the Fu family became rich, Fu Yu married a dozen wives and gave birth to a bunch of children. There were five or six of them who died prematurely, who knows which child was called what.” 

Lin Rufei remembered the group of children he saw inside the Fu family courtyard and thought it was normal for outsiders not to know which one was which.

“Does the guest have anything else to ask?” The farmer rubbed his hands, “If there’s nothing more to ask, I’ll go over there to ask for some water.”

“You go ahead.” Lin Rufei had learned everything he wanted to know. 

The farmer then got up and left. Lin Rufei looked at his back and fell into deep thought, a moment later, he said, “Since Fu Shui is not Fu Yu, then if we want to prove this matter, it will be very simple, right.”

Gu Xuandu responded, “It is indeed very simple—” He paused for a moment. When he noticed Lin Rufei’s eager look, he continued with a bit of helplessness, “Can you not use the shield?”

Lin Rufei mumbled, “But the shield is very convenient.”

Gu Xuandu: “But it’s ugly.”

Lin Rufei: “It’s also very sturdy.”

Gu Xuandu: “But it’s ugly.”

Lin Rufei: “I’m very happy with it……”

Faced with the insistent Lin Rufei, Gu Xuandu’s resentment almost turned concrete. He didn’t know how many times he had cursed at Mo Zhaocai in his heart before it finally turned into a sigh: “Forget it, you can use it.”

Lin Rufei nodded happily.

The weather in the afternoon was really hot. When Lin Rufei returned to the Fu family under the scorching sun, he was already covered in sweat. The good thing was that his body was naturally cold so Summer wasn’t too difficult. When he sat under the eaves for a while, the Summer heat was mostly gone.

Mo Mo cried in the morning. After he ate lunch, he then took a nap, and only now did he wake up in a daze. He sat obediently at the table drinking the Tremella soup boiled by Fu Hua. When Lin Rufei touched his head, he raised his face and gave Lin Rufei a cautious smile.

Lin Rufei saw that the sun was about to set outside and thought it was about time, so he got up and planned to go outside.

When Fu Hua saw that he was going out, she asked him what he was going to do.

“I’m going to find the Fu family’s eldest son for a chat.” Lin Rufei said, “You can have your dinner with Mo Mo, no need to wait for me.”

Yu Rui pouted, “That Fu Yu is so annoying, why is gongzi still looking for him?”

Lin Rufei smiled and didn’t say anything. He instructed Yu Rui to go inside and keep Fu Hua company.

After leaving the courtyard, Lin Rufei asked the Fu family underlings where Fu Yu lived, and then slowly and leisurely walked there. Halfway there, he saw the youngest son of the Fu family in purple sitting in the pavilion playing with the maids. It was funny because they had met several times, but Lin Rufei still didn’t know his name.

The servant who led the way was very perceptive and when Lin Rufei asked, he said that was the little gongzi of this family, named Fu Xi.

The name Fu Xi……was quite a festive name. Lin Rufei smiled, but this name was very different from this man’s pretend suave image.

(t/n: Fu[their surname] = Pay. Yu = Fish; Shui = Water, Xi = Happiness. So, Pay Fish, Pay Water and Pay Happiness)

“Where is Lin gongzi going?” When Fu Xi noticed Lin Rufei, he stopped moving his hands and came over with the same enthusiasm as before.

Lin Rufei replied, “To find your brother.”

Fu Xi questioned, “My brother……? What do you want to find my brother for?”

Lin Rufei said, “For a sword competition.”

Fu Xi’s expression froze, seemingly not expecting Lin Rufei to say such a sentence and asked quietly, “Why is Lin gongzi looking for my brother to compete in a sword fight?”

Lin Rufei took a look at him and said seriously, “Does a swordsman need a reason to fight?”

It was true that there was no need. The rules of Jianghu were like that, especially since Lin Rufei was also a valued guest of the Fu family, so Fu Yu had no reason to refuse.

After Lin Rufei said this, he saw the expression on Fu Xi’s face change rapidly; fear, worry, horror, and then doubt. However, it finally turned into a frankness wrapped in a sigh: “It seems that the rain is about to fall.” After saying that, he smiled, balled his hand, and bowed at Lin Rufei, “Then I will wish Lin gongzi victory in a single move.”

