“You saw Wang Ziye’s memories?”
Editor(s): namio, juurensha
In the palace.
Chen Xing laid quietly on the bed. When he was deeply asleep like this, his face seemed younger in it, as if he was a carefree child. Xiang Shu personally carried him into the carriage, and without leaving him for a moment, also carried him back into the Xie manor in Jiankang. After experiencing such a large battle, Chen Xing seemed to have sunk into a long, sweet sleep, and no matter how hard they tried to call out to him, he would not wake.
“The energy in his hunpo was badly damaged.” Pu Yang personally checked him over, before saying, “He needs sleep to recover.”
“When will he wake?” Feng Qianjun’s brows hadn’t unfurrowed this entire time. “Last time he already slept three months, and now there are so many things that need his attention; if he keeps sleeping like this, what should we do?”
The bedroom was filled with people. Xie Daoyun had invited her master Zhu Jin over as well, and he specially checked over Chen Xing.
“It’s hard to say.” Zhu Jin checked Chen Xing’s pulse, but when it came to mana, exorcism, and the three hun and seven po, those were all already out of the area of his medical expertise, and he could only tell Xiang Shu to look after Chen Xing well.
Pu Yang handed an old, yellowing tome to Xiang Shu, saying, “Here are all the records on hunpo that were passed down in my sect, you can take a look.”
The rest of them dispersed, leaving only Xiang Shu and Xiao Shan sitting beside the bed. Xiang Shu lowered his head to flip through the book, but anxious beyond compare, he looked up again towards Chen Xing.
“Iuppiter entering one’s life,” Xiang Shu said quietly, “is that true?”
Chen Xing didn’t respond; he just kept sleeping quietly.
Xiao Shan asked, “What is that?”
Xiang Shu shook his head, sitting down cross legged to one side as he pulled out the Dinghai Pearl, silently observing it. Xiao Shan climbed onto the bed, kneeling on the side, feeling Chen Xing’s forehead as he asked, “He’ll get better, right?”
Xiang Shu’s heart and mind were troubled, and he let out an extremely exhausted sigh. Clearly he was restraining his anger and didn’t want to say anything more. After a moment, he swept out of the room with a gust of wind, and with an angry roar, the Acala Blade in hand, he swung that great sword through the air of the courtyard, as if he was trying to express the anger he had suppressed in his heart.
Xiao Shan obviously didn’t understand very well. Chen Xing had woken up last time, so naturally this time he would too; Xiang Shu’s reaction was very clearly outside that of mere worry.
That set of sword forms, Xiang Shu practiced from the early morning all the way until noon, and finally, he came in, drenched in sweat and lay down on the ground like a starfish. His eyes stared emptily at the ceiling as he panted for breath. After noon, Xiao Shan came by and saw that Xiang Shu still hadn’t eaten, instead just spreading open the ancient tome that Pu Yang had given him, poring over it carefully.
It was a book that recorded the resonance of mana and the cooperation between the exorcists and their protectors of ancient times. Back then, with the Silence of All Magic and the dissolution of the Exorcist Department, Pu Yang’s sect founder had transcribed many of the ancient tomes, and although many magics were unable to be used anymore due to the Silence of All Magic, their uses and the theories regarding them were all recorded down in detail.
For example, for the protector and their exorcist, if the three hun and seven po were severely damaged due to overuse of mana, aside from special medicines, there were also other methods to ignite the mana together to increase the speed at which the hunpo repaired themselves.
As Xiang Shu kept reading, his gaze suddenly stopped on one of the pages, before he whipped his head to look at Chen Xing sleeping on the bed.
After reading the few pages before and after it, Xiang Shu put that book that was almost falling apart back on the table, before he got up to take a bath. Within the palace, hot water was prepared every day, and after he finished washing, he went to burn some incense. When he returned he was wrapped in a cotton bathrobe, inside of which he was only wearing a pair of long pants. After he entered the room, he approached the bed on bare feet.
