“Little brother, please don’t mention this to anyone after leaving this place.”
Chen Xing merely looked at it for a moment before returning the huanshou knife into its sheath and even handed it back to Feng Qianyi. He said with a smile, "That's great! So you guys are exorcists too!" After he said this, he continued ruefully, "Legends about it have been recorded in ancient texts. Unfortunately, silence has fallen on all magic now, so all magic weapons have turned into scrap iron."
As he spoke, Chen Xing started reminiscing in a trance. Which branch of exorcists did the Feng family belong to? However, most of the documents he read at his Shifu's place only included pictures of the monsters, sacred tools, and magic weapons in the human world; they seldom mentioned exorcism genealogy. After all, with a long history, all families would go through ups and downs and could even change their surnames and nationalities due to the unrest in the Central Plains. There wouldn't be much meaning in investigating one's origins.
"All magic weapons?" Feng Qianyi's gaze clearly looked doubtful as he asked.
After hearing Feng Qianyi introduce his family, Chen Xing was really delighted. Like what his Shifu had said before he went down the mountain, there must still be exorcist families in the world. It's just that due to the restraints of the silence on all magic, all magic arts and magic weapons currently lay dormant.
Over time, as long as the spiritual Qi of heaven and earth gets restored, these exorcist families would become the core forces in resisting Mara. Chen Xing had no doubt at all — he could die without regret after completing his arduous task, and there would naturally be exorcists who still exist in this world who would take care of the rest.
"Except for the Heart Lamp." Chen Xing decided that he might as well lay everything on the table since everyone was on the same side, and there was no need to hide it from Feng Qianyi. He thought that Feng Qianjun must have told his older brother about it too, so he took the initiative in emitting the light in his hands and explained, "The Heart Lamp resides in a human's body. It exists within my three huns and seven pos, so I can sort of emit some light."
After saying this, Chen Xing couldn't help looking at Feng Qianjun again and thought, you really hid this from me for a really long time.
Feng Qianjun said earnestly, "I'm sorry, Brother Tianchi. Yuxiong is under a strict prohibition, so I definitely can not rashly mention anything about my family's exorcism inheritance to anyone. In fact, over the years, the Feng family's industry and clan members all have a responsibility — which is to guard this sacred tool and wait for the day it regains its glory. Before my father died, he handed it to me. I had my difficulties too."
Chen Xing nodded and said magnanimously, "It's alright, it's always better to be careful."
Feng Qianyi said lightly, "Little brother, you must know what the world is like today. Over the years, the Feng family has always been fighting to recover the Central Plains we lost, and Qianjun embarked on a long and arduous journey to answer the call here from Gusu while banking on the slim chance……that if Sen Luo Wan Xiang really is a so-called "ancient magic weapon", then it would be of great help to our great cause of recovering the Central Plains. Little brother, I remember that you're a Han."
When Feng Qianjun heard this, he finally interjected, "Dage, Tianchi is thinking of a way to solve all these problems."
Chen Xing studied Feng Qianyi, then looked at Feng Qianjun. He smiled. "This is just the beginning."
Feng Qianjun immediately said, "As long as we can help, feel free to let us know."
"Then I won't hold back." Chen Xing answered.
Feng Qianjun motioned for Chen Xing to not be in a hurry to feel delighted, and to let him speak first. He explained Chen Xing's purpose for coming to his older brother. Chen Xing quickly spread out the architectural drawings he had retrieved from Gongcao and explained, "According to my investigation, at the end of the Han Dynasty, the headquarters of the Chang'an Exorcism Department was in this Mt. Song. I'm just not sure if Xifeng Bank and Songbai residence had dug out anything when it chose to be situated here? For example, ancient maps, letters, and such……"
After he spoke, Chen Xing looked up to observe Feng Qianyi's expression, then looked at Feng Qianjun. Feng Qianjun shrugged to indicate that he didn't know anything, but Feng Qianyi looked as he usually did and answered, "Xifeng Bank was founded by our great-grandfather. When Chang'an was built, this place was a barren hill. Are you certain that the headquarters of the Exorcism Department was on this mountain?"
Chen Xing said, "If the drawings aren't lying."
After Chang'an City was trampled upon and set on fire by Dong Zhou, Li Ru, and others at the end of the Han Dynasty, it was so desolate that there was practically nothing left during the Three Kingdom period. It expanded several times during the Jin Dynasty, and after the city expanded, it once again suffered through a flood of plundering from the Five Barbarians when they headed south. Xiongnus, Hans, Dis all took turns stationing their troops here. Burning came first, followed by pushing, filling, then construction. The difficulty of finding even a brick or wood from three hundred years ago had been set in stone long ago, but Chen Xing still held some hope, because the room that the Exorcism Department kept their scrolls in was underground.