Lin Rufei said, “Thank you for your kind words.”

The place where Fu Yu lived was in the middle of the Fu family’s ancestral house; the one that looked the most exaggerated. From the outside, the house looked like it had thirteen floors, each of which was carved and decorated with gorgeous beams. Even before entering, he could smell the strong fragrance of cosmetic powder coming from inside, which was a bit choking.

The servant asked Lin Rufei to wait outside for a moment as he went in first to report with Fu Yu. Taking advantage of this time, Lin Rufei carefully observed the building in front of him, and could not help but frown. He felt that no matter how he looked, it was an eyesore. 

Gu Xuandu looked at Lin Rufei’s serious expression and couldn’t help but laugh: “What’s with Xiao Jiu’s expression?”  

Lin Rufei asked, “Don’t you think this house is ugly?”

Gu Xuandu repeated, “Ugly? At least it’s better than that wooden shield of yours.”

Lin Rufei: “……The wooden shield is passable, right?”

Gu Xuandu replied seriously: “Definitely not passable.”

Lin Rufei kept quiet. He knew that his senior really disliked the wooden shield, but it didn’t matter since he was the one using it anyway. 

The servant soon came out and said that Da Gongzi was waiting in the room.

Lin Rufei stepped into the room and just after entering the hall, he saw Fu Yu sitting in the middle, holding a gentle and beautiful concubine in his arms. The concubine was not embarrassed to see Lin Rufei, instead, she cast an enchanting smile and softly called out a “Lin gongzi.”

“I wonder what Lin gongzi needs?” Fu Yu looked at Lin Rufei.

Lin Rufei stated, “I’ll be leaving tomorrow.”

Fu Yu’s eyes lit up, thinking that Lin Rufei came to talk about Mo Mo: “Lin gongzi is leaving tomorrow? I’m sure it’s not convenient to bring Mo Mo with you. I have many children and I am not too concerned about the children, but with Lin gongzi’s reminder, I will definitely treat Mo Mo well in the future.”

Lin Rufei shook his head: “I’m not here to talk about Mo Mo.”

Originally, Fu Yu had already stood up in excitement, but when he heard Lin Rufei’s words, he sat back in his chair and said in a cold voice: “Then what is the reason for Lin gongzi’s visit?”

Lin Rufei looked at him and said it one word at a time: “I am here to find you for a sword competition.”

Fu Yu’s expression froze instantly, “Lin gongzi……what did you say?”

Lin Rufei repeated again, “I said, I am here to find you for a sword competition.”

This was the first time that Lin Rufei had taken the initiative to find someone to compete in a sword fight. Before that, whether it was Wang Teng or Liu Rugong, he felt a bit forced. However, at this moment, the person who proposed the sword fight became Lin Rufei.

A smile appeared on Fu Yu’s face, but it looked incredibly stiff, “Why did you say that, Lin gongzi? Is it because our Fu family’s hospitality was lacking?”

Lin Rufei nodded, “Yes, it’s because your Fu family’s hospitality is poor.” Since it had come to this point, he had no intention on giving face to Fu Yu. Besides, whether this person in front of him was Fu Yu or not was still another story. He slightly raised his chin, his words were cold and impersonal, “I am here to deliver the invitation to Fu Yu, Fu gongzi. Since Fu gongzi did not give face to my Lin family and directly tore the invitation, then you must have some skills. In that case, I, Lin Rufei, will represent the Lin family to witness it.”

The invitation was just a random excuse that Lin Rufei found, but this excuse was very suitable so that Fu Yu had no chance to refuse.

Fu Yu’s face turned livid and his body trembled slightly, “Why do you have to do this, Lin gongzi? Is it because the Lin family is a powerful family that they rely on power to bully others?”