At the moment, Xiang Shu was nervous beyond compare. He took a knee next to the bed, revealing his bare, iron-like calf and foot, before reaching a hand onto the bed, covering the back of Chen Xing’s hand.
“I’ll try it,” Xiang Shu said to himself. “There isn’t much time left.” And then he got up and untied the waistband of that bathrobe.
Xiao Shan: “?”
Xiao Shan had returned, holding the food box that he was bringing to Xiang Shu, staring in suspiciously from outside the doorway.
“Great Chanyu?” Xiao Shan asked.
Xiang Shu: “.......”
Xiang Shu was halfway through undoing the knot on his waistband. He hurriedly turned his head, frowning. “You get out.”
Xiao Shan: “What are you doing??”
Xiang Shu: “What does this have to do with you?”
Xiao Shan felt his suspicions reach their peak; he was only thirteen, and he pretended to understand when he didn’t really, but he had seen it once unknowingly that day in the Kuaiji governor’s manor, so naturally he could guess that this was something similar. However, Xiang Shu didn’t want him to see any more, so he turned and sat down on the bed, not saying anything, with the two of them silently staring at each other.
Xiao Shan: “????”
The two of them made for a strange deadlock, one big, one small, Xiang Shu sitting, Xiao Shan standing. They faced each other monotonously for almost the time of a stick of incense, before finally Xiao Shan gave up and placed the food box on the table.
Xiang Shu latched the door and waited for a while longer, confirming that Xiao Shan was not lurking outside and peeking in. His nervousness had been disrupted by Xiao Shan’s antics, and it dissipated like smoke on the wind. He untied his bathrobe, revealing his entire body, before lying down on the bed.
He let Chen Xing lie against his own arm before breathing in deeply, recalling that instant when Chen Xing ignited his three hun and seven po to provide Xiang Shu with mana, and that day in Kuaiji, when under his own anxiety, he stole away all of Chen Xing’s mana in an instant.
But in the instant he laid down to hug Chen Xing, Chen Xing who was deep in his dreams seemed to sense something, and he unconsciously snuggled into his embrace, leaning up against his scorching hot chest.
Chen Xing was only wearing a simple inner robe and shorts, while Xiang Shu’s upper half was completely bare. When Chen Xing leaned up against him, Xiang Shu stopped breathing for a moment, only feeling that his blood coursed hot through his entire body, and he felt a little unnaturally dazed.
He picked up Chen Xing’s hand, placing it on his own waist, before reaching out his own arms to hug him, pulling him entirely into his embrace.
In that instant, within Chen Xing’s thin body, the Heart Lamp gave off a weak light. That light circulated within their bodies, and Xiang Shu felt that the Heart Lamp’s mana was similar to spiritual qi, circulating endlessly within his meridians, producing the exact same effect every time he had borrowed mana from Chen Xing!
Then Xiang Shu closed his eyes, controlling his spiritual qi, circulating the mana that flowed endlessly into his body in a full loop, before suddenly embracing Chen Xing, burying his head between his shoulders, circulating his energy and sending the energy back into him.
For a split second, the Heart Lamp’s light flashed as the intensity increased in the space of a single breath, flowing back into Chen Xing’s sea of consciousness.
In that dark ocean, Chen Xing bobbed within those waves as his body glowed with the Heart Lamp’s light.
An illusion of a shining dragon took form, circling above the surface of the ocean, looking about in all directions. It finally spotted him, and it flew over from the end of the night sky, approaching Chen Xing floating on the surface of the sea, coiling around him, bobbing up and down, but ultimately not touching him. In that darkness, Chen Xing opened his eyes in astonishment.
Within those stormy waves, that huge dragon formed from a soul accompanied his body’s movement as they bobbed on that ocean’s surface, loyally blocking the tempestuous waves from reaching him, but in the end not making contact with his body.