"It's right here." Chen Xing pointed to a part of the original building. It was the working drawing of the underground construction. He explained, "Our ancestors must have left some information regarding the silence of all magic that had happened then. This will be a very important clue."
Feng Qianjun studied the drawings carefully. He looked at his older brother, and the two brothers exchanged a look.
Chen Xing, "?"
Chen Xing asked tentatively, "Can I follow the direction as pointed out in the drawings to take a look?"
Feng Qianyi pondered for a long time. Feng Qianjun said, "I'll take Tianchi there ba."
"You can't get in." Feng Qianyi answered, "Never mind, since he's one of us, it won't do any harm for him to enter once."
Chen Xing asked doubtfully, "Is this place very important?"
Feng Qianjun wanted to say something, but he was stopped by his older brother.
Feng Qianyi finally said, "Xifeng's warehouse, it connects underground, and it's all filled with places where money's stored."
At night, during the Hai period, Feng Qianyi leaned against his wheelchair as he took Chen Xing to a huge residence. Feng Qianjun only went to the door before he stopped, and he signalled for Chen Xing to follow his brother in while he would stand guard outside.
Chen Xing took the lamp that Feng Qianjun handed him. He looked back, and Feng Qianyi seemed to guess what Chen Xing was thinking and said lightly, "Qianjun's responsibility is to guard the Xifeng chain. Only the head of the family and the main shopkeeper has ever been allowed in the warehouse."
Chen Xing immediately expressed his gratitude and followed Feng Qianyi to enter through a bronze door of the residence. The first door was opened with a key. They reached a slope, while the corridors on both sides were full of shelves made of pig iron. Wooden plaques filled the shelves, and copper coins were piled at the top. After they turned into the second floor, Feng Qianyi still used a key to open the second door. A warehouse that stored silver was behind that door. Chen Xing held up the lamp to illuminate it, and almost the entire room dazzled in the light.
This was Chen Xing's first time seeing this much money in his life. It could constitute mountains and seas; just walking through the silver took him a quarter of an hour.
"The topography isn't right." Chen Xing looked down to match it to the drawings.
Feng Qianyi answered, "During the Jin Dynasty, our ancestors bought this piece of land from Sima Yue, the king of the East China Sea. In order to build this place, they recast 300,000 jin of molten iron into the four walls of this warehouse."
Chen Xing looked around in the silver warehouse and asked, "Is there anything left behind in the ruins that were cleared up then?"
Feng Qianyi said, "I'm not sure, no records were left behind. I'll take you down to the next floor for a look?"
Chen Xing didn't doubt him and let Feng Qianyi guide the way in front of him while he looked at the map as he walked. When they arrived at yet another door, Feng Qianyi still opened it with yet another key.
"It'll be the gold warehouse next." Feng Qianyi continued, "Little brother, please don't mention this to anyone after leaving this place."
Chen Xing knew that Feng Qianyi was letting him, an outsider, into the most confidential area of the Xifeng Bank because they were both exorcists, and was giving him a lot of face, so he quickly thanked him again. But before the door to the gold warehouse opened, Chen Xing suddenly realised something.
The lamp in his hand flickered slightly, as if an invisible wind had passed through his body.
What is this? Chen Xing immediately came to attention.
"Please, come in."
The light illuminated the warehouse. All the gold inside were locked in boxes, and there was a total of three floors.
When Chen Xing arrived at the last floor, a little hope was suddenly ignited again. "Is there anything else underneath? According to the drawings, this should be the headquarters of the Exorcism Department that was stuck at the foot of the mountain."
Their exorcist predecessors must have chosen this place to be their headquarters for a reason. Chen Xing once saw in a book: before the spiritual Qi of heaven and earth disappeared, heaven and earth each had its own leyline. The direction of the heaven's spiritual flow was called "heaven's leyline", while the one that corresponded to it on earth was called "earth's leyline". There were many nodes in the earth's leyline, and occasionally, spiritual Qi would leak out at weaker places, which is the 'blessed land' that feng shui pursues.
Chen Xing placed the lamp on a short table, which cast their shadows onto a wall. Feng Qianyi kept silent for a moment, then said, "If we continue walking down, there is indeed another floor." As he spoke, he pushed his wheelchair and went around a shelf to arrive in front of a wall. A small, pitch-black door was embedded in the wall, and there was a wheel on it.
Chen Xing asked anxiously, "Would it be okay for me to go in?"
"Please turn around first." Feng Qianyi said politely. He extended a hand out to cover the iron wheel and tried turning it.
This should be a certain type of mechanism. Chen Xing turned around with his back facing Feng Qianyi, and heard the grating sound of the iron wheel travelling over from behind him.