Rely on power to bully others? Lin Rufei savored this sentence and abruptly laughed. He was gentle in nature and was the same to everything and everyone. After living for more than twenty years, it was the first time he heard this sentence from others. Not only did he not feel annoyed, but he also felt very fresh. After he laughed, he looked at Fu Yu out of the corner of his eyes and spoke slowly: “So what if I, Lin Rufei, have decided to rely on power to bully others today, what can you do to me?” Although he had a good temper, he was not a dough that could be kneaded that easily. In the Lin family, he had been spoiled as a treasure for more than twenty years. Even if he used the Lin family’s reputation to bully others outside, not only would his family’s brothers and sister not be angry, but they would be very happy.

Besides, the man in front of him was a sheep in wolf’s clothing[2], Lin Rufei couldn’t be worried. He waved at Fu Yu, “Fu family’s Da Gongzi, is there anything else you want to say? Say it together, lest you don’t have the chance later.”

Fu Yu’s Adam’s Apple bobbed and he forced himself to be calm, “Since Lin gongzi is so insistent, I can’t refuse anymore, but I have been physically ill recently so could it be set back a little?” 

Lin Rufei questioned, “Physically ill?”

Fu Yu nodded, “Yes.”

Lin Rufei’s eyes twinkled and he let out a faint smile, “If that’s the case, I can certainly understand.”

Fu Yu’s heart was finally slightly relieved at his words, but before his breath could fall, he heard a sentence that knocked him into the abyss.

Lin Rufei mused, “I just don’t know if it is Fu Yu or Fu Shui who is sick?”

Fu Yu’s face changed greatly as if he was struck by the words “Fu Shui” that came out of Lin Rufei’s mouth. However, he reacted quickly and the next moment he put on a forced smile to cover up his disorder, “What do you mean by that, Lin gongzi? That Fu Shui is an unfilial son, our Fu family removed his name long ago……”

Lin Rufei didn’t bother to talk to him anymore. He raised his hand and pulled out Gu Yu, pointing at the counterfeit in front of him, “If you still want to be called Fu Yu—draw your sword!”

Fu Yu lost all the color from his face. He knew that Lin Rufei would not give him a chance to delay and his trembling hand stroked the long sword at his waist with difficulty. He gripped the hilt tightly, but never pulled the blade out of the scabbard.

At this point, all the reactions Fu Yu showed had given the answer to the question Lin Rufei wanted to know. He looked at the so-called swordsman who could not even pull out the sword, sneered, and returned Gu Yu to its sheath: “Fu Shui, you are not yet worthy of my sword.”

Fu Yu……no, Fu Shui’s expression was instantly hideous to the extreme. He looked at Lin Rufei with resentment, “Lin Gongzi, stop talking nonsense! Who is Fu Shui? I am Fu Yu!”

Lin Rufei sneered, “You think you’re worthy?”

(t/n: In this case, he is referring to whether he was worthy to be Fu Yu)

These words completely enraged Fu Yu. He let out a harsh hiss and actually lunged towards Lin Rufei. Lin Rufei did not dodge and unhesitatingly took out the wooden shield from his ring. He steadily, accurately, and quickly came at Fu Shui. Fu Shui did not expect Lin Rufei’s sudden action and suddenly, like a kite with broken strings, he directly flew out and smashed heavily against the wooden chair behind him, making a loud noise.

Lin Rufei touched his shield with satisfaction, but Gu Xuandu beside him pinched the bridge of his nose with a headache—he really must think of a way to confiscate this wooden shield, otherwise, he was afraid that Lin Rufei would take a strange road of no return.

Lin Rufei was afraid of smashing Fu Shui to death, so he didn’t use much sword Qi, but Fu Shui still fainted. The concubine next to him had been scared and was now cowering in the corner. When she witnessed this scene in front of her, she let out a terrified scream, turned around, and ran out. Lin Rufei took a look at her, ignored her, and walked towards Fu Shui.

Fu Shui was lying on the ground and he didn’t know if he was dead or alive. Lin Rufei probed his nostrils to make sure he was still alive before he let out a sigh of relief. He casually found a chair next to him and sat down, sighing: “Why is he so weak?……” He had already withdrawn his strength.

Gu Xuandu said: “I told you to use the sword.”