That feeling was extremely familiar, just like that night on the boat with Xiang Shu, when they had been completely honest with each other. In that pitch-black darkness, that ship sailed forward, drifting as it passed through lighting that stitched the earth and sky together and wild winds that swirled to form a tornado. But on that ship, one lamp stayed lit eternally.
Xiang Shu circulated his spiritual qi multiple times in complete loops. The light of the Heart Lamp waxed and waned, but every time it got to the peak of its luminosity, it shone brighter and more brilliantly each time.
As if the pair of black and white fish of the Taiji were circling endlessly within their bodies, throughout the long night of the Silence of All Magic, protecting this last light in this human realm.
Xiang Shu’s freshly showered body gave off the mixed scent of incense and clean skin, and after a few breaths, dense clusters of sweat gathered on his entire body of beautiful muscles. Chen Xing’s breaths turned scorching hot, and though he was dreaming, his sweat had already drenched his inner robe, revealing the slim, youthful figure underneath. His eyebrows were deeply knit, as if on that dream ocean, he and Xiang Shu lit up the Heart Lamp again and again, experiencing an earth-shaking climax that toppled mountains and overturned seas.
Finally, the Heart Lamp’s warm light returned to Chen Xing’s three hun and seven po. Xiang Shu let out an exhausted sigh, his entire body drenched in sweat. His black pants were already completely soaked, and they stuck against his legs, revealing his beautiful long legs and their well-formed partitions. He wanted to get off the bed to take another bath, but Chen Xing kept holding onto his waist, not letting go.
In Chen Xing’s sea of consciousness, the dragon that coiled around himself had already disappeared, but the furious surface of the ocean had calmed, reflecting the bright stars in the night sky overhead. In the sky, on the ocean, within that dream, the Milky Way filled the entire sky, and it was as if he was floating in a sea of stars.
Chen Xing opened his eyes, drifting along on this ocean’s surface, gazing towards the starry vault above him.
“It’s so beautiful,” Chen Xing mumbled. “Huh? Where’s the dragon? Where’s my dragon? Don’t go!”
Chen Xing sat up hastily. He was awake, and the sun was shining, the chirping of the birds reaching his ears.
“How long did I sleep for this time?” When Chen Xing woke again, he felt that his entire body was about to fall apart.
But the one by his side wasn’t Xiang Shu, but rather Xiao Shan. Xiao Shan was currently ducking his head, cleaning a dagger.
“Not very long,” Xiao Shan said. “Three days.”
“Ah?” Chen Xing said. “This time it was only three days? How are things? Xiang Shu… Gu Qing, what about Gu Qing?”
Xiao Shan said, “She’s going to die, just like Lu Ying.”
Chen Xing immediately got up and rushed out, entering the side hall, only to see Gu Qing lying on the bed, half her body already rotted away. Feng Qianjun was like a stone statue as he sat in a kneeling position, while Xie Daoyun had fallen asleep to the side.
“You’ve woken ah.” Feng Qianjun looked back and saw that Chen Xing had come.
Chen Xing’s legs still felt a little weak. In these past few days, it was still Xiang Shu who had looked after him, but this time Xiang Shu hadn’t stayed by his bedside, guarding him without leaving, but rather after feeding him and wiping his body down every day, he had Xiao Shan stand guard as he himself went to go discuss matters with Xie An. In the evening, he would return to sleep in the same bed as Chen Xing.
“Let me see.” Chen Xing sat down by the side of the bed, lifting aside the blankets. Xie Daoyun woke up, but neither of them spoke to Feng Qianjun.
As expected, as Chen Xing slept, they had already discussed the matter countless times from all perspectives. Whether Gu Qing could be saved by Chen Xing after woke up, this suggestion must have been rejected by Xiang Shu. Or, it would be better to say, they had proven before at Carosha that they couldn’t save Lu Ying, so naturally there was no way to save Gu Qing, who had been born an ordinary person.
