Editor(s): juurensha, namio
“I actually want there to be ghosts,” Chen Xing muttered to himself. “That way, I can at least get some clear answers.”
Chen Xing put the light on an abandoned cabinet that leaned crookedly to one side, before using the Heart Lamp to light up the four corners. This room was originally an elegant pavilion used by the owner to receive guests, and the front of the pavilion faced a lake. Inside, there were several bookcases with shelves haphazardly filled with scrolls, many of which had already decayed.
Chen Xing opened a bundle of bamboo slips that were still tied up. The string holding the bundle together had already rotted away, and with a “huala” the pieces fell to the ground. Chen Xing bent over to pick up one of the slips, which had a line of text written on it: the Compendium of the Spiritual Qi of the Earth.
Chen Xing’s original hypothesis had finally been proven: the Xiang family was actually a family of exorcists! He immediately opened another bundle, pulling out the first slip, only to see the words: Ten Spiritual Sites.
“What are you looking for?” Xiang Shu’s voice came from behind.
Chen Xing: “Ah!”
Chen Xing was greatly startled.
Xiang Shu: “…”
Chen Xing gasped for breath and stuttered, “You…why did you come here?”
Xiang Shu frowned and said, “I was afraid you got kidnapped again!”
Chen Xing gently ribbed him, “Even if the drought fiend kings came to kidnap me again, it’s not like you’d be able to do anything. You should quickly go back and rest.”
Chen Xing was only off-handedly saying that, but Xiang Shu’s expression suddenly changed. He was so angry that he was shaking, but the thought of arguing with Chen Xing right there never occurred to him. He said, “You’re right, I’m going.”
Chen Xing could tell that his careless words had hurt Xiang Shu. He hurriedly said, “I didn’t mean that… Sorry, Xiang Shu… Shulü Kong!”
Xiang Shu turned and left. Chen Xing watched his figure from behind, and all of a sudden, for an inexplicable reason, he felt sadness welling up in his heart.
“Xiang Shu,” Chen Xing said, “Listen to me… Xiang Shu… Come here and look at what I found…”
Xiang Shu was going to leave without another word until Chen Xing stepped in front of him to stop him; he hugged his waist and didn’t let go.
Xiang Shu: !!!”
Xiang Shu at that moment grew very uncomfortable. He wanted to struggle but he had no energy in his body, so he couldn’t free himself from Chen Xing’s hold. Finally, he let himself be manhandled by Chen Xing for once.
“Quickly… Quickly let go!” Xiang Shu said, flustered. “What are you doing now! Go away!”
Xiang Shu pushed at Chen Xing’s head a few times, but he couldn’t move him.
Chen Xing titled his head, leaning it against Xiang Shu’s shoulder. At this moment, he was not only sad, but also moved; he was sad that despite Xiang Shu’s strength being lost, he himself had spoken callously and wounded Xiang Shu’s heart. He was moved because even if Xiang Shu couldn’t protect himself anymore, the thing he most cared about was still his Chen Xing’s safety.
“Sorry, sorry,” Chen Xing said quietly. “Thank you, Shulü Kong.”
“It hurts!” Xiang Shu said impatiently, though his expression was still a little distressed. “Let go! Are you thinking of getting your revenge on me?”
At this, Chen Xing finally let go of him. The two of them stood face to face, both unnaturally averting their gazes like they didn’t want to see the other, both afraid of exposing their own inner thoughts. Finally, Xiang Shu broke the silence, “What are you searching for here?”
“Eh, I…” Chen Xing was still running on adrenaline. He didn’t know why, but on this dark night, he suddenly and easily understood that between the lines of the stories of exorcists and protectors that he had read in many of the ancient tomes, there were deeper and more complicated feelings involved.
“You sit there and don’t move, or when I recover my strength, you’ll be the first one I teach a lesson to.”
Despite Xiang Shu’s threat, he was still a little unsteady as he walked to the side, where he lifted his head and saw the bundles on the bookshelves. Chen Xing could only sit down in the dusty room; he was still reeling from that moment of intense emotion, and as if spurred on by a swell of impulse, he loudly shouted: Shulü Kong you bastard! You’re really good! I really like you so much!