"I'm really very grateful for this." Chen Xing said.
Feng Qianyi answered, "Little brother, you're too polite. I heard you're staying in Weiyang Palace now? It's not easy for outsiders to read that drawing of yours, you must have been given special concession by Fu Jian."
Chen Xing, "Sort of……Fu Jian ma, aside from the first time I met him, I've never seen him again. I only arrived at Chang'an last night too."
Sure enough, while Feng Qianyi calibrated the wheel, he casually said, "Your family was embroiled in the chaos of war, so I think you must have come to Chang'an this time to get revenge."
When Chen Xing heard this, he was stunned at once and answered, "I never actually thought about that. How can I take revenge with my level of strength? Besides, I have more important things to do."
Feng Qianyi continued amidst the soft sounds of calibration, "Little brother, although it's not right of me to say this since we've just met for the first time today, I'd still like to raise a presumptuous question……"
Chen Xing didn't answer, and just listened doubtfully.
"……since you live in the palace and you share a good relationship with the Great Chanyu, Shulü Kong, I'm certain you'll be able to provide a little assistance for us. After the Hus entered the pass, a lot of Hans were displaced from their homes, forced to wander about, and had their families ruined. The Jin court watches from across the river, but no one would dare forget the hatred of having our country invaded and our homes destroyed. Yuxiong dare not let little brother take any risks, I just wanted to ask if it was possible……"
"Brother Feng," when Chen Xing heard him, he turned around and faced Feng Qianyi, who was sitting on a wheelchair with his back facing Chen Xing, "That won't do, I can't do that."
The sound of the wheel being calibrated stopped.
Feng Qianyi said, "I'm not asking you to assassinate Fu Jian. Just that when it's convenient, to come up with a way to shield the death knights under my command in entering the palace. Weixiong guarantees that I would never let you get involved. If this great undertaking is successful, you will be rewarded greatly."
Chen Xing answered seriously, "Brother Feng, what's the first ordinance for exorcists? I don't think you wouldn't know about it."
"I don't." Feng Qianyi put down his hand and said lightly, "When I took over the position as head of the family, all I knew was that the Feng family once had an incredibly glorious past. If the power of the Sen Luo sabre was still around, how could the Hus' cavalry have had the chance to ravage the land within our pass?"
Chen Xing was a bit surprised. Upon hearing Feng Qianyi's tone, he did seem totally unaware. After all, it has been a really long time, so his tone eased as he answered, "Before I went down the mountain, my Shifu exhorted over and over that as an exorcist, the first ordinance is that we must not intervene in civil court disputes. As the saying goes, 'the path of spirits belongs to spirits, the path of mortals belongs to mortals', right?"
Without waiting for Feng Qianyi's answer, Chen Xing continued his persuasion, "While the second ordinance is……"
Feng Qianyi's tone turned unkind, "What meaning do ordinances from three hundred years ago even hold? Have you never questioned them?"
Chen Xing said, "Of course they're meaningful. The Feng family's like me; all of us have a more important calling to fulfil, which is to protect the human world. If we're lucky and can really recover the lost magic, by that time, I may already be……already be, in any case, you'll know later."
After Feng Qianyi stopped moving, he did not raise his hand again. When Chen Xing was about to turn back again, Feng Qianyi said, "In that case, I no longer have a reason to help you, so please go back."
Chen Xing, "……"
"Even if your family, your relatives," Feng Qianyi turned his wheelchair around and faced Chen Xing, blocking the way to the last floor of the warehouse, "All died under the hands of the Di people, you still wouldn't want to take revenge for them?"
Chen Xing, "Are you not going to let me in if I don't agree to your conditions?"
Feng Qianyi didn't answer and just looked up into Chen Xing's eyes.
"To tell you the truth, I have thought about it before. However, I don't have the spare time to take revenge, and I've understood that revenge is useless." Chen Xing began to realise that Feng Qianyi obviously didn't care much about the status of an 'Exorcist'. He was the one who had oversimplified the matter. His goal was to overthrow Fu Jian, and connecting this to Feng Qianjun's expression that made it seem like he wanted to say something, Chen Xing thought that Feng Qianyi must have mentioned this request before, but it was refused by Feng Qianjun.
"Fu Jian's death will only lead to someone else taking over as emperor and trigger a new type of civil unrest." Chen Xing said, "It wasn't easy for fighting to stop in the North, and the resentment that the world can accommodate is approaching its limit……"
When he spoke up to this point, a thought suddenly surfaced in Chen Xing's mind — the flickering flame in the lamp just now……
Yet Feng Qianyi said in a cold voice, "Even if Yuwen Xin was the one who personally executed your parents by hanging them, you've never thought of taking revenge for them?"
That sentence was like a clap of thunder that exploded next to Chen Xing's ears.