Lin Rufei did not believe Gu Xuandu’s nonsense: “He fainted for so long when I used the shield. If I use the sword, wouldn’t he lose his life?”

Gu Xuandu thought about it, “If he dies, he dies, it’s not a big deal.”

Lin Rufei: “……” So you just don’t want me to use the shield, right?

The two of them were too loud and a lot of the Fu family members had gathered outside the room. However, these had people noticed Fu Shui’s miserable state from outside the door. They stuck their heads out to look around and they had an expression of wanting to enter but also didn’t dare to. 

Lin Rufei ignored them. When he saw that Fu Shui was not waking up at all, he simply got up and squatted down. He grabbed Fu Shui’s collar and slapped him a few times directly on the face. Gu Xuandu was stunned by Lin Rufei’s direct and efficient yet slightly rough action and asked Lin Rufei who he had learned this from with wide eyes.

Lin Rufei replied, “My third sister.”

Gu Xuandu sighed, “This is not good, don’t learn it in the future.”

Lin Rufei asked, “What if he doesn’t wake up?”

Gu Xuandu pondered over this and then rolled up his sleeves, “It’s okay, from now on you watch, I’ll do it.” This kind of rough work was better for him to do.

Lin Rufei couldn’t help but show a smile and coughed lowly a few times.

Fu Shui, who was fiercely slapped several times by him, opened his eyes in a daze. He saw Lin Rufei’s face close at hand and froze for a moment before reacting. He then reflexively turned to flee but was grabbed by Lin Rufei by the collar and pulled back.  

“Where are you going?” Lin Rufei asked indifferently.

But Fu Shui was spineless and began to beg for mercy. He no longer mentioned the matter regarding Fu Yu and only begged Lin Rufei to give face to the Fu family and spare his life.

“Where is Fu Yu?” Lin Rufei asked, “Why are you impersonating him?”

“Fu Yu……Fu Yu……is already dead.” Fu Shui shrunk his neck. He had completely lost the arrogance from when they first met and was now kind of like a turtle without a shell. When he was facing Lin Rufei’s questioning, his voice was as thin as a mosquito, “I didn’t want to, but the Fu family only has one such swordsman, if he is gone, the Fu family will also suffer…… “

Lin Rufei questioned: “Suffer? If you have not offended anyone, will you be afraid of suffering?”

Fu Shui was speechless.

“Who set up that formation outside the village?” Lin Rufei asked the key question.

“It’s my elder brother, it’s my elder brother.” Fu Shui replied with trepidation, “After the formation was laid, he disappeared, so I pretended to be him.”

Lin Rufei raised his hand and gave him a slap. With a snap, Fu Shui’s face was slapped to the side and blood flowed from the corner of his mouth. When he turned back again, his face was covered with unconcealed panic that even tears fell from his eyes. He cried, “You, what did you hit me for?”

Lin Rufei said with a gloomy expression, “Hit you? If you don’t tell the truth, not only will I beat you, I will also take this dog life of yours. If you tell me honestly what is going on with Fu Yu and the formation, I can still keep you alive, if not—” He narrowed his eyes and threatened coldly, “You should know that your life is not worth anything.”

As Fu Shui listened to Lin Rufei’s words, he slowly hung his head and started sobbed loudly, “I……I really……”

When he got to this point, he heard Lin Rufei softly tsk. All of a sudden, he started shaking like a sieve and he cried out, “I’ll talk, I’ll say everything, don’t kill me, don’t kill me……”

Only then did Lin Rufei show satisfaction. He quietly cast a glance at Gu Xuandu, as if to say, ‘see, I am powerful, just like this and I can make people cry in fear.’ Gu Xuandu looked at his family’s young master’s smug look and his hand clenched into a fist as he pressed it against his lips, hiding the smirk at the corner of his mouth.

********

The author has something to say:

Lin Rufei proudly puffed out his chest: I’m amazing, right? !

Gu Xuandu: Amazing, amazing.

Lin Rufei: How is senior going to reward me? 

Gu Xuandu: I’ll give you a big, big kiss!

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[1] Blurred vision 

[2] Appearing fierce while cowardly at heart 

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