Having been possessed by Wang Ziye for multiple months, Gu Qing had suffered from the constant corrosion of resentment, and she was already no different from a living corpse. Finally, it was Xie Daoyun who had used medicines to forcefully extend her lifespan, and every day she lay on the bed in unendurable agony.
“I have something… I want to say to you,” Gu Qing said quietly, “Chen, Chen Xing…”
Chen Xing grasped her hand, and though he had long since predicted this outcome, his heart was still filled with pain.
“I will get rid of Shi Hai,” Chen Xing said quietly. “I promise you this, Gu Qing.”
“I… In the dream, I saw… many things,” Gu Qing said in a low voice. “I felt that, I had to hold out, until you woke up… Telling you, might… be able to help. The martial god said, you would wake soon… he was thinking of ways to make you better…”
Chen Xing was greatly shocked, and his voice shook as he said, “You saw Wang Ziye’s memories?”
“Yes… yes,” Gu Qing said brokenly. “And… the Dinghai Pearl.”
These words, so as not to miss the moment Chen Xing woke up, Gu Qing had long since already told Xiang Shu and the others once. All she wanted was for Chen Xing to wake up so that she could repeat her own words to prevent any information from getting lost in transit.
“I’ll go call the martial god over,” Xie Daoyun said.
Not long after, Xiang Shu and Xie An also came. Gu Qing clearly was already on her last moments, and she said brokenly, “Wang Ziye… he thinks that, in Luoyang, in the Longmen Mountains, there is a very important place, which… has to do with the Dinghai Pearl. Only he… can’t get in, that door has been sealed.”
“A door?” Chen Xing said.
With great effort, Gu Qing shook her head and said, “There was once… an exorcist… who went into the Longmen Mountains, who finally sealed that door. Wang Ziye, he… has revived many drought fiends, and they’re standing guard outside that door.”
“The Luoyang drought fiends’ military encampment.” Xiang Shu had listened for a long while at the side before finally speaking.
Gu Qing closed her eyes, before saying slowly, “He… in a place, he found the intersection of the earth veins, he wants… Qin and Jin, to clash there… I saw a river, by its side was an overgrown forest… and on the river was a wooden bridge.”
“The Fei River,” Xie An said.
Gu Qing said quietly, “I don’t know, over there, he wanted to… make a sacrificial altar, to offer up a thing.”
Xie An said, “We’ve already investigated the underground of the Fei River, but unfortunately we found nothing.”
“Shh.” Chen Xing gestured to Xie An.
“Was it a heart?” Chen Xing asked.
Gu Qing barely managed to nod her head. Her face was grey, and with great difficulty she turned her head to look at Chen Xing, an expression of pleading appearing in her eyes.
“To complete the ceremony of ‘moving souls’, he needs to open a big door in the Longmen Mountains,” Gu Qing’s breathing weakened even as she continued. “The thing inside that door… to him it is something very important, and if, until right before Fu Jian sends out his troops, he is unable to open it… he will abandon… his original plan… and seek a lesser alternative…”
“And what is that lesser alternative?” Chen Xing asked.
“A dragon,” Gu Qing said, “can be used as… the devil god’s body, his thoughts were too jumbled…”
“A jiao dragon?” Chen Xing furrowed his brows, thinking in his heart that if it was like this, then thankfully they threw the consequences to the wind back then and got rid of that jiao dragon.
Gu Qing: “He… still has other methods, there are still other people, new people to pick from, it’s a… tall man, an emperor… he must… no matter what, he must be stopped.”
“Fu Jian,” Xiang Shu said. “If he can’t get the Heart Lamp and use the Dinghai Pearl as the vessel for the Devil God’s reincarnation, then he’ll settle for what he has. He’ll use the jiao dragon, and if that also doesn’t work, then he’ll change it to Fu Jian.”
Chen Xing tightly grasped Gu Qing’s hand.