"W……what?" Chen Xing took a step back and stared at Feng Qianyi in disbelief.
Feng Qianyi, on the contrary, was a little surprised. He placed both elbows on the armrests of his wheelchair with his hands clasped and studied Chen Xing skeptically, "You don't know? Right, Chen Zhe's only son disappeared on the day Jinyang City fell……where have you been all these years?"
"Say that again?" Chen Xing gasped, "Yuwen Xin killed my parents?"
"See," Feng Qianyi said calmly, "You're not totally indifferent to hatred, are you? It's just that the knife has not cut you yet, so you don't know what the pain feels like. Chen Tianchi, as long as you promise……"
"No way," Chen Xing said, "Why would he do that?!"
Chen Xing's thoughts were in complete disarray now, and he had even forgotten his purpose in coming here for a moment. Yuwen Xin's expression flooded his mind, and his whole body suddenly turned cold, as if he had just fallen into an ice cave. Under Feng Qianyi's gaze, a sudden chill filled the entire warehouse that spread in all directions. The flame within the lamp gradually weakened, and the shadows of the two that were cast on the walls seemed to be slowly melting away.
However, right at this moment, the sound of footsteps approached, and a loud noise blared from the golden warehouse door.
"Chen Xing!" Feng Qianjun's voice rang out, and the flame in the lamp recovered in an instant, and the shadows returned to normal. Feng Qianyi and Chen Xing turned their heads at the same time and looked at the door.
"You shouldn't be here." Feng Qianyi's voice obviously carried a hint of anger.
Chen Xing just stared at Feng Qianjun blankly. Feng Qianjun was holding a lamp as he said, "There's a reason for this. Chen Xing, come up with me. If you continue staying here, I'm afraid that the entire bank would be torn down, let's go! Give an explanation first!"
Bright lights were lit throughout the Songbai residence. More than a thousand warriors looked like they were facing a powerful enemy and were either wielding crossbows or swords in their confrontation. There were servants inside as well, so the whole place was packed like sardines as the front of the gate was surrounded in a watertight encirclement.
Xiang Shu was sitting on a stone with a plaque that had been folded into half thrown beside him. The huanshou knife that he seized from Feng Qianjun lay horizontally across his knees, while an incense stick was burning beside him.
"Great Chanyu," Xifeng Bank's 60-year-old main shopkeeper said politely, "My Songbai residence and the Ancient Chi Le Covenant has always minded their own business. With the enlightened Son of Heaven on the throne, Chang'an has Chang'an's laws, so why go this far? Relying on your martial prowess to commit such violence and smashing my shop's signboard, even if all of us were to be buried here today, what fear could we feel? You all would never be able to finish killing all the Hans in the world."
Xiang Shu ignored him and casually glanced at the incense stick next to him. It was nearing its end, and the crowd of warriors actually took half a step back in retreat.
The main shopkeeper has seen too many wars and massacres. His expression was grave; Xiang Shu barged into Xifeng Bank late at night, Feng Qianjun rushed over, and his family's precious knife was confiscated as soon as they met. After hearing rumours that this person had even barged into the imperial palace last night, if they offended him now, then everyone in the bank would likely die here, so they were all unflinchingly ready to meet their ends long ago.
Fortunately, Feng Qianjun finally took Chen Xing out and they quickly walked out of the main entrance.
"What are you doing?" Chen Xing finally snapped out of his trance. As soon as he saw this situation, he got angry, "I just came to see Brother Feng to do something!"
Xiang Shu didn't answer and casually flung the Sen Luo sabre away; the sabre spun round and round, looking like a silver plate as it shot towards Feng Qianjun with a whoosh. Feng Qianjun immediately reached out to grasp the handle of the sabre, but the force it was thrown with was surprisingly strong and it pierced straight through a wooden pillar with a thud.
Feng Qianjun tugged at it twice before finally yanking it out with much difficulty.
Feng Qianjun and Xiang Shu were travelling companions for a short two months, and he knew that this man was rather temperamental, but he didn't expect Xiang Shu to not give him any face at all and to strike at them directly in order to find Chen Xing.
"Follow the Great Chanyu back to the palace first," Feng Qianjun said, "We'll chat again another day when I pay you a visit. Guards! Prepare a carriage to send Brother Chen back to the palace!"
After Xiang Shu found the person he wanted, he turned around to leave. Chen Xing quickly gave chase; he stood in front of Songbai residence's entrance and blew up, "Xiang Shu! What do you mean by this?!"
Xiang Shu had already left on his horse.
The Feng family pulled up a carriage and came forward, so Chen Xing had to get on with a lot of discontent piled up in his heart. He kicked the soft chair within the carriage before sitting down angrily.
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), kee and opal.