Xiang Shu: ?”
Chen Xing immediately averted his gaze and subconsciously lit the Heart Lamp. He didn’t know why, but tonight the Heart Lamp seemed to react to his emotions, shining brightly and endlessly as the light surged and shot out from all the cracks of the ruined house, lighting up the inside of the room like it was daytime.
“Stop that.” Xiang Shu frowned. “Do you want to draw all the enemies here?”
Chen Xing received another scolding, so he could only quickly retract his magic. Xiang Shu then said in a serious manner, “Using your mana will cause harm to your body. Can’t you regulate it a little?”
Chen Xing could only answer, “Oh, I just wanted to give you some light.”
The truth was that in that moment, Chen Xing’s heart only felt warm and fuzzy. Almost uncontrollably, he wanted to wield his Heart Lamp to express the feelings within his own heart.
The two people then sank into another period of silence. Xiang Shu held the bamboo slip that Chen Xing had first picked up, and he lowered his head to study it.
Strange, wasn’t Xiang Shu unable to read the Zhuan script? Chen Xing thought.
As expected, Xiang Shu didn’t manage to make out anything from it, so he lifted himself up to go investigate the bookcases. Instead, he created a mess, as if he was also using his movements to announce the emotions within his heart. Finally, Chen Xing felt that he couldn’t keep watching this.
“The former family also used to be exorcists,” Chen Xing explained. “It seems like this was their specialty, the study of the flow of the spiritual Qi of the heavens and the earth, and spiritual sites where those leylines intersect… What are you searching for? Bring it over here, and I’ll read it for you.”
Xiang Shu finally recovered his calm and said, “Searching for the clan register.”
Chen Xing suddenly came to a realization and said, “You think your mother was part of this family?”
Xiang Shu had no answer. He breathed in deeply, enduring the dull pain of his injury, and from the tallest part of the bookcase he pulled down a box. From inside the book he pulled out a yellowing silk scroll.
Chen Xing let out a noise of surprise. Just as he was about to stand up, Xiang Shu had already taken that case and spread it open on the table. Chen Xing immediately used the Heart Lamp to light up this silk scroll, and looking at the tiny words scrawled on it - they were all names.
“Is this a Han-style family register?” Xiang Shu asked.
Chen Xing said, “No, this is… this is a list of those who passed the Exorcism Department’s test and took up the duty of becoming exorcists.”
This document traced the hundreds of years of glory of the Xiang family, from the founding of the Han dynasty until now. Within the exorcist families, this family really would be considered the descendants of a famous line. Looking at all of these lines, Chen Xing recalled the volume of his own martial line that recorded the deeds of those exorcists.
Before every name was listed the year they entered the Exorcist Association, and immediately following were the artifacts they wielded. Beginning in the Yimo year, when the Han dynasty was founded, basically every few years, there was always a Xiang family descendant who passed the selection. This lasted until Han Emperor Wu, Liu Che, took the throne and established the usage of era names, in the Jianyuan years, when a lot of young exorcists qualified at once.
Xiang Shu checked line by line. Chen Xing originally wanted to say that hundreds of years ago, the scions of the Xiang family had already become sparse, but only by checking the family register could they confirm it - but suddenly, Xiang Shu began to tremble uncontrollably. His face turned dead-white, his breathing began to speed up, and his gaze, like that of a drowning man’s, fell on one line of words - Yongping Yuan Year: Xiang Yuyan, Luohun Bell.
“Yongping Yuan Year, three hundred… three hundred and seventeen years ago,” Chen Xing said, dazed. “Three hundred years ago? Three hundred years!”
i’m just casually screaming over the “his Chen Xing” bit, and the “oh, i just wanted to give you some light” bit. CX you are his night light, why can’t you see that (╯°□°）╯
in other news, the number 300 comes back once again to strike terror into our hearts! 300 years!
(there was quite a bit of history in the last two paragraphs, feitian why)
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), Caro.