Gu Qing said, “I saw his memories, I saw him, being torn into pieces, buried under the ground, his three hun and seven po, struggling endlessly, for hundreds of years, thousands of years, suffering in the dark, without the light of day…
“...... I also saw….. he liked a girl, a very, very long time ago…
“Every person suffers, but why is it that even death does not grant release?
Gu Qing said quietly, “He was once an ordinary person.”
“Let them be alone for a bit,” Xiang Shu said. “In these few days, she only told us these things.”
With that, Xiao Shan, Xie An, Chen Xing, Xie Daoyun, and Xiang Shu left the bedroom, standing in the imperial gardens outside the door.
Chen Xing was so affected that his mind was in a daze until Xiang Shu handed him the Dinghai Pearl. Wordlessly, he took that artifact.
“So we do have to go to Luoyang?” Chen Xing said.
Everyone remained silent. Chen Xing looked around at the gathered individuals, before boosting up his spirits and smiling. “Before, we wasted a lot of time, but it’s alright, at least now we have a clue.”
Xie Daoyun said, “This clue we obtained in exchange for Qing’er’s life. The price we paid was too high.”
Chen Xing once again came to the realization that the reality of things was just like this, and he couldn’t smile anymore.
Xie An said, “His Majesty was very grateful that you all could get rid of that monster, thus defending his Great Jin’s legitimacy and the will of the heavens. Following that, he’s willing to send out a group of diplomatic envoys to cover your movements and investigations.”
“Protector, what do you think?” Chen Xing asked Xiang Shu.
Xiang Shu didn’t say a single thing. Chen Xing thought of the heavy words he had spoken to Xiang Shu that day, and the blow he had landed afterwards. Swinging fists was one thing, and he believed that Xiang Shu wouldn’t be angry because of this, but would rather have sobered up from that.
The thing that hurt him the most was that sentence, “Then you can go.”
Xiang Shu en-ed.
“Sorry,” Chen Xing said to Xiang Shu.
“What are you sorry for?” Xiang Shu asked mildly. “You don’t need to apologize to anyone; you were always doing what you felt was right. Rather, it was me who forgot the reason you came to find me in the first place.”
Chen Xing wanted to explain to Xiang Shu, but Xiang Shu wasn’t willing to hear any more of what Chen Xing had to say, and he turned instead to Xie An and raised his eyebrows.
Xie An nodded and said, “In these few days, His Majesty has already made the preparations for all of you. It was only because of Gu Qing’s circumstances, and that you, Shidi, were in bed comatose, that I thought you all would have to eventually...”
The door opened, and without a word Feng Qianjun came out. The evil energy between his brows was even more obvious. He didn’t cry, he only said lightly, “She’s gone.”
“Then prepare to set off,” Xiang Shu said in a deep voice. “Everyone has too many new and old grudges, and we need to find Wang Ziye to settle them.” And saying this he turned and left.
The next day, the Gu family held a funeral procession for Gu Qing, and the Great Jin sent out the envoy squad, a line of people on horseback coming to a stop in front of Mt. Zhong, watching the procession from afar.“The marsh orchids spread over the path, and the road is gradually changing…” Feng Qianjun sang within that spring breeze.
“Onwards, the waters of the river flow, while above them grow maples,” Chen Xing sang quietly.
“The gaze travels thousands of li, and the heart breaks with sorrow…” Feng Qianjun kicked his horse into motion, and with his steed at the front, left Mt. Zhong.
“May the souls of the deceased return, and mourn Jiangnan!”
From afar came the song, as the clouds roiled over the great lands of the north.
The time left until the moment of destiny in Chen Xing’s life was one year and nine months.
He did not know what awaited ahead of him on this path. But there was a swell of premonition in his heart, as if from the beginning until now, due to his stubborn persistence, the “will of the heavens” still stood on his side as it always had.
--Volume Three·Acala Blade·End--
moon: GU QING GU QING GU QING GGGG I AM SAD
This chapter is migrated and/or formatted by our fellow chicken enthusiast(s), moon.